Friday, October 28, 2011

I get letters...

OK I am starting this post with another apology. My husband and I are visiting our son in Washington DC right now and I am without a very good internet connection, so posting is going to be light until I get home or find a better connection. I am attempting this post with great trepidation as the speed in which pages are loading is sooo slow I am about to throw a temper tantrum. So fingers and toes crossed that this works.

But anyway, before I left for the airport, I received a great email from Daniel, who describes himself as a straight Ex Mormon and a reader of this blog. He had read my earlier post titled Dear Mormon Church and wanted to let me and my readers know about a website called I Am An Ex Mormon. And what a treasure it is. So I am going to encourage you all to head over and watch all the great video clips they have posted there. And I can assure you they are nothing like the hokey, sappy commercials I wrote about in my "Dear Mormon Church" post. In fact the Ex Mormon stories are so good and so touching (and sometimes sad) that I have to believe the Mormon Church has got to be a tad bit nervous that some or all of these great clips could go viral. So I will help the cause by posting a few of them here, but please visit the website and check them all out and then spread the word. .

And let's all hope that someone gets really inspired by these wonderful Ex Mormon stories and starts a copycat site called I Am An Ex Catholic. I'd sure consider throwing my hat into that ring.

Well it is time to let the fun begin. Here is Jack's story:

And here is Steve's story:

And here is Emily's story:

And here is Mary's story:


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dear Mormon Church,

Please don't fool yourselves into thinking that all those hokey commercials flooding the airwaves right now are going to calm everyone's fears about voting for a Mormon in the 2012 Presidential elections. I can tell you right now they sure as hell aren't calming mine.

Now don't get me wrong, ordinarily I would not give a rat's ass what a candidate's religion is, or whether a Mormon is a Christian, or even whether a candidate is an atheist. Under normal circumstances a candidate's religion or lack thereof would carry no weight with me. It would be all about who I think is the best man or woman for the job. But you, Mormon church leaders in Utah, changed all of that for me (and millions like me) when you decided to overstep the bounds of your temple by working tirelessly to enshrine your religious beliefs into another state's constitution. When you dumped boatloads of money and manpower into getting Prop 8 passed in California, effectively stripping gays and lesbians of that state, including my son, the right to marry the person they love, you made Mormonism a humongous issue for me. And lord only knows how many other states have your fingerprints all over their bigoted, homophobic laws. So make no mistake, it won't matter how many of those stupid sappy commercials you run, I WILL NEVER EVER VOTE FOR A MORMON for president. And if you think I am the only one who feels this way, then you are kidding yourselves.

And for those who have no t.v. and have no clue what I am talking about, grab a barf bag and watch at your own risk:

Hi, I'm Ron I spent most of my career working to put men and women into space. I'm a Mormon:

Hi, I'm Alex Boye I was born in London England. I am a Recording Artist. I'm a Mormon:

Hi, I'm Cassandra I am an Artist, a Wife, a Mother and I'm a Mormon:

I'm Joy. I'm The 2008 Longboard Champion, Love Jesus Christ & I Am A Mormon/Restoration Christian:


Monday, October 24, 2011

Dear Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Michelle Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and the rest of you bozos who think you can be President,

This is a clip of Ireland's President Mary McAleese, who has just been recognized as Most Gay-Friendly Politician in Ireland. And this, my GOP friends, is what a real leader looks like:

How sad, this woman has more balls than all of you homophobic GOP buffoons combined.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

The closet claims many victims, not just the occupant

I never look back on my high school days and think of them as the best years of my life. They weren't. I was a late bloomer, fairly shy, and not a member of any of the popular cliques. I had a small circle of friends and I was content to just blend in. There were no scarring events, no cat fights with other girls, or anything else that would have traumatized me for life. They just weren't the best years of my life and waxing on poetically about them, as some of my friends seem to do, is not something you will catch me doing anytime soon. 

