Tag Archives: James Queale

Trouble in Paradise

7 Jul

By TSM Contributor James Queale

Now that summer is in full swing, it is time for a vacation. Since my partner and I are not wealthy, it is more of a local getaway, but it will still be a good time. Of course for any vacation involving a gay couple, you want to find an LGBT friendly zone (at least that is what I would prefer). Since Pennsylvania does not have statewide LGBT protections – and it will stay that way as long as Gov. Tom Corbett is in office — we had to research safe areas. The initial place that my partner wanted to go because he used to do regional manager work there was Wilkes-Barre, but it is one of the three (out of 15) major Pennsylvania cities without protections. So, we moved a bit further across the map to Scranton. Check!

Next we looked up hotel chains that are LGBT friendly and to our surprise majority of them are LGBT friendly. Check!

We barely make it to the movies because the small town we live in only has a single theater facility which rarely has a movie we really want to see and seems to have an unhealthy number of loud teenagers. One of the local theaters we found on Google maps was Cinemark, which had my gay-senses tingling. I did a little research and the CEO of Cinemark gave thousands of dollars to Yes on 8 campaign, California’s anti-marriage-equality measure. Thankfully we found another theater a little further away that does not have an anti-gay history. Check!

Overall I think this will be a fun couple of days to enjoy with my lovely partner Tom. It is sad that we have to be vigilant about where we go, but thankfully more and more companies and States are siding with equality.

P.S. – For the links in this story I just did a bit of online searching. There are also a handful of useful tools you can use:

  • The Human Rights Campaign has a shopping guide that rate companies by LGBT friendliness
  • Purple Roofs operates a website that certifies LGBT-owned and –friendly hotels and inns
  • Going out of state? Find out what protections (if any) are offered by the laws of your destination.

Enjoy the rest of your summer and travel safely!

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Millennial Generation: Interview with James Queale

26 Jun

Many of you may recognize James’ name as a contributor to TSM.  He is a passionate advocate for social justice and he is a Millennial.

James grew up in New Brunswick, Canada in a conservative home with a Nazarene Preacher for a father.  James currently lives in  Philipsburg, Pennsylvania with his partner Tom. James is 21 years old and born during the Bush Sr. administration. Here is a chance to get to know James better.

On Coming Out: 

I came out when I was 14 and my friend asked if I was gay—which scared me and so I said I was bisexual, but then a week later I told her no, I’m just gay.  By the time I was 16 I was out to everyone except my family.  Even my teachers knew and really I did not experience any discrimination at school. I did face serious homophobia at home however.  I was watching an MTV show and my brother and I were watching a show with a gay kid who said he was gay and a Christian and then my brother and dad started the gay bashing.  I went downstairs and called my friend and I was very upset and it turned out that my dad and brother heard what I was saying. The next day my dad asked if I was struggling with homosexuality—I said I wouldn’t exactly call it a struggle and I was very scared.  But then he started crying and was talking about Jesus.  Then we got to the school and when I got out of the car I felt strangely free.  We went for two weeks without saying anything about it and then after two weeks my parents sat me down and asked what I meant when I said I was gay.  After a minute of silence I said, I like guys.  It kind of felt like they were trying to “cure” me from being gay.  Fortunately I was 16, so they could not legally force me into some type of “repairative therapy.”  From their point of view they now accept me, but from my perspective there is still room for growth.

On Politics:

I tend not to label myself when it comes to politics and religion. Labels come with baggage–baggage you may not realize is there. From a Canadian point of view, I have never chosen a party to follow. Honestly, other than knowing about our political system, I don’t pay attention too often. We have numerous parties to choose from which is nice, because I really feel that Americans are at a disadvantage because there are only two choices. Well, occasionally three, if an independent is running. Canadian politics are far less interesting than American. From an American point of view, I find myself most often relating to the Democrat side of things.

Historical Point of Reference:

9/11 was the biggest thing—by default for my generation this was a defining moment.  I think this is why immigration has become more difficult.  Now people are treated like criminals regardless. As a Canadian, I kept hearing that the terrorists came through Canada, but that did not make any sense.  I was in science class and a classmate said ‘oh the towers got hit.’ Of course, I was only 11, so it was difficult to make sense of it all.

LGBT Issues:

I was fortunate enough to have my rights as a gay Canadian by the time I was 15. Because of this I never knew what it was like to fight for rights until meeting my American partner when I was 18. Little did I know at the time that America was very behind on the equal rights front. I knew many things about America, but I had never REALLY paid attention until meeting Tom.

And this is when the predicament began. How were we going to be together with the law in our way? Well, we still have not figured this out. I can’t be here as his partner because of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act), so we are no more than “friends.” Which is something I always tell the border guards so that I am not discriminated against or “turned away” by a homophobe. I am stuck as being a visitor because:

1. To be a student is expensive. American universities cost a lot more per year than Canadian universities. Plus, your sponsor has to have $20,000+ in the bank aside from the money I would have to have in my own bank account. And finally, you can only work on campus for no more than 20 hours a week.

