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via Circle of Dionysos by DKCowan on 2/27/11

"What is forgotten is that “those people” are out there every day questioning the norm and so removing societal barriers for finding and expressing one’s true self for everyone.  If it were not for “those people,” then the “normal gays” of today would still be considered “those people.”  The cultural shift that “those people” enact is both more enduring and more profound  than any short term political battles that may be lost because of them. So honor your freaks, your transfolk, your drag kings and queens,  the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, the leather daddies, and the dykes on bikes, for without them there could be no movement, no removal of obstacles."
....
"One must be memorable before one can become an icon.  Which of your icons is most memorable?  A congressman from Massachusetts?  No.  A former boy band member who was outed by his boyfriend?  No.  A round-bellied, dog shit eating Drag Queen who called herself Divine?  Now that one has possibilities."
--

I was attracted to Ganesh long ago, and started collecting the occasional image of him, despite naving only a college overview of Hinduism. Because he was about doorways, and reading, and guarding. Because he's a bit Other. And has cool clothes. The Circle of Dionysius' 'Yes They Are!' ritual theater on queer deities is awesome. Go read the whole thing, and catch the performance if you get the opportunity!
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from: A Small Shrine of Antinous. Thirdly, I found out via a friend that a prehistoric site in Scotland, which is currently threatened with destruction, and has been in more-or-less continuous usage for a long time in terms of ritual/folk significance, is seeking assistance. Here is the information/an article on the site in question (which I’ve heard elsewhere has similarities to a certain ritual ascribed to a group of Gaulish women on an island in relation to Dionysos according to Strabo, if I am not mistaken, involving a re-roofing of the house each year)…

Glenlyon Hydro threat to Celtic Heritage
by Jamie Grant, Secretary of the Glen Lyon History Society

Planning was recently lodged for four new run of the river hydro schemes on the Auch Estate in Glenlyon. One of these proposed scheme in Gleann Cailliche threatens an ancient and uninterrupted link to our Celtic heritage.

I have lived in Glenlyon, known in Gaelic as Gleann Dubh nan Garbh Clac (the crooked Glen of the Stones),for the past ten years. During this time there is one remote spot that I have loved to visit more than any other. To reach it you have to drive to the road’s end at Pubil, where the Lubreoch hydro-electric dam holds back the waters of Loch Lyon. From here a small track skirts the north shore of the loch, into the Glen’s most westerly marches.

This land between Loch Lyon and the Bridge of Orchy feels truly wild. Miles from anywhere the mountains, scored with tumbling burns, take complete hold over the landscape. Scramble to the summit of Beinn á Chreachinon a clear day and you can see the Ben Lawers massif, Rannoch Moor, Glen Coe and even the humped cap of Ben Nevis in the far distance.

But it isn’t just the views and rare arctic-alpine habitats that make this area so special. Tucked away in Gleann Cailliche, a hidden glen of boggy heath and mist, is the ancient shrine of Tigh nam Bodach. The shrine is made up of a modest stone structure that houses a family of bell shaped water stones from the river bed of the Lyon.

The largest represents the Cailleach (old woman), accompanied by the Bodach (old man) and their daughter, Nighean.

The Tigh nam Bodach is recognized as the oldest uninterrupted pre-Christian ritual in Britain, some say in all of Europe. For centuries the family of stones have been taken out of their house every spring and facing down the Glen. At the beginning of November they are carefully shut back up inside their house, where they shelter through the winter. The ritual coincides with the two great Celtic fire festivals, Beltaneand Samhain, and once echoed the annual migrations of the Highland cattle to and from the summer shielings.

The shielings may be long abandoned, but the practice of tending to the stones is still observed to this day. Residents and other visitors who know of the stones also walk to the site throughout the year. The Tigh nam Bodachis a unique part of Glenlyon’s heritage and an unbroken connection to our Celtic ancestors.

The Cailleach, or divine goddess, is a potent force in Celtic folklore. First recorded as the Cailleach Bhéarra of the Beara peninsula in southern Ireland, she was once revered across Ireland and Scotland. Commonly associated with wild nature and landscape, the Cailleach is credited with creating Scotland’s elemental fringes (including the Hebrides). A local legend says that Loch Tay was formed when she forgot to leave a flagstone lid on a magical spring well.

A fearsome Cailleach was said to live onPerthshire’s Beinn à Ghlotha. In legend she was a terrifying hag that could take the form of any wild animal and loved nothing more than drowning travellers in pools of water with the lure of false treasure. Glenlyon’s Cailleach is more benign, remembered for looking over the cattle that once grazed these high grounds. ‘Strange and terrible’ things are said to happen to anyone who dares disturbs her wintering grounds in Gleann Cailliche.

