Archive for the ‘Under the Rainbow Flag’ Category

Rainbows in the breeze

July 3, 2015

Well, it has been an eventful week.  Things crowding on the heels of what went before!

Last Friday was the Pride march in Haifa.  Not nearly as grand as the big march in Tel Aviv earlier in the month, which is on an international scale with well over 100K participants, but nothing to sneeze at either.

The Hebrew text says:

We march to fight for the right to live the lives we want! To love whom we want!  To dress as we wish to!  We march for equality and against discrimination.  We march in solidarity and for the struggles we face around us.  Because a society that respects and values us – gays, lesbians, bi and trans – is a society that is better for everyone.

As an aside, I was glad to note that the American ambassador and his family marched in Tel Aviv with the staff of the Embassy (which flew a giant rainbow flag in support).

Haifa had many local leaders and representatives – including all the liberal political parties and many local businesses – accompanying the 5-10K folks who marched and celebrated.

I missed the gathering at the first meeting point, with the initial speeches, because I can’t really march.  (So sadly I have no pictures of the actual march.)  I went directly to the final destination (carrying my rainbow flag, of course), where there were more speeches and lots of entertainment.

My friend Marina marched with the Progressive Judaism contingent.

(stolen from Marina's facebook wall...sorry M)

(stolen from Marina’s facebook wall…sorry M)

Lots of lovely speakers and MCs




Some folks with very special outfits for the occasion


Love those eyelashes…but that ballgown seemed a wee bit…warm for the Haifa heat?

The singer and personality Margalit Tzan’ani (Margol) joined us with music that had everyone singing and dancing and cheering

Booths with drinks, with bubbles, with rainbow products.


High energy, smiles and laughter, I didn’t see any negativity there at all.  Well done, Haifa!


My only real regret?  It wasn’t until a little later in the afternoon, after everyone had dispersed and gone home, that the SCOTUS ruling was announced.  It would have been nice to have heard it from the stage when we were all together and could celebrate even more for our US friends!  But that’s a subject for the next post…


Button, button, who’s got the button?

March 22, 2012

I’m still digging through boxes.  Lots are cleared by now, but there are those yet to be unearthed.  I recently found my old button collection, and it was indeed fun reading!

At one time (in my distant youth) I draped big cotton scarves on my wall, different colours overlapping, and onto these I pinned my collection of political and other buttons.  At some point the scarves and the buttons came down, some of the buttons were stuck on a corkboard, but eventually most went into a bag in the cupboard, only to be dug out for the occasional demonstration.  Some of my absolute favourites were lost, as I would pin them to my bags and eventually most of those would fall off in the shuffle of daily life.  Took me a while to learn my lesson and stop doing that.  (Even today, I don’t pin my knitting buttons on my knitting bag for the same reason.)  Most of the 100+ buttons are political in nature, referring to various candidates or issues, or specific events, films or books that were controversial, etc.  (Quite a few about Harvey Milk/Dan White and the fallout.)  I’ll leave all those out of here for now, as well as some of the cruder examples.  (Of course, if we subscribe to the belief that the personal is political, all the buttons are political…)  Back in the days when I was actively protesting one thing or another and either marching in, leading, or monitoring a demonstration at least once a week, butting my head against one brick wall after another, the buttons were an easy way of emphasizing where I stand on an issue.

Of course, many – if not most – are feminist in nature.

As the LGBT movement grew, so did the collection of relevant buttons…

There were many versions of the “Don’t presume I’m…” (Fill in the blank with whatever mainstream characteristic you aren’t.)  I started with a few,

  etc, etc, etc…

but as the list seemed to be getting too long, I gave up and just went with

Lots of general and/or other causes and interests

(Gotta love that last one…)

One of the most common catchphrases was “Question Authority”, which I had on buttons, shirts, and I think a bumpersticker.  As I – and my generation – got older, though, and our roles began to widen and change,  I did switch to a slightly modified version:

Some speak strongly to me to this day

What would you have on your ideal button?


OK, OK,  I know I said no political buttons here, but I just. can’t. resist…..

just one….

Whew.   I feel better now.

Saturday matinee – The Ritz

November 26, 2011

The Ritz was a comedy made in 1976, long before gay rights had hit the mainstream.

On his deathbed Carmine Vespucci’s father tells him to “get Proclo” (his sister’s husband).   When he understands that a ” hit” has been put out on him,  Gaetano tells a cab driver to take him where Carmine can’t find him.   He arrives at the Ritz, a gay bathhouse… something he doesn’t realise at first.  There he is pursued amorously by “chubby chaser” Claude and by entertainer Googie Gomez who believes him to be a broadway producer. His guides through the Ritz are gatekeeper Abe, habitue Chris, and bellhop/go-go-boys Tiger and Duff.   Detective Michael Brick and his employer Carmine do locate Gateano at the Ritz, as does his wife Vivian.

