“Proposition 8 served no purpose, and had no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California,” the court said. The ruling is limited to California. The issue will be bounced up to the Supreme Court, which may rule as soon as next year.

In other LGBTQ-related news, I got swamped by schoolwork and have not yet had a chance to curl up with either of the Permanent Floating YA Diversity Book Club selections for last month. (Theme: YA fantasy with lesbian heroines.) Reviews will appear, I hope, later this week. Has anyone else had a chance to read either or both?

There is a sweet deal at Amazon on Libyrinth now - only $4.29! Haly is a Libyrarian, one of a group of people dedicated to preserving and protecting the knowledge passed down from the Ancients and stored in the endless maze of books known as the Libyrinth. But Haly has a secret: the books speak to her.

Tripping to Somewhere is $5.99 on Kindle. If you don't have a Kindle, I believe you can still buy it in that format and read it on your computer. It's everyone's glittery fantasy turned real: to follow the Carnival's mystic band of beautiful people as they defy every limit and dance through history -- all in search of a good time.
rachelmanija: (Engaged!)
( May. 6th, 2009 01:39 pm)
Maine has become the fifth US state to legalize gay marriage! Only 45 to go!

If you were involved in [livejournal.com profile] livelongnmarry, an important post is up there now: http://community.livejournal.com/livelongnmarry/300213.html
Yesterday night, when I had a long and grueling tech rehearsal for the Virginia Avenue Project (a theatre mentoring group for low-income kids that I've volunteered with for the last fourteen years), summed up my feelings about the last election: joy and sorrow, anger and hope.

The kids were overjoyed at Obama's victory, and sad and angry and confused at the passage of the discriminatory Prop 8. They told me they ran to friends' houses and banged on the doors cheering, and asked me how anyone could seriously believe that children didn't already know that some people are gay, and why it mattered to anyone whether or not someone else got married.

These kids are Asian, white, Latino/a, African-American, and probably other mixtures and races that I'll only know if it happens to come up in conversation. They're all under eighteen, and eager to vote when they're old enough. They wrote the plays we're teching-- one about a gay man trying to get up his nerve to come out to his parents.

I've already seen a lot of blame being handed out to certain groups, primarily African-Americans and Mormons, for the passage of Prop 8. There's nothing wrong with looking at the demographics of the vote. But let's neither forget that there's plenty of blame to go around-- no racial group that I know of had less than about 49% of its total voters voting for Prop 8 and against justice and equality-- and let's not become the forces of the very hatred and group stereotyping that we deplore in others.

If the Presidential election was consistent with pre-election polling, military veterans, white men, and people over the age of fifty, as groups, voted for McCain. As a group, Latinos, African-Americans, Mormons, and people over the age of fifty voted for Proposition 8. But I cheered for Obama and booed the passage of Prop 8 with a male Latino/white military veteran, and the next day I did the same with senior citizens, African-Americans, and Mormons. And even teenagers are not a right-thinking monolith, though I have to say that spending time with my small, self-selected crew of them gives me a lot of hope for the future.

Groups are made of individuals. Stereotypes are not reality. Plenty of GLBT people are also African-American or Mormon. When we meet the enemy, let it not be us.

Here's a good column on the subject by the always-worthwhile Ta-Nehisi Coates on Prop 8. His commenters, generally an intelligent bunch, are also worth reading. I didn't read all of them, but the first few were right on the money.

Also, [livejournal.com profile] livelongnmarry will return to continue the fight. Backstage machinations are ongoing. An announcement of our new direction should be up within the next week or so.
rachelmanija: (Barack)
( Nov. 5th, 2008 08:35 am)
This is a really bittersweet election-- Obama won, but so did the loathesome, cruel, discriminatory Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage in California. The legal status of thousands of married couples is now completely up in the air.

My hope is that the next four years will either let more Californians meet the married gay couples in their midst and see that they're not that scary after all, or, as is more likely, that the legal battle to divorce married couples against their will is going to be so mean and hateful that it will end up convincing those same Californians that it's wrong to force couples to divorce and also wrong to refuse them the right to marry. One way or another, I can't imagine not having a "reverse Proposition 8" proposal on the ballot four years from now. And I hope we've gained four years' worth of feelings of compassion and justice.
While driving with my Mom in the sleepy, touristy beachside town of Carmel, we were approaching their picturesque Fisherman's Wharf when we came alongside a small group of men picketing its parking lot.

