My father and I have a Sunday ritual calling each other to catch up on the previous weeks’ personal and political events. Often times, these friendly discussions get heated as he role’s off the talking points from the GOP like they had been implanted in his brain. He is my best friend and someone who I admire and deeply respect; a man who I’ve tried to emulate most of my life, but could never quite match the awesomeness of him. We not only resemble each other but sound alike as well. No one would ever doubt that I am his son. However, when it comes down to philosophies, that’s pretty much where the resemblance ends.
Both he and my mother are devout Catholics and their faith became more intricately intertwined with the church after my brother’s death in 1986; meanwhile, I was going the opposite direction. Despite that, he has always been steadfast in his beliefs about me and my brother. That is, he believes we were born gay and did not purposely choose a life of “difficulty.” He has also said on more than one occasion, that if he had his choice, we would not have been born gay. His reasoning is that our lives would have been so much easier due to the lack of acceptance by mainstream society. Perhaps he is right, though I don’t necessarily think I would change anything other than my chin (a Whitworth family trait), I like who I am.
Several months ago, in one of our conversations, he asked how my partner and I were holding up. (Sidenote: Rick had been hospitalized after one of his doctor’s prescribed medications that were contradictory to his high blood pressure medicine, sending him to the emergency room, where he was subsequently hospitalized for a week due to kidney failure. He has since been on dialysis and should be off by the end of the year. I had surgery less than a month later with complications afterward that lasted a month and a half and am now in therapy to see if I’ll be able to walk like the rest of you good folks). He then went on to ask about our relationship and if we were “there” for each other. At this point, I was becoming uneasy with his questions but assured him that that was the case. Then he went on to ask if we really “loved” and “cared” for each other. “You know son, your mother and I have been married for 48 years and it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to make it work.” I was blown away by that question and approached my answer using humor, the only way I know how to respond when I’m in an uncomfortable situation. Rick and I have been together since 2001 and now live like an old married couple. We often know what the other is thinking. We often finish each other’s sentences. Heck, I can even tell when he’s being less than truthful and when one of us needs a good tongue lashing, neither of us is afraid to tell each other like it is. It’s taken 23 years for my father and me to have this conversation. Naturally, I was nervous when I heard these questions come out of his mouth. Answering with humor was the only way I could squelch my own discomfort. My response gave him a good chuckle and we were finally able to move on.
I guess my point is, that even though he’s not going to throw his beliefs out the window anytime soon, I do believe that it’s possible to slowly win hearts and minds over the “marriage equality” and “equal rights” debate currently at the forefront of the American conscience. No doubt he’s read about it and is continually barraged with anti-gay sentiment in many of his news programs. In particular, O’Reilly always likes to show gay pride parades in San Francisco and uses that to frame all homosexuals as one giant cliché. Fortunately, one of my fathers best friends’ son has been in a long-term relationship with another man and lives in Austin (TX). Several years ago, he and his partner adopted a Korean boy. Both are professionals and at one point decided they needed some vacation time alone. They called on grandpa (my father’s friend) to take care of his grandson while they were away, which he proudly did. This is yet another excellent example of our lives that my father has been exposed to and has helped frame his awareness of LGBT issues. Acceptance begins at home and I have been fortunate to have parents that have accepted my partner, invited him into their home for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas and treated him like family. Sadly, that’s not always the case with others in our community.
There are many in the LGBT community who believe we should try to win the hearts and minds of the public, in order for us to gain full equality in society. While the examples above prove that it is possible, at the end of the day, that’s just not realistic. Why should we be putting our lives up for a vote, only to have it knocked back by the haters, who have been galvanized by their own bigotry or worse yet, the Catholic and Mormon church? If that’s the case, I’ll be long dead and cremated before that ever happens. Yes, we should be trying to win victories by running for office at the local and national level. Yes, we should be urging our legislatures at the state and national level to support legislation that equalizes us. When this gets lost on them or they fail to keep the promises that they made to us, then I believe it is not only our right but our to duty protest, even if it means closing our purses and withholding donations to their reelection campaigns. When protest is no longer viable, I have no problem moving the argument to civil disobedience.
