Saturday, December 26, 2009

No (Fox) News Is Good News!

I've been seeing a commercial recently from the cable provider where I live (in central Florida), Bright House, explaining that Bright House and the Fox Network have still not negotiated a new contract, which is set to expire on December 31st. The Bright House commercial states the cable company wants Fox to keep its programming on the air while they continue to negotiate, even if they haven't reached an agreement by the end of this year. According to Bright House, nothing would stop Fox from continuing to provide access to their networks while negotiations are still being conducted. Bright House doesn't ask their customers to call Fox & ask them to keep their programming, whether they meet the deadline or not, but they suggest awfully hard.

I read in the online version of the local newspaper, The Orlando Sentinel that Fox claims that Bright House isn't negotiating at all; they're having Time Warner Cable negotiate for them (Bright House bought out Time Warner here in Central Florida a few years back), which I don't get, but (as the kids say nowadays), "Whatever..."

Anyway I just had to point out that, as a Bright House customer, I don't know & am not even slightly interested in what the hitch is in their negotiations or non-negotiations, but I would personally be ECSTATIC if I didn't have to see any Faux News programming on my cable menu at all. I hate even scrolling past their name when I'm trying to find something to watch on TV. As you can imagine, even if Faux News is lost to us here in central Florida, I can honestly say that--on my part--there will not be any love lost!

The only thing that I'd miss even a little would be Family Guy and American Dad, but I know that sometimes we must be willing to sacrifice things that are quasi-important (see the shows listed above) for things that are more important (less Faux in my life).

So, this year, I have an EXTRA reason to look forward to 2010! :-)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

You Gotta Love How Dolly Loves The Gays



I'm sure that it's probably not surprising to hear that Dolly Parton supports equal marriage rights for same-sex couples, but it just warmed every last cockle in my big ol' queer heart to see that she feels a kinship with us homosexuals because, like us, Dolly knows how it feels to not be accepted in the "mainstream"--whatever the [bleep] that is.

In my humble opinion, Dolly & God have at least one thing in common: they both (using Dolly's words now) love everybody for who they are. Now that's what I call true Christianity!

Speaking of which, in the article linked above, Dolly gives her opinion on mega-church pastor Joel Osteen's contention that "homosexuality is not God's best," and she does it in her always-loving way.

You'd be absolutely correct to note that, physically speaking, Dolly is loaded up with plastic and silicone topped off with some great fake hair (I'm pretty sure she'd be the first to admit it), but that big ol' country heart of hers? As they might say down south, it's as genuine & as big as all get-out...even bigger than her tallest wig & her world-famous bosom! :-)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Love For Sale

Well, not really love, but the right to celebrate that love with a legally-binding civil contract called "marriage".

If you haven't already heard about it, a heterosexual woman from New York named Jamie Frevele, who claims she doesn't have any intention on using her right to marry is actually "selling" her right to marry on Ebay!

I know it sounds odd, but what she actually plans on doing with the money from the highest bidder is to donate it to a LGBT rights group. I personally think it's pretty ingenious! It attracts attention to New York state's failure to provide equal marriage rights to same-gender couples AND it raises money for a good cause!

Who knows how long Ebay will allow this particular auction to go on before it pulls the plug, but here's a screenshot the "item" for "sale" as of 6:40 am, Eastern (US) Time (the high bid at this time is $307):


Click on the pic to enlarge it


I also love Jamie's description of the "item", part of which reads:

I'm an unmarried heterosexual woman, and since I probably won't be using my right to get married, I would like to give it away. I would like to sell it to the highest bidder and donate the proceeds to an organization that supports LGBT rights since the government designed to protect all of us is picking and choosing based on what they think is icky, weird, or unkown to them.

Bid now, and you can have my super wonderful privilege and legal ability to get married as many times as you want in a classy place like the one pictured. You don't have to know the person, you don't have to like them, you don't have to think through your decision to get married or anything - you can just do it! Because you can! Come on, it's cool to get married, and think of the pictures you'll have to show people of this person that they will definitely think is so wrong for you and probably is! But heavens to BETSY, do NOT marry someone of the same gender because that would be a mockery of the institution of marriage.

And if it doesn't work out, just get divorced. Half the cool people who get married do that anyway.

I will write you up a fancy, wonderful, articulate proclamation handing over my right to get married. I have no official documentation because this is something I was born with since I was born heterosexual. Unfortunately, this is only a symbolic gesture. However, since I'm picky and difficult, it's probably something that, if a physical object, would have been considered pristine and shiny after some dusting. Your bid, on the other hand, is real, and the donation you make to an organization that supports those who have been treated as second-class citizens will be well worth it.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Right Is Wrong

Political columnist, and mostly-conservative columnist, Andrew Sullivan, who writes for The Atlantic Monthly recently wrote an article, he titled Leaving The Right writes why he thinks the party is over for American conservatives, and why he felt moved to make such a public break with his political blood brothers (and sisters). Sullivan's column in The Atlantic Monthly follows a few days after Charles Johnson, another mostly-conservative blogger who runs Little Green Footballs explained that The The American right wing has gone off the rails, into the bushes, and off the cliff. I won’t be going over the cliff with them.

This certainly has been a long time in coming, but I am glad to see that some American conservatives (the REAL ones, not the neo-con type) are beginning to--as Dear Abby used to say--wake up & smell the coffee...but, I guess in this case, the smell is more akin to the fetid stench of a morally-poisonous, parasite-laden brew of faux ideology concocted by cynical, selfish, fear-driven-money-loving opportunists out to serve their own special interests by leeching off a valid political belief system (that I nearly always disagree with, but which I can respect because I know that--like me--they believe what they believe because they love their country, and want to make it better. These TRUE conservatives and I want the best for our country...we just disagree on how to do it).

I know it may be hard to believe this--being as how I am as far away from "conservative" as Sarah Palin is from sanity--but I really do hope more true conservatives begin to smell the rot coming from the slow-but-sure death of their no-longer Grand Old Party, and get the fire in their collective political gut to not only stand up and say, "Enough is enough," but to fight to take back what was theirs.

I am a (mostly) proud Democrat & progressive, but I am--first and foremost--a (mostly) proud American, and it is my country (& even the world) that would reap the benefits of a strong (at least) two-party system. A civil political discourse amongst people who may not hold the same point of view can only make this country stronger.

With those who run today's American Right, it's impossible to have a real discussion of the issues of the day when they're not even interested in talking or compromising. Believing that they honestly know what's best for everyone else, bound-for-"glory", they proudly wear their blinders, cavalierly ignoring the will of all but the truest of believers, forcing their neo-con mirage of Utopia onto the rest of us--for our own good, of course! (<----Sarcasm)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

And for this, I am truly thankful...

Though I don't consider myself "elderly" (most days, anyway ;-), when I read this article on one of my favorite websites, Everyday Health, I thought about my own current situation--still trying to cope with the loss of my long-term relationship--and how much worse it all might have been had I not had my two loving beagles (Bela--named after the actor, Bela Lugosi--and Isis, the goddess) with me as I face a much different world than the one I had expected.

If anyone who reads this has ever had the blessing of being a pet owner, then you probably know well what I mean when I say that, in my beautiful 4-legged family members, I find so much more than companionship, I truly find unconditional love. It doesn't matter how long I'm gone away (10 minutes or 10 hours) but when I come back home, my beagles are jumping for joy and wagging their cute little tails off, so happy to see me that they wear themselves out & have to take one of their patented beagle naps!

