wwcitizen: (Face-Serious)
Today, we submitted our application for marriage!!
Application-1 ApplicationSmiles
We have been telling friends for at least 5 years that when it's legal in NJ, we're going to get married.  So: WE'RE GETTING MARRIED!!

1) For one, I never thought I would get married, even though Matt and I have been together for just shy of a decade:
2) I'm gay; never thought it would never be possible, though I used to fantasize about it.
3) I didn't think that I would ever want to settle down with someone - one person - for the rest of my life; this attitude came from my extensive years as a single man.
4) It didn't seem that NJ would provide marriage equality any time soon for us to get married here.
5) Neither one of us wanted to get married in another state (NY, CT, MA, etc.) and crossing into our home state, whose laws and/or constitution would render us divorced, unmarried, or legal strangers.  Prior to marriage equality, married same-sex couples from other states were not recognized in NJ as married and had to get a civil union or domestic partnership..

Then, all of a sudden - almost overnight, it seemed - it was legal for us to get married in NJ!!  We were on our way out of town when we got the news. Only two friends - a couple - called us to ask if we were going to hold to our promise.  And we both said, "YES!!  ABSOLUTELY!!  It's just that we're on our way out of town!"   We promptly went online to Amazon to purchase tentative rings for whenever our legal ceremony would happen.  We ordered three rings apiece, which we will wear interchangeably till our marriage celebration. Then we'll have real rings to give each other.  These interim rings will become Christmas ornaments or used at times when we don't care if we lose them or they get stolen.

Given the marriage application, licensing, and ceremony stuff here in NJ - that neither of us knew anything about - nothing was going to happen anyway for at least three days from the day we submitted our application. The news of NJ's new marriage equality came through just over 2 months ago, and we finally got our act together and submitted our application in our township this morning.  A friend of ours from down the hill was our application witness and we'll have two other friends be our ceremony witnesses.  The girl who worked on our application this morning seems to be family. She reminded me of Peppermint Patty, but prettier.

Thursday, I'm picking up the license from around the corner from our place.  Next week, we're getting married!!  It will be a simple civil ceremony at the courthouse in Hackensack (NJ - yes, the town in that Billy Joel song!) on Dec. 31.  A great day for New Beginnings!

We slowed our initial marriage gusto a bit when we heard that our governor withdrew his appeal to oppose the NJ Supreme Court's decision to allow marriages to begin. Our governor has tried everything possible to make marriage equality impossible in NJ; it has honestly been so embarassing to be the last mid-Atlantic state above the Mason Dixon Line to allow marriage equality. He even went on record to say that if his own child was gay, he would tell his child that s/he should not be allowed to marry the person of their choice.  So, initially we were afraid that we had to get married by the end of the year, so that if he appealed, we would stand with the throngs of married couples in a lawsuit against the governor.  But, thankfully, we didn't have to be put in that position and we considered waiting until the actual celebration simultaneously to make it legal.  But, the activist in me really wanted the "2013" date stamp on our license.

Frankly, I don't think anything spiritually or emotionally will change.  At a later date, we'll plan a celebration - perhaps in 2014 or 2015. No rush since the legal stuff will be done. It'll certainly be interesting to be able to file our taxes as a married couple. THAT will definitely be a change!! Plus, once all the legal stuff is done, I think I'll put Matthew on my health and auto insurance policies, since they're both less expensive than his.

Above all, we're VERY excited at this new stage in our lives.  We've been calling each other "husband" for years, but now it'll be HUSBAND!! OFFICIALLY! WOOHOO!!
wwcitizen: (Best Zoolander)
The other day while I was shopping at this clothier, a good-looking, well-built Italian guy looked me over. I thought from the way he was looking at me – very intensely with interest in his eyes – that he was kind of hitting on me. I nodded and went on about looking through the ties, but kept an eye on him. I thought, “Oh, he’s looking at my pink paisley tie. Hmm… Wonder if he likes it.”

He kept looking at me, up and down, trying to catch my eye again, so I finally said, “Hey. How’s it going?”

He nodded, said, “Good, thanks, You?” and gave me a very nice, handsome smile, and even blushed a little – maybe cuz I spoke to him and was a bit bigger with a deep voice. Don’t know.

Just then his girlfriend, wife, significant other, or just his female friend helping him shop approached from out of nowhere and asked, “Excuse me, I know you don’t work here, but could I ask you a question?”

I said, “Sure! Shoot!”

“We’re going to a wedding. As guests; we’re not getting married. Do you think this suit is a good look for him? Does it fit?”  (yes, that was two questions, but not bothered…)

The single-breasted, 2-button suit was black with medium white pinstripes. Noticeable pinstripes, but not overpowering.  I replied, “Well, it’s interesting and looks like something you’d wear to a more formal occasion, like a wedding, sure; not for an interview.  What are you going for? Is this a black tie affair, or just a normal wedding with friends and family?”