With no credible evidence to support their claims, the Teabaggers constantly cite the Constitution and how Obama is trampling all over it. Yet, when we point out that we are constitutionally being denied our equal rights under the 14th amendment, it tends to fall on deaf ears, while religion and scripture are used to validate this blatant discrimination. I have long since left the Catholic church and have nothing but disdain for the very hypocrisy that is spewed from their coffers, even as far up as the Pope. Not having a very good record on morality themselves, who the hell are they or anyone else to dictate how we should live our lives? Brainwashed and indoctrinated into this cult since birth, I often find it difficult to reconcile my belief in something much greater than myself and that of fictional characters from a book of fables written by and for humans. This is something I struggle with on a daily basis. Nevertheless, I have no problem calling the church out for its proclivities. Make no mistake, this isn’t a struggle, this is a fight and one that we will ultimately win. Why? Because righteousness always triumphs over evil.
I realize that many of us are content with our lives and have never experienced discrimination based on their sexuality. You can thank those that have come before us for that. However, many of our brothers and sisters are victims; a word I don’t use lightly, as I don’t believe in the rampant use of victimology. Whether it be in employment, housing, estate, insurance or simply trying to be with the one you love and have questions answered when they’ve been taken to the emergency room, it is entirely possible that at some point in your life, you will be discriminated against and in the worst way. In my own recent experience with Rick, I was very fortunate to have doctors and nurses treat me with respect and provide me with information as to Rick’s condition. Then again, once stabilized in the emergency room, Rick informed them I was his partner and to deny me answers to my questions, much-less prevent me from visiting him could set off a public display they may not be prepared to deal with LOL. Sadly, that wasn’t the case for Janice Langbehn when she was recently kept apart from her partner, who slipped into a coma and subsequently died in a Miami hospital. While this is only one example of injustice against us, there is a slew of instances you may have not even considered yet. In reality, you will be confronted with the issue of discrimination one day. Is that really the best time to be asking for help or would you rather have a legal framework in place for you to use against those that would harm you?
We all have busy lives, I get it. Whether your supporting organizations like Equality Across America with your donations or giving up your time to get involved at the local level, everything helps. If you’re blindly moving through life and hoping others will take care of these problems for you, shame on you. No one is asking the world of you. Read up, get interested and get involved, anyway you can. Then and only then will you have a better understanding of what’s at stake for us and future generations. Don’t allow hatred, bigotry and discrimination rule the day.
I just want to remind everyone that these mixes are for your enjoyment, but more importantly have been created to benefit the good work of Equality Across America. A $10 donation per mix is required for you to gain access and download each set. Your generous donations will go towards our efforts to gain full equality for the LGBT community in the United States. Thank you for your consideration.
Album : Gay Anthems v3
Artists : Various
Year : 2009
Total Time : 1:23:18:00
Track : 1
Title : Seasons Of Love (Gomi’s Lair Club Mix)
Artist : Rent
I’m probably the only person on the planet that never saw the original Broadway play of “Rent.” The closest I came was to seeing the theatrical version, which was a big disappointment. Maybe because the play dealt with the AIDS issue at a time when everything seemed hopeless and the movie version came out so long after it had its run on Broadway that it seemed to lose its relevance. Regardless, I absolutely adore the original version of this song, as well as the Gomi remix. Historic in nature, this song belongs in the annals of gay anthems.
Track : 2
Title : No Frills Love (Moran’s Mixshow)
Artist : Jennifer Holliday
What can I say? Jennifer is my girl. Okay, one of many who deliver the goods with every performance. Ten years after dominating the club charts, Tony Moran breathed new life into it with his own remixes in 1996. Once again, the song topped the charts moving every gay body into a frenzy on the dancefloor. Both versions are outstanding, though Tony’s was the only one that I could mix out of “Seasons of Love.”
Track : 3
Title : Goodbye (7th Heaven Mirrorball Mix)
Artist : Hi On Life feat. Joniece
“Goodbye” falls into the category of “empowerment.” You know the story, get your ass out the door bitch, I don’t ever wanna see your sorry cheating ass again. Been there, done that, which is what makes this song an excellent choice.
Track : 4
Title : Where Is My Man 2007 (Club Classic Remix)
Artist : Eartha Kitt
Upon the death of one of the gay communities oldest and biggest icons, it was only fitting the a series of remixes come out to honor our beloved Cat Woman. Based on Eartha’s 1984 #7 hit, 7th Heaven went back and polished it up and had the Gucci boys loving it all over again. Grrrr.
