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Posts Tagged ‘Prejudice’

Coming Out in A Faithful Family

25 May

When a family has been exposed to one of our group (the LGBT community) in a positive way, they’ve the opportunity to grow and evolve past the prejudice that may have been present before. We have to remember that prejudice is first learned and cultivated in a vacuum of evidence while it is dissipated through experience and an open mind.

For young adults and teens growing up within the confines of religion and religious families, I completely understand the reasons behind the fear of coming out (or being out’ed).

It isn’t easy to take that leap of faith, in the hope that your family will react favorably to the news that you aren’t what they’d assumed you were (all these years later). You and I have had time to reach some level of comfort with and acceptance of our sexual orientation. Even while some members of our family may have “suspected” it at times, the “news” that we are gay is still that; news that they have to process.

I always tell young people who are contemplating the act of “coming out” to their families, the most important preparation for that day is to be certain that you love and respect yourself and as well, that you have a support system in place to fall back on if your “coming out” doesn’t go as well as you may have hoped.

Growing up I was surrounded by family members who were very religious. I was fortunate in that they didn’t “seem” to be the kind who would react dis-favorably if and when I came out to them. (That didn’t make it much easier.)

All but one has been fine with the disclosure. A few were, and are, perhaps uncomfortable talking about the subject matter but that’s only because they, like so many others, seemingly think of it as being only about sex and little to do with who we are in our heart of hearts). For those persons, I wish you would understand that in the end it’s no different than how you feel; it’s a matter of whom we feel most comfortable sharing our lives. That’s it.

I came out years ago (to my mother first, around 1988 and the to the rest of my family the following year.

To be honest, I don’t for the life of me understand why they never figured it out on their own. I never dated [girls] and if anything, the hidden young man’s underwear section of the Sear’s catalog in my bedroom along with what Mom repeatedly described as my “snot rags” (ROFL!) back in those days should have been cause enough to clue the family in.

People see what they want to see I suppose.

I’m well aware there are families that are more religious than mine, whose members have spoken and acted out hatefully while discussing homosexuals, our pride events and/or actions intended to bring about understanding, equality and tolerance. I understand the hesitation and fear [some] feel over the thought of coming out, even in this so-called more accepting and enlightened age. The truth is there are no guarantees and it’s that “not knowing” that often paralyzes us into inaction.

Prior to coming out, take stock of the situation carefully. Gauge your circumstances and come out when YOU are ready to do so, not a moment before and certainly not at the bequest or perceived need of another (a boyfriend or girlfriend perhaps). Will it be as though a burden has been lifted? Many have said it’s like finally being able to breathe. I know that sounds like every reason to do so but I always tell young people to not act in haste; to come out only when they are in a position to care for themselves if necessary (or have verified they’ve the support of others if worse comes to worse. Sometimes this means waiting until after you’ve completed your secondary training (college, etc) and don’t for a moment feel guilty about that.

The world is a wonderful place but it isn’t always fair; sometimes it is anything but [fair]…

The day arrives, and…

Sometimes it goes well and at other [times], total chaos and dissension ensue. I’m aware of young teens who were disowned and told “leave and never look back.” {sigh} It’s heartbreaking to me when I read of this happening (and obviously worse yet for the young person who’s lost all of the family he ever knew growing up). It isn’t right and depending on the circumstances, can lead to any number of bad decisions on the part of the youth; actions taken just to “get by” and/or secure love and affection from anyone who will accept him into their life.

My response to every young person who experiences the worst from their families after coming out is, “YOU are still the very same person you were before they knew. You are worthy, intelligent, loving and certainly deserving of a happy future. Don’t let the ignorant, unreasonable reactions of others, even if they are your family, make you feel any less of a person than the blessing that you are. If they are incapable of seeing you for who you are, that’s their loss. Don’t make it your own by losing faith in yourself.

In closing and to those reading who are young and contemplating coming out under what may prove to be difficult circumstances and duress. Look to those “you trust” for the support that you will need. Be very observant, careful to recognize the signs if a person is offering his or her shoulder to lean on (but in truth, has a personal agenda). There are good people and bad people in this world; some have ulterior motives and their “support” is anything but free and without strings attached. I want you to be liberated of your own closet (when you are ready) but please try to do so without stepping from one set of confines into another that may be much, MUCH worse for you in the long-run.

