Archive for November, 2008

Juicy Fresh Video From Yesterday’s Prop 8 Rally and Parade

Are you like me? You had a ticket to go to Grant Park for Obama’s acceptance speech, and you stayed home to have chicken pot pie with your cranky German grandma instead?*

Well, you could have soaked up some of the residual vibes by joining the thousands of Prop 8 protesters at Federal Plaza yesterday. Spirits were high and soon the exuberance spilled out into the streets of downtown Chicago, where an impromptu parade stopped traffic for as long as 20 minutes at a time.

Joyful protesters were met with open-mouthed Michigan Avenue shoppers, who put down their Macy’s bags long enough to clap and cheer. The police were very relaxed (despite the lack of parade permit) and even stopped cabs and CTA buses full of Chicagoans gave cheerful honks and peace signs.

I was there supporting my gay loved ones and with the help of videographer and interviewer Daisy Mertzel, I put together this four minute video, which fairly captures the spirit of the event.


*Not really.

Gay Nanny Lani Trail; Gay Civil Rights Protest This Saturday

Dump Dobson Protest For Gay Rights in ChicagoThere’s another big gay rights protest this Saturday November 15 at 12:30 at Federal Plaza (on the corner of Adams and Dearborn Streets). This one is happening in cities across the US, since the issue of gay marriage is now being debated at a national level.

If You’re Straight, Why Should You Care?

My roommate and I, though standard-issue heterosexuals, feel very strongly about gay rights issues, adhering to the wacky belief that all Americans deserve the same legal rights (including the right to marry). And what with the recent influx of Obama-inspired hope, we whipped out the colored markers, put together some signs, and joined a few friends at last Friday’s protest against Prop 8 (which re-wrote the California state constitution to strip gays of, among other things, the right to marry).

The location of a particular downtown hotel was chosen as the protest location because inside, a media group was giving an award to James Dobson, who poured millions of dollars into the efforts to strip people of civil rights. He is aggressively homophobic, has considerable resources to sink into his efforts to keep gays second-class citizens, and he’s a big proponent of a therapeutic approach to “treat” homosexuality. His views are not supported by the mainstream mental health community, like the, you know, American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association.

Really? People really believe that gay people choose to be gay? Choose to be part of an oppressed minority subject to violence and discrimination, when they could just take a couple of seminars and re-program their sexual orientation? This flies in the face of biology, neuroscience, and common decency to fellow human beings.

As has been pointed out in recent media examples, so what if changing the law to include homosexuals in marriage rights is “redefining marriage in America?” If we hadn’t redefined marriage at other points in history, it would still be illegal for black people to marry each other. In 1967, it was illegal in 1/3 of states for President-elect Obama’s parents to have been married to each other, because marriage between a black person and a white person was illegal.

Gay Nanny Lani Trail

"I love my gay nanny" - Dump Dobson Protest For Gay Rights in ChicagoAmong the peaceful protesters (there was no counter-protest) we saw last Friday was an adorable little boy holding a sign that said “I love my gay nanny.” I snapped a quick photo. Turns out he was there with both his mom and his nanny, who ended up emailing me when she saw the picture on my blog. Well, the internet is a magical place, so now Lani and I are Facebook friends and I hope to bump into her again at tomorrow’s protest, where a filmmaker friend and I will be doing a little mini-documentary.

And now, a little bit about Chicago’s most internet-famous gay nanny (at least, that’s what we’re hoping for), Lani Trail:

Lani describes herself and her partner Sharyl as “recovering evangelicals.” “I am a survivor of ex-gay reparative therapy so we wouldn’t have missed this for the world,” she explained. “I was there because Dobson promotes reparative therapy which is damaging our community and stunting sexual growth. I attended a group called Redeemed Lives in Wheaton, IL. Redeemed Lives has the ludicrous idea that overcoming homosexuality is the same as overcoming drug or alcohol addiction, which is why they group them together in therapy. Dobson supports this.”

Lani believes that surviving reparative therapy is a challenge in and of itself. Even now, long after her attempt to “un-gay” herself, Lani still struggles to accept that she’s not harming her nanny kids when they see her and her partner together.

She feels very fortunate to be nannying for a loving, accepting family. Her partner and her employer are both psychology professors with clinical psychology degrees, and she says that the child she nannies for gets the appropriate level of explanation for the family’s involvement in gay rights issues. “His mom and dad have worked tirelessly to help him understand that my partner and I love each other just like his parents do, but that we can’t get married and that some people are mean to us. That’s enough for him.”

