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Archive for August, 2009

Lessons from the Golden Girls: Everyone Wants Someone to Grow Old With

August 19, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, Thought of the Gay

goldengirlsRecently, a Facebook friend brought a Golden Girls episode to my attention . I’m a huge fan of the Golden Girls and regularly watch re-runs.  For some reason, I forgot about this lesson from those wiser than me (and many others), but was very grateful to rediscover it and laugh as I recalled all the moments I sat with my mother, Blanche, Dorothy, Sophia and Rose and the excessive consumption of ice cream that would ensue (I wasn’t such a fan of cheesecake).

The Golden Girls aired from 1985 until 1992, when Bea Arthur left the sitcom – and in the finale left repeatedly only to come back in again and again!

I thought I would share the clip as a lesson from the Golden Girls:

Same-sex marriage has been argued and debated long enough.  All of those against it have absolutely no interest in it other than their own rigid standards of morality.  There is no harm caused by my relationship as it exists now and a marriage license will not make it any more harmful.

Now, 17 years after the Golden Girls, President Obama and LGBT organizations such as EQCA (Equality California) and HRC (Human Rights Campaign) ask us to be patient, and I find myself stuck on stupid – or are they?  This clip reminded me of just how long we have been patient.  So Mr. President, Mr. EQCA and Mr. HRC, how much longer must we be patient?

Momentum is on our side now.  A community has come forward.  The troops are ready to march — with or without Generals.

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Cannon’s Killer Sentenced to 25 years for Manslaughter

August 18, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Hate Crimes, LGBT News

Teish GreenDwight DeLee was the first person to be prosecuted in Onondaga County New York under hate crimes legislation for the murder of Lateisha Green (who is often referred to in the media by her birth name, Moses Cannon).

Lateisha, or Teish as she was known by friends, and her brother, Mark Cannon, had received a call from a friend to come over to talk.  They headed to the Seymour Street address and were still talking with the girl when the gunman walked up to the care and fired.

Mark was in the driver seat and drove away from the scene toward safety.  They were found 13 blocks away.  Mark survived the gunshot wound, but Teish was dead.

Yesterday, DeLee was sentenced to the lessor crime of manslaughter and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

The story of Teish’s murder spawned much criticism, including this comment on one of the original stories:

If the police find the alleged shooter and he happens to be black, this can never be prosecuted as a hate crime. Everyone knows that the only people that ever hate are white Caucasian males that believe in God. – crazedmaniac

I can’t help but wonder if the person who wrote the above non-sense (perhaps rhetorically) now sees that, not only was the murderer a black man, but he was also prosecuted under hate crimes legislation.  So much for the theory that hate crimes target white folk.

See: DeLee sentenced to 25 years in prison for hate crime – NewsChannel 9 WSYR.

Order a NOM Sticker to Support LGBT Equality!

August 17, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, Thought of the Gay

National Organization for [Heterosexual Only] MarriageMaggie Gallagher and her National Organization for [Heterosexual Only] Marriage are campaigning to:

Recruit 2 Million Americans to Stop the Repeal of DOMA.

The campaign includes an offer of a free heterosexual-only marriage sticker, which seems like a bit of a rip-off of CREDO’s free marriage equality sticker.  NOM’s sticker reads:

Don’t Mess with Marriage!

Recently, a few folks on twitter have been attempting to get members of the LGBT community to order the stickers – in mass.  The theory being that NOM will be delayed in fulfilling the orders, exhaust a significant amount of their advertising budget and many people who support oppressive laws will not get the stickers they believe in.

Of course, the question comes up, “What to do with the stickers once we have them?”  Some have suggested a sticker burning party, but for me, I try to avoid any symbolic burning since it was done to our people for so very long.  I do have a chipper/mulcher/shredder that will handle the destruction of NOM’s message of heterosexual superiority just fine though and certainly, by the time I receive my sticker, I can think of hundreds of ways to destroy it and release my angst over their attempts to involve themselves in my life.

What will you do with your sticker?  Once you’ve ordered your sticker, please feel free to send me any pictures or video of your method of destruction or link to them in the comments here.  Hopefully, we will get lots of responses and be able to send a message to NOM – Love conquers all.

ORDER YOUR NOM STICKER NOW!!!! – I’ve ordered mine!