“Normal wedding. No black tie, but do you think a black tie would go good with this?” she countered. “We’re wanting a sort of retro look.”

These simple questions and the guy’s ultimately sheepish and accepting attitude told me everything I needed to know: They needed a gay.

I got the guy to try on the jacket, which was too long overall, but fit on the shoulders just fine. I had him hug her saying, “Pretend like you like her and give her a hug.”

He gave her one of the most uncomfortable, unnatural hugs I’ve ever seen in person! All the while, both of them were looking at me for some sort of approval and no smiles.  The hug was a reality-TV-unapologetic-apology uncomfortable hug. Oh, and they never explained their relationship to one another – even after that uncomfortable hug!  It’s truly immaterial, I realize, but I observe these things and take note out of socio-psychological interest.  Maybe she wasn’t really his girlfriend at all and I made them do something they really didn’t want to do. Or maybe she HAD been his girlfriend and they were obligated to go to this wedding as a couple because they’d replied with the other as the “plus one” before they broke up. And this wedding was the last thing they were going to do together as a couple and he had needed her help to get a suit and she was the only one he trusted to make him look good. Or… Meh! Who cares? The hug just seemed really uncomfortable and unnatural.

The shirts they were looking at were too big for his neck and too long for his sleeves.  So, I found a nice white black pinstripe shirt that fit him better, a black/white Ben Sherman skinny tie that was a very fine, retro-looking criss-cross, and black braces – with clamps so that he didn’t need brace buttons sewn into his pants.  I instructed them to find a similar suit in a short size rather than regular (the guy was about 5’8”). 

I must say, the outfit looked really good. I would have worn it!  I forgot to mention black dress shoes, but I did tell the guy, “NEVER wear those braces with belt. Braces and belts serve the same purpose, so look silly worn together on the same outfit; it’s one or the other and the braces will look really much better than a belt. Plus, if you’re ‘between’ sizes as you say, braces will help you avoid alterations for now.”

They thanked me and we parted to go on about our business. The guy kept looking at me, smiling, and nodding even after they were on the other side of the area, so I’m still uncertain what his and their story was.  In the end, it’s unimportant. Plus, this exchange was just getting a tad creepy at that point.

Just then, someone else, another woman, rounded the corner and asked me whether “that shirt (pointing) went with this tie”. I asked a couple of questions, offered some suggestions, and escaped the store with just a couple of purchases.

The next day, as Matthew and I were driving home, we stopped there again because two shirts I had seen the previous day had been on my mind all day long. I had to get them.  I found about three other shirts, too, that I hoped would be there in my size. The evening before, I just had to leave quickly after spending too much time helping other people.

But, just as Matthew and I were finishing our shirt selections, a divorced mother of two approached us and pleaded, “Excuse me, I know you don’t work here, but could I ask you a question?”

She was looking for a suit for her 13-yr-old son’s picture day at school, and eventually his confirmation in the spring of 2014. It seemed that the kid hadn’t been too cooperative with his mother or helping her out at all. She, too, needed a gay.

We took her and the kid, Justin, over to the suits section he needed (42S). Her budget was around $150 – for the entire outfit: suit, shirt, tie, and alterations (which she had forgotten about). In her hand, she already had about $200 worth of clothes without a shirt and tie! 

We gingerly took them out of her grasp. Matthew said, “Honey, I’ll go get a cart for our stuff; you go and do like you do. Help these people.”  He looked at her and said, “He’s really good; listen to him!”

I started showing her some suits – on her son – and gave them both lots of suggestions about fabric, designers, wear, clothing etiquette, and style. In the end, the entire outfit we picked for her was – tops - $125, leaving her with a $10 pants cuff (so they can let them out if he grows in the next year or two) to organize with her local dry cleaners. His new outfit was still under her budget and they could get dinner at a diner together!  Very happy all around. It was a smart, solid medium gray suit, white dress shirt (you can NEVER have enough white dress shirts!), and a gray/white/purple striped Ben Sherman tie.  The kid likes purple a LOT.

She thanked us so heartily and gave me a 10% coupon she had in her purse. She insisted she had another one in her car (her son went out to get it) and left us looking like a huge weight had been lifted off her shoulders.  The kid seemed very excited about his clothes, too, which was a huge change from when we first met him.

Matthew and I returned to the tie area and were starting to go to the home goods section, when another woman approached me and asked about her husband’s shirt size. Her husband wasn’t with her. UGH!!  I said, “Men’s clothes are complicated, huh?” 

I helped her and gave her some suggestions.  She nodded impishly and shrugged her shoulders, “Yes! I didn’t know where to start and you really helped!” 

I said, “Glad to help! Bring your husband next time, so you can make sure you get the right stuff for him.”

Then I told Matthew we HAD to leave that area. Otherwise, we would have been spending our entire evening helping clueless shoppers!!  We went over to the home goods section and had some fun with stuff and checked out. When I used the lady’s coupon, the discount came up for about $4.50 – the price of a nice cup of Starbucks!  Not all the things I had picked out were part of the discount that the coupon covered. Nonetheless, it was a sweet gesture and every bit of savings helps, right?