But there are a few people from that period in my life that I still think about and wonder where they are and how they are doing. And one of those people was a popular and very charismatic guy named Eric Myers. Eric was both our adorable (at least I thought so) class-clown and our senior-class president and I know of no one who didn't like him. He was boisterous, funny, always smiling, mischievous, and very outgoing. And he made everyone feel like they were his best friend. He definitely made a whole lot of students' high school days a lot more fun and a lot more interesting.

Eric and I did not run around in the same circles, even though his circle intersected with just about everyone else's circle. But I felt I knew him well anyway. And I don't think I was the only one who felt that way. He just had that kind of personality that attracted everyone to him. I think everyone knew he was going to be something really great when he grew up. So it was absolutely no surprise that he won the election for senior-class president by a landslide. 

Eric was also our class clown. He always kept us wondering what prank he'd come up with next. But I think he finally outdid himself the day he came to school and casually announced that he had legally change his first name from Eric to Lillevig. And he really had. Now who does that? Especially in high school. Well Eric Myers did and I don't think anyone even batted an eye. This was Eric after all and we'd come to expect the unexpected from Eric, I mean Lillevig.

So flash forward a few decades to a few days ago. I am sitting at my kitchen table with a cup of hot morning coffee and I open up the newspaper and right there on the front page is an article, the first in a 3-part series, about Eric Myers. Part One is titled: Arizona man's disappearance leads to dead end, stunning twist. Part of me was not surprised that Eric would make the front page and the other part of me was shocked it took this long. I also could not help wondering: what has Lillevig done now?

I wish I could say the article was an uplifting confirmation of what all his classmates thought he'd become, but it was not. Far from it. In fact it read like a slow motion train wreck and the person they were describing as Eric sounded nothing like the person I so fondly remember from high school.  It didn't come close to resembling the happy-go-lucky and fun-loving guy we elected as our senior-class president. In fact, quite the opposite. According to the article, Eric had become a very strict fundamentalist Christian, gotten married young, had 5 children (some of them adopted), and was a successful executive who was deeply in debt and very depressed. His 13-year marriage was falling apart, he was a physically and emotionally abusive husband and father, his wife and children had moved out, and divorce was imminent.

Eric Myers and his family (1991)

Part One then concludes by telling us that in the summer of 1991, as Eric's "carefully constructed life was crumbling", the "committed family man and hard-core conservative who lived a clean life modeled on a literal interpretation of the Bible" (his father's description) attended a real estate conference in San Diego and then seemingly dropped off the face of the earth, not to be seen or heard from for the next 17 years, leaving behind a shattered family, a very bitter & angry ex-wife, and devastated parents and siblings..

Eventually the family declares him dead, but the damage and highly charged emotions don't die with him.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

"Andrew’s Round Table" aims to defeat MN marriage amendment

I received an email today from Jeff Wilfahrt, father of Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt, a gay soldier killed by an IED in Kandahar, Afghanistan back in February of this year. He wanted to update me and my readers on what he and his wife Lori are working on in their home state of Minnesota as they fight to defeat a marriage amendment that will be on the ballot in that state in 2012. More specifically, he wanted to let us know about a new group that has been formed called Andrew’s Round Table, named for their son, Andrew Wilfahrt. (Here is the group's Calendar of Events.)

The group was "launched to educate Minnesotans about equal marriage rights for same-sex couples". One group member put it this way:

“We wondered what a small group of straight people could do to honor our loved ones and make the future a little brighter for those young ones who feel hopeless or marginalized by this amendment,” she said.
The group’s mission is to change Minnesotans’ minds on LGBT equality: “Our main goal is to encourage thoughtful conversation on this issue.” 
One of the group's first speakers will be Randy Roberts Potts, the gay grandson of famed televangelist Oral Roberts. Below is a sermon he gave at All Souls Church in Tulsa, Okla., about his experiences growing up gay at the evangelical compound created by his grandfather:

In spite of their tragic loss, Jeff and Lori have been traveling around the country sharing stories about their son and fighting for full equality for gays and lesbians not just in Minnesota, but in the entire country. Below is a moving speech Lori gave at the Outserve conference in Las Vegas on October 15, 2011:

Related stories:
DADT Cannot End Soon Enough!
Of loaves and fishes by Jeff Wilfahrt
Dear Minnesota,


Herman Cain is an ignorant, bigoted piece of crap

Ok, I am seething with so much anger right now, I probably should not be posting this morning. But when I saw this clip of Herman Cain claiming that being gay is a choice, I fell to my knees and thanked the FSM that I was not in that studio because I'd have hopped that stage and smacked his smug, self-righteous face silly. What a profoundly stupid man.

