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Posts Tagged ‘equality’

I’m tired, my friends. To my core – tired.

I feel my Country sinking into a hole that I’m not sure we will ever be able to pull ourselves out of. I mean, how do you pull yourself out of a hole when there’s nothing for you to grab on to?

This morning I found myself unfriending another person I’ve known for over 35 years. He had posted a meme about how awful it was that illegals can cross the border and get health care, and Vets don’t get any care, but Donald Trump was going to fix that (let’s see how that works out!)  and then he posted an article by Franklin Graham about LGBT activists going after Chip and Joanna Gaines, and my lesbian self thought: “I’m done.”   This “friend” is a retired minister, a so-called man of God, and his page is filled with racist, anti-gay rhetoric?  Yes, he’s entitled to say and write and post whatever he chooses, I’m just done having to have it show up in my life. Done…

I don’t want to engage with these people. I don’t want or need to find a way to communicate. I don’t want to find middle ground, because for me – there is no middle ground when it comes to human rights and equality. You can’t pick and choose who gets equality – it’s either for everyone, or it’s for no one.  Period.  I don’t understand the mentality that you can do or say whatever you choose, but certain other groups of people should not have those rights. I don’t get the arrogance, or should I say ignorance, that permeates the mind and hearts of these people.   The Constitution is for everyone – You can’t pick and choose who gets life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

And No, it’s not that I’m a sore loser – this isn’t about Hillary’s loss – This is about humanity’s loss.

We shouldn’t be afraid to live our lives openly. We shouldn’t be afraid to speak our minds. We shouldn’t be afraid to exercise our God-given rights. We should be afraid to express our opinions. We shouldn’t be afraid to disagree. We shouldn’t be afraid of our government. We shouldn’t be afraid of our President and what he’s going to do or say.  We live in the United States of America, we shouldn’t be afraid…

And yet – here we are.

 

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Friday, October 11, 2013 is National Coming Out Day in the United States of America.

You may be thinking: Who Cares? Or you might be saying to yourself: why does this even matter? Allow me a few moments of your time to tell you why this matters.

Please understand that I can only speak for myself on this matter; as everyone who has ever come out has had to walk their own path, and inevitably has their own story to tell.

I didn’t come out until I was 50.  In those 50 years I lied, cheated on a husband, denied who I was and tried desperately to be the daughter, sister, wife, cousin, friend that I was expected to be.

It didn’t work – it never works – and those who believe that to be gay is a choice we make; well, they will never, ever understand the struggle that takes place within most of our souls.

Truthfully – most people believe that just saying the words I’m gay means you’ve come out – in a sense it does – however – the real coming out, in my opinion, is when you look at that reflection you see in the mirror and say “I’m Gay” and you don’t look away in shame – that’s when you’ve come out.

When you can accept yourself and love who you are and understand that the world can be cold and lonely and ignorant and intolerant – and you can still smile at your own reflection – you’ve come out.

Don’t for one moment allow yourself to be bullied into coming out. It’s your life, your journey. No one – and I mean no one – has the right to tell you when and how and why you have to come out. Again – it’s your life – your path to walk.

For me – the more I was told I had to come out – the more I insisted I would not.

You have to be ready to face the world and not care about the consequences. You have to be ready to say: “I’m gay” and let the chips fall wherever they fall, and know that your life won’t end if people walk away from you or spew hateful rhetoric at you.

You have to be able to wear words like pervert, deviant, fag, dyke and anything else certain people may throw at you like badges of honor and you have to know that these words do not define who you are. The people who spew them are merely specks of dirt, not worthy of your time or energy.

There are those who will say it’s easier to come out now then it was in the 1960’s. In the ways of the world – maybe it is – but… in the dynamics of families – there is still pain, hurt, rejection and intolerance that one must suffer.

I could tell you “it gets better” but the truth is – sometimes it doesn’t get better – sometimes families just disappear or worse – they stick around and make sure you know what a disappointment and embarrassment you are.

What I can tell you from experience is this: Family isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Your life won’t end if you don’t have these hateful, judgmental people in your life. You will surround yourself with people who will love you for who you are. People who will encourage you to grow and be and live the life that is yours to live. These people will become your strength – your support – your family.

There is nothing in my life I’m more proud of then that moment – under the 600ft flag at my first gay pride parade – when I knew I could no longer live a lie; 50 years was long enough.  I was more than ready to face whatever the world could throw at me. With tears streaming down my face and a smile so big it hurt my face – finally – finally I was free.

I’ve discovered that along with my freedom has come responsibility. To help, to guide, to listen, to advocate, to write so that others know and understand they are never alone. We are all responsible for one another.

On this day – this “Coming Out “day – if you’re ready – your “family” is waiting for you.

 

 

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How morally correct is it to continually badger Democrats until they agree that marriage equality is the right thing?  Are we really changing hearts and minds or are they simply changing their opinion to get the press off of their backs?

For the past few days The Huffington Post has put the pictures of the Democratic Senators who oppose marriage equality on their front page.  I’m a lesbian – and I found this to be offensive. I don’t want someone to change their vote to get the press off of their back – I want them to change their vote because they believe it’s the right thing to do. I want them to vote for equality because they know in their hearts it’s what is right and just for every American.  I want them to vote their conscience – I want them to vote what they believe.  They should not be bullied into voting a certain way –

These Senators may have been bullied into their vote – but if they still look at gays and lesbians and think: Fags and Dykes – ick…  then you have accomplished nothing. If anything – they may be even more entrenched in their homophobia and in that – we haven’t gained any ground at all – we’ve actually lost ground.

Is it only about their vote – or is it about changing hearts and minds? I can guarantee you that to bully someone into doing what you want will not change their mind. We may get their vote, but they will never respect us or care about our well-being or think of us as anything but a bully.

Personally – I’d rather have their respect. If I have their respect – there is always a chance I can change their heart and their mind

I don’t want to have to bully my way into equality – I want equality because it’s the right and just thing for every American. To bully our way into anything makes us no better than – well – you know who you are…

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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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