To put it bluntly, do everything within your power not to become a statistic; one who is taken advantage of emotionally (and perhaps even physically) during the process of coming out to your family.

Namaste,
Michael

Resource Links:

  • LGBTQ Youth Rights by Vickie L. Henry, Director of GLAD’s Youth Initiative — On first glance, this appears to be a fairly comprehensive and well thought out resource for LGBTQ youth growing up in families of faith.

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Me, Myself and I (Alone with the Gay Community)

09 Dec

Ever felt like you just didn't fit in?The following question was posted to a group I follow on Facebook. “Have you ever felt like you didn’t fit in with other gays??? Why?

That is such a loaded question because you have to be very careful in how you phrase a response if it’s being read by our [LGBT] own community. In my own experience, we can be a very judgmental lot.

Perhaps it is because we’ve been subjected to (more so in specific regions and definitely online) so much judgment that many of us have come to feel justified in adopting the same attitude for ourselves. With that in mind, I’m reminded of a phrase I learned early on in life. “Two wrongs do not make a right.” We — and I mean all of us — need to do a better job of trying not to judge and rather, listen to what people are saying around us. I know doing so can be difficult but you can’t grow and evolve if you’re always SHOUTING your own opinion to the point of ignoring and making it impossible to hear the opinions and truths of others.

(By “truths” I simply mean that it’s perfectly possible someone else could have experienced an entirely different set of life’s experiences so why not accept, for him or her, that what he/she is saying ISN’T intended to come across as judgment or that the individual is the slightest bit prejudice. Perhaps they’re simply expressing an opinion contrived from a different background that left them with an entirely different perspective on life than what you are used to or may have grown up around.)


Okay, I’m going to try and answer the question that was posed in the opening paragraph here without offending anyone. I’m certain that doing so will be impossible (somebody will be offended; one just has to open his or her mouth these days and say something for that to happen … LOL) but I’ll give it the good old college try nonetheless.

Yes, I [often] feel that I don’t fit in with what “seems” to best describe the values and interests of many of the gay men around me.


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Taking Offense

29 Dec

My timing could not be worse (being that we are only just now coming off of the tail end of celebrating the Christmas holiday) but this post has been a long time in the making.

I thought about creating a graphic and to tell the truth, that PROBABLY would be the best way to get my point across — but I’m not going to expend the time on doing so.

I’ll simply say what I feel and leave it at that. Family members who are offended are welcome to un-friend me; same goes for friends and acquaintances who may find what I’m about to say offensive.

Personally, I don’t feel you SHOULD find it offensive but it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve misjudged how others would receive something I have to say — and it certainly won’t be the last.

So, to start…

I believe in a higher power (call that power God, Yahweh, Spirit, the One, choose your own label). I’ve always believed there was “a plan” — a higher calling — but I’m NOT going to pretend that I believe in everything ever regurgitated from the pulpit or in Sunday School growing up.

How on earth could I believe “everything” if so much is left out?

In the Christian faith, most who have an issue with another’s sexuality (be the other gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, simply questioning, what have you…) justify their unease and their “judgment” by what they THINK is said in the Bible. The simple truth is there is VERY LITTLE indeed said on the subject of homosexuality; most of what our detractors believe is simply the consequence of their mistaken translation of scripture and taking shit out of context!

But you know what? EVEN IF there were a myriad of passages speaking to the subject, the one premise remains…

Pretty much every Christian alive who has an issue with LGBTQ persons is a hypocrite (because he or she is focused on ONE topic while disregarding every other “thou shalt not” that is spelled out in the good book). Do not give me this crap about “Old Testament” vs. “New Testament” either; either believe and follow everything (if you must judge others) or nothing at all but quit picking and choosing your damned poison.

Also, I’ve given a lot of latitude to others for their beliefs in the past. I’ve defended good people who were seemingly attacked for their Christian faith but who themselves rarely, if ever, went out of their own way to judge others. I’ve given a lot of latitude to those who are practicing Wiccans because, just as with any other form of faith, it’s their choice to believe as they do. I’ve been very forgiving of Atheists, even when they “go out of their damn way to ATTACK the religious beliefs of others, many of whom were/are my friends.” (Trust me when I say I am NOT impressed by that crap, however!)

In fact, I’m going to take a final opportunity to explain just WHY I’m over that kind of crap (because I don’t expect to belabor the point after today).

To the Atheists reading:

You don’t recognize Christmas? Don’t celebrate it then but do NOT try and offend, attack and belittle others for celebrating the holiday. Why must you go out of your way to try and take the “Christ” out of Christmas? If you do not believe, okay! You don’t believe; doesn’t mean that you have to be a damned prick about it, going out of your way to offend for the sake of offending. DON’T feel as though you’re “entitled” to put a damned display up next to a nativity scene either. If you don’t celebrate the holiday then simply go on with yourself and do whatever it is that you would be doing on any other day of the week, month and year. I can respect that but this b.s. where Atheists (or any other religion for that matter) try to “take over” a holiday that’s set aside FOR those who are practicing Christians is just a childish attempt to poke such believers in the eye with their own statement that they [you] don’t believe in Christ, God, etc.

I’m FINE with it if you do not believe in a higher power; just quit acting like a damned child and insisting you be given the opportunity to offend everyone else FOR believing. That isn’t a “right”; it’s a TANTRUM and you damned well know it.

[End rant regarding Atheists, etc. who are doing all they can to disrupt Christmas — and any other Christian holiday for that matter — for others]

Now…
[BEGIN rant about the Christians]

As you can clearly see, I’ve gone out of my way —- just now and many times in the past —- to defend the right of Christians to believe and practice the faith as you might see fit. That said, I’m taking a sabbatical from defending and here is the simple reason why.

For all of my efforts to defend and keep an open mind… For all of the wonderful friends and family I’m blessed to know who ARE practicing Christians… It NEVER seems as though any of you are taking the initiative to call out those conservatives who judge, demean, bully and attempt to cast restrictions and hurtful comments toward those with whom they [obviously] despise and clearly do not even attempt to fully understand. The actions of such hateful, so-called Christians are anything but Christ-like and the vast majority of those who are more open-minded and less judgmental will agree with such a statement — yet where is the criticism of these vile “Christian pretenders”? Why must I or any other gay man or woman be the one to take offense and call the actions of such persons into question first? I appreciate those [Christians] who consequently agree and come to our defense but why can’t those who claim to be “better than their odious counterparts” do us all a favor and start calling their own brethren out on their hateful, hurtful, bullying comments for a change, rather than simply joining in after the fact? I have to tell you, I’m tired of feeling as though I have to be the one —- as one of those being attacked by such assholes —- who must take the fight TO them.

So…

If I’m to feel so alone in this fight then “I’m going to seriously question whether I need to take any kind of lead in a defense on behalf of all [other] Christians in the fight against the Atheists (and others) attempting to diminish and belittle the [real] Christian faith.” I’ve my hands full and I’m going to start picking my own battles a little more carefully for a while.

Perhaps I’ll have a change of heart if I see some hopeful changes in the conduct of others.

That is all.
Michael

A good man once said…

I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.

Mahatma Gandhi

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Prejudice, Who of Us Is Innocent?

01 Dec

This is the “other” post I thought I’d make before I occupy my time today with the tasks of the day. I [usually] try to discourage others from embracing prejudice of any kind.

After all, if you “feel the need to judge”, you would fair better by taking their personal and uniquely individualistic characteristics into consideration — remembering that we ALL fall far short of perfection on any given day.

Of course, such advice is sometimes difficult to follow and far too often it falls on deaf ears.

Do I have a prejudice? Yes, I must [sadly] admit I’ve at least one.

Such a prejudice has been cultivated by many years of reading the “death to Americans” bullshit propaganda that usually comes out of the very countries where we purchase much of our raw oil (from the Middle East, etc.) Our money is desired but our presence and our very lives are seemingly held in disdain in these regions.


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Mitt Romney; the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

28 Oct

Pledge to "National Organization for Marriage" as signed by Mitt RomneyI have always said (and still maintain) that every person is entitled to vote his or her conscience, for the man or woman he or she feels will do the best job.

We all know that the President’s powers are limited but the office is not without its influence. I posted a link to a Youtube video the other day about an interview of a schoolteacher who sat across the table from Mitt Romney, during which he responded to her most unkindly and rudely when she indicated she had a suggestion for how some of the issues relating to the education of our children might be addressed. Romney cut her off, saying, “I didn’t ask you a question.”

In my personal opinion, the man is totally UNQUALIFIED to lead this country.

Status post as shared on Facebook page; says it all, folks!I’m not saying that Barack Obama has been the best of leaders during the past four years; I take issue with some of the things he has done, as well. More so, I take greater issue with the actions of both the Republican and Democratic parties (as both have put the interests of this nation on the back burner while playing “partisan politics” and creating gridlock in Washington, D.C.)

As anyone who knows the slightest bit about me know, I’m a gay white male. I did NOT “choose” my sexual orientation; it simply is what it is, just like the color of my skin, my gender, the family to which I was born, etc.

That’s a far cry from those things we DO choose, such as whether to believe in a religion, what we do for a living, where we live and what we drive, etc. The LGBT community has been fighting for acceptance, understanding and equality for years; we’ve made some (a lot, actually) progress but we are nowhere close to being treated with the respect deserving of any man, woman or child just for being who he or she was born to be.

Same-gender relationships are not recognized, though most are every bit as loving and respectable as any [other] relationship between a committed man and woman. If my partner becomes ill and must be hospitalized, I’m not considered “family” and therefore not given the same access and consideration I might receive were I a straight, married male and my “partner” were a woman.

Same-sex couples who are in committed relationships, who have chosen to build a life with one another starting with the purchase of a home, vehicles, shared checking and savings accounts, etc. do NOTenjoy the same protection under the law should one or the other of them die.

Certainly they [we] can have legal documents drawn up but in the end, even that does not guarantee that their wishes will be followed — and it’s a hell of a lot more expensive than the simple execution/signing of a marriage certificate which opposite-sex couples may enjoy. ONE WOULD THINKthat since we are not given the same consideration and protection under the law that we would not have to pay taxes that are commensurate to those [straight couples] who DO enjoy all of these protections and freedoms.

Such is NOT the case; we are taxed equally to all others, regardless of our sexual orientation and acceptance.

This is why I get as angry about this issue as I do and it’s why I’m saying “Screw you, Mitt Romney!”

To those reading this blog entry, who are taking the statement I have just made personally, as an affront to your delicate political sensibilities (regardless of whether you’re family or a friend)…

If you cannot understand WHY those of us who do NOT fall into the category of heterosexual, are so angered by the personal agendas of the conservatives to restrict and diminish the civil rights of others (in this case, me), basing their actions on a SECULARbelief that we are immoral and therefore undeserving of the same consideration as any other citizen of this great nation…

Some might say that if you cannot stand WITHus in an effort to achieve what is rightfully “everybody’s” then you are standing against us.

I understand that unless you are gay or bisexual, that this might not be considered “your fight” but I’ll remind those reading of “The Golden Rule: Treat others as you would have them treat you.” If you cannot stand up for the rights of others, how then can you expect them to stand up for your own rights if and when you yourselves are on the losing end of a constitutional matter/discussion?

You may have your reasons to vote for Mitt Romney and far be it from me to tell you to do otherwise (as I think every vote is important, regardless of whether it is how I myself would or would not vote). But if you cannot at the very least TELL THIS F#KERthat you do not stand with him on this personal agenda of “hate” (and that IS what it is, regardless of how some may color it), then you are no real friend to those closest to you (including family) who identify as gay or bisexual.

If you are standing with a bigot who puts his “religious” beliefs above his ability to uphold the precepts of our founding documents and all that they stand for (“EQUALITY”) without at least telling him you disagree, then you’re a part of the problem.

Personally, I feel that this hateful man is “ill-equipped to lead this nation” and he doesn’t have the interests of our country and its citizens at heart. I won’t be voting for him in the forthcoming election; he’s shown his colors on many the occasion and I just cannot stomach their shade.

Namaste,
Michael

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A Word to Christians Everywhere

15 Aug

No apologies for my faithfulness; I’m gay but I’m also a man who believes in a higher power. God, Creator, Yahweh, Spirit, The “One”… choose whatever label you are comfortable with. I simply do not believe life is just a co-inky-dink; that we are simply born, die and that’s the end.

I believe in so much more!

We are not alone; we are not a “happenstance” — some mingling of two molecules that somehow, quite by accident did miraculously combine, resulting in our creation. There is a reason, a purpose for our being here.

Here is where my brand of faith diverges from that of many whose faith is more “traditional“. While I do believe we exist for a purpose (to experience, grow and evolve), I do NOT believe we’re some experiment in God’s proverbial lab upstairs. He isn’t testing us to see if we are deserving of His company in the afterlife or an eternity in hell. Nor do I believe that we get only “one shot at life” (I’ve addressed the fact that I believe in reincarnation in other blog entries – no good reason to rehash that here).

What we are is God incarnate; we are made in God’s image, each one of us and as such we’ve a choice in our birthright. We’ve power over our lives, the likes of which few will ever fully realize in this lifetime.

(That will sound like blasphemy to those who ascribe to an orthodox brand of faith and again, I make NO apologies to such people.)

The traditional believers did get one thing right; we have free will. While I believe we choose the circumstances into which we will be born (to best set ourselves up for the experiences that will most likely help us to evolve), our lives and all that will happen to us is not “carved in stone” (there is no such thing is pure destiny). The path that our lives take will be affected by every life-altering decision we make, from the time of our “birth” until the very moment our physical bodies cease to function. Our lives will become what we make of them; peaceful, fulfilled, chaotic and disorganized, loving or bitter… There are as many outcomes as there are stars in the heavens.

This doesn’t mean I’m blind to science though; I do believe in evolution.

In fact, I think it is not only silly but downright irresponsible that some institutions teach only creationism. It isn’t God’s intention for us to walk through life with blinders on, oblivious to the fact that “life evolves.” God doesn’t ask that we remain ignorant of how our lives and our environment are affected by science.

If anything, I believe He would ask that we continually question and search out the truth. Anything less is a waste of our intellect which, if one is to believe that all things come from God so too do the minds with which we use to reason with each day.

And yet, there are many who cling to tradition; even in the face of a preponderance of evidence indicating they do not fully understand that which they judge. Their inability to move past their fear and hatred give them cause to do things in the name of their “faith” that is unwarranted, anything but Christ-like and downright inhumane.

I am appalled by the vast majority of those who are quick to proclaim themselves as Christians or devout Catholics, who cloak themselves in religious doctrine to the extent they set aside human dignity for their fellow man.

These individuals are so quick to try and justify their prejudice through a “book” written thousands of years ago in Hebrew (with the exception of a few chapters written in Aramaic). It was written during an era when the language did not even have “words” for some of the things “Christians” and others of faith attempt to pass judgment on today. For instance, many assume God held homosexuality in disfavor when only one or two scriptures make mention of persons of the same gender laying with one another. (Even then, it takes a stretch of the imagination and gross misinterpretation of those scriptures to justify their stance on the matter.)

Leave the judging to He who knows us bestThose who use the Bible to justify their prejudice against (and the hatred or disgust they feel toward homosexuals) more often than not will disregard all scripture which may present their own actions in an unfavorable light. Such persons choose instead to focus ONLY on passages that appear to support their not so Godly agendas. They much prefer to criticize and condemn rather than leave the judging up to Another who might know our hearts so much better than our peers EVER could.

How ironic is it that they cannot see the correlation between the arguments used by those who preceded them, who relied on the Bible in a failed attempt to justify slavery and preempt couples of mixed races from following THEIR OWN hearts and marrying one another? Those same arguments are eerily similar to the ones given in the “present day” while trying to prevent same-sex couples from marrying, a right opposite-sex couples often take for granted. (We simply wish to secure the same protections for our loved ones as any other “married couple” might enjoy under the (sic) watchful eyes of the government.)

But setting aside the issue of marriage equality for now…


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To paraphrase

05 Jun

For those who can’t seem to wrap their heads around homosexuality, who justify their prejudice by regurgitating misinterpreted scripture from the Bible (or don’t even make that much of an effort to excuse their narrow-mindedness)…

Instead of focusing on “what you believe” sets us apart, why not try understanding how much we have in common (with you)? We bleed the same, we love the same, there are many gay men and women who yearn to raise families… A good many of us are faithful/spiritual/religious; a good many MORE would be if only we weren’t always being told God doesn’t condone our acceptance of ourselves. We live, we die, we work, we play… We are sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles and grandparents. Some are over-achievers while others; well, not so much (no different than any other group of persons I suspect). Some of us are fit while others are chubby; some are clean cut and others identify as “goth.” Some work as models, hair stylists, artists (right alongside their/our straight counterparts). Still others make their living as lawyers, firemen (and women), police officers and judges, accountants, CEOs, ditch diggers, fry cooks and any number of other jobs that your average run of the mill straight guy or gal might hold. Heck, just like our heterosexual peers, some of us even play professional sports. There isn’t one single segment of society where we aren’t represented. All one need do is keep an open mind and quit spending all of his/her spare time worrying about what we’re doing behind closed doors, at home and in our own bedrooms with the one we fell in love with (who is every bit as important and an integral part of our lives as your own might be to you).