Matthew and I did our good deeds for the week. He also suggested that the next time I plan to go to that store that I bring my tape measure. Tee hee!
wwcitizen: (Uuuuuuh)
Matthew and I were graciously invited by a friend of ours to speak at an LGBT rally against DOMA and Proposition 8 at Montclair State University in Montclair, NJ, a couple of weeks ago. The timing was perfect, since on the day we spoke (27-Mar-2013), the Supreme Court of the US (SCOTUS) was hearing arguments for an against DOMA that day and had heard arguments for and against California's Prop 8 the day before.

The speeches we wrote were not completely the speeches that came out, but the essences are here.  I spoke first and Matthew spoke second. What an exhilarating experience!  Three of our friends were there in real time and others have seen the initial video taken by one of those friends.  These videos below were done more professionally by a student at the university.  Enjoy, comment, and please forward these speeches to others who will benefit from them.  We are interested in becoming more and more active in these fights and would like many more opportunities to speak out against discrimination.



My original speech (behind the cut)... )
wwcitizen: (Rainbow Flag)
"Come out, come out, wherever you are!" Glenda called.  So I came out.

As Katy Perry states it plainly, I'm wide awake. It's how I feel about myself. It's how I view the world since I accepted myself years ago and "came out".  I was gay anyway; why waste my energy on being something and someone I'm not?

God loves me as I am and set me completely free.

My coming out was a spiritual rebirth and a veil was tangibly removed. God was no longer boxed in. Within a 20-minute prayer, false theologies and misinterpretations thrust on me and shoved down my throat for 30+ years no longer had strength over my soul.  I was free and began living life honestly.

Everything else has fallen into place, including happiness.  This week marks the 11th anniversary. I've never looked back to wonder whether continuing a life of lies and secrets would have been better. Nope. I'm wide awake.



I'm wide awake (x3)
Yeah, I was in the dark
I was falling hard
With an open heart
I'm wide awake
How did I read the stars so wrong

I'm wide awake
And now it's clear to me
That everything you see
Ain't always what it seems
I'm wide awake
Yeah, I was dreaming for so long

(Pre-Chorus)
I wish I knew then
What I know now
Wouldn't dive in
Wouldn't bow down
Gravity hurts
You made it so sweet
Till I woke up on
On the concrete

(Chorus)
Falling from cloud nine
Crashing from the high
I'm letting go tonight
(Yeah I'm) Falling from cloud 9

I'm wide awake
Not losing any sleep
I picked up every piece
And landed on my feet
I'm wide awake
Need nothing to complete myself - nooohooo

I'm wide awake
Yeah, I am born again
Outta the lion's den
I don't have to pretend
And it's too late
The story's over now, the end

(Pre-Chorus)
I wish I knew then
What I know now
Wouldn't dive in
Wouldn't bow down
Gravity hurts
You made it so sweet
Till I woke up on
On the concrete

(Chorus)
Falling from cloud nine
Crashing from the high
I'm letting go tonight
I'm Falling from cloud 9

Thunder rumbling
Castles crumbling
I am trying to hold on
God knows that I tried
Seeing the bright side
I'm not blind anymore

(Chorus)
Falling from cloud nine
Crashing from the high
(Ya' know) I'm letting go tonight
I'm falling from cloud 9

I'm wide awake (x5)
wwcitizen: (Rainbow Flag)
Would you travel to a country whose leaders actively persecute gays and lesbians?

Would you travel to a state where religious leaders want to round up gays and lesbians into concentration camps and leave them to die?  Would you travel to a place whose leaders advocate "punching the gay" out of innocent children?  Would you want any of these people making medical decisions for you?

What if you were rushed to the emergency room and your attending doctor's church advodates the killing of gays and lesbians?  How hard do you think he would fight to save your life?  What of that of your partner's life?

Could you expect these radicals to adbide by man's laws when they feel they're answering to a "higher law?"

If you're straight, would you want your gay children, family members, or friends to go to those places? Wouldn't you be afraid for them?

At first blush, what's your knee-jerk reaction?
wwcitizen: (US Flag - Old Glory)
"We the People of the United States... insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity..." 

WE do this. WE have a voice. WE have the rights. WE have the power as Americans under the US Constitution to make change happen. WE can make things right and turn the tide of injustices and discrimination around. WE can. YES, WE CAN! 

Not our legislators. Not the corrupt politicians in our state, local, and federal offices. Not our corrupt justices who refuse to recuse themselves in the face of blatant unethical bias. WE the people do this. WE the people have a voice. WE the people have the rights. We do.