I have had it with the ignorant, bigoted bullsh*t  being spouted by these ignorant bigoted people who actually think they can be president of this country. I simply cannot wrap my mind around the idea that today, in the year 2011, with our economy in such disastrous shape, and so many of our citizens in economic ruin, that one of the major political parties in this country still thinks campaigning on a platform of bigotry and stigmatization of a significant segment of this country is a winning strategy. I truly feel I am living in an alternate universe. And the biggest tragedy of all is that Herman Cain has a lot of company in this batch of clowns running for the GOP nomination since pretty much all of them agree and take every opportunity they can to proclaim it.

I watched my young son struggle for years with something he just could not bring himself to share, something he struggled with every second of every day of the very years he should have been carefree and worry-free, something that not even professional counseling could pry from him. And people like Herman Cain believe all that agony was a "choice"?

Well  Herman Cain, you are wrong. My son did not choose to be gay. And because of your profound bigotry and ignorance and the bigotry and ignorance of sanctimonious frauds just like you our son and so many other children just like him suffered for years in silence, alone, and in agony. And tragically many still do. And even more tragically many don't make it to adulthood. They kill themselves. So to watch you, Herman Cain, a GOP presidential candidate sit there on national t.v. and smugly proclaim, with certainty that could only have been pulled straight from your a**, that these children choose to be something that would make them a target for bullying, shaming, and demonization makes me realize just how unfit for public office you are. Being gay is not a choice sir, but being a ignorant, bigoted, idiot is.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

More from the "We Do Campaign" in North Carolina

Via JMG:

This campaign really appeals to me on so many levels. What makes it so powerful in my eyes is seeing the actual families who will be denied the same rights and protections every other family in North Carolina gets. And if that opening scene with the parents and their children looking at a family photo album and the children squealing with so much glee and pride as they point out the different members of their family does not stir up very similar memories of your own family, in your own kitchen, with your own squealing gleeful children, then I don't know what will.

I guess it is the ordinariness and the familiarity of that scene that so moves me. This family is so much like mine that if it was simply a soundtrack with no visual, I'd have thought it was my family. How can anyone deny those beautiful, happy, children and the loving men who have provided them the stability and security of a good home the same rights and protections everyone else in North Carolina enjoys? And for those who can, you need to re-watch the clip above and ask yourself what Christian and Family Values really mean to you.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Parents have to come out of the closet too

Every year on October 11th we celebrate National Coming Out Day, "a day observed annually to celebrate coming out and to raise awareness of the LGBT community and civil rights movement". And it also serves as a good day, for those who feel ready, to come out of that corrosive, soul-crushing closet and tell their friends and family that they are gay.

But one thing most people do not realize until they are in the situation is that many of us parents who learn we have an LGB or T child immediately move into the closet from which our precious son or daughter just freed themselves. And that is what my husband and I did when we learned our son was gay. We deeply closeted ourselves and stayed there until we were able to regain our footing and come to terms with our new reality.

As is often the case, a child struggling with his sexual orientation will spend a long time, sometimes years struggling to come to terms with and get comfortable with their sexual orientation. And most of the time, this all happens in a complete one-person vacuum (closet) with massive energy and deception expended to guard their secret from discovery, so when that child does finally come out (or as happened in our case- a parent or family member finds out accidentally) it is an unexpected shock that can feel like your world has just been turned upside down and had the bajeezus shook out of it. And many of us (though not all) go rushing into that closet and begin the task of getting comfortable with and accepting our new reality, gathering the courage to start telling close friends and family, and hoping the sky does not fall and our lives will continue on as usual.

