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Archive for August, 2012

Our son informed us last night that he wasn’t going to vote in November.  Apparently he’s disgusted with everything and everyone, and he’s just not voting. I could see Susan’s head start to explode and then I saw her change her tactics – she went full-out for that whole Mother guilt thing. That – do it for your gay mother thing – and the do it for your mother who is going to be 71 thing – to the make that my birthday present thing – and it ended up being the: “Oh Brendan – you have to vote, you just have to” thing…

One would have to know our son to understand how surprising this “I’m not voting” statement is.  He’s compassionate and caring and believes in his soul that he is his brother’s keeper. He will talk with great fervor about liberal politics and has little or no tolerance for this gay-bashing, hate-filled, religious right of the Republican Party.

He also has little or no tolerance for what he believes to be wrong with the Democrats – hence his decision to not vote in November.

I understand that everyone has the choice whether or not to vote in this or any election. I also understand his disgust with all parties involved in this debacle that is November’s election.  I’ve been there.

The thing is – if you don’t vote – then you have given up your voice.  You may think – Oh Barb – I don’t have a voice anyway, no one cares, no one listens, no one gives a damn.  Okay – but don’t you care about your voice?

When you give up your voice the people you dislike most in this world – they win. They have beaten you; they have succeeded in shoving their agenda so far down your throat that you’ve given up your voice to them.

The fight for freedom is never, ever easy and the fight for what is right and just is never going to be agreed on – ever.  There will always be the choice for you to make between good and evil. Now, what you consider to be good others may consider to be evil, which is why every vote counts, every vote.

The choice in this election is really quite clear. The Republicans laid out their vision of what they want the United States to be in their Platform.  No abortions – no exceptions. No gay marriage – no gay civil unions. You can carry your guns – and use them – anywhere. No taxing the rich – raise taxes on the middle class – vouchers for Medicare – prayer in public school – the public display of the Ten Commandments as a reflection of our history and of our country’s Judeo-Christian heritage – it goes on and on and on and on… read it for yourself :  http://www.scribd.com/doc/104221532/2012-Gop-Platform

For those of us in the gay community and for those who love and support those of us in the gay community – your choice is an easy one.  All you have to do is read what they believe about gays and lesbians having the right to marry.

  • …We reaffirm our support for a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. We applaud the citizens of the majority of States which have enshrined in their constitutions the traditional concept of marriage, and we support the campaigns underway in several other States to do so.
  • Preserving and Protection Traditional Marriage
  • The institution of marriage is the foundation of civil society. Its success as an institution will determine our success as a nation. It has been proven by  both experience and endless social science studies that traditional marriage is best for children. Children raised in intact married families are more likely to attend college,are physically and emotion-ally healthier, are less likely to use drugs or alcohol, engagein crime, or get pregnant outside of marriage. The success of marriage directly impacts the economic well-being of individuals. Furthermore,the future of marriage affects freedom. The lack of  family  formation not only leads to more government costs, but also to more government control over the lives of its citizens in all aspects. We recognize andhonor the courageous efforts of those who bear the many  burdens of parenting alone, even as we believe that marriage, the union of one man and one woman must be upheld as the national standard, a goal to stand for, encourage, and promote throughlaws governing marriage. We embrace the principle that all Americans should be treated with respect and dignity.

To all my friends and all the friends of gays and lesbians everywhere – please consider the importance of your vote. Consider all that you have – and all that the gay community doesn’t have, and all that the Republicans don’t ever want us to have.  Mostly – I want you to remember that it’s about respect and validation that we are simply Americans wanting to live the American dream of family…

So, to my son and to all the sons and daughters of gays and lesbians in this United States of America – if for no other reason than the fact that you love your Mothers and Fathers and want them to live in a County that no longer treats them as vile, undeserving, second-class citizens…

Please let your voice be heard – Please Vote.

Love,

Mom

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I saw those two sentences  in an article I was reading this morning, and I suddenly understood why folks are so hateful.  It’s easy.

