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Ol’ Maggie Court’s crazy ramblings a reminder that the LGBT collective still has plenty of work to do

Margaret Court says tennis “is full of lesbians.” As if that’s a bad thing.

patti dawn swansson

Moreover, ol’ Maggie informs us that there were a couple of devil lesbians on the professional tennis circuit back in her day and, get this, they would take young players to parties. Imagine that. Young women partying. With lesbians. The horrors.

Ol’ Maggie has been saying a whole lot of oddball things lately and, if we are to believe the preacher lady from the Land of Oz, civilization is caught in the grip of a global plot orchestrated by the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender collective. Those pesky gays are stealing the minds of our children, don’t you know?

“That’s what Hitler did, that’s what communism did—got the mind of children,” she advises us. “And it’s a whole plot in our nation and in the nations of the world to get the minds of the children.”

Hmmm. Kind of reminds me of what the Roman Catholic Church tried to do to me when I was a sprig.

The nuns, when not whacking us on the knuckles with a yardstick, would regale us with far-out tales of fantasy gardens, poisonous fruit, hell fires, voodoo antics like turning the rib of a man into a woman and, best of all, talking snakes in a magical tree. Their stories were better than anything we watched on The Wonderful World of Disney. But apparently Margaret Court believes all the Bible-based, brainwashing blarney that my receptive mind was force-fed, and it’s quite clear that the great Australian tennis champion is convinced that gay and (especially) transgender people are the spawn of Satan.

“That’s all the devil,” she says of transgender kids.

Ol’ Maggie Court

Poor, ol’ Maggie. There’s just no escaping conniving gay men and (especially) lesbians. We’re always shoving ourselves in her face, so to speak. Why, it’s gotten so bad that she can’t even travel hither and yon on Qantas anymore because the airline’s CEO, Alan Joyce, is a gay man who, not surprisingly, promotes same-sex marriage, which is, in the world according to Maggie, “alternative, unhealthy, unnatural.” The right to wed is “not theirs to take.”

“I believe marriage as a union between a man and a woman as stated in the Bible,” she harrumphs.

Well, it’s about your Bible, Maggie: One person’s truth is another’s fiction.

The prune-faced preacher lady has been battered fore and aft for her Bible-thumping bleatings, which included a disapproving and extremely tacky tsk-tsking of Aussie tennis pro Casey Dellacqua and her partner Amanda Judd following the birth of the lesbian couple’s second child, a joyous event that Court greeted with “sadness” because the newborn has two mamas and zero papas.

I’d rather not join the Maggie-bashing chorus, though, because I think she’s unwittingly done the gay community a small favor.

The hell, you say. How can that be so?

Well, to be clear, I find her drawing a parallel between the LGBT collective and a mass murderer, Adolph Hitler, repugnant. It is not only offensive in the extreme, it shows she clearly has lost both the plot and the argument. She appears to be totally off her nut. But…I also think ol’ Maggie has provided us with a reminder, albeit appalling—at the top of Pride Month, no less—that we still have work to do. The fight for acceptance and equality continues. It has not been won. We must keep society’s feet to the fire.

I suppose we really shouldn’t care what comes out of this nutter’s mouth, but Court is a legendary sportswoman. No one has matched her two dozen tennis Grand Slam singles titles. One of the playing venues at the Australian Open in Melbourne is named in her honor (for now). And she is a pastor (the argument could be made that she’s more of a cult leader given that she created her own church, the Victory Life Centre in Perth). Thus, her voice carries some degree of heft. If not, the pushback from gay, transgender and, indeed, straight people against her homo/transphobic tripe wouldn’t be so robust.

I’ll just say this about that: Freedom of speech is a beautiful thing, but so is the freedom to shut the hell up. Ol’ Maggie might want to give that a try.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m stepping out to party with some lesbian tennis players.

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I worry about being objectified and harassed while Caitlyn Jenner is “figuring out what to wear”

Well, our girl Kitty Cait has done it again. Yup. Hurled up another hair ball.

newest pic

patti dawn swansson

This, of course, has become an uncomfortably commonplace occurance for Caitlyn Jenner, the transgender diva extraordinaire who, when last seen, was trying to make nice with Ellen DeGeneres but failing miserably at it because Kitty Cait’s narrative on same-sex marriage ran closer to a certain Kentucky county clerk’s truth than LGBT truth.

It was at that moment when I said a silent prayer that she would disappear for a time. Like about a year. Step away from the spotlight, girl. No more TV gab shows. No speaking engagements. Go live the transgender life. Learn. We’ll let you know when it’s safe to come back.

But no. Kitty Cait doesn’t do down low.

It isn’t her fault, mind you. I mean, the poor girl cannot step outside her house on the hill without the paparazzi poking a camera lens into her surgically sculpted face. Moreover, people seemingly cannot resist the urge to present the trans glam gal with awards because…well, because they believe it wonderfully brave of her to have finally put on a dress after 65 years of wearing the pants in the house.

