Thursday, January 8, 2009

eSpin "It's All In Good Fun" To Make Fun Of Gays

My friends and I are all about holding people and organizations accountable for their actions and words. When it comes to social networking sites they are no different and when it comes to sites that allow LGBT people to be out on them I hold them in higher regard. However when a site makes light of a user's comment about a homophobic remark on their domain I feel that the social networking site needs to be held accountable for their words and actions or in this case lack there of.

eSpin, an online spin the bottle/social networking site has never said one way or another how they feel about LGBT issues but a recent comment from a user has made me question just how much they back the LGBT users on their site. When "spinning the bottle" eSpin comes up with bottle facts which are displayed at the bottom of the screen. The fact that a friend of mine got as a gay man stated "the 55 dudes who wrote the Constitution drank 152 bottles of booze at the after party (we really hope they did not play spin the bottle with the empties.)" When my friend brought this to their attention they responded with " it was only meant in good fun" and that "You don't have to be homophobic to think that an elderly Benjamin Franklin making out with George Washington is gross" I don't know about you guys, but since when,regardless of who is kissing, it okay to be homophobic on a site that has an LGBT population? I have included the messages and responses from eSpin as well as a screen shot of the bottle fact he received. Thanks for taking the time to read this and I hope you can help us shed some light on this folks.

R.Q Kidd

Dear eSpin
One of you\'re bottle facts when \"spinning the bottle\" states
that you hope none of the men who wrote the constitution played spin the
bottle with the \"empties.\" For a website that is okay with
homosexuality and half-supports it, this sounds like a very anti-gay
statement. I have saved a picture of the screen on my computer in case I
need to email it to you, but I would be very happy if there weren\'t
comments like this on here because it sounds very anti-gay or

-We're sorry that you were offended by one of the "bottle facts" on the spin page. We assure you that it was only meant in good fun and doesn't represent any anti-gay feelings. I mean, think about it. You don't have to be homophobic to think that an elderly Benjamin Franklin making out with George Washington is gross (especially if you consider the wooden teeth). Thanks, eSPIN

- eSPIN, Excuse me, but if Ben Franklin wanted to make out with George Washington then that is thier topic of discussion not mine. It may have been meant to be "good fun" but something like that and your comment are both very offensive. I would not have a problem with Ben Franklin or George Washing making out if it was thier decision and to give you an example i know two "elderly" men who are in a happy and comitted relationship and I think it would be cute if I saw them kiss. So about the bottle fact, I hope it was removed because a few of my other friends have found it and are not happy either and to comment your example, do not tell me what is gross or not because your comment leads me to believe you have an age descrimination on making out. My concerns are meant to be taken seriously not lightly and I enjoy clean good fun as long as it is not at the expense of others.

**** UPDATE *****

You’re absolutely right. If Benjamin Franklin and George Washington want to make out with each other, it is completely their business and we should stay out of it. (Though they should probably check with Martha first.)

We’ve considered your suggestion and have decided to leave the bottle fact up. If you don’t think that eSPIN is a place where you want to hang out anymore, we regretfully understand.


Then to my regret and the regret of the friends I have spoken with we will be canceling our accounts. I hope that you may eventually see what a disgusting comment this is and I'm sure someone else will be mentioning this on a later date. Thank you for your time in assisting me but this suggestion was not done justice at all.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

What It Took To Shake Up The Queer Community And Why I Am Pissed About It

It has been over two months now since the passing of Proposition 8 in California. Since then there have rallys, marches, protests, countless YouTube videos and even a musical number or two. As a member of the queer community I am proud and excited that my community is standing up and not taking this laying down and is using this loss as way to bring the community from coast to coast together. I am also pissed off that it took this to bring our community together for marriage equality.

Let's be real honest with ourselves for a second. It should not have taken Proposition 8 passing to make us angry and upset about the way our community is treated. We should have been angry and upset for years. We were not. We got comfortable with what we had. Our gay-borhoods of safety, youth centers, and the few states that protect us when it comes to work, housing and employment. For so long we,as a community have said, “You know, we will take this and will be okay with it.” We told America that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people were okay with what we had and we were going to take it and be happy. Since we did that for so long people forgot that we are a people who still don't have the same rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as our heterosexual friends and family members. Since we were silent and complacent for so long that is why fundamentalist America is calling our marches and rallys “anarchy in the streets”. We should have been told we were “anarchists” all along.

It seems like since Stonewall in 1969 we, as a community, only get upset and pissed off every 10 years. Stonewall kicked us off into the 70's, in the 80's its was the HIV epidemic which took out a generation of LGBT people, the 90's were all about hate crimes and now it's marriage equality for all people. Why do we only get pissed off every ten years? Why do we only stand up for so long and then go back to the closets that mainstream America wants us in? I don't know about you but this queer man came out over years ago is not going back into ANY closet. I am sick and tired of being pushed to the wayside because as a young person, I am not the face of this movement. Well let's be real clear to the CEO's and board of directors of HRC, PFLAG, GLSEN, GLADD and all national, state and local LGBT rights organizations. It is us young, queer people who are the face, the sweat, the tears, the late nights of this movement. You think because you have been around the block you know how to run our movement. Well let be the first to say, YOUR DOING A FUCKING TERRIBLE JOB!