On this first Thanksgiving without any of my human family, in the midst of trying to adjust to the not-so-sweet life of singlehood, I did as I have always done & took stock of all the blessings that I (still) have in my life, and (as usual) amongst the greatest of these blessings were those of the canine variety. :-)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Priceless: Gay Rights Activists Take Over Christian Right Hate-Fest in DC

I am known to frequent a website called Alternet.org.

Alternet was established in 1998 in part (to quote their website) to confront the failures of corporate media, as well as the vitriol and disinformation of right wing media, especially "hate talk" media. AlterNet is a two-time winner of the "Webby Award" for Best Web Magazine, among others, and it pulls no punches as regards their raison d'être. Again, quoting their website, Alternet believes that media must have a higher purpose beyond the essential goal of keeping people informed. We insist on playing an active role in helping our community funnel its energy into change; an important & necessary mission when you consider that people like Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh & Glen Beck are blaring out their fear-mongering, Us-vs-Them hate talk nearly 24 hours a day.

Anyway, apparently a senior write for Alternet, Joshua Holland, writes in this recent Alternet article about a group of conservative Christian ministers who came to Washington DC recently to protest the expansion of the federal Hate Crimes law recently passed in Congress & signed by President Obama to include sexual orientation & gender identity. In his article, Holland references a Washington Post column by Dana Milbank about the happenings at this protest. Believe it or not, not only were they there to protest the law, they wanted to stand their & spew their lies & hate to prove the point that just by speaking the ugly things they believe they could be arrested. These people have always contended that allowing people like me to be protected from hate crimes meant that people like them could no longer freely speak their minds about the "threat" people like me represent to decent upstanding Americans (like them, supposedly), and to society in general.

So sure of their belief that they would now be legally muzzled if they dare speak out against the homosexual threat that they came to the nation's capital in hopes of being arrested, so as to claim that--as a representative of the "Christian Anti-Defamation Commission"--"we'd have standing to challenge the law."

But sadly (for them), not one person was arrested. They stood there on their Godly soap box speaking their alleged minds, and the few police officers that were there let them practice their freedom of speech unencumbered, of course. As Holland wrote, To run afoul of the new law, you need to "plan or prepare for an act of physical violence" or "incite an imminent act of physical violence." The same stipulations apply if you're speaking about people of color, disabled persons, or virtually any other group of Americans...including people of faith.

For me, the best part of this story is that the man the conservative Christian ministers hired to set up audio equipment for their little get-together had taken the money they paid him for his work at the event & donated to gay rights activists. The AV guy also waited until after the ministers were done & then--before taking it all down--he allowed the gay activists to use the same podium & the same sound system to practice their right to free speech, too!

After one of the ministers asked the AV guy if they were paying for the time "the homosexuals" were using (which they weren't, of course), he turned to one of the gay activists & asked "You guys gonna help us pay for the microphones?"

Holland writes that The gay activist smiled. "God," he said, "works in mysterious ways."

Amen, brother! :-)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

The D.C. Catholic Archdiocese has threatened to stop helping thousands of the needy in the nation's capital if the District's City Council approves a pending bill which states that marriage between 2 people in the District of Columbia shall not be denied or limited on the basis of gender, and which also ensure[s] that no minister of any religious society who is authorized to celebrate marriages shall be required to celebrate any marriage...or solemnization of a same-sex marriage.

Though the Catholic Church in general is not usually known as a great supporter of GLBTQI equality, apparently this Archdiocese on this issue, has chosen to demonstrate their obvious displeasure with this bill by revealing a predilection toward being particularly punitive: castigating not just same-sex-loving people & our "enablers", but anyone & everyone in need under their religious purview.

According to the Washington Post article referenced above, Advocates for same-sex couples said they could not immediately think of other places where a same-sex marriage law had set off a break with a major faith-based provider of social services.

The article, however, goes on to say that [t]he church's influence seems limited, with one of the 13 council members stating that the Church was being "somewhat childish", and another council member saying that he would rather end the city's relationship with the church than give in to its demands. Good for them!

After the loss in Maine, a victory for equal marriage rights in the nation's capital would be particularly encouraging, of course.

As for the Catholic Church in DC, apparently the answer to the famous question, "What Would Jesus Do?", is to hold "the least of these" as hostages to their beloved dogma.

I guess that the world (outside the Catholic Church, anyway) has gotten it wrong all this time: sometimes the baby must be thrown out with the bath water...for the baby's own good, of course! (Please note the sarcasm dripping from that last sentence) :-/

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Michelle on Sesame Street!

Though I am nearly as old as our President, I have loved Sesame Street since I was a little kid (I don't think I know ANYONE who didn't watch Sesame Street growing up), and--of course--I think that Michelle Obama is the most impressive, awesome First Lady certainly in my lifetime.

So, if you put Michelle on Sesame Street talking about eating healthy & planting your own garden, you get very close to awesomeness overload...but it's well worth it!

As you'll see, Michelle not only loves vegetables, but they love her, too! :-)

The only thing I think that would have made this clip any better is if she & Big Bird did the fist bump! ;-)



Thursday, October 22, 2009

What Do You Think I Fought For On Omaha Beach?

Meet 86-year-old Philip Spooner. He lives in Maine & is a veteran of World War II, and has 4 children. He gave testimony earlier this year at a hearing regarding marriage equality for same-sex couples in his home state. His words are sometimes difficult to hear & understand, but still, he speaks so clearly & eloquently on why it's wrong to deny to equality to all citizens. As Mr. Spooner explains, equality for ALL of his children & ALL Americans is why he put his life on the line for this great country all those years ago. Please give Mr. Spooner a listen...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

17,167

I am 17,167 days old.

Don't worry about doing the math; I'm 47 years old today. I am not sure what a 47 year old is supposed feel or act like, but I would wager that most people my age act considerably more maturely than I do...of course, I'm pretty sure that's always been true, no matter what age the calendar says I am. :-)

This will probably NOT surprise anyone who knows me, but on this minimally-auspicious occasion, my mind (such as it is) started rambling (I could tell it was rambling because the rusty gears in my head made such a loud clunking noise). I got to thinking about famous (or at least semi- to partially-famous) people in history that I've outlived now that I've reached this quasi-milestone. Through the magical series of tubes we call the Internets, I was able to find a list of some people of some interest to some other people who weren't fortunate enough to make it to the age of 47.

The following people (listed alphabetically) died at age 46:

Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, American silent film actor
Ted Cassidy, American actor and voice actor, best known for playing the part of "Lurch" on the TV series, "The Addams Family"
Pierre Curie, French physicist and husband of Madam Curie
Perry Ellis, American fashion designer
John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States
T.E. Lawrence, British military officer and author
H.P. Lovecraft, American author of horror, fantasy and science fiction
Carmen Miranda, 50's Brazilian samba singer and actress
George Orwell, British novelist and journalist, author of the book, "1948"
Paul I of Russia, Emperor of Russia (1796-1801)
Howard Rollins, American actor (starred in the film,"Ragtime" & the TV Series, "In the Heat of the Night")
André René Roussimoff, Professional Wrestler, best known as "André The Giant"
Oscar Wilde, Irish playwright, poet and author

I found the foregoing relatively interesting, and--though 20 years ago, I saw things a bit differently--now that I've made it, 47 doesn't really sound old at all.

Still...I think it might behoove me to start thinking about my age in terms of dog years...which means I'm not even 7 years old yet! ;-)

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Beauty of Beyoncé

Musically-speaking, I cannot get enough of Beyoncé Knowles. She has such an amazing voice, but from what I've seen, her voice cannot rival her beautiful, amazing heart. As a non-music critic, but a fan of all kinds of music, I feel it safe to say that if our Ms. Knowles is not a musical superstar, she is certainly on the cusp of being so.

