Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Oh dear sweet Minnesota - How I love thee ...

Not only do you do the right thing, but you do it for all the right reasons. What a great state. I miss you with all my heart.

Congratulations to the Newlyweds!

Love Minnesota Dems


The Daily Show On Pope Francis

Basically saying the same thing I said here in this post except with a lot more humor and sacrilege. So laugh on the outside and cry on the inside if you were hoping to see a huge change in Catholic doctrine with this new Pope:


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pope Francis on gays: If they accept the Lord and have good will, who am I to judge them?


About those comments Pope Francis made to reporters on a flight from Brazil to Rome:

"If they accept the Lord and have good will, who am I to judge them? They shouldn't be marginalized. The tendency (to homosexuality) is not the problem ... they're our brothers."

I am not exactly sure why those words have ignited such an international firestorm.  Pope Francis is simply restating in kinder, gentler terms what has always been the Catholic Church's stand on homosexuality: Hey, we don't hate you as long as you don't act on any of those God-given attractions and remain celibate. Otherwise we will consider you the scourge of the earth, condemn you as an abomination, but don't worry, we'll do it in a nicer way than old Ratzi did.

I hate to be a kill-joy here, but I see nothing in what Pope Francis said that changes my mind about the Catholic Church's stance on homosexuality. All I see is a new Pope who is taking a play out of the Republican's current playbook: Don't change any of our extremely unpopular and cruel stances, just sugarcoat the hell out of them, say it in a softer tone, and hope to hell people don't notice the message is exacty the same, it is just the delivery that is different.

Look, everyone who has read my blog for any period of time knows my feelings about the Catholic Church. And for those of you who don't, I am a cradle Catholic who finally walked away over the Church's cruelty to gays, antiquated views on women's issues, and their horrific enabling and cover-up of the pedophile scandal. So I would not blame you if you ignore me, but I have absolutely NO intention of throwing a celebration over those words.

Call me a cynic or a pessimist, but the fact is the Church is not going to change its stance on gays in our lifetime. In fact the Church will probably never change its stance. And that is its right. But with this new pope the only thing that is going to change is the way the Church's doctrine is going to be delivered from now on. They got smart and booted that mean, old, nasty, deeply closeted, and very homophobic man in the red Gucci slippers with a penchant for fabulous hats and replaced him with a more humble, less flashy, and probably more sincerely kind man who will continue to deliver the same ugly message, but with a lot less ugliness and sting. And they are hoping we won't notice.

Sorry, that is nowhere near enough for this mama. Children will continue to be shunned and thrown out like trash by their families, bullied and beaten in their schools, and end their lives because of the Catholic Church's stance on homosexuality. And that is something that can NEVER be sugarcoated or celebrated.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

An update to my May of 2011 post: "2 gay dads, 12 happy kids, and the family values politicians who legislate against them"

Uhmm - Make that 14 happy kids - Amazing dads come through again, adopting 2 more children in crisis.

Well once again I am updating a story I posted back in 2011. This time it is a happy story. With some ironic twists. I mean this is Arizona you know --- and the story involves 2 gay men --- who have been the go-to guys for Arizona's Child Protective Services every time they have a crisis situation involving abused and neglected children. What irony - no? Arizona hasn't been the most gay friendly haven in the country.

This state, with the help of millions of dollars, lots of fear-mongering, and a ton of hideous lies from the likes of Cathi Herrod of the Center for Arizona Policy, passed a draconian amendment to our state constitution in 2008 making darn sure that no gay or lesbian couples could ever get married or even enter into a civil union. Cathi Herrod wanted to make damn sure that families like Steven and Roger Ham's family would have absolutely NO rights, NO recognition, NO protections, NO dignity, No anything. It took this nasty homophobic woman 2 tries to get that amendment passed and lord knows how many millions of dollars, but she got it done.
Meanwhile, desperate social workers from Child Protective Services and family court judges have been turning to Steven and Roger Ham for years. Whenever there is a child in crisis (read: abused by a straight couple) that no one else (read: straight couples) will take, Steven and Roger Ham are the couple they turn to. But Arizona's top "family advocate", Cathi Herrod, still believes that people like Steven and Roger are a huge threat to straight people's marriages and unfit to raise children. Too bad (for her) stories like the ones below keep undermining her blatant ugly lies about the dangers of allowing gay and lesbian families to have their relationships legally recognized and their families afforded the same rights and protections "traditional" families have.

