Archive for the ‘LGBT’ Category

>Creation Museum antics

February 14, 2011

>Not long ago I posted a Facebook status about “science” textbook I had come across that mentioned the earth being about 4000 years old.

There is nothing remotely related to science in that belief.

But I was going to let it pass, with hopes that the Mennonite children that might read it would become better educated later in life. I realize that I have no control and no voice in what a private religious organizations teaches its kids.

In and around that time I was involved in a discussion about the replica of Noah’s ark being built. This is being done at the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. This is to be a full scale replica, big enough to carry specimens of every species, including extinct dinosaurs, I presume, since they believe dinosaurs roamed along with Fred Flintstone and every Australopithecus species and other early human examples.

Photo from exhibit in Creation Museum

I’m not really writing about how ludicrous it is to think that one man could (or would) capture every microscopic species on the earth, and every species of disease carrying mosquito and every species of bedbug and keep those living, even though they might require different environments and micro-climates to sustain them. Remember, some parasites require multiple hosts to complete their life cycle, and for Noah to understand this and be able work out the logistics is just not believable.

No, I am writing about an event the Creation Museum sponsored, a “Date Night” where loving couples were supposed to have a $71 a person dinner and a lecture about what makes a relationship work.

But a gay couple was denied admittance.

They explained to us that the Creation Museum Date Night was a “Christian environment”, therefore the presence of two men eating dinner together would not be allowed. The very sight of this would “add an un-Christian element to the event” and “disrupt the evening for everyone”

.

I assume the organizers of the event have never seen the famous picture of Jesus and his 12 disciples eating together, but I digress.

The gay couple’s tickets were actually purchased by a straight couple. Here is the straight guy’s account of the evening.

Let me just comment that my relationship with my partner is as strong as any straight couple’s relationship that I know, and we can do without the ramblings of any prejudiced instructor on how to make it better.

But still, the gay couple should have been allowed to attend with their straight friends, it seems.

Notice in this photo of an exhibit from the museum that Adam was created as a totally (hot) white guy from that time long ago, the 1960’s.

Maybe he was just ahead of his time…a foretelling of a future Republican congressman wanting to post his profile on Craig’s list.

OK, I’m getting off subject and the Grammy’s just came on so I’ll stop there.

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>Put it to rest

January 21, 2011

>Let’s put it to rest.

It’s not a choice.

Like Peter said,

While I don’t advertise being gay, I never steer away from an opportunity to educate the straight world that gay is who we are and it’s OK. That it’s the way God created us, and that they can either get over it – or spend their lives fuming about it. That is the only choice in the matter!

Many of you have seen my entry on Born This Way, a web site where ordinary people submit pictures depicting early signs that they were gay.

The site is full of mostly happy stories by mostly adults remembering mostly joyful times of their mostly innocent childhoods.

But then there are some that just make you think. The pictures don’t always tell the whole story.

Here’s John, age 5.

Somewhat typical of many of the photos, John’s pose is certainly suggestive of a fabulousness that many gay kids exhibit at an early age.

But John goes on to explain that this photo was taken “before the taunting, before the indoctrination, before the forced sports, before the shame, before the Southern and the gothic.”

And, John says the boy in the photo is clearly being himself, but that he “doesn’t remember him,” but takes “great joy in knowing that somewhere inside me is the boy in this photo.”

Now, would a 5 year old boy “choose” to steer himself into situations that elicit taunting and shame?

Or take Matt, another southern boy, at age 6.


Matt joined the Cub Scouts that year. If I remember Cub Scouts correctly, it was about teaching boys the traits that make them into honorable men. Traits like honesty, and being truthful.

Matt was just being honest when he shared his dream of what he would be when he grew up at a scout meeting where they were all sitting around telling what they wanted to be (firemen, astronauts, bee farmers, or the Incredible Hulk).

He was just being truthful and honest when his turn came around.

When it came to me I honestly told the room: ‘My husband is going to be a policeman, and I’ll be living in a 3-bedroom house, with flowers and a beagle – and I’ll make the best ice cream in the world.’

My suspicion about not fitting in was solidified at that moment.

Everyone got upset, and the Scout Master started yelling at me – ‘You can’t do that! You’re an abomination, a heathen!’ – and my personal favorite – ‘Devil Child!’ (you know the drill).

The Scout Master then made me sit outside on the front steps of the church by myself, while they finished their meeting. As night crept in, I remember feeling so lonely and afraid. I must have been out there for a couple hours by the time the meeting ended.

When all the laughing kids came spilling out of the church and into their parents’ cars, I asked the Scout Master about calling my mom to let her know the meeting had ended. And he loudly declared ‘Oh, I KNOW whoever put you up to this is coming to get you!’ Then he left me alone, at night, sitting in front of this locked church, in the dark. I had to get the janitor that came later, to call my mom.

So I guess all that talk of being honest and telling the truth…well maybe they were just trying to prepare him for Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. I mean, under that policy service members were expected to lie about who they are. Cub Scouts (and Boy Scouts) are expected to do the same, I guess.

And I don’t think Matt would “choose” to continue on with being gay after this ridicule (and after what happened when his mom picked him up…click on his link and read).

Here is my little story on Born this Way. Nothing quite that dramatic.

Click on Born this Way and read a few of the stories. And then try to justify saying that being gay, or lesbian, or bisexual or transgender is a choice. You can’t do it. Because it is not.

>DADT fright

December 20, 2010

>President Obama’s stock has gone up, as his “promise” to get Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repealed on his watch is taking place.

Whenever progress by an oppressed group takes place, those who oppose such actions ramp up their rhetoric, and that is certainly happening now.

American Family Association radio host Bryan Fisher said that other countries that allowed gays to serve openly in their armies only did so because they knew they could depend on the might and the strength and the power of our military. He said they could depend on us to intervene and “wherever necessary to pull their fannies out of the fire and squash the forces of tyranny wherever they raised their ugly heads around the world.”

Now, he says, “Those days are now gone. We will no longer be able to bail out these other emasculated armies because ours will now be feminized and neutered beyond repair, and there is no one left to bail us out. We have been permanently weakened as a military and as a nation by these misguided and treasonous Republican senators, and the world is now a more dangerous place for us all.”

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council was just as bad. “Today is a tragic day for our armed forces. The American military exists for only one purpose – to fight and win wars. Yet it has now been hijacked and turned into a tool for imposing on the country a radical social agenda. This may advance the cause of reshaping social attitudes regarding human sexuality, but it will only do harm to the military’s ability to fulfill its mission”

The Alliance Defense Fund has released a statement, ” “The Senate’s cave-in to pressure from activists to impose homosexual behavior on our military will place our troops’ religious liberties in unprecedented jeopardy. Indeed, the first official casualty of this hurried vote may well be the religious freedom of chaplains and Service members.”

This is all just hype with a purpose of raising money from those easily frightened.

“Impose homosexual behavior on our military?” Who in their right mind thinks this repeal imposes any sexual behavior on anyone? What it imposes is a sense of fairness, and justice. And it takes away the requirement that someone who swears to integrity must lie in order to serve.

My idea of a (male) Marine is a tough, well disciplined guy, for whom thoughts of sex are far from the front of their mind. I have a friend, gay, who is a former Marine, who is 6 foot 5 inches tall and weighs 230 pounds. He is solid muscle, and tough as a rock. He served in Iraq. He was a leader among the men he served with (and they knew he was gay). I would put my money on this man against any straight Marine you can find.

I have another friend, straight, who is a former marine. Oddly enough, he and my other friend share the same first name. He is tough also, not quite as big, but just as tough and disciplined. He also served in Iraq. He told me it makes not an ounce of difference who is next to him in combat, as long as he could shoot straight. He is sure he served with people who are gay, and it doesn’t bother him. Every Marine, by definition, should feel this way. If not, maybe he doesn’t have any business being a Marine.

The crybabies are concerned about troops in combat, but here is the deal. Since there are already gay men in the military, how does this policy change make any difference? A gay Marine is not going to suddenly declare, “I’m gay,” in the foxhole and make advances on his fellow fighters.

And they worry about the showers. Well listen, and listen closely. Straight men have showered with gay men at the gym, in the NFL locker room, at work places, in high school, in coal mines, in the MLB locker room, in the barracks, at the YMCA, in the doctor’s lounge, at the pool, at the auto plant, in middle school, in the NBA locker room, and at the Country Club, and while the gay men might take a look at the straight men, in all honesty, the straight men are looking too. And I know this because straight men compare themselves to others. That’s just a fact. So if a straight man, military or not, is being looked at by an unknown gay guy, what difference does it make if it is a known gay guy? Grow up.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, my idea of a military man is someone who is disciplined enough, and mature enough, and secure enough, to not be bothered by this. And those who are, maybe they should step back and examine their own sexuality and insecurities, and they might be surprised with what they discover.

