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

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

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

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

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

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 - 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)
Christian Group Shows Up To Chicago Gay Pride Holding Apologetic Signs | Practikel

What do y'all think about this? Some folks are saying, "Well, it had to start somewhere," or, "Neat!" 

Personally, it has to happen and take place and be seen and covered by the media MUCH more than the one-off at Chicago.  Things like this have happened before - Chicago wasn't the first instance. This might have been the first instance that has gone somewhat viral. 

For as much as churches (not only the Christian churches, but also the Mormon church, Islam, and Judaism religious groups) have stood firmly against the gay community for so long, one or two hugs affecting a small, accepting congregation isn't enough. 

It didn't "have to start" anywhere, actually, but I'm glad this interaction was captured to show it's possible.
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!!)


"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: (Rainbow Flag)

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)
This is the Gay Agenda. Friends of ours and we wrote these down together, since the country seems to want to know what the Gay Agenda really is; they're so afraid of the Gay Agenda and we're not hiding it any longer. We hear and have heard over the years from religious groups and the right wing conservatives, "We need to stop the Gay Agenda!" We were discussing the Gay Agenda and wanted to share it with the world (after the mid-term elections, of course, so as not to affect the voting):

1. BRUNCH - push back to start at 1:30 PM on Sundays, but tell everyone it's at 1:00 PM.
--> Late-comers are open for ridicule.

2. 75% of our civil rights = 75% taxes; i.e. since we're getting only about 75% of equal civil rights, we should be required to pay only 75% taxes.

3. No apologies.

4. Surreptitious "straight" marriages with those who oppose us; e.g. lesbians & gays will marry straight people, but not tell them (because that's not happening now).

5. Salad bars should be refreshed at least every two hours.

6. If you don't want gay guys staring at you, don't wear those jeans.

7. All people are gay until proven otherwise.

8. Dancing with thumbs up? Stay at the bar.

9. Respectable gays do not date outed Republican haters.

10. Shoes.
--> 10a. "Bi"? Really? You're not fooling anyone.

wwcitizen: (Default)
This is a CNN editorial (and, yes, opinionated) article that a (lesbian) girlfriend of mine sent me in response to other things I've been highlighting recently.

Grand Rapids, Michigan (CNN) -- My partner and I recently took our mothers to Las Vegas for a week for Mother's Day. It's not our favorite city, but for a pair of 60-somethings who can sit at the penny slot machines for hours, it was heaven.

When ... not being robbed by one-armed bandits (aka slot machines), we saw a couple of shows and had some amazing dinners. We also enjoyed trying to figure out which women were hookers and which were just dressed like one. And of course saying "public drunkenness" is pretty redundant after 11AM.

But that's why we go to Vegas, right? Life on the Strip. What happens here stays here ... and all that good stuff. By the end of our trip, the four of us had seen just about everything you would expect to see in a place nicknamed Sin City -- except for faith-based protesters.

Funny, a week of walking up and down the main artery of the self-proclaimed heart of moral debauchery, and nary a Bible verse could be heard. In the many times I've been to Las Vegas over the years, I've never seen a religious protest. And yet let a mid-size city try to add sexual orientation to its municipal nondiscrimination policy or a high school senior bring a same-gender date to prom, and you would think it was the apocalypse. (Being gay in our society in our culture at our place in history is not a sin.)

Where are the faith-based organizations trying to make adultery a crime punishable by death, as suggested in Leviticus 20:10?

The Bible doesn't state that one sin is greater than another (even though homosexuality is not a sin), but you wouldn't know that by counting the number of comments that quote Scripture on news stories about the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community. Compare them with how many address murder, or the environment, or the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and well, the word "hypocrite" comes to mind.

I am never ashamed to say I follow the teachings of Christ, but I am not always proud to say I am a Christian. That's because I am bothered by the continual mutilation of my religion's basic principle of love by the extremists in my religion who construct a hierarchy of sin -- which does not exist in the Bible -- for no other reason than to protect their own prejudices.

We've seen this throughout this country's history, and perhaps with the exception of abortion, no current issue illustrates [the transgression of hypocrisy] more so than gay rights.

Some conservatives might attend church only twice a year, but ask their opinion about gays in the military. They can find Leviticus 18:22 blindfolded, handcuffed and sinking underwater: "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind; it is an abomination."

Rarely do you hear them mention the other "sexual sins" in Leviticus, such as making love to your wife while she's menstruating (i.e. having her period). There are some people who say Jesus freed us from the old laws with one side of their mouths while using old laws to condemn GLBT people with the other.

Many turn to the destruction of Sodom as proof against homosexuality. But the King James version lists fornication, greed and lying as sins committed in Sodom as well, and never specifies which particular sin caused God's wrath.

In fact, the word "Sodomite," which some like to toss around as an anti-gay insult, is a mistranslation and is not used in the original Hebrew text. The actual word is "kadesh," and it does not refer to the city, its inhabitants or a specific sexual act. It refers to the occult male prostitutes in the shrines, just as "kedesha" refers to the female equivalent. Neither word reflects sexual orientation.

It may be convenient to say [the Sodom & Gomorrah story] was all about homosexual people, but historically and scripturally, that isn't accurate. This is why I, like so many other Christians, do not follow a literal interpretation of the Bible.

I'm not ducking Leviticus, I'd just rather go directly to the source. Concepts get lost in translation, and we all know history is filled with influential people and institutions that have defined religion for the masses based upon their own selfish needs. For example, King Henry VIII, the man who authorized the first English translation of the Bible, was married six times and essentially had the British Empire separate from the Roman Catholic Church so he could divorce in peace. Then there's King James, whose own writings suggest he was secretly gay or bisexual, according to historians such as Michael B. Young and Caroline Bingham.

