Monday, November 17, 2008

Why the Rallies Matter

There's been all this negative talk among people about the Prop 8 protest rallies that we've been having in California and, today, across the country. If you read the blog comments and hear the talking heads commenting, they keep saying things like, "What's the point to the protests? You're not going to get the vote overturned by holding up signs." That may be true, but I think people are missing the real point of the protests.

For the past several years--in fact, the last 15 years or so--the gay community has been living in general complacency. After ACT-UP folded in the mid '90s, the gay rights movement virtually disappeared from site for a lot of us. We got so used to being part of the mainstream (thanks, "Will & Grace") that we've forgotten that there is still a lot of bigotry and intolerance in the world. When "Brokeback Mountain" came out and did so well at the box office, it was almost as if we'd finally been welcomed to the captain's table on "The Love Boat." We got this idea that mainstream society had finally accepted us. Or, to paraphrase the indelible Sally Field, "You liked us. You really liked us." Because of our increased visibility in the mainstream, we forgot that we still needed to work together to keep the momentum going. We moved to our gay ghettos and ate at our gay restaurants and went to our gay gyms and got so used to just being around other gay people, we started taking each other--and ourselves--for granted.

The one good thing about Prop 8 passing is that there's been a wake-up call in the gay community. Suddenly we got to see what a lot of people who said they embraced us and loved us really thought about us, and it wasn't pretty. They thought we were funny on TV and they loved our movies, but deep down, they still thought that we lived unnatural and immoral lives. The honeymoon with the rest of the world is now officially over, and we are once again forced to look within our own community for the support and encouragement that we need to get back out in the streets and tell the world that it's not OK to think of us as any less than any other human being. That's why these rallies have been so important. They are bringing us together again in a way that we haven't been for more than a decade, and they are mobilizing us to take action once again. We are now beginning to see how important it is for us to stay bonded and united in strength, not splintered into high school cliques, as we have been.

The rallies have gotten us out of the bars and the gyms and off the Internet hookup sites and into the streets. And the more rallies we have--the more time we spend coming together for the cause--the stronger we will become again, and this time, there will be no stopping us. This time, we'll get our equal rights, because we've tasted a little bit of what it feels like to be "accepted" in the world, and we aren't going to stand for anything less. These rallies may not get Prop 8 overturned, but WE will. Just you watch. You just can't keep a good gay down.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Christians & Mormons = Religious Fundamentalists/Terrorists

Yes, I've said it. It's become more and more obvious over the years that the Christian right and the Mormons are forcefully imposing their religious views on this country, a country founded upon the notion of freedom of religion. They've gone so far as to introduce propositions to take away civil rights in a country founded upon the notion of equality for all. To them, if you don't agree with their point of view, you're a heathen.

As a well-educated, free-thinking human, I deny the existence of a supreme being known as "God." I think the whole concept is complete and total rubbish, comparable to Greek mythology and fairy tales for people who feel the need to believe in something because they can't face the idea that maybe this is all there is. The idea that there is some all-knowing being living in the sky who is keeping track of who's being naughty and nice is one of the most ludicrous things I've ever heard, yet millions of Americans readily fall prey to this hooey. And for what? Salvation? A place at the Popular Table in the Sky? As if.

Do I think there is something bigger than all of us out there? Sure. But it's NOT God. God was invented by people who needed an explanation for their lives. I fully believe there is some kind of spiritual "energy" that connects us all, and that we will all be joined together again once our "energy" (i.e. souls) has returned to the fold, but this has nothing to do with the traditional concept of a judgmental "God."

Because this is America, I have the freedom to believe that without reproach. And because of this, it should follow that those who do believe in God should not be allowed to construct laws that affect my life--or the lives of anyone else who do not share their beliefs. Religious fanatics are forcing their faith onto people every day by using deceitful and unethical practices, resorting to lies and fear tactics, and bombing abortion clinics in the name of God, and it's nothing short of terrorism. It's absolutely no better than the suicide bombers that hijacked the 9/11 planes, and it needs to be stopped.

