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Derrick Gordon, a 22-year-old sophomore shooting guard for the University of Massachusetts men’s basketball team, publicly came out of the closet on Wednesday (4/9/14), becoming the first active openly-gay male NCAA Division I basketball player.
Derrick came out to his family, coaches and teammates at the very beginning of April. That’s when he also decided to publicly acknowledge his sexuality. He told an ESPN reporter “I didn’t want to have to lie or sneak. I’ve been waiting and watching for the last few months, wondering when a Division I player would come out, and finally I just said why not me?’”
Derrick did an interview with Outsports about his decision and explained the difficulty of leading a double life. That double life began to crumble when Gordon’s then-boyfriend last summer posted a photograph on Instagram of the two of them in front of a gay bar on the New Jersey coast. Gordon was wary of the post but figured there was little chance someone would stumble across the photo on a random Instagram account and identify him and said gay bar. Shortly after the post, almost as though he wanted to be discovered, Gordon “liked” the photograph online. Within hours, some of his teammates asked him if he were gay. Gordon denied it repeatedly, but that didn’t stop various members of the team from teasing him about it. The snickers and snide remarks carried on for weeks. Slowly, it consumed him.
“That was probably the lowest point I was ever at. I didn’t want to play basketball anymore. I just wanted to run and hide somewhere. I used to go back to my room and I’d just cry. There were nights when I would cry myself to sleep. Nobody should ever feel that way.”
Gordon then revealed his secret to his teammates last Wednesday, with the help of team coach Kellogg. Gordon stood before them and revealed that he’s gay. As he shared with them his story of isolation, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. While it had been easy for some of the young men to tease someone they thought was gay, and someone who denied it… the impact of their actions hit home when Gordon revealed the speculation was true, and that the teasing nearly drove him from the team.
“It was powerful for these players to see one of their brothers be so vulnerable,” said coach Kellogg, “even I had to turn away from the group in the room lest they see me get emotional. These are some inner-city kids, some rough, tough kids who Derrick wants to be friends with. They understand who he is a little bit better now.”
Shortly after the team meeting, Gordon was over the moon, spending this past weekend in New York City. Dancing at Industry, a gay bar in Hell’s Kitchen, Saturday well past midnight, Gordon said he had found something indescribable.
“‘Happy’ is not even the word,” Gordon said. “It’s a great feeling. I haven’t felt like this. Ever. It’s a lot of weight lifted off my shoulders. I can finally breathe now and live life happily. I told all the people I need to tell. It feels like freedom“
This has been a huge week for our prestigious Supreme Court. They delivered monumental rulings that will dramatically change this great country. The rulings that garnered the most attention were the Voting Rights Act ruling, the Defense of Marriage Act ruling, and California’s Prop 8 ruling. Preceding all three of those by a few days there was another Supreme Court ruling that didn’t get much attention at all. I believe it’s just as significant and monumental as the three I named, but I’ll put that one aside for the moment and comment on the three attention grabbers first. Afterward I’ll explain what the lesser known ruling is and how it will impact the direction of our country.
I’ll start with the good news first. At approximately 9am the United States Supreme Court handed down a decision that struck down DOMA (the defense of marriage act) which lifted the federal ban on gay marriage. With a 5-4 vote Justice’s Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, Kagan and Kennedy all voted in favor of lifting the ban and Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion which states “The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity. By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment.” Of course the dissenting Justice’s were Roberts, Scalia, Alito, and Thomas. All four are ultra conservatives so their opposition to gay marriage is no secret. Now that DOMA was ruled unconstitutional by the highest court in the land, legal gay marriage in all 50 states is all but certain. Immediately following the DOMA decision the court ruled on California’s Prop 8. Prop 8 was a ballot measure in California that wanted to define marriage as 1 man and 1 woman. Before this ballot measure gay marriage was legal in California. After Prop 8 reversed legal gay marriage in California, a federal court in San Francisco struck it down on the grounds that it unfairly discriminated against gays and lesbians who wished to marry. California’s governor and state attorney refused to take the case to the Supreme Court because they were supporters of gay marriage, so an outside anti-gay organization decided to argue the validity of Prop 8 in the place of the state attorney to the Supreme Court (which has never been done before). In another 5 to 4 vote the Supreme Court decided that a private organization did not have legal standing to appeal after the ballot measure was struck down by a federal judge… thus killing Prop 8 and legalizing gay marriage in the state of California once again. Both of these historic rulings fills me with optimism and reaffirms my belief that this country really is the land of the free.