From the original story I blogged about in 2011:
State child-welfare officials learned to trust and rely on the Hams, bringing them 42 foster children over 10 years. Some needed shelter for a few days; others stayed for months. Child caseworkers knew the men would take in any child, day or night, no questions asked, and treat them as their own. And in the Hams' home, children were never sent back for doing something wrong, and it didn't matter that they were not all the same color, or had special needs. 
And the story that was published in today's Arizona Republic:
Steven and Roger Ham, two gay dads raising 12 children adopted from foster care, were done. They had six girls and six boys, ages 4 to 18. Their youngest was out of diapers, their oldest about to finish high school.
So after eight years and with a full house, they closed their Arizona foster- and adoptive-care licenses in May 2010. Their family was complete.
But the judge handling their last adoption warned them: “Never say ‘never.’ ”
And one January night after all the kids were in bed, the last of four loads of laundry in the dryer, Steven and Roger saw a report on the news that would change everything.
Two foster parents in Prescott had been arrested on charges of child abuse after a teacher alerted police to a 4-year-old student covered in bruises.
Roger frowned at Steven. Could it be? Their daughter Ambrose, who’s 6 now, had two younger half-siblings in foster care in Prescott, one of them a 4-year-old girl.
The details of the case were heart-wrenching. A police officer noted that bruises on the girl’s face were so deep they could be seen from inside her mouth. A 2-year-old brother also had been taken into state care.
“We felt sick,” Steven said. “We thought, ‘Those are our own daughter’s siblings.’
“It was devastating.”
The men had known the children were in foster care but believed it was a good situation. They had not been asked to take the children because they had closed their license.
So once again the Hams came through for the State of Arizona's most vulnerable children. They quickly renewed their foster-care license, a process that normally takes months, and they brought Bella and Julian home.

Cathi Herrod has got to be quaking in her combat boots. Couples like Steven and Roger Ham are NOT threats to straight couples' marriages as Cathi would have us believe, but they are godsends to the 14 abused and vulnerable children they adopted and the many, many children they've fostered over the years that no one else would take in.
It's got to be getting harder and harder for ole Cathi to make her pathetic claims that legalizing gay marriage is an attack to weaken the traditional family when there are saints like Steven and Roger around. And I've got to believe that there are many social workers from the Child Protective Services agency and judges from the family courts who have turned to Steven and Roger Ham for help over the years who see Cathi Herrod for who she really is - a despicable liar and a fraud.

It's time for Cathi Herrod to stop advocating for destructive laws that hurt families she does not approve of and start advocating for all families, not just the few that meet her standards. And if she cannot do that, she needs to plant her sanctimonious ass in a saddle and ride off into the Arizona sunset - never to be seen or heard of again.


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Virginia wannabe Governor Ken Cuccinelli could learn a few things from Russia's Vladimir Putin

You know old macho man Vlad has the art of homophobia down to a science when he becomes a joke in the eyes of the rest of the world. He actually makes Ken "The Cooch" look like small potatoes when it comes to fear of anything that might threaten his own manhood:

And for those who haven't heard about Putin's latest antics, I give you this:
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed two controversial laws strengthening the penalties for "propagating homosexuality among minors" and for insulting people's religious feelings in public.
Under the amended law holding LGBT rallies is now prohibited as well as distribution of information aimed at forming non-traditional sexual concepts in children, describing such ties as attractive, promoting the distorted understanding of social equality of traditional and non-traditional relations and also unwanted solicitation of information that could provoke interest in such relations.
Thus, for giving children propaganda about homosexuality - lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community - individuals could be fined up to 5,000 rubles ($US 152) for such 'propaganda' and foreigners could be fined the same amount, held in jail for 15 days and deported.
Officials will have to pay up to 50,000 rubles (about US$ 1,500) and companies – up to 500,000 rubles (about $US 15,000).
Using the media or the internet for the promotion of non-traditional sex relations carries even harsher punishment. Individuals will have to shell out up to 100,000 rubles (about US$ 3,000), while organizations – a million rubles or face a 90-day suspension of activities. 
The other bill criminalizing the act of insulting people's religious feelings:
... allows fines up to half a million rubles (about $15,600) and up to three years of jail time for people convicted of intentionally offending religious sensibilities at places of worship and a year in jail for offenses committed elsewhere.
Because nothing proves one's "manliness" to the world like bullying a minority that already has a big fat target on its back.

Way to go Vlad - you da man. Cooch? You taking notes?


