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HAPPY EARTHA KITT DAY

Carolina Panorama Newspaper

https://www.carolinapanorama.com

Celebrate the Life of Eartha Kitt The Town of North, SC, will celebrate the life of Eartha Kitt on Saturday, January 19, 2019 at the North High School Gymnasium, located at 692 Cromer Ave, North, SC 29112.

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Virginia's Rep. Jennifer Wexton Flies Trans Flag At Her Office!!

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      OMG!!!

      The trans flag is proudly & openly displayed next to the Virginia flag outside @RepWexton’s new office! She said to me, “Did you see the flag?! I think we’re the only office on the Hill with one.” To all her volunteers: the flag is there because of you & for you! Change is here! pic.twitter.com/s0iGgoxOgH

      — Narissa Rahaman (@MayorBrown) January 3, 2019

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      Dance Of The Sugar Plum Lesbians

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          Dance Of The Sugar Plum Lesbians

          From Joe. My. God. --December 24, 2018

          This story makes its fifteenth annual appearance on JMG…

          Grand Central Terminal functions as the mechanical heart of midtown New York City, pumping out several thousand workers and tourists on one beat, then sucking in several thousand more on the next.

          The rhythms of the terminal are fascinating.

          Beat. Four thousand, inbound from New Haven.

          Beat. Three thousand, outbound to Westchester.

          Worlds collide on the main floor.

          The tourists gawk up at the gloriously ornate ceiling and uselessly flash their digital cameras at objects hundreds of feet away.

          The commuters rush up to the track displays to determine their track number, then dart across the terminal floor, dodging the milling tourists, heads down, like running backs heading for the end zone.

          It’s mesmerizing. It’s majestic.

          And sometimes, like tonight, it’s magical.

          I’m walking through the massive main room just as the holiday laser show begins on the ceiling. To the tune of Take The “A” Train, the laser depicts two trains arriving from different directions. The trains stop opposite each other and a reindeer leaps out of each one and crosses over to the opposite train.

          The laser traces the outline of one of the zodiac constellations painted on the ceiling. The Cancer crab leaps to life and becomes the Crab Conductor, waddling down the center aisle of the car, punching the reindeers’ ticket stubs with his claws.

          I move over to the edge of the room, near the entrance for Track 25, so I can watch the reaction to the show. As usual, I’m more entertained by watching the audience than by watching the actual show.

          At the ticket windows, standing in front of signs that say “Harlem Line” or “Hudson Line”, commuters tilt their heads painfully back to view the show directly overhead. The tourists cluster in delighted circles, holding each others’ elbows for balance as they nearly bend over backwards.

          Some people move to the edges of the great hall, as I have, to remove themselves from the traffic flow while they watch. Among those that come to join me on the perimeter of the room is a lesbian couple. They stand quite close to me, the taller woman behind the shorter one, with her arms wrapped around her, supporting her a bit as they both lean back on the marble wall.

          The shorter woman is stout with a large firm chest. Her hair is short and brushed back into what might have once been called a ducktail. She has an ornate tattoo on her left forearm and she has a leather wallet protruding from the rear pocket of her jeans, attached to her leather belt by a short silver chain. She has more than a passing resemblance to Tony Danza, her big boobs notwithstanding, so naturally (in my head) I name her Toni.

          Toni’s girlfriend is blond and her short ponytail dangles just above her collar. She is wearing long Christmas tree earrings which nearly brush her shoulders. Her lanky, sinewy limbs are bound in a tight running outfit, over which she is wearing a school athletic jacket. I imagine that she might be a coach at Yale or Harvard, perhaps a girls lacrosse coach, or maybe track and field.

          Coach is squeezing Toni tightly and they bounce together to the music a bit. Coach looks over at me and catches me smiling. She nudges Toni, who looks over at me too, and we all grin goofily at each other for a moment.

          Overhead, a new show begins. The familiar opening notes of Tchaikovsky’s Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairies ring out as the Empire State and the Chrysler buildings sprout arms, bow to each other, and begin waltzing across the ceiling.

          I look around the room and it’s as if time was frozen for just a second, every person stopped in mid-stride, eyes cast upward, mouths open in silent joy.

          Toni pushes away from Coach, turns around and delivers her a bow as deep and as elegant as the one just depicted overheard.

          “Madame, may I please have this dance?” she asks Coach.

          Coach looks around a bit awkwardly. “You are TOO much!” And she giggles.

          “Madame, I must insist!” says Toni, as she takes Coach’s hands into hers.

