The truth… we were called to love

respect
As a Christian, as a person of any spiritual faith it is our responsibility to promote mutual trust, respect and friendship… as a person of faith we should provide the tender warmth of familial love that has been denied to so many — familial love that so many have never known.
My blog today addresses the thread of prejudice and partiality that was recently promoted by the Duggar families and their association with anti-gay Family Research Council.
Spiritual faith should be liberating; everyone should be free to express themselves truthfully and openly with out fear of judgment; and marriage is not a privilege to be parceled out by segment of people, ban- legislation or any religious institution.
For a period of time I faithfully watched the Duggar Family reality program on TLC.  I watched it each week for a long time and admired their ingenuity, their commonsense practicality and thought ‘how cool’ the family was. I saw no violence, saw no indication of racism, sexism, bigotry, bias or prejudice.
I joined other families around the world in grieving with them for their tragic loss.
Now to my sorrow I’ve discovered that their care and compassion is limited. For all their openness they are willing to repeat and report rumors, myths and lies to exclude the liberties, freedoms as well as justice for a segment of society – 211.38 million LGBT People – worldwide.
Words matter … lets leave out words that are detrimental, and ultimately destructive towards others, they weaken the foundation of civilization, not gay marriage.
Today the Duggar family  shows a dark side to their religious faith; we’ve heard the hurtful petty words uttered by Mrs. Duggar who opposed a housing ordinance bill … by using carefully arranged words she helped create an unnecessary and hurtful climate towards Transgender People.
Her statement started false withnesswith the words “shocking news that affect the safety of Northwest Arkansas women and children.” Later in the call she linked the words ‘child’ ‘predator,’ ‘convictions;’ as well as … ‘endanger,’ ‘traumatized’  this supposedly by a man joining them in their private space. It was the arrangement and selection of her words that are offensive since they were specifically arranged to prompt a negative reaction. With this setup she promoted fear; set up a climate ripe for misunderstanding.
How demoralizing: Her words were degrading … they also demonized Transgender People. They also helped to create a lack respect for Lesbians, Gays and Bisexual People as well.
Reality: The ordinance Mrs. Duggar so cruelly opposed addressed the issue of transgender individuals’ right to use the proper restroom. ‘The ordinance allowing transgender people to use the bathroom in which they feel most comfortable and physically safe.’ The author of the bill said; ‘Transgender people — who are far more likely to be the victims of harassment and violence if forced to use a bathroom that is inconsistent with their gender identity or expression — deserve to have the ability to use the bathroom in peace and safety.’
A survey about discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Arkansas by the Human Rights campaign: Facts
  1. Twenty-five percent of respondents experienced employment discrimination;
  2. 37 percent experienced harassment at work;
  3. 39 percent experienced harassment from family;
  4. and 45 percent experienced harassment at school.

Cruel words add to societal stigma, resulting in creating and promoting prejudice and discrimination that LGBTI People face daily from society at large, and from family members, peers, co-workers and classmates.

Population in Arkansas:

  1. Total Adult Population: 2,238,250 –
  2. LGBT Population: 78,339
  3. LGBT -% of State Population:3.5%
  4. -% of Same-Sex Couples Raising Children:21%
We were called to love but by listening to the words by the Duggar family and their anti-gay associates it appears their care, concern and compassion is totally selective – to be included in their circle of compassion one needs to conform to a strict code of morals and values as per their deeply held religious beliefs. One family member stated I know many gay people. If I’m  his gay friend and see that my gay family and/or friends are being dehumanized, demonized and marginalized by the Duggar family anti-gay associates I would begin to question, begin to wonder; friends support each other; if the family feels compelled to repeat myths and rumors about my family and friends, just  how  well do they know me; how do they really feel about me?
Their anti-gay associates steadfastly believes in inequality
and continuously promotes a frightful anti-gay campaign.
Mr. and Mrs. Duggar and their family members obviously have the right to fight for freedom, liberty and justice;but trying to silence the voices of any segment of society will eventually limit what they should be stoutly defending.
The Duggar family and their homophobic associates will never silence the voices of 211.38 million LGBT People. You can try but it will never happen.
The Duggar family and associates  have a certain amount of wisdom but both lack a certain amount of understanding. As a spiritual leader Mr. Duggars’ voice should be a leader in standing up for justice, his voice should be at the forefront fighting hate and teaching tolerance. Instead hurtful words spoken by members of the Duggar family and their anti-gay associates puts children and families at risk through their hateful/hurtful rhetoric. Their anti-gay associates are relentless in their efforts keep LGBTI People from enjoying the inalienable freedoms, liberties and rights – we are all born free and equal. We are human beings first… we all have a sexuality and a gender attraction.
No one’s faith should ever destroy another’s self worth, esteem by creating a homophobic climate; each of us is wondrously made of spittle and clay; everyone of us created in a moment in a blinding light; love is essential to everyone.
Their words barely skirt the laws of free speech. They are hurtful and offensive but not legally classifiable as hate speech but non-the-less their words are offensiveness and hurtful. It is also a shameful practice now common to many communities of spiritual faiths.
Hateful words spoken by one or a group will break the heart of a child or adult.  
The quickest way to destroy someone as to isolate them: Bullying and forcing others to conform to exacting standards is neither Christian nor kind: We all need to feel welcome, that we are a part of the whole: We should be welcoming the advent of a world in which everyone enjoys freedom of from fear: of harassment, persecution, prosecution, punishment and torment. Yet many people like you don’t want this for all citizens in their neighborhood, communities, cities, and nations.
Everyone should enjoy all economic, social and cultural rights – these are indispensable for our dignity and the free development of our personality. Yet homophobic climates deny these basic rights to millions.