2. I have no family in the US to sponsor me.

3. I do not have a “special” skill to get a company to sponsor me and hire me.

Why don’t we move to Canada? Yes, that would be cheaper and a little less tedious, but my partner has medical issues which has him reliant on his Disability. Most countries want someone who can contribute and since I am not exactly rich, I can’t sponsor him up with me.

Even if DOMA is repealed, it does not mean successful immigration. The American immigration system is broken, difficult, and expensive. I have heard numerous stories of heterosexual couples in Bi-national relationships and they have to move to their partner’s homeland instead. Like I said, that is not an option for me. So what does a young man in love do? Wait and hope.

Biggest Anxiety:

That I will not get to be with the one I love.

Biggest Dream:

1. That one day I will have a permanent home with the one I love.

2. I am an aspiring novelist and hope one day to write something good enough to get published and end up on the NYT bestsellers list. Unfortunately, I am very critical of myself and every time I start a manuscript, I throw it out and start again another time. Also, I suffer from what I call “creative ADD” so it is difficult for me to stick with one idea.

3. I hope one day to see everyone around the world treated equally and have the same rights.

Jamie, thank you for doing this interview and thank you for working so hard for social justice.

We Will Prevail

26 May

Today’s article was written by TSM contributor James Queale.

This week, like many weeks, was filled with bitter homophobes who said and did outrageous things. Like the North Carolina pastor who advocated putting gays and lesbians into separate pens so that we can die off; or the mindless cluster fuck known as “One Million Moms” and their never-ending complaints about homosexuals indoctrinating children through media.

Let’s forget about those people today and take a look at a recent video that shows yet again that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is dead.

Videos and pictures like this have been becoming commonplace these days. It is videos and pictures like this that give me hope and make me remember that we are winning this fight. Anti-gay groups are getting louder because they are losing and deep down they know it. I really feel like they are on their last hurrah. If you look closely, people are evolving all over the place and there appears to be a recent surge thanks to Obama.

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” – Nicholas Klein or Gandhi (Disputed)

Are We Represented?

19 May

So Many White Male Faces

America has the benefit of being a very diverse nation. That’s right Conservatives, I said benefit. But, when I think about the U.S. Congress, all that comes to mind are white men who fight hard to keep the status quo. That is a problem because they do not properly represent the diversity America has. When I researched minorities in congress and did some number crunching, this is what I found.

Congress

House

Senate

Delegates

Women

Democrat

49

12

3

Republican

24

5

0

African American

Democrat

39

0

2

Republican

2

0

0

Hispanic *

Democrat

17

1

0

Republican

7

1

0

Asian American

Democrat

7

2

2

Republican

1

0

0

Openly LGBT

Democrat

2

0

0

Republican

0

0

0

* Puerto Rico also has one Independent Hispanic delegate

So let’s compare. The U.S. Congress has 541 members: 100 Senators, 435 Representatives, and 6 non-voting Delegates in the House.

Comparison

U.S.

Congress

Difference

Women

51%

17%

-34%

African American

13%

8%

-5%

Hispanic

16%

5%

-11%

Asian American

5%

2%

-3%

Openly LGBT **

8%

0.30%

-8%

** This is a conservative estimate since there are no reliable figures.

When looking at the numbers, the disparities are all too clear.

1)    Women are greatly under-represented. Even within other minorities, women tend to be less than half the count. Men dominate whether white or not.

2)    No wonder the war on women has been so easily won time after time. Men are 83% of congress. Can you believe that?

3)    When looking at the percentages in congress and percentages of US population, you see that the percentages are divided by at least half or more.

4)    There are fewer Republican minorities than Democrats. A lot fewer.

I looked into this because I was curious to see the numbers. Looking at them, it is clear that things need to change.

So many are comfortable with the status quo and will do anything to keep it that way. Many people – like Mitt Romney – see diversity as bad, so they spread fear about it while at the same time denying that they are racist. This country is getting less white and less straight as the years go by, and some of us are ready for it and others are not. This year at the ballot box please vote for your best interests. Let’s give those white guys who have plagued Congress for years some colleagues who can challenge their outdated and anti-diversity views.

Submitted by TSM Contributor, James Queale

Think of the Children

13 May

Now that President Obama has endorsed marriage equality, the right-wing crazies will be coming out in full swing. They will continue to spew their broken record rhetoric like, “One man and one woman!” and “Gay marriage will lead to bestiality!” The one that I want to examine today is “Think of the children!”