And for someone like me, a citizen who depends on the military for my freedom, I am just thankful that we have men, and women, who are willing to step up to the task of serving this way, and I don’t mind of they are straight. Or gay.

>Response to Western Star bigotry

November 24, 2010

>Bessemer’s Western Star is published by Trib Publications, Inc., and their president, Bob Tribble, exhibited his lack of education and his bigotry in a recent editorial. You can read it here.

Three letters appeared in today’s Western Star in response. One is from me, the others are from Elisa Macon and Trey Noland. This will make for a long blog post, but I am posting all three letters here. Click “Read more” to view the letters.

Trey Noland is a former Assembly of God minister and foreign missionary.

Dear Editor,

In his editorial regarding the repealing of DADT, Mr. Tribble manages to present himself as level-headed and makes sense until the last 4 paragraphs of the letter. That is where his logic is replaced by superstition (disguised as faith).

Mr. Tribble, as do many religious men and women, begins to claim to know what “God calls” and what “God wishes”. I would say Mr. Tribble may know as much about God as he does about gays. Just like his knowledge of gays is obviously prejudiced, here-say, and stereotyped perception (it’s ridiculous to claim all gays are covering up misery and unable to find peace)…so his understanding of God is prejudiced by his own perceptions and what others have told him about God.

Now, that’s a common human trait and not so horrible in and of itself. However, Mr. Tribble is going beyond just believing something…he is using his personal understanding and beliefs to condemn others.

There are only seven scriptures which address homosexuality in the Bible. Every one of those scriptures refer to either rape, sexual idolatry, or pederasty between two people of the same sex.

There was no concept of modern-day, committed, monogamous gay relationships…not to mention any understanding by Biblical authors of recent advancements in science that suggest one’s orientation is innate and unchangeable. Even if one believes the Bible to be without error, it is arrogant to believe your understanding is without error. Mr. Tribble and other Christians (myself included) need to keep this in mind before we speak out in condemnation of others.

Trey Noland

**********

Elisa Macon is a Birmingham Realtor, and former educator.

Dear Editor,

A recent letter writer spoke in support of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Please allow me to offer a different opinion.

It is wrong to expect our distinguished men and women in uniform to lie about who God made them to be. There is no honor in suppression of the truth. Therefore, DADT is wrong. Period.

The letter writer continued to share his opinion of homosexuality. He stated opinion as fact, and he was wrong on at least three very important points:

1. “The Bible is clear about homosexuality.” This is a false statement. As all Biblical scholars know, the King James version of the Bible is a translation from original language, and there was no term related to sexual minorities when the Bible was written. The translation of “homosexual” in Romans is from a word meaning “weak-spirited” and referred to those who refused to acknowledge Christ in public. The passage from Leviticus is also often quoted, but those who follow Christ know that He said the law (Leviticus) is to be put away, and He is the new high priest. Those laws were to a specific people at a specific time of near-extinction, and no one obeys these laws today (unless you sacrificed a calf on your front lawn last Saturday). There are in fact beautiful homosexual love stories in the Bible, including Jonathan and David. Read it for yourself. Finally, Sodom and Gomorrah had nothing to do with homosexuality, but with inhospitality and greed; again, stop taking passages out of context and read the whole Bible for yourself.

2. “Homosexuality is a sin.” This is a false statement. Sin is an act, not a state of being. For instance, according to the Bible, judging and condemning others is a sin, because it is a chosen act; but Jesus himself embraced diversity in making sure we understood that there is no male or female, no Jew or Greek, but that we are all the same in God’s eyes. Homosexuality and other sexual minorities are just beautiful diversities in creation, like height and hair color. Though redheads are in the minority, it is not a sin to be born red-headed. It is a sin, however, to turn souls away from Christ’s love through discrimination, as this letter-writer has done.

3. “Gay lifestyles can never produce peace and happiness in their hearts.” This is a false statement. First, gay is not a “lifestyle” any more than being short or tall is a “lifestyle”- again, it is a creation by God. But those who are living God’s will for their lives are filled with the fruits of the Spirit- love, joy, peace- whether gay or straight. The only misery comes from denying who God made you to be. This letter-writer obviously lives in misery, but there is no misery in truth. God blesses and loves his gay children who have the courage to acknowledge Him and be honest about who He created them to be.

This letter writer would do well to observe Jesus’ commandments to love God with all his heart and love his neighbor as himself. This includes everyone- every “whosoever” God ever made.

Elisa Macon

**********

My letter. Y’all know who I am.

Dear Editor,

A recent editorial in the Western Star (written by their out of state owner) urges congress and the military to keep the current “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in place.

The writer bases his position on the errant belief that military chaplains would have to leave the service if they could not preach against homosexuality. As the acting chairperson of Equality Alabama I feel that this issue should be addressed, but it was another statement in the editorial that motivates me to respond.

“Homosexuals call themselves gay but that is only an attempt to cover up their misery. Gay lifestyles can never produce peace and happiness in their hearts,” the writer says.

Across this state gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals are leading happy and fulfilled lives, some in partnered relationships, and others as singles.

To assume that all gays are trying to “cover up their misery” is ludicrous, and stems from outdated mid 20th century beliefs that homosexuality is a mental disease, which we now know it is not.

It is true that some gays suffer from low self esteem and depression but so do some heterosexuals. And many of the problems that those gays have stem from the uneducated and hateful rhetoric they hear from people like this editorial writer.

At a time when anti-gay bullying and LGBT teen suicides are in the news, one would think that an editorial writer could show more compassion and sensitivity toward their gay readers.

As for the issue of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, 75% of Americans (ABC News/Washington Post 2010), including 60% of churchgoers (Gallup, 2009) are in favor of repeal. The recently leaked military survey reveals that those currently serving are also comfortable with lifting the ban, and that there will be little if any effect on the operations or effectiveness of our military.

Let’s base our support for repealing the policy, or lack thereof, on whether it would affect military readiness and on the wishes of the American people, not on hateful rhetoric based on decades old research.

LGBT soldiers are serving and are dying for our country now. If they can die for our country, they should be able to do so without being asked to lie about who they are. Where is the honor in that? Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell should be repealed now.

Joe Openshaw
Equality Alabama Interim Chairperson
Bessemer, Alabama

>Suicide prevention events

November 5, 2010

>On Sunday the Alabama chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention will hold their fifth annual “Out of the Darkness Community Walk” at Heardmont Park in Shelby County.

Last year the walk raised $90,000 and was the fifth best in the nation, with 690 participants.

This year they hope to raise $100,000 with 800 – 1,000 participants.

Registration begins at 1:30 and the walk begins at 3:00.

With the recent interest in teen suicide including LGBT suicides Equality Alabama is supporting the event and asking their members to wear the purple Spirit Day t-shirt or their Equality Alabama t-shirt. Equality Alabama believes this is an opportunity to educate others about the specifics of anti-gay bullying and its relation to teen suicide.

More information about Equality Alabama’s support can be found on their event page.

More information about the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, this particular event and their LGBT initiative can be found at AFSP.

Here you can watch a panel discussion on bullying and suicide with emphasis on LGBT “bullycides”.

Of course suicide is not limited to teens or to LGBT persons. Suicides occur among people with untreated or under treated clinical depression. Suicide among the elderly is another problem which occurs more often than you may think.

This event is important to everyone, because a suicide can occur in any family without advance notice. This event raises money for research, prevention and educational programs.

Please join this effort, either with Equality Alabama or not, and help with the efforts to prevent the taking of lives.

Tre’Juan Figures

Tre’Juan Figures was a 12 year old boy from Anniston, AL who took his own life in October 2009 after being bullied because he would not join a gang.

There will be a vigil on November 20 at 2:00 pm at Zinn Park in Anniston to remember Trey and to raise awareness for anti-bullying.

Here is an article
about Tre’Juan’s death.

Here is a more recent article from the Anniston Star about bullying and anti-bullying efforts and Jason Childs, whose organization Center for Progress in Alabama is sponsoring the vigil.

Equality Alabama will also be present at this event. Please join us at this event also.

>Two polls (that don’t have anything to do with politics)

November 2, 2010

>The Election

If you are like many Americans and many in Alabama and even in Bessemer, in spite of all the hype and crazy people running for office you don’t know much about this (here) election they are putting on today.

All you know is what you see on the political ads that run during the news, during the World Series (congrats to San Francisco!!! and (hot) bearded Brian Wilson), and during every television show it seems.

So you may or may not vote. I mean, OFA and other groups are doing all they can to Get Out The Vote. Democrats are trying to remind voters who first voted in 2008 that it is still important to vote. Republicans are screaming, “Fire!,” in an effort to motivate their voters.

Some of you might even respond to this: here is your voter guideor here.

And still, only 55% of voters are expected to turn out in Alabama, according to Beth Chapman, Alabama’s Secretary of State.

Almost half of the people in this state don’t care. So if somebody wins, say, the governorship, with just a little over half the vote, what it really means is that only a quarter of the people (or a little more) in the state want that person to be governor.

One person who doesn’t want Robert Bentley to be governor is Jimmy Blake, who says he will contest the election if Bentley wins the election today, based on Bentley’s reporting of campaign fund raising.

Polls

We’ve seen polls and polls and polls and polls and surveys. We even had a poller call at 7:10 yesterday evening. What good is that going to do?

Poll 1

Here are some of the results of the reader’s survey I posted on Bessemer Opinions a few weeks ago.

23% of the respondents are straight and 19% are LGBT. That means that 52% of you are either unsure of your sexuality or so deep in the closet and so paranoid about being discovered that you were afraid to answer even on an anonymous poll.

61% of you are white, and only 6% are black. That leaves a lot of people of other colors. Or not.

See that’s the problems with surveys where you can choose multiple answers. Some people didn’t know that, so they didn’t answer the race or sexual orientation questions. Or they are paranoid and they probably didn’t complete their census form either.

The highest number of you, 31%, like the mix of subjects and the unexpected that you find on Bessemer Opinions. 16% want more Bessemer news and less gay news, 7% wanted more gay news and less Bessemer. You are still going to get the mix.

What this tells me is that Bessemer Opinions is popular among a wide variety of people with a variety of interests, and that I should keep reporting as I do on a number of subjects.

Poll 2

Yesterday I wrote this column for Daily Kos that compares the two Georgia megachurch pastors and the churches that have been in the news recently regarding gay issues. At the end of that column there was a poll asking “Which church offers the truer message of Christianity regarding gay issues?” The choices are New Birth Missionary Baptist Church led by Pastor Eddie Long or Church in the Now led by Pastor Jim Swilley, or neither.

Of the 42 people who have responded, 78% think Church in the Now, with the pastor who has been inclusive and accepting and recently came out as gay, is offering the truer message, and only 2% believe New Birth led by the pastor who was accused of having sexual relations with some of his male followers while preaching an anti-gay message is offering the truer Christian message. 19% say neither, and I assume those are people without faith, or people who have been driven away from the church.

Swilley and his supporters are hoping they can change the world. I think all, or most, Christian churches believe that, but let’s hope he is right.

The Challenger

Some of you know that there is now a blog that has been created to stand up against my militancy.

From their “Welcome” page:

This blog exists to spend a little time answering the radical homosexual propaganda of Joe Openshaw, a gay organizer in Bessemer, Alabama. It is also a place for conservative Christians to have their say regarding the militant homosexual agenda in Bessemer.

Radical? One of my straight friends responded to that saying she thinks I am pretty moderate.

Militant? Militant? I can’t even respond to that. Militant?

Anyway, for those of you who are keeping score.

1. There was a newspaper editor in town that threatened to file a lawsuit against me to force me to quit revealing the truth. He’s gone. Fired.

2. There was another blogger, the “Bessemer conservative” I called him in a newspaper column. He’s pretty much given up, but was real good at copying and pasting from those anti-Obama emails that used to circulate with so much mis-information.

3. And then there was Snuffy, who in a letter to the newspaper called me a communist and worse, and compared my loving relationship with my partner to screwing a horse. Anyone heard from him lately?

So I don’t feel threatened by this newcomer, who so far has chosen not to reveal his whole identity. I know this is just a tease, but I am not going to post a link to his blog, yet, because he has already posted some statements which could be damaging to young gay kids. Here I am trying to prevent kids from killing themselves and this “conservative Christian” is destroying their self esteem and possibly contributing to their harmful actions.

If you want a link to the page, email me.

>Still waiting on a phone call

October 21, 2010

>I hope the Bessemer Board of Education realizes I’m serious.

