Love Wins – Pride 2019

San Diego Pride 2019 has come and gone, and I’m left with very mixed emotions.

Sad that it’s all over, happy that I was part of something so joyful and loving and so very powerful, and uncertain as to what lies in store for LGBTQ people, and many others, in this 2019 version of the United States of America.

There were over 300,000 Americans who enjoyed the Parade. Not one protestor showed up.

We had United States Military members marching, Army jeeps with pink flamingos balloons riding with them. San Diego Police, and Fireman, banks, churches of all faiths, schools, colleges, businesses – all marching proudly supporting the LGBTQ mantra of acceptance for all. We even had a surprise F-18 flyover from the California National Guard from Fresno honoring our Trans members in the military.

It was like Trump’s 4th of July celebration only on rainbow steroids.

We welcome everyone, accept everyone, don’t charge to watch the parade, and there were no speeches. There were hugs and laughter, There were tears when the military members marched by, and more tears when the high school band made up of gay students marched by, and more tears for the police and firefighters, and churches, and mega tears when the Big Gay Flag showed up at the end of the parade.

No red hats, hate, racism, or homophobia anywhere, just rainbows, love, acceptance and support covering every inch of the parade route.

I shutter to think what may be down the road for all of us. So much hate and division. So much angst, so much pitting Americans against Americans. So much us against them. So much erosion of norms. Just so much…

I wish I somehow could bottle the feelings that were so heartfelt all along the parade route. I wish I felt as safe and loved everyday as I felt those fleeting days of Pride Week. I wish…

What I do know is that we must vote for what is right and just. Not just for the rich, the white, the straight, the Evangelical Christian, the men, the big business – we must vote for everyone. We must protect those who are at risk of being eliminated by hatred and all of the phobias and ignorance coming from a government that has seem to forgotten that it exists for all of the people.

Do What You Can, With What You Have, Where You Are – Theodore Roosevelt

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My 2019 Happy Pride

Those of you who have followed me over the years know how the San Diego Pride Parade changed my life some 17 years ago.

I was 4 months from being 50 years old when I sat along 6th Avenue and watched with such awe these gay people living their lives openly. Damn the consequences, damn their families, damn their jobs, damn the police, damn their government…

There they were – out and proud – celebrating their lives.

When the big gay flag came around the corner, I was simply overcome. My sweet Susan insisted I walk under the flag, grab hold of the material, and feel the sense of belonging that comes only from being surrounded by love, acceptance and the colors of the rainbow!

She was right, and that walk under the Big Gay Flag changed my life.

Seventeen years later, I’m still perched on 6th watching The San Diego Pride Parade. Still in awe as I watch the out and proud riding motorcycles, marching in military units, playing in bands, riding on floats, marching with churches and schools and banks. All of them waving and smiling, hugging and wishing every person a Happy Pride.

I came out under the Big Gay Flag 17 years ago. I became one of the out and proud. One of the people striving to make a difference. To change hearts and minds, to stress acceptance, to not leave any one person behind on my journey.

On San Diego Pride Parade Day – I’m one of the wavers and smilers. I’m the one walking up and down the street hugging and wishing everyone a Happy Pride.

Life 17 years later is certainly different than it was that July in 2002. Susan and I are stronger than ever, more in love, more aware of life’s challenges. We are surrounded by an amazing family and special friends who love and support and accept. Thank God Susan insisted all those years ago that I take that walk under that Big Gay Flag.

It changed everything.

This year will be no different. When the Big Gay Flag comes around the corner at the end of the Parade, I will disappear from the curb and make my way under the flag. I will walk for a bit and let the tears flow. I will surround myself in the love and acceptance and the life-changing wonder of those rainbow colors.

I will remind myself of how far I’ve come as a person, and I will renew the promise I made to myself 17 years ago on my first journey under the flag.

“Never go back – ever.”

Don’t ever be ashamed of who you are. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that your life is meaningless. Don’t ever, ever listen to those who denigrate, intimidate, bully, or tell you that you must be someone you are not. It’s your life. Not your families, not your church, not your government – It’s your life. Life is too short to be anyone other than who you were born to be.

Happy Pride!

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Pride – We Fight On

Every year when June rolls around, I’m hopeful I can write about how the United States has grown on LGBTQ issues, and acceptance has replaced tolerance when speaking of, and living with, one another.

