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Archive for the ‘Gay Pride’ Category

I’m always hopeful when I write about Gay Pride that this will be the last year I have to explain why indeed it is we still need Gay Pride Parades.

Ask me why we need Gay Pride Parades, and I’ll ask you why we need St Patrick’s Day Parades, or Cinco De Mayo Celebrations or Groundhog Day Festivities or Octoberfest or Halloween or May Day, Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, or any other of the myriad of celebrations that happen in a country with such diverse cultures.

Tell me why you celebrate any of these things, and then we can have a conversation about the celebration of Gay Pride.

I’m always hopeful that people will stop asking me why it is we want “special” rights, and me having to explain that we don’t want “special” rights, we simply want the rights promised us in the United States Constitution. The rights promised to every single American Citizen. You know – Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Everyone wants/needs their life to be validated.  We’re all individuals, but, we all need love and kindness and acceptance.

I won’t use the word tolerance. I believe in acceptance of people for who they are. Tolerance just means you put up with someone or something. I don’t want anyone to tolerate me, I prefer acceptance for who I am. I mean if you’re simply tolerating me, what’s the point of my being in your life at all?

As for those who believe that being gay is a choice. Let me just this: My being gay is as much my choice as my being 48% Scottish, British and Welsh.  I had no say in any of those things. I’m proud of them all, but I had no choices to make. It’s all a part of who I am.

Unless you are gay and you’ve experience the fear that lies with coming out, you have no clue the importance of Gay Pride.

Unless you’ve been bullied and spit on, or not seated in restaurants, or not given hotel rooms, simply because of who you are – you have no idea of the importance of Gay Pride.

Sadly, I know there are people who aren’t gay who are experiencing these sorts of atrocities right now in these United States of America. People who are being bullied and shot at and spit on and yelled at simply because of who they are, the color of their skin, and what they believe.

I don’t understand the hate, but I do understand that the feeling of empowerment of these haters is coming from the those in our government who have the power to do good and spread kindness and instead they foster resentment and hate and do whatever possible to divide us.

When you have a President, who says it’s perfectly fine to grab women by the pussy, well then, it must be okay to grab women by the pussy, and do whatever you feel is necessary to make you feel like a man. The women want you to do it.

If the President refuses to recognize Gay Pride month, then it must be okay to not recognize the millions of LGBT citizens, and take away those pesky rights we are entitled to.

If the President wants to take away health care from millions of Americans to pander to himself and the other 1%, then it must be okay if you can’t afford the medicine that keeps you or other members of your family alive.

If you have a President who says the Press is bad; with the exception of Fox and Breibart  and Rush and other Alt Right Conspiracy News Makers, and that Crooked Hillary, and President Obama, and President Clinton, and China and  Women, and Gays, and Muslims, and Planned Parenthood, and Black Lives Matter, and Hollywood, and Libtards are responsible for your lot in life – then it must be okay to beat them up and post vile pictures and continue to follow blindly a leader who cares nothing for you or those you profess to love.

It’s sick and twisted, and if you can’t see what’s happening – shame on you.

More to the point – If you stand behind the hatred and divisiveness – shame on you.

This year – Gay Pride matters more to me than ever before.  Vice President Pence is quite clear on his stance on how he feels about LBGTQ Americans. He finds us disgusting, and blames us for the decline of American society. He doesn’t approve of gays in the military, prefers conversion therapy and signed a bill in Indiana that allowed businesses in the State of Indiana to discriminate against gays and lesbians based on their personal religious beliefs – And this man has the ear of the President, and he’s helping to write legislation…

I’ll be cheering on everyone who marches in our San Diego Gay Pride Parade. I’ll be crying with pride, when the military members walk by, and the police and firefighters. And all the churches who support and love their fellow human beings, and when that big gay flag comes at the end – I’ll be grabbing hold – as I have the past 16 years, and I’ll be crying and celebrating and asking the Universe to give the world more love, more kindness, more acceptance, more joy, more understanding, more peace.

Until next year –
Happy Pride.

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I’ve had to remind myself this week that I still live in the United States of America. I had to check and make sure the Constitution was still in place, and, for good measure, I checked to make sure the Bill of Rights hadn’t been changed. My fear was that rich, white men were the only ones who were now entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

My main thoughts and most of my focus, much to my dismay, has been on religion.  The President was to sign an Executive Order that would grant exemptions for religious believers, schools and businesses, to federal laws they disagree with – mainly LGBT and abortion rights laws.  You know – an Executive Order that would allow people of faith to discriminate based on their beliefs – they called it – “Religious Liberties.” Thankfully, but much to the dismay of the evangelical folks, these exemptions were not included in this Executive Order.