Everyone has the right to live and to live together in peace and harmony; therefore we should never accept any vicious act or actions by a body of people that would outrage the conscience of mankind. Yet we do.

We should never accept bias or bigotry, yet we do:

Everyone has the right to know and be known – to see and be seen – to understand and be understood: Everyone has the right to feel safe; to enjoy peace; to experience serenity and tranquility in their home, their neighborhood and community, yet this is not so.

Everyone is different – yet we are all he same: We should recognize the inherent dignity and promote these equal and inalienable rights to all members of the human family as this is the foundation for freedom, justice and peace in the world. Yet we don’t.

As a Christian it is our duty and responsibility to promote friendship

The standard should promote inclusion and acceptance of LGBTI People.

The standard should promote equality of rights; we should promote respect.

We should provide the tender warmth of familial love that has been denied to so many

— familial love that so many have never known.

Churches play an integral and important role in dispelling the pervasive myth that all people of faith are anti-gay. Churches should be excited to share the message of welcome and exclusivity.

We need to work together to move forward toward the peace we want to see in our lifetime: We need to work together to bring respect and harmony – love to all people; we should never deny, exclude or exploit others.

Love is  essential … it is a family value; LGBTI People have been part of all societies throughout history.

Love isn’t something that anyone needs to be afraid of. If God isn’t afraid of new things… why should we  be?

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We have forgotten that we are all connected with each other, that our love for each other is the key to world peace we pray for.  We are not the judge: We are connected to each other through the thread of love, first through our families, then our neighborhoods, then our cities and nation and reaching out to the world as a community of nations called the world.  All the great philosophers, the saints and sages have said those words in some form or another,and spiritually minded people; people of quality and worth do not go out of their way to create myths, spread lies and rumors that destroy lives.

People of quality sow seeds of understanding and teach tolerance as well as encourage, support, provide comfort and strength for everyone – their plans for community are inclusive.

Worldwide LGBTI People lack family support – are involved in family feuds- and face family shunning and there is continual stress; homelessness and violence increases because of hurtful words and extreme rhetoric.
Our legacy should be a legacy of good for others to follow; there is no excuse good enough to justify discrimination, not now, or ever.  Everyone should be gaining better understanding of our human rights and responsibilities and I urge everyone to reject your uncharitable – unchristian words since they exacerbate the issues relating to the homelessness as well as help breakdown a persons mental health. They add to the violence heard around the world, and I think everyone has seen enough of that. I know I have.
May God bless us, one and all,  today, tomorrow _ forever. 
One love one heart one vision one people peace on earth
 
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Come into the light, draw close to me and I will draw close to you

Indian children light fireworks in New DLove is beyond the skin and mask – Love is without form, it is an indefinable manifestation of the exquisite compassion of the heart; an inner essence of unique and remarkable capabilities that circulates throughout the body through the ‘thin thread of red’ running through our veins.

Mankind is always in a state of becoming; a Latin word Ingenium is defined as innate character, talent, nature.  ‘I am who I say I am – this is a fact that no one can change: Sexuality is of the body, sexual desire is part of what is felt but should never define us, but it does and is a topic I will address.