I have written about my husband and my coming out process before, here and here. And though I could never ever claim it to be as traumatic an experience as what our children must go through, I can say it is still a very difficult process full of nasty possibilities for destroyed friendships and very damaged family relationships and it will go on and on throughout our lives as we meet new people or reconnect with old acquaintances. But fortunately, we parents are adults and we have the emotional maturity and skills, a lot more years of life experience, and the financial independence to handle whatever happens after full disclosure without worrying about abandonment and having to make our way alone and unprepared. Our children do not yet have those luxuries.

Happily, in my husband's and my case there has only been one casualty in our "coming out" experience thus far and that was my relationship with one of my four brothers, and his reaction was certainly not a surprise - being that he is the "good" Christian in the family, I expected a full-out disaster when he found out, and I got it (I have written of this here, here, and here so I will not waste any more time or energy on this sad chapter). Thankfully telling my other 3 brothers and my husband's siblings and cousins did not even cause a blip on the radar screen. But then these are educated, loving, and open-minded people and that always makes a difference.

I guess what I am trying to say in this wordy post can be boiled down to this: National Coming Out Day is NOT just for our LGBT children, it is for everyone and anyone who has a gay loved one. Visibility is our best weapon. When people know a gay person or someone who has a gay loved one, it becomes much harder to discriminate against them. Putting a face on the religious right's scary gay boogeyman is the best way to neutralize the enemy. For some of us that closet was an awful necessity, but coming out of it is also a necessity. 

We Do Campaign - Asheville, NC

As anyone who stays current on LGBT news knows, North Carolina's state legislature just recently agreed to let the voters of their state decide whether some of their fellow LGBT North Carolinia citizens should have the same rights and protections they have. But hey ---  we all know how well allowing a majority to decide the rights of a minority has worked out in the past ---- especially in the south --- they even have a name for it: mob rule.

But in all fairness, one must give accolades to North Carolina for holding out this long in not joining ranks with their fellow bible-thumpin, self-righteous, gawd-fearin southern neighbor states in enshrining homophobia and second-class citizenship into their constitution. And we must also realize that progress towards full marriage equality for our LGBT brothers and sisters must start somewhere, so why not in North Carolina or Minnesota, both of whom will have gay marriage amendments on the ballots in the near future?

So with that said, I find this Southern Equality campaign quite powerful. And I don't mind admitting it made me tear up a bit:   

And I gotta ask, isn't it ironic that the very people who have been steadily succeeding in stripping rights and dignity from their fellow American citizens in the name of their God and their religious beliefs are the very people who have the highest divorce rates (highest divorce rates in the bible-belt south)? 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Torturing your own child in the name of God

I am horrified by the story this young man tells and that it happened at the hands of his own father, a Southern Baptist missionary, is simply unimaginable to me.

From the Daily Mail:
'Tiny needles were stuck into my fingers and I was electrocuted': Victim of Baptist gay conversion therapy describes how he was tortured at 12:
  • Beaten repeatedly by his father after innocently telling him, aged 12, that he was attracted to his friend
  • Told he had AIDS, that he was the only gay person in the country and the government would kill him if they found out
  • Hands burned and frozen with ice while he was shown images of men hugging
  • Electrocuted for a month while shown explicit pictures of men
  • Has since been excommunicated by his family and warned by his father that he will shoot him if he ever comes home  

Monday, October 10, 2011

Guess what tomorrow is?

National Coming Out Day

If you feel safe doing so, please consider coming out of that horrible stuffy closet. Visibility is hands down the best weapon we have in combating ignorance and fear. It is much easier to hate the concept of an evil gay boogeyman than it is to hate a living breathing person who is actually no different than anyone else. And besides, wouldn't you just love being those Religious Right homophobic heathens' worst nightmare? Well when you are out, loud, and proud you are just that. Those sanctimonious frauds want nothing more than to keep you hidden, dehumanized, and as miserable as possible.