          Coach relents and she and Toni begin a beautiful, slow waltz, moving in half-time to the music. As you might have guessed already, Toni leads.

          As they dance, their eyes remain locked on each other. Toni is giving Coach an intense look, her lips tightly curled into a satisfied smile. Coach is grinning from ear to ear and again, she giggles.

          All around Coach and Toni, the tourists, the businessmen, the students, the conductors, even the guy with a broom – they’re all watching. Some are expressionless, but more are smiling, and some of them…some of them are frantically fussing with their cameras, eager to capture this magical New York Moment.

          Serendipity prevails, the tune ends, and Toni dips Coach backwards with a dramatic up-sweep of her free arm as a firestorm of camera flashes erupt around them. Toni pulls Coach up and close to her and they hug. There’s another camera flash and the crowd begins to move along.

          Then.

          “Hey, look!”

          The laser show is being concluded with giant sprigs of mistletoe appearing over our heads. This time it’s Coach who bends down and plants a long tender kiss on Toni’s non-lipsticked mouth. There’s another flash of cameras from the delighted audience.

          Toni takes Coach’s hand and they begin to move off towards the exit.

          “Oh, don’t stop!” says a disappointed woman, still rummaging for her camera.

          Toni looks back over her shoulder and says, “I never will.”

          Grand Central Terminal, the mechanical heart of New York City, beats again. But this time I hear a different rhythm. This time I hear a double beat.

          HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYBODY!

          https://www.joemygod.com/2018/12/dance-of-the-suga...
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          UMC And Marriage

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              Current Time 3:48
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              The United Methodist Church is more like the divided Methodist Church as it wages an intradenominational battle over whether to change its rules to allow same-sex weddings and LGBTQ clergy.

              Just how divided is the United Methodist Church?

              Many of its 12 million members are engaged in an internal battle that could break up America's second largest Protestant denomination.

              At issue: Whether or not to change its rules to allow same-sex weddings and LGBTQ clergy.

              Charlotte pastors, along with their flocks, are taking sides.

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              The Rev. Val Rosenquist, who defied the rules in 2016 by marrying two male members of her congregation at First United Methodist in uptown Charlotte, said a decision "to continue the exclusion of people who are LGBTQ, to continue closing its doors, would send the message that we as a denomination are ready to die."

              But the Rev. Talbot Davis of Good Shepherd, a United Methodist church in Steele Creek, suggested the denomination would be turning its back on the Bible if it agreed to anything but traditional marriage: "We are in support of the beautifully biblical picture of marriage as between a man and a woman."

              Then there's the Rev. James Howell of Myers Park United Methodist, who said his biggest concern is that the denomination stay together, not split up.

              He and his 5,300-member Charlotte church, Howell said, are "committed to unity and reconciliation between those that are divided on this issue. Our intent is to try to influence the rest of the denomination ... to be with us at that same place."

              Two years ago, in Portland, Ore., the United Methodist Church narrowly avoided schism — breaking up — during a heated General Conference meeting of 800-plus delegates from around the world.

              The delegates voted 428-405 to accept a recommendation from their bishops to delay the fiery debate on homosexuality, let a commission study the church's controversial rules on human sexuality and then take up the issue again in 2019 at a special General Conference — the denomination's top legislative body.

              A lot has happened since then.

              'One Church Plan'

              In March, a "Commission for a Way Forward" — co-led by Florida Bishop Ken Carter, formerly pastor at Charlotte's Providence United Methodist Church — offered three very different options:

              A "One Church Plan" would let individual churches and clergy decide whether to marry same-sex partners. And it would leave it to local conferences — such as the Charlotte-based one for churches in Western North Carolina — to determine who can be ordained.

              A "Traditionalist Plan" would not only keep the LGBTQ prohibitions in the Book of Discipline — the denomination's governing document — but also strengthen enforcement. The book now says that "the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching" and that "ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches.”

              A "Connectional-Conference Plan" would let geographical conferences like the one for Western North Carolina align themselves with others of like mind on LGBTQ ministry. They'd do so by joining one of three new connectional-conferences — progressive, traditionalist or allowing various approaches.

              This month, the denomination's Council of Bishops ended its gathering in Chicago with a decision to recommend the "One Church Plan."

              But in a sign that the Methodists and their bishops remain deeply divided on the issue, the council will also forward the other two options to that special General Conference, which is scheduled for next February in St. Louis.