There comes a point in every movement when the young must take over and get shit done. Period. As young people in todays world we see things a hell of a lot differently than you do because we live and grew up TODAY and not 20 or 30 years ago. All we see in your ad campings are white people. Guess what, we have people of color all throughout our community. They are the face of this movement. The young kids who are coming out 13,14,and 15 in rural America they are the face of the movement. Trans people are the face of our movement. Stop trying to marginalize our community into your white point of view because in case you have not noticed, our community SO much bigger than that. We are EVERYTHING about America. We have it all. So let's use it tell our stories. Let's start going to communities and neighborhoods where it's hard, where we have never gone before and tell our stories. We need to stop preaching about these issues in our own community because let's face it, your preaching to the choir and we are not the ones that need to hear it. We know what we face day in and day out. We live it.

So what am I asking you to do reader of this blog? Don't get comfortable in your complacency. Stand up. Speak out. Take it to the streets. Hold yourself and those who are currently running this movement accountable for their actions and words. Ask those in charge why there are no people of color or trans people at the forefront of this movement. Do not let anyone, especially those in our own community silence you. WE, all of us, are the face of this movement and it's about damn time America sees that.


R.Q Kidd

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Resoultions For The R.Q Kidd In All Of Us

Welcome to 2009! Its a new year and a new blog. I am R.Q Kidd, blogger,social activist,queer man of God,student of life and lover of people. I am 21 years old and and a proud gay Christian man who is working on building and bridging the gap between the LGBT community and the faith community. In my 21 years I have worked hard on what means to be a queer Christian activist and how I fit in with the rest of the activist circle. This blog will be my commentary on our movement and how you can be activist in your community no matter how big,how small, how big city, how rural america it may be. We need to all come together and stand as a one unified community.

From big campaigns to grass roots efforts all are important for creating the change we need and desire. For gay and trans people and our allies, the time has come for us to band together and stand as one unified front. So to kick off this new year and this new blog I am taking my cue from Queerty's 10 New Years Resolutions for the LGBT community, and putting the R.Q Kidd spin on it of course.

Build an army.

Now I know this sounds scary and militant but really an army can be as simple as a group of people who will stand and support you as well as work with you. You own army can be as simple as 5 friends that support our community by what brands they support or where you bank. Building your army means simply organizing your group of friends to do what you can to support our community and our fight for equality.

Don't fear visibility.

Visibility can mean standing on a street corner with a sign that says "Equal Right Now" with rainbows all over it. It can also mean something as simple as speaking up when you hear someone use language that is demeaning to the LGBT community. My partner works as the assistant manager at store in Virgina where we live. When ever he over hears a customer saying the word "fag" or "faggot" he asks the person to stop using the language or leave. By doing so he lets the other customers in his store where he stands and in turn becomes visible to those who are around him.

Realize that equal rights is not a popularity contest.

It seems to me that our movement has turned into a popularity contest. Whoever can be the best gay man, lesbian women, bisexual or trans person can be the face of the movement. We need to be more inclusive of all members of our community. We are all the face of the movement so let's leave the Jr. High Politics where they belong, in Jr. High.

Treat the gays just like straights.

Look, we can not get upset when our organizations come under fire. When it comes to LGBT organizations, people and communities we seek parallel and commonality because lets face it, we have a lot more in common than we think. We need to hold our own people accountable for their actions and words and when they step out of line we should be the ones to check them, not the rest of the world.

Make allies everywhere.

Remember the saying, you can never have enough friends? When comes to working for LGBT equality we so often forget our allies. Those people who have nothing to gain but to see a better world when we win. While it's great that we can get all our friends on the band wagon, we need to go into communites that are faith based and make allies. We need to go to communities of color and make allies. We need to make our own family allies. The more people we have willing to stand with us the sooner we will win.

Define the agenda.

Definition is key in any movement. We need to clearly define what we want for our community. Once we can articulately and concisely define our agenda, it will be hard for our adversaries to define it for us and us our own goals as firepower to keep us down.

Get a winning attitude.

We are winning. No doubt about it. It's slow and the win's may not be what we want right now but we need to take and hold onto the little victories and the big ones will come. Our country was founded and has a history of justice, albeit slow, the history is there so get a winning attitude, our time will come.

Hate the bigotry, love the bigot.

No, this is not like "love the sinner hate the sin". This is taking people and being patient with them. I am sure there are many people out there who have done lots of good in the world. While that is all good and well that should not keep us from calling out people's homophobia. At all times we need to remember the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

Remember that it's not all about you.

It's pretty hard to for someone to take someone else seriously if they only care about themselves. Same rule applies. Show people that as the LGBT community care about other causes such as being more environmentally friendly, Dafur or one of many other causes. Don't just say you care, do something about it!

You can have your cake *ahem* and eat it, too.

Lets embrace our communities diversity. We are the embodiment of the the American melting pot. We have every color under the rainbow, pun intended. Our community has it all, from the loud flaming queens to the conservative business men. There is no reason why we all can't be at the front of the movement, standing side by side, to get things done.

At the end of the day we need to remember that all of us are part of the movement no matter where we come from, where we pray, where we work, or how we present our selves. Its going to take the community coming together to get anything done.

Standing With You On The Front Lines,

R.Q. Kidd