“The Song of Sasquatch” up at Joyland

“The Song of Sasquatch,”my poem/story of bigfoot romance in the style of Song of Solomon, is up at Joyland: a hub for short fiction.  Joyland is unique as an online fiction magazine. It has editors associated with a certain geographical place and all the stories come from writers associated with that place. Occasionally, editor Kevin Chong says, they like to pull a few writers from outside.  Thanks, Kevin, for pulling me in!  Enjoy!

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The Laramie Project Shows Stunning Ensemble Work

This is my review from What’s Up Yukon.  

5 out of 5 Stars

I gave Justine Davidson, the theatre reviewer for the Whitehorse Star, a long hug at the end of The Laramie Project, the Guild Society/GALA play.

Both of us were near tears.

She said over my shoulder, “Does this mean it’s good when the journalists are crying?”

We weren’t the only ones moved.

But don’t let this make you think the play is a downer. It isn’t.

It’s mostly a fascinating study of 80 people learning to cope with sudden and abrupt change. The tragedy of Matthew Shepard’s murder happens before the play begins — so this is, in effect, the aftermath.

This is a community coming to terms with what they think about it — and finding themselves at the centre of a media tornado. You find yourself rooting for them as they try to make it through. …

(For the rest of the review, click here to go to What’s Up Yukon)

Erasing The Fiction: Telling the Good News about the Prop 8 Trial

Occasionally, I stray from talking about science fiction and fantasy because something is important to say, or some event is happening that means a lot.  

The Prop 8 trial is happening in California right now, under the expert guidance of trial lawyers Olsen and Boies, best known for being on opposite sides during the Gore v. Bush Supreme Court moment in 2000.  Now they are together, and they are laying out the case for overturning Proposition 8, the nefarious way conservative folks ended marriage for the GLBT community in California.  

Thousands and thousands of people are watching this trial on liveblogging.  The Supreme Court has denied cameras and videotaping of the proceedings, with a ruling that happened only hours before the actual trial began last week.  Instead, we have had to follow some fantastic transcription of the trial.  

What we are learning is that we have been fed FICTION for a long long time.  And while it has been successful fiction, it’s not very good, and can’t really hold up to textual analysis, or any kind of scrutiny.  When you shine a light on it, it just because hatred, bigotry and discrimination, and very, very unchristian. 

The joy of reading the transcription—and please think of selling this as a book to people (I’d love a book of this trial for a donation to Courage Campaign Institute)–the joy of reading that transcription is the slow erasure of the lies that we’ve been told all our lives: that we will harm children, that we are living in direct violation to God and the scriptures, that we will hurt straight marriages, that we will bring destruction on America if allowed to marry (that last one has a Pat Robertson spin).  

Denying American citizens the right to marry each other is denying them the protections and promises of the Constitution.  First, we live as Americans and that document is our bible–it is what we rule by, live by, act by.  Second, there are countless, wonderful books—by theologians–that map out how the Bible is being used to discriminate, and that God loves everyone–including gay and lesbian people–and wants them, if they so choose, to find someone and love them as Christ loves people.  Christians who believe that gay people are not acceptable to God are treading a path away from God, away from Christ, and, unfortunately, away from the rest of us.  Just as they were some of the last holdouts on repealing slavery, and on granting the rights of women, so they are the last holdouts on accepting gay and lesbian people.  

It is so bad for the Church because many are walking away from God and Christ when they turn their backs on the church.  This goes against all that Christians stand for–they want no one to walk away from them empty-handed.  And yet….  I know they will be really upset when they figure this out.  It makes me sad.  What a horrible representation of God’s love.  

The trial is exposing those lies.  Though we have been blocked from seeing the trial ourselves, the truth is getting out there.  I am so proud of the people who are liveblogging this.  I am so proud to be a gay man right now, to see the truth unveiled, to see everyone slowly realize that we are not the scourge you made us believe we were.  

I encourage everyone to read the transcripts of each of the daily summaries.  You will be amazed.  And then, for folks who are still struggling with religion or faith and sexuality, this uncommonly simple, but thorough book, Jesus, the Bible and Homosexuality by Jack Rogers.  