This statement comes from the premise that homosexuals indoctrinate children and make them think that homosexuality is the only “choice” for them. They claim that after marriage equality is achieved, we will move on to schools putting tolerance into the curriculum which will lead more children to be gay. I can put an end to that claim, because when I was in high school we talked about being gay and gay marriage and no one “turned” gay because of it. People are either gay or they are not, all that changes is their willingness to be open. You can suppress feelings, but those feelings still exist.

The right-wing is so blinded by the premise of indoctrination that they don’t want gay people to adopt, which leaves many children waiting for loving parents. They also think that being gay equals being a pedophile. They try covering up those false claims by saying that a woman and a man who are married make the best possible situation. They continue to say this despite research that shows two parents (no gender specified) are what makes a strong environment for children.

If you look in your history books, you will never find intolerance as a tool for building strong societies. What you will find is that it leads to conflict and bloodshed, but these anti-gay groups continue to claim that intolerance builds societies. Because we, the gays, are the ones that are making societies crumble.

Anti-gay groups are the ones not thinking about the children. They are leaving a legacy of hatred and fear. They are our future history book villains. If they were truly thinking about the children, they would want to build a strong future based on tolerance, which a firm foundation. Instead, they want to build a future where the structure is faulty.

Submitted by TSM Contributor James Queale

Ayn Rand and Paul Ryan: He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not?

28 Apr

The Love Song of Paul Ryan

It appears that Mitt Romney is not the only major liar in the GOP. With statements from Rep. Paul Ryan like:

“The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand.” – 2005

AND

“I give out ‘Atlas Shrugged’ as Christmas presents, and I make all my interns read it. Well… I try to make my interns read it.” – 2003

It is surprising to see Rep. Ryan say this recently in an interview with the National Review discussing Ayn Rand:

I reject her philosophy…It’s an atheist philosophy. It reduces human interactions down to mere contracts and it is antithetical to my worldview. If somebody is going to try to paste a person’s view on epistemology to me, then give me Thomas Aquinas. Don’t give me Ayn Rand.

When I first read this on Think Progress I did a double take and assumed this must be an attempt at being like The Onion. I’m afraid that is not the case. Even though he has now dissed his hero, and appears to be going for a more “Godly” approach, we should notice that he has not dissed his budget cuts plan (inspired by his hero Ayn Rand) that would cut important social programs like Medicare and Food Stamps, and give trillions in tax cuts to corporations and the rich – thus shifting more tax burden onto the poor.

What I find amusing about all of this is that Rep. Ryan calls Rand’s selfish philosophy an “atheist” philosophy despite noting that as a Christian he followed her philosophy and admitted to getting into politics because of her. Obviously, the “virtue” of selfishness, as Rand referred to it, is not exclusive to atheists, but can be found in any walk of life.

The big question is, what is the catalyst for his change of mind? The answer could be videos like this from The American Values Network.

The video is clearly designed to clarify, “Look, the GOP are following an ATHEIST! That does not reflect the values they should have as Christians.” Rep. Ryan was even asked recently why he based his budget plan on Rand and not on Biblical principals like sharing and caring for everyone. His bizarre claim that his budget is based on his Catholic faith has been demolished by numerous groups of Catholic leaders and scholars.  He has not answered the question or the criticism; this pressure could be another reason why he has lied.

I do not believe that Rep. Ryan had any sort of epiphany or his budget would have also changed. We all know that you can follow a person’s philosophy without adopting the religion (or lack of religion) that person has. For example, I am a non-believer but I can still appreciate Biblical views of a loving nature without having to claim Christianity…By TSM Contributor James Queale

Gay Men Unite Against the War On Women

21 Apr

The Many forms of Misogyny

Another brilliant article by James Queale, TSM Contributor

Knowing about women and women’s rights should be at the top of everyone’s
list. That is why it is saddening to me to see women who have internalized
oppression stemming from a very misogynistic world.With the recent war on women by the Republican party, misogyny is
continually leading in the headlines. Whether it is Jan Brewer’s new “life
begins at the beginning of your period” bill or just recently when Michele
Bachmann spoke with no sense of irony saying:

What we want is women to be able to make their own choices…We want womento make their own choices in healthcare. You see that’s the lie that happens under Obamacare. The President of the United States effectively becomes a health care dictator. Women don’t need anyone to tell them what to do on health care. We want women to have their own choices, their own money, that way they can make their own choices for the future of their own bodies.

Seeing the word “choice” would suggest that Michele Bachmann is now
pro-choice. But, that is not the case. This is a woman that in matters of
rape or incest would still have abortion banned. Where is a woman’s right
to choose? This is a clever way to seem pro-choice while at the same time
taking away freedoms. Don’t you get it? We are more free with less freedom.
Makes perfect sense.There is a never ending lineup of Republican women who are falling on the
misogynistic sword. We need to combat the lies and misinformation and
educate. The attack on women has been ceaseless and we can’t let them win.
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