Track : 5
Title : Love Sensation (7th Heaven Back To 54 Mix)
Artist : Loleatta Holloway
I’m guessing Gold Mine Records (subsidiary to Salsoul Records) was hard up for money as the acapellas to Loleatta’s back catalogue have been up for sale. As a result, there’s been a slew of new mixes that have been coming out since last year. Most of them are pretty much shit. Though, Midnight Express has tackled this song with sincerity and excellence. Expect to hear it on my upcoming BPM and T-Dance editions by the end of the year. For now, I passed up on the excellent 2006 Freemasons remix of the song in favor of this ultra rare 7th Heaven remake.
Track : 6
Title : Peace (In The Valley) (Soulshaker Club Mix)
Artist : Sabrina Johnston
I didn’t realize just how many fabulous songs Sabrina has been associated with over the years, muchless how many I used in these four sets. While the fabulous Michelle Weeks also covered this old gospel hymn this year, it was Sabrina’s version that had me moving and shaking.
Track : 7
Title : Just Another Sleepless Night (Soulshaker Club Mix)
Artist : Shawn Christopher
Originally remixed by David Morales, Shawn’s #1 club classic 1991 received some serious updating this year making it as fabulously relevant as ever.
Track : 8
Title : Where Love Lives (Club Mix)
Artist : Buzz Junkies feat. Alison Limerick
Over the years, there have been numerous updates and sampling from the famous piano riff of this 1991 #3 classic track. None have even come close until the Buzz Junkies got their hands on it. “Come on down to where love lives” once again and feel the magic.
Track : 9
Title : Keep Your Body Working (Bassmonkeys Club Mix)
Artist : Tony Moran feat. Martha Wash
One half of Sylvester’s backup singers “Two Tons O’ Fun” and later the “Weather Girls” (It’s Raining Men), Martha was not only the big voice behind hits like “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” and “Everybody Everybody” by Black Box, but she’s has numerous #1 club hits under her belt as well. Yet once again, Martha delivered the goods on this 2007 #1 monster produced by Tony Moran. Far from hanging her hat up, “the queen of clubland” has been back in the studio working on new material. Girl just keeps her body working making us sweat everytime we here that big ole voice on the dancefloor. Love me some Martha.
Track : 10
Title : The Boss (Love to Infinity Love In The Club Mix)
Artist : Kristine W
It’s always difficult when an artist tackles such an iconic song by one of pop music’s legendary divas. That is, unless your Kristine W. Released in January 2008 and part of her recently released “The Power of Music” album, this Diana Ross remake went on to huge success, lighting up dancefloors around the globe. While there is a fantastic Almighty remix of Diana’s original version (who is already well represented here), I thought it pertinent to include Kristine’s masterful rendition instead.
Track : 11
Title : So Many Men, So Little Time (Almighty 12” Definitive Mix)
Artist : Miquel Brown
Miquel Brown’s 1983 ode to the male species is one of several 80s club classics that Almighty has tackled with pure brilliance. Though this is the only one I’ve included, expect more on part II of this series in the spring of 2010.
Track : 12
Title : Band Of Gold (Almighty 12”’ Anthem Club Mix)
Artist : Kimberley Locke
Former second season American Idol star, Kimberley Locke may have only finished 3rd in the competition, but we have not only embraced her with our little pink hearts, but helped deliver three #1 club hits, including “Band of Gold” a remake of the early 70s Freda Payne pop classic.
Track : 13
Title : Stand Up (The Funkness Extended Mix)
Artist : Nowak feat. D’Layna
One of my favorite songs from 2007 about empowerment and standing up to injustice makes the list. Not just because of D’Layna’s amazing vocal performance and the empowering lyrics, but because of the kick-ass sample of A Taste of Honey’s 1978 disco classic “Boogie Oogie Oogie” used to propel the song.
Track : 14
Title : Bitch Is Back (Main Vocal Mix)
Artist : Warren Clarke pres. Jonni Black vs. Shena
With so many Shena songs to choose from, I opted for this sing-a-long personal favorite. Shena is one of three current dance divas that I totally adore and wait with anticipation for each new release. The other two being Katherine Ellis and Amanda Wilson. One listen and you’ll be singing and dancing along as well.
Track : 15
Title : Hideaway (7th Heaven Club Mix)
Artist : De’Lacy
Once again, 7th Heaven deliver the goods on this update of the 1995 dance classic. De’Lacy was hot earlier this year with “Bodyswerve” and I’m looking forward to more of her work in 2010.