This whole thing has made my head, and my heart hurt.

I do not understand anyone who goes to a church who tells you it’s okay to discriminate. Even if you believe in your heart you don’t agree with discrimination, my thinking is this; if you can sit in that pew and listen to the sermons, there is a part of you that does agree. And even if you say to yourself, I don’t agree with that – If you give them money, you’re supporting discrimination. I’m sorry, but that’s just how I feel.

I’m gay, so perhaps my take on anti-LGBT preaching’s may be different that a straight person, but they shouldn’t be.  I just know I could never support a church that tells me it’s okay to discriminate or that someone is less than simply because of who they are.

Personally, A church that tells anyone they are less than, is not a place I want to be. A church that tells anyone they must pray the gay away to get to heaven, is not a place I want to be. Any church that feeds the hungry, clothes the poor and does good works, and yet discriminates and pickets and marches against LGBT people – well, that’s not a place I want to be either. You either love all people as they are, or you don’t. You either believe God made us all in his image, or you don’t. Period.

This is the reason I no longer attend church. The picking and choosing of who we should vote for, who we should discriminate against, what passages of the Bible we should read…  It’s not for me.

We are all human beings. Every one of us. I want the same respect given the straight woman who lives her life just trying to help people. We’re no different in the eyes of God.

As a nation, we already have “Religious Liberty.”  The Founders made sure of that in The First Amendment.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

What these evangelical people want, is the freedom to discriminate. Against women, against LGBT, against anything and anyone who doesn’t fit into their little religious box.  They not only want it, they want it to be the law of the land.

We are all searching for something. We’re all just trying to make our way in this world as best we can. Personally, I do what I know to be right and just. I write and march and protest for everyone to have an equal shot at this thing we call life. I believe that equal rights are human rights.

I don’t hang with people who are negative and have hate in their heart. I walk away from people who like to tell me I’m bound for hell because of who I am.

I try and spread kindness, and I do what I can to let other gay people know it’s okay to come out. It’s okay to be who you are. It’s okay.

And it is okay. No matter what your family, your church, even your government may throw at you…

It’s okay.

You’re okay.

Your life matters.

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Saturday, July 16, 2016 was the annual San Diego Pride Parade – or as it’s known at our house – Reaffirmation Day!

Pride Parades are always a day filled with joy and love. It’s a day of singing and hugging and making new friends, and letting my soul be renewed in its gayness as I touch that big gay flag at the end of the parade.

But this year – this year was different.

This year it wasn’t just those of us watching that needed to be there. Those who were walking in the parade needed to be there also. They needed their souls to be renewed, they needed to be seen, they needed to be loved. It was like nothing I had ever seen before.

I had a San Diego Police Officer come over to me and take my hands and in hers and thank me for being there, for supporting them. Seriously? Through tears I told this woman: “No, thank you for being here for us.” There was a hug – and then she was gone.  My heart was just full.

There were over a hundred people marching under the Qualcomm banner. Cheering and waving with smiles of pure joy on their faces.

Walmart, HP, Bank of America, Wells Fargo Bank, The San Diego Padres, Harrah’s all there – all marching – all waving, all proud to be human beings not being judged or in fear of losing their jobs.

A high school marching band made up of gay kids from schools all over the county – marching and basking in the glow of the roar of the crowd as they passed by.  No fear of rejection or bullying or condemnation. Just love – lots of love.

Military personal – Army, Navy, Marines, Airforce, Coast Guard – all under the American flag, all walking tall and proud with some tears streaming down their faces.

Police, Firefighters, Sheriffs, Highway Patrol – all walking, riding, waving, hugging, smiling – all joyful.

Almost 4 hours of churches, businesses, politicians, community services walking, waving, singing, hugging, laughing, loving…

This is what happens when no one is forced to hide. This joy is what happens when people are accepted for who they are. This love is what happens when there is no fear of rejection, no thought of discrimination, no laws that divide us one from the other.

Whatever your political leanings may be, I simply ask that before you tick any box this November – you think about what can happen when people come together in love and the knowledge and acceptance that we are our brother’s keepers. It’s not about black or white or Hispanic or whatever ethnicity you may be. It’s not about being a Christian or Muslim or Jewish or whatever religion you may or may not follow. It’s not about gay or straight or transgendered. It’s not about men and women. It’s about the human race. It’s about all of us sharing this life we are blessed to be living.

Your thoughts should not be about hate and walls and guns and laws that divide us one from the other. Your thoughts should be about what you can do to unite us as a people, what you can do to make things better for you, for your neighbor, what you can do to stop discrimination, what you can do make peace in your family, in your community, in your own life.