It's time for America to live up to its separation of church and state and tell religious fundamentalists to keep God out of our governing systems. We need to vote NO on Proposition 8 and take a stand for equality for all, regardless of race, creed, gender, sexual orientation or religious background. We need to vote NO on any proposition that is founded upon religious beliefs. We need to start living up to the principals that are set forth in our Constitution, and start living as free-thinking individuals who believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinions and to the same benefits and rights as anyone else. Until the Christian right and the Mormons are stopped, we will live in their fundamentalist stranglehold, and it's destroying this country more and more. Seriously, people, it's time to wake up and smell the "magic beans" that are being fed to us by the church. If you want to believe in God, that's your right, and I respect your right to practice it, but your religious beliefs have NO place in the laws that govern this land. It's that simple. Keep God out of it and vote the way Americans were supposed to: With BRAINS, not faith.

I'm Ken Knox, and I approve this message.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Participating in History

This weekend I got to go out and do something historical. Me and my best friend, Natalie, participated in a rally to support the defeat of Proposition 8, the California initiative that would eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry. I've always believed that in order for change to come about, people need to step up to the plate and do more than just talk about change, and this weekend I got to put my money where my mouth is.

It was the coolest experience being part of the rally. Our rally was held on all four corners of the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Hyperion Avenue in Silver Lake. When we first got there, there weren't all that many people around, but there were some who already had their signs and were holding them up as cars went by. We got our signs, chose our corner and got to work. We had been told to ignore the people who tried to confront us or yell at us. Surprisingly, there wasn't a whole lot of that going on. I would say that an overwhelming majority of the people driving by -- at least 65 to 70 percent of them -- were honking in our favor. Tons of people drove by giving up the "thumbs up" sign or shaking their fists in show of support. There were all types of people -- Latino families, straight couples, gay couples, single folk... everyone was out and showing their support. Lots of people walking by decided to grab a sign and join us.

Natalie and me had smoked a little weed before we got there, so were were a little stoned, which made the whole thing kind of surreal, but we were definitely present in the moment and having lots of fun. It was just an amazing feeling to see all the support and to audibly hear it in those horns honking, which is usually a sound I can't stand. But yesterday, it was a beautiful sound. I guess you could say that since Silver Lake is a pretty progressive neighborhood, it was no surprise that mostly everyone was beeping in support of our cause, but then again, as I've found out all too recently, you can never be too sure about who's on your side. When people who claim to be great friends tell you they are voting to eliminate your rights, it's a bit discouraging. But getting out into the streets and helping to promote the message of equality for all really brought my spirits up.

I had just received my new Flip camera in the mail the day before, so I shot some video of the rally. It's not the greatest, and I come off like a total dork in the video, but oh well, you can check it out below if you want. Don't forget to get out there yourself and vote NO on Prop 8, and do something to ensure that inequality is not a legacy that our children will have to atone for.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

With a Heavy Heart...

Today I have a very heavy heart. One of my good friends, somebody I truly love, just called me up out of the blue to tell me that she plans to vote yes on Prop 8 and that she needed to address it with me. She went on to tell me that not only must she honor her religious faith by voting "yes," but also that she has done a lot of research on the issue and she has concerns about what legalizing same-sex marriage will mean to her children (children, is must be noted, that she doesn't have yet). She spoke of the ramifications of same-sex marriage without giving specifics, and stressed to me that her vote to eliminate my right to enjoy the same kind of legally recognized relationship that she is entitled to does not mean that she loves me any less. Well, golly gee.

I have to admit, I was floored by this conversation, but I should not be surprised. I knew my friend was getting more and more involved with her religious faith (those damned Mormons!), and in fact, I saw this coming, but it didn't make facing the inevitable any easier. I didn't want to get into a huge debate (or worse), so I politely told her that she is entitled to her opinion and that I still love her, then excused myself from the phone call. But now... just moments later, I'm torn. I was just sitting at work the other day telling my co-worker that I didn't think I would be able to maintain a relationship with anyone who voted in favor of Proposition 8, and now I'm forced to put my money where my mouth is. But here's the thing: I don't know that I can do that. How can I look at someone who voted to deny me the right to equality and not feel like they've told me that I am lesser in their eyes? How can I not feel judged? Telling someone that is gay, "I love you, but I don't think you should enjoy the same legal rights as me" is the same as telling a black person, "I love you, but I don't think you should be allowed to drink out of the same fountain as me." And yet my friend maintains that she loves me and thinks no less of me. How can this be true if she doesn't think I should be allowed to the most basic of rights?