              Ultimately, the delegates at next year's General Conference will decide what the church's law will be going forward. And so far, many activists from both the denomination's conservative and progressive wings appear unhappy with the "One Church Plan."

              "The bishops propose," said Pastor Davis of Charlotte, "but they don't vote."

              The Rev. Talbot Davis is pastor of Charlotte's Good Shepherd Church, a United Methodist church in Steele Creek. In the debate within his denomination over same-sex marriage, he takes a traditionalist stand. He says the Bible and longtime Methodist teaching support marriage between a man and a woman only.
              David T. Foster III dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

              'Polarized culture'

              Some churches on either side of the fight have threatened to exit the denomination if the vote doesn't go their way. Two conservative megachurches in Mississippi have already bolted, citing the divisive debate over what they consider the sin of homosexuality.

              Some progressives, meanwhile, have been angered recently by the defrocking of a Chattanooga pastor for marrying a same-sex couple and by the trial of a gay pastor in Cincinnati whose status as an ordained minister came into question after he married his partner.

              Though the idea of unity still appeals to many Methodists, pastors and churches working for and against change have argued their causes as members of factional groups within Methodism — the Reconciling Ministries Network is for LGBTQ-friendly reform; the Wesleyan Covenant Association is standing by the Book of Discipline.

              There's a third group — Uniting Methodists — for those who want the denomination to stay together and its members to agree to disagree.

              Pastor Howell of Charlotte's Myers Park United Methodist is one of the national leaders of Uniting Methodists.

              With liberal and conservative churches insisting that it has to be their way, Howell's group is suggesting that, for the sake of unity and mission — serving the community and world — "there's a way where we all give up something."

              Unity matters, he added, "because we live in a severely polarized culture. And if the church winds up as severely polarized as the culture, we don't really have anything to offer the culture. (With a message of) 'We're just like you guys, we're as narrow-minded and divisive as the rest of you,' why would anybody bother with the church?"

              Methodists_01.JPG
              The Rev. James Howell is pastor of 5,300-member Myers Park United Methodist Church in Charlotte. He's also one of the national leaders of Uniting Methodists, a group that is working to keep the United Methodist Church from breaking apart over the divisive issues of same-sex marriage and LGBTQ clergy.
              David T. Foster III dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

              'A line in the sand'

              Methodists have been around for centuries, tracing their beginnings to John Wesley, an 18th century Anglican minister in England. Circuit-riding Methodist preachers on horseback helped spread the Gospel in North Carolina, and today the United Methodist Church is the second largest denomination in the state, trailing only Southern Baptists.

              Nationally, too, Southern Baptists make up the biggest Protestant denomination, followed by the United Methodists.

              The United Methodist Church as a denomination wasn't founded until 1968. And it seems as if members have been arguing about homosexuality for most of the 50 years since.

              About 7 million United Methodists live in the United States, where same-sex marriage is now legal. But the other 5 million members of the denomination live overseas — particularly in Africa, where homosexuality is a crime in some places.

              Though Methodists are still at odds on LGBTQ issues, there's a sense that some action may finally be on the horizon.

              "It's time," said Pastor Rosenquist of First United Methodist.

              Other mainline Protestant denominations have also had long histories of jousting on the issue. But The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America — two of the biggest — have at least opened the door in recent years to same-sex marriage and LGBTQ clergy.

              They both adopted a kind of local-option approach that's similar to what the United Methodist bishops are now recommending. To try to sweeten the deal for conservatives, the Methodist bishops would also follow the lead of mainline Presbyterians and Lutherans by allowing individual congregations to say no to same-sex weddings in their sanctuaries and respecting the wishes of ministers whose conscience will not permit them to perform such marriages.

              Still, many conservative Presbyterian and Lutheran congregations left their mainline denominations to protest the change and joined other denominations that do not marry same-sex partners or ordain gays and lesbians.

              The same thing could happen with the United Methodist Church if conservatives lose. But with many traditionalist delegates from Africa and the South opposed to any change, it's equally possible that progressives could lose the vote.

              Schism is possible either way.

              "There are people who have drawn a line in the sand," said Howell. "(Some say) 'If there's any change, we're out of here.' Others say, 'If there's not this change, we're out of here.''"

              'Love one another'

              In Charlotte, neither Davis of conservative Good Shepherd nor Rosenquist of progressive First United Methodist expressed any interest in their churches quitting the denomination. At least for now. Exiting the United Methodist Church wouldn't be easy — the denomination owns all church properties and, unlike the situation with Presbyterians and Lutherans, there are no obvious alternative denominations either side could join.