First there was the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage. Next to go on the mantel at the Malibu mansion was a gimmicky something called the Teen Choice Award for Social Media, which I believe certifies her as the planet’s oldest selfie/texting diva. More recently, the ladies at Glamour magazine joined the fawning flock in the Cult of Cait by including the High Priestess on their roster of Women of the Year recipients.

Whereas the Ashe Award bred controversy and criticism, for both Jenner and ESPN, the Teen Choice thing created but a ripple because it was pure, Valley Girl fluff. The stuff really hit the fan, though, when she joined Glamour’s gaggle of laudable ladies.

It was too much to handle for one man, James Smith, whose bride, Moira, had been the only female among 23 New York City police officers to die in the 9/11 tragedy. For her heroism in saving countless lives in terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center twin towers on that horrible day in 2001, she was named Glamour Woman of the Year posthumously. Jenner receiving the same honor didn’t work for Smith, so the former NYC cop took his wife’s award off a shelf, loaded it in a box and shipped it back to Glamour.

Then it got worse.

After the Glamour gala, Jenner did the question-and-answer thing with Buzzfeed, and she was asked about the challenges of being female.

“The hardest part about being a woman is figuring out what to wear,” she replied.

Ooooops. Someone has lost the plot.

Of the many challengeable utterances that have escaped from Kitty Cait’s trout pout lips, this surely ranks highest on the ditz chart. It was stupid. Totally dumb. It’s almost beyond belief that someone who has made a career of public speaking can, at times, be so dense, so sparse of reasoned thought. Not surprisingly, it was met with shock and awe, with women around the globe lashing out in fitful fury.

“Woman of the year?” actor Rose McGowan posted on her Facebook page. “Not by a long fucking shot.”

Others offered a check list of issues more pressing than adornments: Misogyny. Pregnancy. Balancing a career and motherhood. Fighting societal stereotyping. Vulnerability to crime. Non-equal pay for equal work. Menstruation. PMS. Infertility. Being objectified. Childbirth. Menopause. Fending off creepy men on the street. Being a single mother. Unemployment. Living in poverty.

But wait. Let’s take a deep breath here.

Prior to her Bruce-to-Caitlyn transition, Jenner had never met a transgender female, let alone lived as a woman. Jenner has been living female for what, six-seven months? She’s a newby. And it has been, much like her male existence, a life of wealth and white privilege. She has no life experience as an earthy woman. No point of reference. She cannot possibly relate to anything more significant than lipstick and nail polish. Given that she appears to be constantly surrounded by a squadron of hangers-on that include bodyguards, she is not exposed to the everyday perils and fears of walking the streets alone. Or being alone on a hotel elevator late at night when two well-lubricated men step inside.

So, really, what did anyone expect Kitty Cait to say when asked about the challenges of being female?

Jenner’s reality is clearly at odds with that of most women I know, natural-born or transgender, and I might think it shallow. You might think it shallow. But it is her truth and she’s not shy about owning it and sharing it.

I just wish she had a filter between her brain and her lips.


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Michael Sam: Is he still a gay football player, or is he now just a football player?

After all the hype, all the ballyhoo, all the drama, all the controversy over a coming-out and a guy-to-guy smooch in the manly, macho world of professional football, the Michael Sam debut had all the oomph and fanfare of an afternoon nap.

patti dawn swansson

patti dawn swansson

This was ho meeting hum.

I mean, an openly gay man performing in the Canadian Football League was supposed to be a resonating moment, complete with bells, whistles, Roman candles and a 21-gun salute. Instead…let’s just say it reminded me of the Miss Peggy Lee classic, Is That All There Is?.

Cripes, man, as of this writing, pro football’s gay lunar landing hadn’t even attracted the attention of the website Outsports, the self-proclaimed Galactic Leader in Gay Sports. Their headline story 14 hours after the fact was the impending nuptuals of U.S. lesbian soccer star Megan Rapinoe and singer/songwriter Sara Cahoone. Ya, that’s right. A same-sex engagement was given top billing over Sam’s baptism under fire.

Let the record show that the lunar landing occurred on Friday evening, with four minutes and 58 ticks remaining in the opening quarter of a joust between the Montreal Alouettes and the homestanding Ottawa RedBlacks. That’s when Sam, an openly gay man, entered the fray, trotting on to the playing pitch at TD Place Stadium during a commercial break.

He lined up at rush end for the Als, and the historic moment was witnessed by 24,427 sets of eyes in the pews. Plus, of course, the assortment of usual suspects roaming the sidelines and TSN’s national television audience.

The large lads in pads then resumed regularly scheduled hostilities. No muss, no fuss. And no quarterback sacks or tackles for the cause celebre, who, through the duration of the exercise, was inserted into the defensive dozen for 12 plays and whose contribution was, predictably, that of a non-impactful, non-influential participant.

Basically, Sam, the former Southeastern Conference defensive player-of-the-year with the Missouri Tigers and seventh-round choice of the St. Louis Rams in the 2014 National Football League draft, was all fizzle and no sizzle.

So where do we go from here?

Is Michael Sam now just a football player to be judged and treated strictly on the merits of his activity between the lines and in the players’ changing chamber, or is he still the gay football player?

