Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Naval Cruising

Friday we leave for a week cruise!! This is a birthday present for both of us. E’s birthday was last Friday. Mine was a month ago. It is also to be a restful follow up to our honeymoon. After last spring’s wedding, we did a strenuous coast-to-coast hike across Northern England. We decided we deserve a little pampering.

This will be my first cruise. E has done about a half dozen cruises with his family. It also will be our first gay cruise and travel adventure.

We are sailing on the 148 passenger Windstar sailing yacht. The 8-day, 7-night cruise is along the Pacific coast of Costa Rica and Panama. It is promoted by TravelPride.

Back at the end of the month.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

College students protest FDA ban on gay blood.

The Stanford Daily reported today:

Protestors demonstrating against the FDA policy that bars gay men from donating blood held signs and rallied in front of the blood drive van at noon in White Plaza yesterday.
The policy in question dates back to the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1980s. According to the American Red Cross, a male who has had sexual contact with another male since 1977, or anyone who has had sexual contact with anyone meeting the prior description, is prohibited from donating blood.

Demonstrators said their aim was not to protest blood donation itself, but rather to spread word of a rule that makes “second-class citizens” out of people who “want to go help someone else.”

“Our main goal was not to disrupt the blood drive,” said Bharat Venkat, a junior.

While gay men were the largest demographic of HIV/AIDS victims when the regulation was enacted in 1983, that is no longer the case, Venkat said.

“The problem with that rule is that the largest population with HIV/AIDS is people of color,” he added. “It’s hypocritical and doesn’t make sense with the current context.”

The demonstration was peaceful, and workers at the blood drive were generally sympathetic. According to Venkat, “a lot of people were shocked and didn’t know this was going on.”

Friday, February 10, 2006


Dear E,

“Today, I celebrate you and all the beauty your love brings to my world. Happy Birthday”

You make such a difference in the things you do. In your work and business you help focus commitment and change. Your dedication to improving the world around us is inspiring. When I am around you, I feel so much is possible. Together we have great fun and joyous times. I look forward with much anticipation to our romantic vacation/honeymoon next week.
I love you. I love you. I love you!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Hatred in the Halls

The same day as several gay bashing in New Bedford and Portland, our local weekly paper did a cover story about local high students facing discrimination and harassment. In a front page story titled, “Hatred in the Halls, High Schools Battle Incidents of Discrimination” the article related several stories:
A high school student, “J. Chesson's heart sank last month after discovering her school notebook had been defaced with the words "gay," "faggot" and "queer." She felt even worse after realizing the vandalism was linked to her participation in a student panel of Gay-Straight Alliance members two days before.
. . .
An openly gay boy at Paly (Palo Alto High School) has been harassed in his physical education and dance classes by other boys who would ask him out on dates "just to make fun of him," Chesson said. Earlier this school year, someone carved an obscenely derogatory message into the classroom door of a Paly Spanish and living-skills teacher who is also the GSA advisor. Gay-Straight Alliance posters have been torn down from campus buildings. Members routinely hear students spout the words "faggot," "dike," and "queer," (the advisor) said, and sometimes it's in the presence of teachers.
. . .
A report in 2004 by the California Safe Schools Coalition found that 7.5 percent of middle and high school students statewide report being harassed on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation each year. That translates to more than 200,000 students, or enough to fill San Francisco's SBC Park four times, said Shannon Turk, director of the Outlet Program at the Community Health Awareness Council in Mountain View, which aims to empower lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQQ) youth ages 13 to 18.
. . .
Since 1997, the Outlet Program in Mountain View has offered support services, leadership training, community education and advocacy opportunities to LGBTQQ youth. The number of students seeking the program's core services has risen by about 25 percent in that time. Confidentiality is paramount.

For several years we have supported Outlet Program which services and support GLBTQQ youth on the San Francisco peninsula. They are having a fundraising benefit April 27th ( called Out to Eat.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Entertaining the guest

Two weekends ago we had a special guest staying with us. She was a woman who was E’s first boss when he was pursuing a career in higher education. She stayed with us for five days and got a Bay Area tour. Friday we took her to see the pre-Broadway run of “Lestat” in San Francisco.
Hatshepsut in drag
Saturday morning we were back in SF to visit two museums. The first was Legion of Honor to see a photography exhibit called “After the Ruins, 1906 and 2006: Rephotographing the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire”. It consisted of side-by-side pictures of the aftermath of the 1906 earthquake and a picture of the same location 99 years later. Then we hustled over to new de Young Museum to see “Hatshepsut: From Queen to Pharaoh”. It was an interesting exhibit of a female ruler of Egypt. Hatshepsut ruled over 3,000 years ago. After becoming Queen, she declared herself to be King. The subsequent male ruler tried to have all evidence of her reign destroyed and purged. That evening we had dinner at a fancy restaurant in Palo Alto called Spago. The dinner was excellent. We had Champagne, appetizers, main dish and two bottles of Merlot, dessert, and Port. The fun and games started when the waiter spilled two glasses of Port on me in a series of goofy moves.
Sunday was an educational and inspirational day in Berkeley. We attended a lecture by South African Constitutional Court Justice Albie Sachs and urban architect Vanessa September. Afterwards, a group of ten of us went out for a fun meal at Zax Tavern. We ate, drank, laughed and had a great time.
Rooster in San Juan Bautista restaurant
Monday, we traveled south to Mission San Juan Bautista. We toured the Mission and the charming town. We ate lunch at an outdoor restaurant. Finally on Tuesday we put an exhausted friend on a plane back to Washington DC.
Fun fact: The three of us easily consumed over 12 bottles Merlot wine during the five days.
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