Jack Weston, Jerry Stiller, Kaye Ballard, Treat Williams, F. Murray Abraham, Paul B. Price and others in the cast are great.  But it’s Rita Moreno (playing a bad  bathhouse singer who wants to make it into the big time) who steals the show, hands down.  The film is filled with one-liners and hysterical situations, making fun of stereotypes all across the board.  Some of them wouldn’t work today, this was made pre-AIDS, after all.

It was nominated for three Golden Globes, and other awards.

I first saw it at women’s night at a gay bathhouse in San Francisco in 1979.  Very appropriate!   We fell off the seats laughing.


Pride and Doom

June 26, 2011

The Doom first.  Indigodragonfly’s Summer Knitalong of Doom has begun!  It officially began at the stroke of midnight to open June 23rd.  Midnight wherever you are, which meant that for once I had an advantage.  Which I used to mercilessly tease everyone else in the group who was hanging out on the forum threads.   I dubbed this picture “Waiting for Algonquin”, as I got ready to cast on –

I’m now past the first border and into the body of the scarf.  This yarn is so lovely to work with, the cashmere makes it so soft.

Another package is finally on its way, so I will have another project to follow the Algonquin in the knitalong.  And I’m pondering a couple of wee projects with the leftover Minion sock yarn.

Still working on the first Stricken sock for the Cookie A KAL.  I think I picked a doozy of a pattern to start out with.  But I’m determined to finish it!  It has helped me enormously in reading cable charts, that’s for sure!

And on to Pride.  Haifa’s Pride Parade, to be exact.  I couldn’t march – and besides, I wasn’t home from work in time – but I went to the park for the celebrations after the march.    Kidlet got permission to come from boarding school for the afternoon.  (Partner wasn’t there – she  doesn’t like crowds.)

Lots of people, lots of festivity!

Political speeches and moving stories

That’s Nitzan Horowitz, our very out member of Parliament…

Parents and children, young and old together

(The sign says “Against homophobia and racism”)

Lots and lots and lots of rainbows

On flags and feathers

On ties, blankets, belts, kippot

On hats and day planners

Lots of entertainment – from drag singers

to pop stars

I was pretty well exhausted by the end, and I still had to drive kidlet to a birthday party in the Galilee, all this after a long day at work and having gone to sleep after midnight waiting to cast on for the KAL.

But it was so worth it!

Happy Pride Month, wherever you are!

Of yarn and books, Broadway and a douchebag…

November 12, 2010

A mini yarn crawl today.  Had to go to the LYS that I missed last week, and go back to another.  Today  I got yarns for two swap partners.  I was very good, got nothing for myself this time…although I was sorely tempted by some Soul Wool.  Merino and silk yarns, and a whole batch of merino roving…. yum.

I also had to pick up a couple of books – the folks at my favourite used book shop had called to tell me some  cozies had come in.  Oh, and the Kindle saga continues.  Amazon is finally selling Kindles to Israel!!  Hooray!  I went online to order one, but I wanted the 3G model, instead of the simpler WiFi, so I can read on the go.  Every time I tried to order, the page returned to the WiFi model.  So I wrote a letter to customer service asking them what the deal is.  They wrote back saying they would look into it.  After three weeks they informed me that the 3G model isn’t available for sale to Israel, only the WiFi.  Sigh. That means I can only use the Kindle at home and at a few select places?  Not on the bus, nor the train, nor the beach…in short, what good is it?  So I am sticking with shlepping real books.  Unless there’s a change.  I’ll have to see what I can download to the iPhone…although the screen is a bit small for reading.

More from the It Gets Better project.  Kidlet has been bugging me to post this one:

And this one from the GMCLA is one of my faves:

Ellen is as moving as ever:

And George Takei, although very serious,  made me laugh.  Go, Sulu.

The song at the end of his video?  That’s a song young stars on Broadway recorded for the project:

Download the song on itunes to support the Trevor Project.

Shabbat Shalom.

Stars Still Dancing

November 11, 2010

Two weeks into the show, two couples have been eliminated, and Gili and Dorit are still going strong.

Their first dance disturbed me – while some of it was good, it was very confrontational, including a mock slap, and I thought with dread oh no, is that the direction the choreography is going to take? Violence?  A couple of the judges were also asswipes, claiming to be confused as to the roles and who leads, and one comment that gee, this is great, it’s every male’s fantasy. Vomit.  How insulting.

Then came their second dance, and I loved it. This time the judges were supportive (especially guest judges Pamela Anderson and her dance partner Damien from the US…),  giving some technical advice on what to work on (although one didn’t like that Gili didn’t wear high heels), and gave relatively high scores for a second dance.