I mention this because I am sure that anyone who follows music at all knows what happened at the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) recently. 19-year-old Taylor Swift beat out 28-year-old Beyoncé for Best Female Video for Taylor's video for her song You Belong With Me. Beyoncé's video for her song,Single Lady (Put A Ring On It), is as awesome as you would expect one her videos to be, but--alas--she lost fairly & squarely to Taylor Swift, and, as they say, to the winner goes the spoils...except that Taylor's spoils were spoiled by Kanye West, who took it upon himself to walk up on stage & take the microphone from the winner of the award & proceeded to talk about how wonderful Beyoncé's video is. In one aspect, I agree with Kanye: Beyoncé is a huge talent, but the rest of it was embarrassing, not just for Taylor, but for Kanye, who acted like a child--or, worse yet--like those screamers at this summer's town hall meetings about Health Care.

Kanye West had nothing at all to do with this award (it's certainly not like he was nominated for anything in this category), but he felt that his thoughts on the subject were more important than what the actual winner of the award had to say.

I may be oversimplifying things, but that's how I see what happened.

The story had a happy ending though when Beyoncé invariably won an award & recalled how wonderful it was when she had won her first VMA, and asked Taylor Swift to come out & speak so she could REALLY enjoy her moment in the spotlight. Beyoncé gave up her own time, so this new young artist could fully experience the thrill of earning such a prestigious award.

In that one act of kindness, Beyoncé proved that not only does she have a beautiful voice, but a beautiful heart, too! As far as I'm concerned, that makes her not only a winner in music & video, but, far more importantly, a winner in life.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

On Faith

When I look back on my faith walk thus far, I can remember so much that very nearly destroyed me. I remember feeling so alone sometimes, and so worthless. My experience in Christianity has not been easy & I've had so many reasons & so many chances to just give up & get out, but--somehow--I couldn't.

I still struggle every day to "keep the faith" when there are still so many out there who are so sure that I am not "one of them" & that I cannot share their God with them unless I change everything about myself that they don't like.

I have thought through all these years about how much easier it probably would have been had God made me heterosexual, or had I left their little club once it became evident that there was no place for me in Christianity, or had I never even known about God in the first place. Like any of us humans, I would have preferred a much easier life (faith-wise) than the one I have actually lived, but (as the old saying goes) you have to play the cards that life deals you.

I'm sure that I could have "played my hand" better than I did, but I now know that everything happens for a reason, even if we don't know that reason is right now. In the midst of the hurricane, it's hard to think about the light of the sunny day that always comes afterward.

So, while it would be tempting to wish I could wipe away all those memories & all those tears, and while I have not always felt this way, I can now honestly tell you that--as heavy as my burden has been, and as lonely as I have felt in my life--I wouldn't change a thing. Not one. It was part of God's plan for my life, and I can even say now that I am even thankful for how things have turned out in my faith walk.

I'm not saying that my life has been any harder than anyone else's; we all have our own trials & our own burdens. As Olivia Newton-John sang in Grease: Guess mine is not the first heart broken; my eyes are not the first to cry.... When I look back & see all I've endured & when I remember nearly every hurt "the Church" has caused me, I see now how it's all gone to making me more sure of my faith, and more steely in my resolve that I am a child of God, albeit an imperfect, still-hurting child of God. I have had what has felt like many baptisms of fire since my baptism in the water all those years ago, and I know that it is those fires through which God has brought me that allows me to understand that faith is never easy, and true faith can never be taken away; if it is lost, it has been given away.

In so many ways, I have earned my deep faith, but I know that faith is not like a trophy: you don't find it & then place it up on a shelf. Faith is something that becomes a living part of your being & it is something to which you must tend every day, and it is that thing inside the truest part of you that motivates you to keep on going even when you don't feel like you can.

Had the events of my life gone at all differently, and had my walk been a little less rocky, and had I collected any fewer scars on my heart, who knows where I'd be right now? There's no telling, and really, no sense in dwelling on what might have been.

But I can tell you that the freedom I feel today comes from that faith that I just couldn't seem to shake, forged by fire, and earned through a river of tears & a world of pain. Though they toiled mightily to do so, not even the most self-righteous Christian soldiers, Bibles clutched in their hands & raised to the Heavens as the preferred weapons of choice, hearts & eyes filled with the lust of spiritual war-without-end could take my faith or my God from me.

I am not naive in this: they stand constantly at the ready to fight on & on & on, and I know they will always try, but I also know that they will always fail.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Girl Power!

Females just don't tickle my fancy (romantically-speaking).

Coming from a gay man, that may not sound all that surprising, I know.

Truth is, though, that I really do love women. I always tell my friends that I actually love women in every way but one. I'm sure if you think about it, you'll get my meaning! ;-)

Anyway, I saw a commercial today for Dove (you know, the company that makes soap, etc.), but it wasn't trying to sell any specific kind of soap or any new product. It was explaining about Dove's commitment to helping ensure that today's girls become tomorrow's strong, independent women by trying to help re-define beauty, and helping girls understand how unique & how powerful they can be.

Though "living" in the closet was a horrible, devastating experience that I would never wish on ANYONE, I personally never knew a time in my life (even during those darkest of days) when I wondered if I might actually be heterosexual. I have always been attracted to the male of the species, and I never had fake dates with females to try to throw people off my track. I like to think that, somewhere in the back of my mind, I not only didn't want to make some kind of show for "the world", I also didn't want to lead on a girl who might have thought I was interested in her. It was bad enough involving myself in my lie of a life, much less dragging someone else into it.

So, while it's true that I have never had and could never have romantic feelings for women, I have always admired them, and found them (at least the ones that have crossed my life's path) to be strong people (not necessarily physically, but emotionally & spiritually) and fiercely loyal friends. I can genuinely tell you without hesitation and without a single doubt that my life is so much fuller & happier today because of the women in my life who have stood by me and who have reached out to help lift me up every time I've fallen. I can't help but respect, admire, and even love females...in the most honorable sense of all those words.

Watching the Dove commercial today, I was reminded that strong, confident women start out as young, impressionable girls, and that all of us (gay, straight, bi, asexual, pansexual...however you identify yourself) owe it to these girls to do our parts to make sure they know that they are just as valued, just as important & just as capable as boys. No doubt there are differences between boys & girls, that's just how life is, but I personally don't want to do to anyone else what I did to myself & begin a life concentrating on all the things you can't do or can't be. Girls AND boys need to know that they only limitations to their success in life is how big they can dream & how hard they're willing to work for what they want.

Getting back to my main point for this post, Dove explains on its website that:

The Dove Self-Esteem Fund was developed to help free the next generation from self-limiting beauty stereotypes. Committed to reaching 5 million young women by the end of 2010, we invite you to play a role in supporting and promoting a wider definition of beauty.

Until Dec. 15, 2009, if you buy any Dove product, you can visit Dove's website, enter the UPC from the package, and Dove will donate $1 to your choice of either the Girl Scouts, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, or Girls Inc., up to a maximum of half a million dollars! Dove does ask your name & address & they are limiting the donation to 1 per household, but it's a great way to support some great causes, and help start creating strong, powerful women who know their own value.

As the great Pink song goes, Respect is just a minimum, come on girl, and get you some...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Change For The Better


Sorry for the blurry chart (not sure how that happened) but if you click on the chart, you will get see it much clearer. Got some of blood test results a couple of days ago & was impressed by my Total Cholesterol, Triglycerides, HDL and my HbA1C (which was lower last time, but which is till under the ADA's recommendations).

