Monday, March 31, 2008
Hope you can come!
Friday, March 28, 2008
This morning, on two separate occasions, on sidewalks in the Carrboro, NC, I saw dads with babies! One dad, dressed in a running suit, had disheveled blond hair, pushing a child in a stroller with the chocolate Labrador retriever; another dad had a Snuggli on, a baby well strapped onto the chest of this handsome man, walking with his (male) friend(?). Spring has sprung, and I just kept smiling.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
All the blogs (towleroad.com, queerty.com, advocate.com) had the news from Cuba: Mariela Castro, niece of Fidel and daughter of Raul, is leading the charge of making Cuba's laws for LGBT people more equal with heterosexuals in Cuba. As the head of the National Center for Sex Education, she figured out that there will need to be a great deal of education of the populace before LGBT people are given more rights and privileges that will bring us to a place of equality with heterosexual people in Cuba. As many of the "gay marriage advocates rightly understand, we were voting on the issues regarding "gay marriage" in the last few election cycles before the populace were rightly educated about what it is that we are asking for, and why. Instead, with the stealth of the "Rove machine," and the fire in the belly in many communities of faith, along with the ambiguity of many in mainstream communities of faith who did nothing, amendments were made that were harmful to those of us who are LGBT. But amendments can be overturned in those states that followed a strident script of anger. There is always an opportunity, especially among those of us who are out, to work toward educating the greater populace and changing the conversation, in which we will have equal rights in all arenas of our lives. Then we may be more like Cuba! Isn't that interesting? And yet sad?
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
On dailykos.com, there is a an article on the first gay marriage in Boulder, CO, when Clela Rorex, county clerk, signed the first gay marriage license. I am writing this while watching a commercial on Bravo's "Top Chef," in which there is a heterosexual couple marrying.
To confirm that we homos "get" this marriage thing (kind of, sort of), is andrewsullivan.com's link to the Washington Blade story on the 50 year anniversary of a gay couple in the D.C. area. As I cite in On Being a Gay Parent, our relationships, statistically, follow the same pattern of hetero couples in terms of length of marriage, divorce, union, etc. (click here for more).
In reading this news report about how much Vermonters are getting "comfortable" with the idea of gays being in state-sanctioned marriages, I feel like parodying the words of Sally Fields, in accepting one of her Oscars, bellowing to the crowd, "They like us! They really like US!?"
I guess it will just take time for the ruling heterosexual community to get used to the idea of "gays marrying" before they officially let us register at Target, Home Depot, Lowe's, and Bed, Bath, and Beyond.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Eytan Fox's movie, "The Bubble," is a little bit like Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," is like the musical "Westside Story," is like, well, "The Bubble," in which there are two star-crossed lovers who are not able to live completely and wholly as a couple because of nationalities and divergent family loyalties. In "The Bubble," the couple in love is a Palestinian young man who lives in the West Bank, while his partner-lover lives in Tel Aviv, Israel. With the sustaining tension in that part of the world, the two live a life of unrequited love because of the politics of Israel and the people of the West Bank.
Art imitate life, and life imitates art: in an article in Ynet news, there is the story of a Palestinian and Israeli who love each other, and have for many years. The Palestinian man, who lives in Jenin, is now allowed to live in Tel Aviv with his partner of eight years (click here for more).
The title under the picture in this article says "Love defies borders." It is a fitting title. It is love that defies borders. Even the writer of Ephesians understood this: "Christ is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us" (Eph. 2:14). The love of Christ, embedded in the hearth of believers, is able to break down the dividing wall between those who are gay and straight, rich and poor, able-bodied and disabled, of all ethnicities and heritages. The love and peace of Christ transcends the human-constructed barriers that divide.
The hope in this story is that love wins all.
Monday, March 24, 2008
LAGOS, March 21, 2008 – A shocking story of mob violence has emerged which almost culminated in the death of one of the leaders of the Changing Attitude Nigeria (CAN) group in Port Harcourt.
The violent attack occurred at the funeral ceremony held yesterday for the sister of Davis Mac-Iyalla, attended by six members of the Port Harcourt group on Thursday 20 March 2008.
Attacked was the CAN Port Harcourt leader who is not being named.
“I am in total shock and living in fear while feeling the pains,” the victim said.
“I suffered in the hands of a mob group that attacked me at the Service of Songs for Davis’s late sister. While hymn singing was going on a muscular man walked up to me and asked me for a word outside the compound.
“The next thing I saw was a mob group who were there to attack me.
“They started slapping and punching me, kicked me on the ground and spat on me.
“I have never known fear like I knew when they were brutalizing me. I thought they were going to kill me there and then."
I am not interested in tolerance of those of us who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, but expect respect and love. To quote Jesus: "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:34, 35). Mob violence is not love.