They wore white shirts and red capes, and played bagpipes. Their picket signs read "PROTECT TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE" and "NO GAY 'MARRIAGE.'"

I rolled down the window and stuck out my head.

Me (berserk): "GAY RIGHTS!!!! GAY RIGHTS!!!! GO GAY MARRIAGE!!!!! GAY MARRIAGE YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!!!"

("A well-reasoned, persuasive argument," remarked [livejournal.com profile] oyceter when I recounted it to her later.)

Caped homophobes: "FUCK YOU!!"

Mom: "BABA BABA BABA STOP!!!"

Apparently I had shrieked loudly enough to attract the attention of the car in front of me, which slammed on its brakes. I slammed on mine. As we parked, next to an SUV with McCain bumperstickers ("I bet it belongs to the bagpipe gay-haters!" I exclaimed. "I oughtta key it!" "Revenge only hurts the revengeful one," said Mom.) Mom scolded me for temper and lowering myself, and informed me that I had just proved that anger causes fenderbenders.

Me (still foaming at the mouth): "And those bagpipes! What an ironic choice of instrument. Putting that phallic pipe in their mouth... Sucking and blowing on that long, hard, rod... Squeezing and caressing the bag (isn't that slang for scrotum?) while they suck on that pipe just like a hard, fat cock..."

Mom: "DON'T TALK SO LOUD!!!"

Indeed, a group of tourists had fallen in behind us and were taking great interest in our conversation.

The next morning I read in the local paper that the caped homophobes were not local, but an anti-gay group of "lay Catholics" from Pennsylvania, who were making a 30-state anti-gay tour and had chosen Carmel because they had a friend there they could crash with. It also quoted a local woman who had grabbed a rainbow flag and, accompanied by her father, staged a counter-demonstration.

"One doesn't expect to see that sort of thing in Carmel," she said. "It was like the Hitler Youth!"
rachelmanija: (Engaged!)
( Aug. 15th, 2008 11:46 am)
Last night I volunteered at a phone bank for Equality For All, the campaign to defeat the evil proposition on the California ballot this November to ban marriage between same-sex couples. We were trying to raise money and recruit volunteers.

The organizers cleverly suggested that we begin by calling people we know before moving on to lists culled from "contact me" sign-up sheets. I would not have thought of that, but I used personal contacts to raise $300 (my totals were the group's highest overall; I think I am good at fundraising) and obtain one volunteer, and the guy next to me called his college buddies and assembled a team of volunteers.

Before we began, we introduced ourselves and our reasons for being there. One woman said that as a black woman, she would have been legally denied civil rights in earlier times, and this struck her as a similar battle. A bunch of the men said they hoped to get married some day, either to a particular man or just in general. One of the people I spoke to on the phone said that her church had organized a campaign to raise awareness against the amendment in local farmer's markets! Others mentioned being strongly affected by this pro-marriage equality commercial.

As I drove home, I thought about how causes seem to choose us as much as we choose them. I don't like weddings. I don't like how you really have to fight to make them not commercialist, frou-frou and frilly, about enforced creepy gender roles, insanely expensive, incredibly depressing to single attendees, and long and boring. I don't like attending them, and the thought of ever having one myself does not exactly fill me with glee. As for marriage itself, I don't abhor the institution, but neither does it thrill me. So what is the single cause that has engaged me the most in the last five years or so? Marriage equality!

If I were to choose which cause I intellectually think is most important, it would probably be global warming and other potentially catastrophic environmental issues. Followed by world poverty, global inequality, famine, disease, war, and other issues that kill people in large numbers every day.

Out of all of those, the only ones that I've ever actually hit the streets for are AIDS-related issues and anti-war activism over specific wars. (And suspect that I am becoming even more of a peacenik than I was before due to now having a particular person whom I would like to keep out of the war zone.) The other causes that I've been seriously involved in over a span of years are GLBT rights, mentoring children, and emergency preparedness.

