Archive | gay rights RSS feed for this section

Gorgeous Cakes and Marriage Equality: 2011 Disney Wedding Awards

13 Feb

Sometimes a girl needs a little boost on a Monday morning. And I must say I got choked up a bit looking at the nominees for the 2011 Disney Wedding Awards on the Disney Wedding Blog, and seeing a number of same-sex couples among the honorees. It doesn’t feel all that long ago that we were fighting for same-sex couples to have equal access to Disney Fairy Tale Weddings. I especially loved the series of engagement pictures for Joaquin and Ruben (the full set of photos is separate from the voting page).

And of course, I’m thrilled that my BFF’s nominated as well! Lisa and Trace are in the running for Best Wedding Cake, for their Haunted Mansion-themed grooms’ cake.

Anti-gay Banners Flown Over Gay Days at Disney World

6 Jun

From WESH.com:

The Florida Family Association is boycotting [Gay Days at Walt Disney World, June 4-5]. The group is spending $7,000 to fly banners for two days near Disney warning unsuspecting families, “They’re about to be thrust into a crowd of thousands reveling in gay pride.”

Hmm. Is there someone we could convince to fly banners warning us when crowd levels are higher than anticipated, or Space Mountain is down, or Kilimanjaro Safaris is closing early, or other such factors? Clearly any of these interfere with park touring far more than a bunch of people hanging out in red shirts, especially since (rumor has it) the late-night partying keeps crowd levels fairly low at rope drop.

But on a more serious note: If you haven’t been to Gay Days and wonder what they’re really like, try listening to a few people who have. (I haven’t been yet myself, and receiving happy photos from a friend over the weekend strengthened my resolve to get there one of these years!)

Gay Characters? Disney Channel Needs a Lesson from Buster Baxter

15 Feb

AfterElton has a fascinating interview with Disney Channel President Gary Marsh, on the topic of gay characters on Disney Channel shows. The topic is introduced by this quote from Marsh, from 2008:

“Well, just to speak sort of in the 30,000-foot level first, we don’t deal with sexuality on the Disney Channel in general. That’s just sort of not where our audience’s head’s at. They’re really a pre-sexual audience, for the most part, and so sexuality is not how we look to tell any kind of stories.”

I’ll echo AfterElton’s sentiment: It’s not meaningful to talk this way about same-sex couples. For example: How is it not sexual for a kid to know he has parents of opposite sexes, but somehow sexual for him to know that some other kid has parents of the same sex? And hey, why isn’t it sexual when Zack and Cody are ogling all those girls?

The article goes on to make it clear that Marsh is okay with characters on the Disney Channel being widely interpreted as gay, but that those characters won’t ever be coming out in any way.

We leave it up to our audience to interpret who these characters are and how they relate to them. It’s great that this child has interpreted [Shake It Up! character] Gunther [as gay] and that it speaks to him in a way that makes sense for his life. And that’s what we’re trying to do — create a diverse cross section of characters on television that kids can have different access points and entry points to connect with.

It’s like the Hays Production Code all over again: You can have gay characters, they just can’t be identified openly. (Of course, Disney’s moved quite a bit forward from Hays, in that gay characters don’t have to die horribly at the end of the story, or suffer in silence — they can go on to Julliard instead.)

I can’t imagine the Disney Channel budging on this issue anytime soon, due to what I’m sure they perceive as market pressure. So, is it better to have coded gay characters like Ryan Evans, who’s widely interpreted as gay but may convey the message that it’s not okay to be out? Or is it better to only have clearly heteronormative characters on kids shows? I’m not satisfied with either option.

When my home state began recognizing same-sex marriage, many people felt that the world would fall apart somehow. But as the years have rolled by, it seems like less and less of a big deal (except, of course, for those whose marriages are now recognized, for whom it is enormously important). If mainstream television networks like the Disney Channel had an openly gay character now and then, perhaps the social order wouldn’t really be rocked for all that long? After all, glee‘s been pretty darn successful (in some part because of a fabulous openly gay character), and many parents already shun Disney Channel for being a bad influence on their kids, and ban it from the living room (just look at these google search results).

Yeah, an openly gay character on the Disney Channel would probably make executives and stockholders a little nervous. But I can’t help but wonder if people were nervous when my grandfather was lobbying for Bill Cosby to be cast in a leading role in I Spy. Sometimes change makes you nervous. Too bad.

And hey, if you’re looking for an example of an excellent (and thoroughly non-sexual) portrayal of lesbians in a children’s television show, this clip from Postcards from Buster is for you:

“Boy, that’s a lot of Moms!”