As I said, the reason that my friend gave me for voting in favor of Proposition 8 is that she is worried what same-sex marriage would mean for her children (the ones she hasn't even had yet). She said there would be very serious ramifications on her kids if gay people could marry. She didn't elaborate, but earlier she did say she didn't want her kids learning that same-sex couples could marry in school. And my answer is, "WHY?"

This kind of reasoning annoys me more than anything, because essentially she's blaming her decision to treat me unfairly on kids she doesn't even have yet, and absolving herself of the responsibility of her own bigotry. And I just have to ask: WHAT ARE WE PROTECTING THE CHILDREN FROM???

What ramifications are the Prop 8 people talking about? The ramifications that their kids will grow up in a world where people are recognized as equals under the law? Those ramifications??? GOD, NOT THOSE! God knows we don't want our kids thinking that it's OK to people to be who they are and to feel like they are entitled to the same rights as everyone else. Because that would just be too horrible for words.

Why is it so horrible if kids learn about same-sex love at an early age? Isn't that when they SHOULD learn about it, so that they don't grow up with the same prejudices that their parents harbor? If you want to save the children, then save them from the people who are voting yes on Prop 8. Seriously, THESE are the people who are destroying this country.

Maybe it's because I'm gay that I think we all should be equal, but I don't know... wasn't this country founded on the idea that all men are created equal? How is voting to amend our Constitution and eliminate the rights of a certain faction of people honoring those founding principals? How is this justifiable under ANY circumstances? The truth is, it's NOT. It's just plain WRONG, and I'm having a very hard time figuring out how I can still call someone my friend when they don't even think that any relationship I have is worthy enough to be protected under the law because such a thing might hurt her unborn children!

My friend said she spent a lot of time praying for her answer and that she got a very spiritual sign to vote yes for Prop 8. Since I do not share her belief in God (yet again, I am seeing how organized religion prevents otherwise intelligent people from making rational decisions), I can't look to the heavens for my answer. I'm going to have to search my heart on this one and see where it leads me. What would YOU do???

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

'NCIS' Star Pauley Perrette Comes Out Against Proposition 8

My neighbor and good friend, Pauley Perrette (Abbey on TV's NCIS) has written a wonderful essay on why Proposition 8 is bad for California -- and for the world in general. I knew there was a reason why I loved her so much, besides the fact that she's a pretty cool chick.

Check it out below!


By Pauley Perrette

I realize that this could be entitled “Proposition Fear” but it doesn’t rhyme and it doesn’t exemplify the true nature of the issue, either in initial intent or the inevitable outcome. Proposition 8 is an initiative on the ballot set for November 4th, 2008 that would change the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same sex couples to marry. There is nothing else to it. It is simply to “eliminate rights”.

There have been many times in the history of this country where necessary reform has been both championed and enacted. Reforming our laws can be a positive process, one which makes this country better and more true to what we stand for, such as “All men are created equal”, and “Liberty and justice for all”. In the beginning, “All men are created equal”, actually meant “All white male property owners” are created equal. Later reform meant this clause was inclusive of all white males. After a while, and an enormous amount of bloodshed, women and people of color would also be afforded most of the same rights.

Marriage has taken even longer to reform. Anti-miscegenation laws prevented couples of different races from marrying. It was a felonious crime, in which offenders could be imprisoned, and were. This may sound like ancient history, but it certainly is not. The case of Loving Vs. Virginia, which finally rid us of this unfair treatment of some of our “equals”, was only finally litigated and won 1967. California should be proud that they were, as usual, ahead of the curve: California ended anti-miscegenation laws in 1948.

There are many cultures that do not allow anyone to marry the person of their choosing at all. The person you marry is chosen for you. This practice is still in effect within certain religions. In this country, one has the right to choose their religion, thus, engaging in the tradition of your marriage partner being chosen for you, or picking your own mate, is voluntary. This should not be ruled involuntary by the state.