If anyone tells a US Citizen otherwise about their rights within our country, they are lying. They are liars. You have the right to vote. You have the right to a soapbox. You have a voice in our country. Anyone who opposes a US Citizen in those rights or attempts to dissuade a US Citizen from exercising their rights to vote and voice their opinion stand vehemently against the US Constitution.

I am truly and utterly ashamed of the NC GOP today. I am truly and utterly ashamed of NC ministers over the last couple of months who claim Christian love, but articulate threats of violence: Jesus Christ is not a homophobe - why should YOU proselytize otherwise? I am truly and utterly ashamed of the majority of North Carolinians who feel justified in continuing discrimination against my minority by passing Amendment One.

In NC, my state of birth, I have no power. I have no say. I am not a legal resident. Others, however, do have that power, a voice, and the rights in North Carolina.

No doubt about it: I am (absolutely) NOT a Republican. It's not about whether or not I'm liberal, it's simply that I'm not a part of the GOP by any stretch of anyone's imagination.  And in their bigotry, insolence, depravity, greed, love of money, and lust after power, they have forgotten our nation's foundation of freedom and the right of ALL of US AMERICANS to pursue happiness. I, sirs and madams, am certainly and resolutely NOT a Republican.

Blatant discrimination is unconstitutional. It is up to US to prove it.
wwcitizen: (US - Gay Politics)
As if Amendment One wasn't enough, the NC GOP had to take their hatred a step further and deem it appropriate to discriminate against us.

North Carolina GOP Platform Says Government Should Be Able To Discriminate Against Gays

While I understand [livejournal.com profile] dan4behr's concerns about a NC boycott (granted, the Target boycott didn't put any real dent in its bottom line) and the people who live there and are trying to build lives there, it still seems like an every-growing hostile place to live.  Why would we want to subsidize that kind of behavior and discrimination?

And I cannot believe that my family WANTS me to step foot in NC now.  They are hurt that I'm not willing to come to NC??  Are they not seeing what's going on?  Don't they comprehend that NC for Matthew and me is becoming a more and more hostile place for us?  They don't think they can do anything about it, but in my opinion, that's just being complacent.  No apologies.

It would be nice to know that my family is doing something against all this, but we no longer talk politics because they were offended at my campaign against NC Amendment One.  Offended!  They were offended that I was concerned about possibly not returning to NC because of blatant, legal discrimination against me, my partner/family, and us. Concerned enough to plea with them to do more than just vote against Amendment One - encourage their friends and churches and communities to vote against it, too.  I sent the same message to many friends, who understood where I was coming from. Yet, they felt bullied by a campaign letters addressed to them over the course of two days.  As this is my cross to bear, here's a picture:
  • 1st nail in the cross: Amendment One.
  • 2nd nail in the cross: At least two NC ministers - supported by their communities and congregations blindly speaking of killing gays in concentration camps.
  • 3rd nail in the cross: The GOP proclamation-EXPLICITLY STATING-that they SHOULD BE ABLE TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST GAYS
Who'd want to go to a place like that? Who'd want to purchase stuff from there?  The landscape is beautiful and I'll miss visiting.  I'm becoming less and less of a Tarheel at every turn of the newspaper's pages.
wwcitizen: (US - Gay Politics)
Since the passing of NC's Amendment One, I've been doing a LOT of research into states that allow certain rights to same-sex couples.  The HRC and Lamda Legal provide a TON of information that's, while helpful, remains outdated in light of recent attacks on gay rights across the nation. 

At least Illinois recognizes the importance to reflecting the evolving American social mores: Same-sex marriage supporters take their fight to Illinois courts

I wish more states and people would accept facts, educate themselves, learn from the past, and exert more compassion in their every day. It's disheartening for me daily to have to search, read, research, and get a picture of how unequal in our relationship's current status Matthew and I are throughout this country. It's ultra sad to know that prior to any vacations or trips to other states, we now more than ever have to find out which hospitals would allow visitation rights to each other at the very least.  This sort of information isn't listed on their websites, either - you have to call to see whether you'd be treated with respect and compassion or if even your legal documentation would be recognized at the hospital to make medical and/or financial decisions for each other.  Some people find this kind of info finding stuff to be demoralizing. 

I'm starting to find this type of "confrontation" on one level empowering. Empowering because it helps me make informed decisions about where we're going to spend our money and take our vacations. If a place doesn't recognize us or allow visitation in a hospital, then we won't recognize the place; we don't have to visit it.

On another level, it's just sad to have to hunt and peck around to find places that legally affirm us and our relationship.  "Oh, can we go there? No. How about here? Maybe... just don't get into legal trouble.  How about there? Nope - no visitation rights at the hospital without a PLETHORA of legal docs, which might still not be recognized or allowed as proof of our legal bond. Oh, we can go here!! They do recognize same-sex partnerships and allow hospital visitations, but the state doesn't currently have any laws against hate crimes; that means no PDA, including holding hands.  :-("

Family has little or nothing to do with our qualms or our burgeoning apprehensions to traveling to particular locations in the US (like NC, VA, or SC where my family might want to go on vacation).  One of my sisters, in fact, asked about our trip to Disney; Orlando, FL, as a city has specific provisions for same-sex partners, but the state doesn't recognize same-sex partnerships. An issue with a lesbian couple in Miami was the impetus for federal mandates of hospitals to allow same-sex partners to visit each other in the hospital.  In any of these places where my family would want to vacation, Matt couldn't go with me; I wouldn't be able to make any health-related decisions for him and that would break my heart. In NJ, we're afforded the "luxury" of greater civil rights.

