Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Well Of Compassion...A Letter To My Husband

Dear Readers,

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 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 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

Answering questions about being gay and being parents is part of our everyday experience on Gay Family Values. We have been open books about nearly every part of our lives. We have covered, coming out, bullying, our pasts(pasts both separately and together), adoption, politics, parenting, relationship issues, name it and someone has asked us a question about it. And for anything we do get asked, we have done our best to answer within reasonable boundaries  Now... we are not experts in any of these topics but most of the time you don't have to be, you just have to be a good ear and a shoulder to lean for someone who may not have anyone else to talk to about the issue at hand. But needless to say, we get A LOT of questions both from gay and straight people alike.

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, it is not, "what is the meaning of life?" us actually:

"How do I find someone to love?" does someone who stumbled into it himself answer a question like that?

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Fear Culture

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".