This week the Supreme Court also ruled on the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act. In a 5 to 4 decision their ruling on this matter shakes the very foundation of my aforementioned reaffirmed optimism. This decision guts the very heart of the Voting Rights Act freeing nine mostly southern states to change their election laws without advance federal approval. Republican governors wasted no time rushing to file numerous new voting restrictions in every state where they have legislative control. Most of these new voter laws were blocked due to federal law during the last election. Congress has the power to redraw the map of states where voting laws need more scrutiny, but any action is unlikely as long as republicans hold a majority in the house. The GOP’s reaction to this new ruling is further evidence that they are aware that a large majority of American’s do not agree with their ideology and they know keeping minorities away from the polls is the only way they can win any future election. I believe their constant overreaching will hurt them in the midterm elections next year. The more they fight minorities and gays, the more determined and involved we become.
Now here’s the ruling you probably haven’t heard about. The gay marriage and the voting rights rulings made headlines all across the country and lead every newscast for days. They were huge stories so of course they deserved huge attention. But there was another Supreme Court ruling this past week that should have gotten just as much attention as the other three rulings did. Unfortunately the “powers that be” minimize the news coverage when it involves corporations flexing their power to stay above the law. American Express (huge credit card conglomerate) appeared before the Supreme Court to bar a class-action claim against them. A group of small restaurant owners joined together to sue American Express claiming that the company engaged in monopolistic business practices to force the merchants to accept their new credit card (with higher merchant fees) after they signed an agreement to accept their debit cards. This put the merchants in difficult position because they could not afford the higher fees, but losing the ability to accept AmEx debit cards would hurt their business as well. So the small group of restaurant owners banded together to sue American Express. American Express did not want a court jury trial and they challenged the merchants right to join together for a class-action suit. Instead they wanted arbitration (controlled by an arbiter of American Express’s choice) with each merchant independently. That’s how this legal issue ended up in front of the Supreme Court. To me, this seems like such an easy ruling. No corporation should be able to dictate the terms of which they are being sued for. But 5 out of 8 Justices did not share this opinion. They decided that the merchants could not band together, but not only that the Justices also ruled that American Express can force a merchant into an arbitration controlled by them. WTF? When did corporations get more rights than an American citizen? This ruling says corporations can deflect any lawsuit brought against them from this point on. Where’s the accountability? In a strongly worded dissent, Justice Elena Kagan said the decision means “the monopolist gets to use its monopoly power to insist on a contract effectively depriving its victims of all legal recourse.” The ruling was the third in three years to shut down class-action efforts brought on behalf of employees, consumers and now small-business owners. Lawyers on both sides of the issue said the court’s conservative wing was determined to shield companies from these broad lawsuits. The court has taken another big step down the road of permitting companies to use arbitration agreements to entirely insulate themselves from class-action liability. Even more proof that right wing conservatives do not give a damn about the people they are supposed to represent, and despite their rhetoric claiming to champion small businesses, their actions paint an entirely different picture.
The coolest most awesomest thing ever happened today. Jason Collins an NBA basketball player for the Washington Wizards came out as a proud gay African American man. This guy has no idea how many young African American men he’s helping by coming out. When you live in a small town in the bible belt of America all you hear is negative things about being gay and it can make you feel extremely lonely and isolated. After a while you start to believe all the negative things and begin to hate yourself. Seeing someone like Jason Collins come out can help change that… and that is a very huge big deal.