Pro-life and pro-family ideology should promote life enhancing principles

which defends, and/or enhances the dignity, trust and respect of all

 There’s a very thin line that separates something worthy and something terrifying and instead of dehumanizing and demonizing LGBT who are not safe int their homes, in the community, at work or social media. And a segment of the faith community is partly responsible for this because of a distinctive rhetoric that dehumanize and demonize us. Many God-fearing conservative Christians spread defamation’s about us saying things such as LGBT people are a cancer on the universe|’ Vermin,’ | Beasts that prey on children | Extremists/terrorists/ a threat to national security| Men on men in military makes the US vulnerable| The cause of the Ebola outbreak in the US| Insinuates that Homosexuality is the cause of the decline of humanity| LGBT purposely endanger families, children, our nation’s security and economy as well as religious freedoms| LGBT make God want to vomit| Christian is the new black-Big Gay is the KKK| Gay activists want your soul| LGBT will impose secular sharia| Government recognition of gay marriage is deceiving citizens into hell and …. LGBT are better dead.”false withness  These are traitorous words to the gospel. Their words do not reflect the message in the Beatitudes or the work of Jesus and this type of rhetoric prevents LGBT from receiving dignity, kindness and respect – we are sentient beings as much as anyone.

Fact: LGBT on social media encounter bullying, trolling, scams, hate speech, and more. Fact: there is a wide range of discriminatory practices and a failing by authorities to adequately protect LGBT people world-wide. Fact: we are vulnerable to intolerable levels of violence both physical and sexual violence and cannot always rely on help from or with social services and other atrocious lacks as well but I’m not going to go on an endless litany of other facts … it’s pointless. But I must point out that there is a fine line separating something good and something terrifying, and far too many of the God-fearing conservative Christians are past masters at running horrific – terrifying themes through the minds of the masses, themes which pierce the heart, and crush the spirit and soul with terror… themes that perpetuate myth and ugly rumors about me and mine.

A prominent leader of the anti-gay parade is Linda Harvey – head of Mission: America which lists homosexuality and witchcraft as focal points, her specific focus is on public schools and young people in general. Mrs. Harvey controls an anti-gay information website called “Truth at School” which encourages students to walkout or protest the pro-equality/anti-bullying Day of Silence.

Another leader of the anti-gay parade is Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, which the Southern Poverty Law Center listed as an anti-gay hate group in 2010. Tony is telling anyone who will listen about the LGBT:  “They are intolerant. They are hateful. They are vile. They are spiteful”…”pawns” of the “enemy.  

Both Harvey and Perkins assert that they promote traditional family values but their words are contradictory to the teachings found in the Beatitudes as well as the work of Christ. Their eyes and ears are tightly shut and neither of them will hear or see but what they want to hear and see but in their eyes we will always be demons or monsters: Monsters of their own creation.

Both Harvey and Perkins have regular access to nationwide mass media – and some anti-gay groups own broadcasting stations in the US and Africa and other countries that gives them a broader audience – a wide range to voice their propaganda against us. Social media and Y-tube further push demonizing and dehumanizing rhetoric.

However, society’s attitude on LGBT and same gender marriage is evolving rapidly and there are positive ways to address rhetorical bullying and the myths by communities of faith who do welcome us and they speak words with wings and teach and promote that discrimination was not part of the work of Jesus. We are born the way we were … all of us. Straight or gay… we are born who we are – and that’s a fact, and that’s okay.

Some are opening the windows and the doors – from knowing the facts that we contribute to and support many projects from schools to hospitals and communities; know we can be fired our employment terminated with prejudice because of gender identity, sexual orientation and marital status. We are shunned as well as hunted and we’re exposed as well as denied and that is not okay.

 Present us as we are – human – people – sentient beings – Not the monsters others have made of us.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu asked us to be the maker of peace, healers and restorers… he saw us as we are and helped remove the protective secretiveness that keeps us in the closet. He saw that we are people of heart, with spirit and a soul, and a need to be a part of community and asks others to help make this possible to work with us… to make us a sacred part of all communities.

As a healer – maker of peace … a restorer you too can do so much to help make us visibly welcome; you can help others put aside their masks of anger, hatred, and prejudices, after all they are just masks that hide the truth – a fear that’s held inside. You can help others open their eyes and look at us – really look at us with a new perception and perspective… help others accept the gifts and qualities we offer. You can help us be safe in our homes, our workplace, our neighborhood our local community – make this possible around the world – you can if you will. Present us as we are – human – people – sentient beings – Not monsters that others have made of us.

