Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Thanks to andrewsullivan.com for this tip:
In the on-line Details website, there is an interesting article about the rise of so many gay couples welcoming children into their lives.
My first response: Duh!? Of course gay men also experience the call, the desire, the pull to be parents, to be dads. On the heel of the NYT Magazine article on Sunday, April 27th, 2008, about gay men choosing to be in committed relationships in their 20s, with a gay couple about to become domestic partners on ABC TV's, "Brothers and Sisters," the next movement will be dads and moms who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.
We're coming out, and we want the world to know!
Now all we have to do is un-do all the Rove-Bush-Cheney instigated constitutional amendments in so many states, in order that our children and we as couples have all the rights and benefits as do any other heterosexual couples.
Time to move on in life, yes?
Click here for more.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
A re-cap of a day of decisions made around the Church and the State of NC:
* The Rev. Janie Spahr, who married two women, was found not guilty of marrying two women because (I think I got this straight), this was not considered a "wedding" because it did not involve one man and one woman, the Presbyterian Church (USA) definition of a wedding and marriage.
"It found that Spahr, who conducted two same-gender marriages in 2004 and 2005, could not be “found guilty of doing that which, by definition, cannot be done.”
The ruling reverses a decision by the PJC of the Synod of the Pacific, which on appeal had ordered the PJC of Redwoods Presbytery to “rebuke” Spahr for conducting the ceremonies after the presbytery’s court had found her “not guilty.”
“The ceremonies that are the subject of this case were not marriages as the term is defined by W-4.9001” [of the church’s constitution], the court held. That provision defines marriage as between a man and a woman."
* Democratic Senatorial candidate, Jim Neal, a native Carolinian who recently moved back to NC from NYC, did not get the endorsement of the Human Rights Campaign, nor money from the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund.
Curious: why would HRC and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund not support an out-gay, Democratic candidate? Jim has said that he is running for all North Carolinians, gay and straight, bisexual, transgender, and queer questioning?
Click here for more.
* Governor Mike Easley of NC used the anti-gay slur, "pansy" in describing Hillary Clinton as a candidate, saying that "she makes Rocky Balboa look like a pansy." Governor Mike! You made yourself a laughing stock in the LGBTQ community: thanks! No, really: thanks a lot!
Click here for more.
What a day!?
On www.towleroad.com this morning, there was a snippet of a longer London Times interview with Gene Robinson, based on the writings in this new book, From the Eye of the Storm (published in the States by Seabury Press, but Canterbury Press in the U.K.).
One place that Gene Robinson and I agree on (and there are many places, comments and ideas that we agree upon) is the notion that we, who are LGBTQ, are facing some of the same prejudicial attitudes that faced and face others in the Church, much of it coming out of the sinful structure of the Church itself (which, given that we are human means we will fall far short of the glory of God.):
"Jesus never says anything about homosexuality," he says, the light tone in his nasal voice suddenly darkening, "but he says a lot about treating every person with dignity and respect. All the biblical appeals for a particular attitude to homosexuality can never quote Jesus."
What, though, of Old Testament condemnations of "men who lay with men"?
"The Church isn't the same yesterday, today and tomorrow," he says.
"Only God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. The Church has always been changing. The Holy Spirit is leading us into truth. And I believe we have learnt that about people of colour, about women, about those who are disabled and now about lesbian and gay people."Click here for more.
Monday, April 28, 2008
This interesting ABC-TV 20/20 show, regarding public displays of affection by gay and lesbian couples in Birmingham, AL, and NJ, has been hitting all the gay blogs.
Recently, Dean and I were told by one elder of a Church that we should not show any kinds of public display of affection in, well, public. It would show we are in relationship.
In yesterday's New York Times' Magazine, the cover story was about young gay couples, in their 20s, becoming committed, long term, in some cases "married" couples...and even divorced in their 20s.
I'll blog more in the coming day, but just wanted to flag the article!
Click here for more.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
In Israel, a couple has been allowed to adopt a child! This is exciting, especially living in the state of North Carolina, in which we don't have this possibility.
There is a case in Durham, NC, where a gay couple was granted the right to adopt a child as a couple, as ordered by a judge.
There are days that you have to say: "I thought we were further along in this country than we are. Why is it wrong for a couple to adopt a child, and be co-parents? Why is it that only an individual can adopt a child that a couple will share responsibility for in this state? Why?"
Click here for more!
Friday, April 25, 2008
Today is understood to be a Day of Silence, putting a spotlight on the way that LGBTQ people are some times bullied and teased about being LGBTQ, especially in the context of schools. Today, those who keep silent are a painful reminder of things past, in which many LGBTQ kept silent about who they are in the face of bullies. Yet today, the intentional silence is audible enough to let others know around us we will be silent no more. Today is a day to break through the veil of threats and no longer be silent. Break the silence.
