January 11, 2009

“Go Hoosiers!! Yeaaa!!” Now there's a shout heard frequently in Indiana and one that conjures up the excitement of a good, competitive basketball game. Who can ignore the heart-thumping pressures of last-second, game-winning -- or -losing -- shots?

And we bet even the least of sports enthusiasts aren't immune to the fun, hype and hoopla that surround the annual NCAA tournament. We are fairly certain that many of our local readers are huge basketball fans, and that's a good thing, in our opinion. But we have to wonder if "Go Hoosiers!" stimulates thoughts of women's basketball or just the men's team?

Why is that? Well, thanks for asking.

November 16, 2008

Eighty-eight years ago, women won the fight and earned the right to vote in the United States. A few short weeks ago we recognized Women’s Equality Day with the knowledge that the United States is one of only eight countries that have yet to ratify the Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

According to the CEDAW Web site, 185 countries -- more than 90 percent of the United Nations members -- are party to the Convention. “So what?” you say. We can still vote, attend university, play sports and work outside the home. Women are better off than ever right?

Well, maybe yes and maybe no. CEDAW is a universal definition of discrimination against women and negates any claim that no clear definition of sexual discrimination exists. By not recognizing this document, our nation joins the ranks of countries such as Iran that treat women with disdain, disrespect and, frequently, violence.

October 19, 2008

Ellen DeGeneres is married and Clay Aiken is gay, and that's the news for this month. Well, there is the national economic crisis, but hey, we can't worry about everything!

The above sentence was our opening phrase for this article until wham! Right out of left field (well, from the liberal side at least) we received a news blurb saying that the Connecticut General Assembly had voted to legalize LGBTQI marriage, and we thought that news was far more important than the personal lives of show biz folks.

But then again, maybe not, because they are related topics. Just a few short years ago, Ellen wouldn't have had the opportunity to marry, and Clay wouldn't have been so openly upbeat about telling anyone he was gay, much less the entire world.

September 21, 2008

Remember when the buzz word was “diversity?” Everybody and everything was diversified, meaning that the power elite admitted to the inequities in our system and a bunch of conscientious workshops and events were organized to address them?

Glad that all worked well and we are just one big happy national family now.

But, moving on, we have a new buzz word, and it’s called "change." Seems that everyone -- all the politicians, media and general populace -- is talking about change. And while we certainly recognize the need for a change in governmental direction, we have to ask what kind of change is all the chatter about? There is good change and bad change, and those concepts are constantly being redefined by both sides.

September 7, 2008

Because of a range of genetic conditions, people who look like women may have a Y chromosome, while people who look like men may not. And many times these individuals do not learn about such defects until they reach adulthood, when things can become very complicated quite quickly.

The aforementioned is a loosely paraphrased quote from a plastic surgeon who specializes in transgender medicine and was interviewed about genetic testing at the Beijing Olympics. What caught our attention was the term "defects."

It seemed odd to us that a doctor would refer to her patients as being defective just because their chromosomes, or perhaps their genitalia, don't meet the prescribed binary definitions of female and male. However, that may be irrelevant, given that the greater context of the discussion focused upon the validity and legalities of genetic testing of athletes in the Olympic games.

July 27, 2008

Lesbianism is not contagious. Seriously, you can share a friendship, work space, recreational activities, even a church pew with a lesbian or gay, bisexual or transgender person, and it will in no way effect your own personal gender identity or sexual orientation.

You don’t need a vaccine to prevent contamination, and you might even build up a natural immunity to homophobia by freely associating outside your own comfort zone and accepting the fact that love and its attractions are more than a political statement.

We recognize your possible fear that folks might define you by your association and think you are a lesbian too (gasp!), but we don’t buy that “birds of a feather” argument. If one so easily became who they associate with then we would all become one another and there would be no distinction.

Besides, we humans are supposed to be defined by so much more than our procreative genitalia. Not to mention that we could learn from one another.

June 29, 2008

Growing up in New Jersey, author, editor and photographer Michael T. Luongo traveled very little.

“As a child, my parents never traveled anywhere,” he says. “They couldn’t throw all the kids in the car and come back in the space of a day.”

Instead, Luongo referred to his parents’ art and archaeology books and began to discover a love for foreign places.

“It was something that started to develop ever since I was little,” he says. “I read a lot. I was constantly reading.”

June 19, 2008

With perennial optimism we always anticipate that monsoon season will end and spring will arrive. This year spring was long and chilly but typical of Indiana weather that fluctuates like the wind. We are now, WHAM, smack dab into summer.

We are always impressed with the determination and bravery of the little spring flowers who weather late season ice and snow to bloom in glorious colors. They are awesome to behold but perhaps paled a bit this year in comparison to the determination of the two Democratic presidential candidates. The change to warmer weather was indeed abrupt and not unlike the end of the campaign between Obama and Clinton.

After months of being drenched in rain and the competitive dialogue, debates, not-so-subtle slandering and then pandering to various groups as well as one another, it’s over, and Clinton has literally disappeared from the scene. WHAM again! Makes us wonder what it was really all about anyway. Seems way too coincidental that for the first time ever we had two candidates from the most disenfranchised groups in our culture taking center stage in a run for the highest office.

June 15, 2008

Serving in a homophobic military is an experience Mark Brostoff can relate to. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1982 to 2002, before and after Congress implemented "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the military policy that allows homosexuals to serve but honorably discharges them if their orientation is discovered.

America made progress toward removing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" on May 21 when three judges from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a lawsuit that could bring an end to the 15-year-old policy.

The court said military officials must prove that having a gay person in the unit hurts morale and that discharge is the only way to improve morale, according to a May 22 Associated Press story.

Brostoff, the associate director of the Kelley Undergrad Career Services, said he wants the policy changed, but he has concerns.

"I do not want (to) risk moving backwards in the achievements the gay community has gained," he said.

May 26, 2008

The folks in California are celebrating, and for good reason. Last week the California Supreme Court ruled to overturn the lesbian/gay marriage ban which could soon lead to legalized queer weddings in the nation's largest state. If so, California would be the second state after Massachusetts to allow same-gender marriage.

In a 4-to-3 decision, the state's high court determined that domestic partnerships are not a good substitute for marriage. And while the justices did not say that same gender couples must be allowed to marry, they did determine that same-gender couples must be treated equal to opposite-gender couples. For example, the state could decide that marriage is for churches and offer civil unions to opposite gender-couples.

But then same-gender couples must also be offered civil unions. If the state recognizes opposite-gender marriages, then the state needs to recognize same-gender marriages. Since California already offers domestic partner benefits that include legal rights and responsibilities similar to marriage, it seems only logical that the next step is to extend full marriage rights to all couples.

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