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These are my thoughts: Feb 8, 2017.

“Nevertheless, She Persisted.”
If I were to have a gravestone, that’s what I would want engraved on it. In BIG BOLD LETTERS.

My mother was a strong, stubborn woman; just not when it came to women’s issues. She didn’t believe a woman belonged in politics, in the military, in the ministry, in the cockpit of a plane. Her list of what women should never do went on and on and on.

She had no time for the Gloria Steinem’s of the world. She would say: Be a secretary, a seamstress, a housewife, a teacher, a mother…

I can remember how thrilled I was when Geraldine Ferraro was put on the Democratic ticket. I can also remember vividly how my brother mocked her, and me, and how my mother agreed that she had no place in politics.

I don’t know where my sense of feminism came from. I was raised in a family where men could do or say anything, and women simply cooked the meals, did the laundry, raised the children and tried to keep the status quo.

This wasn’t me – ever. It drove my mother nuts!

As I do my DNA/Ancestry research I’m seeing some strong women who most certainly were not secretaries or housewives. Perhaps it is simply in my DNA to not settle for less than what it is I deserve as a human being.

Now, I’m in my 60’s and living openly as a lesbian. My partner of 34 years and I march and blog and do whatever we can for our share, and every other woman’s share, of dignity in Trump’s America. We also march,blog and do what we can for gay rights, but that’s a whole other blog!

It’s not about gay or straight, and I wish it wasn’t about Republican or Democrat. It should be about women being treated with respect. It’s about men who don’t value a woman and women who simply accept that as what their life is. We need women to value their life more, value their feelings more, value their worth more.

“She Was Warned… Nevertheless, She Persisted.”

As one does…

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Tradition and history tells us that we must accept the results of a Presidential election and move on. There have also been those people who have been taking pleasure in telling me I must “move on.” “move forward,” “suck it up,” and many other little phrases that have done nothing but infuriate me.

I’m not there yet. I’m not ready to “move on.” I’m grieving, and I’ll take all the time I need to grieve the loss of The United States of America as I have known it.  The America of immigrants and diversity. The America of religious freedom and a press who did the work and could call themselves journalists without fear of retribution.  The America where women were starting to make their way to being equal and gay rights were a reality, not something we spent years marching and protesting and dreaming of.

With the election of Donald Trump, my America is gone. Angry white voters made sure of that, and Republicans in the House and Senate will put the icing on that big white, gun-toting, racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, homophobic cake. Life as we all knew it, is over.

But, that’s what the disenfranchised voter wanted. That’s what they voted for, that’s what they honestly believe will “Make America Great Again.” No religious freedom, unless of course you are a Christian. No gay rights, but extra bonus rights for Christians to discriminate against “the gays.” No women’s rights, and again, extra bonus rights to the Christians who will do whatever needs to be done to not allow a woman to make any decisions when it comes to their bodies. No access to healthcare, unless you’re rich and can afford to go wherever you want.

The list of what he wants to do the first 100 days is stunning:  http://www.npr.org/2016/11/09/501451368/here-is-what-donald-trump-wants-to-do-in-his-first-100-days

So, no – I will not be “moving on” any time soon.  I will continue to support people of color, and respect people of all religions, and I will continue to send contributions to Planned Parenthood and any other organization this Administration will try and destroy.

And the moment this Republican run government starts to take God-given rights away from gays, immigrants, women or any other group of Americans, I will be marching and protesting and fighting – and I won’t be alone in that fight.

So, you all go ahead and build your walls, and ruin the land, and throw millions of Americans out of the Country. Go ahead and forget about equality and diversity and charity beginning at home.

At the end of your Presidents term, we will still be here. We’ll still be gay and transgendered, and Muslim and Jewish, and Mexican and women and democrats and independents and black and white and – well you know – Americans, and we’ll be more than happy to take our Country back when your little experiment has imploded on you.

“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.”  Thomas Jefferson

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This morning I made the decision to break up with the NFL – The National Football League. I’ve been having a love-hate affair with the NFL for well over 50 years, and finally – I have had enough.

It’s sad to walk away, but sometimes – sometimes we have to do what feels right for us – for our well-being, for our sense of what is right and wrong. For me – it is time to walk away. Time to put my NFL hats and my NFL t-shirts on the shelf and spend the time I would watching football doing something constructive, and spend the money I would on hats, t-shirts, etc on something more positive – you know- like a trip to England or France or Big Sur.

Watching football was a nostalgia thing for me. It was Sunday afternoons in the early 1960’s at my Aunt Jeans laying on the floor watching the Baltimore Colts with my Dad and my Uncle Mike. It was a bonding kind of thing – not so much of a drinking, yelling, eating and cursing kind of thing.

I love football, but when we went to the Stadium last year to see the San Diego Chargers, I thought that perhaps the wand search was a little too much, along with all the rules about swearing and fighting and drinking – seriously – are we not adults? Do we not know not to drink too much and punch people? Obviously, we do not.