Friday, July 26, 2013

The closet claims many victims, not just the occupant - A follow-up to a post I wrote almost 2 years ago

The Eric I knew is on the right.

Back in October of 2011, I wrote a post titled: The closet claims many victims, not just the occupant. A few days ago I noticed an uptick in traffic going to this post and could not figure out why it was getting so much attention now. Then I got an email from reader, SammyJo, telling me that 20/20 had done a television piece on the same Eric Myers story I had relied on when I wrote about him back in 2011. 

Of course I went immediately online, found the 20/20 piece, and watched it. It was quite agonizing to watch, far far more painful and unsettling than reading the original 3-part story in the Arizona Republic newspaper back in 2011. There is something quite powerful and disturbing about actually seeing the total destruction the closet wreaks on so many lives. (I have embedded the 3 parts of the 20/20 series below for you to watch or you can go to my original post to read the 3-part series that appeared in the Arizona Republic in 2011.)

Before I go any farther I need to explain why this story caught my eye in the first place. I have a very small personal connection to Eric (Lillevig) Myers. I was one of his high school classmates and admirers. I didn't hang in his circles, nor did I have a crush on him in the romantic sense, but I absolutely loved, loved, loved this guy. He was our class clown, student body president, cheerleader, and general fun guy to be around. He certainly made going to school a whole lot of fun and he definitely made a huge impression on me. I cannot tell you how many times over the past 3 decades memories of this adorable guy would periodically pop into my head and make me wonder about him and how he is doing. There are not many people from my high school days that make me do that.

So anyway, I watched the 20/20 series a few days ago and literally got sick to my stomach. It was impossible not to see and feel the horrible pain he put his family through by abandoning them, especially the daughter who agreed to be interviewed. And it was just as horrific bearing witness to the train wreck that Eric had become. The crazed man looking back at me on the TV screen and calling himself Eric bore absolutely no resemblance to the vivacious young man I remember in high school. It was at that point that I realized what a naive young girl I was back in high school. I had absolutely no clue that the funny, happy-go-lucky, class clown/class president that I had so admired and loved was just acting for dear life to cover for the frightened young boy who was dying a slow death inside. 

I do not in any way want to diminish the pain Eric's children went through nor am I in any way condoning Eric's decision to just run away. But as I watched the 3-part series below, I cried, hard at times, not just for Eric's children, especially the daughter who was interviewed, but also for Eric. He had to be so desperate to do what he did. He truly seems to have suffered some kind of horrible psychotic episode as a result of spending so much of his young life denying and hiding who he was. He lost so many years of his life struggling to conform to what he believed his family, his friends, his church, and society in general wanted him to be. And in the end, he lost whole lot more: his family, his reputation, and his sanity.

Am I making excuses for Eric and what he did? Absolutely not. He had a very real responsibility to his family. And by doing what he did, he caused horrible gaping wounds on the very people he should have been protecting. And those wounds will probably never fully heal. But as I watched Eric's story unfold on the screen, I could not help thinking about the damage we, as a society, have caused by forcing our glbt children to hide who they really are simply to make us comfortable. And that damage can have a tremendous ripple affect. Just look at Eric's family. This is not family values. This is forced destruction masquerading as family values. And but by the grace of god, my son did not have to endure the hell Eric did, nor does he have to live with the guilt of destroying a family he should have been protecting, as Eric will have to do.  

My heart aches for all the victims in this story - including Eric.  

Part 1: I Escaped My Life: Runaway Family Man

Part 2: Runaway Family Man: A Daughter's Pain

Part 3: Runaway Family Man: Back From the Dead


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Virginia is for lovers - but it won't be if Ken Cuccinelli is elected governor

The Cooch

My gawd, what on earth is going on with Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia's current Attorney General and Republican nominee for Governor? I knew the guy was a creepy, uptight, totally-obsessed-with-other-people's-private-sex-lives weirdo. And I knew he was a serious homophobe (he is one of the only elected officials in America who believes that being gay should result in criminal prosecution and jail time). But is there something else going on with this guy as well?***(see below)

Ken is so blinded by hatred of the gay that he doesn't just want to keep antiquated (and unconstitutional) anti-sodomy laws on the books, but he wants to enforce them under the guise of "protecting the children" using the full force of the law. These are laws that would ban consensual sex acts (sodomy and oral sex) in which both gay and straight consenting adults engage. But at least then he'd be able to sleep at night knowing that those icky "homosexual acts" which he believes are "intrinsically wrong" would now be grounds for going after and stigmatizing all those horrible gays. Straight people would just have to put up with being unfortunate collateral damage in his crusade to rid Virginia of its gay menace.

