Archive for March, 2012

The Equal Rights Amendment was first proposed in 1923 to affirm that women and men have equal rights under the law.  Some 89 years later this Amendment is still not a part of the United States Constitution.

The wording of the Equal Rights Amendment is really quite simple:

  • Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United Stated or by any state on account of sex.
  • Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of the article.
  • This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

That’s it – No muss – No fuss – just Equal rights – Period.

Perhaps if we had gotten the ERA we wouldn’t be facing this “War on Women” that the Republican faithful are now waging.  There would be no way to wage the war if everything were equal, now would there?

38 States are needed to ratify this amendment – the total that have ratified has been at 35 since 1982.  The amendment has been reintroduced into every Congress since that time, with the conviction that at some point women will be given the rights that are inherent in every American citizen.

In doing some research into the ERA – I looked at the map of the states who have and have not ratified the ERA – there is most definitely a pattern.

The States in red on the following map are the States who have not ratified the ERA.

ERA map

Now – I want you to look at this map from 1861 of the Free States and the Slave States.

One more map for you – This is a map with what is known as “The Bible Belt” marked in red.

Do you notice anything similar in the maps?

Now – before any of jump all over me that I’m making this a southern, religious thing – the maps don’t lie.  This is what it is.  I’ll let you make up your own little scenarios as to why the maps look-alike when it comes to the States that are listed in red on all three maps. Even Utah, Nevada and Arizona fall into the “Territories open to slavery.”

So – does religion play a part in this struggle for women’s equality? I know for me, I don’t understand women who believe that feminism is evil.  I don’t understand any religion that tells you that you must submit to your husband -“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft…” 1st Samuel 15:23 And the whole obey thing – well – thankfully I wasn’t raised in the South!

I believe in equal rights for all Americans. If you want to believe that God wants you to submit to your husband, then by all means you submit. I don’t understand it – but – I’ll respect your decision, and I’ll fight for your right to make that decision.  I’m only asking one thing in return.  Don’t believe things like what I read on this Christian website that said the following: “The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a Communist, anti-family, anti-Christian, political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their babies, practice witchcraft, abandon homemaking, and become lesbian.”

Like we lesbians have that much power!

The fight for the Equal Rights Amendment must continue. We owe it to the women who came before us and have fought the good fight to get us to this point.  We owe it to them and to our daughters and our granddaughters and our great granddaughters and for all the generations of women to come.   We owe it to all women – everywhere…

  • Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United Stated or by any state on account of sex.

How hard is this to understand?

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Susan and I went downtown San Diego last evening to see a show called Rock of Ages. It was this loud, funny, wonderful musical full of the music of the 1980’s.  We sang along to Starship, REO Speedwagon, Styx, Twisted Sister, Foreigner, Journey, Pat Benatar, Bon Jovi, Poison – and at the end of the show we were on our feet singing, clapping, cheering. It was a few hours of raucous fun, and I left the Theatre feeling upbeat with my throat a little sore from the singing and cheering!

As we were walking to our car we passed a woman wrapped up in a sleeping bad, sleeping in the doorway of a downtown building. I didn’t want to stare, but I couldn’t help but notice that along with her bicycle she had one of those carts people use to put their children in while riding.  She had all of her belongings in that cart, and she was using that as a sort of cushion for her head as she slept. Hundreds of people were walking by her, and still she slept.

I could feel the tears coming as I held Susan’s hand a little tighter and said:  “If anyone passes that woman and doesn’t say – there but for the grace of God go I, they have no heart.”

How do people end up on the street in the United States of America? How did this woman end up in a sleeping bag with all her possessions crammed into a baby cart for her bicycle? How does one even begin to think of sleeping on the street? How do these things happen here in the land of the free and the home of the brave? And why is it so many of our brave are the ones on the street?