Susan and I stopped going to night games when we had to lay down on the floor of our car and call 911 because people were running through the parking lot shooting at each other.  Again – there was alcohol involved in this incident and something about someone wearing the wrong jersey. Seriously – you’re going to shoot someone because you don’t like their jersey?

The whole Ray Rice thing was the last straw for me.  I feel that the NFL cares little for me as a woman, or as a fan. I don’t care who instigated the fight – I don’t care that she married him after he knocked her out – I care that he’s the pro football player trained to hit and injure. He’s also a man and should know that you never strike a woman – no matter what – you walk away. And I totally care that the value of knocking out a woman to the NFL is a two-game suspension.

  • Vincent Jackson got a 3-game suspension for unlicensed driving.
  • Terrelle Pryor got a 5-game suspension for violating the NCAA’s improper benefits policy
  • Plaxico Burress got a 4-game suspension for shooting himself in the leg – He was later sentenced to two years in jail for violating the stringent gun laws of New York.
  • Michael Vick was suspended indefinitely before the 2007 season. He served almost two years in federal prison. He was permitted to return to the NFL and was suspended for four games of the 2009 season.

Breaking up is never easy, goodbye is not always goodbye, but for now – the National Football League is not something I want to associate with. If they were to apologize to women for their lack of respect, and talk about domestic violence – I’ll pull my hats off the shelf – until then – my Sunday’s just freed up!

So, if you are watching and drinking and yelling – remember that the NFL places the value of women at two games.  For me: it’s time to walk away – and so I shall.  For the truth of the matter is this:  Football is a game – domestic violence is most surely NOT.

no nfl

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1-IMG_0090-001This morning I stood in line for about 4 hours with approximately 1000 women. There were men there – maybe 100 or so – the rest were women. Women of all sizes and shapes and color and religion and status and age – we all stood, without complaining, waiting our turn to meet Hillary Clinton.

There are some moments in our lives that define us – for me – this was one of them. I’m 61 years old and I finally understood why there are men who don’t particularly want women to be united. I finally understood why men didn’t want women to have the vote and why there are men still don’t want a woman to have any voice when it comes to our own bodies.

It’s because – Women who are united – on anything – are strong and powerful and know in their hearts they can facilitate change.

This is why men want to keep women down. This is why they hit them and alienate them and keep them “barefoot and pregnant.” Not all men – but some men – they just don’t want women to have any power or know that they could even have the chance at any power or self-respect.

I’m not bashing men.  I know there is this belief that lesbians hate men – trust me when I tell you – that’s not the case. I enjoy the company of men – well – most men.  I have men in my life whom I simply adore. I find them sweet and funny and they value the women in their lives.

But – I also have men in my life who absolutely do not value women – any women. Women who have strong opinions – women who are smart – women who have power, they especially don’t like them, and I find these men hard to understand and hard to have any sort of relationship with. Go figure…

The thing I noticed most in my 4 hours of bonding was that we all wanted the same thing – freedom and peace.  We all agreed we were are tired of war and death and yes – guns…

Is that a liberal thing – the not wanting guns? I honestly don’t know – but I know that the women with whom I had the pleasure of spending time with this morning are sick of the guns being worn over shoulders and on belts while we’re being told it’s for our own protection. We all admitted that we thought twice about coming to this book signing for fear that someone with said gun slung over their shoulder would come and take a whack at we crazy liberals wanting to see Hillary; the Benghazi killer!  We also all agreed that if we had stayed home – the gun-slingers would have won, and that wasn’t going to happen – not on our watch. So there we were.

We talked – as women do – about other women. We wondered why any women would vote against their own best interest – and why women just can’t seem to find the strength to stand up for one another.  Some of the questions we asked one another were:

Why would a woman vote for a man who wants to control where you can get birth control? And how do we help her see that this is her right as a human being to be in control of her own body? How do we educate women? How can we help one another? How do we unite and how do we learn how to treat one another with respect? It starts with each one of us – respecting one another enough to leave the men out of the equation. Women need to respect and care for one another – period.

These women made me understand that perhaps television shows such as The Housewives of OC and NYC and NJ and anywhere else – were to blame for how we see each other as women.  My partner Susan, has told me this for years, and now – finally – I get it.  These women certainly do not treat one another with any respect – and I get that I shouldn’t find it entertaining – I should be offended. Scripted or not – these women are not what we should aspire to be and certainly not an example for our daughters, granddaughters, nieces, or any of the women in our lives. The 80-something woman who asked me just what it was I got from those shows was quite pleased with herself when I had nothing to give her as an answer. And when she asked me why I watched – again – I had nothing – and again – she looked at me with raised eyebrows – I knew she was thinking: “Well then – why are you watching?”

What I also got was the thing that united us this morning was Hillary Clinton. We all had our own reasons for being there – but in the end – it was all about Hillary. Maybe we all see ourselves in her in one way or another; Perhaps we’ve been betrayed by a man that we love, or betrayed by a woman we thought was a friend with the man that we love, or maybe we are ridiculed by the men in our lives for trying to be strong and independent thinkers, maybe it’s waiting for the birth of your first grandchild – and maybe – just maybe – we simply aspire to make the world a better place by living our best life.  A life of service – a life of choice, a life of caring for one another.  Perhaps these things are some of what we see in Hillary Clinton.

