Monday, March 17, 2014

Real St. Patrick's Day Parade Story; George Michael Slams EastEnders; Web Filters Gay Content

Real St. Patrick's Day Parade Story

In a follow up to yesterday's post, here's an article about NY mayor, Bill de Blasio, boycotting New York's St. Patrick's Day parade. Several beer companies have buckled to pressure from gay activists and they've pulled out as sponsors. But the problem is nothing is very clear about this, and even though the same issue happened in Boston, there were gay people marching in Boston, there was a "diversity float," and openly gay people in Boston were welcomed just like everyone else. And yet the Mayor of Boston boycotted that parade because of gay rights?  

This piece states that de Blasio and the beer companies are boycotting because gay groups were excluded from the NY parade.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is boycotting today’s St. Patrick’s Day parade because of organizers’ refusal to allow gay groups to march openly in the parade. Heineken, Sam Adams, and Guinness have all pulled their sponsorship for the same reason.

I don't know if there will be any "diversity floats" in the NY parade. But even though parade organizers in Boston would not allow gay activist groups in that parade, there were openly gay people in the parade with a "diversity float." Not marching as gay activists, but as citizens who are part of the neighborhood and just happen to be openly gay. One article I read stated that Boston parade organizers went out of their way to welcome them.

Interesting.

Randy Foster and Steve Martin had done this before. They built a 12-foot-long wedding cake float for Provincetown’s Carnival on Aug. 20, 2009, the day they married. This was different. This float was for the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which had banned gay organizations for two decades, a precedent enshrined by the US Supreme Court. Related  As a political standoff raged in recent weeks between parade organizers and the statewide gay advocacy group MassEquality, planning for this float continued with little notice. Momentum had been building for a year. There is a lot about this controversy people don’t know.

I'm glad I'm not the only one questioning the controversy surrounding this parade. Frankly, I'd like to get the real story. What's really happening here? Why would the parade organizers in Boston ban the gay activist groups and not ban the local gay neighbors with the "diversity float?" And why won't the media give us all the details surrounding this issue? Each and every story I've read mentions the "diversity float" in the Boston parade, but not one leads with it. Each article leads with the implication that both the mayors of NY and Boston boycotted the parade because of gay issues, and clearly there were gays welcomed to participate in the Boston parade.  

You can read more here.

George Michael Slams EastEnders

George Michael claims "fame" nearly drove him BERserk. He's also off drugs and not smoking pot anymore. And it's not because those things are illegal and bad for you, or that most people with a moral compass know this. It was prison that shocked him into this realization...that just because he's been privileged enough to live a life most people dream about he's not exempt from everything. Sorry if I sound cynical here, but I get tired of hearing these things when I know there are people working in minimum wage jobs full time here in the US and they can't even afford to pay for daycare. It gets tired and my sympathy threshold runs low for people like George Michael. I'm also not sure he should even have a voice or be quoted on anything serious.

He also mentions his thoughts on Kate Middleton...like anyone cares. I don't watch EastEnders, but Michael had comments about that, too.

Michael said: ‘I hope for their sakes and the sake of gay kids in this country, regardless of their cultural background, that EastEnders gets a clue and begins to acknowledge their responsibility and provide us with gay characters that have no reason to live in fear. We do exist.’

You can read more here.

Web Filters Gay Content

I think I posted about this once before, but it was so long ago I'm not linking back. It's been long standing knowledge that web filters block gay content and keep gay people from getting information they could be getting. Sometimes all it takes is one innocent word.


A lot of what is being blocked is completely innocent. E-mails that contain words such as ‘lesbian’, ‘gay’ or ‘sexuality’ are treated like spam.

Non-pornographic websites aimed at the LGBTI community are banned – including vital support services, lifestyle sites and news and magazine sites like this one. The blockers don’t seem to know the difference between titillating sex sites and sex education sites.

And even LGBTI charities like Stonewall have been blocked. The problem has hit us at the Lesbian and Gay Foundation (LGF) too.

This is exactly like what happens to books with gay content...or erotic books in general. Web filters find one word that might suggest something gay or considered taboo and they block the content. I had one book out, "Skater Boy," and it was banned from several web sites because of the word "boy," which to web filters suggested it was about an underage character. And nothing could have been farther from the truth. All characters were grown and of legal age of consent. So I'm not sure what anyone can do about web filters in general, but authors really need to watch out for these things so they don't get blamed for something they didn't do. Of course, the wrong people also know all about web filters and they actually take advantage of the system by avoiding words they should be using with questionable content. I really does go both ways, and unfortunately innocent people often get blamed.

You can read more here.


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