Wednesday, June 26, 2013
VICTORY!...... DOMA and Prop 8 are Gone!
In a double ruling, the United States Supreme Court today struck down the Defense of Marriage Act by a 5-4 margin....AND.... dealt the final blow to Prop 8. Both are now gone.
Our family has been fighting Prop 8 since the day it was announced in 2008. Nearly as soon as we could get married did the news come someone would fight it...as we knew they would. We all had to move so fast to get married before the window closed that My husband and I had to marry a week before when we would have, which would have been my birthday and the anniversary of our domestic partnership. That day would also have been the day Prop 8 passed at the ballot box. A day we will always remember as being a very sad one. And yet here we are nearly five years and many court battles later....still standing and still married. Prop 8 has been such a big part of our lives for the last five years that it's stamp can never be undone. It launched us into activism...onto YouTube and this blog...and brought so many amazing people and experiences into our lives that I am almost grateful for it even as I celebrate its passing.
And DOMA too. I almost don't even know what to say because a part of me always feared that the Supremes would find a way to wiggle out of striking it down. I really can't believe it's gone as well. This, more than anything is the reason for the picture I have put at the top of this blog. Just like the destruction of the Death Star, DOMA has always been a similar instrument of tyranny...and its demise no less dramatic and far reaching. I know that for my whole life, I have believed and accepted that no government would accept or sanction and gay relationship.....that was just the world I came out in. Hell...DOMA was signed into law at about the same time that I came out, further underscoring the collective statement that gay people would be forever unprotected by the laws that would always treat us like strangers to those we love and spend our lives with. We were on our own and that was just the way it was. How amazing to be writing this day celebrating the end, not only of DOMA and Prop 8, but that way of thinking.
Between the Deaths of Prop 8 and DOMA I feel like I am standing in a completely different world. In fact...I am. And just as the destruction of the Death Star in Star Wars was seen as an impossible task...so to was this. There were cries of joy....and great exhales of relief. That's how I feel today.
I know that tommorow will bring new battles and more insane comments by people who simply will not let gay people get on with our lives. We know we have more work to do.....But today is a day to celebrate.
Saturday, June 22, 2013
Reclaiming Dignity For Discharged LGBT Soldiers
When we think of the legacy of witch hunts against LGBT people by the military we tend to think about Don't Ask Don't Tell. However, the sad legacy of dishonorable discharges over sexuality that ruined the lives of many fine LGBT men and women goes back generations...The first dedicated efforts being undertaken by the armed forces during World War II with the military recruited soldiers to participate in undercover entrapment schemes in order to snare gay soldiers that they feared were a security risk because enemy agents could threaten them with exposure if they did not hand over military intelligence. This view of LGBT soldiers as an easily exploitable security risk coupled with bias and homophobic beliefs about gay people continued unabated in the minds of military brass and Politicians until the Don't Ask Don't Tell process ripped the lid off of it. But after so many decades and thousands of discharges, the damage done to LGBT service people is almost incalculable. How could you ever begin to make up for so many ruined lives?
Well someone has proposed the first step. Rep. Mark Pocan of Wisconsin and Rep. Charlie Rangel of New York are proposing the "Restore Honor To Servicemans Act" which would amend the records of some 114,000 servicemen and women to reflect their honorable service.
This is great. However, considering how far back the damage goes...and so many lives not only altered by their discharge, but sometimes destroyed simply by being outed...I am left wondering what this will really accomplish? Lets take a deeper look...
Saturday, June 8, 2013
The Tale of The Nightingale Empress
As many of you readers may already know. This year our family was invited to be Grand Marshals at the this years Pride celebration and awarded the José Julio Sarria History Maker award for our families work for marriage equality and LGBT families. We were honored and excited to receive this award but the very next thing we discovered was that we had no idea who José Julio Sarria was. In fact, I would bet that most people don't. That's the unfortunate thing about the often interrupted timeline of gay history, the lives and stories of important LGBT people are still left to be unearthed and brought into the light. Many now know of Harvey Milk because of the movie about his life, but there are many more characters to discover and tales to be told and just waiting to be rediscovered. And since we were receiving and award for "history making" in Sarria's name, we figured there must be quite a story to be told. In fact there is....
Saturday, June 1, 2013
Is This The Year Of The Dads?