On advice of my doctor, I've been taking Trilipix and Crestor, and--together with more exercise & watching what I eat (most of the time) it seems I have made some headway in living healthier. I was so proud of these numbers, I had to post them.

Just like me, isn't it?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Not Only Does She Know Why The Caged Bird Sings...

No commentary needed at all for this piece of wisdom from the magnificent Maya Angelou:

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The End of The Beginning?

Nate Silver, the guru-in-chief at my favorite political prognostication website, 538.com has posted an article regarding the slowly-but-surely withering impact that equal marriage rights (a.k.a. "gay marriage") is having on the so-called "Values Voters".

At the most recent "Value Voters' Summit" held at the nation's capital, former Arkansas governor, Mike Huckabee, beat out Mitt & Sarah & Newt & (to quote the Gilligan's Island song) "the rest" in a straw poll. (As an aside, not that they'd want me there, but had I been in attendance, I would have SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO voted for Sarah Palin!! I really, really, really want her to be the GOP presidential candidate in 2012!! ;-) If for nothing else, I am a HUGE Tina Fey fan, and I cannot get enough of her Sarah imitation. They so look like they were separated at birth!! (No offense to Tina!)

Anyway, Nate points out in his article that when these "values voters" were asked about what social issues matter most to them, "gay marriage" (a.k.a. equal marriage rights) fell from its previous spot in 1st place all the way down to #3, beaten out by abortion & "Religious liberty".

Nate also notes that it's not that "values voters" have given up the ghost where the "gay marriage" fight is concerned, but it just doesn't cause the fire in as many bellies as it used to. I suppose the GOP used the issue so often through the years & really delivered nothing substantive since DOMA during Clinton's term, that they may have just slowly begun moving on.

Also, whatever disagreements I may have with the "values voters", I know that they can read polls as well as anyone else. With more & more people in general learning more & more about equal marriage rights & with the population as a whole just being more comfortable with those of us in the sexual minority, and the obvious fact that the up-and-coming younger generation of Americans completely unchained from the fears & lies of the past, it seems to me that even these "values voters" are slowly coming to see the light. I think they know that, for the most part, they've gotten about as much political & legal mileage out of this clunker as they're gonna get.

Please don't get me (or Nate's article) wrong: The battle for GLBTQI equality is not over by a long shot & there is still some fight left in a good portion of these "values voters", but it seems that some on the right feel like they've got "bigger fish to fry" as they say!

I think that the words spoken by Winston Churchill nearly 7 decades ago may best describe this situation: Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

One can only hope...and pray!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Let Nothing Hold You Back...Not Even Yourself

Found this quote today by the writer Denis Waitley, and it really spoke to me, so I share it with you:

"It's not what you are that holds you back, it's what you think you're not."

Friday, September 4, 2009

Harvey Milk Day

Harvey Milk was the very first openly-gay person to be elected to office in the state of California, when he was elected as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. A year later, Harvey & the mayor of San Francisco, George Moscone, were both assassinated by former city supervisor, Dan White, who served five years of a seven year sentence & was then paroled (yes, White was sentenced to seven years for killing 2 high-ranking city officials). About a year and a half after being released from prison, White subsequently committed suicide.

I mention this because the LGBTQI rights group, Equality California (EQCA) is asking not just Californians, but anyone interested in fairness & equality for all Californians (and all Americans), to sign a petition asking California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign the bill (SB 572) that has passed the state's legislature creating a statewide Harvey Milk Day, in commemoration of Harvey's early, critical work to help advance the rights of LBGTQI people.

Apparently Schwarzenegger vetoed a similar bill once before & has signaled that he will veto this bill also, which is why EQCA needs help in getting the word out to the governor that he should sign this bill honoring a true pioneer in the on-going struggle for equality (see the link to the petition above).

You may remember that President Obama honored Harvey Milk last month with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Harvey's nephew Stuart Milk accepted the medal on Harvey's behalf.

So, if you are of a mind, I hope you will take 2 minutes & sign the petition. I live in Florida, but I signed it. You can even put in your own comments when you sign the petition, but--of course, if you do--I hope you will write from your heart & speak as eloquently as you can as to why Harvey Milk deserves this honor.

Dustin Lance Black, who won a Best Screenwriter Oscar for the movie, Milk, testified in May of this year at a state senate committee, explaining why Harvey Milk deserves this honor & how Harvey Milk--as an open, proud gay man--helped bring hope to so many people not just while he was alive, but years after Harvey had died.

It is obvious in this video that Dustin speaks from the heart, and explains how a man he never met and never knew personally helped to save his life...and the lives of countless other LGBTQI people who found inspiration & strength in Harvey Milk's story.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

You may say that I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one...

If you've been seeing & hearing those things that I have these past few days from the many friends who obviously loved Ted Kennedy, you have to have noticed that not all of them were his political allies & they didn't necessarily share his political point of view. People like Pat Buchanan, Orrin Hatch, John McCain, George Bush (the younger and the elder) all spoke of a man with whom they had many political differences, but whom they cared for personally.

So many times since his death, I've heard about how--even in the last months of his life--he wanted to be there & wanted to help take care of his friends, even as his own health failed and as he needed assistance himself. Til the end, it seems, Senator Kennedy still believed that it wasn't all about him...it was about those people who needed him & who loved him & who gave his life purpose. He was the youngest of his siblings who, through misfortune & unspeakable loss, grew to become the patriarch not simply of the family with whom he shared blood lines, but of a political family throughout the entire country with whom he shared common values.

One of the many stories I heard from one of his friends was about the time a reporter had asked Senator Kennedy how, with his near-aristocratic station in life, he spent so much time speaking about & seeking to help those much less privileged than he, and he asked the reporter, "Haven't you ever read the Bible?". The Kennedys never wanted for anything, thanks to his father, Joe Kennedy's financial prowess, but it was Rose Kennedy who instilled in all her children the idea that"to whom much is given, much is required". That early life lesson combined with the loss of his two older brothers who had sought public service through elected office--and both of whom gave their lives in the process--impressed upon Teddy the unique responsibility that was his as the last Kennedy brother. I cannot begin to imagine what a heavy burden that was for Teddy Kennedy.

I know that he was not a perfect man, and he was known for his raucous personal life & his own personal foibles & mistakes, but Teddy Kennedy believed in redemption, and he worked tirelessly--especially in the last half of his life--to earn it. Senator Kennedy fought valiantly to give voice to those--as Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia recently described them--"those whose needs exceed their political clout." He didn't win every fight & he still left this world with an unfinished agenda, but he was never petty or small about it. Teddy Kennedy kept the faith & fought on & stood for his values relentlessly & regardless of the prevailing political winds because he believed so deeply in what he wanted to do & what he wanted his country to be.

Franklin Roosevelt, before he was President, in nominating the former governor of New York, Alfred Smith, at the 1924 Democratic Party Convention, called him "The Happy Warrior" for his work at ending racial violence, and I think the same appellation would befit the former senior Senator from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, except that Senator Kennedy never saw his work as a war...he saw it as a work of the heart, where there need not be any more casualties.

Senator Edward "Teddy" Moore Kennedy lived a good, long, satisfying life, and in the end, when the time came for him to leave this world, he was surrounded by a large, loving family in the home he loved, and by a country whose greatness was due--at least in part--to his personal dedication to help lift the lives of "the least of these." He was given the gift of years that his brothers never had, and--in my humble opinion--he used them well, and he inspired so many of his fellow citizens to demand more, not just of their government, but of themselves.

