Saturday, August 27, 2011

Will We See A New HRC?

This morning, one of my favorite blogs, Pam's House Blend, broke the story that Joe Solmonese of the Human Rights Campaign will be resigning from his post as director of the organization. This would be the first in a series of executive staff shakeups that could change the face of the HRC as we know it. This actually comes as quite a shock to this humble blogger who has made his fair share of grumbles about the HRC and Solmonese's over-capitulation to the White House on gay issues. Time and again they have been completely unwilling to apply even the tiniest bit of pressure to affect change in an administration that on the one hand claimed to support us while the other hand was busy enforcing anti-gay policies with gusto.

 Solmonese's defense was that having a place at the negotiation table was more effective than chaining yourself to the white house fence ala Get Equal style. And yet what we saw in return for our donated dollars was HRC staff attending high profile cocktail parties at the White House where they would walk away with a fist full of promises that never came true....and the guys who chained themselves to the fences and rattled politicians cages on the news seemed to be the ones actually getting the job done. It made the HRC look weak and Solmonese like an ineffective elitist more content with rubbing elbows with the rich and powerful than actually lobbying for LGBT rights. It is little wonder that HRC's reputation has taken so many fatal hits and if Solmonese's reported resignation will be able to bring it back from the brink.

Whatever your feelings about the HRC. This recent development seems to beg the question, "Will the HRC change?" Lets explore that possibility...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Letters Of Hope

In the course of our YouTube work, My husband and I  receive many letters from LGBT people who desperately need to tell their stories to someone. Sometimes it's a Thanks for helping them to see that loving someone of the same gender and building a family is possible...sometimes its a cry for help. Very often it is both of these things, and they almost always move me to tears. It does not matter if they come from a teen in Alabama or a women in Saudi Arabia, their messages are often one and the same. Reading these emails has helped me place my own life in perspective as well as helped me understand what life is like for many LGBT people around the can be an emotional ride. I have heard stories of desperation and fear as well as stories of great triumph. In the hopes of fostering understanding and making the world a better place for all of us I would like to share a few of those stories.

In beginning this blog series I intend to share these stories with you in the hopes that you too, will look outside the borders of your life with compassion and understand why the fight doesn't end with marriage rights or DOMA's about making the world a safer place for all of us. If you take nothing else away from these blog posts....I hope its that.

And please understand.....Most of the messages I have received are from closeted individuals and those for whom anonymity is paramount. For that reason I share the story but have removed details that could identify the writer. The safety of those who write us is as important to us as it is to them. With that in mind, grab your box of tissues and please read on...

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Getting Schooled Again...

While the nation considers the impact of the credit downgrade, the worst of the worst of the GOP battle it out to see who can be the most rabidly homophobic nominee for president, and the internet squabbles over petitions demanding that Bert and Ernie get married....for the rest of us, real life marches on. So it is that our summer is coming to a close, My son turns eleven, and that's back to school again.

In the next four days we will be getting our back to school haircuts, as well as shopping for mountains of school supplies and new clothes....enough for four children. With all that gear, it will be time to get back into our disciplined schooltime routines by Wednesday, the first day of school. The kids are not the only ones who are excited and bummed out all at the same time. the end of summer means letting go of all the fun things we did and the luxury of sleeping in(which I will miss most) and video games on weekdays. However, with a new school year also comes the anticipation of seeing old friends, learning new things, and making the parents proud/sad at how fast our kids are growing up. This year, should prove to be a big one...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

OCD Diaries: "Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself"

Its been some time since I first posted about having OCD. It was a very hard post to write and after I was done, I was content just to let it go for awhile. I had cracked the lid off a part of myself that I usually keep under tight lock and key in the hopes that I could find advice, support, and perhaps help someone else who might have been silently suffering as well...I found all of those things and more.

Since that first post, life has marched on...and it didn't give a dam about OCD. I finished one session of my OCD  support group and elected to return for another session that has only recently begun. My summer...while insanely fun...was also insanely busy. My kids activities kept me busy as well as hosting several YouTube friends during our "Big Gay Vacation" and more. This was not a summer of rest and that means I did not take a lot of time to face down my OCD and do the hard work it requires. Oftentimes I let my anxious thoughts and compulsions have their way rather than continue my exposure work or practicing my mindfulness meditations. The end result is a further boatload of guilt, but also a resolve to work harder when the next OCD group began....I was really gonna kick OCD's ass this time...I meant it.  But then, another major realization happened that reminded me that this is always going to be hard work.

What happened? Read on to find out...

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Case Of The Lesbian Juror

Oh court drama's...I love to hate them. I never was one to have patience for Matlock or Law and Order type T.V. shows. It's doubly frustrating then, to have to wait on the courts to decide on our civil rights. It is an exercise in patience to watch them debate the merits of our lives in terms of ice cold facts and legal precedence...and then put off a decision till next year because they can't answer a procedural question. Yet, as the race for the Republican nomination is illustrating, there is no quarter given us from elected officials...our fates, it seems, depend on the courts.

Currently, there are several legal challenges to DOMA painstakingly climbing the legal ladder to the Supreme Court. If any of them make it that far, we will then be at the mercy of the residing justices. A great deal of speculation has been made concerning their individual opinions based off their personal views and the niggling detail of whether gays are considered a "suspect class". That simple designation would elevate issues like DOMA or an inclusive ENDA from the realm of partisan political whims to legally acknowledged civil rights necessities  So far...efforts to add sexual and gender identity to the other protected classes of gender, race, and religion have failed.

And then came "The case of the lesbian juror"....An odd name to be sure and the case itself seems to leave more questions than answers. however, if the story is worth it's salt, it could have extremely far reaching implications on our designation as a "suspect class" and lend tremendous gravitas to our strivings for full legal equality. Who is this mystery juror and how could her story impact the greater struggle for gay rights?...Read on to find out...