Idea: An Interfaith Radio Network

From my end, interfaith multireligious broadcasting seems an extremely-distant, small-scale phenomenon.

But interfaith broadcasting is something that I sometimes wish was more of a force in U.S. society. Right now, literacy in the diversity of religions and religious history is important, and we are ill-served in this respect by religious media. This illiteracy manifests in the militant ignorance of not only politicians, and not only political activists, but also religious parishioners themselves.

When politicians and political activists talk of representing “people of faith” (a controversial nomer if I’ve ever seen one), how many people of another faith do they claim to represent in the voicing of perceived public concerns? Do they really know that many people of faiths other than their own? Or are they projecting only parishioners of the same or similar faith as the only “people of faith” for whom they really assert representation?

Are they really aware of the diversity of religions out there? Are those parishioners also “people of faith” in their eyes?

We need literacy, we need exposure, and we need to be challenged in our assumptions about the world. And current major religious media outlets do none of the above.

We need interfaith radio. Multi religious, liberal and with a taste for social justice and comparative analysis, but also willing to expose the religious and their ideological intricacies to each other. Through this, starting with a (hypothetical) interfaith radio network, I hope that more people will be able to assume less and learn more about the world around them.

Right now, however, there are only a few interfaith or intervalues series, many of them merely podcasts:


South Africa/Uganda: LGBT Advocate Won’t Be Deported To Uganda

A few years ago, I was a regular reader of the anonymous “GayUganda” blog, which was written by a man in Kampala who poked at the powers who wrre conspiring to enact the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, especially the bigoted Christian preacher-moguls such as Martin “eat da poo poo” Ssempa.

Until today, I did not know that GayUganda had come out of hiding in 2012 at an AIDS conference as Dr. Paul Semugoma, an LGBT/AIDS advocate and medical doctor from Kampala.

The only way I found this out was through Box Turtle Bulletin, which posted that Semugoma was just released from detainment at OR Tambo Airport in Johannesburg. His visa was allegedly expired, according to the government, and he had just entered the country across the border with Zimbabwe, only to be arrested yesterday for deportation to his native Uganda.

Today, the Coalition of African Lesbians scored an indefinite work visa on Semugoma’s behalf, and he was greeted fulsomely by LGBT activists as he left the airport.

Cheers to Dr. Paul “GayUganda” Semugoma and the CAL for getting out of a sticky and life-threatening situation!–ajMh-Rd8

RIP, Irving Martinez

My friend, Irving Martinez, died yesterday at age 51 in Macon.

He was very passionate about politics, and last time I saw him, he was very talkative about perceived corruption in Macon city politics. I first met him at a downtown bar after a Bibb County Democratic Party conference at Macon City Hall. Openly identifying as bisexual, he claimed to have been a participant in the landmark Stonewall riots in New York City in 1969. We talked about the work that I did with PFLAG Macon, and about the political status of LGBT people in Macon and Middle Georgia. We friended each other on Facebook that night.

The last time we met, or even spoke, was during my 16 April 2013 guest spot on The Morning Roast, a live-streaming Internet show hosted by Irving, Derrick Barrett and Anthony B. Harris. On a 2 April episode, they had hosted then-incumbent State Senator Miriam Paris.

I’ll never forget what he kept saying to me during my guest spot: “Look at the camera!”

Unfortunately, the video of the episode is blocked on YouTube for music copyright reasons. Last I read, he pursued his political dream and gained 6 percent in the Democratic party primary, forcing Paris and former State Representative David Lucas into a runoff which Lucas won. Perhaps his message got through to that district.

The last time he posted to his Facebook account was on 6 February. Nothing in his post indicated what would happen this past Sunday morning, 16 February 2013.

Solidarity for his friends and family. I hope that The Morning Roast will press on in his stead.

Can ‘Bear’ Be a Gender?

Last week, Facebook did something which helped to seriously dilute the gender binary: now, up to 56 options for one’s publicly-identified gender are available on all Facebook profiles. Personally, I’ve never seen so many gender options in one space, and reading WaPo’s rundown of a few samples helped in some ways and frustrated in others (i.e., so many overlapping definitions!). Slate has the full list.

The title of this post is something that I’ve been thinking about since I read the full list. The “bear subculture” tends to include the following:


a large, hairy man who projects an image of rugged masculinity. Bears are one of many LGBT communities with events, codes, and a culture-specific identity.[…]

Some Bears place importance on presenting a hypermasculine image and may shun interaction with, and even disdain, men who exhibit effeminacy.The Bear concept can function as an identity, an affiliation, and there is ongoing debate in Bear communities about what constitutes a Bear, however a consensus exists that inclusion is an important part of the Bear community.

Reading this is of interest to me because of how it shows a partition in the “masculinities” among those who manifest “masculinity” in the “bear” body type vs. a more heteronormative, differently-manifested masculinity.

To me, a bear in the above sense is different in its manifestation of masculinity, setting oneself apart from a more pervasive masculinity by narrowing its focus upon the “bearish” body type, aesthetic bearish “taste” and bearish thresholds of gender performance (a lot of which derives from “lower-class” cultural practices of “masculine” performance). Bearish gender performance is particularly distinctive because, unlike the majority of the trans/intergender options listed on Facebook, “bear” identity manifests almost squarely from within the masculine span of the gender spectrum.

So different do I think of the bear “subculture” from the more heteronormative ideals of masculinity that I think “bear” should be its own gender identity option.

Yes, one should be able to identify as a “bear” gender on Facebook.