A friend of mine wrote of his time living on the streets and it simply broke my heart. I find after reading his story that I complain less about what I believe to be the tragedies of my youth!  Not that we all don’t face our own demons, for we most surely do – but, I always had a roof over my head and food to eat. His story of redemption and conquering his demons are worthy of my respect and my affection for him. He inspires me to be a person who now looks at the person on the street and question how they got there and how can I help them find a safer, warmer, loving place to call home.

It’s these unknown homeless citizens of this United States of America who have lost their way – lost their vote – lost their voice,  that need those of us who still have that voice to stand up. They need protecting – they need to be fed, and they deserve our respect.  I mean – think about it.  If you lost your job and couldn’t pay for your home or apartment where would you go? If you had no money for food – what would you eat? If you had no car and no money for the bus or the train – how would you manage? If … If… If…

They all have a story to tell, they are all someone’s son or daughter, mother or father, brother or sister.  What if it was you or your mother or father or brother or sister or a grandparent?  This isn’t just their issue – this is a human rights issue, for it could happen to any of us, at any time.

Taking care of the homeless doesn’t seem to fall into any category on the upcoming Presidential election blurbs of what will help you get elected.  They all seem to want to spend millions of dollars to bash gay people, millions of dollars to kill folks in Afghanistan, millions of dollars to keep women in their place, millions of dollars to allow folks to be able to kill another person – well just because they can, and millions of dollars to force a solitary religion down the throats of a people who live in a land that was built on freedom of and from religion. I’ve heard nothing on jobs or the economy or helping the veterans or feeding the homeless or basically taking care of our own.

I used to believe as Americans we were better than this – I believe now – we have lost our way… Those of us in the middle, and those on the bottom of the scale have been lost in the shuffle that is now American politics and American justice.  The people with the money have the power and the people with the power have the money. The Honorable Lord Acton said it best: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

As a people – we must find our voice  before it’s too late for all of us. Can you hear your voice?

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I had a chance yesterday to say something to someone that might have hurt them – however – it would have settled an old score for me – and I choose not to say it.

I won’t go into the details – I’ll just say that the opportunity was there for me to finally have my say , to finally get back some of what I feel has been taken from me  my entire life – and I let it go by. It was right there in front of me – I had the email written – I’d said what would have hit home and produced the hurt I had intended it to do. My thoughts of revenge and settling this score would finally come to an end, and that part of my life could finally move forward, and instead of hitting send – I hit delete.

For about an hour after I deleted the email I heard what appeared to be chicken noises in my head.  You know what I mean – those noises people make that sound like chickens clucking when they want to mock you for being weak.   I argued with myself and I went back and forth about getting my revenge and yet when the time came – I let the chance go by. Perhaps I deserved the chorus of chicken clucking that was ringing in my head.

The question I asked myself was this:  Would it be worth it to send this snarky, well-written email and continue to stir this pot of discontent?  My answer was no – it most certainly would not.  I wanted it to be over not to carry on for the rest of my life.  And if I enacted this selfish act of revenge what would happen next?  It’s already been a life-long road of dodging slings and arrows; I just want to walk on the road with no fear.

I’d like to think I chose the higher road.  I don’t believe for one moment that the slings and arrows will still not be thrown in my direction – I just feel that now I’m on a different road and those slings and arrows won’t hit me.  You know?   People can only hurt you if you allow them to hurt you.  My decision yesterday was my way of saying: “I’m done here, you can’t hurt me anymore.”  They can stay locked in the past, keeping old wounds open and festering wallowing in what has become their life, I’m not going to play their game or live by their rules any longer. 60 years is long enough.

My life is so much more than this game ever was – so much more than revenge and time wasted plotting revenge for events that are long over and words that were said years ago. I’ve been plotting for almost 60 years – I’m going to spend the rest of my time plotting better things – like learning French for my return trip to Paris. “Un chocolat croissant et une tasse de café, s’il vous plait.”

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I had decided yesterday that I was done writing about gay issues for a little while. I was going to give myself a break. When I opened my eyes at 6:30 this morning, the rain had stopped, the sun was shining, the birds were singing their morning songs and I was going to look for the good in the world.