Though people can and do die as a direct or indirect result of being deprived of their civil rights, marriage equality, like mentoring children, seems a bit like small potatoes in the grand global "so many preventable deaths per minute" scheme of things. But every individual life is small potatoes on that scale.

Having grown up among people who were devoting themselves to grand ideals (union with God) while not noticing or caring about the very small-scale, but very real human suffering going on right in front of them, I think that even if the ideal is to tackle the biggest issues first, there's also value in fixing the things that you actually have the capability of fixing.

And passion lends capability. While swimming might be the ideal exercise for me, I don't enjoy swimming, so I never get around to actually doing any. Whereas I am willing to go do less ideal exercise if I actually enjoy it. Likewise, my passion, rather inexplicably, is leaping up and shouting, "Hit the streets to promote more marriages! Yeah brides!" and passing out on the sofa at the thought of global warming or malaria. Marriage equality it is!

What causes personally engage you guys? Is it clear why, or is it slightly inexplicable to you too? Are they different from what you would consider ideal or primarily important, or are they the same?
rachelmanija: (Engaged!)
( Aug. 12th, 2008 03:56 pm)
[livejournal.com profile] livelongnmarry raised over fifty thousand dollars!! And was appreciated by George Takei and Brad Altman (pictured in icon)!! And raised over $50,000!

To those of you expecting things from me that you won: I'm working on it! Hopefully you will get them soon!
1. [livejournal.com profile] livelongnmarry has raised over $43,000 -- and is still counting!

2. Someone tipped off George Takei and Brad Altman, and they sent us a message of thanks and support!

3. Adrian: still awesomest boyfriend ever.

4. I have trimmed and dyed my hair red. Well, red-brown. It looks good, if I do say so myself.

5. Virginia Avenue Project summer camp is this weekend. I am not sure if I'll internet access or not, so if you desperately need me between Thursday and Sunday, call.
Bidding at [livejournal.com profile] livelongnmarry has closed.

A new community may be set up NOT RUN BY THE CURRENT HAPPY BUT EXHAUSTED MODS to allow people to sell off items that weren't bid on, brag about their purchases (more than they already can in the current brag post), post photos, etc. Watch the current comm for updates on that.

Current donations are now past $10,000 and will continue climbing, as many people have not yet had a chance to donate. (I haven't, though I am the proud winner of the Kazuya Minekura art book Backgammon.) As several people have generously offered to duplicate their offer if losing bidders are willing to match the winning bid, God only knows how high the final totals will go.

Thank you to everyone who participated, bid, offered, and spread the word, and especially to [livejournal.com profile] lady_ganesh and [livejournal.com profile] telophase, who ended up doing most of the heavy lifting due to my prolonged absences due to my intense workload and, rather appropriately albeit heterosexually, new boyfriend.

This auction went beyond my wildest dreams. It was joyous, crazily inventive (legal critiques! hand-lathed dildos! Bavarian care packages! a soul!), and an expression of a whole lot of people's commitment to equality, justice, compassion, and love.

The glee which you all brought to such a serious and important cause reminded me of the American activist Emma Goldman's quote, "I want freedom, the right to self-expression, everybody's right to beautiful, radiant things," and the popular paraphrase of her ideals, "If I can't dance, I don't want to be in your revolution."

Let's all keep working, keep fighting, and keep dancing.
Sherwood Smith and I are offering a signed copy of our Avatar the Last Airbender spec script. This is a one-time offer, and the script may not be duplicated or distributed. For your eyes only!
[livejournal.com profile] tacky_tramp added up the high bids on [livejournal.com profile] livelongnmarry... and we're at $18, 749!!!!

Note: Page all the way down to the bottom of the page-- we're having some layout issues due to the number of tags.

A lot of people are offering care packages from many countries, and themes, and characters: Broadway, Malaysia, Japan, and Gwendal from Kyou Kara Moah. There's some amazing stuff on offer. Including one from Yuuko's storehouse! I just offered one from Los Angeles.

Doctor Who merchandise and crafts seem to inspire special invention. Such as Chocolate Daleks.

Anamazing number of people are offering exquisite handmade jewelry.