Hello readers! Welcome back! Since Father's Day is fast approaching and it just happens to be Pride month here in Califronia, I thought it might be a good day to talk a little bit about a subject near and dear to my heart.....gay dads! This week my partner pointed out the picture above from this years NYC Pride Guide, and ignoring the rather snarky question about marriage spelling the end of gay culture, I had to admit that I was surprised to find the cover graced by what appeared to be a family even if the "dads" still looked like they fell of out of an underwear ad. While it is not abnormal to find absurdly hot guys on the cover of a Pride magazine, it is a little unusual for them to portray them as parents. And yes, this shot looks staged as hell. That baby looks like he's just as much an accessory as the sunglasses he's about to whip off and throw on the ground. But its still something to see these men as father's and a family instead of just two hot guys that may or may not be a couple. We are used to seeing sex in images like this....it is something else to see the message of a family.
Paired with all the T.V. shows that have portrayed gay dads this year, like the recently canceled "The New Normal", Cam and Mitchell from "Modern Family", and the briefly aired "Two Dads, Ten Kids" on the Oprah Network....it has led my partner to marvel at how we have come from near invisibility to being all over the place. Was this magazine pointing to an explosion of acceptance of gay dads.....or just a tacit nod that we now exist in numbers significant enough to warrant recognition?
To be honest, I hadn't really given it much thought. I had just welcomed each new change as it happened, But, since he brought it up I had to ask if he was right? Since when did we become so big?! Are we living in the year of the gay dads?
Saturday, May 18, 2013
For many of us it's a thorny subject. For myself, having built my family by adoption, we know that family is something more than blood or the people that may have been born to. Family are the people who actually raise you and stand by you no matter what. Yet, when it comes to political discourse over in this country, we talk a big game about family being the bedrock of our culture and society...and then forget to mention all the gay people that get left out of that definition of family. There have whole organisations who claim to want to protect and preserve families even though the bulk of them don't give a dam about families and just want to stop gays from being full participants in society (FRC anyone?). We expend an enormous amounts of energy and words talking about families and what they mean to us as a culture.....but what we experience as individuals is often something totally different.
Recently my son had the honor to read the letter he wrote to Supreme Court Justice John Roberts at BAYS....an LGBT youth leadership summit held here in the bay area. Bays is a completely youth run non profit organisation that helps LGBT young people and allies learn how to be leaders involved in their own schools and local communities as leaders and safe schools advocates. It's quite a mouthful to say but what they have put together was something absolutely amazing and we were all honored that Daniel was chosen as one of their keynote speakers.
The event was MC'd by Rupauls Drag Race Winner Raja (who did an awesome job. At one point in the evening she made the observation that about how incredible it was to have such an event in which so many young people were not only "out" but were training others to be LGBT leaders and advocates in their own schools. In the days when Raja (and myself) were in high school you couldn't even wear an ear ring in the wrong ear or you suffered the consequences. But what she said next struck home....in those days she said, we identified each other by saying "oh...they are family" and as she scanned an audience of mostly teens she wondered out loud if that term was passing away.......Was it?
Now, anyone over the age of thirty still knows that term, but I had to wonder...in a generation that can be out and accepted by friends and family in a way that many of us of previous generations never could, is that definition of family being lost because we no longer have to lean on each other as we once did? And it took me back in time to when I first learned who my gay family was and why we needed each other.
Saturday, May 4, 2013
Happy Star Wars Day...May 4th 2013!
Todays title says it all really. May the 4th is a day set aside to completely wallow in Star Wars geekery...hence the phrase, "May the 4th be with you." Not that I need a special day to wallow in geekery mind you, it's sort of a 24/7 thing with me and it will always revolve around Star Wars in some way. Yes....it's Star Wars day every day for me.
Given what our family does on YouTube I have been very lucky to find many kindred spirits but...there are also just as many that don't get it at all. You can always tell when someone visits my house, see's our Star Wars collection...and then politely smiles as they back out there door with a look on their face like they just stepped into the something more like Silence of the Lambs. yeah...not everybody gets it.