As I was coming down the stairs this morning I noticed that my partner Susan had left the newspaper in the middle of the stairs with this article pointing up so I would be sure to see.  I knew instinctively that this wasn’t a good thing, because for Susan to put something on the steps at 5:30 in the morning can only mean bad, bad things!

And sure enough – there it was.  An article on the front page of today’s paper telling all of the wondrous things The Rock Church San Diego is doing for the City of San Diego.  It was a fluff article on how the members of this church have donated over 235,000 hours to the City of San Diego with such activities as “helping elderly people and children in foster care, cleaning up parks and renovating public buildings.” The rest of this article was a question and answer thing with Pastor Miles McPherson about Pastor Miles McPherson.  I can only imagine the conversation Susan was having with herself while reading this article!

Let me explain…

The Rock Church of San Diego has become one of the largest evangelical ministries in the United States.  Its head pastor is one Miles McPherson a former San Diego Charger football player. They have well over 12,000 people attend services on any given Sunday.  Let me be clear here – I’m not saying they don’t do good things for the City of San Diego, they most certainly do. It’s just that – in my view – they are not all they appear to be, and this article told nothing of what some folks might call the dark side of The Rock.

For me, and for any gay person who has any self-respect living in the City of San Diego, The Rock Church does not exude that warm, fuzzy accepting feeling, and most certainly doesn’t make me want to rally around anything this ex-football has to say.

See – The Rock Church spent over $25,000.00 in support of Proposition 8, which was the measure here in California to stop gay marriage.  The Rock Church held rally’s and supplied their flock with bumper stickers and buttons and instructed them to vote for the measure and to tell everyone they knew to vote to protect marriage.  The following was taken directly from The Rock Church website:

“The Rock hosted the Fine Line, a rally in support of Prop 8 on Wednesday evening. The event was simulcasted live to churches around California. There were testimonies from professional athletes, music from the Katinas and Stellar Kart, and Pastor Miles lead a panel discussing the issues surrounding Prop 8. Pastor Miles encouraged the packed sanctuary and those watching around California, to vote to protect marriage and get those they know to do the same.”

The Rock Church Prop 8 Rally

There is still a link of The Rock Church website that will take you to the website “ProtectMarriage.com” where one can still log on and donate money to protect marriage from the evils of the homosexual.  But – I digress…

In my eyes – you can volunteer and clean up the city of every last piece of trash but as long as you discriminate against a certain group of people – the good you do means nothing.  Pastor Miles can preach his do good works sermons til God calls him home – but as long as he tells his flock that they must be against gay-marriage, God will most certainly want an explanation of his obvious homophobic behavior.

The people who go to this church will tell you they don’t hate gays. In fact they offer a ministry for same-sex attraction. According to the website the ministry is:  “Reaching the gay community for Christ, and to help believers who struggle with same-sex attraction walk firmly and victoriously in Christ.”   In essence they want to pray away the gay.

On February 10, 2008 Pastor Miles preached the following:

“In this discussion it needs to be clear that Christians are not and should not be against homosexuals as individual people. Rather it is the homosexual agenda that we must stand up against.

The homosexual agenda is being pushed upon this nation, to the point where it may become illegal for pastors to preach against homosexuality from the pulpit, that is where even such preaching is deemed a crime. In some countries this is already the case. Keep in mind this battle is not about gay people, rather it is a spiritual battle in which we are fighting the devil!”

You tell me honestly what is the difference between the homosexual agenda and the homosexual?  Don’t you have to be a homosexual to have a homosexual agenda?  And who or what is the devil? The homosexual or the homosexual agenda, and what is the difference between them?  Again, don’t you have to be a homosexual to have a homosexual agenda?

What was it those 12,000 people really heard that Sunday morning besides; Homosexual agenda, devil, battle, homosexual…  If the sermon wasn’t enough – they could pick up their Prop 8 bumper stickers, signs and buttons as they left the church!   Every person who gives money to this church supports this sort of thinking and this political view – whether they believe it or not – if they go there – if they give money to this church – if they volunteer with this church – they are supporting the discrimination of the gay community.  All in the name of God – as told to them by Miles McPherson.

