Saturday, March 31, 2012

Civil Rights and Gay Rights March Together in the life of Bayard Rustin

"The only weapon we have is our bodies...and we need to put them in places so that wheels don't turn."...Bayard Rustin

There are some people in life who have helped me change how I think about being a gay person. Growing up as I did, in a home in which it was made crystal clear to me how wrong my parents, the church, and society as a whole looked at LGBT life as something sick and to be ashamed of. As a part of my journey to self acceptance, those messages had to be undone and one of the ways that was accomplished has been in the examples of great LGBT people who by their examples have rocked the way I thought about myself...and the world. One such person is Bayard Rustin.

I had known of Bayard...that he was an adviser to Martin Luther King Junior, an outspoken activist and organizer,...and gay. That alone was a revelation to me. Most people think of Martin Luther King Jr. as one of the great leaders of our time for his work in helping drive forward the civil rights movement. It had hit me like a bomb then, to discover that standing by his side was a gay who not only worked along side him, but advised him. The questions I had were endless. How out was Rustin to MLK and the rest of the leaders of the movement? What was his life like? Did he have relationships or was his a life marked with solitude? and finally....why had I never heard this before?

Again, my ideas about who we are as gay men and women had been changed and I needed to know more. Fortunately, because it was recently the anniversary of Rustin's 100th birthday there has been some talk about him and his life which led me to a documentary about his life....Brother Outsider, The Life Of Bayard Rustin. What I have learned about him not only answered all those questions I had and made me feel a personal connection to events that happened before my birth...they showed me and a singular individual, who was amazing all in his own right

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Being Seen

This blog entry may not be specifically about gay issues....however, it is a beautiful story about equality that just happens to intersect with one of my passions...futuristic Sci Fi. In their zeal to support their favorite obsessions, Star Wars Fans and Star Trek fans have often battled it out over which of the two is the best...a debate that still rages. Now...I know that my readers know that I love Star Wars....perhaps some would say a little too much. But Like most kids my age I grew up loving Star Trek too. Anything that took me out into space was(and still is) a good thing. I watched it in syndication and dreamed of better tomorrows in which the noblest of human instincts carried us beyond our destructive capacities and into the stars. The fact that Both Star Trek and Star Wars carried an unspoken subtext about race and difference may not have been foremost on my mind as a kid...but the lesson was learned all the same. Star Trek just did it first and a bit more directly.

In absent-mindedly dusting my living room I was listening to a documentary on Television about Star Trek called "Trek Nation". It was hosted by Star Trek Creator Gene Roddenberry's son "Rod" Roddenberry as a tribute to the series his father created. It was an interesting show to watch....but I wasn't supposed to be watching, I was supposed to be cleaning...and so I listened while I worked. that is...until a segment with Nichelle Nichols(Lt. Uhura) discussing a meeting with Martin Luther King Jr. caught my ear and made me drop everything to listen....

Friday, March 16, 2012

Going To Disneyland!

For most of us, that knowledge should come with congratulations and condolences simultaneously....but all kidding aside it is time for this family to saddle up and get some time away. We have asked our kids to be very patient with the movie events for Right To Love that we have asked them to attend and they have have been champs through it all. They have watched the movie through several times without complaining.....much, they have stood onstage with us and and answered questions from multiple audiences, and they have put up with getting dressed up and staying put together despite their every impulse to be kids. The kids have earned something special and this trip is our way to say thank you to them.

So we will be standing in long lines....hopefully not in the rain which is currently pouring like cats and dogs here in Northern California. We will be tag teaming escorting the kids on rides while the other watches the two year old, responding to repeated requests for a bathroom halfway through an hour long line, and paying way too much for theme park food. That's life in Disneyland...and a very peculiar kind of magic if you ask me but that's o.k. because they have something for dad too!...Disney's Star Wars ride, Star Tours, has been revamped to be a completely new experience with up to 50 alternate endings. That's a lot of waiting in line and don't think my kids are THAT patient with me. But speaking of patience....

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Why Is MSNBC Still Hosting The Family Research Council?

Today's title says it all a member of a Southern Poverty Law Center designated hate group...why are Tony Perkins, Peter Sprigg, or anyone from the Family Research Council constantly asked to be on MSNBC and/or CNN to represent a fair minded or rational opposition to an LGBT issue when it has been proven time and time again that they are one of the chief exporters of lies and distortions about the gay community? Using little but their interpretation of religion and the very discredited junk science of Paul Cameron, they have testified before congress and been on countless cable TV news shows spreading the idea that allowing LGBT people anything at all is tantamount to the utter destruction of the country. Who made them boss of everything anyway? one, that's who...

However, my opinion on the matter carries less weight with those who might need to see the FRC for what it really organisation who's sole job is to spread fear and hatred of gay, bisexual, and transgendered peoples then from those from the same faith communities that Tony and the FRC target. Oh no...there is no family research going on at the Family Research Council, it's all about stopping the gays....a fact that has been picked up on by a group called Faithful America who have made a thirty second long commercial asking MSNBC to stop promoting Tony and the FRC as anything other then what they are. But will the world see it? because, naturally, MSNBC refused to air it.

And so I have chosen to share it here because I think it's an important topic to bring up and that, if this commercial wont make television...we can still spread it to all corners of the internet to have a real discussion about how we talk about LGBT issues in the media. check out the commercial after the jump and then I will add my two cents to the mix...

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Foster Diaries: Risking Your Heart

One thing that we as human beings do not like to do with our hearts is risk them. Risk means uncertainty and with uncertainty comes the possibility of loss and pain. But however much we try too limit the risks we have to take, it has been a life lesson for me to learn to hold your heart out there anyway..even  if you are hurt.And in the event that you are, you must learn not to let it keep you from loving again. This is the heavy lifting of the heart and way we build its capacity to love. Yes, I sounds like the inside of a Hallmark greating card but it is also a fact of life as I have lived it.

One of the ways this lesson was brought home to me was through adoption and foster care. Many of our readers may have been keeping abreast of my previous writings about "Baby Boy". The two year old who has stolen our hearts and who already feels like a member of our family. He came into our lives with two ear infections and soul full of pain and made me question my ability as a foster parent only to later steal all our hearts. At that time we had to say goodbye to him and let him be with a member of his family for long term care only to have him return six months later after having suffered horrific abuse in that home. We welcomed him back with the intention that this time we wanted him to stay. But as with all times you open your heart to someone...there is the possibility that it wont work out. Such is the case with Baby boy.