So I thought I would take this opportunity to talk about how I became a fan and what Star Wars has meant to me over the years. This isn't apologetics...I'm not attempting to make myself look any less fanatical. but hopefully, those of my readers who don't have any connection with a "galaxy far far away" might begin to understand why I feel the way I do...and perhaps why all superfans(Dr. who, Star Trek, Harry Potter etc.) are really just big kids at heart.
Saturday, April 27, 2013
Adoption Stories...First Contact
A while back (wow, it was June of last year!) I a post titled "Cold Case" I talked about our Daughter, Selena, beginning to ask some rather pointed questions about her biological mother and how difficult it was going to be to find anything now that state adoptions felt the case was forever closed. that launched us into becoming amateur detectives in order to track down our children's biological family. We have always been really open with the kids about where they came from and how they came to be with us, but now that they were actually wanting to know more about their family, it had caught us off guard and wondering how the heck we were going to find anything when all we had was a hand written family tree in Daniels adoption binder that only had the first names of his older siblings and their ages at the time of Daniels removal....not a lot to go on. Well, thanks to the help of a good friend and some major facebook and google sleuthing, we found a list of names of likely candidates. And so I had sent them all facebook messages, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.
And then nothing....
We has absolutely no response at all and quietly, inside my heart I was heartbroken for the kids. We wondered if we got the wrong people, or perhaps their older siblings had been so scarred by their experience with their family that they simply wanted nothing to do with them anymore...even if they were long lost siblings. People rarely react the way we think they are going to and everyone has their own reasons for saying no to a contact that most of us would jump at the chance to realize. But we let it go, resigned to try it again later, and got on with our lives. All of us forgot about it and got caught up in the daily grind of homework, karate, fencing, foster child visits, and Youtube. And then,out of the blue...something amazing happened...
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Seeing Our Best In Our Darkest Moments
Hello dear readers...it is nice to be back after missing last week. Over that time however, it seems as if some crazy things have been happening in the world. The Boston bombings and fertilizer plant explosion in Texas has been on mind all week as it seems as if the wounds of the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings haven't even healed yet...but....it's not those tragedies themselves that are in my thoughts these day so much as our response to them. Terrible events tend to bring us together as a people in ways I wish we would find when we aren't grieving some terrible loss.
I spend my days swimming through a see of opinion about people attitudes and opinions to LGBT people and our rights and if you can say one thing about it, it is that it is contentious. The loudest voices are often the most hateful ones and those people need to be met and countered. The path to seeing an LGBT person as a normal human being and not a national threat has been a long and loud one and we are far from seeing the end of it. Even the repeal of Doma and the passage of LGBT inclusive immigration and work place reforms will not end the culturally entrenched homophobia that still needs to be met daily with courage and truth.
But as I watch the T.V. in the wake of the Boston Bombings and hear such amazing stories of compassion...like people running toward the blast sights to help the injured instead of running away in self protection...it makes me think. Why can not this be who we are all the time? And given that LGBT people are there in these same events, suffering in the carnage and helping to heal it...when will the world learn that we have bigger problems to face in the world than two people of the same-sex getting married?
Saturday, April 6, 2013
Why Is It Still OK To Demean Gay People?
Todays blog can be thought of as an extension of last weeks in which I talk about how many in religion have made LGBT people into their chief enemy....abandoning all pretense at love or the message of Jesus to espouse a political viewpoint in "the culture wars". This week picks up the topic again with Pastor David James Manning of the YouTube channel ATLAHworldwide.
Earlier this month Pastor Manning produced a video called "Age Matters All The Time" in which Pastor Manning attempted to make the point that anyone below the age of thirty was not mature enough to vote. For an example of this Pastor Manning used my son Daniels video letter to Chief Justice John Roberts, using his image and his full name to accuse my husband Jay and myself of being child molesters and child rapists for allowing our son to not only understand the issue of same-sex marriage...but to allow him to voice his opinion about a topic that directly effects his family.
Now, that video was up for several days before ultimately being flagged and pulled from YouTube to be reviewed for inappropriate content. It was at this point that Pastor Manning made a video in which he attempted to reframe his video as not attacking our family and calling us child molestors...but simply one in which he was trying to talk about how age matters in political discourse...a complete falsehood.