Religious persons are the overwhelming proponents of Proposition 8, although many do not support Proposition 8. In point of fact, two denominations, plus some religious advocates from outside of California, are taking the lead in supporting Proposition 8. In their zeal, they have made many false claims in their attempt to frighten voters into voting for Proposition 8, such as churches losing their IRS status and that same sex marriage being forced upon children in school. These allegations have been clearly stated as untruths, yet the campaign of false rhetoric continues in millions of dollars worth of false advertising..

Here’s the real truth: whether or not Proposition 8 passes, churches are allowed to discriminate against whomever they want, or to not discriminate. Some churches will not ordain women or allow them as members of the clergy. Some do. Some churches allow marriage ceremonies for anyone who wants to make that kind of commitment, some do not. Some do not allow divorce, or a divorcee to remarry. Churches are segregated, delegated and regulated by their own clergy and judicatory heads. Each of us has the choice to attend the church we want to, or none at all. Separation of church and state allows for religions to have their own set of rules as to whom they will accept and who they won’t, and the practices they support and the ones they don’t. They will continue to be able to do so. Equal rights for everyone under the law allows churches to proudly define themselves as what they do or do not support. The bottom line? Proposition 8 will not affect religious communities at all.

As far as the continuous lies about schools go, California Law prohibits any child from being taught anything about health or family issues against their parents will. Not only does Proposition 8 mention nothing about education, the Superior Court has already ruled these scare tactic claims in their current ads as false and misleading. They continue making these claims regardless of the exposition of the truth to try to instill false fear.

And what is the fear? “Protecting Marriage”, and many other varied wordings of the same sentiment, seems to be the mantra at the core of this. This is very similar to the language used in the anti-miscegenation laws of yore. “Protecting,” suggests that something is in danger, could be stolen or damaged. When others are doing the same thing you are, when they believe in the same values you do: commitment and loyalty and monogamy - doesn’t that lend support for the values of marriage? Is a gay married person going to sneak into your house in the middle of the night and steal your marriage? Your marriage may be threatened by infidelity, lack of interest, lack of commitment or tragically by abuse or deception, however, other committed married couples do not affect your marriage at all.

Many people are vehemently in objection to legal marriage all together, for anyone whatsoever, to the point where they would like to have it legally impossible for anyone to be married. Same sex couples that believe in marriage believe the same thing straight marriage oriented people do if faced with an anti-marriage for all proposal. They believe in the right to make that commitment if they want to.

Personally, I am a church-going Christian. I love my church, my congregation; it’s my favorite place to be. I feel the safest and the happiest when I am at my beloved church.
I am a straight, female, divorced Christian who has chosen an excellent mate (this time)
and am about to get married, in my church. I love my fiancé more than I thought a person could love another and thank God every day for him. Exactly the way many couples of differing races, religions and orientations feel about their beloveds. In many places and times, I would not be able to get married. Because I chose my own partner, because I was divorced years ago, because I am of Native American heritage (now mixed with several other things) or if marriage was outlawed all together, I wouldn’t be able to be married. But I can. And I am.

I have been making arrangements, calling my family, speaking with my pastor, trying to figure out what to wear; trying to make a list of invitations, the same thing many other couples have been doing. I’ve been to, and and have been in, many beautiful weddings of late. Some are same sex, some are opposite sex. They made plans for their day as I am doing now. Food, location, family, friends, flowers, reservations, flights… I’ve worn a dress, taken endless pictures and cried tears of joy for all of my friend’s nuptials in the exact same way.

The only difference is, there are people who want to amend the California Constitution in order to strip some of my friends of their marriages. Forget about the food, the location, the family, the friends, the flowers and the wonderful memories of that special day… It was their commitment and love that made me cry.

These are People.
People with pretty conservative ideals.
People who love each other so much they want to make it official and legal, have a wedding and celebrate with their loved ones. They have happy photo albums and saved their cake. They have rings and special things from their weddings. They love each other, just like straight people do.