Surely, those in the LGBT collective see him as a gay football player, someone who gives rise to hope for their youth. As much as gay kids know they can become doctors and lawyers and teachers and politicians and singers and actors and serve in the military, they now know the doors to professional football have been kicked open. They can walk through.

They also know how not to do it, thanks to Sam and his ill-advising advisors.

You do not, for example, do drama queen. That is, you do not do Oprah. You do not do Dancing With The Stars. You do not walk out on your teammates the day before a game and enter a two-week witness protection program. Oh, and swapping spit with your boyfriend on national TV? Sorry, but that still doesn’t play well with the mostly heterosexual, often homophobic male lumps that sit on bar stools across the continent. Not even 15 years deep into the 21st century.

Basically, you do not do Caitlyn Jenner in cleats.

That being said, Sam, along with Alouettes ownership/management and the CFL, has tilled the soil and planted the seeds of possibility and opportunity. Gays can play pro football.

There’s only one question to be answered now: Can Michael Sam play pro football?


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Who decides what’s normal and what isn’t normal?

By patti dawn swansson

During lunch with a friend, the matter and merits of same-sex marriage was on the menu and we were on opposite sides of the debate.

patti dawn swansson

patti dawn swansson

“I don’t think it’s normal,” my friend said.

“What isn’t normal?” I asked with no small measure of cheek. “Getting married isn’t normal? Or gay people getting married isn’t normal?”

“You know what I mean.”

“Yes, I know what you mean. And I agree. Getting married isn’t normal.”

“Don’t be so smart. Do you think same-sex marriage is normal?”

“What’s normal? And who decides what’s normal?”

“Society decides.”

“Society is an ass.”

Certainly any society that denies two loving people the right to be wed is an ass.

Gay people shouldn’t be penalized simply because straight people have made a mess of marriage (40 per cent of first marriages in Canada end in divorce). Gay people shouldn’t be expected to pay for the sins of straight couples. Fortunately, Canada provides equal opportunity in the arena of wedlock and our gay people can mess up just like all you straight folk.

Seriously, though, the concept of normalcy is greatly flawed, whether it be in reference to sexual orientation or how often we should marry.

It’s an unfortunate reality that some of us allow others to do our thinking for us. The Roman Catholic Church, for example, tells its flock what to believe in, so the faithful believe in God, a virginal birth, Jesus is the Messiah, heaven, the fiery coals of hell and the Ten Commandments. They therefore have a set of standards that dictate their version of normal. For others, however, the belief in the virginal birth of a messiah is not normal thinking. It is fiction. Charles Manson told his flock what to believe, so they wandered about Los Angeles killing people. It was normal for them to follow Charlie’s instructions, but to most others it was not normal to do the bidding of a mad man and kill innocent people. We tell our children that the use of profanity is wrong and not normal, but the family down the street is quite vulgar and punctuating their conversations with four-letter words is perfectly normal. I have a female friend with tattoos covering much of her body. Some say that is not normal. But it is normal to her and all others with art decorating their bodies. Suicide bombings are not normal in Canada, but they are normal for some extremist groups in parts of the eastern world such as Pakistan and Iraq.

Normalcy is a shifting climate. Once upon a time, you seldom saw female police officers. Now it’s normal to see them every day. Back in the day, it was normal to listen to our music on vinyl records. Today that isn’t normal. It’s normal for a young child to believe in the Easter Bunny, but it’s not normal for him to hold that belief by the time he’s in high school.

So, you see, nothing is normal and everything is normal.

We must think for ourselves. We cannot allow others to tell us what is normal and what is not normal.

When I had the luncheon conversation about same-sex marriage with my friend, she was unaware that I have a gay son. He is married. So, because she was not armed with this information, she sat across the table from me and said people such as my son are not normal. She was being honest and true to her beliefs. But such a belief is close-minded and could be harmful. I could have been quite offended. I could have lashed out and abandoned her. Instead, I let it slide because I don’t imagine she woke up that very morning and decided same-sex marriage isn’t normal. She had been programmed all her years to think there is something “not normal” about the gay lifestyle.

To me, there is nothing abnormal about two people in love exchanging marriage vows, and in this area I trust I am on the side of the angels. Love is not discriminate in the concerns of sexual orientation. Only a mind that has been shuttered by a cultish belief system would think otherwise and promote the notion that a same-sex union is an anomalous undertaking.

Our mind is as the cup which holds our tea. We finish our tea and refill our cup. The cup always welcomes more tea. Similarly, our mind must be receptive to optional schools of thought. For example, if you believe in the virginal birth of Jesus, you must also allow for the possibility that the story is fiction. By the same token, if you disbelieve it, you must also allow that it might be fact. That is an open mind, a welcoming tea cup.

It is wrong-thinking to believe there is no other way or no other possibilities. To question or challenge so-called normalcy is right-thinking. If we empty our mind of the beliefs others have placed there, we can refill it with fresh views and values and notions.

Believe everything is normal and believe nothing is normal.