We all know this is not the year I can write about any of those things.

Anger, hate, racism, xenophobia, misogyny, homophobia; these tools which are meant to divide us, are all on the rise. And from all accounts, are sanctioned and supported by the President and Vice President of the United States.

No, 2018-2019 has not been a year in which there has been any sort of advances in human civility.

And so, I will continue to speak to those who refuse to even ponder what it is we continue to fight for. We gays, we do not want “special” rights. We simply want the same rights as every other citizen. The right to adopt children, the right to buy a home wherever we choose, the right to work wherever we choose, the right to healthcare, the right to worship wherever we choose.

You know, those pesky human rights.

It took me 50 years to have the courage to come out and live my life as who I am. It shouldn’t be a crime or a sin or whatever authoritarian ignorance chooses to label it.

Nothing should change when we say the words: “I’m Gay.” Nothing. Until this is understood – we fight on.

For those who love, support, protect and accept us as who we are – From the bottom of my heart – I thank you.

Happy Pride. 🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍🌈💕

Posted in beliefs, Change, choices, Courage, Donald Trump, family, friends, gay, Gay Marriage, Gay Pride, Gay Rights, Happiness, homophobia, human rights, Kindness, Lesbian, LGBTQ, life, love, Marriage Equality, Moral issues, Pride | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Realistic Goals

Two weeks in to the Weight Watchers Freestyle, and I have learned a few things about portion control, about carbs, about protein – but mostly I’ve been learning about me.

II know myself well enough to know I am not a joiner.  Meetings are not my thing and I have enough trouble weighing myself in front of myself, let alone other people. I don’t need that sort of stress in my life. 

I read other people’s stories on the WW App, and I’m inspired by some of these warriors, who lose and gain and lose and gain and write about it with grace and dignity, and hope – they always have hope and the strength to strive to be better. To do better.

I suppose at some point over the past few years, I must have given up hope on any number of things in my life, and took comfort in cookies and cupcakes and chips and basically anything with sugar and starch!  Don’t get me wrong, my life is good; but we all have our demons.

I’ve learned about making realistic goals. I mean, telling myself I’ll never eat another Oreo is just so unrealistic.  I’d like to write that I will never sit again with a bag of the mega-stuffed Oreos and eat all the insides and save the cookies, but like I said – We all have our demons. Besides the demons, the song does say – “…Cause the kid will eat the middle of an Oreo first and save the chocolate cookies outsides for last!” 

I’m also learning that as it is with my food, my life must also be about making realistic goals, and learning life-lessons.

The most important lesson for me so far – You can’t fix people.  Period.  No ifs, ands, or buts.  You just can’t.  

I found this little meme online yesterday as I was reading stories of women who are fixers .on my WW App.  It’s powerful, and it resonated with me, and it’s on my realistic list of goals:

“ I’m so sick of the

excuse

“they’re still you mom/dad/sister/brother/etc”

No, toxic is toxic.

You have the right

To cut off anyone off

Who is unhealthy

To you! 

Week Three starts today – I’m down 9.6 lbs, in my physical weight, and feeling free of some emotional weight.

“I am brave, I am bruised,

 I am who I’m meant to be,

 this is me.”

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Posted in beliefs, betrayal, Change, choices, Courage, friends, Happiness, health, Kindness, life, love, Uncategorized, Weight Watchers, Women | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Choose Love

My 50th High School reunion is coming up next year.  The chatter around this has made me a bit nostalgic, but not so nostalgic that I can’t distance myself from what is a hazy memory, and what is, in fact, reality. It wasn’t all good, for any of us.

This nostalgia has made me think of someone I once knew.   A classmate, a friend with whom I shared a history. We grew up together, I was at her house or she was at mine. We were in one another’s weddings, and through her divorce, her remarriage, we were still in each others lives. I moved away, but still we wrote and called and I would visit when I came home.

We had drifted apart, and when I discovered her on Facebook, I reconnected with her. We were catching up and I came out to her…

And, she told me because of her religion, the one we grew up in together,   she would never accept me. And as quickly as she had come back into my life – she was gone.

I write all of this, not to bash her, but to simply say that I do not understand this sort of religion, or this sort of person who takes the words in a book over the living, breathing human being standing in front of you.