And if it is not the right time for you to do this, no worries, we will love you no matter what. Your safety is more important than anything else. One day the time will be just right and when it is, we will be waiting for you with arms wide open.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Star Parker: We Are Sick As A Country

Wow, I've never heard of this woman before, but I sure wish I could beam myself back to those few moments before I clicked the play button on this video clip. Those are 2 minutes and 20 seconds of my life I will never get back. And I won't even talk about the thousands upon thousands of brain cells that I lost while listening to this woman's homophobic hate-infused drivel. Oh man, I need a good brain scrub.

Watch at your own risk:

One more point I'd like to make, this woman is a speaker at the Values Voter Summit, a must-attend event for any Republican Presidential hopeful. And this woman, along with every other homophobe and hater in the name of God, is part of the crowd that Mitt Romney and Rick Perry and the rest of these GOP candidates must woo and win over. So it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why homophobia and hate are still a winning platform for any goon who wants to run for president as a Republican. This Summit truly is the belly of the beast.


Yes, I disappeared again - I needed a break - seething can be quite exhausting

And sadly, I come back and not only has nothing changed while I was gone, but the crazy is amping up. There can be no denying it, one of our major political parties has gone completely off the rails. Just  imagining one of those GOP presidential candidates as the next President of the United States absolutely terrifies the holy hell out of me and sends me back to the security of my bedroom where I can curl up in a fetal position and cry.

I cannot describe the mixture of emotions I feel when I watch the current GOP presidential candidates compete to out-crazy each other. And then to watch the audience eat it up with so much glee just makes my stomach turn. Who are these freaks people?

To think that today, just a little over a year away from the 2012 presidential elections, one major political party in this country still finds running on a platform of pure unadulterated homophobia political gold is just mind-numbing and devastating. Do these people not realize that for every glbt American they want to strip of dignity and worth there is a mother, a father, sisters, brothers, and other relatives, not to mention friends and acquaintances who love them?

Now my rational self knows why this stage of the game is so crazy, but the idea that a party could have a fringe to their base that is so vile and so putrid that they can only be satiated and aroused when the conversation turns to executions, letting uninsured people die, booing gay soldiers in Iraq, and promises of  reinstating DADT is really depressing. Is winning the nomination for the party so important that one must sell their soul to please people who should be shunned, not courted? I guess if you are a Republican the answer is a resounding YES.

Let me finish with some YouTube reminders of what the Republican Party has become:

Herman Cain telling the women on the view that being Gay is a choice. And for his ignorance and homophobia, he is rewarded with escalating poll numbers:

Michelle Bachmann bragging about being a better homophobe than the others:

Rick Santorum promising to reinstate DADT after the audience boo'd a gay soldier in Iraq asking the candidates a question about DADT. No "thank you for your service", no admonishing the heathens in the audience, no anything that even resembled presidential material, just the same ignorant lunacy we've come to know and hate about this has-been politician, no wonder Mr. Santorum has a Google problem - he earned it quite honestly. Embedding has been disabled by request so you'll have to click over to watch this piece of nastiness if you haven't seen it already.

And then there is the slippery, snake-oily, spineless, plastic-y Romney refusing to take a stand on the booing of gay soldier in Iraq:

And just a quick reminder of whom Rick Perry chooses to rub elbows with:

And last, but certainly not least, the candidate who could have been our Vice President in 2008 and has finally spared this country further embarrassment and bowed out of this race (I hate you John McCain and I shall never forgive you for inflicting this emotionally stunted shrew on this country). This is a must-watch:

And finally, a quote from Andrew Sullivan that I found quite appropriate for this post:

Today's GOP, for example, favors repeal of the repeal of DADT, a constitutional amendment to ban all relationship rights for gay couples, criminalization of all abortion including cases of rape and incest, the undermining of evolution in education, disbelief in climate change, support for torture, cheers for the death penalty, and a global Judeo-Christian war against Islam.