LGBT Lessons for Straight People: Today You Are Gay

August 17, 2009 By: geekgirl Category: Featured, LGBT Lessons for Straight People

Gay EducationMany years ago, I went to dinner and the local Lesbian Variety show with a lesbian and another woman friend, also straight. After a few drinks, I asked my lesbian friend – in the most respectful way that I could – what did it feel like to be attracted to another woman, what did it feel like to love that person? I just didn’t know if the feelings were the same or somehow different. Her answer wasn’t much help. It was along the lines of “well, it probably feels like you do about being attracted to men and the love feels like the best friend in the world.”

Not so different. But somehow, it didn’t answer my question. I was so young at the time, that I was hung up on anatomy and stereotypes. Women are from Venus & men are from Mars.

I knew intellectually that my friend’s relationship was filled with romantic and deep, abiding love. I just couldn’t grasp what it felt like. After all, I’m attracted to guys, not women. And I’m a girl. But now I think I have come close to knowing. And I hope to offer you some insight too. Just by using who you are.

I like to check out reader’s comments when I read articles, especially when I am looking for a blog topic. It gives me a glimpse into the everyday person out there, not just the author. Rarely do I find one that is unique. But today I came across a comment that was made in response to the Great Nationwide Kiss-In, specifically the Kiss-In held in Salt Lake City. The article was about two lesbians and one is a minister.

Here’s the comment, followed by my mullings. I’m not going to address the Christian based portion of the comment as I feel it is irrelevant. I have put in bold the question that intrigued me.

Dave of Detroit wrote:

Well, I have to admit that a kiss is a great symbol and that gays want the right to marry and consider their relationship as loving and meaningful as a marriage between a husband and wife. The only thing that I can possibly question is whether or not the meaning of the relationship is the same. A husband is bound to care for his wife’s emotional, physical and spiritual needs-he is the husbandman or keeper of the vines in that he is the head of the household that bears his name. The wife promises to honor and respect the husband and their love will bring forth children that bear the husbands [sic] name. This relationship is blessed of God and a Holy Sacrement [sic] of the Church. It is a lifelong committment [sic] to forsake all others and cling only to each other. The children of a Christian Marriage are given the promise of eternal life through the faith and consecration of the parents….Can a gay marriage make these statements?

I’m much older now and I’ve reflected on a great deal of what life puts in front of us. Let’s try to answer David’s question. Only this time, I’m going to ask you to participate in finding the answer. Yes, you can play along if you are LGBT. But since this lesson is for straight people, that’s how it will be written. And to make the writing simpler, I’ll write this from a woman’s point of view. Mine. I think you are capable of turning the pronouns, etc., around to get the point.

Could we have same fade-in dream like waviness please? Thank you

A romantic getaway. You are with your husband, lying in bed, and you are both feeling very close to each other. You feel all this wonderful love. You’ve been together for a while so you’ve worked through some ups and downs. For the next hour, you indulge in intimate conversation, pleasure and cuddling. The details are not important. The feelings, both psychological and physical are of love.

Where did the feelings of love start? Where did the feelings of wanting sex start? In your head. Not elsewhere. In your head. Stop and think about it. You are attracted to your husband. Part of that attraction is based on his own unique personality, part is based on being male and part is based on the male anatomy.

And it’s all in your head. Right? Every single piece of it. Now, when it gets to having sex, obviously – we make the desire that we feel in our head real.

Sit for just a moment and enjoy this. How does it feel? Two souls committed to one another, two souls who understand and support one another. Two souls who “get” each other. No other relationship is this open, this deep, this rewarding.

Now, something changes. But only from the neck down. You look down and you are male. Yep, a few things lost, a few things gained. But in your head, you are the same. Feeling like you are in a Star Trek episode? You are. They always have a moral.

A pause for an editorial note – am I saying gay men are women inside their heads? No. Don’t react that erroneous, over-simplistic conclusion. This is an exercise about you and no one else.

What do you feel now? Remember, all that love, closeness and desire are exactly the same. You still feel that undefinable mixture of attraction to your man – that combination of personality, looks, intelligence and specialness that you have always known. That same sexiness is there. He’s as gorgeous and sweet as ever. Our own anatomy doesn’t create our desires. Our minds do.

Still with me? Do you feel normal? Do you feel like there is nothing wrong with the love that you feel for your husband? Does having someone to love you back make you happy, more secure? It does for me.

Gay people feel the same things we do. And yet, straight people who cannot put themselves in a gay person’s shoes feel that there is something wrong, something perverse. It may not be what you feel. But it is what they feel and it is every bit as normal as what straight people feel.