I have known Jason Collins since he was Chelsea’s classmate and friend at Stanford. Jason’s announcement today is an important moment for professional sports and in the history of the LGBT community. It is also the straightforward statement of a good man who wants no more than what so many of us seek: to be able to be who we are; to do our work; to build families and to contribute to our communities. For so many members of the LGBT community, these simple goals remain elusive. I hope that everyone, particularly Jason’s colleagues in the NBA, the media and his many fans extend to him their support and the respect he has earned.
I am very proud of my friend Jason Collins for having the strength and courage to become the first openly gay athlete in the NBA. His decision marks an important moment for professional sports and for our country. I echo what my father said in his statement and similarly hope that everyone, particularly Jason’s colleagues in the NBA, the media and his many fans extend to him their support and the respect he has earned.
After reading NBA star Jason Collins’s coming out story in Sports Illustrated and watching his interview on Oprah, I began thinking about my own coming out story. It was extremely freeing just like Jason said his experience was, but mine lacked national attention, a call from the president, thousands of articles, millions of supportive tweets, and a primetime Oprah Interview. Apparently you have to be a 7 foot NBA basketball player to get all that so I guess I can’t feel too upset at the snub I got from Oprah and President Obama when I came out (lol). My story was a little different. There was no big decision to come out to everyone all at one time. There was no call to family members to schedule a big sitdown talk. My coming out was a long journey that varied with each person I told. Some people I told face to face. Some people I told over the phone. Some I told with an email message. A couple times I got a close friend to tell someone for me. And then there was this one family member I told in a letter. I’ve written about my coming out story a couple times over the years but I’ve never written about the people I came out to and how each of those experiences played out. Of course everyone had different reactions when they found out and most reacted positively and expressed their love and support. There were a few negative responses but under the circumstances I understood. Hearing something like that is a lot to process and deal with so I prepared myself mentally (as best I could) for that possibility. I had no illusions about the risk I was taking by telling the people who meant the most to me. The thought of losing family and friends scared me to death but I knew it had to be done. I carried that load throughout my whole life and I just couldn’t carry it anymore. This secret was destroying me. I faked happiness for far too long and was finally ready for the real thing. It took a very tragic event to get to that revelation. I’ve written about that as well so I won’t go back into that dark twisted tale again in this post.
The first person I ever told was my friend Jessie (Jessica Kirk). I met her while working at a call center during my sophomore year at East Carolina University. At first I didn’t like her at all. I thought she was a loud rude stuck-up yankee and I’d have nothing in common with her. After working with her for a week somehow we became fast friends. We were so close that everyone at work thought we were dating. I decided right away that she’d be the first person I came out to. If we weren’t together at her apartment or hanging out at my apartment we’d be at work together or talking on the phone. I chickened out two or three times before I worked up the courage to tell her. We were on the phone one night playing the question game. I’d ask her something about herself and no matter what the question was we had to answer it truthfully. We took turns going back and forth for about an hour then I suggested a question that she could ask me. It was something stupid like what type of person are you attracted to or something like that. I think she could sense why I wanted her to ask that question but she played along anyway and asked. Then I told her I’m attracted to guys and I’m gay. I was scared as hell about how she might respond. Then she said that’s great DeMon I’m so happy you felt close enough to share that with me. I was speechless for a while but I could actually hear sincere happiness in her voice so I knew she really meant what she was saying. After getting off the phone I felt like a whole new person. For the first time in my life I was truly happy and looking forward to the future. I was amazed at how wonderful and freeing it felt to open up and tell someone this. I never gave much thought to that saying “the truth will set you free” until then. I know it sounds cliche but it’s the absolute truth. I’ll love Jessie for the rest of my life for helping me come out and live my life truthfully. I can’t think of too many people that have effected my life in the way she has and I’m very grateful for that.