Planning permission was recently lodged for four hydro electric schemes that will forever transform the Gleann Caillicheand the surrounding landscape. Existing tracks will be upgraded to take heavy traffic. Power houses will be constructed, borrow pits dug and fresh tracks will be carved into the steeply sided slopes to weirs. An overhead power line will be run past the Tigh nam Bodach and down the side of Loch Lyon.

And what will become of the Tigh nam Bodach? No doubt a condition will state that the stones aren’t touched. The shrine will be cordoned off with a strip of high vis tape while the diggers work the surrounding ground. What the planners are unlikely to appreciate, for all their cleverly worded ‘mitigation measures,’ is that the Cailleach represents the whole landscape.

Of course these run of the river schemes have their benefits. They generate much needed renewable energy to help tackle climate change. They are far less visually intrusive than vast onshore windfarms. They also help support cash strapped estates at time of financial uncertainty. But for all the positives I am still convinced that a few of our wildest places should be kept free of industrial development. Surely Gleann Cailliche, with its unbroken link to our deep past, is one of them.

We would do well to remember that in Celtic legends the goddess of the wilds was not immortal. In one old tale from Mull the Cailleach immersed herself in the waters of Loch Bàevery one hundred years to replenish her youth and beauty. As she descended one morning out of the hills to take the loch’s elixir of life she heard the bark of a shepherd’s collie (representing the domestication of animals
and landscape). Pausing to listen, her hundred years timed out and she stumbled and died just short of the water’s edge.

To me the development that has finally reached the Tigh nam Bodach after centuries of seclusion in these remote hills is symptomatic of what is happening in so many of Scotland’s wildest places. Listen carefully and you might just hear the collie’s bark in The Crooked Glen of the Stones.

Send an email to developmentmanagement@pkc.gov.uk (quoting the reference 11/00061) if you wish to object to the Allt Cailliche Hydro Scheme. The closing date for comment is the 18th of March. Plans for all four schemes are available on the Perth and Kinross council’s website (www.pkc.co.uk).

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You may remember, back around Thanksgiving, a huge number of boys and young men were accused - via cell phone video - of raping an 11 year old. They moved from one building to another, and continued the assault.

Here are some of the quotes from the New York Times article on the topic today:

“It’s just destroyed our community,” said Sheila Harrison, 48, a hospital worker who says she knows several of the defendants. “These boys have to live with this the rest of their lives.”

(nothing on the girl living with it)

"They said she dressed older than her age, wearing makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s. She would hang out with teenage boys at a playground, some said." 
“Where was her mother? What was her mother thinking?” said Ms. Harrison, one of a handful of neighbors who would speak on the record.
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There are a lot of *amazing* as well as horrifying posts in the blogosphere right now, in response to, or in this case re-brought up, the exclusion of trans women at a Lilith ritual at Pantheacon this year (Patheacon is awesome!). The communication problem (not advertised correctly) has been apologized for, etc etc.

But this post says it so well; I think Lilith would be pleased*: the seam of skin and scales. It's from 2007. 

*It's not my place to tell others what to believe/how to express their spirituality, but I delight in broadening the view. Nasty witch boy me!
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You knew it was coming. This post is a great read.

dumfounded

Nov. 24th, 2010 09:20 am
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The UN dumps inclusion of lgbt people from a resolution against discrimination-based hate killings.

Of course, it's just about as amazing to me that this resolution is something that has to be re-voted on every year.

Some days I think it might be interesting to get into politics. Others days, I can't think of anything much more insane. 

You count!

Nov. 2nd, 2010 07:18 am
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Please go vote today. It's mostly the out-there folks who vote mid-election, and a lower number of people all told. so your vote can make more of a difference today. I know my friends are pretty sane - the country needs you!
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has an excellent interview with Richard Kim, senior editor at Nation magazine (it's a podcast to watch or listen to). He's really thoughtful and erudite, talking about current lgbt issues. I really appreciated his ability to discern differences in offenses and appropriate responses. It's the first long interview after the opening Headlines section.

Hey [livejournal.com profile] inflectionpoint, he mentions Rutgers!
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"RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) -- A federal judge has issued a nationwide injunction stopping enforcement of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, ending the military's 17-year-old ban on openly gay troops. " from Salon. See alsoThe Washington Post.