A dear, dear friend in my life who has since passed once told me: “the truth is the truth is the truth.”  If only the newspaper would have simply told the whole truth about The Rock Church San Diego.  If only…

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Yesterday when I logged on to my Facebook page I read this little blurb that a “friend”  had written.  As I read this little blurb I was thinking – “What the hell is she thinking?”  And then I was thinking – “What the hell is she saying?” – And then it was – “Why the hell am I still reading?”  That soon turned in to – “I’m writing and telling her she’s crazy.”

Well, I did write a blog about it – but… I didn’t post it on my Facebook page.  I decided that the blog may come off as hurtful to some of my “friends” who aren’t involved in any way about what I was saying, and I didn’t want to hurt anyone who was innocent in this.  I must be maturing on some level and I suppose on those levels – this is a good thing.

Still – I wonder why there are folks who believe they have all the answers and tell the rest of us how we should handle our lives.

Then again – on some level isn’t this what I do when I write about the inequalities that face the gay community and women in this United States?  On some level am I not telling you how to live your life so the gay community and those of us who are women will be able to live our lives?  I mean – if you are not of the mind that gays and women deserve equal rights I will come off as a preachy, in-your-face, crazy Lesbian, won’t I?

We all come at the world from where we live and where we have lived. Our experiences are all different; our levels of pain and suffering differ from person to person from life to life.  I don’t need or want someone telling me not to complain about something when that something is as important as equal rights for the gay community or women being thrown under the bus.  This is my world – this is my experience, this is what I know to be true in this world.

There are some things in this world that are just wrong no matter through what eyes you are looking at it.  None of us should stop complaining about people being hungry or homeless. None of us should stop complaining about kids and adults being bullied for who they are, and none of us should stop questioning politicians who run on a platform of hate. None of us should stop calling out those Christians who hide behind the bible in their unending quest to stigmatize the gay community, and none of us should stop complaining about how divisive politics has become in this country.

And women – well, what can I say?  Make your voice heard before you have no voice. Again.

So – this is what I’m saying…  I’m not going to stop writing about what I know to be inequalities in this world.  I’m not going to stop complaining or demanding that things change.  If this bothers you in any way – just don’t read and feel free to take me off of your list of friends. For the honest question would be this;  if you don’t see the inequalities I write of  or even try to understand, then you and I don’t really have much in common and are we really “friends?”

Yes, we can volunteer and help where possible,  but change can only come through some sort of complaining. Change can only occur when you touch a heart – then the mind starts to think…  I’ll listen to what you have to say – right up to the point where you tell me not to complain. Then, you’ve lost me, for change can only come through constant complaining and vigilance for what is right and just.

Margaret Mead  said it best: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

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Be a part of the solution – not a part of the problem.   Sounds good when you read it, doesn’t it?  To me these are just words from those who have no idea what the problems really are.

Change doesn’t come easy, nor is it free. If it were as easy as just running for office to make the changes needed in this world, my name would be on the ballot tomorrow.  Running for office won’t change people’s hearts and minds.

Changing people’s hearts and minds starts at home and at church and at any other place where people gather to feel loved and accepted and cherished.

See – this is where the Christian do-gooders lose me.  Yes, they do good works – they volunteer, they clean up the city, they feed the hungry, and still they sit in a church that spends millions of dollars fighting against gays and lesbians.  Oh, they will tell you they don’t hate the gays – they just want them to not be gay or lesbian, and they certainly don’t want them to be able to marry or raise children or be accepted for who they are in this world.  I’m thinking of the whole “Judge not – lest ye be judged” thing here.

You either love everyone – or you don’t. You either want equal rights for everyone or you need to stop calling them equal rights.