Link to the dance below.  Sorry that there are no subtitles. In a nutshell, they talk about the international storm that this has caused, how both women (and Maya, Gili’s partner who is in the audience) are shocked by just how much fuss is being made, and Gili feels that it’s enough that it’s a national competition, she’s under international scrutiny and how scary that is. They just try to ignore it all and rehearse. Dorit talks about how Gili is such a tomboy, and needs help with stuff like make-up and costumes, and working on softening her dancing. And they both felt it necessary to respond about the leading issue – how this is a new concept and there are no set rules for two women dancing, that one is definitely leading at all times but they trade off.  As Dorit says, “Sometimes I lead her and sometimes she leads me.”  To which judge Hanna Laslow replies “Just like in life.”

Second dance – Greek goddesses?

Keeping my fingers crossed.

Except when I knit.  Two thirds through the Palindrome, it’s almost 45 inches.

Had a slight glitch this morning – suddenly noticed a couple of stretched stitches by one of the cables and realized that I had twisted the cable.   This is bound to happen on occasion when one starts knitting at 6:15 in the morning.   I debated whether to do anything about it.  Two stretched stitches in the middle of the scarf?  Barely noticeable.   Barely being the significant word.  If the scarf was for me, I probably would have shrugged and continued.  But this is a gift.  Oh well,   it was only one pattern repeat back, so the tinking commenced.  Fixed the cable and by the time I reached work I was back at the point where I had noticed the twist.  I managed a few more pattern repeats on my lunch break and on the way home.  I should be able to send the scarf next week.

When I knit on my lunch break I get a lot of interest and comments and reactions from coworkers who pass by.  Mostly positive, some just lame.  Today one told me I shouldn’t be knitting now, it isn’t winter yet.  Yeah?  So?  So what if I’m sitting on a sunny bench in 80°F soaking up vitamin D while knitting?  What does one thing have to do with another?  I wear warm clothes in winter, I can knit any time I please.

What silly comments from muggles have you heard?

Shall We Dance?

October 23, 2010

Strictly Come Dancing began as a reality competition in Britain in 2004.  Since then it has branched out to 35 countries on all continents, generally known as Dancing with the Stars.

Australia was the first country to create a local version, followed by countries as diverse as Albania, China, India, Russia, and South Africa.  The most recent country to join in is Vietnam.

This contest became the world’s most popular television program among all genres in 2006 and 2007, according to the magazine Television Business International,  reaching the Top 10 in 17 countries, and was named as the world’s most successful reality TV format by the Guinness Book of World Records 2010.

Israel’s sixth season of the show – called Rokdim Im Kochavim –  will begin on November 1st and will end in January.  And for the first time in any of the shows worldwide, it will be featuring a same-sex couple.  TV presenter and sports journalist Gili Shem Tov, who has a female partner in real life, said dancing with another woman feels more “natural” for her.  She will be partnered with professional dancer Dorit Milman. They will share on who will lead the dances.

Gili made a statement about her decision:

“I have realized that dance is about co-ordination and energy between two people, whether female or male. The challenge to dance with a woman in a public contest interested me because it’s unique and has never been done before. Because I share my life with a woman and have a family with her, to me this is the most natural thing to do.”

Producer of Dancing with the Stars in Israel, Asaf Gil, said: “I’m extremely proud to have a same sex couple in our new season of Dancing with the Stars. Although this was initiated by the celebrity itself; I hope many other territories will follow.”

The headlines have reached around the globe.  I’m proud that it’s happening in Israel.  And I’m also waiting for the day when this just isn’t “news”.

Oh, and as if there wasn’t enough buzz, former “Baywatch” star Pamela Anderson is scheduled to appear in the Israeli show this season as well.  She will be commenting and performing, but as a guest, not in the actual competition.

Rhymes with Orange and Purple

October 22, 2010

I have just discovered Rhymes with Orange, by Hilary B. Price!  OK, those of you who know and love this comic strip, laugh at me all you want, but we don’t get comics over here.  I am quite impressed by this woman’s work,  love her sense of humour, and to top it off, among the many topics she covers in her strip, knitting is one of them!  So of course I have to share:

And this one, which just makes me giggle uncontrollably:

I’ve added her site to my RSS aggregator, which until now for years has been Bloglines.  How sad that they are closing!  I have transferred all the blogs I read  to google Reader, I hope it will be as good a service as Bloglines has been.   I’ve gotten so behind in reading blogs, it really is shameful.  But I am happy to report that I am making progress on catching up!  I’ve now caught up on the knitting blogs I read, and I’m working on author blogs.  Then when I catch up on the tea blogs I’ll be off and running again.   I remember the days when I didn’t use any service at all, and would bookmark all the blogs I read in those days.  Then I would have to click on each to see if there was anything new.  Yikes.