Try to put yourself in a gay person’s shoes. It’s easiest to do if you start with your mind. Keep that the same, then change from the neck down. Go ahead. Once you are finished with the exercise, imagine telling your parents, siblings, friends and co-workers. What do you feel now? Fear? Fear of losing everything you have? Fear of rejection? The weight of dealing with everyone’s emotions? Fear of losing your job, your family, your church? Uncle Joe’s homophobic name calling? Fear that no one will see who you are, your uniqueness as an individual, because they will take only a second to label you with a stereotype and move on?

All because of who you are naturally. All because what you feel hurts no one. Do you think you deserve the reactions you are going to get? Do you think you deserve to hear “I don’t mind gays but I wish they would keep quiet.” What will you feel when someone tells you that God hates you, that you should kill yourself? What will you feel when you can’t bring the person you love home for Christmas, when the family pretends that your partner, whom you cannot even call a spouse, is more like a roommate?

No crime is committed when we love someone. But many sins are committed when straight people judge and degrade our fellow human beings who happen to be LGBT.

They are just like me and you. Treat others the way that you want to be treated.

jaysays.com contributor geekgirlgeekgirl: Geekgirl (Jude) is a straight woman, a mom and has been married for 32 years to the same wonderful man. She believes in Buddhism and attends the United Church of Christ. She is a molecular biologist, her best friend is a lesbian, and she believes that every human deserves equal rights, respect and a life free from hate, fear and discrimination. The only thing she hates is pickles. Her science blog can be found at LGBT Latest Science.

Springfield, MO Responds to Law Against Solicitation by Homosexuals

August 13, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Headline, Thought of the Gay

ConstitutionAs previously discussed, Springfield, MO, has a law in its books titled, “Solicitation by Homosexuals.”  The law reads:

It shall be unlawful for any person in a public place to invite, entice, persuade or to address a person of the same sex for the purpose of inviting, enticing or persuading such person to commit sodomy. Sodomy means any sexual act involving the genitals of one person and the mouth, tongue, hand or anus of another person.

Shortly after publishing the original article, I received an email from Michael Brothers, City of Springfield, MO Public Information Office.  Mr. Brothers states:

…it has been the opinion of the City for many years now that this law is unconstitutional and is not enforceable. As such, the law is not enforced, and it hasn’t been for some time.

While I can appreciate the fact that the City does not enforce the law, it’s mere existence is a form of enforcement.  Laws are not created for merely prosecution, they are also created as a deterrent.  Springfield’s law did just that.  It prevented a potential Kiss In organizer from continuing to plan a local event for fear of prosecution.

In order to bring that into perspective, no law against “homosexual conduct” or “sodomy” has existed in El Paso, Texas for over a decade.  The city even has anti-discrimination policies in place to protect people based upon sexual orientation and gender identity from discrimination in places open for business to the public.  In spite of that law, two men were recently asked to leave a restaurant because they kissed.  When the police arrived, the men were further harassed and told they would be cited for homosexual conduct.

In Springfield’s case, the law does exist and should a police officer choose, he/she could cite the law as grounds for harassing and/or detaining persons engaging in what is perceived to be solicitation by a homosexual.

But the law won’t remain in Springfield forever.  Mr. Brother’s further advised:

The recent discussion [about the Solicitation by Homosexuals law] prompted the City Council to direct our City Clerk and Law Department go through the entire City Code to look for similarly outdated laws in order for them to be eliminated as a whole. It is the opinion of both elected officials and City staff that the ordinance in question is not only unconstitutional, but that it in no way represents the true nature of our community.

There is no time better than now, while people all over the country gather for the Great Nationwide Kiss In, for the city council to repeal this law – Springfield, MO has the opportunity to send the message loud and clear that it will not tolerate or condone such discriminatory and hateful laws.  They must realize that while now arrests or charges are made under this law, it still strikes fear into the hearts of its citizens.

You may contact the city council, mayor and mayor pro tem at the following email addresses to request a fast repeal of this horrific law:

joneal@springfieldmo.gov
nibarra@springfieldmo.gov
crushefsky@springfieldmo.gov
jcompton@springfieldmo.gov
sbailes@springfieldmo.gov
rstephens@springfieldmo.gov
jrush@springfieldmo.gov
dburlison@springfieldmo.gov
jrush@springfieldmo.gov
dburlison@springfieldmo.gov
dchiles@springfieldmo.gov

Closet Talk: John Paul Sharp | Gay Self-Loathing, Sex and Drugs.

