Saturday, June 18, 2011

I needed Netroots Nation - it was like money from home

It's all over but the packing and the long plane trip home.

The last speech has been made, the last twitter and email addresses have been exchanged, and the last hugs have been given. For me Netroots Nation 2011 is over.

And to put it succinctly, it was like money from home.

A lot of you  read my blog and you have indicated that you like what you read. And believe me, I enjoy doing it. I feel empowered in exposing just how dirty the religious right are. I get thrilled over the notion that someone is reading my work and using it, whether it be a young lgbt needing validation that the negativity he or she is hearing are lies or someone needing information to combat religious right distortions sure to be echoed in the next town hall or school board meeting.

But there are things you don't see and emotions I have which you aren't aware of. I'm a 40-year-old man and there are days when I wonder if I am wasting my life doing this. When I see and hear people like Maggie Gallagher or Peter Sprigg or Tony Perkins repeat the lies that I have refuted, I sometimes wonder why do I even bother. I have a hard time believing that anyone is listening or caring. And there are nights when I cry and days that I ramble about in a blue funk.

So this conference was something I had to have. It was empowering to meet my fellow lgbt bloggers - people I have never met personally but whom I consider my mentors and whose methods I copy. It was equally empowering to meet other folks in other battles over equality.

And mostly, it was extremely empowering to meet individuals in worse situations than I - such as undocumented lgbts - who still fight despite whatever is thrown at them.

It shames me to a degree when I realize just how incredibly gifted and strong-willed this folks are. And it challenges me to not worry about petty nonsense such as hit counts and such.

Lastly, Netroots taught me humility. There were two people I really didn't care for going into this conference. But having met both of them, I am glad to say that my notions of them were wrong. Both of them and myself are a bit more similar than I realized. And I have grudging respect for them now.

So I'm leaving this place extremely thankful for the opportunity to be here. I am extremely thankful to Mike Rogers for awarding me the scholarship to get here and I am as equally thankful to Joe Sudbay of Americablog for pushing me to apply for the scholarship.

Best of all, I leave here with a new spirit and purpose. Hell, I now feel like I can jump over the moon.

And religious right . . . y'all are in for it now.

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Day 4 of Netroots Nation - Breitbart and the right comes in

As if you can't tell,  I am having a LOT of fun at Netroots meeting high profile bloggers, progressives, and others who are in the fight for equality.

And yesterday it got interesting when Andrew Breitbart tried to burst his way in. I'm sure you have heard that the members of the right here with their noted talking heads, i.e. Breitbart, Michele Malkin, not very far from our conference.

That being the case, Breitbart took it upon himself to make a spectacle of everything by goading some Netroots folks into confronting him. It figures. That's what he does.

So I went to the right-wing conference - not to cause problems - but to see what it was all about . . . and count all of the black people there.

It was a strange experience. A bunch of elderly white folks conversing and talking when they weren't giving me strange looks as I walked through their exhibit hall with a big smile on my face, channeling Judy Holiday from Born Yesterday. But I did manage to count four black people, which I made a note of when I talked to one of the greeters on my way out:

"You all did an excellent job this year," I told him, "I counted four black people."

Seriously though, I have been attending various panel discussions and learning a lot. The one this morning dealt with what happens when someone attacks you publicly because of what's written on your blog.

I've been lucky in that regard. After four years, I've been attacked by other lgbts - I've called an "Uncle Tom" and an "Aunt Jemima" as recent as last night, but no one has ever come at me in a way which attempts to endanger my employment or life.

But still, I enjoyed knowing what to do should that situation come - and I am hoping that I put myself in a situation with what I post in the future where folks on the right - particularly the religious right - start taking a bit more notice.

Then the real fun begins.

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He's called 'Porno' Pete LaBarbera for a reason

Sometimes one must move back to what brought one to the dance so to speak.

And for much lampooned anti-gay activist, Peter LaBarbera, it's how he has chosen to cover subcultural events - such as leather conventions - making sure to take graphic pictures and give loving detail of the alleged activities of the gay men there, while ignoring the heterosexuals attending and acting scandalously at the same events.

He hadn't been doing this for a time, but I'm glad to say that today, "Porno" Pete LaBarbera is earning his monicker.

That is with a few changes of course. He is no longer attending these events. For what reason, I am not sure. Maybe folks recognize him, maybe he has worn out all of his chaps, maybe his butt has become to big to fit into said chaps from the largesse which comes with getting paid as a "traditional family activist."

Whatever the case may be, LaBarbera doled out attending this year's subcultural event - the International Mr. Leather contest - to another writer by the name of Lynn Thomas.

And Thomas is more than adequate in regaling us with how "gross" and "disgusting" the events was, which she/he does in a long diatribe which can only be described with using as much sadomachism as the alleged attendees of Mr. Leather.