However, due to complaints from Mannings viewers, Youtube put his video back up....disgusting accusations and all. We were completely flummoxed that a human being at YouTube actually watched that video and then re-approved it. Yet as angry as we were, we had resigned ourselves that there was nothing much we could do about it....until the popular political blog AmericaBlog picked up the story and highlighted the advertisers who were having their products linked to Pastor Mannings message.....prompting YouTube to immediately yank the video again and finally acknowledge that it violates its own posted community guidelines for hate speech.
The entire Journey we have been through with Manning has highlighted for me that not only do certain religious people see the gay community as the ultimate evil...but also that it still seems to be ok to express such insulting comments as Pastor Manning made as long as the target of those comments are gay people. Read on after the jump to watch the videos and to find an answer to why it's till ok to debate and talk about gay lives in a way that it would be considered unacceptable if the subject was another race, religion, or women...
Saturday, March 30, 2013
Like David and Goliath
This blog will be kind of a difficult one to write for me. I was raised...and still consider myself...Christian regardless of the path my life has taken. I will be discussing faith and religion...so if you are offended by those topics than perhaps this is not the post for you. I know that these are deeply personal topics, but I encourage anyone who reads on to be respectful and to remember that this is written from the point of view of one human being...me. It will be flawed, it may make you facepalm, but that's just the nature of discussing religion or politics, which is why people caution never to do it. Yeah...we never listen to those people. That said...
How did gay people end up being the single most important issue to religion? As I have lived my life as an out gay man, and been involved in advocating for marriage equality, I have seen this issue grow from being one of many issues the church frowned upon to somehow transforming into an apocalyptic battle for the survival of the world. It makes little sense to me. I mean, to be against it because of your interpretation of the Bible...sure, I'm used to that opinion...but to hear the way religious voices talk about the gay community is to have them paint the image of them as David facing down the us as the big mean Philistine, Goliath. There is no one else and no other issue as galvanizing to the religious community than stopping gay people....not poverty, not economical inequality, not hunger, not spiritual well being....just holding off the end times by holding back the tide of gay rights. Further more any other religious group or tradition that decides to support and affirm LGBT people gets branded as traitors and heretics.
For many this will seem like a no-brainer relationship between traditional attitudes to homosexuality being threatened by the advancements that have been made by LGBT people of late. However, rather than just accept that as a given fact...I'd like to take a minute to look deeper at why we have become the arch nemesis of organized religion and how I believe that is a mistaken view
Saturday, March 23, 2013
Kids of LGBT Families In The Spotlight
It's the eve of the beginning of oral arguments for the Supreme Court on the issues of Prop 8 and DOMA and here I am on a Saturday already holding my breath. It's been a whirlwind week in which the pending cases have been front and center for us all week long. As most of you know...since our Facebook wall is practically wallpapered with links....my son Daniel's letter to Chief Justice John Roberts has gone viral and gotten a lot of attention. Thankfully, the lions share of that attention has been positive and we have been very happy to pass that along to him. I was/am very proud of him and I feel he earned every bit of the praise he has received from this.
However, when it comes to kids and the public eye, there are many who ask if showing our children in such a public way is good for them. This question was brought to me just this last week in a brief spot that Daniel and I were in for CNN's Starting Point. The one and only question I received from the anchors was nothing to with DOMA or Prop 8 but everything to do with why we as parents would chose to put our kids in the spotlight:
...Tell me a little bit about putting your family out there for the world to see. There can be down sides to that too. People can say, "Look, you're showing what it's like to be your family"....There are others who say, "Maybe kids shouldn't be in the spotlight."It's a fair question...and one that I had a specific answer for but as a parent first and marriage equality advocate second I think the topic is one that bears further discussion. So grab your favorite beverage and follow me after the jump....
Saturday, March 16, 2013
No Second Best
The National Organisation for Marriage must be wishing that Maggie Gallagher would come out of retirement because the guys speaking for them today have a terminal case of hoof-in-mouth disease. At least in the web of lies and misconceptions Maggie spun for the public, she never insulted a Supreme Court Justice , nor a vast swath of Americans who she hoped to reach with her "gays are taking over marriage" tear tactics. And yet, the people who have taken over her job of talking to the media simply do not seem to run their comments through any kind of internal editing process before letting them out in the sunshine to run around and terrorize the public. Case in Point: this week I read, via Towleroad, and story from the AP that made my blood boil. Apparently John Eastman, of the National Organisation for Marriage was waxing philosophic about the likely hood that the personal lives of the Justices could effect their decisions in the upcoming Prop 8 and DOMA trials...and let slip that he considers adoption a "second best" option. Check out his comments and my take on them after the jump...
