On the Gay Horizon Header

Gays Beaten by Pigs!

By: Karen J. Allen
Co-Publisher, On the Gay Horizon 

Did that conjure up images of baton-wielding cops chasing drag queens down Castro or through the Village? Or armed patrols warding off same-sex couples attempting to breach the barriers at county and city clerk offices?

Nope. Not those pigs. Think Babe and Wilbur. Or those tasty little sizzlers snuggling up next to your morning eggs.

As we are all painfully aware, civil rights for gays were dealt a cruel blow last November by the passage of Proposition 8 in good old liberal California. What you may not know, however, is that there was another measure dealing with rights that was put before the voters of California that same election:   Proposition 2, calling for more freedom and ethical treatment for pigs.  It passed by a 2 to 1 majority.

So pigs won and gays lost.

Now, I would be the first to advocate for the rights of pigs and all other animals. That's not the point. What does it say when Californians "get it" that animals deserve to be treated with kindness and respect, but they chose to not just deny but to actually take away our right to family status?

According to Princeton scholar Peter Singer, author of Animal Liberation, there is "a broad acceptance of the idea that animals count." And a recent editorial in the New York Times ended with "animal rights are now firmly on the mainstream ethical agenda."


Where does all of this leave us? It's disconcerting to know that we are trailing the pigs --- and the cows and the chickens (Prop 2 granted them more rights, also). Will we live long enough to gain parity with the pigs and the poultry?  When will gay rights be firmly fixed on the mainstream ethical agenda?  Care to choose a year?  A decade?

Last week I wrote that "in the end, most people will do the right thing --- once they finally open their eyes". I worried a bit about that statement. I believe that, but I also know we will suffer significant set-backs before that happens.

Which means we have to do what we are known for:  we march, we walk, we educate, we protest, we support GLBT organizations, we live our lives openly and we take care of our own.

That's easy enough to say. But how exactly do we "take care of our own"?

In larger, metropolitan areas, there are dozens of ways for you to get involved with groups that serve the gay community. For example, Houston has a wonderful organization called AssistHers that was founded over ten years ago to provide support to lesbians suffering chronic illness or age-related debility. Volunteers work in "care teams" running errands, delivering meals, offering emotional support, taking care of pets, providing transportation for medical and social service appointments.

As gay baby boomers age, the need for these kinds of gay service organizations will increase dramatically. Given the current economy and our status as last on the list, the likelihood of government assistance looks slim. No surprise, really.  It's always been up to us.  Which means that the time to get involved is now!

Lynn Dugan, founder of the Charleston Social Club, is actively working to start a group like AssistHers in Charleston. It's a daunting task to get something like that off the ground. But I have no doubt that Lynn is up to the challenge! If you live in the Charleston area, then I encourage you to become a part of this extremely worthwhile project.

Wherever you live --- whether in a large city or rural area --- "family" members need your support. That's the silver lining in all this, you know. That connection, that bond of family that we share.  It may have been handed to us wrapped in a whole lot of shit, but it's a gift.

Pay it forward.  You may need it one day.


Personal Note:  I'll have the "For Sale" sign planted in my front yard very soon. If all goes as planned, I should be relocated to Charleston within a few months. So, Lynn, I may not be able to be your first volunteer, but save me a spot on the list!


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Here's the musical accompaniment to Karen's essay:

Stand By Me

What more could I possibly say?  Until next week, stay centered.


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Fit in a Year - Week 16

By: Ann-Marie Giglio
Co-Publisher, On the Gay Horizon

So, the trans-fat mystery continues.  Because a manufacturer can claim "trans-fat free" when a serving size actually contains 0.49 grams of trans-fats, how can you tell the product is made with them?  Read the ingredient list.  That usually appears at the bottom of the Nutrition Label.  When you see an ingredient called "hydrogenated" or "Partially-hydrogenated", put the package down.  Remember, this stuff, this fat, NEVER breaks down.  You eat it--you keep it.  If the body cannot break it down, it cannot use it, and it cannot excrete it.  You are stuck with it.

So that's the first and perhaps most important thing to look for in an ingredient list.  Next week, more math!

[Editor's Note: Ann-Marie Giglio, besides being a professional writer and the co-publisher of On the Gay Horizon, is the owner of a fitness studio focused on improving quality of life through the mind/body connection. She is a certified ChiRunning and ChiWalking instructor, AFAA certified Personal Trainer and Group Fitness instructor and SCW certified Pilates reformer instructor.]


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