A Brief Reflection About Discrimination

In the fall of 1995, freshly out of grad. school, I got a case management job at an Adult Foster Care program, funded by Medicaid, within an elder services agency in the Greater Boston area. An evangelical Christian nurse coworker was allowed to not work with people we served who had HIV, almost all of them being gay men. After so many years since then, it still appalls me that administration and her immediate supervisor allowed her to be so blatantly discriminatory. I’m not at all an expert in legal matters, but I imagine both state and federal law may have been violated, since Medicaid is a federal program administered by each state. And the agency was a quasi public/state organization, under the auspices of the Department of Elder Affairs.

Upon further reflection and reading, I remembered that the Employment Nondiscrimination Act and, later, the broader Equality Act, languished in the U.S. Congress for years. I just read (which reminded me about the ruling when I’d initially heard about it) that not until 2020 did the U.S. Supreme Court rule that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees from discrimination based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Then, there is another major area of civil rights, which is more pertinent to this situation with my long ago coworker: the right for customers/clients of a business, or in this case, an agency, to not be denied services based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, let alone their health status. From what I can tell, there continue to be no blanket federal protections in America for these large groups. Some states provide these protections while others don’t. However, in regards to people with HIV receiving health care services, a diligent researcher I know informed me that the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) from 1990 requires any federal-based program, or one receiving federal funding, to provide treatment to people with HIV. Hence, from what I can gather, my coworker was enabled by her supervisors to skirt around this law, in order to avoid confrontation and conflict, by assigning only non-HIV cases to her. The clients with HIV didn’t know the difference, since they were always assigned the other nurse who had no issue with them. Still, what a “skirt around” nonetheless, in which a worker’s discrimination was allowed, quietly validated, wrongly and sadly.

Hear Hear/Here Here to Naked Statues Imagery

I sympathize with the sentiment behind all the postings on Facebook and Instagram of naked Greek, Roman, and Italian statues with penises imagery, including those purposefully photoshopped in support of drag queens and intersex people. (Ancient hermaphroditic statues actually exist and those are great to see posted on those two platforms as well.) Such surges in suppression of art and gender expression are age-old and tiresome.

(Photo of a statue of Priapus, found in the House of the Vettii, Pompeii.)

Here’s an Old Photo of Me in Drag, ‘Cause I Support Drag Queens

This photo was most likely taken in either late 1999 or sometime in 2000, when I lived in Somerville, MA. The occasion may have been my 33rd or 34th birthday, but I’m not certain. I dressed in drag for a few of my birthdays when I lived with three roommates for five years, near Tufts University.

Somewhere, I have more photos of me dressed in drag on other occasions, all in the early 2000s. If I find them, perhaps I’ll steadily post those images on this blog.

I always knew cross dressing was a political act, but now it’s especially the case in such culturally and politically polarized times here in America. So, here’s a post to show my direct support for drag queens everywhere. And, hey, at heart, a major part of my own true Self is a drag queen.

My Musings: Secession of Southern States From the Union?

With the increasing fascist overreach of the state government in Florida and similar moves with the authoring and enacting of discriminatory, civil rights restriction laws in other Southern states, I do wonder about eventual attempts at secession from the Union. Doing so would be unquestionably tumultuous and hurtful for assorted vulnerable groups, such as Black people, gays, trans folx, and others who reside in those states, not to mention generally economically cataclysmic. However, the aggressive direction of Florida becoming a more nationalistic, authoritarian run state is alarming. I don’t see other sections of the country, such as New England (and certainly not Massachusetts, where I reside) and California, going in that direction. How are these differently run states supposed to harmoniously operate cheek to jowl together under the same umbrella sovereignty? If the federal government becomes led by Trump or DeSantis, or someone else ideologically like them, will the more Blue, democratically-oriented states just go along? The cultural-governmental tensions are growing before our eyes. Either authoritarianism will need to be contained or the U.S.A. seems headed for some kind of deeper splitting along geographical-ideological lines.

The parallels of Eastern Europe, namely the Balkans and their historical divisions (most recently the former Yugoslavia becoming the handful of countries it now is), come to mind for me. From a far distance, without getting into the enormous details of differences between Eastern Europe and the U.S.A., what I see in both of these regions is a strain occurring along major cultural, ethnic differences.