Saturday, March 9, 2013
Politicians and After The Fact Apologies
"The quality of mercy is not strained,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:"
~William Shakespeare....The Merchant of Venice
At least so saith the poet...
Forgiveness is an incredible force for healing as well as human progress that many often write off as a weakness. Yet, without mercy and its close cousin, forgiveness, we would fight blood feuds without end...and in my opinion the world is filled with enough examples of that. So it is with some internal conflict that I read this week that Bill Clinton is kinda-sorta non-apologizing for signing DOMA into law and urging the Supreme Court to strike it down. I mean, the man signed it into law, so I should be jumping up and down in celebration that he is going public condemning it....right?. Well, given the spate of politicians that have recently come out to support abolishing DOMA and prop 8 who previously supported enacting those laws when they were in power...my feelings about Clinton's actions are mixed and anything but poetic.
Saturday, March 2, 2013
In Brief...The 8 State Solution Isn't One At All
The news this week has been nearly dominated by accounts of the many individuals and organisations submitting amicus(friend of the court) briefs to the Supreme Court, asking them to strike down The Defense of Marriage Act and/or California's Prop 8. Among those who have file include 212 Congressional Democrats, some 100+ republicans, Several corporations from major tech firms to investment banks, Footballers Kris Kluwe and Brendon Ayanbadejo, and yes...even Ellen Degeneres got in on the act. Finally, and among the most anticipated, as well as most analysed briefs, is that from President Obama.
Now, an amicus brief is little more than an opinion, and like all opinions it's primary purpose is to exert influence...but that's all. And as the saying goes..."opinions are like *rseholes, everyone's got one." Being that they are attempts to sway opinion, the Justices of the Supreme Court don't have to pay any attention to them what so ever. Yet, it seemed as if anyone who had a stake in the issue was lodging their opinion for formal review. As the week progressed and more politicians and celebrities jumped on the bandwagon, I began to wonder how many of these filings would get simply get ignored...except for one. A great deal of attention has been granted to President Obama's recent filing. Being that he is an equal branch of government and the head of the nation, one would hope that Scotus would consider his opinion with the due weight of the office he holds.
Given that the President has "evolved' on the issue of marriage equality...and that he has been willing to be vocal about that support to the public...it was with some surprise and consternation that I read what is being called the "8 state solution", or as it is heralded in headlines "limited gay marriage". What the hell does that even mean?! Well, it goes something like this...
Saturday, February 23, 2013
Bullying and Healing Old Wounds
For most of my posts I like to have a news item or event on which to base my writing from...heaven knows there are plenty of things in the news to be grist for the mill. The developments within the Catholic Church alone could keep us talking for days. But...for some reason my mind keeps coming back around to bullying. No...it's not some special anti-bullying holiday, nor has some terrible example of peer abuse popped up in the news today. It's just on my mind lately because, like many of us, I went through it. Bullying dominated my life and made me hate and fear school from elementary into high school. School was the hell were I was tortured and telling adults did nothing to fix it....then. Since there was no help for what was happening to me there was little to do about it but find ways to survive and that's what I did....
There is the assumption that time heals all wounds and that after awhile past trauma's should not hurt us anymore. I guess it's true given enough time passes. But as I am sitting here sipping my coffee as a 40 year old adult far removed from the days I was bullied, I am wondering what the long term effect of those years was on who I am today. Bullying...especially intense and sustained bullying...leaves it's mark on a person. It's like scar tissue, it may not be as crippling as when it was new, but it never really goes away completely. If I want to, I can remember the faces and events of what happened with more clarity than I can remember some birthdays or Christmas's. because of those days of constant fear, I have an instictive need to avoid conflict...even watching it on t.v. can trigger anxiety feelings in me. And worst of all is the damage that is done to our self-esteem. It has taken me years to begin to believe that I have a right to consider myself as good as the person next to me...or to speak up for myself at all. I literally lost all sense of a healthy ego. Now, even 30 years later I still struggle with this.