Begun in 1996, this is a day that in many of our schools--private, public, elementary to colleges and universities (and hopefully seminaries)--LGBTQ people and those who are allies are silent. Some keep silence all day, while others are silent during lunch periods or recess. Some carry small cards explaining their silence, while others have put tape over their mouths to show in a demonstrable fashion that they are keeping silent this day.
This day in 2008, many are remembering Lawrence King who was killed by a bully because of issues regarding sexual orientation, e.g., because he was gay.
With my son having been bullied because he has an openly gay dad, with a book "out there" in the world talking about being a gay dad--and thus a gay family in many ways--I am more aware of the torment that not only LGBTQ students and teachers face in our schools, but our straight children as well.
Sometimes symbols matter and some times they really don't: flag pins, flags, crosses, logos, mascots, holding hands across America. However, being voluntarily, audibly silent in a chatty world matters, especially if it draws attention to the overt or covert bullying that goes on in this world--whether we are being bullied because we are LGBTQ, straight children of LGBTQ parents, disabled, of different ethnicity, nationality, heritage, economic class, academic games, because of gender, or religion. The twist is this: we shall be silent no more about any kind of bullying.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
"The study questioned about 133 gay New York City youths on various topics, including long-term relationships, family, and adoption. Researchers found that "more than 90% of females and more than 80% of males expect to be partnered in a monogamous relationship after age 30." About 67% of males and 55% of females expressed the desire to raise children. In terms of adoption, 42% of males and 32% of females said they were likely to adopt children.
"We seem to be witnessing the mainstreaming of lesbian/gay youth, with many of them wanting exactly what heterosexual youth have always wanted -- the whole American dream complete with kids and the minivan," Robert-Jay Green of the Rockway Institute said in a statement. "Most agree that the primary issue is whether these youth will be given the equal legal rights to realize their couple and family aspirations just like their heterosexual peers."
Click here for more.
But as I've said in my book and in talks, being a parent is a calling. And I have been called to be a parent.
So are more LGBT folks answering the "call" to be parents?
Times...they are a' changin'...
Monday, April 21, 2008
Truth and Reconciliation: The Church Universal and Gays, Lesbians, Transgendered, and Bisexual People
In queerty.com today, there was a great column/question posed on the site: Why Can't the Pope Apologize? (click here). The snippet was in regards to the priests and the sexual abuse cases facing the Catholic Church. What I didn't hear during this Pope's visit was anything regarding an apology for those women who have also faced abuse by the Church, the ordination--or lack thereof--of women as priests, let alone as deacons, or the silencing of many Catholic theologians who have been more progressive in their theological writings.
But then again: along with the Catholic Church, and the Orthodox Churches, what mainline Protestant denomination is truly and fully inclusive of LGBTQ people in their church, among all their diocese, presbyteries, conferences, or other similar ruling bodies, and not just in certain pockets of the country, ordaining and, if a couple chooses, marrying or blessing same sex folks?
Prophecying here: there will be a day and age when all of the Churches will have to go through a "truth and reconciliation" process when those in power will have to come to terms with the neglect and abuse of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and queer expressing people for over two thousand centuries. Treating us as second class citizens is not acceptable or tolerable any longer. The only way forward is this arduous, painful process of lancing the boil of hurt and hate. As this process has been used successfully in South Africa as well as Greensboro, NC, in which there has been racial division, this process--of telling our stories and being heard--will one day bring about a healing of the hurt, agony, and abuse of many of us who are LGBTQ. Respect and love are called for today.
It is time to change.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Finally, as I was about to turn off the computer I found this interesting and sad article on queerty.com, regarding a United Methodist gay activist who is speaking out within the circle of faith. As I do this within the Presbyterian Church (USA), I admire the work that Steven Webster writes about in this newspaper essay in the Dallas Morning News:
"I embrace our Wesleyan Christian vision of "making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world" and applaud the General Conference for seeking to build unity around four focus areas: 1) developing principled Christian leaders for the church and the world; 2) reaching new people in new places by starting new congregations and renewing existing ones; 3) engaging in ministry with the poor; and 4) stamping out killer diseases by improving health globally.