The right wing extremist congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene recently spoke in the House of Representatives of secession. She was soon widely judged for speaking of this. However, as much as I do not like or respect Rep. Greene and wish she would be expelled from her post, I do wonder just how much she was speaking aloud the sentiments of many in her own constituency and beyond. I am not familiar with a recent, large survey of U.S. citizens and their thoughts on secession. But, it is remarkable how this topic keeps coming up in public discourse more often in recent years, even if it continues to get stridently dismissed. It concerns me how the idea continues to be brought up anyway.

Pragmatically speaking, does the U.S.A. need to become a smaller group of sovereign countries, governed in different ways according to their cultural majorities? Is this the direction things are going whether one agrees or not that there is such a “need?” I am all for unity while respecting diversity and even enjoying it, but a lot of people do not seem to be thinking and acting this way. I’m just not sure if many of those minds can be changed, even if doing so is a worthwhile, valiant effort. White supremacy needs to be quelled, and urgently, but how? I don’t think education alone will achieve this.

Will progressive activism, including efforts to enfranchise as many voters as possible to then vote, stabilize the country? I hold some cautious hope, for now. But, how long will that overall approach consistently work? Can we depend on a critical mass of Millennials and Gen Zs, perhaps especially the latter, to stabilize governments on both federal and state levels? Will economic shifts, such as those towards a fairer, less extreme distribution of wealth, happen soon enough as a major part of this stabilization process? (Corporate oligarchs are benefitting from these cultural divisions between and among us middle and lower income folks.)

As a child growing up in California, my very left leaning former step/foster mother told me on more than one occasion that she thought the U.S. was too big and would fare better being divided into at least a few countries. It was too large and unwieldy to govern. I’m sure she explained with more details, but I can’t remember exactly what those were. These days, I wonder if she was on to something.

These are not fully formed, particularly researched thoughts, but, for now, there they are. I am left feeling very concerned about the future of America.

Brief Thoughts on the Foibles of Famous Contributors to Society

Food for thought: Is it wrong to bring up famous artists’ and humanitarians’ foibles? MLK, Jr. and JFK were notorious womanizers. The poet Wallace Stevens and writer Virginia Woolf were racist pro-colonialists. Gandhi tyrannized his wife and children. Marion Zimmer Bradley, who wrote the masterpiece novel THE MISTS OF AVALON, allowed her husband to sexually abuse their children. Mother Theresa schmoozed with dictators without challenging their committing of cruelties. The list goes ever on. Ultimately, no famous person was truly a saint. For many, they were far from being so. But, sometimes I feel more readily neutral and able to still engage with the contributions of a person more easily than another’s. It all depends, case by case. However, I generally can and do eventually get to a place of appreciating someone’s work regardless of the individual’s shortcomings in their lifetime. That all said, I don’t think any messengers conveying the wrongdoings of a famous contributor to society should be shamed or vilified. It is important to learn from the mistakes of others so as not to repeat them.

The Public Cinema of Senator Sinema

The timing of Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona leaving the Democratic Party and registering as Independent is note-worthy. Three days after Democratic Senator of Georgia Raphael Warnock wins re-election, she makes this big announcement on television and other media of her plan to register as Independent. My initial reaction was of surprise and to think of her as a “spoil sport.” My surprise has since faded away. I already long understood her to be a turn coat sell out. Ms. Sinema has certainly (d)evolved quite a ways, a social worker (which I am too) who once belonged to the Green Party earlier on in her political career. I remember initially having hope for Arizona and, by extension, the rest of the country when she was running for Senate. This federal legislator is such a clear, current example of corruption, yet another person who drank the Kool-Aid of power and succumbed to its addicting taste. Apparently, Senator Sinema’s campaign accepted about one million dollars in corporate Wall Street donations, for which she turned around and did good by those special interests by not voting for more fair, progressive changes to the tax code for us non-wealthy working folk. And she voted against raising the national minimum wage requirement to $15.00 an hour– with her being trained as a social worker, no less. These are only a few examples of her downward change that come to mind. It is sad and frustrating to witness a person in power move so far away from their own humble, human roots.