 It doesn’t take a whole lot of brain power to go from; “My life sucks: to: “I’m going blame ________ (fill in the blank) for that.”   It especially doesn’t take much brain power when you have politicians, ministers and priests all telling you who to blame for your lot in life.  They aren’t asking you to love _________ (fill in the blank); they are telling you what you must do to prevent __________ from ruining your life, your marriage, your country.   It’s not based in love, it’s based in fear and fear breeds hate and hate is simply – well – it’s easy. Why search for the answers when others are telling you how to act and how to feel, who to blame and who to hate.

 Jump on that hate train. It stops at the; It’s the Gays, it’s the Women, it’s the blacks, it’s the Jews, it’s the Muslims, it’s the ________________ – (You fill in the blank) stations, all across America. It’s easy to board the train of hate and blame

 My life and the lives of millions of gay Americans is affected everyday by the easiness of hate.  It’s become easy to hate homosexuals in America, and in some instances, it’s become a part of the fabric of the organization.  Political parties, churches, social organizations make billions of dollars on their ‘’gay hate.”  They can wrap it in any sort of bow they want, but hate is hate. Period.

 For some of us in the gay community, it takes a great deal of courage to still love and value ourselves as Americans. When you are told on a daily basis that your life doesn’t matter, and you have a political party placing in their platform that you have no right to have a life that involves marriage and individual rights that are to be given to all Americans – it is not always easy to be loving and caring. The thing is – when gays stand up and say we’ve had enough – we are radicals and we are trying to change the entire fabric of America. Nothing could be further from the truth. We simply want what is ours to have.

 It takes courage to stand up for who and what you are and speak your truth.  It doesn’t take courage to stand behind someone or something that speaks for you – that’s laziness, ignorance and hatefulness.

 It takes courage to continue to fight for what is right and just for everyone.  It doesn’t take courage to only want certain rights for certain people – that’s called discrimination and that is hateful and easy.

 It takes courage to love unconditionally; most of us only achieve that sort of love with our pets! We place conditions on friends, lovers, partners, husbands, wives, etc… and in the end we are usually disappointed and angry that they didn’t do what we wanted. It’s just easier to be disappointed than to release them to be the person they were meant to be.  It doesn’t take courage to control and demand – that’s just fear and insecurity ruling your life.

 It takes courage to be gay in a straight person’s world. It takes courage to know who you are is simply who you are and not a choice you made, and that you deserve “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” It takes courage to stand and say: “I’m gay” knowing that your life from that moment on will never be the same.   It doesn’t take courage to mock and discriminate and judge and hate – that’s foolish and stupid, and as we in the gay community know full well; you just can’t fight stupid.

 It takes courage to go into the voting booth and vote your heart when you’re being told to vote because of religion, racism, and ignorance. Your vote doesn’t belong to your church or your political party or your family or your spouse or your friends or your whatever. It’s your vote, your voice.

 Hate is easy. Love takes courage.

 Choose to be courageous.

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I’m cleaning out my den in order to remodel it.  It’s been ten (10) years of putting things in boxes, drawers, bags, etc., with the intention of cleaning everything out one day.  Well, that day has arrived.

Today I was reminded of all that is precious in life, and how quickly it can all be gone, and how quickly it can all change.  In my treasure trove I found the following:

  • A stuffed lion that belonged to my beloved cocker spaniel, Max.  This lion has no eyes as Max loved to pull the little eyes out of all of his toys.  This stuffed lion, with no eyes had me in tears.
  • A fly fishing rod that belonged to my Uncle, who taught me how to fish for trout. Just holding this rod in my hands reminded me of sitting by the stream, pulling out the thermos, and enjoying a cup of coffee with him. Fishing with him – well – it wasn’t about the fish, that’s for sure.
  • A camouflaged hat that belonged to a serviceman whom I did not know who was killed in Iraq.  When I was working at an eBay store this man’s family came through the door with all of Army belongings wanting to sell them. I sat with his Mother while his Father took each thing out of the duffle bag and handled it with such love and care.  My heart broke on that day – and again this morning as I pulled this hat that his family insisted I have, out of its hiding place.
  • Pictures of a family that is no longer.  Mother, Dad, my brother and myself.  Aunts, Uncles, Cousins…  I looked at the pictures and I wept – for what was – for what could have been – for what is no longer possible…
  • Cards and notes from a past love…  I shook my head and wondered exactly what I was thinking  – and then placed the cards and notes into the shredder!
  • A spiffy hat that belonged to my Uncle Mike.  I smiled as I placed it on my head and wished more than anything I could share one more afternoon of eating steamed Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs and drinking Black Label beer with him.  I learned so much from him and should have told him more often how much I loved him.
  • Pictures of Susan and I from 30 years ago! My life changed when I met her. I look at these pictures and I see us then, as I see us now… Happy that we finally found each other…