The second person I told was my cousin. We grew up like brothers almost. I feared his reaction the most, but I knew I had to tell him. I tried to tell him right before he went away for boot camp but again I chickened out. Jessie knew I wanted to tell him so she suggested I write him a letter while he was away at boot camp. I thought it was a great idea so that’s what I did. Waiting for his response was nerve-racking. After a very long two weeks I finally got a response from him. He told me in his letter that he already knew and that it didn’t matter to him. He told me we were family and nothing is going to change that. Needless to say I was very happy to hear that from him. A lot of straight African-American men would have freaked out and never talked to me again… especially those who grew up in the south, so I give him props for not going that route. It made me respect him even more as a person after that. I also told him not to tell anyone else in the family and he kept that promise for years. That’s very commendable in our family because everybody knows everybody’s business and secrets don’t remain secrets for very long (lol).
The third and fourth person I told was my best friend Shante and her sister Tamika who I’m very close to as well. Shante was looking for a place so I asked her if she wanted my extra bedroom. While I was helping her move her things in I told her very casually that I was gay and I have a boyfriend that spends the night a lot. Her reaction was very positive. I wasn’t too worried about her reacting in a negative way because I knew she loved me and I knew she would never judge anyone. She’s just not that type of person. I would have told her sooner but she moved to Connecticut and got married right when I was starting college. After I told her of course she had a million questions and we stayed up all night drinking and talking. I wasn’t too worried about telling Tamika either. She has always been very open minded and not judgemental at all. She probably has the biggest heart out of anyone I know but she doesn’t let too many people see that so I’m blowing her cover by writing this (lol love you Mika). Shante and Tamika gave me huge boost of confidence right when I needed it most. Years later after my parents found out, Tamika called me and told me to come live with her for a while in South Carolina if I needed to get away from everyone while they sort things out. I told her I’d love to take her up on her offer but I have a dog and a boyfriend. She told me they were welcome too without hesitation. She swooped in right when I needed her most and I love her for doing that. I never felt like a freak around Shante and Mika. They were more than supportive, they were my cheerleaders when my life didn’t have much cheer in it. I don’t know anyone more loyal then they are to me. I love them both and I should tell them that a lot more often.
After telling those four I slowly became more comfortable sharing that with people. I think the whole coming out process for me lasted about 5 years. All four of them changed my life for the better and I love each and every one of them for it. Now everyone in my life knows I’m gay, both friends and family. Back when I was closeted I couldn’t even imagine my family still loving me the way they do. My parents haven’t disowned me (even though they don’t fully understand that being gay is not a choice), I can talk to my sister about my boyfriend and she’s totally supportive, and it’s made my friends and I even closer. I’m engaged to the most wonderful guy I’ve ever met and I’m very optimistic about our future together… and who knows, maybe my family will surprise me and attend our wedding. Anson says I shouldn’t give up hope so I’m trying to take his advice.
I would also like to acknowledge my friend Casey and her husband Joey. I forgot how I told Casey but I do remember how cool and supportive she was after finding out. Her husband Joey reacted pretty much the same as she did. He even went to a couple gay bars with me and my friend Tim before. It takes a very secure guy to go to a gay bar without feeling as though his manhood is being threatened (lol). A few years before I came out to my family, my friends and my boyfriend threw me a surprise birthday party. My sister and brother were there along with a few of their friends. Halfway through the party two drag queens showed up because my boyfriend invited them. When they walked in it was like the music stopped and everyone turned their attention to the lady-boys walking in singing happy birthday. Joey saw the panicked look on my face and quickly came to my rescue. He pretended they were his guest instead of mine, which was so completely amazing of him. I was on the verge on a breakdown and I don’t know what I would have done if Joey hadn’t been there to take that bullet for me. I’m not sure if I ever thanked him for that, so if I didn’t… consider this a slightly delayed thank you.
If I were president here are 50 things I’d want to accomplish.
1. Legalize gay marriage and end all policies that were born out of discrimination.
2. Abolish the death penalty (state and federal).
3. Reverse “Citizens United” that gives corporations permission to anonymously funnel unlimited amounts of money into the election process.
4. Create a nonpartisan federal commission to construct and implement guidelines to standardize all elections. No matter what state you live in, your voting process will be identical.
5. Disallow private money in presidential elections. Each candidate will have a federally funded campaign budget. This can be funded by a small tax added to everyone’s driver’s license fees (2 or 3 percent should be enough).