I sincerely hope someone who is comparatively more progressive than Ms. Sinema will run against her in 2024. I am no political analyst, but I read that one likely reason the senator switched her party affiliation is to avoid the possibility of losing her primary against a Democrat in the next election cycle. I have also read that this switch could work against her. Some Democrat will win in the primary, without Sinema having participated in it, and very possibly gain momentum against her, especially given the legislator’s very mixed voting record in the Senate. We shall see.

While I myself recently re-registered to vote as an Independent or, as it is actually called in Massachusetts, Un-enrolled, I continue to vote mostly for Democrats and never Republicans. In MA, we voters are largely Un-enrolled and tend to vote Democrat more often than not. Hence, MA is about as Blue a state as there is in America.

In the U.S.A., I, and many, long for a system where more than two parties have power and corporate interests stop dictating so much (or probably all) of national policy. So many Democrats in all branches of the federal government continue to kowtow to the corporatocracy right along with pretty much all members of the GOP. Until, and if ever, we have a multi-party system, and big money out of electoral politics (which I have not completely given up hope over this happening someday), I’ll simply vote for, donate to, and root for more progressive political candidates wherever and whenever I can.

Dream About Brainspotting Senator Warnock

I woke up from a dream in which I was doing Brainspotting with Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock, the “spot” being his intention to win re-election. The imagery was interesting, as I had Mr. Warnock focus inward on a circular image representing his achieving this goal. I felt confident and focused in the dream.

I just made my fourth small donation to his campaign. I hope I can help make this dream come true.

I can’t recall any other time where I dreamt of my work and national politics converging. Wild.

My Proposal for Federal Term Limits

I say term limits for all federal level political offices, set up in this way:

SCOTUS- One 12 year term, with the requirement that a justice retires by 70 years of age (which is the case for Massachusetts SJC justices). This means that, if a judge is older than 58 when appointed, their term will be shorter than 12 years. (Just think, Justice Thomas would have been gone from the bench over four years ago already.)

All other federal justices- One 12 year term, with the possibility of 70 years age of retirement requirement as well.

U.S. Senators- Two 6 year terms, then no more time in the Senate.

U.S. Representatives- Five or six terms of 2 years each, then no more time in the House.

U.S. President- Leave term limits as is. I used to think of changing this office to being one 6 year term, but now I think otherwise. Having Trump in office for another two years would have been that much more disastrous. Let voters continue to decide if a president should have a second 4 year term.

If someone wins a special election during mid term of a newly deceased or outgoing senator or representative, that remaining time counts as a whole term. No tagging on an extra partial term to a whole 10 or 12 years of term limits.

Add at least a four year lag time rule for how soon a former U.S. senator or rep. can join a lobbying firm after leaving office, if they are allowed to join one at all.

Short of implementing a Constitutional amendment for all of the above to be enshrined into law, I don’t think there is any other way to make these changes happen. Still, I like to dream.

Hot Mess Christian Walker

My impression of the physically adorable looking Christian Walker, one of the GOP U.S. Senate candidate’s (for GA) Herschel Walker’s children, is that he’s pretty mixed up inside. He’s out as gay but hates Queer pride. And he passionately supports Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a man he says he “loves.” Hmm, me thinks I detect some self hatred going on here. Well, after his life being “destroyed” (Christian’s own description) by his absent, narcissistic (my added descriptor) father, along with whatever else he grew up enduring, no wonder why this cute kid comes across as a hot mess. All that expression of beauty and joie de vivre is being so misguided and misdirected, imho.

I hope Christian Walker gets some serious psychotherapy and/or other kinds of life interventions that wake him the hell up. I empathize with and hold compassion for his hurt and rage at his absentee and lying parent. But, similar to his unhinged dad, Christian appears to be in the throes of a narcissistically driven political media frenzy. Sure, he’s young and on a journey to find out who he is. However, what an unmindful, hurtful way he’s doing so out on social media. Others’ lives (such as queer lives, including the true wellbeing of his own) are in the crosshairs of this obnoxiously manufactured culture war Christian has appeared to join the wrong side of. I guess this is yet another example of how apples don’t fall far from the tree. So sad.