In a recent notice from Equality North Carolina (hat tip to Ian Palmquist and crew of this great group), there was a notice about an essay/opinion piece by Mary Francis Forrester, wife of North Carolina State Senator, Jim Forrester (R-Gaston), with the provocative title, "The Real Homosexual Agenda." In case I did not know it, there was a "false" or "mythic" "homosexual agenda," the content of which I still know nothing about. Ms. Forrester writes this in February 2008 in the Christian Action League newsletter (click here for the details and proof).
In this essay, Ms. Forrester quotes Mark Swift from an essay he wrote that was included in the Congressional Record in February 1986, over twenty-two (22) years ago, citing this message from "The Winds, p. 4." What she cites from Mr. Swift (if he really wrote or said this) is fascinatingly weird: We shall raise private armies...to defeat you. The family unit will be abolished. Perfect boys will be conceived and grown in the genetic laboratory...All churches who condemn us will be closed. Our only gods are handsome young men. All males who insist on remaining stupidly heterosexual will be tried in homosexual courts of justice and will become invisible men. Tremble, hetero swine, when we appear before you without our masks."
To be sure Mr. Swift is not the only weird one in the boat he is in, Ms. Forrester jumps into his very boat with her observation: "The Fifth Commandment says," Honor thy Mother and they Father that thy days may be long upon the earth that the Lord thy God giveth thee." The first part of that powerful statement gives no mention of 'two mommies," or "two daddies." The second part of that commandant is also powerful. With the gift of this earth comes the responsibility that by honoring our mother and father, "thy days may be long upon the earth." Did you know that the average life span of a homosexual is 39 years as opposed to 78 for heterosexual women and 76 for heterosexual men?" How she connects the Decalogue with same sex relationships is beyond me, let alone where she gets these statistics: we'll never know because she does not cite her sources."
Of course, there is an interesting rebuttal to everything that Ms. Forrester claims in her article, including getting the name of Mr. Swift wrong (Michael, not Mark), and not knowing that what Michael initially wrote was a rather "tongue in cheek" response to the homophobia of American society writ large (click here for rebuttal).
As a Christian who is called to be a dad who is gay, busy taking care of a family, striving to be a good dad to two amazing grown children, being a good partner, beginning a non-profit, pursuing the writing life, teaching and preaching around the country, while maintaining a home, dogs, enjoying friendships, at the end of the day I have little to no energy to flip open the pages to my secret little book, "The Homosexual Agenda," in order to figure out what to do next. I do, however, take time to turn to the Psalms after reading such material from Ms. Forrester, and with the Psalmist ask, "I lift up my eyes to the hills--from where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth." (Ps. 121:1, 2)
Bring it on, Jesus: bring the help to Ms. Forrester and all of us! And love us wholly and completely like no one else can, especially in this time of Eastertide!
Thursday, March 20, 2008
However, the group Focus on the Family, thinks this is something new, and is trying to make it new, making it a wedge issue in their own sphere of power and realm of shaming and guilting people into closets.
We're here, no matter how we got here; we're queer, no matter how it happened and is happening; and we're not leaving. Why, how, where, when did we get to be straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender people? God knows!
It is time to change.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
At last night's panel discussion on gay and lesbian-headed households at UNC's School of Social Work, I heard the story I've heard, and played, often in my life: in which we who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered parents go into the closet at times in "protecting" our children from others who may or may not like us, simply because we are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered.
Bottom Line: The politics and the culture of this nation will only change if we are out in our daily lives. Yet this is easier said or written, than done.
It is time to change.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
In the early 19th Century it was used to refer to women who lived off immoral earnings," he says. Around the 1970s it was claimed by the homosexual community as a descriptive term for their sexual orientation, now its most popular meaning. By the 1980s it was finding its way into schools as a playground insult.
"Every generation grows up with a whole lexicon of homosexual insults, in my day it was 'poofter' or 'bender'," says slang lexicographer Tony Thorne. "They were used much more because they were considered more offensive than 'gay', which is more neutral."And where did the use of the term "gay" as a put-down come from? The U.S. of A.!
"The use of "gay" in this particular way was first recorded at the end of the 1970s and developed among US high school students, says Mr Throne. It's not only youngsters in the UK who have recently adopted it, the same has happened to the German equivalent, schwul, he adds.
This mutation of the word is one reason why using "gay" as in a pejorative sense often goes unchallenged. Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles caused controversy in 2006 for his casual use of the word. He said he'd used it to describe something as "rubbish" and was backed by the BBC.
"The word has what we call multiple coinage and that's the problem," says Mr Thorne. "While teenagers are generally using it to mean 'lame' it can separately be used as a homophobic term of abuse."Click here for more!
Monday, March 17, 2008
What is fun about doing this speaking engagement is the novelty of the very "thing" itself: being able to talk about being a daughter and dad together from our unique vantage point in the world! While we are not the first gay dad-and-daughter team, nor the last, this is what is "fun" about being "out" in the world: having an opportunity to be out, speak out, and tell our story of the ups and downs and sideway motions and emotions, thoughts and experiences of living in our household.