I went by there yesterday, wearing my purple “Port St. Joe” t-shirt, to follow up on the letter I sent last week, and to get a copy of the Bessemer bullying policy.

I was unable to meet with the person I had sent the letter to, and was told he would give me a call, but I haven’t heard anything. I’ll go back today, and every day, until I get to speak to someone, and until we see a change in the policy.

Update: I went back this morning and was still unable to anyone. I was, however, told that I needed to speak with Mr. Foster, the superintendent. He is who I mailed the letter to, so he knows why I am trying to contact him. In fact, in the letter, I told him I would.

Why am I pursuing this? Because the Bessemer policy has not been updated since 2008. The Student Harassment Prevention Act was passed in 2009, and required the policy to be updated by July 2010.

The Board knows this. I mean, even if they didn’t get word from the State Department of Education, surely they had seen my column in the Western Tribune (you know, that weekly newspaper that used to be), where I mentioned it in a story about gay kids getting a break.

The model policy developed by the state lists the following personal characteristics regarding harassment: race, sex, religion, national origin and disability.

Bessemer does not even do this. There is no list.

The law states “Based upon experience, a local board of education may add, but not remove, characteristics from the list. The additional characteristics or perceived characteristics that cause harassment shall be identified by the local board on a case-by-case basis and added to the local board policy. The list shall be included in the code of conduct policy of each local board.”

And from Fort Worth

You’ve seen the video of Fort Worth council person Joel Burns delivering his emotional message at the city council meeting.

Joel and his husband, political consultant J. D. Angle, were on the Lawrence O’Donnell show yesterday.

If you haven’t heard the part of Burns’ speech that describes him popping the question it’s included in this video. Nice.

If you haven’t seen the entire 12 minutes of Joel’s speech, watch this. Watching the full 12 minutes is much different than watching the 30 seconds or so that we’ve seen on the news. You can use a few minutes of your time to watch this. Heck, you’re surfing the internet anyway. Slow down and watch.

I’m just wondering if we live in a community where elected officials would feel comfortable speaking out like this. Will the leaders in Bessemer, the new council and the new school board, step up to the plate and move this city forward, helping to make it into a city, and a school system, that values all of its citizens and students and provides a safe environment for learning?

Time will tell.

>Deep Purple

October 19, 2010

>Tomorrow I’m going to be purple.

You should too.

Wear purple on Wednesday as a way of demanding safe schools. Let people know why you are wearing purple. Teens gotta feel safe.

Specifically, in Alabama, the Student Harassment Prevention Act which was signed into law last year neglected to include sexual orientation and gender identity or expression while offering protection for such things as race and religion as characteristics about which students should not be harassed or bullied. In other words, kids can get away with calling fellow students fag or queer or pansy until that kid begins to skip school or harms them self. But use a racial slur, or challenge someone’s disability, and it stops right there.

“Oh, the gays are screaming again about a perceived problem that really doesn’t exist,” you might say.

A survey by the Alabama Safe Schools Coalition of Alabama high school students revealed some startling facts.

59% have been verbally harassed at school (called a derogatory word)

22% have been physically harassed

58% have had mean rumors or lies spread by other students

Remember, these are Alabama students. These actions have consequences.

34% felt unsafe at school

18% have skipped school because of harassment

60% report they have been unable to concentrate in classes

36% report they have had lower grades because of harassment

43% report they have had thoughts of suicide

These are students in our schools. 43% are thinking of suicide.

Harassment and bullying is affecting their grades.

And the problem is not just with other students.

29% felt that they had been treated unfairly by their teachers or administrators.

Over 50% reported problems with anger, self esteem issues, and increased problems interacting with peers. Significant numbers also report feelings of spiritual isolation, eating disorders and headaches.

It could be your kids, or your grand kids, or your niece or nephew being harassed. and it affects all the kids, not just the gay ones.

So do this.

First, go here to send a message to your state Senator. Over 180 messages have already been generated, including a good number from Bessemer. Priscilla Dunn will be getting the message, but I am 100% sure that she is already on the right side of this issue. But we want the Alabama Senators to know that they can fix this problem by passing an “upgrade” to the bill to include sexual orientation and gender identity or expression..

2. Wear purple on Wednesday, and tell people why.

Now, you don’t have to go this far. This Brit boy turned his whole self purple.