I’m not saying that every gay man or lesbian fits a certain mold. Certainly there are some who are promiscuous and hesitate to settle down, no more so than any straight man or woman in the world who feels the same calling to play the field … but don’t judge us all by the actions of some.

…If you still don’t see how much alike we are, you and I, then you’re really not trying all that hard.

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Ellen Degeneres and two-million moms

11 Mar

I don’t watch the show regularly but I have a lot of respect for Ellen DeGeneres. Her talk show is always positive and upbeat. When she is addressing a serious topic that has made the news, she doesn’t “react” irrationally but rather instead, she gives her opinion and [often] even interjects a bit of humor simultaneously.

So, what’s the problem?

Oh my God… She’s (dare I say it?) a lesbian! And a group of mothers on Facebook who’ve banded together under the banner of “One Million Moms” is taking exception to JC Penny’s hiring Ellen on as a spokesperson. By the way (and as Ellen points out in the above clip from her show), it’s interesting that the membership of “One Million Moms” falls FAR SHORT of “one million.”

I really want to thank everyone who is supporting me and if you don’t know me very well, if you’re just watching maybe for the first time or you’re just getting to know me I want to be clear and here are the values that I stand for.

I stand for:

  1. Honesty;
  2. Equality;
  3. Kindness;
  4. Compassion;
  5. Treating people the way you want to be treated; and
  6. Helping those in need.

To me, those are traditional values; that is what I stand for.

—Ellen Degeneres

At last count the page indicated there were 45,152 members posting. (I suppose it’s alright to round up to the nearest million. After all, who needs truth, honesty and personal values, right?) Just sayin’…

What’s equally interesting is that in response to the above group’s attempt to divide JC Penny and Ellen, another group of moms have appeared on the horizon in support of Degeneres. Let’s give a big shout-out for “One Million Moms Behind Ellen” (who likewise, need to shore up their numbers). Show them some love; go to their page and click on the “Like” button.

And if you’re not a Mom there’s another group on Facebook called “1 Million people who support Ellen for JC Penny” that, at last count, has garnered 199,688 likes with 6,486 people talking about the page. Click on the link and Like their page if you are of the mind. Show Ellen the support she deserves.

I now want to take a moment (specifically) to encourage you to watch one of the episodes of The Ellen Show, which is available via the Internet here. In this episode, Carrie Agnew and Rebecca Johnson talk about what happened during the birth of their daughter, Ruby. Rebecca had a wonderful pregnancy but in her own words, the childbirth was anything but. (She had to have a C-section without any anesthesia due to the need to get the baby out immediately Why am I talking about this? Simply put, this is but one of the reasons why we need to achieve Marriage Equality across the nation. Ruby was close to death after delivery but Carrie, not being the “birth” mother, was unable to make the life-saving decision that needed to be made in that moment. Fortunately for the entire family, Rebecca (who had passed out from shock from having to be opened up without anesthesia), awoke just in time to give the necessary consent — but did it really have to be this way?

Personally speaking, I am convinced that in the end we (LGBT persons) will have the right to marry our loving partners, regardless of what those who oppose such equality across the nation might feel. It’s simply a matter of time (and if the desperate cries of the ultra-conservatives is any indication, we’ll attain such sooner rather than later).

Think about it.

Namaste and peace be with you,
Michael

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Left vs. Right

04 Mar

 Flag and profile of Bald Eagle I’m a little unclear on what many people mean by the “Left” and the “Right.” In my experience, the Left has often been used to describe anybody who identifies as a Democrat and/or is liberal, while the Right is the catch-all phrase for those who identify as Republican and/or conservative.

But is it as simple as all that?

I don’t mean to stir the pot (okay, maybe I do) but I’m a registered Democrat who likely identifies more so as a Libertarian. I have friends who are Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians and some who likely don’t wish to identify with any of the above for good reason.