I know that some of what I write here may be embarrassing for me to admit in such a public forum....but it happened. It may be uncomfortable for some to read but this post is my place to work it out and hopefully find wisdom....either in just telling the tale, or in hearing from others. So my question today is....how does being bullied affect us as grown ups? If we can get through those days, does that which does not kill us really make us stronger...or just stranger?
Saturday, February 16, 2013
Attack of The Teenage years...One Year Too Soon
Seriously...When I was a newbie parent and talking to veteran parents about raising children, they ALL had one warning to give...."Just wait till they're teenagers!" Each of them echoed the same warning...all of them, to a one...a fact which is creepy enough by itself. However, I shrugged off their warnings as so much cynical ramblings and after all, my son was only five and all that teenage stuff seemed so far away that I didn't have to worry about it. So, like the ill-fated kids of Camp Crystal Lake I blithely set off to a date with the monster. But like a beast stalking us from the shadows...it lay in wait for seven years until it was time to strike.
For those of you doing the math...yes, that means my son is now Twelve and not exactly a teenager. I feel like I am cheating myself out of being able to write this post next year but...just like movie monsters leap out at you when you expect them the least, neither did my sons teenage traits wait till his chronological aged ticked over from twelve to thirteen. It's here and it's demanding to be dealt with....(cue B-movie scream)
Sunday, February 10, 2013
Hating On Couples...The Couples Strike Back
Valentines day is fast approaching! Are you ready?! Do you have cards?! Flowers?! Chocolates?! Erotic massage oils?! Come to think of it....do I have any of that stuff?! The answer is yes, no,...and maybe. Additionally for parents is finding someone to watch the kids so you can have the uber rare thing known as a "date night"....an event that comes along with the same frequency as Haley's comet. but no matter what your relationship status everyone looks ahead to Valentines day with excitement or dread...sometimes both. As a happily married dad of fifteen years Valentines Day is a different experience for my husband and I than it will be for many others. For starters, Jay loves the candy, the flowers, the movie, and all the sentiment that comes with the Holiday. I, on the other hand, am grateful for a night out and a little monkey business after. Sometimes all we actually get is a couple hours together in the morning before we both have to rush off to separate responsibilities.
Since my last few posts have been on the serious side, I thought I would have a little fun with this one and share a post that made me and my husband laugh...."Why Everyone Hates Couples" written by Orlando Soria, attempts to explain why he thinks that everyone hates couples and finds the answer if the annoying little things we only do when we are in a relationship. Now...most single people hate on couples around Valentines day and that is ok.....but Soria being a coupled person himself, makes me wonder why the shade? Some of the things he gives of evidence of obnoxiousness I would find appalling under any circumstances and still others I may be guilty of myself but I never really saw as all that annoying. But I'll try not to be too defensive and let Mr. Soria speak for himself...
Saturday, February 2, 2013
The Superbowl and Gay Rights....Game On
Ah sports...my old arch nemesis. I can't believe that I am actually finding myself writing about football today. I have never been the kind of guy to follow or be interested in sports at all. I just have never got why it's supposed to be exciting. I suppose it's exactly the same for other people when I go on about Star Wars and Sci-Fi...but for me, sports remind me of being different. Whether it was being a kid who never understood the rules and constantly got made fun of by classmates, making the playing of the game into a hell of it's own...or standing on the outside as the odd duck, as the rest of my family excitedly gathers together to share football on Sundays Sports, for me, has always highlighted how I have felt like an outsider to the rest of the world. That's not a gay thing...it's just a me thing. So when The Superbowl and World Series clog up the news I usually ignore it and wait for the temporary insanity to pass.
Yet lately it seems as if the sports world is undergoing a seismic shift when it comes to gay players. On the eve of footballs biggest night...and during a time when I usually cannot escape hearing about everyone's fantasy football picks...the conversation has instead been about the acceptance of gay people.
Saturday, January 26, 2013
The Well Of Compassion...A Letter To My Husband
Todays post is actually a letter to my husband who, when we were having a conversation about helping people and getting hurt for it, asked me to put my words into blog form because he felt he hears me better when I write then when I speak. That said, even though the nature of to days post will be very personal, that doesn't mean that it is...well...private. All of us, as human beings, are challenged to open our hearts at times and finding the balance between taking risks with our hearts or choosing to protect them instead. That said...even though this blog may be personal, it is also a very human experience and I invite your opinions on the matter. So without further ado...