Life is so short.  The politics of the moment will pass. We all will survive no matter the outcome.

Meanwhile, treasure what you have – love the people who love you back, and never, ever give up on what you know to be right and good about the world…

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As we in the gay community continue the fight for gay marriage – there is still the ground-swell of:  “Why do you need to be married? Can’t you just have a lawyer draw up all the legal papers you need? Just be domestic partners that will give you all the legal rights you need.”

Have you heard of the Lesbian couple, Brittney Leon and Terri-Ann Simonelli, who are registered domestic partners in the State of Nevada? In Nevada the law states:  “Domestic partners have the same rights, protection and benefits, and are subject to the same responsibilities, obligations and duties under law, whether derived from statutes, administrative regulations, court rules, government policies, common law or any other provisions or sources of law, as are granted to and imposed upon spouses.”

This couple went to Spring Valley Hospital because Ms Leon was having pregnancy complications.  Upon arriving at the hospital, Ms Simonelli was told she would have to get herself power of attorney to be with her partner.  The public relations person at Spring Valley Hospital stated that the hospital requires gay couples have power of attorney in order to make medical decisions for each other.

Even though President Obama ordered the Department of Health and Human Services to write a rule that would prevent hospitals from not allowing visitation privileges to gay and lesbian partners – this hospital chose to discriminate against this and other gay couples.

Ms Leon lost her baby – while her partner – her legal registered domestic partner – was left to wait without news on the fate of her family. They lost their baby – while the hospital refused to allow them to share in their loss. I cannot imagine how lost and alone they were feeling.

Imagine, if you will, losing a baby – your baby – and not having your partner – male or female – gay or straight – with you holding your hand, giving you comfort. Imagine a country that uncaring, that discriminating, that homophobic. Can you?

Well, you don’t have to imagine it. Go to the polls in November and push that Romney/Ryan button and you will be enforcing and supporting this uncaring, discriminating, homophobic kind of world. Spin it any way you choose and try to justify it in your head and your heart – however, f you vote Republican this November – that’s who you are, that’s who and what you are voting for. It’s a reflection of you.

The Romney/Ryan ticket will not ever entertain the thought of gay marriage. Gay couples – even those who think they have the law to protect them – will continue to be treated as second-class citizens and will not have access to certain functions that only a legal marriage can offer  couples and families – which would most certainly include health care access.

If you choose to vote Romney/Ryan and think or say to me: “Barb it’s not personal.” I can only say to you: “What could be more personal than denying me access to the person I love when they need me the most? ” And don’t tell me you want smaller government – this is not smaller government – This is the government intruding in the lives of people who simply want to be recognized for who they are – Americans.

This election is important – Please vote to end the hate…

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I read a comment on an article I had written about the Romney / Ryan ticket and their stand on their opposition to gay marriage.

   marriage IS about religion. If you don’t care about God why would you care about being married? Most people get married in a CHURCH, and then a preacher              wont marry them because it goes against what the Bible says.

I don’t know if this person is gay or straight, but they left a few other comments that showed their bias when it comes to issues that affect the gay community.  Let me enlighten this person and others who may be confused on the subject of marriage…

Marriage in the United States of America is NOT about religion.  The act of getting married to someone is not a religious act. It’s not based on any religion, any Bible, any book, any belief, any potion, any leader, nothing. One does not have to be religious to get married, and religious leaders do not have to preside over a marriage ceremony to make a marriage legal.  Religion has no legal influence on any marriage. You do not have to hear: “Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this company, to join together this Man and this Woman in holy Matrimony; which is an honourable estate, instituted of God, signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church: which holy estate Christ adorned and beautified with his presence…” to have your marriage be legal.