6. Attach the federal minimum wage to the fluctuation of the living wage. (Minimum wage = living wage + 20%)
7. Free health care for all Americans.
8. Create new restrictive regulation on Wall Street to protect our financial system.
a. 2% tax on every stock trade
b. Reinstate the capital gains tax
c. Sever the ties between banks brokerages and hedge funds
d. Limit high speed stock transactions (add another 1% tax for these types of trades)
e. Reinstate the “Glass Stiegel” act and the good parts of “Dodd Frank”
9. Legalize marijuana
10. Limit prison sentences for non-violent offenders and offer rehabilitation programs for first-time offenders instead of prison.
11. End elections for district attorneys and county sheriffs. These positions will be appointed by county commission boards with input from the town’s mayor and the state Attorney General.
12. Close all privately owned prisons.
13. Divert a majority of resources away from the failed war on drugs and use it to improve low income neighborhoods.
14. Make it easier to achieve and maintain a decent credit score.
15. End district attorney job promotions that are based solely on conviction rates.
16. Create legislation that says the government cannot regulate the internet in any way under any circumstances. 100% off limits for the FCC
17. Create a program that offers zero percent interest for student loans.
18. Increase salaries for all teachers and give them performance based bonuses.
19. Legalize work unions in all states.
20. Corporate CEO’s cannot give themselves bonuses if the company did not meet projected earnings for that year. (every time the CEO gets a bonus all workers get one as well)
21. End all drone attacks and reduce the number of American military bases in other countries.
22. Fund a huge government program to encourage organic farming.
23. Heavily invest government funds into legitimate energy alternative research and implementation.
24. Create a program that gives unemployed workers an opportunity to get their unemployment benefits in a lump-sum to start a cooperative with 9 other unemployed workers to start their own company.
25. Ban former senators, legislators, and congressmen from becoming lobbyist after they leave public office.
26. Rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure which will create a lot of jobs in every state.
27. Make it easier for the poor to get low income housing in nice neighborhoods.
28. Undo tort reform laws and remove judgment compensation limits.
29. Allow illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship after completing and meeting certain criteria.
30. Ban all assault weapons and extended clip ammunition and require extensive background checks for every weapon sold, given, or traded.
31. Abolish ALL stand your ground laws in every state.
32. Give employers tax incentives for implementing a pension plan for their employees instead of a 401k plan.
33. End the anonymous silent filibuster in the senate.
34. Close tax avoidance loopholes for corporations.
35. End predatory lending in poor neighborhoods (pay-day loans, pawn shop check cashing, & title loans).
36. Fund a program that gives start-up capital to entrepreneur who wants to open a business in their neighborhood (to lessen the amount of outside people who have no ties to the community from owning every store and restaurant.)
37. Make all textbooks digital and give the students a free ipad or laptop in the 9th grade.
38. Offer free high-speed internet for low-income families.
39. Legalize gay adoption in ever state. Gay couples will have to meet the same requirements as straight couples.
40. Implement a 10 year term limit for Supreme Court appointees.
41. Make contraceptives available for all high school students who ask for it (from a guidance counselor who will also give them information about and talk one on one with them about pregnancy, sex and STD’s.)
42. Every public high school must have a gay straight student alliance club.
43. Give tax break incentives for those who register as an organ donor.
44. Break up huge media conglomerates into smaller companies to create a less bias corporate driven media industry.
45. Create a new government office under the FEC whose sole purpose is to monitor the fluctuation in income disparity, and report their findings once a year along with suggested courses of action to return it to a reasonable position.
46. Remove the legislation that protects gun manufactures from being sued for wrongdoing.
47. Ban lobbyist from writing bills and legislation.
48. Close ALL American prisons and detention centers in other countries.
49. Lessen time limits for drug patents and make life-saving drugs obtainable for 3rd world countries.
50. Take a much firmer stance with Israel and strongly push for a two state deal giving Palestinians the land they were forced away from.