Jentasmic!: A Fairy Tale Wedding

24 Apr

There are so many reasons for me to smile at Walt Disney World! But in the last couple years, there’s been one in particular that chokes me up every time I take the monorail past the Grand Floridian, as chronicled in this week’s Jentasmic! column at StudiosCentral:

… in years past, I’d feel bittersweet when we’d glide past the wedding chapel at the Grand Floridian, knowing that it was reserved only for opposite-sex couples. Same-sex couples could purchase some types of Fairy Tale Wedding plans, but not those most exposed to the public eye, such as the glass carriage ride through Disney property. These highly-prized opportunities were only available to those with valid wedding licenses, which the state of Florida reserves only for opposite-sex couples.

But for the last couple years now, when the announcer reminds me that “Couples may exchange vows in a fairy tale setting complete with a picturesque backdrop of Cinderella Castle,” I can smile wholeheartedly, knowing that Disney opened up all Fairy Tale Wedding packages to all couples in April of 2007, shortly after the gay news and commentary site AfterElton.com published an article critical of their previous policies. Does this change affect the experience that most Guests have when they visit Walt Disney World? I think not. I’d wager that the average Guest knows nothing of the controversy, much less its resolution. I suspect that very few same-sex marriages have been performed at the Grand Floridian wedding chapel, if the ratio of same-sex/opposite-sex weddings is anything like that of Massachusetts. (Bottom line is, after working through the initial backlog of same-sex couples who’d waited years or decades for marriage rights, there hasn’t been the flood of same-sex marriages that some had expected.) But it makes a big difference to this Guest, and I’m sure it matters to other queer people too, as well as our allies.

We still have a long way to go….same-sex marriage is legal in only 8% of US states. But that’s 8% more than just a few years ago, and sometimes when I see how far we’ve come I can’t help but well up.

I watched the movie Milk recently, and it really took me back to my childhood growing up outside San Francisco, and to my late teens coming out as queer in a fabulous group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered youth. I always find myself going back to Harvey Milk’s (perhaps apocryphal) kid from Altoona, Pennsylvania.

(text available here)

When I watched Sean Penn and Dustin Lance Black accept their Academy Awards for their work on Milk, I thought of that kid in Altoona, and hoped she or he was watching, and heard that there are lots of Us’s, that there’s hope. Those acceptance speeches reached into far more living rooms than most newspapers do, nowadays.

And if it can give a kid hope to know that someone like her can be elected to public office, just think of how it feels to some isolated kid, or even a scared and closeted grownup, to know that someday they too could waltz their prince or princess through the Grand Floridian, and marry in the shadow of Cinderella’s Castle.

It’s just gotta make a difference.

Stop Gay Marriage? Heck No!

27 Oct

Do I even have to tell you that I’m in favor of same-sex couples’ right to civil marriage? Well, I’m sure I don’t, especially if you’ve read my posts on the first same-sex wedding at Disneyland, or my reaction to the California Supreme Judicial Court decision which made it possible. Or if, oh, you just happened to notice that I’m pretty darn passionate about queer politics and culture.

But just the same, I’m gonna tell you again…and encourage my California readers to vote no on Proposition 8. I know in a lot of cases I’m preaching to the choir here. But I also want to assure those of you who might be on the fence that in fact we’ve had same-sex civil marriage here in Massachusetts for a few years now, and not only have opposite-sex marriages still managed to thrive, but even some of the folks who were nervous about the change have (mostly) gotten pretty chill about it.

I have seen many, many marriages I thought should be stopped…but never because of gender! When you wish upon a star, it shouldn’t matter who you are.

Jentasmic! Says Disney is So Gay!

19 Oct

Following up on the Hilary Duff “That’s So Gay” public service announcement, this week’s Jentasmic! does a little reclaiming of the phrase.

…I ask myself, are there some things about Disney that are just so fabulously gay? And yes indeed, there are! Not necessarily that the artist’s intent was gay…just that the finished product is pretty darn fabulous, or homo-erotic, or overwhelmingly reminiscent of 1970s in the Castro.

Hilary Duff “That’s So Gay” PSA

9 Oct

(Hat tip: Feministing.)

Kudos to Hilary Duff!

I hope this gets a lot of airplay when tweens are watching. I know plenty of kids who use that phrase without thinking about what it means…even in the presence of their friends whose families are headed by same-sex couples. While there’s still plenty of genuine homophobia out there, there’s also a lot of ignorance.

Let’s not forget the anniversary of Matthew Shepherd‘s death is coming up. The Gay/Straight Alliance at my son’s school is holding a candlelight memorial tonight. It was a bittersweet moment when I read that in the daily announcements email; bitter that he died that way, sweet that teenagers today have GSAs and can come together with their communities to remember him, and remind us all that we’re not in some idealistic post-homophobia world.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: