My Christmas Wish List 2014

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Usually, during the holidays, I like to sit and reflect on the past year.  Highlights, celebrations, accomplishments, etc.  This year, I’ve decided to take a slightly different approach.  I’m going to spend most of my time here looking forward, and only a moment on where we have been…  If you want to be reminded of my year, please take a quick look at my Facebook timeline.  It’s all been pretty much documented, there.

2014 was a banner year in so many ways.  Personal change, growth, trying new things, (including blogging!)   Watching with intense pride as archaic discrimination falls in state after state, and hoping that in some small way I was able to help.  Watching as friends succeed, time after time.  Finally getting to meet, in person, people who have come to mean so much to me.  Helping the world celebrate Pride.

Not everything was good, though.  We watched as the Republicans took control.  We listened to evangelical pastors belittled us, and spreading their hatred.  We saw governments implement laws codifying hatred.  We saw pain, and even death, around the world.  But through it all, we’ve endured, and even triumphed.

Here’s what I wish for:

I wish for Equality.  For everyone.  We’re all part of the same, Human race, yet we view people who are different from us with suspicion, fear, and hatred.  It doesn’t matter what colour we are, what culture we come from, what gender we are, who we love, who, or what we worship, or how much money we have, we’re all the same.  Is it so much to ask that we treat all of our fellow humans with the same respect?

I wish for Peace.  Yes, I know that this is the standard wish for the holiday season, but, there you have it.  My wish for peace is more than just a wish for the end of war.  It’s a wish that everyone finds their own inner peace.  That we can all lay our personal inner demons to rest, and find calm.   Contentment.  Peace.

I wish for everyone, Joy.  Joy in living.  Joy in going about our daily rituals.  Joy in the people who surround us.  Too often, we first see the negative in events and situations.  Take a moment to look for a positive, and find Joy in it.  There truly is a silver lining.

I wish for Love.  The love of family and friends.  But most importantly, I wish that everyone has the chance to find the love of self.  The sad reality is that so many are in a place in their lives in which they are filled with self-loathing.  My hope is that they can see in themselves that which others see.  There is beauty in each of us, and once we find even the smallest part of that beauty, the ability to begin to love ourselves, and by extension, others, is destined to follow.

I wish that each of us find again, a sense of Wonder.  There’s nothing more beautiful than the face of a child “discovering” something.  The wide eyes, the look of amazement…Wonder.  Sadly, most of us lose that as we get older.  I would love nothing more than to see that look on the faces of adults as they see something wonderful, new, un-discovered.  It does happen, just not nearly enough.

I wish for Wealth for all.  Not monetary gain, nothing to do with “stuff.”  I wish for everyone a wealth of friends, family, love.  I would like nothing more than to see families reunited, after being estranged from each other, for whatever reason.  It breaks my heart hearing about teens being disowned by parents for whatever reason.  Siblings not talking for years after an argument.  Friends becoming enemies.  We are all we have in this world, we should fight to hold on to these relationships.

These are my wishes for the world in 2015.  My hope is that each Human on the planet eventually is given these things.  In my opinion, this is what this, one of the most important holidays of the year means.  It doesn’t matter what your culture, or religion teaches, the giving of these gifts is the true purpose of this time of year.

My wishes for everyone include all of these things.  You are all important, not only to me, but to humanity as a whole.  May your New Year, and your whole life be filled with Equality, Peace, Joy, Love, Wonder and Wealth.

All my love:

Ken

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Three Steps That Will Save Your Life Open Letter to Andrew Caldwell

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My heart was broken this week, but not in any way anyone would expect. A video was messaged to me from a close friend who really suggested that I watch it. The video was recorded during a very wild revival at a Christian church. A timid, young man named Andrew Caldwell was asked to come up front. The preacher asked him what he needed to change. He grabbed the microphone and declared he wasn’t gay anymore. He said “I like women. I love women.” Over and over he said it. “I will not carry a purse, I will not put on makeup, and I love women.” He began dancing very wild like, and as he danced, several men came up and danced around him, leaving him in the center of the circle. He began to run up and down the center aisle, and when he was finished, he was given 200 dollars and he sat back down.