I’d have to do all of this in my first term because I’d never win reelection with such a progressive agenda. Although ideas that seemed far left ten years ago have become centrist. Especially social issues like marriage equality and women’s reproductive rights. This shift in public conciseness is evident by the colossal failure of the republican party in last years presidential election.
I’ve been seething for a few days now over Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s outrageous comment calling the Voting Rights Act a “racial entitlement”. There’s an article by LEONARD PITTS JR. in the Miami Herald that sums up everything I’ve been feeling about the injustice of The Supreme Court even hearing this argument. Although concise and extremely eloquent there is one very important aspect that Mr Pitts article left out. Supreme Court justices are not elected or held accountable by the people. They are lifetime appointments appointed by whatever party is in the white house whenever a seat becomes open (which is rare). The Voting Rights Act was enacted by congress and upheld by congress with overwhelming bipartisan support for almost 50 years now. Congress is an elected body who serves as a voice for their constituents aka THE VOICE OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. Justice Scalia not only wants to destroy The Voting Rights Act, he wants to remove the power to uphold or overturn the Voting Rights Act away from a democratically elected body who are there to represent the American people and transfer that power to an appointed body who can make decisions that goes against the intentions and will of the American people without scrutiny or recourse. This is one of the most radical concepts the bench has ever seen. The Supreme Court has never done this or even contemplated doing this in the history of our nation. If Justice Scalia is allowed to remove the power of congress as he sees fit, we are no longer a democratic country. It’s unconstitutional, it serves to further disenfranchise minority voters (which is his intention), it’s a huge step back from the progress we’ve made toward equal rights, it makes the voice of the American people irrelevant and it sets a very dangerous precedent for future legislation. This is not a democrat vs republican issue. The last time the Voting Rights act went through congress in 2006 99% of democrats AND REPUBLICANS voted to extend it, but unfortunately current house republicans aren’t speaking out and condemning Justice Scalia. That says a lot about how different this crop of republican law makers are from where they were just 6 or 7 years ago. If you can’t publicly support The Voting Rights Act as popular and as needed as it is, then what can you support? The silence from the hill is deafening.
Miami Herald article I referenced:
After reading some of the comments, it’s clear that I can’t assume that everyone who read this article and are reading my comment are intelligent enough to see what’s going on here. First let me explain one thing that most of the “Bible beaters” are missing… so listen close. This law in no way allows any school or teacher to teach or discuss ANYTHING DEALING WITH SEX OF ANY KIND… GAY OR STRAIGHT. I’m puzzled by the huge leaps, exaggerations and assumptions being made by those leaving comments here. If all I knew about this story came from the “Bible beaters”, I’d think the schools were having classes that taught children how to have gay sexual intercourse complete with pictures videos diagrams and live demonstrations. I know I’m being a little facetious here but it’s not that far from reality. The TRUTH is, this law allows the school curriculum to include FACTS about some very important people in American history that happen to be gay. Learning about the gay uprising at “Stonewall”, or learning about the gay civil rights activist Bayard Rustin who worked in the trenches of the Civil Rights Movement as a close advisor to Dr. Martin Luther King (who was well aware of Rustin’s sexuality and accepted him for who he was instead of condemning him), or learning about Glenn Burke who’s a legend in Major League Baseball who refused to stay in the closet and live a lie just to keep his job, or learning about Harry Hay who started the first national gay rights organization and who’s credited as the “father” of the gay right movement, or learning about Harvey Milk who lost his life fighting for ethnic, gender and gay equality… and there are hundreds of other notable brave figures and important events that are a part of American history that shouldn’t be ignored just to pacify the ignorance of religious zealots. This country, it’s citizens, and our children deserve better than that. America is a land governed by laws that ensures our freedom. This works because our freedom is absolute without the taint of religion. This ideal/promise is written in the first amendment of our Constitution in very plain English. It erects a proverbial wall of separation between church and state. When we start letting religion interfere with government, we are no longer a free country. Just look at how well establishing a religious dictatorship works in Iran.
