Saturday, October 30, 2010

Georgia Megachurch Pastor Comes Out With Integrity

Religion and Christianity in specific seem to be undergoing an upheaval the likes of which I have never seen before...and much of it seems due to national debate over gay issues. The evolving Eddie Long situation and George Allen Rekkers scandals just being two of recent memory. But in both cases, these men were outed against their will. It has been the pattern of influential politicians and religious leaders to come out only after having been caught with their pants down...literally. After the denials...after the tears, we find the admissions that they had been gay all along.

On the positive flip side and on the heals of the "It Gets Better" testimony of Randy Roberts Potts...grandson to Iconic Evangelical, Oral Roberts...comes a Mega church leader coming out of the closet. Claiming the rash of LGBT teen suicides and prompting by his ex wife, Jim Swilley of "Church In The Now" in Conyers, Georgia has blown the doors off his own closet...and he did so with grace and panache.

Having watched the televised outing nearly in its entirety(nearly two hours worth), I can honestly say that its is in incredible and moving admission on his part that came from a very real part of himself. It is an act of integrity that I could not help admire because the video I post here is his first public acknowledgment to his it you see congregants get up and leave the service. He also acknowledges losing the backing of many friends, colleagues, and affiliate ministries....He is giving up a lot to make an admission that he claims was brought about by the news of so many gay teen suicides.

It amazed and inspired me...I hope it will you too. Like many, I had not intended to watch the entire thing, but ended up doing exactly that. His coming out begins at about the 9:30 mark...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My Favorite "It Gets Better" Video

Dan Savages's "It Gets Better" project has exploded. There are now literally hundreds of videos made by everyday people the likes of you and the President of The United States and many major celebrities. But of all the videos that I have seen from the project...this one just blew me away:...The gay grandson of Oral Roberts writing an "It Gets Better" letter to his gay uncle who committed suicide in 1982.

Its no doubt that religion plays a large roll in the shame that LGBT teens go through...hell all of us have to go through. It did for me in a major way. So many of us take the risk to come out to our families as an act of love and honesty only to be met with disapproval....threats of hell...and sometimes outright rejection. So when I man like Randy Roberts Potts tells his has an amazing ability to help...not only gay teens, but grown men like me. His heartfelt words to his uncle moved me to tears. Please watch the video after the jump...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Laying Blame

"Gay activists are going Green, going Republican, and in some cases not planning on going to the polls this year at all."

So begins an article at The Advocate discussing an Associated Press article on how LGBT's are likely to vote in the upcoming elections, given our anger and disappointment at the Democratic party for their lack of follow through on their bold election promises to be "fierce advocates" for the gay community. Big promises were made...but little was actually delivered, prompting many of us to consider withdrawing support from the Democratic party in order to send a wake up call...."If you don't support us, we wont support you".

Strangely, for a minority group so easy to ignore outside of election season, we are being credited with the ability to tank this election for the Democrats singlehandedly. How is that possible? Also, aren't we painting with a rather large brush here? LGBT people come from a great many political persuasions and have a variety of reasons for their voting habits....And furthermore has not the White House earned that ire?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Star Wars Geek Breaking News!...More Movies?!!

alright...I'm hijacking the blog today to diverge from my usual policy of writing on gay related topics to veer sharply into my favorite place...a galaxy far far away. On my usual blog trolling this morning I stopped by as they are my go to guys for all news star wars related. This morning they put up a post that really should have included a class one hot beverage alert as I almost sprayed hot coffee all over the screen when I read it. So please put down your beverage and read on..., a movie rumor sight reports that a trustworthy source that George Lucas may be planning another trilogy of Star Wars films....

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Powder Blue...The Power of Words

By now most of us have seen the video or at least heard about the incident that took place at a Cleveland area high school football game when rival teams shouted anti-gay chants at each other in an attempt to out due each others attempts at humiliation. The Video was posted to YouTube by a student of the school who attended the game and was appalled by what she heard. Given the spate of gay suicides due to bullying and homophobia, the video served to highlight the culture and attitudes that can lead to the hopelessness and despair in LGBT teens that can contribute to suicide.  But...oh my, has the conversation been heated about this video. There's been so much anger and backlash that the student who originally posted it has had make her video private.