Wednesday for Spirit Day I wore purple to work and told everyone why, changed my profile pictures and joined in several discussion forums on facebook and Ravelry, making some new online friends in the process.  I even knitted with only purple yarn!

Sharing just a couple more recent and high profile additions to the It Gets Better project:

Shabbat Shalom.

It Gets Better

October 19, 2010

This will be a long post today, please bear with me.

Last month Dan Savage and his partner started a YouTube project called It Gets Better.

After hearing yet another story of a young gay person committing suicide  after being bullied, and followed by four more within a month, Dan and his partner wished they could have just told them that it really does get better.  And then they realized that in this age of the internet, they (and we) can do just that.

The idea is for adults who faced homophobia and harassment as teens to post videos talking about life after high school. Hopefully it will help some kids out there get through what is often the hardest part of being gay.

Hundreds of diverse people – individuals, groups, celebrities, businesspeople, workers – have answered the call and have recorded their stories, and the youtube site has passed 2 million page views.  It has become so wildly successful that the youtube page created for uploading videos is the #1 most subscribed to channel this month, and has already reached its 650 video limit.  They have had to set up an “It Gets Better” website to help the project continue to grow.  Dan and the project have received worldwide media attention.

Of the hundreds of deeply moving videos I’ve chosen just a few to post here.  The rest, of course, can be seen on the website, and they are worth seeing.

A video from the streets of San Francisco:

Professor Stephen Sprinkle:

A group video by actors who are currently performing on Broadway:

Young Canadian Adamo Ruggiero:

Rock stars, TV stars, parents, schools, corporations.  Many mention the Trevor Project,  a 24-hr hotline and site to help LGBTQ youth cope with the stress and feelings of isolation.  Many have volunteered to support this site:

Fort Worth, Texas  Councilman Joel Burns has become a celebrity after this city council meeting was broadcast and immediately exploded into an internet sensation.  (I could say that I didn’t cry, but I’m not that good of a liar…)

GLAAD sent an offer of support, which the councilman accepted, and he is rapidly becoming a spokesperson against the bullying.

Keshet, a Jewish group whose mission is to ensure that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Jews are fully included in all parts of the Jewish community, has established The Jewish Community Pledge with the message  Do Not Stand Idly By, and to commit to ending homophobic bullying or harassment of any kind in our synagogues, schools, organizations, and communities.

As of October 15th, 3600 individuals and 450 organizations have signed the pledge.  Their goal is 18,000 signatories.

There is a drive in the public, and on facebook, to raise awareness of the whole issue tomorrow, October 20th.  People are being asked to wear the colour purple to work, and all during the day.    Lesbian author Karin Kallmaker has invited everyone to change their facebook profile to this badge tomorrow,  to show support for the Trevor Project.

Come on, people, let’s turn the world purple for one day.  The media has finally noticed that gay and lesbian children are dying.  From bullying, from harassment.  Let’s take it up a notch.  If we can save one kid’s life, we have saved a world.  If we can make one oblivious adult aware that bullying is not OK, that is it not just “kids being kids”, that it is not acceptable, that it’s a serious matter that must be taken care of, then we have made giant strides.

Actor Chris Colfer, whose gay character deals with the issue of bullying on the show glee:

Happy National Coming Out Day

October 11, 2010

National Coming Out Day is held on October 11th (or October 12th in the UK) every year to commemorate the first March on Washington by LBGT people. The March took place in October of 1987 and highlighted the lesbigay struggle for acceptance. The first National Coming Out Day was held on October 11, 1988.

Despite its name, National Coming Out Day (so called because it originated as an event in the United States) is in fact observed in many countries, including Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Croatia, Poland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

The purpose of National Coming Out Day is to promote honesty and openness about being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender.  In the US, the Human Rights Campaign has tips for coming out as LGBT or a straight supporter, worth checking out.  They acknowledge that the experience of coming out and living openly covers the full spectrum of human emotion – from fear to euphoria.

The world has evolved in many ways  since I first read The Coming Out Stories in 1980 – an anthology edited by Julia Penelope Stanley and Susan J. Wolfe.   But the coming out experience today can still be just as traumatic, just as life-changing,  just as emotional, as the stories told then.

(The book still has a proud place on my bookshelf, reminding me that we have been silenced for too long.  The telling must go on. )

Coming out happens on so many levels.  Coming out to yourself.  To your family.  To close friends.  To colleagues, neighbours, friends, employers or employees.  There are some we may never come out to.  There is so much more support now than there was not so long ago, yet the actual coming out process is an individual one that each of us faces.    So many diverse stories.  Funny stories, tragic stories, amazing stories.  They are stories about sharing who we are.  Not what we are, not what we do, but who we are.

And that’s what sharing is all about.