The other issue that needs to be addressed is the timing of this ballot referendum. I want people to open their eyes and realize when they’re being played. The closer we get to the presidential election, you’ll see stories and articles deliberately planted and precisely timed to manipulate the African-American community. Republicans have used this same tactic over and over again to distract us from real issues, and it seems to work every time. Remember President Bush and how he got elected? He had more African-American votes than any other Republican candidate in recent history. They know how prevalent homophobia is in our community, so they launched a PR campaign that targeted Black churches and got them all stirred up and scared that gay’s would get equal rights if they didn’t elect him. And that’s all it took. The church my mom attends received faxed messages with urgent warnings about the so-called “gay agenda” to recruit their children and spread Aids to everyone. I couldn’t even read the whole document because it saddened me that my people were buying into this B S. And as a consequence Bush got elected and proceeded to destroy and obliterate the Black middle class. So I beg of you, whether or not you agree or disagree with gay rights, PLEASE DO NOT LET THEM TRICK US THIS TIME because the stakes are too high and the future of our community hangs in the balance… gay and straight.
So tonight was the night, Tracy Morgan in the hallowed halls of the Ryman Auditorium. The show was your typical hysterical dick, cum and pussy humor… I have to say it was hilarious and well worth at least 40% of the $86 we spent per ticket to see him. I figured at some point the gay jokes would fly and I’m well prepared for a good ribbing of straight gay humor. I have very thick skin when it comes to humor; I can dish and I can take. What I can’t take is when Mr. Morgan took it upon himself to mention about how he feels all this gay shit was crazy and that women are a gift from God and that “Born this Way” is bullshit, gay is a choice, and the reason he knows this is exactly because “God don’t make no mistakes” (referring to God not making someone gay cause that would be a mistake). He said that there is no way a woman could love and have sexual desire for another woman, that’s just a woman pretending because she hates a fucking man. He took time to visit the bullshit of this bullying stuff and informed us that the gays needed to quit being pussies and not be whining about something as insignificant as bullying. He mentioned that gay was something kids learn from the media and programming, and that bullied kids should just bust some ass and beat those other little fuckers that bully them, not whine about it. He said if his son that was gay he better come home and talk to him like a man and not [he mimicked a gay, high pitched voice] or he would pull out a knife and stab that little N (one word I refuse to use) to death. He mentioned that Barack Obama needed to man up and quit being all down with this just because he has a wife and two daughters. All of this being followed by thunderous cheer and “You go Tracys”. Tracy then said he didn’t fucking care if he pissed off some gays, because if they can take a fucking dick up their ass… they can take a fucking joke. The sad thing is that none of this rant was a joke. His entire demeanor changed during that portion of the night. He was truly filled with some hate towards us.
Kevin Rogers story was SHOCKING to me. Out of all the stories I read about this incident, none of them actually quoted anything that Tracy Morgan said. So because of this, I felt like maybe it was something small that got blown up by the press. But after reading this, I do not see how any journalist could write an honest and truthful piece about this without letting the reader know exactly what was said. His actual words were far beyond anything I had imagined. This has totally changed my opinion of Tracy Morgan. I was fan, but now I’ll never watch or listen to anything he puts out ever again. What he said can’t be brushed over with an apology. His apology means nothing to me because I know it will only be about him trying to save his career. He’s a sad little hate filled man, and I hope people will see him for what he is and stop supporting anything that he is a part of. Why would anyone want to support someone like this? I hope that gay rights organizations are not trying to solicit any kind of public apology from him. It would be insulting. Someone that says the kind of things he said doesn’t change the way they think overnight, or go to some weekend siminar and magically become a changed man. That kind of ignorance and hatred comes from a very deep dark and disturbed place, and any proclamations of change should be met with extreme skepticism. As long as he’s on 30 Rock, I’ll NEVER watch that show EVER again. The sad part of it all was the reaction Tracy got from the audience. A large majority of them were cheering him on during his homophobic rant. To me that’s a confirmation of the long and treacherous road ahead we have yet to travel to reach total equality for our community.
