The First Year: Gratitude

Gratitude has been on my mind a lot the last few months. My sister and I have had several conversations this fall about how grateful we are to be living in these times. Life has advanced in ways we couldn’t have imagined as kids.

When I was a kid, there was no Internet. Today, it’s possible to have a store there without a brick and mortar building. A year ago at this time, I was asking friends and family members if they thought it would be crazy for me to start an online business called “The Gayest Store on Earth.” When I discovered that the domain name was available, I figured it was fate. I ordered the domain, set up an LLC, and started buying Pride merchandise to fill the store. I also developed on a line of original t-shirts to sell. The Internet is a big place: I honestly wondered if anyone would find my online store. Not only did they find it, they started making purchases! Read More

Humorous Gay Quotes

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Today, I want to share some of my favorite funny gay quotes!

The gay agenda? When was the last time a gay person knocked on your door asking if you would like to hear the good news of Elton John?

“You could move.” – Abigail Van Buren (Dear Abby), in response to a reader who complained that a gay couple was moving in a cross the street and wanted to know what he could do to improve the quality of the neighborhood.

“When I overhear someone say ‘That’s f***ing gay,’ I grab him enthusiastically by the shoulders, grin and say, ‘Yes! I love it, too!’ in a flirty voice. – Adam Lambert Read More

Salt Lake City Elects First Openly LBGT Mayor

 

Salt Lake City recently elected its first lesbian mayor, Jackie Biskupski.  The final tally showed her winning the office with 51.5 percent of the vote over incumbent Ralph Becker, who had 48.5 percent of the vote, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.  This is the second “first” for Democrat Biskupski:  She also was the first LGBT person elected to the Utah legislature, winning a seat in the House of Representatives in 1998. She served seven terms in the House.

Equality Utah executive director Troy Williams called Biskupski’s win “historic.” “Her victory sends a powerful message to all LGBTQ Utahans that their sexual orientation will never be a limitation to public service.”

Of Biskupski’s electoral strategy, the Tribune noted that her “grass-roots campaign focused on change at City Hall and kept its momentum by painting her as the people’s candidate who would listen to constituents.”  Biskupski credited her victory to “a diverse group of people from all over the city.”

At first glance, it seems counterintuitive that an openly LBGT politician could get elected mayor in a deeply red state largely influenced by the conservative Mormon Church.  Politically, things are not exactly what they seem, however.  While Salt Lake City is home to the headquarters of the conservative Mormon Church, its local politics tend to be more progressive, an island of blue in that sea of red. Read More

Veteran’s Day

On Veterans Day, we’d like to express our appreciation the veterans who have served our country. Thank you for the personal sacrifices you made – delaying your education or your career, being away from your family – to safeguard our freedom.   Thank you for placing yourselves between us and danger.  Thank you for braving the unspeakable horrors of war.  Thank you for your service.

We also would like to give special recognition to the gay and lesbian members of the military who have served our country. This service, until recently, came with an additional career-ending challenge:  hide your sexual orientation or be discharged from the military.

As recently as 1981, the Department of Defense issued a directive stating that “homosexuality is incompatible with military service” and that any service member who has “engaged in, has attempted to engage in, or has solicited another to engage in a homosexual act” would face mandatory discharge. In his first election campaign, President Bill Clinton promised to change that:  if elected, he would allow military service by all who otherwise qualify to serve – regardless of sexual orientation. He was unable to overcome opposition to that policy once in office, however.  He signed into law the policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Although often referred to as a compromise, the policy defined homosexuality as “an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.” The discharges continued, and more than 13,000 members of the armed services were discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

In his campaign for the Presidency, Barack Obama vowed to continue the fight to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military. In 2010, the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate passed bills repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  President Obama signed the repeal into law.  The Supreme Court’s decision on DOMA also made full military benefits available to spouses in same-sex couples.

It’s hard to overstate the progress that has been made in the last 35 years. Gay and lesbian service members can now serve openly in the military.  They no longer have to fear that their true orientation will be discovered, and they will be routed out of the military because of it. They can take care of their spouses and families with the same benefits other service members enjoy.  And they show, each and every day, that they are dedicated to the service of our country.

Thank you for serving as a heroic example of who we are.

LBGTQ Trivia

It’s time for more LBGTQ Trivia.  Are you up for the challenge?  Here are ten questions that will test your knowledge.  Let your freak flag/geek flag fly!

