Published in: September-October 2005 issue.


Brief Boycott  It took ten years for the American Family Association (AFA) to lift its boycott of the Disney Corporation, but it took only one week for the Christian fundie group to revoke its boycott of Ford Motors. The Disney ban was finally lifted because people never bought the connection between not watching ABC and denying health coverage to same-sex couples. The Ford ban was launched on May 31 of this year to protest the company’s decision to offer grant money to gay cultural organizations. Well, Disney’s people may be concentrated in flaky places like Hollywood and Orlando, but it turns out a lot of Ford dealerships are owned by God-fearing Christians in red states who have no intention of losing sales over some gay choral group in Kalamazoo. The boycott was lifted in time for Ford’s summer sales drive—and June’s gay pride events.

It Can’t Happen Here  Two American men were legally married to each other at Canadian Forces Base Greenwood in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on June 14, in what is believed to be the first gay wedding on any military base in North America. The marriage of a sergeant and a warrant officer was presided over by a minister of the United Church of Canada and came just weeks before same-sex marriage became legal for all of Canada. Such a marriage would of course be impossible in 49 states in the U.S. Make that fifty: it’s also illegal to serve as openly gay in the U.S. military.

Visit  No, it’s not the website of professional bigot Jerry Falwell, whose name has one less “l” than that of this dot-com. It’s actually an anti-Falwell site dedicated to exposing the televangelist’s lies about homosexuality, and its owner is fighting for the right to continue operating under its current name, which is a common misspelling of you-know-who. The litigious Falwell—remember the Hustler “outhouse” cartoon!—took the site’s operator, Christopher Lamparello, to court last year and won a judgment on copyright grounds. But Lamparello has filed an appeal, arguing that the site contains constitutionally protected noncommercial speech. Meanwhile, the website itself, which features a point-by-point refutation of the televangelist’s claims about homosexuality in the Bible and gay love today, has continued to operate, albeit behind a filter that offers a link to Falwell’s real website.

The Times Has Noticed  The journal of record went on record with two articles that delved into the quirky world of sub-subcultures on the socio-sexual landscape:

One widely discussed piece addressed the question of bisexuality. While in Times fashion it treated some recent research as a  revelation, it essentially confirmed what many people have suspected all along: that the vast majority of people are either gay or straight, with true bisexuality relatively rare. This is particularly true for men, while women’s sexuality is more variable over a lifetime. Even men professing to be bisexual responded to sexual stimuli as either gay or straight, not both. And, again no surprise: the vast majority of these men were gay.

A growing number of women who want to be surrogate mothers are seeking gay male couples in lieu of infertile straight couples as clients. Defying the obvious this time, the Times set out to explain this oddity. A dozen anecdotes and a little expert testimony later, it all boiled down to one thing: having to be the surrogate womb for a woman whose own womb doesn’t work can be a drag. In contrast, gay male couples are grateful to have any womb available to carry their progeny. They’re happy to pay the price ($20,000-ish) and aren’t all that invested in the pregnancy itself. Which, come to think of it, is not so different from the position of straight men waiting to be fathers.

Ex-Gay Crime Watch  Of the many humiliations endured by the “ex-gay” movement, a few of which have been noted here—sightings of prominent “ex-gay” leaders at gay bars or renting porn—outright criminality had not been too prevalent; but allegations of kidnapping and bearing false witness have surfaced:

1. The state of Tennessee has begun an investigation in response to allegations of child abuse at Love in Action, a Memphis facility that advertises homosexual conversion therapy for adolescents, according to the state’s Department of Health. The situation came to light when a sixteen-year-old boy named Zach got word to the outside world that he was being held at the facility against his will, having been taken and left there by his parents. Zach’s emotionally charged account of the experience describes what seem to be classic conversion techniques: initial isolation from all human contact save that of the institution, the use humiliation and intimidation to crush the person’s will and erase his “old self.” So it appears their goal is not so much to create heterosexuals as it is to turn out born-again zombies.

2. A less graphic but perhaps more revealing crime is the refusal by Exodus International to remove the name and photo of a man who insists the group is falsely representing him as “ex-gay.” In fact, Shawn O’Donnell is an out and proud gay man who spent five years with Exodus—years that failed to change his sexual orientation and only steeled his resolve to live openly. The fact that Exodus is reduced to using this guy as its poster boy speaks volumes about its success in converting homos. O’Donnell, who lives in Chicago, says he will dedicate himself to helping people escape the dead end of ex-gay therapy.

Calling All Social Conservatives  You’ve heard of cramming, slamming, and ramming as methods of stealing your long-distance phone service. Well now there’s damning, as in calling people up and condemning rival companies for their sinful ways to convince them to switch. A long-distance service based in Oklahoma called United American Technology (UAT) has been winning converts (to their phone service, that is) by calling suspected social conservatives and engaging them in hot-button issues before springing an offer of sin-free phone service. When a UAT spokesman was asked about this policy, the first words out of his mouth were: “Our base, which would be a conservative base, really does not like the same-sex marriage that has been pushed down our throat.” Doubtless it all comes down to one question in the end: what would Jesus do? And UAT has the answer: he’d switch carriers.