              Where do the local pastors stand on the three options to be sent to the General Conference next year?

              Davis said he's "no fan" of the local option recommended by the bishops, which would erase parts of the Book of Discipline and let individual churches decide on weddings.

              He said he didn't want to say much more until the bishops' full report, including the fine print, is ready July 8. A spokesman for Bishop Paul Leeland, who heads the denomination's Western North Carolina conference, said he also plans to stay publicly mum on the issue until then.

              But Davis, who heads one of the country's fastest growing United Methodist churches, with 2,000-plus attendees every Sunday, sounds firmly in the traditionalist camp.

              "We believe what Methodists have always believed about marriage," he said. "We believe this beautiful picture, from beginning of Scripture to end of Scripture, Genesis to Revelation, that marriage is between a man and a woman."

              Asked why his church, Good Shepherd, has dropped the words "United Methodist" from its outdoor signs, Davis said that "we're inviting all people to a living relationship with Jesus, not with a denomination. ... (But) we don't hide from being Methodist. We love it."

              Rosenquist, whose 700 congregants include many LGBTQ Christians, said she favors — as a first step — the adoption of the local option plan recommended by the bishops.

              "It's not ideal by a long shot," she said. "It still allows churches to discriminate against LGBTQ people. And that's not ideal from a Christian perspective."

              But, she said, "it achieves something for those of us who are progressive and want change."

              Asked about conservative arguments that such change would amount to a repudiation of Bible passages condemning homosexuality, Rosenquist said, "The conservatives don't own the Bible. Progressives use the Bible as well and take it very seriously. ... There's all kinds of Scripture (passages) in which Jesus commands us to love one another. It doesn't ask us to love only certain types of people and not other types of people."

              She added that it's time for the United Methodist Church to live up to its motto: "Open Minds, Open Hearts, Open Doors."

              The Rev. Val Rosenquist is pastor of progressive First United Methodist Church in uptown Charlotte. She and her flock favor changes in the denomination's rules that would allow churches to marry same-sex partners.
              Diedra Laird dlaird@charlotteobserver.com

              'All over the place'

              Pastor Howell of Myers Park United Methodist would also vote for the "One Church," or local option plan, calling it "a middle way to stay together."

              The change, he said, would offer something to progressives who have found it difficult to remain in a church that's been harsh toward gays and lesbians.

              And it would also accommodate large churches like his that "are all over the place" on LGBTQ issues and yet remain united as a church.

              "We're thoughtful, devout people that disagree on the matter," Howell said of Myers Park United Methodist. "We love each other, and we're going to be a church."

              The "One Church" plan would let clergy at Myers Park United Methodist and other churches make their own decision on whom to marry.

              Just as Howell believes the issue doesn't have to break up a denomination, he also said it "doesn't have to split a congregation."

              As a delegate to next year's General Conference, Howell expects to do what he can to sow peace and promote reconciliation and unity.

              But he acknowledged that chances are slim the meeting, whichever way the vote goes, will end in complete harmony.

              "It's hard to imagine any scenario," Howell said, "where we all leave St. Louis holding hands, singing hymns."



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              Welcome To Marwen

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                  God And Pronouns

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                      My own default position is that I address folks the way they wish to be addressed, however incongruous the title (e.g. Mr. President...)

                      OK, I may balk at the current fad of made-up, gender-neutral pronouns (Ne, Nem, Nir, Nemself, etc). But if a person is plain ol' trans and goes by a male name, why is it so hard to refer to 'em as he or him? To do otherwise, even after being politely reminded, is just rude.

                      But now we have a new excuse for rudeness: God made me do it!

                      A Teacher in Virginia was fired after refusing to use a transgender student’s preferred pronouns, multiple outlets reported.

                      On Thursday, members of The West Point Public Schools Board voted unanimously during a hearing to dismiss Peter Vlaming, noting that his actions were not only discriminatory but were also a form of harassment, according to The Virginian-Pilot.

                      Before his release, Vlaming was allegedly told a number of times to use the student’s preferred pronoun of he but decided not to. The student, who has not been named, and the parents even met with Vlaming to express their concerns, The Virginian-Pilot reported.

                      The teacher claims addressing the ninth-grade student by his preferred male pronoun was against his religious beliefs.

                      https://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/newsfeature/vi...



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                      I’m Trans, I’m Scared, And I’m Here To Beg YOU For Help

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                          https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/10/25/180721...