I hate feeling that we are being forced into a NJ civil union when our ultimate desire is to be legally married.  It's unfair that we have to be put in that position. Elsewhere throughout the nation (not in NC now, since Amendment One, btw), if an opposite-sex couple had cohabitated as long as we have (8.5 years thus far!!), we'd enjoy a common law marriage.

Even still, throughout the US Southeast, Midwest, and parts of the Northwest, when we get our NJ civil union, it most likely will not be recognized in most of those states, including NC, SC, and VA. It doesn't have to be like this, but it's what we as a couple have to deal with. Same-sex couples don't have to go throughout this level of crap and take soooo many things for granted.
wwcitizen: (NC - Lighthouse)
Because NC Amendment 1 passed with the language that would restrict protections for all unmarried couples (straight or gay), the courts are free to interpret the amendment to deny any protections to unmarried couples (straight or gay). The following points are true and have NOTHING to do with how my friends and family in NC feel or voted about the issue. 

NC courts can legally deny Matthew and me the right to:
  • determine the disposition of either of our deceased partner’s remains (God forbid),
  • visit each other in the hospital in the event of a medical emergency,
  • make emergency medical decisions for either of us if either of us is incapacitated, and
  • make financial decisions for either of us if either of us is incapacitated.
NC's attorney general said Amendment 1's lack of clarity will result in a significant amount of litigation on many issues, which will be decided by courts for years to come.  NC courts can now interpret Amendment 1 to invalidate trusts, powers-of-attorney, wills, and end-of-life directives by one partner in favor of the other. 

These are reasons why Matthew and I cannot step foot in NC for vacations and holidays. We will not spend money there. We will not order goods and/or services from NC (that we expressly know come from NC).

This is about our civil liberties, our civil rights, our safety, and us as a couple of US citizens making a life together, "created equal, ... endowed by [our] Creator with ... [inalienable] Rights, ... among [which] are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

This has absolutely NOTHING to do with how any of my friends and family in NC have voted (even if ALL of them voted against the amendment, which I hope they didn't, but have no way of knowing).

This link opens a really useful article with an info graphic explaining state-by-state what rights are afforded the LGBT community.  Check it out, read up on it, be informed, and let's put our money where we're supported!  Let's go places we are supported and are safe!! 

I'm REALLY thankful that Matthew and I live in the US NE:
wwcitizen: (TARHEEL)
My home state has decided: They legislatively discriminate against gays. It's blatant, it's harsh, it's painful, and it's truly, truly sad. They were willing to sacrifice their families, seniors, children, single/unmarried women, and heterosexual domestic partners in order to serve up a double blow against the gay community. Same-sex marriage was already illegal in NC; domestic partnerships were not - now they are. The cascade effect of the broad-stroke wording of this amendment is the problem. There is no limit to the ramifications of this amendment socially, politically, and economically.

For as many LGBT folks that live in NC (it's fair to assume that there potentially almost 900K LGBT living in NC), this amendment was a referendum against them and our community - full stop.

Now's the time to work against that system. Now is a further uphill battle to tear down the amendment and overturn it.  Now is the time to boycott my home state. 

I encourage my community and all of those opposed to Amendment One living outside NC: Do not go to NC. Do not purchase goods from NC (as best you can). Do not promote NC. Do nothing that supports NC's economy.  Bank of America has already stated that they may have to move their headquarters out of NC.

It's not out of hate or anger that I'm calling for this boycott, even though NC has legislated hate and discrimination. This boycott is purely economically driven to show NC where their funding is coming from.  NC has chosen not to support our community and has legislated against us. Why should we support NC if we don't have to?  We've been boycotting Target for MUCH less!

Personally, Matthew and I cannot return to my home state because legally, Matthew and I are now legal strangers in NC.  We cannot return to NC until either the counties or cities we'd travel to (as across FL) nullify the amendment's effect or the amendment is overturned at its root.

We cannot feel safe in NC. We cannot rest in the knowledge that either one will be able to take care of our best interests if the other needs us for whatever reason while in NC.  We will not feel safe traveling to and vacationing in NC - as domestic partners and US citizens. 

If something were to happen to Matthew and he ended up in the ICU, the hospital could legally not allow me to visit him and he would be alone in a hospital in NC without his family; I would not be his legal family.  To NC Matthew and I are strangers, though we've been building a life together for over 8 years.  If he were to die in NC, I would not be able to be involved in any end-of-life decisions.  But that is a horrible thought.  Simply put, even if I used his ATM card, in the state's eyes, I would be committing theft.

It's a shame and it's painful, but it has to be done: BOYCOTT NORTH CAROLINA

Read this info about the legal implications of the amendment.

Wikipedia article about same-sex marriage - great information here that includes international scope.
wwcitizen: (Rainbow Flag)
Archie Comics CEO Jon Goldwater released a statement concerning the One Million Moms planned boycott of ToysRUs for carrying Life with Archie#16 in their stores:
“We stand by Life with Archie #16. As I’ve said before, Riverdale is a safe, welcoming place that does not judge anyone. It’s an idealized version of America that will hopefully become reality someday. We’re sorry the American Family Association/OneMillionMoms.com feels so negatively about our product, but they have every right to their opinion, just like we have the right to stand by ours. Kevin Keller will forever be a part of Riverdale, and he will live a happy, long life free of prejudice, hate and narrow-minded people.”

I don't even want to link to the articles because there are links to vicious, hate-filled emails to ToysRUs.  I sent this email to combat what the hate-mongering OMM group is doing.  It might be a little lame, but I got the idea from the OMM site and targeted the same guy they are. Feel free to copy/paste this email into your own (and tweak a bit as you see fit) if inclined to send him a note, as well. 

Email:  clay.creasey@toysrus.com
(click on the email address, it's pretty cool!!)

SUBJECT:PLEASE KEEP SELLING Archie Comics!!

"Dear Mr. Creasey,
I was extremely happy to learn that select Toys R Us stores are now selling 'Archie' comic books and especially the one with a same-sex wedding displayed on the front cover. The sentiments of the comic reflect my and my family's own belief that this world will eventually be as inclusive and hate-free as Archie's world portrays. 

We chose to shop at Toys R Us just last night (and spent over $150!) because your company is selling Archie Comics. Please, please, please keep selling "Just Married - Archie" comic books. You will have greater support and many more sales if you stand your ground and do not bow to pressure of anti-gay organizations to stop selling them. Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,
Stephen Lambeth" 
wwcitizen: (S&M In Ptown)
Walking out of our hair salon yesterday, Matthew and I waved back at all the stylists and said, "Happy VD, everyone!" and they all waved back with smiles.

As we turned to walk out the door, Matthew heard a female customer with a very heavy NJ Italian accent say loudly, "Are they bruthahs?"

Wish we could have heard the response...

Then, at a diner about an hour later, a guy from another table walked up to me to ask whether my anniversary ring (below) was a championship ring. He approached me as if I were a celebrity and had an interesting look of anticipation on his face like I've never seen before. That must be how I look when approaching a celebrity after a Broadway show. Yes, I just said that after mentioning this guy thinking I was a football player.

(If you look closely, you can see "23" under the feather on the Indian's neck for 1923 - my dad's birth year!)

People are funny. I told Matthew that I should have said to the guy, "No, I don't play football, but I am a tight end." *wink*

Matthew gave me this ring for our anniversary. Isn't it cool?! I collect Buffalo Nickels and other coins, so this was a very thoughtful gift indeed. My right-hand ring finger is a 14, which is quite large. The ring itself is quite impressive in size, so you make it a 14 and it looks like a championship ring. No, I don't know enough about football to know how to have pulled off a "My dad, in fact, played for the Redskins when they won blah blah blah..." response to the guy.

I love Pam

Jul. 26th, 2011 06:58 pm
wwcitizen: (TV Watching)
Pam from True Blood, is a real person with real feelings and real experiences. If she's acting here, I love her even more, but I think she's speaking from her heart. Granted, EVERYONE and their mother is putting together these videos, but this one spoke to me; all the other from the True Blood cast were last-luster and forced. Meh.

Watch and be moved.

wwcitizen: (Rainbow Flag)
I called from NJ - not sure if it'll have any weight, but my name's in the pot anyway. Please take a moment to make 2 calls and make a huge difference! Please hurry! We may only have 1 day left to do this. It was cool to hear that 1000s of people have been calling for the last two days and I was one of them!

This year's NY state budget eliminated long-standing pharmacy patient protections for people living with HIV/AIDS. GMHC is deeply concerned about the impact of these changes on Medicaid beneficiaries who are living with HIV/AIDS, severe mental illness and depression. As we know, a small change in medication can be life-threatening.

We strongly believe that ensuring access to appropriate medication and continuity of care should be the priority to serve patients who receive Medicaid.

Call Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver 518-455-3791
Ask him to please support A.8237 sponsored by Assemblyman Rivera to ensure that necessary patient protections remain in place for Medicaid beneficiaries during their transition to managed care.

Call Assembly Health Chair Dick Gottfried 518-455-4941
Ask him to please support A.8237 and move it forward to Rules to ensure that necessary patient protections remain in place for Medicaid beneficiaries during their transition to managed care.

This bill, also sponsored by Senator Kemp Hannon, has already passed the Senate but we need your help to get it on the floor of the Assembly.

Thank you for your prompt and immediate action on this critical issue!

For more information please contact Lyndel Urbano at 212-367-1456 or lyndelu@gmhc.org
wwcitizen: (Rainbow Flag)
http://www.avaaz.org/en/uganda_stop_homophobia_petition_2/?rc=fb

If you haven't had an opportunity or haven't heard about this Ugandan bill, please read this and sign the petition. If you don't want to sign it, but know people who would, please forward this information to them. Thank you!

Let Uganda know that their legislation isn't only anti-gay, but it's anti-human. This bill represents the same attitudes and hate present under Hitler's regime.
wwcitizen: (Rainbow Flag)
E-mail the 4 gay & lesbian people in Congress (I copied and pasted all of the e-mail addresses into one e-mail - why send out multiples?):

STAFF EMAIL ADDRESSES:
Maria.Giesta@mail.house.gov, Bill.Murat@mail.house.gov, Brian.Branton@mail.house.gov, Jessica.Lemos@mail.house.gov

SUBJECT:
Give LGBT People A Voice In Their Own Liberation

MESSAGE:
Dear Representatives Cicillini, Polis, Baldwin & Frank,

We the people of the LGBT community, 25 million or so strong, deserve a voice in our liberation struggle and strategy. Yet, the process by which you, HRC, NGLTF and others, determine our fate is a secret insiders-game, which precludes public scrutiny and participation, ultimately denying us our right to self-determination.

As you know, HRC, NGLTF, and the others, are not democratically run, but are controlled by an elite group of donors in a non-transparent manner. Similarly, with respect, you are not elected by an LGBT community process, and while gay and lesbian, have no official mandate to decide our fate without an appropriate consultative process, which our organizations do not fulfill.

Given this reality, we request that you please work together in common cause and public consultation with our community in three specific ways:

1. We ask that the LGBT Equality Caucus hold public open meetings on our movement strategy and legislative agenda;

2. We ask that you revisit the splintered and unorganized manner in which LGBT-related bills are filed; and,

3. We urge you to work openly and publicly with the community to discuss filing a bill seeking full Civil Rights Equality for "sexual orientation and gender identity" under the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and related laws, as outlined in The American Equality Bill.

As liberals, we expect you to believe in the ideals of transparency, democracy and accountability. We believe that if we adhere to these ideals and open the insider system, together we can build a mass movement worthy of our cause in which we all participate in our individual and collective liberation.

This is our right, and your responsibility. Please give us a voice.

# # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # #

BACKGROUND STORY (not for inclusion in email):

There are FOUR gay & lesbian people now in Congress, listed here in order of seniority. Obviously, none of them are elected by an LGBT community process, nor represent predominantly LGBT populated districts (though we're studying this more closely).

Representative Barney Frank (D-MA-4) (1981)
Representative Tammy Baldwin (D-WI-2) (1999)
Representative Jarod Polis (D-CO-2) (2009)
Representative David Cicillini (D-RI-1) (2011)

In 2008, FRANK & BALDWIN formed a House LGBT Equality Caucus, which is growing but not coordinating on strategy. (http://lgbt.tammybaldwin.house.gov/).

As it stands, unfortunately each member continues to work a personal strategy, filing separate bills like pet projects, working around turf held by more senior members. (listen to Baldwin reveal this on this recorded public conference call by eQualityThinking: http://bit.ly/eqThinkingBaldwinCall).

Last Congress, they filed, along with others, roughly 15 LGBT-related bills in an incredibly unorganized, uncoordinated fashion. (see http://bit.ly/LGBTbills111thCongress).

Amidst the chaos, there is NO PUBLIC PROCESS by which the LGBT community is consulted on our legislative agenda or movement strategy.

As for results under this system, the LGBT movement began in 1950, and so far, not a single federal non-discrimination law has been passed. Worse yet, we're not even seeking full equality today, although for 20 years (from 1974 to 1994) we were. But we gave up after AIDS decimated our community, and have yet to rebound, despite a sea change in public opinion and a mixed-race President, himself a product of the Civil Rights Laws we helped establish almost 50 years ago, which still exclude SO+GI.

THE DISORGANIZTATION CONTINUES:
1. FRANK'S Project: On Wednesday, March 23, 2011, Rep. FRANK will reintroduce a bill covering only "employment discrimination" called ENDA, which he has been filing for 17 years without passage. (http://bit.ly/FrankENDAagain).

2. POLIS' Project: Meanwhile, Rep. POLIS will likely file a bill for "school discrimination" called the Student Non-Discrimination Act, and other related bills.

3. BALDWIN's Project: Rep. BALDWIN will file a bill for "health care discrimination," which goes to over 10 different committees.

