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The following interview was conducted by pop-culture poster boy, freelance blogger and executive editor of Gunpowder & Gold Alexander Mayfair.
Halfway to the interview, I realize it may not be summer anymore, but it's definitely still hot outside. I’ve been somewhat overzealous about the impending weather change and have pulled together my favorite fall looks. Wearing tall brown boots, skinny jeans and a loose sweater, however, I am now literally baking in the sun.
I place my order at the coffee shop, and before the barista finishes, Scott, this week’s interviewee, walks in. He orders an iced coffee, and we decide where to install ourselves.
"Looks pretty packed in here. Let's go outside." My sweater-wrapped heart sinks a little as we grab our drinks and head out to the patio.
Alexander: [Already beginning to sweat] Who’s the ideal person to be trapped in an elevator with for 12 hours?
Scott: Choosing someone to be trapped in an elevator with is really a question of, 'With whom do I want to have the bond that comes with being in a weird situation for an extended amount of time?' -- someone you can reflect on that experience with -- and for that reason, I would pick President Obama. I think if you have the most powerful person in the world sharing a really unique experience with you and developing the basis of a relationship, you can come back to it later and say, 'Hey, Obama, remember that time we were in an elevator together? Wasn’t that horrible? By the way, can you do this?'
Alexander: How very pragmatic of you. If drunk, whose choreography would you emulate?
Scott: I think the better question is, whose choreography do I emulate? And the answer is [Ukranian all-male dance troupe] Kazaky. They’re influenced by vogueing, which is something I never learned to do but loved. They’ve got the white-boy Eastern European way of doing it. It so intentionally flaunts the mixture of masculinity and femininity that I love, and being drunk just helps.
Alexander: My brother from another mother ... right there with you. Let’s talk boys. What’s a non-obvious end to the perfect date?
Scott: Truth be told, I tend not to go on very many dates. That said, a non-obvious way to end a date would be in the back of a cop car. I like going on adventures which frequently involve trespassing. This actually ties back to the elevator experience. You can say, 'Remember when we got arrested together? Happy anniversary, babe!'
Alexander: A thrill-seeker, I see. So this should be interesting ... If you were going to propose, how would you go about it?
Scott: I think this reflects how romantic I am not. I would be frank about it, not do a big gesture, and then incorporate it into a larger discussion about shared finances and a retirement plan. Very, very sexy! [laughs] Maybe I’m just saying that because I’ve never been in such a position.
Alexander: If you were internationally famous, what would you be known for?
Scott: We’ve experienced the death of the intellectual as a public figure, and most people can’t name a single international intellectual. If I were famous for something, whatever it is, I would like to represent the return of the celebrity intellectual.
Alexander: What’s the worst thing anyone’s ever said about you?
Scott: The funny thing about it is I probably don’t know. The worst thing ever said about me probably hasn’t gotten back to me yet.
Alexander: Finish this sentence for me: “When in a relationship, I tend to ...”
Scott: ... be uncomfortable. I’ve self-diagnosed myself as having vulnerability issues that I’ll eventually have worked on. At this point, I tend not to get into relationships because I lose interest before things get serious.
Alexander: This will be an interesting follow up question then. When do you feel most uninhibited?
Scott: I love being in new countries where my friends who live locally say, 'You can do whatever you want because foreigners are already expected to act weird.' I can just push that boundary a little bit more and do what would make me uncomfortable in the U.S. Even domestically, when in a new city, I’m much more likely to take my shirt off or do things that I wouldn’t normally do here where things are so reputationally based and conservative.
“Is this what I think it is? Grindrphiles?” One of Scott’s friends spots us as he walks by. We officially end the interview and they scamper off together as I head over to Buffalo Exchange to invest in lighter clothing. A new T-shirt and necklace later, I ask the cashier for scissors and fashion my very own jorts right then and there. I walk out, ready to seek my own Friday night thrills.
Guys, we've all just made history. This election was a resounding, record-setting victory for equality in this country. All our hard work is finally starting to pay off on a massive scale. The gay rights movement has just taken a giant leap forward.
For the first time, I personally feel that as a gay man, I was recognized and represented for being who I am. My interests are considered important. I’m no longer a marginalized player in the U.S. political process. I’m just as legitimate a citizen as my straight friends and neighbors.
First of all, the American people reelected Barack Obama, the first president to openly declare his support for marriage equality, the first president to oversee the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the first president who believes we are actually equal – who sees us, acknowledges us, and vocally supports us.
Secondly, marriage equality was on the ballot in four states. And for the first time ever, the voters in all four of those states – Maryland, Maine, Minnesota and Washington – declared that same-sex marriage should be legal. The citizens of those states showed the world that they really care about our rights.
Finally, a whopping four members of the LGBT community were voted into office. Californians chose as one of their U.S. representatives Mark Takano, the first openly gay congressman who’s also a person of color. New York voters went for Sean Patrick Maloney as a U.S. representative – and as their state’s first openly gay member of Congress. Wisconsin voters decided on Mark Pocan, who became the first openly gay representative to succeed another openly gay representative in the same district. And last but not least, Wisconsin voters statewide elected Tammy Baldwin as their senator. She’s the first openly gay person ever elected to the U.S. Senate.
It’s a time to celebrate, to be sure, but we must remember that the fight is not over. We need to hold our elected officials to account and ensure they legislate with our rights in mind. We must see to it that the Defense of Marriage Act is repealed and that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act is passed. We still have work to do.