He was directed to marry for the sake of the throne before authorizing the version of the Bible that swapped "kadesh" for "Sodomite" in the first place. Hmm, where have we heard that story -- closeted gay politician with an anti-gay policy -- before?

But theology and history aside, it is clear from the lack of consistent reaction to and organization against the litany of other present-day sins that a large number of people who call themselves Christians do not follow the literal interpretation of the Bible either. So, if some of us are picking and choosing which Bible verses to follow, why are so many opting to pick and choose verses that appear to condemn homosexuality and not the one against marrying a woman who isn't a virgin?

If sin is sin (and the conservative Christians consider homosexuality to be a sin), why such Christian angst directed at the GLBT community and not the greedy corporate community, which, quite frankly, has more direct impact on the average person's life?

The answer is simple: Those who are uncomfortable or fearful of someone who is different from them sometimes hide behind religion to gain power, nurture their ignorance, and justify their prejudices.

It's no different from Christian slave owners (150+ years ago) using Scriptures to feel better about enslaving Africans, or men pointing to Jezebel as a way to keep women out of the clergy, or Bob Jones University picking verses that supported the school's ban on interracial dating.

The extremists aren't fighting gay rights because of sin and honoring Leviticus 18:22. If they were, then where are the faith-based organizations spending millions trying to make adultery a crime punishable by death, as suggested in Leviticus 20:10? Is 18:22 more true than 20:10, or does it just support a more common and entrenched prejudice?

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of LZ Granderson (and annotations/clarifications by me, Stephen Lambeth).
wwcitizen: (Cross MP3)
The group in which I was involved in Philadelphia - Harvest Ministries - is an ex-gay ministry that spews lies, hate, and rejection. They muddy the waters of faith and mislead people to a place where they have little faith left many times, people leave the church and their faith behind, and live unhappy lives believing that God hates them because they're gay. I'm evermore empowered to witness others learning what I have learned: God is MUCH bigger than we give him credit for. God cannot be boxed into the corners and Pandora's Boxes we make in our myopic churches. These people in this video are apologizing for lies and hate that they proliferated through Exodus International, an organization that they started and continues today.

wwcitizen: (Rainbow Flag)
On her radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura, written by a US man, and posted on the Internet. It's funny, as well as thought-provoking and informative:

"Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination ... End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? (Lev.24:10-16) Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I'm confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Your adoring fan,

James M. Kauffman,
Ed.D. Professor Emeritus,
Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education University of Virginia
PS (It would be a damn shame if we couldn't own a Canadian.)"
wwcitizen: (Face-Serious)
I was going to start posting things that happened in my life over the past few weeks; people have been asking about the trip to NC, for instance, and the photo shoot in Atlantic City... BUT, this takes precedence:

I read an article this evening about an elderly couple. If you haven't read this yet, it's worth it, especially if you're not already gay-married - legally. Even if you might have all your legal paperwork together for each other as beneficiaries, legal counsel, financial advisers for each other, etc., etc., there are simply no guarantees until something changes for our good and our equal civil rights.

This article made me cry, and cry deeper as I read this out loud to my partner.

Sonoma County CA Separates Elderly Gay Couple article )

Read more about NCLR's Elder Law Project.

Are you disturbed by the story of how Clay Greene was treated by the County? Please blog about this, pass it on over Facebook or Twitter, just do whatever you can to help raise the visibility of what happened to Clay. Send a letter to the local paper at the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. Send them this link to NCLR's page.

Want to stay up to date on this case? Follow NCLR and Bilerico Project on Twitter.
wwcitizen: (Cross MP3)
I saw a friend's blurb about himself on Facebook today that made me giggle loudly for a few seconds:

"The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and 326 admonishments to heterosexuals. That doesn't mean God doesn't love heterosexuals - He just thinks they need more supervision."

wwcitizen: (Face-Serious)
This is an article that appears in Newsweek (as noted below). My partner and I picked up the magazine after I had read these informative and well-conceived perspectives on the "Gay Marriage" discussion. This article provides good, sound points for all who care to join in on the religious (Christian and possibly Jewish, mostly) perspectives on the discussion (Something went wrong with my original post, so I re-posted - sorry for the extra post).

Our Mutual Joy

Opponents of gay marriage often cite Scripture. But what the Bible teaches about love argues for the other side.
By Lisa Miller | NEWSWEEK
Published Dec 6, 2008
From the magazine issue dated Dec 15, 2008
Read article )

Extra caveat )
wwcitizen: (Bavarian Bear)
A new HBO documentary film, based on a book with the same title, is coming out called, When I Knew, in which hundreds of people talk about when they realized they were gay. The screening was preceded by acknowledgements of all the leaders at Time Warner who made the book a reality through the film.

It was a funny, moving, heart-breaking, enlightenin film showcasing elements of every gay person's story. The moment they knew they were gay becomes clearer once they acknowledge and can say, "Yep, I'm gay. That's why I want to hold his hand, kiss him, and spend every waking and sleeping moment with him. Now it all makes sense.". I'm considering capturing at least one entry or two of "When I Knew" in a simple and brief homage to the authors of the book, but more importantly for myself.

I had been to another screening like this at HBO with the same friend, Bob, last fall, which was, I must admit, more inspiring and affirming. But Bob's partner and Matthew came to this one this time, too. The film last night was followed by a panel of GLBT leaders from NY/NJ to discuss the film for about 45 minutes. I could have kicked one of them right off the stage, but the other five were great.

It was great to see this kind of movie with a large group of people with similar experiences and histories. Then to leave with friends to discuss the film, the topic, and panel discussion afterwards over dinner (at Uncle Nick's on 9th - fab) together. Great evening.


wwcitizen: (Default)
Stephen Lambeth

May 2017

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