In hearing all these tributes to this true American legend, I was reminded of a verse in the Bible I learned back in Sunday School, from Proverbs 27:19:

As water reflects a face,
so a man's heart reflects the man.

In my mind, as life was finally leaving Teddy's body, I just know that his heart was the last part of his physical being to stop...but in every one of us inspired by this great man, his heart & his ideals & the dream about which he always spoke & for which he gave his last full measure will live on long after the temporal shell crumbles away.

After all, isn't the dream supposed to outlast the dreamer?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

America's Senator



I was in tears this morning when I heard about Senator Kennedy.

He became Senator in 1962—the year I was born.

Ted Kennedy is a big reason why I became a Democrat in the first place.

I feel a little sad for all the people in this world who will never get to see or know him as a larger-than-life contemporary figure in American politics & society. The kids coming up now will only know him as one of many historical figures that helped changed the world.

While I was thinking about all Senator Kennedy achieved in his life--not for himself, but for the country & world that he loved so much--and what still remains undone & what he said recently had become the passion of his life: national health care for every American, I couldn't help but think of the words that President Lincoln spoke in Gettysburg during the American Civil War. If I may be so bold as to paraphrase the President's words:

The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what he did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which the senior Senator from Commonwealth of Massachusetts has thus far so nobly advanced.

Considering his tireless work on behalf of just about every underdog under the sun, Senator Kennedy deserves the honor of having a great health care bill named after him, and we who will benefit from it & who will hopefully be a healthier, more robust nation because of it deserve it, too.

I have never stepped a foot in Massachusetts, but, in my heart, Senator Kennedy has ALWAYS been MY Senator, and I will miss him & his fearlessness & his undying dedication to making the American dream real for ALL of us.

God bless you, Senator Kennedy!

My prayers are with his wife, Victoria, and all his loving family...and with our country.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Brad For Mayor!

I've had an on-going crush on Brad Pitt ever since I saw him shirtless in the movie, Thelma & Louise. I know his character was sort of a low-brow, thieving cowboy gigolo who had no problem using his nearly-perfect body as a means to get whatever he wanted & demonstrated no compunction whatsoever in taking advantage of a woman who was in desperate straits, but, with that sweet Southern twang in his voice, that spectacular smile & the aforementioned shirtlessness, I couldn't help but forget all the bad stuff whilst admiring his Adonis-y abs! :-)

Now, I've gone & completely forgotten what I was posting about in the first place...

Oh yeah, as you may or may not know, in real life, Brad Pitt--besides being a great actor (in my humble, biased opinion) is a loving father & life partner of the beautiful Angelina Jolie) has made a mission out of helping rebuild the areas hardest-hit by Hurricane Katrina through their organization, the Make It Right Foundation.

Brad, who--as you can probably imagine--is a pretty popular guy in New Orleans these days, was interviewed recently on the "Today" show & was asked the possibility of running for mayor of NOLA. In response he said, "I don't have a chance. I'm running on the gay marriage, no religion, legalization and taxation of marijuana platform."

As you can imagine, I'm so with him on the equal marriage rights (as a matter of fact, I simply adore Brad & Angelina for publicly announcing that until same-gender couples can be legally wed, they will not enter into legal matrimony themselves...now, THAT'S what I call "walking the walk"!!), and (though I have never smoked anything in my life), and though I would never encourage anyone to smoke anything (even tobacco), I think I'd be OK with legalizing and HEAVILY taxing marijuana. I'm even OK with the "no religion" part, because I've personally learned to separate "Religion" from faith (two different creatures all together, in my book), which is what I hope he is talking about when he speaks about his (probably fictitious) campaign platform. As Jay Bakker says, "Religion Kills"; for me, faith sustains life (at least it has sustained mine).

All I want to know is where I get one of those "Brad Pitt for Mayor" t-shirts???

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Happy 48th Birthday, Mr. President!

I know you're supposed to get gifts on your birthday, but I want to thank you for giving your fellow citizens the gift of Hope, and for reminding us that we don't have to wait for someone else to make this a better world. Just like Dorothy with her ruby slippers in Oz, we've always had the power...we just needed to believe it first!

:-)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

"...Something Sick...About Break[ing] Into People's Bedrooms & Claim That God Sent You."

I had referenced Rev. Al Sharpton on one of my recent posts, and I included a link to his stance & work in overturning California's Proposition 8, which included a portion of a speech he had given at an Atlanta church. Below I have included a link to the entire article from the website for the newspaper, Southern Voice, which describes itself as the South's "most respected and most read gay and lesbian newspaper."

Below the link you'll find parts of Rev. Sharpton's speech earlier this year at Atlanta's Tabernacle Baptist Church. I know that he is a pretty controversial figure for a lot of people & I know that he probably has as many detractors as fans, but I really do love the way Sharpton can turn a phrase & how he can fire up the faithful!

Most of all, though, I love how fearless he is in speaking up for GLBTQI people & how willing he is to take this particular good fight to the fearmongers who--to paraphrase the line from the movie Saved!--delight in using the Bible as a weapon against our community.

Sharpton decries churches pushing Prop. 8

It amazes me when I looked at California and saw churches that had nothing to say about police brutality, nothing to say when a young black boy was shot while he was wearing police handcuffs, nothing to say when the they overturned affirmative action, nothing to say when people were being delegated into poverty, yet they were organizing and mobilizing to stop consenting adults from choosing their life partners. There is something immoral and sick about using all of that power to not end brutality and poverty, but to break into people’s bedrooms and claim that God sent you.

I am tired of seeing ministers who will preach homophobia by day, and then after they’re preaching, when the lights are off they go cruising for trade.

We know you’re not preaching the Bible, because if you were preaching the Bible we would have heard from you. We would have heard from you when people were starving in California, when they deregulated the economy and crashed Wall Street you had nothing to say. When [alleged Ponzi schemer Bernie] Madoff made off with the money, you had nothing to say. When Bush took us to war chasing weapons of mass destruction that weren’t there you had nothing to say. … But all of a sudden when Proposition 8 came out you had so much to say, but since you stepped in the rain, we gonna step in the rain with you.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The First Day of the Rest of My Life

We (me & my 2 beagles) finally moved into my our place, and all I have left to do now is to change an apartment full of boxes & bags & general stuff & junk into an actual living space. I'm sure it's easier said than done, but it's gotta be done, and I really can't expect much help from my pups in the way of lifting & carrying...but they are EXCELLENT at being cute & loving & loyal. What more could a girl want?!?!? ;-)

Anyway, I found a quote today that kinda lifted my spirits this morning & I wanted to share it. Maybe it will give someone else a needed lift, too (I hope so, anyway). It's a line from Anne Lamott, an American author probably best known for her book, Bird by Bird, her book on writing, and Operating Instructions, about her first year as a single mother, as well as various novels.

"Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up."

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Presidential Medal of Honor Recipients for 2009

The White House announced today the names of the 16 individuals being awarded the highest honor that can be bestowed by a U.S. President upon a civilian, The Presidential Medal of Freedom, the first time President Obama has bestowed the award.

Some of the names included in the list of 2009 recipients are the Lion of the U.S. Senate, Edward Kennedy (who was elected the year I was born!); tennis star & equality icon, Billie Jean King; SCLC President & civil rights legend, Rev. Joseph Lowery; international human rights (including GLBTQI rights) activist, Bishop Desmond Tutu; and openly-gay former member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Harvey Milk!