Love is a big word. I believe in Love. I believe that God is Love. I believe in things like
1 John Chapter 4: 7-12 /20-21.

People who love each other.
Really? That is who you want to spend millions of dollars to “eliminate the rights” of?
I don’t know what church you go to, but I’m sure glad I go to mine. A church that believes in love and equality for all.

And I’m sure glad that I will not have on my conscience and in my soul that I supported a bill of hate and fear and a campaign of lies.

I am proudly voting No on Proposition 8. And am proud to be able to say years from now, when there are plenty more married couples of all types and shapes and colors and sizes trying to do the right thing with their marriage,
that I did the right thing.

I am an American who does what we say we are…
Liberty and Justice for all…
All are created equal.

And I am a Christian
Who does what it says…
Love one another…
The greatest of these is Love.

No On Prop 8.

Pauley Perrette

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Understanding American Stupidity in Election Time

Is there anything more frustrating or downright infuriating than American stupidity? I swear, the more we get into this election, the more discouraged I become by the display of sheer idiocy on display by the people who are actually considering voting for the McCain/Palin ticket. It's not bad enough that we just sat through eight friggin' years of lies, deceit and fascism at the hands of a serious nincompoop with daddy issues, but now people are actually considering putting themselves through four more years of it?

For years, there was a swell of excitement surround John McCain. He was supposed to be the "liberal conservative," the "cool" Republican that would straddle the line between social and economic conservatism in a way that would speak to all people. But what happened? As he got closer to announcing his candidacy, he morphed into every other hardline conservative with a greed for power and an over-sized ego. As if his blatant homophobia and sexism wasn't enough, he then proved himself to be completely incompetent when he chose Sarah Palin as his running mate. Many are making the choice out to be one of desperation, but I think it was purely strategic. It's true that his bid for the presidency was beginning to falter prior to choosing Palin, but the choice to bring a small-town soccer mom on board as his VP was sheer brilliance on his part. He did what Obama was too chickenshit to do when he dissed Hilary Clinton in favor of Joe Biden: He brought a loud-mouthed woman to the party. (Personally, I still think Obama was scared of being overshadowed by Hilary's history and her immense support from within the Democratic party.) But Obama's mistake--and say what you will, but his choice to go with Biden over a sure thing like Hilary was a mistake--was McCain's victory. McCain chose a woman that the red staters could relate to: the tough-talking woman who raised them all. He tapped into the rampant narcissism that plagues American culture and gave the Republicans a woman they could look up to--even if she knows diddly-squat about politics--because she reminds them of their own mothers. Ingenious!

But McCain's choice clearly demonstrates the stupidity of the American people who never got out of their hometowns and who cling to a false sense of security like the dirty blanket that Linus obsessively carried around in The Peanuts cartoons. It also represents the self-righteousness of those who resent the success of their former classmates and small-town peers. Voting for Palin is their revenge on everyone who ever left home and actually made something of themselves. Small-town people are nothing if not self-righteous about staying small-town. Terrified of getting out of their comfort zones and actually following their dreams, they stick around their home base because there, they never have to face the possibility of failure. They have no one to answer to back home, because everybody else is too busy deluding themselves into thinking that "dreams" aren't meant to be realized by "good people like me." So they surround themselves with people who will support them in their smallness, and they look down on the ones who actually followed their passions and made a play for happiness. Does this mean that everyone who decided to stay close to home is an idiot? Not at all. I know many people who never left home who are intelligent individuals and who lead very full lives, but there is clearly a large faction of small-town society that has no idea how the rest of the world lives, and that's where Sarah Palin comes in.