STORY UPDATE AND TRACY’S “APOLOGY”:
Morgan has agreed to go to Nashville with GLAAD to protest the state’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill, according to E! Online. He spoke to E!’s Marc Malkin about his regrets over his rant, emphasizing his belief that all children should be loved, regardless of sexuality. “I know how bad bullying can hurt,” Morgan said. “I was bullied when I was a kid. I’m sorry for what I said. I didn’t mean it. I never want to use my comedy to hurt anyone. My family knew what it was like to feel different. My brother was disabled and I lost my father to AIDS in 1987…. Parents should support and love their kids no matter what. Gay people deserve the same right to be happy in this country as everyone else. Our laws should support that.” In an interview with Russell Simmons at Global Grind, Morgan apologized again for his verbal tirade that sparked national outrage, swore off his hate speech and came out for marriage equality. “Of all the sicknesses, there is probably none more abusive than homophobia. My heart is committed to giving everyone the same rights that I deserve for myself,” Morgan said. “I don’t care if you love the same sex as long as you have the ability to love someone I am deeply sorry for the comments I made. What I am most sad about is the comments I made about kids and bullying.”
Was Tracy’s apology sincere? Is he serious about making amends? Does he understand how hurtful and dangerous his gay bashing tirade was? I wish I had the answer to those questions, but only time will tell. When I began to write this blog, I kept thinking about something Mya Angelou said in an interview with Oprah. It seemed to fit this situation perfectly, and I’ve found it to be true in my life as well. This very wise woman said “When someone shows you who they are, believe them”.JULY 4 2011 UPDATE
To view free streaming episodes of 30 Rock or Saturday NIght Live, visit the links below.
30 Rock seasons 1 through 5:
Saturday NIght Live seasons 1 through 36:
Bayard Rustin born on March 17, 1912 – died on August 24, 1987.
An American leader in social movements for civil rights, socialism, pacifism and non-violence, and gay rights. In the pacifist Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), Rustin practiced nonviolence. He was a leading activist of the early 1947–1955 civil-rights movement, helping to initiate a 1947 Freedom Ride to challenge with civil disobedience racial segregation on interstate busing. He recognizedMartin Luther King, Jr.‘s leadership, and helped to organize the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to strengthen King’s leadership; Rustin promoted the philosophy of nonviolence and the practices of nonviolent resistance, which he had observed while working with Gandhi’s movement in India. Rustin became a leading strategist of the civil rights movement from 1955–1968. He was the chief organizer of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which was headed by A. Philip Randolph, the leading African-American labor-union president and socialist.Rustin also influenced young activists, such as Tom Kahn and Stokely Carmichael, in organizations like the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
After the passage of the civil-rights legislation of 1964–1965, Rustin focused attention on the economic problems of working-class and unemployed African Americans, suggesting that the civil-rights movement had left its period of “protest” and had entered an era of “politics”, in which the Black community had to ally with the labor movement. Rustin became the head of the AFL–CIO‘s A. Philip Randolph Institute, which promoted the integration of formerly all-white unions and promoted the unionization of African Americans. Rustin became an honorary chairperson of the Socialist Party of America in 1972, before it changed its name to Social Democrats, USA (SDUSA); Rustin acted as national chairman of SDUSA during the 1970s. During the 1970s and 1980s, Rustin served on many humanitarian missions, such as aiding refugees from Communist Vietnam and Cambodia. He was on a humanitarian mission in Haiti when he died in 1987.
Rustin was a gay man who had been arrested for a homosexual act in 1953. Homosexuality was criminalized in parts of the United States until 2003 and stigmatized through the 1990s. Rustin’s sexuality, or at least his embarrassingly public criminal charge, was criticized by some fellow pacifists and civil-rights leaders. Rustin was attacked as a “pervert” or “immoral influence” by political opponents from segregationists to Black power militants, and from the 1950s through the 1970s. In addition, his pre-1941 Communist Party affiliation was controversial. To avoid such attacks, Rustin served only rarely as a public spokesperson. He usually acted as an influential adviser to civil-rights leaders. In the 1970s, he became a public advocate on behalf of gay and lesbian causes.