Do not tell me what it is I must do to make change in this world unless and until you know and understand what it is that needs to be changed. Do not tell me that you’re a person of faith when you sit in a church, (that spends money you give them), making sure I can never marry the person I love.  This isn’t faith, this is sanctioned discrimination.  See it for what it is.  You aren’t doing God’s work; you’re doing the work of the Pastor who insists that you must keep certain sects of folks in their place.

You can do as many good deeds as you want in this world, and you can want people to look at you by what you do in this world – but – if you give money to, and follow the teachings of a church that is set on discrimination of certain people – what kind of person are you really?  Perception is reality here.  You can tell me what a wonderful person you are and you can volunteer 24/7 still… If you sit in a church that knowingly discriminates – that tells me what sort of person you are more than what your deeds will ever do.

Being part of the solution – aka making change – comes in many forms, but first one must know and understand what the problems really are to affect any sort of change.  We all come at life from our own life experiences, our own little bit of reality.  I write what I write about certain sects of religion because this is what touches my life – this is what affects how I live day-to-day. My writing about the inequalities and the discrimination is how I try to make change – one heart at a time. I try not to lump all Christians into my writings – but – if you sit in a church that you know discriminates against homosexuals – then I suppose you can feel that I’m writing about you.

And if that bothers you in any way – then perhaps you could…  Be a part of the solution – not a part of the problem…

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I wish I understood what was really happening here in the United States.  I’ve tried to sit back and not judge – but just read and listen and really try to understand what is going on.  I’ve tried – I really have.

I’m a woman who is going to turn 60 years old this year, and I’m also a Lesbian. What I’ve come to understand is that my life is under attack from my government and from the factions of religion who believe they own the toll booth on the highway to heaven.

I understood that the fight for equal treatment as a homosexual would be ongoing my entire life – When I say I understood that doesn’t mean I understand – it just means I understood that people are ignorant and bigoted about things they do not understand or will not accept, or believe are against the will of this loving God they hide behind.

I have nothing against organized religion – it is after all protected by the Constitution. The thing I believe that is forgotten by the religious is that those who choose to not have their lives run by any religion are also protected by the Constitution.  It’s not a winner-take-all sort of thing. The Founders gave us the freedom to choose, and because some choose one religion and some choose another and some choose none – the Founders were also clear to keep religion out of government.   That however has gone awry with the current group of Evangelical Christians who believe they know the answer for each and every American.  This Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Speech that they tout as their right to force their beliefs on the rest of us was supposed to protect those of us who obviously are the sinners from these religious zealots, and from having to follow their religious views. Am I the only one who sees the danger and the ignorance and the arrogance in all of this?

My questions are these:  Why do they get to make the laws and how do we stop them?

And then there is this whole “War on Women” thing…  I cannot believe that I honestly have to march and make placards and write my senators and make phone calls and write blogs about how women are once again taking one for the team – so to speak.

Women who have sex are called sluts – and the men who have sex with them are called a ladies man or a stud.   Are they not just as promiscuous as the women? Should we not be making them out to be lower than the scum in the pond? Should we not be calling them male sluts and male prostitutes? No, we just give them more drugs to keep the penis working properly.

Women take birth control to prevent pregnancy and this is not to be covered by insurance.  Men used Viagra to keep their penis erect to have sex with women which is the reason women get pregnant – and yet – Viagra is covered by Insurance.  In what world does this make any sense? Oh yes – In the Christian – man world.

Abortion – In my mind this is just so simple.  If you don’t believe in abortion and you don’t want to have one – don’t.  Men or women don’t have the right to tell any woman what she can and can’t do with her body. Ask any woman who has had an abortion how she feels about her decision and I can almost guarantee you that there will be a look in her eyes that will tell you all you need to know.

There are so many things in this Country that we really need to be talking about, writing about, marching about, calling our Senators about, and yelling about.  Jobs, the economy, these useless wars, our infrastructure, the homeless, Americans going to bed hungry, the loss of our personal freedoms to name a few.  Important, life-saving things are what we should be hearing from our Presidential candidates.

It shouldn’t just be the women taking one for the team, especially when women aren’t even allowed to play on the team.  Just sayin…

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