I am still this child

I am still the child you held in your arms, tucked into bed, read stories too.

You kissed away my fears and tears, walked me to the school bus and after all these years – I am still that child.  

 

 

Its Human Rights: Not Heterosexual Rights

$RDRWHHM

I support my Oklahoma family members

Attorney General Scott Pruitt
313 NE 21st Street,
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

Dear Mr. Pruitt,

My letter addresses GLBT right to marriage in Oklahoma

Sir, the public statement you issued regarding Judge Terence Kerns ruling troubles me. In your statement you declared: “It is a troubling decision. As the Supreme Court recently noted in the Windsor case, it is up to the states to decide how to define marriage, not the federal government. There is a case involving the State of Utah currently pending before the 10th Circuit that is identical to the case in Tulsa. The issue most likely will end up at the U.S. Supreme Court and the outcome will dictate whether Oklahoma’s constitutional provision will be upheld.”

Sir, how can the decision be troubling? Judge Kern’s ruling is essentially the same of many other Judges and their rulings have all noted that the fundamental equality of lesbian and gay couples is already guaranteed by the United States Constitution, Sir; Equality is not just for a privileged few. Equality is for everyone.

Reviewing facts:

1. Fact: Worldwide LGBT are branded, slurred, defamed; in other words stigmatized, made to appear as second class citizens.
2. Fact: All state bans on marriage by gay and lesbian couples are arbitrary.
3. Fact: Exclusion is irrational.
4. Fact: The Oklahoma state amendment just as many other state bans have a base that is purely and solely on moral disapproval and such disapproval has never advanced any state’s interests.

 The Constitution protects the fundamental rights which include the right to marry and the right to have that marriage recognized by their governments.
 These rights would be meaningless if the Constitution did not also prevent the government from interfering with the intensely personal choices an individual makes that person decides to make a solemn commitment to another human being.
 The Constitution therefore protects the choice of one’s partner for all citizens, regardless of their sexual identity.

Judge Kern ruled on these important facts
1. Equal protection is at the very heart of our legal system
2. Central to our consent to be governed
3. It is not a scare commodity to be meted out begrudgingly or in short portions.

I am truly troubled by the fact that your office seems to care little for the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution. If this troubles me and millions of others why isn’t this troubling to you and your office? This is the Common Era- not the year 1014 AD. It’s time that not only Oklahoma’s laws give way to individual constitutional rights, ALL state laws should give way to individual constitutional rights.

The work for Equal Rights around the world will continue: The work must, can and will continue because prohibitive legislative bans in other countries is leaving millions terrorized because of unjust laws: because in the USA elitists irrationally and purposely focus solely on redefining marriage: Because elitists in other countries criminalize same gender relationships. The fact that elitists irrationally and purposely focus on redefining marriage is criminal as well as punitive is mean-spirited and clearly uncharitable.

Sir, we are all one heartbeat in humanity; everyone around the world must loudly and unequivocally protest all punitive and mean spirited GLBT legislation and laws. No one should ever be jailed or put to death because they love someone of their own gender. Every voice must be heard. Everyone has a right to be seen, to know, to understand, to love and be loved in return. Court battles are costly, unjust and unnecessary. We must continue to clear the pathway for full and equal rights because ignorance is real, hate is real, bigotry is real and they are lethal.

My question: How long will Oklahoma continue to demean the dignity of same-sex couples when there is no rational reason to do so?

