Monday, October 4, 2010

Who is to blame?

Who is to blame?

It is very difficult to parse out all of the factors that lead to heterosexism and anti-gay attitudes in our society. And, all the factors that lead to the suicide of a gay teen are even more complicated. However, I wonder if you have a book in your house that you point to as a source of wisdom. Is this a book that you quote in times of crisis, in times of celebration, and refer to when milestones are reach by you and your loved ones? What would a gay teen find in this book if he was looking for some help in his crisis of being bullied or harassed for being gay? I guess it depends on which version of the book you have in your house.

If you are a UCC, one of the most liberal Christian denominations, who fully accepts LGBT folks into the congregation and the ministry, you mostly likely have The New Revised Standard Version sold on the UCC website.

New Revised Standard Version: Leviticus 18:22 “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.”

If you are a Roman Catholic (love the sinner, hate the sin) in the USA, you most likely have the New American Bible.

New American Bible: Leviticus 18:22 “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; such a thing is an abomination.”

And, so on…

King James Version: Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

Living Bible: Homosexuality is absolutely forbidden, for it is an enormous sin.

New International Version: Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.

New Living Translation: Do not practice homosexuality; it is a detestable sin.


Monday, November 17, 2008

The time is now!

Saturday, as I looked out at the 1400 people gathered on the steps of the Old Court House in St. Louis, I gave myself fully to the anger I had been feeling since the election. As I spoke and the crowd joined me in my outrage, I felt other emotions begin to arise. I felt joy and I felt fear. I felt joy that this might be the moment. This might really be the turning-point; LGBT folks might really take their power back. The sleeping tiger might have awoken. But, I also felt fear – fear that this opportunity would be lost. The LGBT Movement has been close to critical mass before. The 1969 Stonewall Riot, the 1978 vigil after the assassination of Harvey Milk, 1987 Supreme Court action, the 25th Anniversary Gay Pride celebrations in 1994. But, each time we got close to a real revolution in our thinking about LGBT rights, we pulled back and accepted defeat. We must not let that happen now.

Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008 is the 30th anniversary of the assassination of Harvey Milk. It is also Thanksgiving. We must take LGBT rights home. All LGBT folks and all of our allies must make a commitment to bringing the discussion of LGBT rights to the Thanksgiving table. This may not be easy or comfortable, but it is the best way to demonstrate that we are everywhere. LGBT folks are the children of every religion, every race, every class, every ethnicity, and every political persuasion. We must go back to our families and take the message of LGBT freedom with us.

Then, we must join with Cleve Jones and other long-time LGBT activists to demand that LGBT rights be a core element of “the change we need.” LGBT folks and our allies overwhelmingly supported Barak Obama because he promised to finally provide “liberty and justice for all.” We must hold him and the Democrats in Congress accountable for that promise. Cleve Jones as issued a call for 7 weeks of LGBT activism beginning Nov. 30 non-stop until the inauguration. Join that call. Visit .

Finally, each of us must find ways to fulfill this commitment in our own communities: 1) Coming Out to everyone, everywhere; 2) Getting involved with the planning and/or attending local events; 3) Begin the discussions for non-discrimination policies and domestic partnership benefits in your workplace; 4) Call in “gay” on Dec. 10 - ; 5) Create an LGBT rights event that works for you, and all of the rest of us will come and support it.

Whatever we do, we must take action now. We are at a turning-point for the LGBT Movement. We must each do what we can, where we can.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Instructions for Monster Cards


  • Paper & Pens (to create the Monster Cards)

  • A Receptacle (to hold the Monster Cards)

  • A space for the battles

  • People willing to be creative and have fun (and it does not hurt if they are at least slightly inebriated)


Each player creates some (2 – 4) Monster Cards that include an image and a description of the monster. For maximum enjoyment, the monsters should be elements of real life that most of the players can easily identify and relate to.

For Example, "The guy who dances too close and smells like vomit," "The truck that runs cyclists off the road," "High School Insecurity," or "Silence where there should be dissent"

Once all the cards are created, they are placed in a receptacle (hat, bowl, etc.)

The first two battlers are chosen at random.

Each battler chooses a card from the receptacle and shows it to everyone else, except the other battler. And, then the battle is ready to begin. The battlers have one minute to act out their monster in battle with the other monster.

Once the minute is up, the audience chooses the winner of the battle. The winning battler chooses the next opponent. Two new Monster Cards are selected, and the process repeats until the game is over.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Are you writing letters to the editor?

Are you writing letters to the editor?

Writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper is a great way to get an alternative message in front of a mainstream audience. Progressives and radicals need to do a better job of using this tool. While I do write letters from time to time, I know I could do so more often.

"How to write a letter to the editor."

  1. Connect your issue (LGBT rights, reproductive rights, environmental issues, etc.) to a specific item in the paper. If you are writing about something not covered in that paper, try to make the lack of coverage the connection.

  2. Have a clear message. A letter to the editor is not the place to do an exegesis.
  3. Be concise; limit yourself to 200 words. Short, powerful messages are much more likely to get published.