This sorry little homophobic man has been so rabidly obsessed with gay sex for such a long time that he does not even realize how freaky he appears to the sane masses outside of the right-wing mega-churches. But oh what a gift to comedians and talk show hosts he has become. Watch as the ladies at The View have a complete field day with this fool's idiocy. For them, Kenny, "The Cooch" is manna from heaven, but for Virginians who may have to one day call this sorry little repressed mess Governor, he is a nightmare that should be keeping them awake at night.  

***Could this be Ken, "The Cooch's" problem??


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Ugh, I am neglecting you again

I apologize. It has been a pretty crazy couple of months what-with our oldest son getting married back east and our daughter getting accepted to medical school and moving from Seattle where she has lived for the past 6 years back to Phoenix.

And then there is my mom. She is fairly stable right now, but with dementia there are good days and bad days. Thankfully the good days still outnumber the bad days. (And having a 91 year old boyfriend at the Assisted Living place has really made her very content and happy - which makes me content and happy.) So things have been busy to say the least, but I cannot complain.

We drove today to Los Angeles, California to visit our middle son, Michael, the star of this blog. The drive was a bit harrowing as we encountered some torrential gully gushers starting right outside the Phoenix city limits and continuing on into California. But the bright side is we crossed the desert in 80-something degrees instead of the usual 115+ degrees one would expect in July. Almost unheard of, but most welcome.

This past Friday was our daughter's White Coat ceremony. It started out a quiet morning, but a series of unexpected events made the day a bit calamitous and our ability to make the ceremony uncertain. Thankfully we all got to the ceremony in one piece and calmed down enough to enjoy the ceremony. Here is a picture of our little girl after the ceremony and wearing her white coat (sorry - proud mama here, can't help bragging):

And one last thing. Not much to really write about right now. That is a good thing. I think I can finally envision the day when I can write my last post about the crazies and haters who have dedicated their lives to making our glbt friends and family miserable. That day is not here yet, but it is getting closer. The way I know that is I am seething a whole lot less lately.

I will try and be better about posting. May not happen until I get back to AZ. Right now I am waiting for my beloved Michael to get off work. I cannot wait. I've missed him so much.

Oh and for your listening pleasure while I neglect you, here is Dan Savage (a personal hero of mine) on the Bill Maher show this past Friday. Warning, he is as racy as ever.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Meet Michele Bachmann's replacement

Gohmert: "How Does The Mating Of Two Males Evolve The Species Upwards?"

Yup, good ole Louie Gohmert, so homophobic and stupid, he makes Gomer Pyle look like a Rhodes Scholar, but the good news is, there will be no interruption in the flow of stupid once Michele leaves.

Britain's gay marriage bill has cleared its last major hurdle

 Rainbow bus passes the Houses of Parliament
Congratulations to our gay and lesbian friends across the pond. Now on to the United Kingdom's other two nations, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

A great big shout out to my dear friend Jeff Wilfarht who is breaking out the champagne up in Minnesota as we speak. We love ya Jeff and Lori!


Saturday, July 13, 2013

About those families that don't fit Maggie Gallagher, James Dobson, and Tony Perkin's teeny little template for the ideal family

They are alive & well, thriving & no longer silent - thank you very much:

Back in 2003 when we first learned our middle son was gay, my first reaction was to steep myself in research. I needed to know what obstacles he would face as a gay person growing up in a predominantly straight society.

I learned there were oodles and oodles of organizations whose official title has the word "Family" in it and whose mission statements proudly claim they advocate for "the family". I also learned their definition of "the family" made NO mention of the many families who do not conform to their very strict definition of an ideal family, ie.: those whose head of household are a gay couple, a lesbian couple, a single mom (lesbian or straight), a single dad (gay or straight), or grandparents who usually under unfortunate circumstances end up raising their grandchildren, or any of many other non-conforming configurations we see in this country.

Nope, the ONLY family these "family advocacy" organizations advocate for are the ONE-MAN-ONE-WOMAN families. Anything else, according to them is unacceptable and bad for children. Because you know ---- it's all about the children.

And so began my odyssey into the la-la-land of Focus on the Family, Family Research Council, American Family Association, NOM, and so many more, too numerous to name.