Normally, when I see a video like this I usually let it go. I usually don’t consider it my business to police people who decide to go back into the closet. I’ve been down the hard road just as they have. I know how hard it is to keep yourself in the spot light. That is not what troubled me in the least. When I saw that video, I saw the man I was last year. There was the look of terror in his eyes. His entire body was trembling, and while he danced, he was crying. I’m not talking about a few tears. No, I saw a broken man. I saw a man who could hardly stand to live any longer. I saw a man who had given up on the chance of anyone truly loving him. I saw a man who was forced and paid by the church to say he wasn’t gay, when all the while he knew it was a lie.

I have decided to reach out to this man the only way I know how… Through an open letter.

Dear Andrew Caldwell, I love you. You don’t know me, but you don’t have to know someone to care about them. Only a year ago today, I would not have been able to write this letter to you. I would not have been able to say the words I am gay. I gave you those three powerful words in the beginning for a reason. I love you was the very thing that saved my life. The words I love you, spoken by a true, sincere person, was the very thing that kept me from suicide. I meant what I said. I love you. I am the youngest and only son in the family with two older sisters, but if I had the chance to have a younger brother, I would imagine him somewhat like you. I will tell you another thing. You are beautiful. You are beautiful just the way that you are. So what if you want to carry a purse. So what if you want to wear makeup. That is who you are, and who you are is just fine. You are not damaged. You were made perfect. You are exactly how nature intended for you to be. Believe me I know the look that I saw in your eyes, because it’s the same look I gave myself in the mirror for years.  I gave you three words in the beginning, now I will give three steps that will save your life, and I just helped with one of them.

  1. Believe that you are loved, and that you are perfect and beautiful just the way that you are.
  2. Be nothing more than exactly who you are.
  3. Be true to yourself. Do not let anyone tell you that you are damaged or a lost cause.

I hope you are able to read this letter, Andrew. Just as one man did with me, I know that I am loved. Now I can spread the love chain on to you.

You’re in my thoughts. Should you ever find this, please, come out of the shadows. Your hanging off the edge of a cliff, and my hand is reaching out. If you look hard enough, soon you may find others offering their hand to you. When that happens… Take it.

Is Western Union Blocking Financial Aid To Gay Uganda?

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Is Western Union blocking financial aid to Gay Uganda? Fred Kwint of the Netherlands sure thinks so.

Two Years ago Fred was raising thousands of Euro per year online through a GoFundMe account out of the Netherlands. The money raised, was routinely wired to gays in Uganda via Western Union.

Suddenly, the gay Ugandan whom was receiving the funding from Mr. Kwint was arrested and beaten by Ugandan secret police. According to the anonymous Ugandan source, multiple questions where asked about donors from outside Uganda whom were accused of seeking to “spread homosexuality” via wire transfers.

Fred states that Western Union stopped all wire transfers in his name and began asking for extra information to process his future transfers; such
as Fred’s source of income and for photo copy id’s of gay Ugandans needing the assistance. Information that Fred would not be able to give.

Mr. Kwint would like to continue to raise money for gay Ugandans in need but he is being stonewalled by Western Union. Mr Kwint has filed an official complaint with Western Union but has yet to hear back on it. At the time of this writing I have reached out to Western Union for comment. Western Union’s only response back to me was a blank email a couple hours later.

Western Union only scores a 30 on the HRC Equality Index Score. HRC has reached out to Western Union to participate in the Equality Index Score survey multiple times but Western Union has always ignored it.

So what about you? Have you or your friends encountered any trouble wiring money to Uganda through Western Union? Good or bad experiences with Western Union and gay Uganda to report? Please leave your experience in the comments section below.