Sunday, January 20, 2013
How We Think About Coming Out
Gay brothers and sisters,... You must come out. Come out... to your parents... I know that it is hard and will hurt them but think about how they will hurt you in the voting booth! Come out to your relatives... come out to your friends... if indeed they are your friends. Come out to your neighbors... to your fellow workers... to the people who work where you eat and shop... come out only to the people you know, and who know you. Not to anyone else. But once and for all, break down the myths, destroy the lies and distortions. For your sake. For their sake. For the sake of the youngsters who are becoming scared by the votes from Dade to Eugene --Harvey Milk
Coming out...it is commonly considered a rite of passage for all lgbt people. We regard it as a singular act of courage and truth telling which is said to set us free. It's sometimes it can be as large as bringing conversation at thanksgiving dinner to a screaching halt or as small as only being able towhisper the truth to yourself in a mirror. But however it's done...it always takes courage and still more to to bring that truth out to others. We know...because many of us have been there with our heart in our hands waiting for parents or friends to respond to our finding the courage to tell them about ourselves...each second of silence feeling like hours.
Many of my readers may have watched my husband Jay's opinion video of Jodie Fosters kinda coming out speech at the Golden Globes. It got so much heated and angry backlash that Jay got called all kinds to things from selfish, to a bully, to a couple of death threats. To me...the response to Jays Criticisms of Jody Foster were way out of proportion to what was actually said about her. Not that Jay was the only one to have some strong opinions about the topic...many notable and well respected voices also had some raised eyebrows including radio host and Huffington Post editor Michelangelo Signorile. Yet, anyone who had something critical to say about Jodie Fosters speech was vilified and got the full wrath of the internet. Now...while you would expect that her fans would want to defend her...the response was so large and heated that it made me wonder if something else was behind their reactions beyond the effect of celebrity. Perhaps Jay had touched on a nerve that many of us are sensitive to...what we believe coming out is and what we impart to the person doing it?
Many of you may be tired of hearing about the whole Jodie Foster thing...and to be honest, I am too. Even though I may use Jodie as an example at times, would like to take this issue out of the realm of any one persons circumstances and take a look at the act of coming out itself....and then, if being a celebrity alters how we view it. Is coming out something so personal and intimate that no one is allowed to have opinions about it?
Saturday, January 12, 2013
The Hardest Question
I think it's funny that the religious right always think that gay men are all about sex 24/7. If that was true, you would think that would be a large percentage of the inquiries we receive, but it is hardly ever asked about. Not never.... but very rarely. Instead, people most often want to know about issues that relate to love and family. And among those, there is always one question for which I have the hardest time answering and...no, it is not, "what is the meaning of life?"...it us actually:
"How do I find someone to love?"
Indeed...how does someone who stumbled into it himself answer a question like that?
Saturday, January 5, 2013
Ok...I was going to let my second post about gun violence and the Newtown shootings just fade off with the holidays with all the hope for the new year that came with Christmas as passing into 2013, but apparently that is a huge mistake as is made apparent by an article on Pam's House Blend commenting on an earlier Think Progress piece on this week concerning programs for arming teachers in schools....yes, this is really happening and people are signing up for it. In the wake of all that has occurred how can anyone think this is a good idea?! It sickens the hell out of me and points to a very deep problem we have in this country of being motivated to action by the worst of our emotions....fear. Fear has become such a factor in our thinking that our priorities have become greatly out of whack and it seems that not even a tragedy of the magnitude of Sandy Hook's is enough to wake us up from our collective nightmare. And nightmare it is....What the hell has happened to the American spirit?
We have allowed ourselves to become a nation completely bound by fear. It is the tool most used to great effect by politicians who want to pit conservative against liberal as if those labels mean "more American" and "less American". It is often in our world view when we look to the future and people honestly believe an apocalypse is right around the corner. It's in our news, it's in our entertainment, it's in the very way we think of each other as human beings and Sandy Hook has brought that to light for us in a very visible way. However, in fighting partisan battles over gun control, will the deeper issues that makes tragedies like Sandy Hook possible be overlooked? It has often been said that we are a "gun culture" but I would like to argue that we instead have allowed ourselves to become a "fear culture".
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