4. CICILLINI's - NEW HOPE: Thankfully, the newbie, Representative CICILLINI, former Mayor of RI, is talking "omnibus bill" but he's still getting settled in, and is likely to defer to Frank and others for some time. (http://bit.ly/CicilliniOmnibus).

THE POWER STRUCTURE KEEPING US DOWN:
Ultimately, it is a tenure protocol and hierarchy that's keeping us down, and FRANK is in charge, make no doubt about it.

BALDWIN and POLIS have both said they support the filing of a full Civil Rights bill, but neither will do it. CICILLINI has suggested the same.

FRANK, by contrast, has argued against the idea aggressively, making any argument he can muster, but mostly that it would meet with resistance from our ALLIES in the Black Caucus. He's after all, the KING of one-sided compromise!

In filing ENDA only again, FRANK argues that it's an "organizing tool" because the Republican House won't pass it. Of course, the bill didn't pass under the Democratic House & White House either, and the organizing he speaks of is equally invisible.

BUT IF IT'S AN organizing tool, why not FILE A BILL for FULL CIVIL RIGHTS EQUALITY and give us something BIG to organize around?

If we're focused on ORGANIZING, why not organize within our own community, and create a public process to engage all of us?

Why is this Frank's personal call?

CLEARLY it is the LACK OF PROCESS in this game of secrets that keeps US OUT OF THE CONVERSATION and more progressive voices down. So we need to ask:

WHY ARE THEY NOT WORKING TOGETHER?
WHY IS OUR COMMUNITY NOT CONSULTED IN AN OPEN PROCESS?
AND WHY ARE WE NOT FILING A BILL FOR FULL EQUAL CIVIL RIGHTS?

WRITE THEM AND ASK WHY:

GAY & LESBIAN PEOPLE IN CONGRESS
1. Representative Barney Frank (MA)
Chief of Staff: Maria.Giesta@mail.house.gov

2. Representative Tammy Baldwin (WI)
Chief of Staff: Bill.Murat@mail.house.gov

3. Representative Jarod Polis (CO)
Chief of Staff: Brian.Branton@mail.house.gov

4. Representative David Cicilline (RI)
LGBT Liaison: Jessica.Lemos@mail.house.gov
wwcitizen: (Rainbow Flag)
There are a couple of FB groups to which I'm connected called, "USA Gay Networking Group" and "Networking on Gay Social Media", both led by Chad Bush. He's REALLY promoting this new "Diversity Platinum" card that is a discount card that works along side a credit card for discounts and benefits. With great regret, I have to put out the link to the Diversity Platinum because, if you're interested in it, you might be inclined to waste your money. The marketing slogan is so terrible: "Your Community, Your Card - Diversity Platinum". Blech - totally cliche. I thought, "This kind of phraseology sounds familiar, but I couldn't put my finger on it.

Positives:
1) "Some" proceeds will go to either The Trevor Project, The LA Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce or youth charities across the US.
2) Bonus savings offered by companies such as Macy’s, PETCO, and Avis, as well as B&Bs across the country.
3) $40.00 free GLAAD membership.
4) Doesn't seem to be involved with the HRC (I've become pretty jaded with Joe and his followers).

Negatives:
1) It costs $65.00 annually and $40.00 to renew (not sure what that means and don't really care).
2) You're supposed to see the decals for the program in stores and restaurants all over the US above VISA and MasterCard. I haven't seen any of these yet.
3) The website isn't terribly helpful and the list of member businesses is, so far, ridiculous (are you really supposed to print out the list weekly to find the new companies that come on board?).
4) Not that I'm necessarily a conspiracy theorist, but it seems like the card is a potential tracking mechanism to see where the gays are.

And, finally, drum roll, please:
5) STEVO HARRIS IS THE CEO!!

Yep. STEVO HARRIS, the self-promoting egomaniac who "runs" A Bear's Life magazine and has screwed over so many of our friends over the years. Yes, I said it, "Stevo Harris is a self-promoting egomaniac." Others are saying it, too, just not openly or to his face as far as I'm aware.

I called the number for the card and heard, "To contact the president and CEO of Diversity Platinum, Steve Harris blahblahblah..." I audibly scoffed and said out loud, "Absolutely not!" And promptly hung up the phone. I might sound like a bitchy queen, but there's a reason.

If you happen to like that man, then simply take my comments with a grain of salt: Stevo Harris offends just about every part of me. Since the first time I came into contact with him (back in 2002), everyone I know who's had dealings with him, he's done them very wrong in many ways. I myself have been witness to and heard enough to know that I do not want to be around him or feed any of his ventures.

Please do not subscribe to this card.
This is an anti-campaign against the diversity card.
I was against it the first time I heard about it.
Now that I know that Stevo is behind it, I'll promote against it.
If you want your money to go to charities, give to them directly instead of using this card. There's no guarantee of how much will be sent to the charity of your choice, and it seems that they make companies and members jump through hoops to get money to their charities of choice.

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Stephen Lambeth

May 2017

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