Friday, May 06, 2011

Know Your LGBT History - Gimme A Break

Gimme a Break was a long-running 80s situation comedy featuring Tony and Emmy-award winner Nell Carter as a woman who is taking care of a California chief of police (Dolph Sweet) and his three daughters as a promise to a dying friend.

It got some criticism early in its run because of the implication that Carter was playing the stereotypical sassy black maid in the spirit of Beulah. However, Carter's timing and comic talents gave this television show its life.

The episodes varied from outrageous comedy to serious issues, such as the one featured in this week's post, The Chief's Gay Evening.

During a stakeout, featuring unfortunately a man in drag (couldn't they have gotten a woman police officer), the chief discovers that one of his officers is gay (not the guy in drag, by the way). What follows is a conversation about stereotypes and the damage they do.

I found the episode to be dated in terms of comedy, but still useful in showing young lgbts what the community had to deal with in the 80s. However, there was one thing I really liked about this episode. The gay man (Eugene Roche) stood up for himself without "begging for tolerance." There was no shame nor weakness in his portrayal.

Ironically, Carter appears only at the beginning and ending of this episode, which is a shame. When the actress died in 2003 of diabetes, it was discovered that she was in a long-term relationship with another woman, Ann Kaser. They were raising her two adopted sons together:

Past Know Your LGBT History Posts:

NOM threatening New York lawmakers and other Friday midday news briefs

Faith Groups Campaign to Block Gay Marriage - I believe the phrase "it's on now" is very apt here. A portion of the article which stands out is the following:
As in past years, the local religious opposition to same-sex marriage will have the support of a Washington-based national political lobby, the National Organization for Marriage, which formed in 2007 to fight same-sex legislation around the country. That organization was behind the April 12 blitz of automated phone calls singling out voters in about a dozen Senate and Assembly districts where legislators have said they are undecided. Brian Brown, the group’s president, said the calls urged voters to tell lawmakers they opposed same-sex marriage.

“We spent over half a million dollars in New York” in 2009, he said, “and we’re ready to spend that and more this time. We are willing to spend a million against any Republican senator who votes for gay marriage.”

Bear in mind that Brown and NOM are the same folks who have called the lgbt community "bullies" for causing the law firm King & Spalding to change its mind and elect not to defend DOMA in the courts. But it's okay cause NOM is "bullying for Jesus."

New York's organized opposition: Defending sanctity of preconceived monologues
- Meanwhile, the New York Family Research Foundation is erasing dissenting comments from its facebook page to make it seem that all of those responding are on board with its anti-marriage equality stance.

Uganda’s “Kill The Gays” Bill May Be Fast Tracked For A Vote
- Meanwhile, things just nastier in Uganda.

Clovis school district approves application for gay-straight alliance club
- Victory!

Governor signs bill to end discrimination
- Another bit of good news from Hawaii

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A Houston tragedy the religious right won't tell you about

This is a sad story coming out of Houston, TX.

According to Sharon Laverne Fuller, she lost custody of her son, William Fuller, a decade ago to his father, Rev. Tracy Burleson, because she is a lesbian.

This loss led to a chain of events which now sees her son and his father on trial in a murder-for-hire plot in which the ex-husband allegedly hired the son to murder his present wife, Patricia Burleson.

Burleson was found shot dead in her driveway a year ago.

And the kicker?

Also on trial is Tyonne Palmer, a woman who allegedly both men (the father and the son) had a sexual relationship with.

The point here is not to bash two-parent heterosexual households, even though if this had happened in same-sex household, the National Organization for Marriage, the Family Research Council, and various religious right groups would trot it out as a way to criticize same-sex families.

Ms. Fuller say it best herself in this interview. You see, at the time of the custody hearing, even her family supported her son's father:

They said that God told them to do that. And my question now is: did God change his mind?”

The point here is a basic question - in the history of the world, what has caused more death, destruction, and basic havoc? Lgbts or people thinking that they know what God wants?

By the way, Fuller has moved back to Houston to aid in her son's defense.

You know how "selfish" lgbt parents are.

Editor's note - The original post inaccurately stated that Ms. Fuller was once married to Burleson. 

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