I know that there will be plenty of people who see this as simply “throwing the gays a bone” (no pun intended whatsoever), but, in my humble opinion, I think it says a lot that, in his first chance to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom, he has chosen so many gay (or gay-friendly) public figures. I also think that these folks are long, long overdue for such a prestigious honor!

The awards will be distributed at the White House on August 12.

Discrimination Just Doesn't Pay Like It Used To, I Guess!


According to the Human Rights Campaign:

Exxon Mobil is the only U.S. employer that has ever rescinded both a non-discrimination policy covering sexual orientation and domestic partner benefits, and is the only Fortune 10 company that does not have a non-discrimination policy covering sexual orientation.

I, for one, would rather run out of gas completely than spend one red cent at Exxon Mobil!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A "...radical welcome..." for heterosexuals, too!

I read this on USA Today's website. It's an article titled, Straight believers find a home in gay churches, synagogues, which--I must admit--is news to me, especially considering that I've wondered for so long just exactly where or if someone like me will ever find a physical place in this world where I can feel welcome again alongside my brothers & sisters in Christ. It never crossed my mind that some heterosexual people of faith might feel more comfortable worshiping with a mostly GLBTQI congregation.

Funny the stuff you never think about when you're busy with own issues. Sometimes we get a bad case of tunnel vision, but this article today helped me to see the bigger picture: that most of us--regardless of our respective situations--just want to feel like we belong, especially where matters of faith are concerned.

While reading the article, I happened upon the quote below from the heterosexual female rabbi of a mostly GLBTQI congregation. As soon as I read it, I instinctively said out loud, "Amen, Sister!":

Everyone who comes here, no matter their sexual or gender identity, religious affiliation or knowledge, everyone is welcomed with open arms. You'd hope that would happen in all religious communities, but the truth is it's not an easy thing to put into practice.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

He's Got The Whole World In His Hands...

The video below is not new. I've seen it before a few times, and I'm sure so have many others. I just happened upon it today, and it started me thinking (I know. I know. You may want to sit down for this.).

I'll bet you that there are probably as many people out there who have a great dislike of Reverend Al Sharpton (or, at least a dislike of what he stands for) as there are who dislike Reverend Pat Robertson &/or what he stands for. Now, if any of you have ever ready anything I've ever written here, or elsewhere in the worldwide web, you can probably guess where I stand on the Rev. Al vs. Rev. Pat question. This post, however, is not about which of these men courageously & publicly supports GLBTQI people & our human & civil rights & which of them delights in whipping up unfounded fears & manufacturing outright lies to fight tooth-and-nail against people who seek only to love whom their hearts direct.

Truth is that--their respective personalities, faults & manifold detractors notwithstanding--these two men (combined) have a pretty significant following, and most of those people will follow these men where they think God is leading them, and--on global warming, at least--both Al & Pat feel that God is calling on them to fight this good fight together as true brothers-in-arms.

Of course, this glaringly obvious fact was the reason that Repower America created this Public Service Announcement in the first place.

Seeing the ad again just reminds me of the actual good that can be done when we decide we love the world more than we hate each other.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Dear God: Thanks For Nothing!

Dear God,

As you know, when I was growing up, my family was probably the prototype of American poverty. My mother & father, my 2 brothers & 2 sisters and I had very little in the way “worldly possessions”. Throughout my childhood, we lived in quite a few houses, but we never had a home.

I know it’s become a trite phrase, Lord, but our family literally sometimes had no idea where our next meal was coming from. The Food Stamps that kept our family (mostly) fed rarely lasted the entire month (5 kids can eat a lot of food), and during the summer months--when school was out—the free school lunches we could count on for minimal nutrition simply dried up til the Fall.

For a lot of reasons, my father had a wandering spirit & he got easily bored, or ticked off at his boss or the landlord or the neighbor, etc., etc., and he picked up the 7 members of our family, put us in the rickety old car we had & we moved on to the next town. We never got to know the meaning of “roots” or “neighborhood”, and we never really had the chance to make friends. Looking back it seems like we were always on the move…always searching for a better life…and always failing to find it.

Now that I’m grown, I can look back & see how much we didn’t have, and I can see how frustrated & angry my father must have been in working so hard for the very little he had, and how much he must have hurt knowing that, without government assistance, he couldn’t properly take care of his family. I was angry at my father for so long—not because of the THINGS he couldn’t give us—but because of the time & attention he couldn’t seem to find for his kids. Working from dawn til dusk (sometimes 7 days a week) at a back-breaking job that he hated, he couldn’t find time to be an unskilled laborer AND a dad. I see that now. I understand how little he had left for the world—and for his family.

But, Lord, the pain I feel when I think about those days comes not from all the “stuff” we never had, or from the (many) meals we may have missed; it comes from the memories of a father who lived with his family, but whom none of us kids ever got to see much because he was too busy earning his minimum wage “living”; it comes from imagining how much he must have hurt knowing that, where his future was concerned, the die had already been cast, and that his lot in life would never improve because his hands had already become too calloused, his back too bent & painful & his spirit too broken. When he passed away a few years ago from the too-long-untreated effects of hypertension (of course, because he had no health insurance), I couldn’t help but feel grateful to You for ending his pain & for finally bringing him the peace he never had while he was here.

I am thankful to You still, Lord, for every minute of my life—even the darkest hours of my “life” in the closet—because it has all gone into making me the person I am still becoming. In Your plan, God, I know nothing happens without a reason & nothing goes to waste.

I truly believe that it is making me a better person, and it’s helping me to understand—TRULY understand—what really matters in life. I know that, if I had to, I could do without so much that I now have in my life.

As the life I’ve known these past 13 years is changing so drastically & so quickly, and, even as out of control as my life feels these days, I am reminded again that it’s not the material possessions that I hold dear & which I treasure; it’s the sublime, ethereal things like love & friendship & fellowship that put real life into my life, and that makes everything I must endure in it more-than-worth it.

I anticipate that a new life on my own will not always be easy—at least not in the beginning—and it will take some getting used to, but I know that, as always, You will provide what I need (even if not what I THINK I want! ;) ).

So, I honestly want to thank you, Heavenly Father, for all I never had, and for all I never had the chance to take for granted. In exchange for the dearth of physical things I cannot hold in my hands, You have given me a life-long appreciation for those things & those people I can always, always hold in my heart.

Even in the midst of the river of tears I have shed as I leave behind a life I had come to love, and as I cautiously head on to the next chapter in my life, I remain most thankful, dear God…and I know I am blessed.

I pray You will continue to lead me & protect me & always remind me what is REALLY important in this life.

Amen.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 233rd, America!

As a nation, we are still engaged in that most noble of pursuits: to truly make "self-evident" the fact that "all men [and women] are created equal" and that, as Americans & as children of God, we are all equally entitled to "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness".

I--for one--feel blessed to live in a country where so many of my fellow citizens understand that, for too many of us still working to claim our full birthright as citizens of the greatest country in history, these most noble of words are still just words. In spite of that fact, I take heart knowing that more & more of us are beginning to really understand the words of the American poet, Emma Lazarus, when she wrote, Until we are all free, we are none of us free.

From Schoolhouse Rock...


Friday, July 3, 2009

A or B???

OK.

Confession time.

There are some things I enjoy that I am not proud of. Guilty pleasures of a sort, I guess you might call them. I don't usually discuss these little secrets because they may be seen by lots (and lots) of people as "low-brow", and, really, they're probably right. I have no defense, and (obviously, where these are concerned) no shame.

So, on with the confessions:

God please forgive me, but I actually enjoyed the old MTV show Jackass (and even the Jackass movies). While I'm spilling my guts, I might as well admit that I think Johnny Knoxville is kinda cute, which I am sure had at least a little do with why I always tuned in.