This is not the first experience I’ve had with people walking away. Members of my family like to pretend I don’t exist, and that’s okay with me. I mean, who really wants to spend time with people this self-absorbed and this ignorant.  Seriously, like pretending I don’t exist will change the DNA facts that we are indeed, family.

I’m simply asking you to not be swayed by the words in a book, or the words of a politician, or the words of any religious leader who tells you who you can love and surround yourself with.

You have a brain, and a heart. You can make your own choices.

Being gay is not a choice. I mean, why would we ever choose a life that offers us a daily dose of hatred, followed up with laws that discriminate against us, and family who throw us out, and friends who choose to walk away.  No one would choose this.

But, this is who we are –

This is who I am.

This is me.

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The Wisdom of Teenagers…

I spent as much time as I could with my 14 -year-old granddaughter last weekend.  She lives in Northern California, and I hadn’t seen her in about 2 years. We’ve talked and done the Facetime thing, but I haven’t had “Grandma Time” with her.  She’s a remarkable young woman. Full of life, full of dreams, full of  that teenage vision of the world we all possessed at one time or another.

I think sometimes we overlook the wisdom of teenagers.  Yes, I know how teenagers can be, but, if you really take the time to listen, they can teach you something about yourself.

They can make you remember that part of yourself that had hopes and dreams, that part of yourself that wasn’t yet jaded by the world.  You know, that part of yourself that just knew it was all going to work out, because you knew you could make it happen.

You. Just. Knew.

Being with her – well – it’s convinced me more than ever, that we need to do what we can, to save the world for her. We need to give her a world where she can dream as big as she wants, and know that she has the chance to make her dreams come true.

We need to do it for her, for her brother, for all my other grandchildren and great grandchildren.  For all the kids, grandkids and great grandkids in the world.  We owe them all their chance.

She doesn’t care that I’m gay. She just cares that I love her, and I will always be there to listen, will always be on her side, in her corner, her safe place to fall if ever she needs me.

And isn’t that what we all need? People in our lives who love us, no matter what. People who accept us, people who make you remember that teenage you who thought you could change the world.  And a teenage granddaughter who makes you remember the joy in taking off your shoes, rolling up your pants, and walking in the ocean!

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Posted in beliefs, California, Change, Children, choices, enviornment, love matters, family, friends, gay, Grandchildren, Happiness, home, Kindness, life, love, Safe, teenager, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Love One Another…

I was baptized in the United Methodist Church in our little town in south eastern Pennsylvania in 1950’s. I sang in every choir – children, youth, senior – I took the classes and became a member, I was married in this same church, and I held a service for, and buried my mother from, this church.

I’m pretty much the same person I was when this church rejoiced in my becoming a member, except for the two words I finally had the courage at 50 to say. Two words which would keep me from being welcomed in this church. This church which my family has been going to, and members of, for as long as I can remember.

Two words: I’m Gay.

This blog isn’t about how the United Methodist Church voted to stay the course with their “Traditional Plan” which bans same-sex weddings, and LGBTQ Clergy.

No, this blog isn’t about that – They can ban whatever and whomever they choose, it won’t rid the world of LGBTQ human beings.

I’m writing to question their compassion, their humanity, their living of John 13:34, and that whole Matthew 7:1,2 thing about not judging. They latch onto the versus that say what they want to hear about homosexuality or anything else they want to ban, but, they forget the basis of what Jesus taught. Love… He taught us of love.

The arrogance of someone, anyone, to tell me I’m not worthy to worship because I’m gay – well, it’s goes against everything I was brought up to believe our God was.

It was many, many years before I found myself again in a church. Not a Methodist Church, but an Episcopal Church who welcomes everyone. Every color, every gender, every single one of God’s children who chooses to worship a god of love. They offer a safe space for prayer and song and this universal love and acceptance we all crave in our lives.

It’s never been about tolerance for me. That would mean you believe I’m doing something wrong and you’ll simply put up with me. No, this is about acceptance. Acceptance that I’m living the life I was meant to live, the life God gave me.

Just know you don’t need to go to a church where you feel no sense of community or acceptance. You don’t need to hear that you’re living a life not worthy of God. Find a place of worship that welcomes you, where you feel clean and renewed when you leave.

For you are worthy, your life matters.

“Look out ’cause here I come – And I’m marching on to the beat I drum. I’m not scared to be seen, I make no apologies.

This is me.”

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