August 12, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Closet Talk, Community Outreach, Featured

Closet TalkJohn Paul Sharp isn’t your average gay man – instead, he’s an extremely talented musician and writer (based upon my own experience listening to his music and reading a story he wrote). Come to think of it, maybe he is  your average gay man.

His life echos that of many of us. We leave home, go to the Gay Holy Land (San Francisco) and find ourselves abusing methamphetamine and having anonymous sex.

But, John Paul made it out. He returned to college and recently showed his first play, My Big Phat Gay Musical, at the Vintage Theatre with great success, and he doesn’t plan on stopping there. This November, as part of the National Novel Writing Month, John Paul will (and I know he will) write a novel. His next album is due out next Summer and he’ll be recording yet another album in February as part of the RPM Challenge.

As with most of my guests, the first time John Paul and I spoke (outside of email) was just a few minutes before the show went live.  When I answered the phone and heard his voice, I knew that I would be John Paul’s #1 Fan.  Not in the “Misery” sort of way, but more like “You had me at hello.”

His enthusiasm, sense of self and overall joyfulness left me feeling alive and energetic… perhaps he even left me feeling “GAY!”

Springfield, MO and Anti-Gay Flirting Laws – Why the Kiss In Really Matters

August 10, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Community Outreach, Featured, LGBT Action Alerts

springfield moOrganizers of the Great Nationwide Kiss In understood the importance of a kiss when they first decided to turn it into a movement. They repeatedly told the stories of: the two men in El Paso who were kicked out of Chico’s Tacos in El Paso, Texas for kissing; the two lesbians kicked out of Rolling Oaks Mall in San Antonio, Texas for kissing; and the two young mean forcefully detained for a kiss on a popular promenade is Salt Lake City which is now owned by the Mormon Church. Those are the stories we hear and feel because they happened, they are fact. But what about the stories we don’t hear because the residents are afraid of the repercussions from law enforcement and stay hidden in the closet?  What about those we don’t hear because the law turns them away?

While kiss in events have spread internationally, one city in the United States won’t be having one – not unless a few brave souls will step forward and organize it. Springfield, MO residents have advised the national organizers that, because it is illegal for persons of the “same-sex to flirt” in the city, they cannot hold a kiss in event. Although the law isn’t as direct in its wording as the residents, their short-hand version is on point.

The actual law is made part of the Springfield Code of Ordinances, Sec. 78-224, which states:

It shall be unlawful for any person in a public place to invite, entice, persuade or to address a person of the same sex for the purpose of inviting, enticing or persuading such person to commit sodomy. Sodomy means any sexual act involving the genitals of one person and the mouth, tongue, hand or anus of another person.

Even though the law does not specifically indicate that the parties involved must be of the same-sex, it’s obvious the law cannot equally be applied to heterosexual couples. Why? Heterosexual couples can claim that they were not enticing (publicly anyway) sexual acts that constitute sodomy under the law. Instead, they could easily claim that the flirtations were for the purpose of missionary-style vaginal intercourse.  Note: I have just learned that the tile of this law is “Solicitation by Homosexuals” therefore, claims of heterosexual violations of the law are moot.

Because nearly all aspects of “gay sex” are covered under the sodomy law, including mutual masturbation, gay persons would not be able to claim a sexual advance as anything outside the scope of this local ordinance. Thus, a kiss in event could likely be considered a criminal act in Springfield, MO and the people there have fallen silent choosing oppression over possible arrest for intending to entice sodomy.

The law, even if not enforced, is doing exactly what it was intended to do – keep gays away.  That’s why these events are important. They are not about public displays of affection, they are about equality — they  ARE about not being afraid anymore.

The Great Nationwide Kiss In is being held in over 50 cities in the US, Canada and Guam.  This morning, the third promotional video was released.

Truth Truck – Do You Know the Truth?

August 10, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, Thought of the Gay

lietruckThe following blog was written by wheresmylesbian on gaywallet.com and is reprinted here, with permission as a guest blog – special thanks to wheresmylesbian for such a wonderful account.

On July 19th about 20 “guests” attended the 9am service and then picketed outside of the church during the Hospitality Hour and also before, during and after the 11am service.

Demonstrators fail to thwart and dampen the outpouring of God’s Spirit!

A group from TruthTruckUSA made a stop at metropolitan Church of Christ, Las Vegas (“MCCLV”) while they were in town to participate in Operation Rescue/Operation Save America’s “2009 National Event.”

As the protestors (with their bullhorns) baked in the 109 degree Las Vegas summer heat, they were offered bottled water and greeted warmly, compassionately and hospitably by many of the good folks of MCCLV.