For me, my peace is grabbing that big gay flag at the end of the parade. That’s where I promise myself to never look back, to never go back, to never settle, to help where I can, to hug and love and keep talking and writing until I’m no longer able to do so.

And grabbing that big gay flag is about love. My love for Susan, for my kids, for my grand kids, for my brother, my nephews and their wives and their families. For my friends, who are also my family, I want the world to be kind to them, I want them to grow up in a world where they are free to be whoever it is they are. Not who or what the world thinks they should be – but who they are.

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Here are a few words from the document that we celebrate on this Independence Day: The Declaration of Independence.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness… “

Some 240 years after this was written, we live now in a world where instead of working together toward a common goal, we cast blame on those we don’t understand when things don’t go our way.  It’s the gays, it’s the Muslims, it’s the Hispanics, it’s the women, it’s the African-Americans, it’s the baby boomers, it’s the Democrats, it’s the Republicans, it’s the Bush’s, it’s the Clintons, it’s the Christians, it’s the Pope, it’s the Communists.  You get my drift.  The list is endless.

The writers of the Declaration of Independence tell us that being an American is supposed to be about celebrating individual freedoms for everyone. That we are all equal, and we are all entitled to the unalienable rights (rights that cannot be taken away) of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Reread that last paragraph one more time before you read on.

But – It’s not always easy to be an American.

You may not like the person yelling in the street burning the American flag in protest, however, as an American it is their right to do just that.

You may not like the mosque in your neighborhood, but as an American the right to religious freedom is to be celebrated.

You may not like the people of color (any color) who just moved into your neighborhood, but as Americans we have the freedom to live where we choose.

You may not like folks protesting for women’s rights or gay rights or voicing their distaste for war; but as an American it is their right, and some believe their responsibility, to do so.

You may not like the Westboro Church protesting at funerals, but, it is their right to do just that. It is also your right to go and protest against them.

You may not like the politicians who are currently in office, just remember that your vote is your voice – use it.

You may not like the whole immigration thing, but remember; if you’re living in the continental United States; your family came onto this soil as an immigrant.  Just think about that.

So, when you wave your American flag and watch those fireworks this weekend; ponder the fact that we are all Americans. Every race, every religion, every gender. Every man, woman and child.

All entitled to the same rights and freedoms. All deserving, all human beings endowed by their Creator…

It really is something to celebrate.fireworks

 

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On July 16th I will celebrate my 14th San Diego Pride Parade. I remember my first Pride Parade in 2002 like it was yesterday.

I was 49 years old, still mostly in the big gay closet, but trying really hard to make myself understand it was okay to swing that closet door open. I had made a mess of my life, and I was finally on the way to making it not quite so messy.

I was with the woman I was meant to be with, but… One foot was still firmly ensconced in that closet.  That closet of wondering how many members of my family will walk away, how many friends will I lose, how do I possibly tell my parents, how do I live my life without having to lie? 

This Parade was like nothing I had ever seen, and as it was coming to an end, my sweet Susan told me I needed to go get under the big gay flag. As it came around the corner I went out onto the street and I grabbed on to that big gay flag, and my emotions just overtook me. I cried tears I didn’t even know I had. It was the turning point in my life. I’ve never looked back; and I’ve never again questioned who I am or wondered if my life had any meaning.

I go out onto the street when I see that big gay flag coming around the corner and I reach up and grab on to it every year. I cry tears of relief and happiness and joy that I had this Pride Parade to show me that my life had meaning – that I mattered – that there were people just like me who suffered and agonized with all the same fears and feelings I had.

For those of you who may wonder if Gay Pride still matters, I can tell you from personal experience – Yes, it most certainly matters.

It matters because we, as a people, ­­­matter.

It matters because there will always be those who are trying to swing that closet door open and find a safe, accepting world to step out in to.

It matters because a Father won’t claim his dead sons body from the worst mass shooting in the United States because his son is gay.

It matters because laws are made specifically to discriminate against LGBTQ Americans.

It matters because politicians still spew hate-filled rhetoric against us to garner votes.

It matters because LGBTQ kids are homeless and alone and need to know their lives matter.

It matters because some religions preach a gospel of hate and loathing.

It matters because – well because every life matters.   Period.

If you are lucky enough to go to a Pride Parade and they have that big gay flag at the end – embrace it.  Let it float over you and surround you with love and peace and joy in who you are and know that your life matters. 

If there is no Pride Parade where you are, know in your heart of hearts that you are surrounded by a big gay flag. Know you are loved. Know that your life matters.

Every life matters.

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