Yet we undercut these same goals when we continue to: 1) reject the gifts and graces of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons and their allies; 2) turn off a younger generation that views the Christian faith as "anti-homosexual;" 3) push LGBT youth into poverty and homelessness as families reject them because church and society stigmatizes LGBT persons; and 4) fail to address the role that ignorance and stigmatization of homosexuality (and other sexualities) play in the global AIDS epidemic."When working for an institution that brought out a bumper sticker that said something to the effect that they were an "open mind, open heart, open door" community of faith, I realize, in light of the reality of how many LGBT people are denied a job, denied baptism, are denied opportunities to practice their God given gifts--as is true within other denominations and churches as well--that we have a great deal of work ahead of us.
The shortest verse in the New Testament is simply this, echoing what Jesus must feel when looking at the flock (us): "And Jesus wept."
Click here for more.
(Tip from towleroad.com)
For goodness sakes, America, Uruguay celebrates a gay marriage! Get a load of this:
"Judge Estrella Perez officiated the civil union between Adrian Figuera, 38, and actor and theater director Juan Carlos Moretti, 67, in a courtroom before a small group of friends and family, as witnessed by an AFP reporter." Read and click here for more.
As we fight against constitutional amendments that prohibit us from getting married, other states in this union, along with other civilized (!) countries welcome LGBT couples in getting married.
It is time to change.
There was this tidbit from "The Irish Times," on queerty.com, regarding a lesbian couple who have a child, in which all the rights and privileges are extended to the couple with the child, with no rights to the man whose sperm helped create the child. In other words, the gay father who donated the sperm has no rights or privileges of guardianship or access rights of seeing or knowing the child. The child is the "exclusive property," shall we say, of the lesbian couple.
Said the judge: "Mr Justice Hedigan said there was nothing in Irish law to suggest that a family of two women and a child "has any lesser right to be recognised as a de facto family than a family composed of a man and a woman unmarried to each other". Click here for more.
As I've said on many occasions, we who are LGBT parents are pushing the envelope of what it means to be "family" in this modern/post-modern world.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
How would I know? Because I've been there. Having grown up on Young Life, InterVarsity, home churches, a dalliance with Campus Crusades, and Navigator roommates, I know that culture well. My contacts with people in some of these former associations cut-off all contact with me once I was outed as a gay man by former colleagues at the University where I used to teach. Azariah will likely also face some of this "loosing" of the "ties" that once bound him to a certain cultural context in the supposedly "evangelical" community of faith. Many in this community of faith talk about "loosing" or "loosening" the "ties that bind us together," in which those who consider themselves "our" elders can choose who is in and who is out of the community of faith.
Because of this ostracism by communities of faith, the denial of ordination, the exclusion at a table or altar where Communion or Eucharist is being distributed, baptism is denied, and jobs in the church are not available, based solely upon who we are as LGBT people, many people choose to remain in the closet, where the sign above the door sill says DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL, DON'T KNOCK, KEEP OUT.
Coming out as gay, lesbian, transgendered, or bisexual is still a move that is to be celebrated and cheered on, after all these years, and all these lives of people coming out. I, like so many others, agree that it is in coming out that we who are LGBTQ will be included in this diverse community of human lives.
Come out, come out, wherever we are!
Feel free to share stories.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Thanks to Mark Erson for pulling this together! Lunch was wonderful too!
Peace & grace,
For a moment, I imagined a state in which discrimination against those of us who are LGBTQ was against the law.
A boy can imagine!
Click here for more...and thanks to towleroad.com for this article.
In 1989, Philip Glass presented to the world his opera, Satyagraha, chronicling the first important events in the life of Gandhi that later shaped his legendary life. Last night I saw the opera's debut in the Met in NYC, and was transfixed by the music, the scenery, the acting, and the message of the opera. Satyagraha, meaning "truth force," is caught in the opening moments of the opera when young Gandhi, with a 1st class ticket for a train ride, is thrown out of 1st class--and off the train--because he refused to sit with the rest of the Indians in apartheid South Africa.
The power of truth in the world--part of that living and speaking truth to power--is undeniable. It will be resisted each and every time in places in the world in which truth is not in the hands or minds or heart of those in power. Truth and non-violence threatens the powers that live in lies and deceptions and use violence to wield power in this world.
"The truth/Truth will set you free," is as true today as it was when first utter. Truth force was readily apparent in the work of Martin Luther King, Jr. Jesus, who is the personification of Truth walking among us, along with being the embodiment of Love, Grace, Joy, Hope--to name a few--gives us assistance in this walk of living truthfully as moms and dads who are LGBTQ.