Thank you for your time,
~~~~

Kumbaya my Lord_ People are dying_ My Lord

A voice from Haiti: “Gay people will curse our country

And we already have enough curses.” 

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I just read a news article involving the death of two ‘presumed gay’ men at an anti-gay march in Haiti.  They were beaten to death by protesters demonstrating against proposed marriage equality legislation. Among the anti-gay marchers were religious groups that were identified as Muslim and Protestants. Marchers also carried signs that threatened the GLBT community.
A question was asked: “if gay people continue to exercise their rights what are we going to do?’ Response: “We’ll kill them_ we’ll destroy them because we don’t need that in our country. We don’t want the question of gay people we want a man and a woman.’   ‘Gay people will curse our country and we already have curses.’  

 At the time  of their deaths the two unidentified ‘allegedly gay’ men were

not known to have been involved in a punishable crime.

It is criminal that there was no form of crowd control. It is sad there appears to be no remorse or regret only more voices speaking for violence, more expressions of prejudice.   Extermination of a group is a crime against humanity:  Two men are dead and their deaths witnessed by a few hundred people including children.  There were no reports of remorse shown or respect. Their bodies were left on the ground for several hours.  This is an attack on human dignity.  Killing members of the group and/or causing serious bodily to members of a group is a crime against humanity.

Irrationality ruled when Bias along with his brother Hate threatened to burn down the parliament building if politicians legalized same-sex marriage.  Irrationality never tolerates dissent. Sadly there is never an opportunity to learn when one is determined not to listen. Many demonstrators came with the intent to harm. Murder is a crime. Will the perpetrator’s be identified and brought to justice?  An ethical question that needs to be addressed; it appears there is no regret for the deaths; does anyone feel remorse for standing by and doing nothing to help? There is never a blessing in violence. If there is no regret expressed for the murders why?

We are One Heartbeat in Humanity: Everyone has a worth, a value, has the right to know and be known to see and be seen, to think and speak, to find meaning in life, to connect, to know love and to be loved unconditionally, to know peace, to feel safe, to discover the meaning of life. We have a common future, these men deserved to know love; to have a family.  Hateful hearts came prepared to harm. Bias and his brother Bigotry whipped a crowd of people into a hateful frenzy and two men died and hatefulness left the bodies lying exposed on the earth for several hours.

I finished this piece waiting for a time before I posted it then I read of another extremely horrific murder that must be addressed here.  The deviant are those religionists who constantly and consistently promote homosexuality as deviant behavior and an abomination against God. A church represents the spiritual heart and the leadership represents its voice and the essence of spiritual values. A church should be a safe place, an asylum, but how can it be when its leaders use hateful words and sits with others to plan and plot treacherous activities?  Hard line religious groups take full advantage of  freedom of speech and use it to wage an all-out war against the Gay Rights Movement.   Hateful, hurtful words are used as assault weapons against the community and their statements are carefully crafted,  so crafted that they barely skirt the law yet they achieve a desired outcome of igniting negative reactions both nationally and internationally.  The hateful mission of the religionists is to damage and destroy the pursuit of equality, liberty and justice by the LGBT community.   

Jamaica: “A Jamaican cross-dressing teen ‘chopped and stabbed’ to death by a mob – A 17-year-old was attacked by a large crowd of party-goers, who dumped the remains of his body behind some bushes on a road in Jamaica.”  The murder mentality is expanding around the globe and this is frightening. This is the Age of Enlightenment; we should not be acting like barbarians; murder, and the call for murder is wrong.  

I learned long ago, you can’t reason with a closed mind or shake hands with a clenched fist, if we want to be free of the bonds of bigotry and ignorance we need education and free discussion.  Do not forget that at the heart of all ancient parables of all faiths we find acceptance, equality, harmony, freedom; inclusion and respect.

Man is heir, not ruler yet the modern day extremists hinder and oppose the spread of different thoughts and new social developments  and mankind so  desperately needs healers, makers of peace and humanitarians. We simply must come together to work for humanity. We need more kindness between us if we are to move from this darkness into the greater light.

Rachel Wolff

Circling the Universe – Spiraling into Bliss

Circling the Universe
Spiraling into Bliss

Duduzile Zozo

Earth School

I recently read a news article regarding a young lesbian who was violently assaulted and murdered. At the crime scene authorities found that a toilet brush had been thrust into her vagina. This murder took place in Ekurhuleni, South Africa.

I don’t want to let this story die – Duduzile Zozo deserves to be remembered.

Fact: Lesbians across the globe have suffered much … some have been violated and murdered just as this young woman.

Fact: We are all more than a name and a gender … at our birth we are committed to a gender identity and allocated a series of numbers by bureaucrats. At our birth we become a statistic; the time of our birth is recorded as well as our size and weight, as well as blemishes and the color our skin and hair, and footprints are taken: this is society’s desire.  The child cries but no one pays attention; a child has no voice, even the parent forgets  – and society has forgotten that each a part of the whole.

We are One Humanity and we are all sacred born.

Society frowns at blemishes and imperfection.

Society is quick to judge, label and discard.

Society wants and seeks perfection

Since time began children have been tossed aside- abused, abandoned – forgotten. Society has often mistaken our fear for anger and our rebellion for our yearning to be accepted.

Society has forgotten that we are sacred born, that we are here to unfold, to show the world the splendor of the inner- the real me.  If I say this is who I am then society calls me names and tells me I cannot express myself as I was born.

Society has forgotten that we are one and we are all sacred born.
Duduzile did not deserve what happened to her in her final hours.

No woman deserves this. Duduzile was born a lesbian. She was not cursed and she was not a sinner; she was not broken and she did not need curing!

Shoving a toilet bowl brush into her vagina after raping her was insanely cruel and vicious.

She had every right to be seen and heard, she had the right to life, liberty and security of her own person. No one should ever be subjected to torture as cruel and inhuman or degrading treatment as she was.

It is important that Duduzile’s attackers are found and brought to court and pay for their crime; what was done once can be done again. Was this was an act of terrorism against the GLBT community? Was this attack intended to send a message? I don’t know. But it was intentional and rational at the time and the entire act caused Duduzile great fear and did intimidate local GLBT community as well. That toilet brush wasn’t inserted into her vagina by her own hands, by her own free will.  She did not consent to this.  This woman was brutally and horribly taken by force. Consider that a man has a bat thrust into his anus — in both instances this is considered as a vile and vicious brutal assault, this is not sexual intercourse.

The attack on Duduzile involves the Force of Will by at least one person, possibly more; [theory probably] more.  What is rape?

I wanted to know the history of rape since I’m not exactly convinced the police department of the Ekurhuleni Township is going to pull out all the stops to look for suspects; homophobia is probably alive and well in Ekurhuleni as it is all across the globe. For this we can thank the radical religionists from the East and West for their harmful propogadisizing against the GLBT people.

The word rape “…originates from the Latin verb rapere: to seize or take by force. The word originally had no sexual connotation and is still used generically in English.  The history of rape, and the alterations of its meaning, is complex. In Roman law, rape, or raptus was classified as a form of crimen vis, “crime of assault. The concept of raptus was applied to the abduction of a woman against the will of the man under whose authority she lived, and sexual intercourse was not a necessary element….”

I’m certain that she was forced to experience ‘corrective rape’ which is a hate crime against GLBTI — a hideous crime where both men and women are sexually assaulted in a terrible effort to strip them of their sexual or gender orientation.

Tis is an extremely horrific act of violence – a demeaning act leading to trauma; and/or; mutilation and or possible/probable STD transmission.
I hold to the hope that the local GLBT community will continue to work to help people move forward to evolve, to grow and change to see GLBT people for who they are: People: Kind and gentle and loving people who love another of their same gender that’s all.

We are more than a name, a gender … Our mortal lives are the continuation of a female and a male. We are the lawful_ rightful heirs of a legacy of an ancient union formed from a rib bone, a body.  We are enveloped in a cloak of skin_ endowed with a mind; spirit and soul.

Duduzile – your beginning began when you left the womb of darkness and silence behind you to walk under the sun, the moon and the stars to leave your footprints in the sand. You were more than a size and a weight … a statistic … Today you are remembered as being sacred born.

Duduzile

On wings outspread

Soaring, spiraling

Flying free

 Spiraling into

Light

Spiraling into

Bliss

Reflections of GLBT Ally

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I met Rich In 1973, he was my first gay friend and I enjoyed 26 years of close friendship with him until his death in 1999. Rich wasn’t an occasional friend who frequently visited the family, no at a point in time he became a member of my family and later lived with us; he was ‘uncle’ to my children and  I was his sister. Where the family went – Rich went, what we did, he did as well. He was a gentle, sweet man. In those days ‘gay people’ lived in tightly locked closets but over the years as our friendship evolved, as I moved from being a friend-to sister-confidant I learned of his early struggles; I heard his pain.  Many times Rich and I cried together, oh yes, many, many times. In 2003 I finally met my nephew and his husband and in time they also shared their memories and stories with me; I saw and felt their pain; and we also cried together. We are family and we do family things together, we watch TV, we go out to eat, go on picnics … eat ice cream cones and walk on the beach, we tell family stories – we laugh and giggle and we also mourn for the family members we’ve lost.  We do what all families do; we simply enjoy each other’s company.  I’m not their ‘straight aunt’ who comes to visit them. I am Aunt Rachel and they are G and B my family, period.     

Coming out as an ally I was unprepared; the 26 years of friendship and the family stories gave me an overview of the LGBT world. Three years ago I didn’t know or understand the perverse pulpit predators, prejudicial legislative bullies or religious terrorism. I came out as an ally with an open heart and with so much ignorance. No; I knew absolutely nothing about LGBT rights and issues, I thought I did but I discovered there was still so much for me to learn, to understand.  When Joe Knudson introduced himself to me and then to the Let’s Reach One Million People campaign I knew I was home: I knew the moment I met Joe that he was my brother and I didn’t just cry – I howled; thankfully my husband wasn’t home; he wouldn’t have understood my emotions, but I was home and Joe was my brother and the universe needed to hear my voice. I bawled like a baby for an hour.     

Three years later I am immersed in the LGBT community however I am viewed by many as an outsider but I am deeply aware of the intensity of everyone’s personal struggles. I read the news feed, I hear the anger- the pain. Yes, I fully understand that just staying alive is a daily struggle, and that protecting one’s privacy means survival and the ability to define one’s own destiny is vital. I know that staying mentally – emotionally healthy is another subject entirely. I’ve learned about sexuality and gender non conformity, about self-identity and Interconnectedness.

I’ve learned so much and realize there is still more for me to understand. Today I understand Equality, the Equal Rights movement, and I understand the heavy burdens of personal issues and what I know today was not in my head three years ago, then it was general knowledge.

 The personal horror stories deeply, deeply touch my heart; I read heartbreaking stories of betrayal and rejection; childhood violations, lack of support, disappointment and fear; cruelty and lack of nurturing. Yes my heart was always fully engaged, yes I knew of these wounds but I did not understand the depth and breadth of the wounds nor did I understand the extent of the deep pockets and long arms of the religious right or their vicious tenacity; their depravity.

Christianity is not the Christianity I knew either. Three years ago I read a story of a young man and his homophobic mother. Mother took her young son out in the woods and tied him to a tree and put a rifle to his genitals and told him that if she ever found out he was gay she would shoot his ‘balls off.’ This is a Christian? This is a Mother?  This horror story was my introduction to homophobia.  I was horrified.

Today I read horror stories and each one tries to destroy my innocence but I will not let this happen. I am absolutely outraged and horrified but I cannot let this turn into sourness and bitterness, this is a price I am not willing to pay. But I can’t read LGBT news without my heart responding. I read other peoples reports and the comments of the news. I read the news-feed on my page and read the comments; oh yes I hear the anger- the rage the pain. But I am locked out; ‘friends’ after three years and I’m still locked out; I’m still an outsider to so many, ‘straights’ cannot feel their pain I’m told and I will honor those who feel that way but I will also say that I have been honored by a few who have opened themselves to me and shared their anger, their sorrow, their bitter tears; their pain.  

It’s true, I’ve never been bullied, beaten or discriminated against but no one can tell me that I cannot understand feelings. I understand abandonment, emptiness, grief, loss, loneliness, rejection, sadness, sorrow just as I understand the terms equal rights movement; human rights, homophobes and homophobia. I guess they don’t think that I read with horror and pain of the perversity of the violence, harassment, discrimination, exclusion, stigmatization, and prejudice but I do. I know for certain that I understand the Equal Rights movement because I fully understand the needs.   The Equal Rights Movement isn’t a party and being gay isn’t a lifestyle a fad or a sickness. Equality opponents talk about Gay and sin and salvation and speak of ridiculous absurdities that I won’t bother to list.  

The Equal Rights Movement is about LGBT people being acknowledged as human beings – warm – wonderful people of quality and worth and deserving  to be acknowledged; to be seen and recognized as warm – wonderful people and should be treated with all courtesy, dignity and respect and have every right to expect and enjoy legal freedoms, liberties and rights as granted when born: The truth is that each of us can say “I was born whole and complete and I am still that child:” Yes, equal rights are civil – human rights and yes they are for everyone.  

A family pet is lavished with attention and care while a senator creates a bill to support bullying. This senator chooses to make light of LGBT safety and security issues such as assault, eviction, harassment, homelessness, loss of relationships and society chooses to stand by and accept and condone this just as they accept the absurdities told by pulpit predators. A vicious bible bashing radio personality said that ‘gays are not human’ and other hateful ‘pseudo religious’ personalities tell hateful lies and myths with such ease and listeners absorb their unholy gospel and sit back and allow human beings to be persecuted and tormented. They allow young people to be bullied; they allow men and women to be beaten and yet they shake their heads and do not understand why a seven year old child takes his life. They sit in church and listen and nod and accept absurdities spoken by their pastor; they listen to news of legislators convening to call for the deaths of LGBT in another country.  I have no doubts about who the monsters really are.    