                          Community
                          Thursday October 25, 2018 · 3:22 PM CDT

                          I transitioned many years ago, and have been very fortunate and blessed to have had this relative luxury. Although historically harder to access trans medical and surgical care in the USA than other countries, like Canada, or various European or South American countries; we have been lucky to have the ACA correct disparities in trans healthcare, which lead to mandates in 17 states demanding that trans people be treated like people, and have access to the healthcare we need.

                          What the Trump Administration is proposing is a total regression of any and all milestones in transgender equality. It will result in further marginalization of trans people in the USA. It will make our day to day lives harder to live, by making it illegal to have documentation that is congruent with our appearance and identity, like driver’s licenses, passports, or birth certificates. It would make it impossible to have insurance covered transgender healthcare. It would make our lived experience be one of constant suffering and pain.

                          As the saying goes, we are souls having a human experience. We are just like cisgender/nontransgender people. We don’t deserve to be destroyed by our government, capriciously and viciously.

                          So I am here to ask your help. My friend Seth Marlow compiled this list of ways that you, nontrans/cis transgender allies can help. And if you’ve never thought of yourself as a trans ally before, this gives you the blueprint to becoming one. We need you, all of you. It’s absolutely dire.

                          “Hi cis (non trans) allies. I see a lot of you wanting to offer support to trans people right now. It can be hard to know what to do these days, and this latest thing feels especially difficult to respond to. Here is a list of actionable things you can do to support trans people broadly and lift up individual trans people:

                          1. Vote straight blue ticket next month even if you have to hold your nose to do it.

                          2. Donate to organizations fighting for the civil and human rights of trans people and those providing mental health services. I’d recommend Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, Transgender Law Center, the good ol’ ACLU, Trans Lifeline, National Center for Transgender Equality, and RAD Remedy.

                          3. Educate yourself about WHY immutable sex assignment based on natal genitals is a flawed idea, WHY it’s bad for trans people, and be able and willing to articulate it to others. “Biological sex” is a dangerous rhetorical fiction and I need you to be able to explain that to other people and then do so at every opportunity. Start with your kids.

                          4. Reach out to the trans people in your life. Think of what tangible act of comfort you can provide. Make a meal. Walk the dog. Take your friend for a walk, a cup of coffee, to a movie. Do some laundry or wash someone’s dishes. Take someone flowers. I don’t know how to explain to y’all the depth of grief, fearfulness, and alienation that’s flowing among trans Americans right now but it is raw and exhausting and heartbreaking. Your trans friend needs your outrage but also needs some moments of comfort and escape. You can help.

                          5. Also remember that trans people are among the most economically marginalized in the US, especially so for people of color. If you are feeling led to open your wallet in response to this moment, remember that you can probably find a way to donate directly to a person by way of grocery and gas gift cards, etc. Smaller local organizations that serve trans youth and adults can also use donations like this. A lot of people are feeling an increased sense of urgency around documentation changes—which can be costly—and medical care, including mental health care. If appropriate you might ask your trans friends if they know of any opportunities to lighten this burden.

                          Bonus acts:
                          Think it through before you make an optimistic statement of support and/ or assertion that your friend will not be erased/ you won’t stand for this/ etc. What does this mean practically? How can you prevent your friends’ erasure as powerful systems move to deny trans people’s known gender? How do you know that trans people needn’t worry about this? Optimism is a necessary force but these feel like bleak and ominous times to many trans people, who probably understand this better than you do. Think about whether your assurances are founded before you offer them.
                          Remember not to put your own feelings about this on trans people. We have enough going on right now and can’t manage your emotions about this. Voice your stuff about this to people less impacted by it.

                          Thanks, friends. Share as you are led; no attribution necessary.”

                          Please help us, we can’t do this without you.

                          And if you’ve never met a trans person before, my name is Logan, and consider me your trans friend.

                          Thursday, Oct 25, 2018 · 4:16:35 PM CDT · WeaponXtra

                          I hate to be like this, but if you read this diary, recommend it please.

                          The broader audience we can reach with these real world steps to support trans Americans, the we will see adopted and executed by caring allies. Please help us spread this message.

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                          Safe Haven For LGBTQ Youth

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                              With the current hostility of the administration and their Republican minions toward LGBTQ persons across the U.S., the city I live in, has taken matters into their own hands and is creating a place where LGBTQ youth can go after school and safely be themselves.

                              ~czook

                              /www.kcrg.com/content/news/LGBTQ-Center-opens-in-Ce...

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