Jonathan Wang and his partner Brent were all set up to rent a room at a bed and breakfast in Galveston, Texas, in preparation for a friend’s nearby wedding.

They arrived at the home, put their things down and headed out for the wedding. But when they returned from the reception and Wang met the host, he was confronted with hostility and homophobia. 

“Heather asked me where my wife was,” he said. The situation became awkward when Heather asked who Brent was.

“She said, ‘I thought you were bringing a wife,’” Wang recalled. “I said, 'I didn’t say that specifically … is that going to be OK? She said, 'It’s not.’”

Things apparently took a turn for the worse the couple began packing their things, Wang told ABC-13: “She also commented while we were going upstairs that was their bedroom upstairs so they were even more uncomfortable with it.”

The couple had to find a hotel on the spot, and later they saw that the host had written “straight-friendly” in the description of her space. Airbnb has since refunded the couple’s money and paid for their hotel stay, as well as issued a statement condemning the host’s behavior. Truly gross. 

Have you ever thought to yourself, “Hmm, does this mom ‘n’ pop bakery secretly think my queer ass is damned to hell?” 

The anti-LGBT Family Research Council can help you find the answer!

FRC’s new site “Free to Believe” is meant to spotlight businesses and individuals that have a record of upholding “religious freedom” in the form of discriminating against LGBT people. Some of their stories made it to mainstream media, others didn’t. Here are a couple ThinkProgress dug into: 

David & Lily Stockton (Just Cookies): Back in 2010, the Stocktons refused to make rainbow-colored treats for Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis’ National Coming Out Day. The city of Indianapolis investigated after a complaint was filed, but the Stocktons agreed to settle.

Elaine & Jonathan Huguenin (Elane Photography): Elane Photography refused to photograph a same-sex couple’s commitment ceremony, the couple sued, and the case made its way up the New Mexico Supreme Court. Despite Elaine Huguenin’s claims of “religious freedom,” the Court unanimously ruled against her for discriminating in violation of state law. The U.S. Supreme Court was not interested in considering the case on appeal.

Chaplain Wes Modder: FRC claims that Lt. Commander Wes Modder was “sabotaged” by a gay assistant who investigated the way he counseled sailors. What the assistant found was that Modder was shaming women for having premarital sex, telling gay students that homosexuality was wrong and that they could be saved, and berating a pregnant student for not being married. He was issued a “detachment for cause” for discrimination and imposing his values on servicemembers.

Aaron & Melissa Klein (Sweet Cakes): Just last week, a judge ruled that the Kleins owed a same-sex couple $135,000 for refusing to bake them a cake. They claim that they are being punished for their faith. But the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries concluded that the bakery violated state lawprotecting against discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Kelvin Cochran: Cochran was fired as Fire Chief of Atlanta after distributing a self-published book comparing homosexuality to bestiality and calling it “vile, vulgar, and inappropriate.” He is now suing, with support from ADF, claiming that he was fired “for no reason other than my Christian faith.”

Bookmarking for future reference. Thanks, FRC! 

All journalism is a form of activism. Every journalistic choice necessarily embraces highly subjective assumptions — cultural, political or nationalistic — and serves the interests of one faction or another.

But ultimately, the only real metric of journalism that should matter is accuracy and reliability. I personally think honestly disclosing rather than hiding one’s subjective values makes for more honest and trustworthy journalism. But no journalism — from the most stylistically “objective” to the most brazenly opinionated — has any real value unless it is grounded in facts, evidence, and verifiable data.

Wabi Sabi 侘寂 - Perfectly Imperfect

In a world were everything is ranked according to social standards of what is “beautiful” it’s hard to appreciate unevenness, blemishes and decay. However, in the 15th Century, a practice that rooted from Zen Buddhism influenced the Japanese culture immensely, so much so that this aesthetic does not have an exact translation to any language.

Wabi-Sabi is embracing imperfection as a part of this world and therefore normal. According to a Japanese legend, an young man named Rikyu wanted to learn the way of tea was tasked to clean the garden. If he is able to impress the master, then he will gain apprenticeship under him. So what Rikyu did was tend to the garden, tidied it up. But after everything was cleaned, he shook a tree so some of its flowers would fall on the ground like how they naturally would’ve if some wind blew. Thus we owe Rikyu the concept of wabi-sabi.

An example of how this idea applies could be observed in Tea Ceremonies. Chipped or unevenly glazed or crooked cups are always used. And you’d think that in such a strict ritual, participants would be obsessing over tiny details. But they do not because they accept these imperfections as normal. They are not fussing over it because there is no reason to be.

This whole concept comes from nature. Laws such as the Law of Entropy or the lack of geometric and exact shapes in nature serve as a template for wabi-sabi. Because materials naturally get thrown in disarray after some time, aging wood floors are beautiful. There is a sense of mortality in nature as plants don’t last forever and everything is constantly changing. In other words, wabi-sabi strives to represent nature in man-made structures. The deformities remind us that crooked shapes comparable to that of tree branches are beautiful and normal because we see it everyday! This is the main essence of wabi-sabi. Furthermore, if we break down the characters 侘寂 it literally translates to “simplicity” and “beauty of age and wear”.

If we observe the very teachings of Zen Buddhism however, actually defining the word is a distraction from what wabi-sabi is. It’s very hard to really integrate this idea in our daily lives because of the age we live in. But I believe there is sense and truth to the concept of wabi-sabi. Who said walls need to be spotless? Who dictated that the plants in front of your porch should be a foot apart? Why so exact and calculated when we are part of nature that is completely unpredictable yet beautiful? Most importantly, wabi-sabi teaches us to love ourselves, complete with our quirks and unique imprints from nature.

anonymous asked:

It's a different thing if you're forced to acclimate into a culture not of your own and ultimately wear the clothes of the people around you. White people (and non south-Asian/Hindu people) have no reason to wear the bindi. Just put yourself in our shoes.

Nobody is forced to do anything - if you feel as though you are being forced to wear westernised clothing then that’s not white people’s fault! That’s your fault for thinking the way you do. My Nani and mum wear suites all the time (yes I am Punjabi)! We adopted the English language, we eat westernised food, we wear westernised clothes, yet white people can’t wear a bindi because it belongs to South-Indians? When white people tell South-Indians to stop playing cricket, because they’re the ones that introduced the sport, then everyone’s going to have a tantrum.

Finally, if this reclaim the bindi movement has been established so that our culture doesn’t vanish then lol, wear a bindi 247 to maintain that culture you love so much. Most of the people who are backing this movement up probably can’t even speak Punjabi/Hindi and are probably embarrassed to walk the streets in a suite or a bindi (and they’ll blame white people for the embarrassment they face too). I don’t get it.