To be legally married in the United States you need a government-issued marriage license and a certificate of marriage. Period. This has nothing to do with religion – nothing. You can argue that it should have everything to do with religion if you’d like, but legally, it has nothing to do with marriage.

See the beauty of the First Amendment to the Constitution is that it prohibits the government from telling the many religious sects what the meaning of marriage is, AND it also stops the many religious sects from telling the government what the meaning of marriage is.  Well – allegedly, that’s what it was set up to do. This is where the problem begins and ends when it comes to marriage. – Religion.

I understand that there are some churches that do not now, and will never allow the concept of gay marriage to enter through their doors. Fine, I get that. I’ll leave you to worship whatever you chose to worship, I won’t try and close you down or picket outside your doors or give millions of dollars to politicians to keep you from your Constitutional rights as an American.  I’m not saying you have to accept gay marriage – I’m saying you have no legal right to ban it.

You don’t have to care about God, or even believe in a God to care about marriage.  If you need religion in your life to get you through the days and nights of what the world throws at you, then by all means you have the freedom to have your religion. Worship whatever god you believe sustains you and carry on with your life. Just try to understand that not everyone has to believe as you do, and live as you do.  However,  if your god and your pastor/priest/whatever doesn’t teach tolerance, understanding and loving one another, you might want to regroup and look elsewhere for your inner peace.

My partner Susan has been my wife in my heart for 30 years. She always has been, always will be.  Her children are my children, her grandchildren, my grandchildren.  We share a home, and all that goes with the daily struggle to survive.  We’ve been there for each other through the death of parents, friends, a grandchild, and pets. We’ve had good times, and bad times, we argue, we laugh, we cry, but mainly – we just love each other a little more every day.  Organized religion turned their back on us, so we looked inward and found our peace and our balance in the everyday living of life.

We have lived our life together without the benefit of a marriage license or a marriage certificate because here in the State of California millions of dollars were spent by the churches – Mormon and others – to make sure we couldn’t get married. They didn’t want us to ruin the sanctity of marriage… Well, we’re still together, so the churches have to keep fighting…

Marriage is about so much more than religion – so much more…

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Now that the Chick-Fil-A dust has settled a bit, do we all understand what the whole boycott thing was all about?

If you are saying; Religion – you would be correct.  If you are saying; Free Speech – you would also be correct.  If you’re screaming; Gay-Bashing – you would be correct. If you’re saying; Politics – you would be correct. If you’re screaming out loud; it was the Evangelical Christians – you would be correct.

This was about everything – except the chicken…

And what did we learn?  Well, we learned that the evangelical Christians of the Republican Party can pull their folks out of every little nook and cranny of this United States of America when it comes to bashing the queers.

We also learned that supporting a company who donates money to organizations that support the killing of gays in Uganda is far more important than human rights and respect in the United States of America.

We also learned that the American people are lazy. They don’t want to know the facts, they don’t want to be educated, they don’t want to have to discern the truth in anything.  They just believe what they are told by their pastors, and their political leaders as to what they perceive to be “the truth.”

What I know is this.  This was never about whether or not Chick-fil-A discriminates – for they most surely do not discriminate at the counter.  I was treated like gold when I used to go there. They were most happy to take my money with a smile and a “my pleasure.”    It’s where my money goes after it leaves the cash register that is the problem.

Dan Cathy – the owner of Chick-Fil-A – can say anything he chooses about gay marriage and he can stand on a mountain top and preach his gay-hating religion to the hordes of waffle fry eaters who will stand in line to listen and follow him until his maker comes to take him home, for that is his First Amendment right as an American.  However – when he takes Chick-Fil-A Company money and gives said money to organizations that support hate, discrimination, bigotry and in some cases the killing of people well, then he has crossed over the line of free speech. That’s more along the lines of hate-speech and that is not protected by the Constitution. That’s what this was all about.