Hey Mr. President, let's not challeng? OKthanxbye!

Change is!
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Patrick McCollum has been tending to the religious needs of pagans in the CA prison system; often paying for such supplies as he can get in out of his own pocket, as well as not getting paid. He's been around since the '60's, just won a pair of interfaith awards, and still teaches with great passion and sincerity. I love his workshops at Pantheacon. He is suing to get equal access (and pay) as other ministers have in the prisons. CA prisons are saying paganism is a 'second tier' religion, and so don't have the "right" to such access and payment (I kid you not).

Pagan and like-minded peeps, if you can spare a little positive energy today, please send Patrick your blessings. :-)

from The Wild Hunt (awesome pagan news and occasional music blog):

In anticipation for what will most likely be a very trying and challenging day, Circle Sanctuary and the Lady Liberty League is calling for the Pagan community to send spiritual support and blessings.

“Send Spiritual Support and Blessings of Strength, Protection, Eloquence, Wisdom, and Success to Circle Minister Patrick McCollum and his legal team in the Quest for Religious Freedom and Equal Rights as they return to federal court — the Federal Court of Appeals on Thursday, October 7, 2010.

Rev. Patrick McCollum is currently engaged in federal litigation in the US 9th Circuit (McCollum, et al. v. CDCR, et al., C 04-03339 CRB) challenging the California Department of Corrections’ “Five Faiths” policy which recognizes only five major world religions for inclusion in California’s prison chaplaincy program. This important Pagan Rights Quest has been going on for seven years and has covered by mainstream media sources as well as Pagan media. For more information and to send messages of support, please go to Circle Sanctuary’s Lady Liberty League Patrick McCollum support page. This site includes a photo of Patrick that can be used as a focus.”

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Crossposted from dancingbull.net.

This history site is pretty cool; every day there’s a new ‘icon’ (historical figure). It’s fun exploring the names; nice to see Mara Keisling right up there! She rocks. I took a workshop or two from her at a trans leadership conference a couple of years ago, and see her in the media regularly.

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Democracy Now has an extended, thoughtful interview with the out and fighting Dan Choi. Be great to pass on to any gay/questioning folks you know.
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For an excellent, wonderfully depressing analysis, see this article on Slate.com.
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I think this is excellent news and worth sharing: The LDS church was found guilty on 13 counts of malfeasance around Prop 8. And were fined - the first time this has ever happened to a religious organization. Check it out. 

The article also mentions how the Mormon corridor of influence extends into eastern CA. Yeah, we figured that one out.

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It's *not* sexual orientation or gender which determines if a person's blood is safe to share... it's behavior! Not to mention a little luck. A gay guy in a sexually monogamous relationship with another man is less likely to get AIDS (or any other STI) than a straight guy having random unprotected sex with women. It's time and time again to let science determine rules around donating blood, NOT social mores which change with the political mood. We have pretty darn good screenings on donated blood; it's one thing to discourage folks from looking for a 'free' AIDS test (via blood donation) and quite another to imply that the screening processes don't do their jobs, so we dare not let men who have sex with men (even once, since 1977!) donate blood.

FDA, please bring equality, sanity, and science to the blood donation process. There are a number of men who would happily donate blood, if you would let them. We need the blood!

--
This rant brought to you in support of a regularly scheduled blogswarm! Please make a public statement today if you want the FDA to update its rules. The issue is under consideration *right now*.
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The fight for Net Neutrality has reached a crucial moment. The FCC Chairman just called for new Net Neutrality rules, and he is being supported by President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and numerous congressional leaders. Now we need a powerful, public show of support. More than 1.6 million people have already called for Congress and the FCC to support Net Neutrality. If we can reach 2 million, we'll send a resounding message that Washington won't be able to ignore. Please join the campaign to save the Internet now:
https://secure.freepress.net/site/Advocacy?id=356

From wikipedia: Network neutrality (also net neutrality, Internet neutrality) is a principle proposed for user access networks participating in the Internet that advocates no restrictions on content, sites, or platforms, on the kinds of equipment that may be attached, and on the modes of communication allowed, as well as communication that is not unreasonably degraded by other traffic.

... This affects our freedom and our future. I think the petition at least shows people still care about the issue. The wheels of regulation are turning as slowly as ever. !
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The Bilerico Project has put together a nice live twitter feed of LGBT people covering the CA Prop 8 CA supreme court trial. Useful at work to be able to quickly check in and see what's happening. I also think it's kinda interesting to get the tweets from different people; consistent so far.  

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