And knowing that my friends Tom and George, who have been together for years, finally got married a few weeks ago, only to have their marriage struck down by people like Dobson, is enough for me. Pick up some posterboard and join me tomorrow for another exercise in free speech.

Photos by Elizabeth McQuern.

AV Club Reviews Jeppson’s Malört

Malort face by _nickd Malort face by _nickd

The Onion AV Club has a new feature: a “Taste Test” and their first product is Jeppson’s Malört. To an old Malört hand, there was little new in the article, save a link to a Flickr group: Malört Face. Ala the First Goatse group, it’s just photo after photo of people grimacing in horror at what has just happened in their mouth.

(Thanks, Dan. Photos by _nickd)

Gay Rights Rally in Chicago Tomorrow

Tuesday was a historic and barrier breaking night with the election of the first African-American President. It was exciting, and amazing. However, Tuesday night was a terrible night for gay rights. The passing of prop 8 in California made a constitutional amendment taking away the right for same sex couples to marry. Arizona prop 102 and Florida amendment 2 did similar destruction to human rights. Arkansas voted a ban against unmarried couples becoming foster or adoptive parents.

If this removal of human rights upsets you, then you can protest against one of Prop 8’s most powerful proponents, James Dobson. Mr. Dobson is receiving an award from the Museum of Broadcast Communications for his daily radio show Focus on the Family. Gay rights group Truth Wins Out along with Equality Illinois and the Gay Liberation Network will be protesting James Dobson and his anti-gay message.

You can join their support of civil rights by joining the protest Saturday November 8th 5:30-7:30PM at the Renaissance Chicago Hotel, 1 W. Wacker Dr. Can’t make it? Here are some other things you can do:

To fight back against this offensive decision, is asking fair-minded people to take four actions.

1. E-Mail Radio Hall of Fame CEO Bruce Dumont,, and urge him to withdraw Dobson’s honor.
2. Sign our letter to the Radio Hall of Fame urging them to reverse their foolhardy decision to celebrate Dobson’s shameful and ignoble career.
3. If you live in the Chicago area, please sign up to participate in our protest.
4. Donate to Truth Wins Out or Donate to the Gay Liberation Network to help us fight back.

(photo by Liz Henry)

Can you raise chickens in Chicago?


There may be an answer, but don’t try to call the city and find out.

(Via City Farmer News, via Boing Boing)

Eugene Mirman Weekend

Stand-up comedian Eugene Mirman will be in Chicago this weekend to record a new comedy album at The Lakeshore Theater this Friday and Saturday at 10PM. I am a fan of Eugene Mirman’s highly imaginative comedic monologues. I became an even bigger fan after watching his coverage of the Republican National Convention this year. So if you too are a fan, you might want to head over to the threadless website. There you can submit questions to Eugene who will be hanging out at Threadless tomorrow afternoon.

Eugene Mirman
November 7th and 8th
Lakeshore Theater
3175 N Broadway St
Chicago, IL

(photo from the Eugene Mirman myspace page)

Barack Around the World

What a night last night! You can see some of my experiences at the Grant Park Rally on flickr here. After you get done checking that out you can then go over to K-Rock’s collage of various front pages from around the world announcing our new president, Barack Obama. Which will have to do ya because all Chicago papers sold out toot sweet, and even extra printings of the Tribune, Sun-Times, and RedEye (really!!??!?) are hard to come by.

CTA Home from the Rally

If you’re downtown for Obamapalooza, the CTA has you covered. Non-24 hour lines will run until at least 2 am (24 hour lines will run, of course, all night). Note, however, that many downtown bus routes will be rerouted.


367 Days - Day 275 / I Voted

After everything I’ve been hearing about how crazy long the lines are all over the country (my brother-in-law was in a line of 200 people in South Carolina) and indeed right here in Chicago I was very surprised at how quickly we were in and out of the 30th Precinct of the 48th Ward of Chicago (this morning around 8:00 am). There are two precincts in our polling place and the other had three people in line; ours had one person ahead of us. Did everyone in Edgewater vote early, or do I live in an apolitical bubble in the city?

Free stuff for voting

You voted! Good for you! Truthfully, democracy should be its own reward, but we all love freebies. So here’s a list of free stuff you can get for voting. Happy Election Day!

(photo by kalandrakas)

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