Truth is while my opinions are liberal whereas some issues are concerned (such as marriage equality, etc.), I am also quite conservative with regard to other issues like fiscal responsibility.

(For the record, George Walker Bush screwed us on that particular issue. Bill Clinton decreased spending and the deficit while GWB wasted dollar upon dollar on Middle East tensions, in the form of wars, etc. People like to blame the Democrats for out of control spending but the truth is that BOTH parties have been equally guilty of not giving a crap about OUR working class families.)

Moving along…

It’s my opinion that we do a disservice to ourselves and to our communities when we give in to prejudice and lump people in to one category or another when in truth, their values are comprised of many different opinions (that differ, one from the other) making each one of them uniquely different. Rush Limbaugh’s conduct has been atrocious for as long as I can recall; when I think of him, the labels “douche bag” and “hypocrite” come readily to mind. Mark Levin is another who has said things I find offensive, but on the other hand he has ALSO said some things I am in total agreement with him over.

On the Left, we have the likes of Dan Savage. While I agree with “some” of the things Savage may say … much of his conduct, like Rush Limbaugh, is offensive and causes me to have a rather low opinion of him. (For instance, it’s no secret I cannot stand Rick Santorum; he’s a creep that has no clue how to carry himself as an elected representative without FORCING his own brand of religious viewpoints upon others, at the expense of their own secular rights as guaranteed by the Constitution.) Even so, Dan Savage’s “below the belt” tactics to manipulate technology in such a way as to attack the man’s name via Internet pages that were created to result in his being compared to a mixture of lube and fecal matter was crude, gross and uncalled for.

I’m gay; I’m also faithful/spiritual and identify as a Christian. I’m ALL FOR marriage equality and do not believe women or any other group of people should be singled out and disrespected (judge people for who they are, not what they are). I’m also quite conservative in many respects; I fully support monogamy and while I respect other’s rights to conduct their own relationships as they see fit, I myself can’t fathom being in an “open” or “polyamorous” relationship. I’m not wired that way but if others are, I respect your right to live your own lives as you see fit.

As regards birth control, I’m for it. I’ll admit that I’ve some reservations as regards the subject of abortions but I suppose when all is said and done, I come down on the side of pro-choice. My own criteria is fairly simple; so long as (1) the woman having the abortion isn’t demonstrating a “habit” of getting pregnant, only to then depend on “the quick fix” to get rid of the fetus and (2) so long as the abortion is NOT a late-term procedure… I can get behind that. My reservations are simply that I believe mankind has become “too comfortable” with the idea of aborting rather than acting responsibly from the beginning (a problem that persists in other areas of our lives, as well). If you want to have sex, fine, take some precautions. People should be doing that anyway considering the number of sexually transmitted diseases that are out there! But yes, I’m pro-choice provided certain conditions are met and adhered to. I won’t argue about this here; if you disagree and are pro-life, fine. I can respect that; just don’t get in my effing face yelling that I’m an enabler of baby killers, etc. From where I stand, because I’m no advocate of late-term abortions – I’m not talking about “babies” (I’m talking about “fetuses” – big difference, regardless of what others on the opposite side of this issue want us to believe).

Religion

Many people condemn the Catholic Church. I’ll admit that I don’t understand where the heads of its leaders are at most of the time. However, the Church has also done some great things. Not every priest, bishop or laity, etc. within the church are child molesters (I assume that the vast majority are NOT) and not every person of influence within the Church has gone out of his way to try and sweep these events under the rug (although it may sometime look that way from a historical perspective). My biggest beef with the Catholic Church is that I believe that the prevailing attitude of its leadership, toward those who exhibit any kind of sexuality that is not strictly “heterosexual” — is harmful to LGBTQ persons (both, within the Church and otherwise). The “hate the sin; love the sinner” attitude is unacceptable to me and quite honestly, I feel sorry for anyone who considers him- or herself a practicing Catholic who identifies as LGBT or (by the Church’s definition, one with a same sex attraction). I don’t pity them; I simply feel empathy and sorrow for that person because, in my opinion, there is no way for an LGBTQ person to reconcile his/her sexual orientation with orthodox Catholic beliefs and still get the most out of their life, secularly OR spiritually (but that is my opinion and I know there will be some reading who disagree; that’s your prerogative). Setting aside the Church’s attitude toward sexuality, however, I recognize that it is responsible for a great many good works also. Helping those in need, hospitals, schools, etc. It isn’t as cut and dried as many would like any one issue to be.