Its this heated conversation and wildly divergent viewpoints that I would like to address today. When is a word more than just a word and what is our responsibility for the words we use? Is it fair to equate the words used against gays to words used against other minorities?...Is this just innocent ribbing between rival teams or something much larger that even the users of these words cant grasp? And finally...sticks and stones may break my bones but do words really hurt us?

*warning* up to now I have kept the language clean, and I hope...professional. From here on out it will get raw and I will not censor myself. If this language bothers you, then you may  want to move on. The video is below the fold along with a possible change in rating from "PG" to "Pg-13" after the jump...

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Internet Killed The Small Town Gay Bar

Hello everyone,....I was not sure how to title this post...being that it will be part movie review and part remembrance of a place that really aided in my coming out. However...

 Recently, my husband and I watched Small Town Gay Bar, a documentary film about two gay bars in rural Mississippi..Rumors, in Shannon...and Different-Seasons in Meridian. Even though the movie centers around these two bars, its wider story is about the roll of these bars in creating a sense of community in a place where there would otherwise be nothing but naked hostility and homophobia. The bars serve as dating hub, safe zone, and community center all in one. The patrons of the bar, who often have to live their everyday lives under cover, find a place to be themselves and to connect to a gay self that can find expression no where else. That small piece of freedom comes at a price though, as they are only safe within the doors of the bar. If its not "family values" people writing down their license plates numbers and sending them threatening letters to their homes...its people harassing them in the parking lots, or law enforcement looking for any excuse to shut them down. Its a story told less about the bars themselves and more about the people that give them life...and like life, its sometimes sad, sometimes triumphant...but always changing.

It made me remember a place that was both refuge and coming out catalyst for me so many years ago...The Santa Rosa Inn. Today, I have no pictures to share of what it looked like, but they could never do justice to my memories..nor to the roll this place played in my life...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Milestones...."The Talk"

Well its become time for another one of those big moments in one of our children's lives....Daniel received the "Birds and Bees" talk...

This is usually one of those moments that most parents have a tough time with. Its not that we dread it, because we all want our kids to grow up with the right information so they can make the best choices possible when it comes to sex and love....but most of us didn't have parents who were o.k. enough with sexuality to tell us anything more than "don't do it till your married"....if we got anything at all. For many of us, sex education meant sixth grade sex ed class, whatever we heard on the playground, or whatever we saw in stolen moments in porn magazines. Understandably that left big gaps in our knowledge of what sex was and was not. Most of us have had to come to our understanding of this subject through our own trial and error...and made many a mistake along the way.

Jay and I determined long ago that we never wanted our children to find out about sex that way. That we would do our best to be as forthright and honest about the subject as possible within the limits of age appropriate information. We wanted them to grow up without shame and dirty feelings...but also to know sex in terms of love and with a sense of personal responsibility for their actions. We thought we were ready to tackle whatever they could throw at us...

Then it happened...The note came home from school that Daniels class would be conducting sex ed this year....Our real reaction?.....Aw crap! Can't he stay a boy just a little while longer? This is all happening too fast.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

DADT...Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead?

Well Dorothy. its true...In the Log Cabin Republican suit against Don't Ask Don't Tell, Federal Judge Virginia Phillips not only ruled that the policy was discriminatory and unconstitutional...she went and dropped the house on it by ordering the federal government to cease all investigations and discharges effective immediately. ....*shock*....*awe*....cue Glenda the good witch...

Wow...its like that moment in the Wizard of Oz when the witches legs curl up leaving behind empty stockings and a gently worn pair of ruby slippers. I stand here dumbfounded and waiting for munchkins to start dancing and singing while a little girl steals an old ladies shoes and flees the scene of an accident. But whats next?...and what of the announcement that the Department of Justice intends to defend DoMA?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Cosmic Ironies

Happy National Coming Out Day! In honor of the day comes a story which makes you wonder at lifes sense of humor. Specifically, why some of the worst homophobes end up having gay children. Case in point...Jonathan Katz, a Washington University physics professor, came under fire in May for writing a paper in defense of homophobia in which he described himself as a "proud homophobe".