We who are LGBTQ, and especially (given this blog) we who are LGBTQ parents, will meet resistance in a largely straight-parent world. We will meet hostility, whether it is subtle or hopefully overt (it is a lot easier to see and hear and thus know than the more subtler form). We will meet people who seem to lack joy or love in their lives, whether they are gay or straight. Gay people hidden in marriage don't want to live or be with people who are out and open with their lives. Living truthfully and openly as LGBTQ parents give our children and extended family members permission to live truthfully and openly as well. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," (DADT) is a disease to the body of communities of faith. Being faithful means that it is simply impossible for us to live when we are centered upon living truthful, truth-bearing lives.
Yes, it is easier to write and say this now than it was when I was in my closet, built with my own hands and materials given to me by society.
Let the truth/Truth set us free...and live non-violent lives.
Monday, April 14, 2008
On Sunday, April 13th, between 10-15 people gathered around a large table to talk about issues raised in the book On Being a Gay Parent at St. John the Divine Cathedral in NYC right after the 11:00 worship. It was a wonderful discussion, in which nothing was taken for granted in terms of the contours and ways of being family. I appreciate the give-and-take of raising issues that challenge and shape our families, gay and straight alike.
That evening, after spending time in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I went back for the Evening Vespers, followed by a public forum on Satyagraha, which means "truth force" of non-violent struggle, based upon the work of Gandhi, but recognized as well by other faith traditions, with Jesus Christ, along with the Christian civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. In contemplating the intersection of contemplation and the engagement of social action in the world for our families--gay and straight alike--how do we recognize and celebrate and "be" the change we want to see in the world? Or as MLK, Jr., said the right time to do the right thing is right now.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Ed and I struck up a conversation at the "anointed" time at 5:30, and some folks came and stood and listened to the conversation going on. Soon, friends like David Wall from Princeton, NJ, and Brian came and joined the conversation. What a great talk with had among ourselves.
It is 10:21: the train to NYC and the next leg of this pilgrimage is about to being.
More to come!
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Following this reading on Sat., I'll be reading and discussing issues from the book at St. John's the Divine Cathedral on Sunday, April 13th, at 1:00 P.M. in NYC!
What I've so enjoyed about these readings is the discussion afterwards, with various folks asking questions and making comments I never intended from the book itself. Heck: the next book may just be ON BEING A GAY GRANDPARENT!
Hope to see you folks there!
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
When I was growing up and acting oh-so-gay-and-karaoke-singing in Denny's, two friends and I would love to sing "Stop! In the name of love," thanks to the Supremes! We had hips moving, hand gestures, and heads-bopping, dancing in the aisles of Denny's restaurant in downtown Portland, Oregon.
Sadly, I remember those words nowadays when contemplating marrying couples and reading this story from BBC-News about a Unitarian Church in England (Newington Green Unitarian Church in Islington, England), in which all weddings are no longer allowed until everyone can wed, gay and straight alike. This Unitarian Church has said "Stop! In the name of Love!" for many of our hearts are broken because so many churches, synagogues, etc., do not allow us the sacred spaces to be wed.
This is a theological and polity issue: the church/Church will have to come up with a theological justification/rationale or basis for helping us all understand--in good times and bad--the union of two people becoming one, whether these "two people" are a woman and man, or two men, or two women. As a minister of the Word and sacrament, this will help in reading and stating the declaration of marriage at the beginning of a wedding worship service.
Click here for more.
Saturday, April 5, 2008
I recently met a grandfather whose grown daughter "came out" of the closet at an older age. The daughter was married to a man for several years, is a mom of three children, and is living with her partner of three or four years, who also has children from a previous lesbian relationship. The two met over their respective children's athletic events. The grown daughter who was married is also living in the after effect of her former husband's suicide, which he committed right before the divorce was final. The grown daughter's former in-laws, along with her former husband's entire family, have been alienated by the former husband's brother, who made sure that the grown daughter would be cast as an outsider.
Meanwhile, in Tacoma I met a man who is a grandfather with a grown son and grandchildren, in which the grown son will have to explain to his children that "Grandpa is gay!" The grandfather asked and kidded me about the next volume in the series of books that could come out of this book, "You know, that's the next book: On Being a Gay Grandparent."
As we "come out" and live in the light of day, it is important for us to remember that our living truthfully is, first, going to cause a ripple effect as the news (shall I say gossip in the good understanding of the word), trips upon the tongues of others. Second, not everyone is going to be excited for living truthfully. In a culture that lives "don't ask, don't tell" in more than the military service, our being out and gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered people, is a threat unto many who live in the closets of their--and society's--construction.
Live well, grandpas and grandmas!
Friday, April 4, 2008
Univ. of Puget Sound in Tacoma, and Ravenna's Third Place Books: A Gathering of Readers, Activists, Questioners, and Listeners
Wednesday, April 2, 2008