The International Human Rights Council condemns violence, harassment, discrimination, exclusion, stigmatization, and prejudice based on sexual orientation and gender identity that undermine personal integrity and dignity. But the question must be asked, where is the public outcry, why does society accept and condone the absurdities told by the pulpit predators, why accept the violence against LGBT? LGBT rights are human rights and civil rights: Human Rights are universal – they apply to me as well as they apply to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender.

Of Homophobes and the homophobic: Everyone has a right to be seen and their voice heard, their presence known. As a news contributor to various Facebook pages I read extensively about homophobia and homophobes, I don’t understand them or their extreme hate but I know they hate with an unholy passion. I read their lies and remember what a friend states in his blog; ‘lies told in the name of God are still lies’ and I’ll add that persecution and torment done in the name of God is not only hypocritical this is  blasphemous.  I see how their vicious prejudice undermines democracy and makes a mockery of freedom of speech. LGBT are not the enemies of religious liberty as portrayed by the Frigidly Religious nor are they tools of the devil and certainly not God’s adversaries. Yes, I see so much hate in action; I’m mortified and outraged at the outrageous absurdities.

Homophobes teach intolerance. Homophobes create a climate of fear, homophobes create and spread endless lies and push racism.  Homophobia is responsible for the worldwide humiliation persecution, torment; suicide and murder of LGBT people.  Homophobia puts children at risk: LGBT persecution and ridicule by the Frigidly Religious is unfounded and persecution and tormenting of people is not a spiritual value so I question – where is the caring society?  

Members of a caring society protect children from homophobic bullying. A caring society protests homophobic activity: They protest it in their community, on their street and in their public schools. Members of a caring society write letters to their local and state representatives, they stand up and speak out; they let their powerful voices be heard.

Gender: Today I understand that gender is exclusive to everyone but a punishing society cannot or will not accept the fact that it is alright for the school prom to accept a queen with a penis or a king with a vagina. A punishing society says that two men or two women can’t raise a ‘healthy child.’  

Today I understand Pride – even though I went to Pride event years ago I went not fully understanding Pride or Gay Pride now I understand Pride and Gay Pride and better understand the challenges of achieving full equality. I can say with honesty that I fully understand the need for educating and enlightening society and I know we need good PR – we need desperately need funds for PSA’s to overcome the deep pockets of the Rigidly Religious. We need to find a legal way to counteract those unholy ‘Pulpit Predators’ and their vile messages. Educating  mainstream society is a necessity, they need to understand the worldwide violence, harassment, discrimination exclusion, stigmatization, and prejudice that is based on sexual orientation and gender identity; yes, oh yes I understand that hate is man’s doing and his undoing.

Today I speak as ‘we’ because I am not a separate entity. I speak in unity; I understand personal integrity and dignity. To ask another to lock up a part of their being and pressuring another to live a lie is cruel. Again, where is the caring society, where is the care and kindness?

Because it is so cruel and heinous to all mankind no society should never accept, embrace, endorse, condone or promote homophobia yet many do: Today members of churches are afraid to speak up regarding equality and equal rights and this is morally evil! No one should ask another to keep silent about the most intimate part of what makes us who we are.  A justice court states “Sexual orientation is an immutable characteristic… fundamental to one’s identity.” • Immutable means – absolute – unchallengeable – not able to be changed.

Inclusiveness is the center point of my journey as an ally, and though my friends list numbers 160 to the majority I still believe that I am just another name and very few have an interest in me as a friend but some do and I am thankful for this. My friends know who they are: they are warm, witty and wise, and utterly wonderful. When I have a question of a personal nature I ask my witty and wise friends with whom I can talk with about intimate things. At 70 I’m not embarrassed to ask questions [well maybe I do have to think about it a bit] but If my friends are embarrassed at my questions they hide it well but I’m confident enough that they would let me know. This is friendship at its finest.

The democratic process is slow and tedious but I believe that LGBT worldwide equality will be achieved [in time] through proper channels and peaceful means. This does not mean the end of persecution and torment by bigots but I believe that worldwide equality will be achieved.

As long as I am able to think, plan and do I will always be a part of the Equal Rights Movement, my voice of support will always be heard.

Rachel.