Palin clings to her "small-town values" like it's something she should be proud of. In a way, I agree with her. I live in Los Angeles, a huge city where people typically come to escape their boring and painful pasts and remake themselves into someone "fabulous" and "successful." I am very happy to say that I've never given into the superficial tendencies of this city; I am true to my small-town roots in remaining true to things like honesty, loyalty and the belief that everyone is worth my time, not just the beautiful people who look like movie stars. But where I differ from Sarah Palin is that I don't let my small-town values get in the way of empathizing with and accepting others who are different than me. Palin lets her belief that she is better than anyone who is different from her cloud her judgment as a human being and as a politician. And I don't want someone who touts "small-town values" as a badge of honor to be in position where she might end up running the country one day. People in small towns tend to only look out for those who are like them and who share their beliefs, which means that Palin is certainly going to overlook gays, pro-choice women and minorities of all colors. I want someone with global values in the Oval Office: Someone who honestly cares for and looks out for the happiness and rights of EVERYONE, not just those who come to her Tupperware parties. As much as I love my own mother, I would never want her running the country, because there is so much in the world that she chooses not to understand due to her limited exposure to the world.

In the new issue of Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi makes a brilliant assessment of American society when he writes, "Sarah Palin is a symbol of everything that is wrong with the modern United States. As a representative of our political system, she's a new low in reptilian villainy, the ultimate cynical masterwork of puppeteers like Karl Rove. But more than that, she is a horrifying symbol of how little we ask for in return for the total surrender of our political power.... The great insight of the Palin VP choice is that huge chunks of American voters no longer even demand that their candidates actually hvae policy positions; they simply consume them as media entertainment, rooting for or against them according to the reflexive prejudices of their demographic, as they would for reality-show contestants or sitcom characters."

This is what is wrong with America. We don't really give a shit about anything like our own freedom or what's good for our country anymore. We don't mind that civil rights are being eradicated left and right, or that people like Palin would destroy years of hard work on behalf of gay and women's rights; we just want someone who can make sarcastic jokes during their campaign speeches and who looks like someone we might invite throw a good baby shower. Palin, more than ever, demonstrates just how low the American people are willing to sink in their desperate need to feel warm and fuzzy in their own beds at night. In the back of our minds, most of us know that if the shit really hit the fan, Sarah Palin wouldn't be able to handle it, but she gives the APPEARANCE of "normalcy," of someone who is "just like us." And it is that very illusion and fear that will destroy this once-great country that, for all intents and purposes, was created by the very people that Palin and her right-wing cohorts would like to condemn to inequality once and for all.

Palin is a wolf in sheep's clothing, and she will destroy this country if given the chance out of her own narcissistic selfishness--and anyone who votes in favor of the McCain/Palin ticket will be complicit in the destruction of all that was once good about America. If you are straight and vote for McCain/Palin, then I think you seriously need to take a look at yourself and question your bigotry. And if you are gay and vote for McCain/Palin, then, frankly, you need to have your fucking head examined, because your self-loathing will certainly be your own twisted (and deserved) downfall. I get that people want to feel safe, but I ask you: What is it going to take you get America to wake up and smell the bigotry and political deception of this presidential ticket? Are we really that stupid and naive? I really hope to be proven wrong in November, but as of right now, I'm not so sure I have much faith in the capability of the American people to do what's right not just for themselves, but for the rest of the country as well.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

On the Porn Set

Sometimes I gotta love my life! Last week I got to go up into the mountains in the San Fernando Valley and visit the set of All Worlds Video's newest adult film, He F*cked My Father. Yes, you heard the title right. I don't think it's a mystery, though. I think it's more of a comedy. (Then again, isn't every porn film these days a comedy? They sure make ME laugh.)

I was up there to interview this new hottie, Wolf Hudson. He's a straight boy from New York who got into gay porn because the money is good. Go figure. Wolf was a lot of fun to chat with, and I even got to stick around and watch him film his scene with co-stars Kai and Vance. It was funny because as I looked around the "set," I saw little salamanders and lizards scurrying every which way. (You gotta love the California desert.) Thankfully, none of them interfered with the shoot. Can you imagine if lizards started scurrying past porn stars as they were doing their thing? Actually, I bet Wolf Hudson would've liked that. He's kinky that way.

I didn't stay on set too long, just long enough to interview Wolf and watch the first part of his scene being filmed. I also spent a little bit of time ogling Cameron Marshall, who was posing for still photos for photographer Mick Hicks. Talk about a hottie. Mr. Marshall is the blond boy of my wettest dreams. Yummy.

Anyway, here are some pics from the shoot. Hope you enjoy!

Hollywood Ken

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