My son doesn't want to participate in these talks...yet. But given some more time, he may join us some time in some format.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
My son Parker comes home telling me about these jokes all the time. When I worked at Duke Divinity School, there was one professor who liked to tell similar jokes.
It is time to change the message.
Friday, March 14, 2008
This week in the news, Norway is moving toward marriage equality, and the state of Washington, with the governor's signature, broadened the coverage, rights, and privileges of those in domestic partnerships. Click here for the Norway story, and click here for the Washington state story.
While amid stories of people being possibly forced to move to countries where they might be killed because they are gay, alongside shootings of gay youth on American streets and schools, next to stories of gays and lesbians being denied adoption opportunities in some states because of who we are, with state representatives who are married to Baptist ministers in the Midwest comparing us to terrorists and Hitler while hiding the fact that she has a gay son (sight), it is important to celebrate where there is movement afoot in the positive sense of what is open for those of us who are gay, bisexual, transgender, or lesbian people.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Being killed simply because of who we are: this is wrong.
It is time to change.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Now we find out that the book THE JOY OF GAY SEX has been removed from the bookshelves of public libraries in Nampa, Idaho. Click here for more of this story. Consider this book banned too.
Here is what is amazing: by taking these books off of the shelves, children and teenagers who are interested in or should be informed about ways of being "family" in this great country of ours are being deprived. I know of too many gay men and lesbian women who were never told about the "birds and bees" of sex because their parents did not know how to talk about heterosexual sex, let alone gay or lesbian sex.
What we are doing with the act of banning books is breeding ignorance.
Shame on us all.
Monday, March 10, 2008
Click here for more.
Now, what is fun are those people who, in response, taped a YouTube episode called "I'm listening."
Now, really enjoy!
The truth: these people are in each and every state of our Union.
It is time to change.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
On this fifth Sunday of Lent, I am reminded in the story of Lazarus, he was to take off his own wrappings of his death shroud. While Jesus called him out of the embrace of death, it was Lazarus and his friends who took needed to follow the command of Jesus to rise and "unbind him, and let him go" (John 11: 44, 45).
As LGBT clergy, many of us become very comfortable with the wrappings of oppression, repression, and sadness in the closet, and it will take courage to finally see and unbind ourselves from the politics of the Church.
Rise! Shine! For our light/Light has come!
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Amid all the scholarships that are "out there" in the academic "machine," there are few opportunities that give some of the LGBT students who may need this option, especially if a parent excludes the LGBT teenager from their home.
Click here for more info!
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
What I heard in the NPR report was these important, and valid points, that need to be considered:
* Up to 1948, there was the denial of inter-racial marriage, for much of the same reason that the State of California will not allow LGBT people to marry;
* The argument that "marriage is between one man and one woman, with the purpose of pro-creation" no longer holds up in this day and age, because more and more married couples choose not "bear children." Thus, should they have been allowed to be married while remaining empty nesters?
* The domestic partnerships, civil unions, same-sex pledges are called "parallel tracks," to marriage, which means that they are "separate" from the marriage "track" but the lawyer was trying to argue that they are "equal" institutions in the eyes of the State of California. Why have two separate but "equal tracks"? Why not have one and simply call it "marriage?"
The "separate but equal" argument did not hold up with segregated schools, especially here in the southeastern part of this country. And "separate but equal" does not hold up for marriage and same sex unions either.
It is time to change.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
I could go on...really!
Get the point?
In so many pats of the world, of this country, in this state, in this region, in this county, in this city: "queers ain't welcome."
It is time to change.
So what happens when the state recognizes a couple to be wedded together as not only a "man and a woman," but a "man and man," or "woman and woman"? Massachusetts already does this as a marriage. California is considering it (click here); Oregon, New Jersey, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont already provide domestic or civil unions, as do countries like Canada, the Netherlands, Spain, and Great Britain (to name a few).
While "fidelity in relationships, chastity in singleness" in several of our denominations is applicable to only "man and woman," what happens when (not if, when) the majority of the states allows unions of same sex couples?
Won't the church change?
My bet: yes!
Watch and listen, and be amazed at how God is working "where the Spirit will," says Jesus.
Monday, March 3, 2008
Sunday, March 2, 2008
I have heard of other churches among Protestant, the Catholic, and Orthodox churches who have denied moms and dads who are lesbian or gay parents Eucharist or a place around the Lord's Supper, let alone being baptized or having our children baptized. The denial of either sacrament to a person because of one's sexual orientation or expression is a sin...of a systemic kind. In other words, the entire system is sinful and unjust.
While I know there are same-sex blessings and unions and marriages (Massachusetts), our blessings and unions are usually done in secret without an announcement in the following Sunday's bulletin.
I am glad that this couple had their beautiful child baptized, both for the sake of the child, who will grow up in a church community who love and will nurture her, along with the parents, and the extended family and friends. "It takes a village," a community of faith to raise a child, as much as it takes a child--the Christ child in this case--to create a community of the faithful.