And boy what an eye-opener it has been. I watched as they took solid studies by reputable researchers and twisted them to prove their claims of doom and gloom and justify their calls to legislate their version of the ideal family into our laws. I cringed as I watched discredited quack researchers who churn out hate literature masquerading as legitimate science and then use it as proof that children only do well in their version of the ideal family. And then I watched as they set out to make damn sure that many of the families that did not meet their standards (read: headed up by gay and lesbian couples) did not get any of the rights and protections that every other family gets. Because you know ---- it's only about the children who come from families who have these organizations' seal of approval. 

So here we are, 10 years later. Prop 8 and DADT are dead. DOMA is in critical condition. Thirteen states have legalized gay marriage and more states are considering joining the ranks. Numerous states have begun talking about ridding themselves of their hideous gay marriage bans. And polls are now tipping the scales in our favor. But best of all, we are now seeing the children of these non-ideal families - and guess what? They are well-adjusted. They are articulate. They are successful. They are happy. And they are faaaabulous!

Maybe now these so-called family advocacy organizations will start truly advocating for the family ---- all families ---- not just the few that meet their narrow definition of the ideal family. But I won't hold my breath.


Thursday, July 04, 2013

Happy 4th of July - and may this time next year see another 13 states (or more) celebrating the legalization of gay marriage

A lot to celebrate. For me, it is the amazing strides we have made on the gay rights front.

And for your entertainment, a short clip via John:

Clip description:
It’s a clip from 1995 of the semi-final round of a kickboxing tournament in Tokyo, Japan. In the ring are Mike Bernardo of South Africa and Jerome Le Banner of France.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Oh dear god, please forgive me, but I am feeling so very hateful right now - I just don't know where to direct it

We have been home for a few days now, but I am exhausted and a bit too busy to blog right now. I've been running around with my daughter in a crazy frenzy trying to get her settled in her new place and ready for med school, which starts this Monday. And the unbearable Arizona heat has not made things any easier, especially for her. She has lived the past 6 years in Seattle and she is having a heck of a time re-acclimating to the brutal Arizona summer and its unbearable heat.

With that said, my exhaustion may be playing a role in my immediate and visceral reaction to a story Andrew Sullivan referenced and linked to titled, "Just Because He Breathes: Learning to Truly Love Our Gay Son". 

I am horrified, devastated, and filled with a seething rage. And the worst part is I have no idea how to sort these feelings or who or what to be most angry with. All I seem to be able to do is cry, which has caused my sunscreen to melt into my eyes, causing them to burn like crazy, making it almost impossible to see, and compounding my misery and fury.

I'd suggest going over to Andrew's first and reading his intro and then following his embedded link to the full story over at the Huffington Post since I may be the last person from whom you would want to get an opinion right now since I am tired, cranky, and have absolutely nothing to good to say about the brand of Christianity that hates in the name of god.

I knew the story would not end well after reading the first third of the article. In fact I became physically sick to my stomach. I knew where the story was headed when mom, Linda Robertson, described how she and her husband, good Christians, reacted after they learned their son Ryan was gay:

We said all the things that we thought loving Christian parents who believed the Bible, the Word of God, should say:
We love you. We will always love you. And this is hard. Really hard. But we know what God says about this, so you are going to have to make some really difficult choices.
We love you. We couldn't love you more. But there are other men who have faced this same struggle, and God has worked in them to change their desires. We'll get you their books; you can listen to their testimonies. And we will trust God with this.
We love you. We are so glad you are our son. But you are young, and your sexual orientation is still developing. The feelings you've had for other guys don't make you gay. So please don't tell anyone that you are gay. You don't know who you are yet. Your identity is not that you are gay; it is that you are a child of God.
We love you. Nothing will change that. But if you are going to follow Jesus, holiness is your only option. You are going to have to choose to follow Jesus, no matter what. And since you know what the Bible says, and since you want to follow God, embracing your sexuality is not an option.
I am afraid to say too much more right now. I am so tired and upset and well ... most of you know how I feel about so-called "good Christians" who use twisted, ancient bible passages to justify their rejection of gay people --- even if one of them happens to be their child.

I am so conflicted. I feel such sadness for these parents and I do believe they loved their son (just not for who he was), but I am also furious with them too. Their ignorance and efforts to be "loving Christian parents who believed the Bible" literally tortured and ultimately killed him. But on the other hand, they will live the rest of their lives buried in guilt and regret. So in the end, I go back to having nothing but pure contempt and disdain for the kind of religion that dupes the gullible into believing that rejecting your gay kid because of who he or she is equals being a loving Christian parent in the eyes of god.