Now I am about to make a major upgrade to my laptop. So I may come back here tomorrow very happy, or I may not come back at all. But regardless, I’ll be (wearing) purple.

And, I’m reminded of my favorite Deep Purple song from the days in my parent’s basement when there was a smoky haze in the air. You might be more familiar with the Tina Turner version, or even Celine Dion, but this is the original, and the instrumentals at about the 3:00 mark are unbelievable.

River Deep Mountain High

>Hope

October 7, 2010

>What is wrong with inspiring hope?

I’m not talking about political hope, the kind that Obama ran on.

I’m talking about the kind of hope that someone in despair needs.

Despair leads to depression and depression leads to suicide. I know. I’ve had family members take their own lives. I’ve had a friend on facebook that threatened to kill himself while I was chatting with him just after his family discovered he was gay. I have other friends who are afraid to tell their family the truth, afraid of the rejection and tired of the torment and hatred they receive at school.

There are positive examples of gay, lesbian, bisexual and trangender individuals all around us, but when you are being bullied and you are dealing with being told the God you want to worship does not love you and that you are worthless you cannot connect to the successful gays you see around you. They are there, and you are here and there is no way to bridge the chasm that separates you.

I know. I’ve been there. I had one dark, dark summer while a student at Auburn University. No one knows about it. You won’t learn more about it, it’s not important. But there was no support system in the 1970’s, I can tell you that. I chose to build a buffer around my darkness, to hide who I was. That was what saved me. I hid behind that buffer for decades.

But it does get better.

Dan Savage started a campaign called It Gets Better. Hundreds of individuals, some with celebrity status, others just plain folk, have created videos telling their story, their struggle, and confirming that in spite of the bullying and spiritual terrorism that may be driving you down right now, it does get better.

Listen to Matt.

Of the video’s I’ve seen, I liked this one.

Anyway, “Christian” leaders are denouncing this hope that we are trying to give people. Matt Barber, Liberty Counsel attorney, has said that the efforts are “political exploitation” and that “Christians” are praying that we “fail fantastically.” Praying that we fail in giving hope. Classy.

And in a classic case of blame shifting, World Net Daily ran a column titled “Is ‘Gay’ Agenda to Blame for Teen suicides?”

Other than that mention of the confused Christianist right, I won’t dwell on that. I only mention it to warn any questioning young people that just because someone has the Christian label does not mean they speak for God.

Think about it. Would God create you a certain way, and then abandon you? That would not be much of a God, would it?

And to parents who suspect your child may be gay: this child is the person you gave birth to, the boy or girl that dwelt in your belly. You produced this gay child. You loved him or her as she grew inside you. Remember when you first held him? Remember how you comforted her when she fell and scraped her knee? This child is that same child you held so close. He or she needs to be held close now. He or she needs to have you accept the child you created.

Once again I will embed the trailer to “Prayers for Bobby,” a movie that depicts the true story of Bobby Griffith, who took his life by jumping from a bridge into traffic after his mother rejected him because of her misguided Christian beliefs. Please watch this movie. Here it is on Netflix

If you, or someone around you is struggling please call or have them call The Trevor Project 866-488-7386

The Trevor Project saves lives.

Oh, and my facebook friend that was struggling so is now out and at peace with his family. It does get better.

>Equality: it belongs to you and me

August 11, 2010

>There are some people in Bessemer and really, everywhere, that need to see this.

My friend Pam Spaulding at Pam’s House Blend has shared this video of Coretta Scott King speaking at the 1996 Atlanta Pride Festival.

Some people do not understand that equality belongs to everyone. She, and her husband, certainly did.

I certainly tried to make that point in my book, Those Others, and a review that came out yesterday recognizes that. Read it here.

Look for my upcoming article on the Prop 8 overturn in Noise Magazine. I’ll let you now when it comes out.

I’m not going to post the videos and rants from those who disagree with the Judge’s opinion because there are no valid arguments against it. His perceived sexuality has nothing to do with it. The misinterpretation of the Bible has nothing to do with it. The constitution and our founding documents are about equality, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Nowhere do those documents (nor the Bible) say “for straight people.”

“Justice is indivisible,” Mrs. King said. “The church burners and the gay bashers drink from the same poisonous well of hatred…”

I would add that some of the church leaders drink from that well of poison as well. And some talk radio hosts. And the “professional right.”