Ellen Kushner offers an original comic script for YOU to draw, and Colleen Doran offers an illustration based on it.

Misc services include swimming lessons, relationship advice, RPG assistance, language lessons, translations of Latin porn, and legal advice from a lawyer for your work of fiction!

Thanks for making this both effective and fun.
Though we apparently KILLED LJ earlier, we are now up and running! Go forth and bid!

Heads up that some people are still preparing offers, so keep checking the comm. Ellen Kushner and a very exciting Surprise Guest will be posting a truly amazing offer soon.

Since I'm too lazy to do a ton of links, note the tag list to the right side of [livejournal.com profile] livelongnmarry. Click on seller: [Lj name] to find all their offers.

I have offered original or fan fic. And also a professional critique.

Sherwood Smith ([livejournal.com profile] sartorias) is offering a hand-drawn map of her world.

Noted pro erotica writer Hanne Blank ([livejournal.com profile] misia) is offering an erotica-writing boot camp.

[livejournal.com profile] pameladean, [livejournal.com profile] marthawells, Steve Berman ([livejournal.com profile] mroctober), and many more pro writers are offering signed (and sometimes rare) editions of their books.

Kate Elliot and Elizabeth Bear ([livejournal.com profile] matociquala) are offering professional critiques.

Justine Larbalestier ([livejournal.com profile] justinelavaworm) will name a character in her next book after you!

[livejournal.com profile] smillaraaq, [livejournal.com profile] copperwise, and many more are offering gorgeous handmade jewelry.

[livejournal.com profile] gaudior is offering a consultation to help you find a therapist! (The "offered: misc services" tag is worth perusing.)

All this, plus art, fanfic, baked goods, knit goods, home-made soap, web design, fashion consultation, custom My Little Ponies, original music, and hand-turned dildos!
rachelmanija: (Engaged!)
( Jun. 24th, 2008 11:04 am)
When someone offered all-organic, hand-crafted, lathe-turned, meticulously-finished, completely functional, one-hundred-percent splinter-free, soap-and-water-cleanable, one-of-a-kind, NC-17 items, I knew this would be the Best Auction Ever.

There's also a lot of gorgeous worksafe handcrafted items, like hand-knit lace shawls, painted boxes, illustrated cards, magic wands, and even Plot Bunnies. Not to mention the more usual offers of autographed books, fanfic, art, and professional services from critiques to tattoo design to web-hosting.

[livejournal.com profile] livelongnmarry. Bidding opens July 1, 12:01 AM Pacific Time. Be there or miss the lathe-turned, completely functional items.

Thanks to everyone who has participated already, and to everyone who plans to participate! Please keep spreading the word!
rachelmanija: (Engaged!)
( Jun. 23rd, 2008 09:13 am)
[livejournal.com profile] lady_ganesh and I have created [livejournal.com profile] livelongnmarry, a fandom fundraising auction for marriage equality. It went live today, and you may sign up now. Bidding opens July 1, and closes July 15.

Live Long and Marry will raise funds to fight the discriminatory anti-marriage bill which will be on the California, USA ballot in November. Right now same sex couples can legally marry in California. If this bill passes, it will legally destroy those marriages without the consent of the married couples.

Including George Takei's! Look at him and Brad in my icon: aren't they happy and sweet? They deserve to have their love and commitment and responsibilities to their relationship legally safeguarded and acknowledged. And so do all other married couples.

You can help! Here's how you can:

1. Spread the word! Please publicize and link to the community.

2. Bid! Amazing goodies will be offered, such as fanfic, original fic, art, cookies, and much more! We have gorgeous jewelry, signed novels by Martha Wells and Steve Berman, an art commission from [livejournal.com profile] telophase, and much more!

3. Sell! Offer something you can give, and help raise money for a truly joyous cause. Detailed directions for making a selling post are in the user info.

If you want to sell, PLEASE announce it on your own LJ as well, so your friends will know you're offering something.


Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] musesfool, [livejournal.com profile] octopedingenue, [livejournal.com profile] astolat, [livejournal.com profile] lithium_doll, [livejournal.com profile] janni, [livejournal.com profile] sartorias, and [livejournal.com profile] kate_nepveu for their pre-launch advice and support.
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