  4. Proofread and edit your own letter as well as having a friend offer feedback. Regardless, the letter will probably be edited before it is published, but the better you can make it, the more likely it is to make it into the paper.

  5. Most newspapers have a limit on how often they will publish a letter from you. So, once one of your letters is published, take a couple of months off from submitting letters to that paper.

So get out your pens, and start writing.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Recipe for greater happiness with all your relationships.

1) Remove the following myths from your relationship life: a) There is one soulmate out there for you; b) Relationships should always be equal; c) Sex and romance always go together; d) Relationships exist in the world.

2) Acknowledge the following truths: a) You are already always in relationships of various kinds; b) These relationships happen in the world, but exist inside you; c) Whatever you think you are looking for in a relationship will actually appear completely different when it shows up; d) Everyone else is just as messed up in their relationship process as you are.

3) Apply the basic success formula to relationships: a) Do more of what works; b) Do less of what doesn't work; c) Experiment with new things.

4) Feel your feelings and choose your actions. Do not use your emotional response as an excuse for your actions; they are separate things.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


After my father died, I started to have dreams about him or just with him in them. The first dream I had was blood and horrific. My father was in a bathtub and creatures of some sort were draining his body of blood into the bathtub. The dream was especially challenging because my father did not died a bloody death. He had a massive heart attack while he was cutting down some pussy willow branches. I had just turned 23.

When my father was a teenager, my grandfather was a railroad engineer. It was the depression. While my grandfather was lucky to be employed, he wasn’t so good about making sure his pay made it back to his family. Often my grandfather’s pay was poured into liquor or other amusements in the towns he found himself in. My father took on what Adult Children of Alcoholics theories call the ‘hero’ role. Besides hunting, fishing, and selling their own blueberries back to the Shakers at the Shaker Village near his home, he took on any odd jobs a young teen could find to help his mother take care of his two younger brothers. One day he heard about a train wreck in town. A boxcar with can goods had turned over into the river. My father got his gunnysack and headed for the river. He dived in and began loading his sack with cans until he couldn’t carry any more. He took those cans home and started over. He kept going until he was runoff by the authorities. Years later, my uncle told me that there were many times in that next year when difference between eating and going hungry was to open some of the mystery cans. In those days, labels on cans were glued on. Being submerged in the river had loosened the labels, and all of the cans my father brought home had lost their labels along the way.

Later dreams of my father were never bloody. He mostly appears in my dreams as he did in my life – a larger than life figure that makes me feel safe and loved. Often when I am on a cusp of a new adventure, I will have a dream of my father. Usually these dreams involve reliving some beautiful memory of my childhood – going to the woods on an adventure, swimming in the ocean together, or being side by side at the workbench in the basement. When I was five, we cut down some maple trees in the backyard to make room for the pool. My father took the trunk of one of the maples and made a stool for me to stand on next to him at the workbench, so I could reach the top. That was just the first time I remember him finding a way to lift me up. But, I know I am always standing on his shoulders. And, when he comes to me in a dream, I feel lifted up again.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Two years ago... yet still very true

"If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will." -- Fredrick Douglas

The Buddha taught all life is suffering. There is only change. Permanence is an illusion. And, the Buddha was, at least partially, right. There is always suffering, but there is also joy, and laughter, and ecstacy, and bliss, and playfulness, and fun.

I am a collector of people in my way. I carry a village in my bag. Sometimes the village inspires me, supports me, and lifts my steps as I walk into tomorrow. Sometimes the bag is heavy and pulls me down. Some days it would be easier to put down the bag. Sometimes I lose a day (a week, a month, a year, a decade) staring into the bag and wondering why I am still here to carry it.

I can be dragged into despair unspoken, grief unfinished, a past incomplete, the path not taken, the people now gone.

If I look up and look around, my life is brilliant. I am surrounded by love, friends, connection, meaning, mission, purpose. But, the other truth is also that my life is filled with loneliness, missed opportunities, lost love, disappointment, and grief.

Which will I hold up as my lens through which I see the world - my sorrow or my joy?

Perhaps, I am trying to hold the contradiction - to reject the either/or and embrace the both/and. Or, even better to live in a world where many multiple truths are happening all at once.

Where am I right now in my life? I've awoken from a slumber - a soma-induced period of comfort, thinking my battles where in the past, and the struggle had passed me by. And, so I feel awake, energized, ready to re-enter the struggle - and the universe provides opportunities and I am reminded of the sweetness of the process. I re-enter the struggle - and I know I am once again awake. But, being awake also means feeling all of the pain, and while it is the pain that woke me, it also feels like at some moments it may overwhelm me. I feel myself living on an edge. Teetering. And, desperately trying to build new support systems into my life - and feeling too deeply the lost of any of these new connections.

What is next? I act as if I am awake for good. But, I have not captured the taste of the future yet. Perhaps because I am savoring the present; perhaps because I fear I will find the future difficult to digest. And, there is also the option of returning to sleep - to finding some remnant of the life I was brought up to live, but that seems even more unlikely than falling into an inescapeable despair.