See, it was never, ever about the chicken, it’s about what it’s always about.  This is an election year and nothing brings out that evangelical republican vote more than gays, guns and god.  It’s what I used to call the hater vote, and can now be known as the chicken vote.

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I do not understand the concept of being a gay Republican.  I don’t know how one goes from saying: I’m gay and then adding: And I’m a Republican.  I don’t know how one does this…

I’ve asked how it’s done and the answers I usually get are vague or angry or completely nonsensical. I’ve heard everything from; it’s the Republicans who back the military to Republicans want smaller government to Republicans would be more fiscally responsible.  Then there’s the whole tax thing, and a whole bunch of other garbled jibber jabber.

Okay… but Republicans also want you to go back in the closet, not get married, not be able to legally adopt, serve in the military openly. They don’t respect you on any level.

I ask the questions because I honestly do not understand.  I was told to just separate myself from the whole being gay thing, and just concentrate on the whole government thing.

See, I don’t know how you get past the being gay part.  Being gay is who I am; it’s not a choice or a lifestyle, it’s who I am every day of my life.  I don’t wake up in the morning and say: “Well I think I’ll be a Lesbian today.”  It’s just who I am.  Every law, every ruling that goes against gays and lesbians goes against me and my life.  I don’t know how to separate one from the other, and I’m not convinced that separating yourself from who you are at any time is a good thing.

I understand gay republicans believe the only way to change the Republican Party is to work among them and make them understand inclusion – I get that, and I understand that they have done good things – still, trying to make change and voting for people you know are never going to change, and people who will spend any amount of money to keep me in what they believe is “my place;” this I will never understand.

I have a Republican lesbian friend who goes to her Catholic church every week. She doesn’t leave feeling full of faith and loved by her creator. She leaves knowing her church will never accept her for who she is and every week she asks forgiveness.  She asks forgiveness for who she is.  Every week she allows this church to take a little piece of her soul and make her feel a little more unworthy. When I asked her why she continues to go there she says: “It’s my church.” When I remind her of how the Catholic Church and the Republican Party don’t really validate her existence she says well, maybe they know something I don’t.  It just blows me away that she cares so little about herself.  Every life deserves validation – no exceptions.

This Romney/Ryan ticket is not gay friendly, on any level. Thinking that voting for them would be a good thing because you could get inside of the party and change hearts and minds is just foolish. If you’re a gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgendered citizen and you push, click or fill in the circle for the Republican ticket you will have voted against your own best interest. You will have voted for people who don’t like you, don’t respect you, and would be happier if you just didn’t exist.

Paul Ryan is a scheduled speaker at the Family Research Council’s Values Voters Summit in September.   In case you didn’t know The Family Research Council believes the following about homosexuality:

“Family Research Council believes that homosexual conduct is harmful to the persons who engage in it and to society at large, and can never be affirmed.  It is by definition unnatural, and as such is associated with negative physical and psychological health effects.  While the origins of same-sex attractions may be complex, there is no convincing evidence that a homosexual identity is ever something genetic or inborn. We oppose the vigorous efforts of homosexual activists to demand that homosexuality be accepted as equivalent to heterosexuality in law, in the media, and in schools. Attempts to join two men or two women in “marriage” constitute a radical redefinition and falsification of the institution, and FRC supports state and federal constitutional amendments to prevent such redefinition by courts or legislatures.   Sympathy must be extended to those who struggle with unwanted same-sex attractions, and every effort should be made to assist such persons to overcome those attractions, as many already have. “

If you are a member of the gay community and you believe you can change the heart and soul of Paul Ryan – you’re dreaming.  So, if you still want to support these folks, please don’t preach to me about smaller government and fiscal responsibility, especially when your party is pandering to the rich and smacking the middle class, and know this; If they get elected, they will throw your gay life under the big election bus the moment President Romney says; “So help me God.”

Right now – I’d like us all to be on the same playing field, and the gay community has finally gotten ourselves into the Ballpark. I don’t want to be in the Ballpark only to be shoved back in the locker and not be allowed to dress for the game.

 

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