To my fellow GLBT, God is not “theirs”—he is Ours.  They do not own Jesus, or the words of Jesus, and they cannot block you from his love.  There are plenty of churches now who accept us, and know that accepting us is perfectly good in the eyes of God.  You can go through those doors and receive love from everyone.  

Thank you, Olsen, Boies, and the rest of you for erasing the fiction that has been fooling us.  May everyone get the truth.

Bishop Robinson’s Prayer to Open the Inaugural Events

Pardon my side trip from Science Fiction and Fantasy. But this is important. It’s unfortunate that HBO blacked out the opening prayer of Bishop Robinson, especially after so much controversy over Rick Warren’s selection to pray on Tuesday. Here’s the video. This was shot by Sarah Pulliam of Christianity Today. Christianity Today, in a really nice gesture, allowed it to be posted on their blog and here on Youtube. Sarah, you may have saved a moment in history, important to a whole community.

HBO also decided not to identify the Gay Men’s Chorus when they sang with Josh Groban. It looks like coincidence, but it hurts a whole community to be nearly erased from this historic moment. What you can’t erase, though, are all the gays and lesbians who are watching, and all their friends who are watching, and requiring something different and something better from this new administration. For your enjoyment, here is the well-written, and surprising, prayer of Bishop Gene Robinson. I love the irony of the Blessings section. Full text appears afterwards.

Full text of the prayer, courtesy of the Advocate. I hope they don’t mind that I’m posting it here–I think it should be spread as far as we can spread it.

Good afternoon,

Before this celebration begins, please join me in pausing for a moment to ask God’s blessing upon our nation and our next president.

Oh God of our many understandings, we pray that you will bless us with tears, tears for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women in many lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die a day from malnutrition, malaria and AIDS.

Bless this nation with anger – anger at discrimination at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants; women, people of color; gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people.

Bless us with discomfort at the easy simplistic answers we prefer to hear from our politicians instead of the truth about ourselves and our world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.

Bless us with patience and the knowledge that none of what ails us will be fixed any time soon and the understanding that our next president is a human being, not a messiah. Bless us with humility, open to understanding that our own needs as a nation must always be balanced with those of the world.

Bless us with freedom from mere tolerance, replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences.

Bless us with compassion and generosity, remembering that every religion’s God judges us by the ways we care for the most vulnerable. And God, we give you thanks for your child Barack, as he assumes the office fo the president of the United States. Give him wisdom beyond his years, inspire him with President Lincoln’s reconciling leadership style, President Kennedy’s ability to enlist our best efforts, and Dr. King’s dream of a nation for all people.

Give him a quiet heart, for our ship of state needs a steady calm captain. Give him stirring words, we will need to be inspired and motivated to make the personal and common sacrifices necessary to facing the challenges ahead.

Make him color blind reminding him of his own words that under his leadership there will be neither red nor blue states but a United States. Help him remember his own oppression as a minority, drawing on that experience of discrimination that he might seek to change the lives of those who are still its victims.

Give him strength to find family time and privacy and help him remember that even though he is president, a father only gets one shot at his daughters’ childhoods. And please God, keep him safe. We know we ask too much of our presidents and we’re asking far too much of this one, we implore you oh good and great God to keep him safe. Hold him in the palm of your hand that he might do the work that we have called him to do. That he might find joy in this impossible calling and that, in the end, he might lead us as a nation to a place of integrity, prosperity and peace.

Amen.

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Many in the GLBT community, knowing that Robinson was only going to pray on this first day–a Sunday morning when most other Christians would be in church–still they were looking forward to this representation by both Robinson and the Gay Men’s Chorus. Noticeably, they are hurt.

Though it didn’t get played on TV, on HBO, and will only be heard in snippets tomorrow morning in a collage playback before the swearing in, I hope this video gets round the world tonight to make up for it. Networks and Cable television have no idea the power of Youtube to completely make them obsolete in regards to news and events. You can’t erase a people from history. Not anymore.