Meanwhile, the Worship of God not only continued inside the church at 11am (where it was COOL) but the People of God were encouraged and enlivened by the clear need for MCC’s message of hope, love and acceptance as an antidote to the condemnation, prejudice and discrimination that was going on outside.

Here’s one MCCer’s description of her experience:

When we pulled into our church today, we saw two police cars and a boat load of picketers. This is the first time that Keli and I have ever experienced anything like this. There was a huge van with the word ‘homosexual’ crossed out on it and a preacher on a megaphone quoting Scripture at everyone who “dared” to enter a primarily gay church. I was amazed at the things said; supposedly coming from a man that claimed to be a man of God. I’m sure the protesters called the police because they were afraid we gay folk would get out of hand. On the contrary. We stood outside enjoying each others company before the service started and then we went inside to worship God. The members of our little church were not affected by the protesters outside preaching what they believed to be the Word of God. We, the church, sang louder then I’ve ever heard us in the five years that Keli and I have been attending this church. The protesters did just the opposite of what they intended to do. We stayed, we learned, we sang and we prayed and most of all . . . WE WERE NOT MOVED!

During the opening song, a man sat down behind Keli and I. He suddenly realized that our church was a bit different. He said “I don’t mean to be rude, but is this a gay church?” I replied that probably 90% of our members are gay. He said “Oh F***!” and got up to leave. I said “Please stay. It’ll change your life.” He got up and left after the first song, but he came back. He sat through the entire service. During the last song, he sang louder than anyone in the room, bringing tears to mine and Keli’s eyes. Afterward, I told him I was glad he stayed. He said “Me too. It’s different. Very different but when you guys sang, I could feel the Holy Spirit in the room.” Me too.

We had protesters outside telling us that God hates us yet a straight man off the street says he feels the Holy Spirit in OUR church, a GAY CHURCH. If God hated us, the Holy Spirit would’ve been the last thing that man felt. I don’t know if he’ll return to our church but because of our church, he let God a little bit more into his heart and into his life. Our church was there today for someone that needed time with God. Protesters or not, we were there. I’m very proud to be a part of this church and I’m very proud to have experienced what it was like to have people picketing us.

On our way to our van, a lady jumped out and took a picture of us. This upset Keli at first until I told her I was proud that we got to be the lesbian moms with two kids that they probably show to the rest of their congregation. While loading the kids in the van, we were bombarded by two protesters. I knew better then to run my mouth at them or to be rude. It took the man jumping at my wife for me to open my mouth. I asked him to back away from my family and I told him no, I wouldn’t accept his pamphlet. I said “God loves me. What else do I need to know?” He replied “You’re wrong. God doesn’t love you.” We got in the van and when we started it a Todd Agnew song came on a little loud claiming “all your sins are washed away.” What a fitting song for these protesters to hear from the van of a lesbian couple as they tell all of us that God does not love us.

I don’t know why, but I feel compelled to share this story with everyone I know; regardless of their religious beliefs. I’m not sure what version of the Bible this man uses, but God loves everyone. Regardless of who we are or what we do. As our Father, he may not be happy with us but he loves us unconditionally. John 3:16-18 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world though him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” Jesus was sent here for all of us. Not some of us. He loves all of us, not some of us. God is our Father and even if we do something we shouldn’t he still loves us. When Jesus died on the Cross, he died for us all. Just because I’m gay doesn’t mean he didn’t come here to wash away my sins too. HE LOVES US ALL! When will the world get this through their heads?

David and Goliath – The Tale of a Gay Mormon.

August 09, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, Thought of the Gay

davidMost of us are familiar with the story of David and Goliath from the Old Testament.  In the story, the Israelites are facing off with the Philistines in the Valley of Elah. Goliath, a giant, challenges the Israelites to send their best to battle with him.  David, of mere human stature, insists he can defeat Goliath – God is with him.  David is victorious in the battle after pelting Goliath with a stone from his sling.

That story is often used as a metaphor when a community takes on a mega-store attempting to pollute their homes.  Our David today isn’t the small community defending itself from a corporate takeover; instead, he is very much a mortal man.

David is a 20 year old vlogger who has decided not to flee his faith, but instead work to inspire change within his faith.

It wasn’t all that many years ago that the Church preached, and society accepted African Americans as inferior, soulless creatures.  In fact, arguments against interracial marriage were largely biblical.  Of note here is that, while I do not believe gay is the new Black, certainly it can be said that same-sex marriage is the new interracial marriage.  The arguments against each of them parallel each other.