I was actually enthralled with The Anna Nicole Show...well, at least the first season when she was actually being herself (or whatever "herself" had become after her wild ride of a life). The second season was OBVIOUSLY at least partly staged & it seemed to me that Anna Nicole was working from a script. My guilty love affair with her show quickly ended when season 2 began, but I still love the show's theme song. Still can't get that stupid tune out of my head...Anna, Anna, Fabulous Anna, Anna Nicole. You're so outrageous...

One more piece of ugliness before I get to the point of this post: I laughed out loud MANY times at South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (I still don't know how the movie's producers got that past the MPAA censors). I didn't see it in the theater, but I rented the DVD so I could--to paraphrase Mother Bates from the movie Psycho--appease my ugly appetite for celluloid silliness in the privacy of my own home...afterwards, though, I did feel the need to shower...a couple of times! :-)

Anyway, I hope this rather long-winded preface will help you to understand (as much as possible) why I think this commercial for a new item on Hardee's menu too hilarious not to share.

I ask your forgiveness in advance for feeling the need to involve you in the inanity to follow:



Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

To all the fathers (and/or father figures) in the world, whether they are still with us or not...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

How many times can I break 'til I shatter?

I've really liked this song for a while. It's not a spectacularly-professional type video, but I am posting it for the quality of the song.



In a way, I need a change
From this burnout scene
Another time, another town
Another everything
But it's always back to you

Stumble out, in the night
From the pouring rain
Made the block, sat and thought
There's more I need
It's always back to you

But I'm good without ya
Yeah, I'm good without you
Yeah, yeah, yeah

How many times can I break 'til I shatter?
Over the line can't define what I'm after
I always turn the car around
Give me a break let me make my own pattern
All that it takes is some time but I'm shattered
I always turn the car around

I had no idea that the night
Would take so damn long
Took it out, on the street
While the rain still falls
Push me back to you

But I'm good without ya
Yeah, I'm good without you
Yeah, yeah, yeah

How many times can I break 'til I shatter?
Over the line can't define what I'm after
I always turn the car around
Give me a break let me make my own pattern
All that it takes is some time but I'm shattered
I always turn the car around

Give it up, give it up, baby
Give it up, give it up, now
Now

How many times can I break 'til I shatter?
Over the line can't define what I'm after
I always turn the car around
All that I feel is the realness I'm faking
Taking my time but it's time that I'm wasting
Always turn the car around

How many times can I break 'til I shatter?
Over the line can't define what I'm after
I always turn the car around

Don't wanna turn that car around
I gotta turn this thing around

Saturday, June 13, 2009

It's All About Me (NOT)!

I got a mini-science lesson AND A SMILE out of this. For me, that's a rarity...


Thursday, June 4, 2009

I, Barack Obama, do hereby proclaim June 2009 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month

I know that it may not seem like a big deal to most people, and I also know that there’s much more to supporting the LGBTQI community than making a Presidential Proclamation but I am so thankful that we finally have a President who acknowledges that LGBTQI people actually exist, without using us as a way to whip up fear, encourage ignorance & rally the politically faithful. I still believe that offering committed same-gender couples "civil unions" instead of full & equal civil marriage rights as opposite-gender couples is not good enough (by a long shot) & that the "separate-but-equal" idea is heavy on the "separate", but light years away from "equal" & that it is as wrong today as it was in the last century. President Obama is right when he states that "there is more work to be done," but this proclamation reminds me that I no longer have to feel like an enemy of the state simply because I love someone of the same gender.

What a change from the previous occupant of the White House, of course, who only ever spoke about us in terms of the threat we posed to “family values” and “traditional marriage”.

Like Senator Barbara Boxer once said, “Elections have consequences…”.

I personally LOVE this particular consequence!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Dick & Mary & The Mad Tea Party

“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn't be. And what it wouldn't be, it would. You see?” --from Alice's Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

OK, when I read today on The Advocate’s website that former Republican Vice President Dick Cheney (yes, the guy who is making the rounds nowadays trying to untarnish his image & scare people into thinking that we are now somehow less safe because of President Obama) may soon be “coming out” as a supporter of equal marriage rights for gays & lesbians, I had to first re-read the article to make sure I hadn’t misunderstood anything; then I pinched myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming; then I had to check the calendar to make sure it wasn’t April Fool’s Day; then I took an online test to be sure that I was still (mostly) in possession of my faculties & that I could still read & comprehend English; and finally, I pinched myself again. Truth is, I didn’t misunderstand what the article said: Dick Cheney may finally be considering doing the right (as in “correct,” not as in political spectrum right) thing where GLBT rights are concerned. It even feels weird to even type those words. Maybe another pinch is in order...

Anyway, I am quite sure that, should this still hard-to-believe excursion into the Looking Glass occur, it will probably be in large part because of his daughter, Mary, who is publicly out about her sexual orientation. Dick Cheney may be many things (please, feel free to fill in the blanks, according to your political persuasion), but he is also a father, who we can only assume loves his daughter. I’m no fan of Dick Cheney (and I’ve long been disappointed that Mary Cheney—when she was a much more public figure—was not more vocal not just in favor of GLBT rights, but in her opposition to Bush’s push for the so-called “marriage protection” amendment), but I don’t believe it is my place to judge or comment on the relationship between a father & his children. For me, personally, that is beyond the pale.

I disagree with Dick Cheney on 99.997% of issues & I actually feel sorry for Mary Cheney that she has to carry around with the rest of her life the idea that she silently went along with a political administration that was out to score as many political points as it could on the backs of GLBT folks.

As interesting & as surreal (and, oddly, even as ostensibly helpful) as it would be to hear Dick Cheney come out as a supporter & possibly a friend of GLBT rights, I can’t help but remember how Dick Cheney treats some of his friends.

Makes me wonder if I should get ready to jump for joy or duck for cover!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

In the Case of: Your "Rights" Vs. My Life

I truly understand that the right of the citizenry to propose changes to the legal documents that guide their society is most certainly sacred. I also think that, as Americans, we have a duty to be active participants in our own government, and that we must never fail to make our voices heard on those issues that affect our very lives. I believe these things, and though it seems to me that too many of my fellow citizens are too often too ready to dig the heel of permanent second-class citizenship even deeper into my figurative throat, I still agree with what President Lincoln told Congress in 1862 in the very midst of the bloodiest war ever waged on American soil: even with "the fiery trial through which we pass", the United States of American remains the "last best hope of earth."

Having said that, anyone who has ever read anything I've written on LiveJournal or on my own blog will not find it surprising that I am more than just a little displeased with the ruling yesterday from the California Supreme Court regarding equal marriage righgs. As I stated before, I get the idea that free people have the right to change the laws when they feel a change is needed. Intellectually, I understand that right. What I don't understand is when it became acceptable to use the state's most sacred legal document to take rights away from ONE GROUP OF PEOPLE. What I have a problem with is why 52% (or whatever percentage it happens to be) of citizens believed they were imbued with right to decide that another group of citizens are not entitled to be treated fairly & equally under the law. And what neither the California Supreme Court nor any other entity or person can ever convince me of is that any of us are ever completely safe from the loss of liberty at the ballot box simply because most people want to take that liberty away.

Today it's GLBT people because we've made ourselves targets by refusing to abide our closets any longer & just sit in timid silence while ugly lies stand unchallenged, but if you believe that this brand of malicious "justice" ends with us, then you have no idea the genie that has been loosed from the bottle. The people who pushed & paid & prayed for Prop 8 have most certainly been heartened by their "triumph" in the highest court in the Golden State, to be sure, and they may feel that the enemy has been slain. Today these citizens celebrate what they have so proudly taken from their compatriots. I imagine that these scared little people must find a measure of safety & comfort now that GLBT people have been put in their place.