There are those who say I should be behind Barack Obama simply because I’m gay.

Please, get a damn clue already. I am happy that Barack Obama has accomplished “some” of the things he has but I still do not respect the man for attempting to side step Congress at every opportunity. We have a system of checks and balances for good reason; Barack wasn’t elected to show contempt and disregard for that system, to do whatever the hell he wants on his own. Because of this, I’m glad that I did not vote for him in the last election – and I have no intentions of voting for him in the forthcoming one either. (I’ll probably end up writing in somebody who isn’t affiliated with either of the major parties as the Republican candidates are all assholes also, inasmuch as I’m concerned.)

The point is, as I have been saying ALL ALONG, there are good people and those we consider to be bad among ALL of the categories of human beings. We would do well to remember that before giving in to the temptation of making “unfair, ambiguous and sweeping generalizations” of people just because they happen to share “one” thing in common.

Namaste and peace be with you,
Michael

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A word about Faith and Reparative Therapy

28 Feb

A friend on Facebook posted a link to an article on the Huffington Post about a UAE Gay “Cure” video that had appeared on Youtube (since removed). He is [rightfully] angry about the fact that in this day and age, such places still exist. I can’t blame him; I too am angry that such abuse still takes place in the name of God.

Having said that, I want to share with you the comment that I made on his post. Maybe it will help you to understand exactly why I feel as I do about these places. (It isn’t that I believe they’ve a chance in hell of “really” changing a person’s sexual orientation. The best that can be expected is that they’ll screw the person up, giving him a feeling of “guilt for ever having such natural (for him or her) feelings in the first place” and delaying their own search for love with a partner to whom they REALLY are attracted.)

No, my anger is actually ALL ABOUT FAITH and the fact that the actions of such institutions are actually causing spiritual injury to their human subjects in the process of carrying out their abuse.

Here is my response:

Yes, this is truly disturbing but please remember that for every nutjob conservative who justifies his or her prejudice behind misunderstood scripture … there are many more [faithful] who are realizing just how wrong such treatment really is. I know that it does not seem that way sometimes but as more and more LGBT persons come out to their families (and this is by no means me encouraging others to come out before they are ready, or to even feel guilty if they choose not to), those same families are starting to question what it was that they were so adverse to in the first place.

Change does not happen overnight, regardless of how badly we would like to see it come to pass.

I’m forty-eight; I’ll be forty-nine in a couple of weeks and I’ve been among those waging the war for LGBT acceptance, understanding, tolerance and equality since I was twenty-one. (Sometimes more actively than at other [times] as it is, quite honestly, exhausting and the setbacks can take a toll on oneself.)

I DO agree with you that we need to strengthen the separation of Church and State (I’ve always believed that); I even believe that religious organizations who are involved in ventures that are implicitly intended to “be profitable” should be taxed as any other business would be.

What saddens me, however, is that when the bigots hide behind their Bibles to project prejudice upon and discriminate against LGBT persons, our community suffers two-fold. I am speaking only for myself but I do find peace in my faith. Unfortunately, many others who “might” find a similar peace are made to feel that God does not love them or that faith is not possible, given that they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered. The gift of hope that there could be something more, IN ADDITION to the great lives that are ours to enjoy, is made all the less likely because these same wonderful children of God do not feel welcome. THAT is what really makes my blood boil; that the nut-jobs who hide behind “their false understanding of God’s intent” use their faith AGAINST others and in the very process, diminish the likelihood that those upon whom they prey will find their own path to a faith that serves them well and might help them cope in an otherwise difficult and petty world.

I understand your anger, Robert. I even agree with you. Just please try to remember that those of whom you’re angry at represent the “extremists” among the religious right. They certainly do not speak for myself and they don’t speak for many of those I consider to be my true friends among the faithful.

Namaste and peace be with you (and have some hugs on me)

I hope that anyone reading this entry will have a better understanding of where I’m coming from, when I’m talking about matters related to LGBT equality and acceptance. If you don’t, it’s not for a lack of trying on my part.

Namaste and God bless,
Michael

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