So – Thank you Hillary – for leading the way – for showing women what we can be – what we should be – what we will be. And thank you to all the strong, loving, caring, powerful women who shared those 4 hours in line with me on Girard Ave in La Jolla, CA this morning.  It was inspirational – to say the least…

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I’m anxious about this week.  I’m concerned that no matter what the Supreme Court Justices decide the LGBTQ Community, which includes Susan and me, will have to deal with the backlash. Once again we will be placed in a position of people loving us and hating us all at the same time.

Those of you who are straight and married – imagine every day having to wonder what it would be like to think of the relationship you share with your husband/wife in terms of being taken away from you. Imagine if someone just said – Oh, this marriage – your marriage – it doesn’t count – this love you feel – well – it’s just wrong and you are ruining the values of our Country.

Imagine loving your children more than life itself and doing anything and everything you can to protect them and teach those children values and morals and love of Country only to have the government of said Country tell you that you aren’t “fit” to raise your own children.

Imagine having a loving family/home/life and then having nothing because you said the words: “I’m gay.”  Imagine being told you were special and loved and you would always be cared for – only to have that all taken away in the blink of an eye simply because of who you are.

Imagine growing up in a church that taught you to love your neighbor and how Jesus was all about love.  Imagine being baptized and taking the classes and being confirmed and singing in choirs from beginners to Senior.  Imagine that this was the only church your family every attended and sat in the same pew week after week.  Then imagine that same church turning its back on you, making you unwelcome and pretty much throwing you under the Satan bus.

I don’t have to imagine those things – this was my life.  This is my life still on some level.  Change is coming – for good or for bad – change is coming.

Still – I’d like you to try to imagine these things and then maybe you can understand why I am anxious…

For all of you who do more than you will ever know to support me – I love you all more than I can ever put into words.  Thank you.

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As a woman who will be turning the age of 60 in less than a month, one would think I would have a fine grasp on my life, wouldn’t one? And as an out and activist lesbian who writes a weekly column, one would think I could find the appropriate words for every situation I find myself in, wouldn’t one?

Lately, this has not been my experience.

I find myself in a position of knowing what is right for me, and yet not knowing how to get my point across with style and grace and not come off sounding pissy and self-serving.

Allow me to try to explain…

As a woman and as a lesbian, this Presidential Election is a clear choice between what is right and what is wrong for me.  President Obama is what is right; for women (me), for the gay community (me), for the citizens of the United States of America (me).  Period. End of story.

Each and every one of us should vote our conscience and in doing such, this is where the problem lies with me and those who choose to vote Republican in this particular Presidential Election.  For me, I take it personally when someone I know and who knows me is choosing to vote against my being equal to them in every sense of the word.  It’s personal to me that you believe that I’m somehow less valuable than you – that my life isn’t quite as important as yours. You may say: “Barb, I most certainly don’t feel that way,” but a vote for this Republican ticket most certainly says that you indeed do feel that way.

And how exactly am I to feel about you casting a vote against me?  Seriously, what am I to do with this smack-down of my civil and human liberties? You tell me how I’m supposed to treat someone who votes to make sure I will be kept as the “less-than” status for at least four more years – perhaps longer. Am I to treat you with the same disdain with which you are treating me with your vote?  Am I to wish the same inequalities for you and your family that you are voting for me and my family?

I’d like to think I could just shut you out of my life – and in some instances this is exactly what I have done, but…  I’m not sure this is really the right thing to do.  How do we reach people with the truth when we shut them out of our lives? How do we make people understand that the gay community is simply a community of human beings who simply want to live our lives as free and equal Americans if we cut out everyone who chooses to vote against us? Will this not just prove the point that we are pissy and self-serving?  Will that simply not keep us divided and uncommunicative?

Then again – how can I have any respect for someone who knowingly votes against me? How do I keep you in my life when I know your vote went to keep me from having the same civil liberties as you? That your vote went to make sure women don’t get equal pay for equal work. That you voted for a man who has no desire to allow women to make their own decisions about health-care and abortions, and that you care little for the environment and the arts and look at the elderly and disabled veterans as moochers and victims.  How do I find any redeeming qualities in your vote?

This is where my firm grasp on my life tends to slip a little. I know full well who I am; I’m out and proud and make no excuses or exceptions for that. But, I also understand that we all have differences, and we all see the world with different eyes.  Still, I’d like to believe that human dignity is something every one of us would see clearly through every set of eyes. I could be wrong, but I still have hope.

The one thing constant about life is that is just keeps going. We will all survive this election, some of us better than others depending on the outcome.  Either way, if you vote Republican and we come in contact with one another – I’ll be asking you face to face why you believe I’m not equal to you, and why you believe I don’t have the same right to everything this life has to offer as you do.  Don’t start by telling me your vote wasn’t anything personal against me – for it most certainly was – Start by telling me why your human dignity is more important than mine.  I’ll try not to be pissy and self-serving, but I can’t guarantee anything…

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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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