What they do not know & cannot understand is that what they have been allowed to take from us (and, though I live in Florida, it is my "family" in California who have been hurt, so I have been hurt) means infinitely more to those of us from whom it has been taken than to those who have taken it. They may never grasp that we cannot let it stop here, and that we cannot allow ourselves to be vanquished, and that while they fight for their "beliefs" & their "opinions", WE ARE FIGHTING FOR OUR VERY LIVES. There truly is no comparison.

We cannot afford the luxury of taking time to feel sorry for ourselves or to have a moment to mourn our loss; too much hangs in the balance--too much has already been lost. And, though I hate the idea of it, we will almost certainly lose again, if not in California, then in another place just like it, where fear & lies obviously speak louder than those of us same-sex-loving people who seek only to live our lives quietly yet openly, just like those citizens who somehow feel they are entitled to a little more equality than some other citizens.

If we "win" or if we "lose" these grand battles that must surely be fully engaged by GLBT people & our straight allies, I hope we will be driven by something else President Lincoln once said: “I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have.”

Remember, it is only light of truth that can dispel the darkness of ignorance & fear...even ignorance & fear with an official government imprimatur on it.

Under the cut below, you will find a post about this subject by Rob Thomas on the Huffington Post (yes, he of Matchbox Twenty), which I found pretty enlightening for a mere musician ;-).

I love the title of his post, too, The Big Gay Chip on My Shoulder


The Big Gay Chip on My Shoulder

I am a straight man, with a big gay chip on my shoulder.

A while back on my Twitter page (yes, I know how ridiculous it sounds), I mentioned that, if I believed in the devil, Pat Robertson might be him.

Being a fairly liberal-leaning guy with either liberal friends or Republican and Christian friends who don't believe that being one has anything to do with the other, I was surprised at how many people took offense to what I had to say.

These people weren't friends of Mr. Robertson but friends, apparently, of God. They had "spoken" with him and he had assured them that he was no friend of the gays. He also told them that he loved America more than any other country and was a huge fan of Dancing With the Stars.
The small controversy or "Twitter-versy" (patent on phrase pending) all started when I had made the mistake of asking why two people of the same sex shouldn't be able to make the same life-long commitment and (more importantly) under the same god, as straight people. Why can't my gay friends be as happily married as my wife and I? It seemed simple to me, but let me start off by telling you a series of things that I believe to be true:

I am a person who believes that people are born gay. I don't think you have any control over what moves you or to whom you're attracted. That's why it's called an attraction and not a choice.

I believe that America is a great nation of even greater people. I also believe that anyone who says that this is a "Christian nation" has RHS, or revisionist history syndrome, and doesn't realize that most of our founding fathers were either atheist or at least could see, even in the 1700s, that all through Europe at the time, religion was the cause of so much persecution that they needed to put into their brand new constitution a SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE so that the ideals of a group of people could never be forced onto the whole. (I also find it funny when people point out to me that it says "one nation under god" in our pledge of allegiance, not realizing that this was an addition made in 1954 during the communism scare of the McCarthy era. It's not surprising, however, knowing that these same people would punch me in the mouth if I called Jesus a Jew.)

I believe the fact that an atheist, who doesn't believe in God at all, is allowed to enter into the holy land of marriage while a gay Christian is not, shows that this law is arbitrary. Are we to believe that anyone who doesn't live their life according to the King James Bible isn't protected by the same laws that protect those who do? Using the same argument that I've seen on the 700 Club, that would mean that Jewish, Hindu, or Muslim weddings are also null and void.
I believe that to deny this right to the gay population is to say to them, "this god is not your god and he doesn't love you." There isn't one person who is against gay marriage that can give me a reason why it shouldn't be legal without bringing God or their religion into it. Still, I'm amazed at the audacity of a small, misdirected group of the ultra-conservative Christian right wing, to spend millions of dollars, in a recession, on advertisements to stop two men or women who love each other from being able to be married, but when you present any opposition to them, they accuse you of attacking their religion. Isn't it funny that the people who are the quickest to take someone's basic rights to happiness are always the loudest to scream when someone attacks their right to do so?

But this isn't a paper about religion. How could it be? Since we clearly have a separation of church and state, how could a conversation about laws have anything to do with religion at all? I'm writing about basic civil rights. We've been here before, fighting for the rights of African Americans or women to vote, or the rights of Jewish Americans to worship as they see fit. And, just as whites fought for African Americans or Christians for Jewish Americans, straight people must stand up and be a voice for gay people.

I've heard it said before, many times, that if two men or two women are allowed to join into a civil union together, why can't they be happy with that and why is it so important that they call it marriage? In essence, what's in a name?

A civil union has to do with death. It's essentially a document that gives you lower taxes and the right to let your faux spouse collect your insurance when you pass away. A marriage is about life. It's about a commitment. And this argument is about allowing people to have the right to make that commitment, even if it doesn't make sense to you. Anything else falls under the category of "separate but equal" and we know how that works out.

The support of legalizing gay marriage is in no way meant to change the ideals of the section of Christians who believe that homosexuality is a sin. But we should refuse to let other people's ideals shape the way we live our lives. Each of us has a short ride on this earth and as long as we stay in our lane, and don't affect someone else's ride, we should be allowed to drive as we see fit.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Lifeline

I just found this song on YouTube today, and I love it.

It's a new song called Lifeline by Mat Kearney. Lyrics follow below the video.

Hope you love it, too:



You're watching everything
you ever held on to
slip away from you
and all you're running from,
well, it's catching up to you.

Got you looking for a lifeline
swimming in the high tide
waiting for the daylight
to bring you home

The world is too big to never ask why
the answers don't fall straight out of the sky
I'm fighting to live and feel alive
but I can't feel a thing without you by my side
Send me out a lifeline

You're watching everyone
you ever belonged to
walk away from you
maybe all along
you've been running from the truth

Got you looking for a lifeline.
You're swimming in the high tide
waiting for the daylight
to bring you home

The world is too big to never ask why
the answers don't fall straight out of the sky
I'm fighting to live and feel alive
but I can't feel a thing without you by my side
Oh, send me out a lifeline

There's nothing i would change,
I'd give it all away
for you again and again and over again
everything I own is in your control

I'm looking for a lifeline
swimming in the high tide
waiting for the daylight
to bring me home

The world is too big to never ask why
the answers don't fall straight out of the sky
I'm fighting to live and feel alive
But i can't feel a thing without you by my side
Oh, send me out a lifeline.
Won't you send me out a lifeline?
Send me out a lifeline...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

...and a little child shall lead them, or, The Littlest Activist

Ethan McNamee is a third grader at Montclair Elementary in Denver, Colorado. As improbable as it sounds, for his class project, Ethan organized an Equal Marriage Rights Rally today at the Capitol Building in Denver.

From all I’ve read about it, this was entirely Ethan’s idea & he was told that not everyone in attendance at his rally would necessarily agree with what he was saying. In the video below, Ethan even addresses the fact that “there might be some people who have a different view from us”, but young Ethan encouraged supporters to “please keep all your positive energy on the rally. Despite the views of these people, I believe that I am doing the right thing, and lots and lots of people can many lives better…”.

Since I don’t think I can put it any better than Ethan did today at the rally, let’s hear and (thanks to YouTube) see what Ethan has to say.

Rock on, my little brother…