 

  1. Who designed the modern Pride flag?
  2. Who is the legendary star of stage and screen who recently came out to the public at the age of 82?
  3. Who was the plaintiff in the Supreme Court hearing against the Defense of Marriage Act?
  4. Who was the first openly gay athlete in an American team sport? (Bonus: name his sport)
  5. Who was the first transgender person to make the cover of Time magazine?
  6. This lesbian Food Network star is the first and only female Iron Chef.
  7. What is unique about Ford model Casey Legler?
  8. The first mass same sex wedding ceremony was held in 1987 in what city?
  9. Harvey Milk was the first openly gay man elected to public office in the United States.   To what office was he elected?
  10. The first female winner of television’s The Biggest Loser recently came out to the public and also married her partner. Who is she?

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The Benefits of Family Acceptance of LBGTQ Youth

Hands Making Love Heart Shadow on Rainbow Background

At the Coming Out with Pride Festival in Orlando yesterday, we were happy to see many families stop by our pop up shop so that parents could buy t-shirts that said, “I love my gay son” or “I love my lesbian daughter.” In talking with these parents, the love, acceptance and support they had for their children was clear and heartwarming to see.

We have noticed a lot of families with curious or out youth at Pride festivals this year. It is great to see parents educating their children about Pride. Teaching them that being LBGTQ isn’t something to be ashamed of  is a valuable lesson that can bolster self-esteem and inclusiveness. Showing them members of the LBGTQ family that are out and proud is a lesson that will be beneficial to their development, regardless of how children or teens identify themselves in the future. Read More

Who Is Afraid Of A Kiss?

Who is afraid of a kiss? Apparently a lot of people are, especially in England and Italy.

 

In October of last year, there was an incident in a Sainsbury market in Brighton where a security guard told a gay couple to leave because their PDA made another customer feel uncomfortable. The couple was shocked saying they had taken their liberty for granted in a town where acceptance of homosexual couples was quite high.

 

It turns out that the security guard was contracted by another company as Sainsbury employees reaffirmed their pro-diversity stance. Nonetheless, a kiss-in was staged at the market by a Sussex student union. Couples crowded the market waiting to “snog” as The Guardian put it. After the kissing ended, customers with their purchases in hand said that this had been one of the most pleasant shopping experiences they’ve ever had. Read More

Etymology of Lesbian

The word “lesbian” is actually Greek for the isle of Lesbos, where the poet, Sappho, wrote entrancing and beautiful love poems for other women. Maybe you already knew that, but there has been some talk about the word “lesbian” not encompassing all it needs to or that the label might even be dying out. Even before the feminist movement of the 70’s, many women with same-sex attraction called themselves “gay” or “queer” flat out rejecting the label “lesbian”. With this term’s popularity possibly facing a downward trend, I find myself grieving that process.

 

I find the term “lesbian” beautiful and iconic, and even part of my identity. I wouldn’t want that to be stripped away from me. So in celebration of my identity and the identity of other women who similarly identify as lesbian, I wanted to share some of my favorite Sappho poems.

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We Need a Pride Flag Emoji!

Set of Emoticons flat illustration with isolated background. Ideal for web, chat and app design. EPS10 vector file.

With all of the success of the Pride movement and the LGBT community, we deserve to celebrate! We post tweets and instagram pictures, and we hang our flag proudly outside of our house. We go back to our phones to text our loved ones about the happy news, and let’s be honest, we have smiley faces, cakes, confetti and same-sex couples holding hands as emoji’s to send. But there’s something missing: where’s the Pride flag?

 

The history of the Pride flag is rich with meaning. The flag was created by Gilbert Baker at the request of Harvey Milk, the famous openly-gay San Francisco City-County Supervisor. The flag was debuted on June 25, 1978 for the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade.

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Mickalene Thomas – Celebrating Great Art

I love celebrating great art, and nothing excites me more than seeing artists comment on LGBT issues through their artwork. One such artist is Mickalene Thomas.

 

Thomas is an artist based in New York, and she is best known for her work portraying same-sex desires of women adorned in acrylic paint and rhinestones. Born in Camden, New Jersey in 1971, Thomas was raised by her mother Sandra aka “Mama Bush” who exposed Thomas and her brother to art by enrolling them in after-school programs at the Newark Museum. Unfortunately, Thomas’ relationship with her mother was strained during her teenage years, as most mother-daughter relationships are. But Thomas was sorting out her sexuality while dealing with her parents’ drug addiction.

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