The ideas expressed in the quotes at the provided link, such as “These types of marriages are “abominable,” according to Virginia law. If allowed, they would “pollute” America.” are largely unpopular in modern day religions (and unconstitutional in the eyes of the law).  Someone inspired them to change.

Today’s David may be the catalyst to change within the LDS Church.  He will undoubtadly face much scrutiny, hatred and fear, but he will face them all with an entire community behind him.  If we learn nothing from David, let us learn that we can no longer run from our adversaries, but instead stay and fight.

Answering a Call From God: Christians, Atheists and Gays

August 07, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, Thought of the Gay

silenceI sat down the other day and penned “Murder of Gay Youths in Tel Aviv: I’m the One to Blame.” Although many have misconstrued the message to be an apology for “blaming religion” for anti-gay attitudes, it was really a call for us each to take personal responsibility in obtaining social and civil equality.  We need to answer the call from “God” to ensure social and legal equality for all people.

While writing the post, I remembered, if only briefly, the slogan, “Silence = Death.” For those too young to remember, the slogan was about the HIV/AIDS epidemic sweeping the nation and our government remaining silent on the issue as people died.  The slogan was later popularized by the group, ACT UP!  At that time in our history, HIV/AIDS was considered a gay disease, having originally been named, GRID (Gay Related Immune Deficiency).  While it didn’t take long for society at large to be infected by a virus straights thought they couldn’t “catch,” the damage was already done.  HIV/AIDS was now an epidemic because no one was listening to the cries for help from gay community, no one cared about dead and dying queers.

I sat thinking about that and how the slogan remains applicable today, both in relation to HIV/AIDS and in the murdering of LGBT people in violent actions such as what took place in Tel Aviv. If we remain silent, we die.  We just have to speak up.

This thought train took me somewhere else, to our religious opponents that claim morality is on their side.  They believe they are answering a call from God with their bigotry and intolerance, but I offend by calling them bigots.  They would have you believe that such a term does not apply to them because they condemn the action of being gay, not the person who is gay.  The religious folks have made these sorts of claims in the past – that some group is beneath them, worthless, soulless, sinners and should be ruled by this “Christian God.”

It was then that I had a realization.  Although I’m an atheist and a gay man, I am also answering a call from God because I am responding to their alleged call from God.  There is a certain level of humor in that for me.  It’s very difficult to respond to claims that some deity I don’t believe in dislikes me without just saying, “I don’t believe in the tooth fairy and I don’t believe in God.”  After all, there is no requirement in this country that I believe in the same things that others believe.

But that doesn’t work in talking to our greatest U.S. adversaries, the Christian Reich. They can’t fathom the concept that people believe differently than they do, they can’t handle the fact that the “truth” they are speaking is actually only belief.  I don’t believe that gay is a sin.  In fact, I don’t believe in sin at all.  I believe in right and wrong.  It is wrong to hurt people.  It is wrong to try to rule their lives based on your beliefs.  It is wrong to steal my rights, just as wrong as it is for me to steal yours.  Unlike our Christian opponents, I don’t need a belief in God to do the right thing.  It’s not fear of an eternity in hell that keeps me from murdering people, it’s humanity, compassion, honor, dignity and even morality that stays my hand.

A great thing has swept the nation – perhaps we have Proposition 8 to thank for it – but LGBT people are starting to come together as a true community of people. We must not back down now.  They are wrong and they will not win.  Change is happening, but change needs your help.  Whether your straight or not so straight, you must speak up or we will continue to have our rights denied.  You must find courage in yourself and give courage to others.  We can do this.

Imagine if you will a world where Rosa Parks said, “Yes ma’am, you can have my seat on the bus.”  Or a world where Eleanor Roosevelt advised, “Why do I need to vote, my husband thinks the same as I do.”

We have to break free of the fear that the intolerant have bestowed upon us and just say no. No, I won’t hide any longer. No, I won’t be oppressed any longer. No, I won’t allow you to hurt me anymore.

My dream – that future generations will live free of the fear associated with being LGBT and I’ll continue fighting to realize that dream.  Now, I ask that you dare to dream too.  Release your fear and speak out against bigotry and hate.  Call your local churches, your politicians, your anti-gay aunt and tell them, “We’re here, we’re queer, and we aren’t going to hide in the shadows anymore.”

“Every time we choose safety, we reinforce fear.” — Cheri Huber