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Posts Tagged ‘gay rights’

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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So, what happens after the winner is determined in this preposterous presidential election? Where do we all fit into the scope of what is now The United States of America? We’re certainly not united, nor are we even on the road to inclusion. I’m not sure there’s even a path…

Will all the meme’s and words that brought us to the point of unfollowing, blocking, restricting, and unfriending our “friends” on Facebook suddenly disappear? Will we simply just click the buttons and return to the way it was before this election brought out the worst of human nature?

For me; the answer to these questions and many more, are a real struggle.  There is family involved – family who have stopped speaking to me. Family who lectured me on doing what was best for the country, but when I made my choice, stopped speaking to me. No more discussion, no more anything…   How do you come back from that? How do you start the discussion? More to the point – is it a discussion worth having?

The thing is: A vote for Donald Trump is a vote against everything I believe is right and just in America.  He’s against basic human rights – gays, blacks, Hispanics, Latinos, Muslims, women – he’s against God-given human rights for those of us who fall into any of these categories. So, if you vote for him, you’re voting against these human beings – You’re voting against me, and millions of people like me – we aren’t just phantom people in a tweet or a stump speech. It’s personal.

Misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia, racism – you must believe in these things to vote for Donald Trump. You can try and spin it any way you want, but the truth is, if you can vote for him, then you have these feelings in your heart, and this I will never be accepting of. It’s not my vision of what I want America to be.

If you’re thinking: “I just can’t vote for Hillary” – that’s your choice.  Just don’t be naïve about who and what you’re voting for.  Own it, that’s all I’m asking.

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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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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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Those of you expecting a celebration sort of post from me about the death of the “God Hates Fags” Fred Phelps – will be disappointed.

Perhaps it’s because I spent so many years being angry and running from my lesbian self that I just can’t muster up any ill-will for his death. Also, those of us who have lost our Fathers – no matter what sort of man they may have been – we still grieve. Fred Phelps leaves children and grandchildren to clean up his mess – and this – many of us can also understand.

He was an angry, hateful man, who spent his entire life not knowing what peace and happiness was.  I don’t know what happened in his life that filled him with so much hate – but I find myself feeling sorry that he never got to experience pure joy. It’s sad to me that his life was built on the hatred he had for people he didn’t even know.

The thing is – I don’t believe he planned on his hatred uniting so many, and bringing more love and understanding and acceptance of those “fags” that he hated so very much. In some sick way – I feel like I need to thank him.

As far as his resting in peace – I believe he has a whole lot of ‘splaining to do before he finds any sort of peace – no matter where his soul has gone.

Live your life – celebrate who you are – be happy – feel joy – show love…

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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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I just spent a week in the bosom of my family – not by choice – but because my mother passed away suddenly and I went home to honor her memory and lay her to rest beside her Mother and Father.

To be clear – most of my family has no idea who I am.  I left the place of my birth and the people with whom I share a blood connection over 30 years ago, and most of them don’t understand why I left or why on earth I haven’t returned! In their minds-eye I’m whatever age they remember me being before I left the little village we called home.

Also, to be clear –

The discussion of my being gay seems to permeate conversations whenever I’m around some of these people with whom I share DNA. I don’t know why – it fascinates and sickens them at the same time.  I was hopeful since I was there to bury my mother they might lighten up on such things and simply let me mourn in some sort of peace the week I was there.

I was wrong.  Throughout the week – this was my experience:

I was told that my family loved me and that they wanted me to make an effort to be a part of the family once again.  They didn’t understand the whole “gay” thing, and they still believe it’s a choice I made, and the Bible still says it’s wrong – but – they want me to feel welcome and loved…

Yes sir – warm and fuzzy – that’s how I was feeling.

For the sake of peace and harmony – I tried to hug one of the Bible relatives to thank her for bringing a desert to the church for my mother’s service, only to have her recoil like I had a gun to her head. She couldn’t look at me and walked past my partner Susan as if she didn’t even exist.

Oh yes – welcomed and loved – I was feeling it.

I was also informed that there was no way they were going to stop eating at Chick-Fil-A and if that upset me – well that was too bad.  Besides – why should I care where they eat they asked me.  They don’t care where I eat. Even after Susan explained to them where the money goes and what the money does – They informed us that they wouldn’t be giving up their chicken sandwich, waffle fries and sweet tea for nobody!

And – by the way – why do I have to write so much about gay issues? And why am I making such a big deal out of it? And – Why do we gay people have big parades and our own Oreo cookie?

Lord… Give me strength.

I came to the sad realization that there are members of my family who are just hate-filled people who believe that their religion gives them the absolute right to treat me with no respect and condemn my sick little soul to hell.  So be it.  Condemn away…

I also came to the sad realization that there are members of my family who are content to stay un-educated and ignorant to the fact that there is a world that exists outside of the confines of their little village. A world filled with wonder and excitement and diversity.  A world where stuffing isn’t considered a vegetable and going to Chick-Fil-A isn’t considered a night on the town!

On the other hand – I came to understand that there are members of my family who love me with no strings attached. They love me for me; they hugged me to death and comforted me and made me feel safe. There was no talk of Chick-Fil-A or anything gay – I was simply cared for in the most loving of ways.

And my sweet home-town friends who were there for me – no questions asked, with smiles and hugs and more love than I could have imagined. These are friends of the heart – not friends of the road.

The world is filled with the Chick-Fil-A eating crowd – Bless them – and let them go.  I won’t stop writing or marching or protesting their ignorance no matter how they wish that I would – and that gay Oreo cookie? I’d send a case to every Chick-Fil-A loving member of my family – if the cookie really existed!

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