I’m personally so proud of all the hard work that Grindr for Equality has done in the past few months to raise awareness and get out the vote in this historic election. I realize we sent you guys a lot of messages. But I think it was worth it, and I hope it helped inform and motivate you.
Let us not forget this moment and how it feels to be one huge step closer to acceptance and equality in this society. Voters just struck a major blow to hate and homophobia in America. A day when our sexual orientation will no longer be an issue is truly within sight.
Thank you for making a difference, Grindr guys.
Image via TalkAboutEquality.Wordpress.com.
Have you cast your vote yet?
Election Day is Tuesday, November 6, and it’s shaping up to be one of the most important elections in history. We want to do our part to make sure that every Grindr guy in the nation gets the chance to participate in this election. With your help, we can spread the word.
As soon as you cast your vote, log into Grindr and change your headline to “I VOTED!” Then send a screenshot of your profile to email@example.com. We’ll feature all submissions in a Facebook photo album dedicated to the Grindr Vote.
Changing your Grindr headline to “I VOTED!” isn’t just a great way to show off your civic style, but it’ll also encourage and remind the guys around you to vote. So go vote! Your future counts on it.
Mitt Romney is no fan of LGBT equality. Let’s take a minute right now to look at a few reasons why.
• Romney opposes not only marriage equality but also civil unions for gay people. In fact, he signed a pledge written by the homophobic National Organization for Marriage (NOM) to add a federal amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning marriage equality nationwide. And most recently, this video surfaced.
• Romney does not believe that the federal government should protect gay people in the workplace. He opposes the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). That means he thinks it should be legally OK for your boss to fire you just for being gay, bisexual, questioning -- anything other than straight.
• Romney supported the U.S. Military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.
• Part of the pledge that Romney signed for NOM stipulated that, if elected, he would establish a McCarthy-style “presidential commission” to investigate and possibly prosecute members of the gay community and their allies who offend the religious sensibilities of those who push an anti-gay agenda.
Now let’s take a minute to look at just a few things that President Barack Obama, who is strongly pro-equality, has already done for gay rights during his last four years as president.
• Obama supports marriage equality and ordered his Justice Department to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act because he believes it’s unconstitutional. (And we’re betting that Obama, a Harvard Law grad and former UChicago constitutional law professor, knows “unconstitutional” when he sees it.)
• Obama supports employment non-discrimination. He doesn’t think your boss should be able to fire you just because he doesn’t like your sexual orientation or gender identity. Obama believes ENDA should include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected status. He has repeatedly called on Congress to pass ENDA so that he could sign the bill into law.
• Obama repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which allowed U.S. servicemembers to serve openly and honestly for the first time ever.
• Obama enacted hate crimes legislation, specifically the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which is the first law in American history that protects people based specifically on sexual orientation and gender identity.
To see more of what Obama has done for the LGBT community during his time as president, take a look at this impressive timeline on his campaign website.
We recently conducted a survey of our Grindr users because we were curious to know which candidate they’d be voting for in the upcoming election.
I was honestly a little surprised to see that about 20 percent of the respondents said they’d vote for Mitt Romney. That seemed like a lot. The vast majority of those Romney voters then went on in the survey to answer that when sizing up candidates, policy on the economy and job creation was the No. 1 deciding factor -- more important than that candidate’s policy on GLBT equality issues.
When I looked at the correlation, I understood. Those pro-Romney guys just believe he’ll be the better candidate for economic growth. But that got me to thinking … Romney’s better economy would exclude gay people. Here’s why.
Romney opposes same-sex marriage. He has pledged to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which explicitly defines marriage as between one man and one woman for the sole purpose of making it impossible for gay couples – couples who are married in states where it’s legal – to enjoy certain benefits that are freely given to their straight counterparts.
The pro-Romney guys who answered our survey must think that’s less important than his economic beliefs. But, gay Romney supporters, if you like Romney’s economic policy so much that you think you’ll vote for him in spite of his anti-gay stance, please consider some facts that directly -- and negatively -- impact your wallet should you choose to get married or if you already are married.
There are 1,138 federal rules on the books that currently give married couples special consideration in the eyes of the law. Those special rules for married couples involve enhanced property rights, additional benefits and tax exemptions. But even if gay marriage is legal in your state, those special rules do not apply to you. They apply only to straight married couples because DOMA makes the federal recognition of same-sex marriage illegal.
That means a gay couple pays more money to the government in taxes and gets less money back from the government in benefits. Meanwhile, their married straight neighbors get to pay less and get back more.
To be more specific, same-sex couples are not allowed to file taxes jointly as a married couple, and they can’t take advantage of the lower tax rate that their straight married neighbors get. They simply have to file as two individuals. And that’s because DOMA doesn’t allow the federal government to recognize their marriage as legitimate.
We also won’t get survivor Social Security benefits when our partner dies, thanks to DOMA. And if our spouse were to die and leave us a fortune, we’d have to pay the estate tax, while our straight widow neighbor would not.
And if you’re worried about job creation, you’d better not live in a state where it’s still legal to fire someone simply for being gay, because you could lose your job any day. Romney won't come to your aid -- he certainly hasn’t said anything about protecting gay people in the workplace.
Guys, the point is this: We're losing money on the current arrangement. Romney is set on upholding this current arrangement. For all he cares, gay people are invisible in today's economy. He’s made it part of his platform. He will defend DOMA.
DOMA has got to go. That simply isn’t going to happen under Romney. A vote for Romney is a vote against your own economic interests – definitely not in favor of them.
Image courtesy Oscar Guzman, some rights reserved.