Jonathan Katz and his son, Isaac:

 As you can guess, it was a hoot to read. What landed him in the news however, was the fact that he had been appointed  by President Obama to head up the BP oil spill clean up. Public outcry over this appointment ended with his eventual dismissal. Which I'm sure did nothing to curb his pride in his homophobic attitude. But here's something that did...Professor Katz's son, Isaac Katz, just came out of the closet as gay...and not in a private family way...but in an  article in the Saint Louis Post's online edition. stltoday.

In response to Dan Savage's "It Gets Better Project", here are some excerpts from Isaac's story...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Christian Nation

Sometimes I think that we've really lost touch with American history. Whether its the tea Partiers brand of "patriotism" or conservative "family values" politicians, there is a pervading Idea that America was founded on their particular religious ideals. Take for example these comments made by Senator Jim DeMint at a church rally in South Carolina:
“Hopefully in 2012, we'll make headway to repeal some of the things we've done, because politics only works when we're realigned with our Savior.”...

....DeMint said if someone is openly homosexual, they shouldn't be teaching in the classroom and he holds the same position on an unmarried woman who's sleeping with her boyfriend — she shouldn't be in the classroom."
As homophobic and discriminatory as these comments are, they are not unique to Senator DeMint....Its not even the most troubling part of his quote. Whats more alarming is the idea behind his statement and the sharp uprise of religion in American politics. Were it not for Christine O'Donnells pronouncements of faith would she have won the Republican nomination being that the rest of her background is so littered with inconsistencies?...Or Sara Palin, who also makes no bones that she would bring her religious beliefs into the oval office, were she ever to be elected.

Ever growing is the number of politicians who find traction with the voters by ignoring the foundational Idea of the separation of church and state. The idea has been repeatedly put forth that America is a "Christian nation" and that Christians need to hold the reigns of government  and to enforce morality legislatively. This is has been created and Fueled by evangelical Preachers  like Lou Engle, Janet porter, and many others who view polotics as fair game for the pulpit. It is been echoed again by main stream Republican candidates and tea partiers alike. You can also commonly here it fall off the lips of average Americans who believe that America was founded with a musket in one hand...and a bible in the other.

Yet my problem with all this is not one of religion...but more a question....Where were all these people in elementary school when American history was taught?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

It Gets Better...My Love Letter To Anyone Coming out

Hello Everyone.

September has been a month of tragedies. It seems that each passing day brought another report of a young man who had taken his own life because of bullying and the homophobic actions of others. To me, this month has felt like one long funeral. Among those we lost were:

Justin Aaberg- 15 years old...Anoka, Minnesota
Billy Lucas- 15 years old...Greensburg, Indiana
Asher Brown- 13 years old...Harris, Texas
Seth Walsh- 13 years old...Tehachapi, California
Tyler Clementi- 18 years old...Ridgewood, New Jersey
Raymond Chase- 19 years old...Providence, Rhode Island

Even though this may seem like alot to some, what I can't help but think when I see this list is how many more gay teens committed suicide who we may never hear about...perhaps because they didn't want anyone to know or because their families hid the information. There's always a reason. Only one thing is for sure...the young men above are the short list of those who fell to Loneliness and the intimidation of others.

In response to the wave of deaths and hoping to foster the survival of gay teens, Dan Savage and his partner began the awesome "It Gets Better Project", a Youtube page in which those of us who made it past those years of loneliness and isolation share how our lives have changed....that it does get better in just a couple of short years. To date, the project has collected nearly 120 testimonies...including Jays and mine.

I left the experience of making that video feeling like I had so much more to say. So, I'm writing today's post as a letter to gay teens who are feeling that suicide is the only way to end that sense of shame and isolation....also to those of us coming out later in life...and also to my 18 year old self. Please read on...