I was raised; partially at least, by a verbally abusive adult. This person whom identified as a Southern Baptist
had me read the bible frequently as a child, although she had zero credibility to me. For every wrong turn I made I was told I was “going to hell and burn eternally.” Another Christian fundamentalist, family member I overheard speak of “worrying about David and faggotry” when I was nine years old. This was hurtful and devastating to my young ears.
I prayed to “God and Jesus” on a nightly basis in tears for years to remove my being gay. This is how I know that I was born gay. If God really wanted me to not be gay it would of been removed from me. God knows I tried, well actually begged. Perhaps if you are LGBT there are chances you have also experienced similar language and threats from “loved ones” whom claim to know the mind of God?
However instead of drawing me, and perhaps you: into an all loving energy, as I grew older I rejected and even mocked all forms of religion as “foolish” and “imagination run wild”. The few times I as a child I went to church all I could ever notice was the out stretched hands of a preacher asking for money. The particular church I went to in the 80s gave children large candy bars on a silver platter upon exit from Sunday School. This was reason enough for me to go.
Up until very recently though, I had become such a hardline atheist that my basic belief was that human beings were nothing more thank a walking, talking, thinking pile of organized meat and bones. I, like some other LGBT atheists in recent years adopted in your face confrontation and shaming of all religions, especially Christianity; both in person and online.If all your life, all you ever hear from “Christians” is about “homosexuality” and how this “All Knowing,””All Loving,” “God” was going to punish me with eternal “hellfire” one might understand the repelling of religious mindsets and institutions.
But something serious lacks from any religious movement that exudes a message of love on Sunday and then uses fear, threats, hate, intolerance, exclusion and violence the rest of the week. On the flip side of that same token? Shaming and embarrassing Christians or any other person of religion will never sell nor inspire free thinkers to emerge. As Hillary Clinton so eloquently stated in her famous “Gay Rights Are Human Rights” Speech. “Nobody ever changed their mind as a result of force.”
By my nature I am an agitator and aggravator. And this past year has brought me some of the greatest stress of my adult life. Few people understand my particular type of radical activism and shocking words on my bullhorn to be street theater and I have paid some real costs that I am not at liberty to discuss at this time but I can tell you that on a couple occasions I have been forced to stare death in the face and have been shaken to my core. When people say they find God in times of great distress, for me that has been at least somewhat true. Being shaken so deeply one starts to think about God, spirits, afterlife, spirit guides and spirituality.
So this is where I am. I cannot accept at this point that one man sits on a cloud judging billions of people for which path they have chosen to their God. No jealous Gods interested in popularity contests burning those different from Him interest me. No God that judges people for natural things such as erections and sex. Being Gay is natural and sex is natural. LGBT people come from the natural world so that makes it natural. This is important to say because it is true.
For me, if God if real, is most likely a female energy and is our global collective conscious. God is love and light and total unconditional love, flaws and all. God is in you and is in me. Each time we chose to act out of love and service instead of ego and selfish needs, that is God. Each time we show grace where grace & forgiveness is not due, that is God. Each time we stand up for the little guy, the underdogs, the marginalized; that is God.
My spiritual awakening started recently and is more about spirits and spirit guides and protection. Opening myself just to the possibility of a loving God has set off some of the most vivid imagery. I imagine being struck by lightening, beautiful, blue, green and golden lights encircle me, protect me, and gives me strength. Some may call it hocus pocus and that is okay because this is my struggle and not theirs. My relationship with God is not out of self importance but out of the desire for God to be real and working for us – not against us. To put it simply I am evolving on spirituality.
There is nothing wrong with activists using agitation and aggravation but to dismiss “educate and advocate” is to dismiss the other half of the formula for successful and real change. LGBTQI, Atheists only partaking in angry activism that involves throwing everything against the wall and seeing what sticks might fail and miss their goal. Belittling people and shaming any person will always fail. Angry activism while maybe great street theater isn’t changing hearts and minds.
What opened the door for my spiritual awakening was not threats of violence and hellfire. What opened the door for my newly sprung spirituality has been the work of friends, fellow activists, and from believers of all faiths offering me the space to grow and to be who I am, without pressure, without damnation but with grace people still wanted to be my friend. I try to remain open to the message and not the messenger always and my life and mental health has only gotten better for it. No church is ever needed to reach the spiritual realm. Mother Earth, God, Nature, whatever you choose to call Her.
As LGBTQI Activists we’ve been fighting for Rights and tolerance for decades. We demand the space to be ourselves, unapologetically and for good reason. We have even gone so far as to “come out” and politicize our lives for our cause. However, there has to be room for everyone. How does it look for me to demand tolerance If I’m not willing to offer you that same respect?
If you must stick a label on me I am a spiritual agnostic. Agnostic means I do not know if there are Gods and spirits or not. I just feel better when I choose to believe there is something bigger than me. I can choose to be the bigger man. I can choose to respect you and any non-violent religion that people find central to their lives. I can choose to not berate and shame people looking for something more out there.
It was intolerance and hate of gay people introduced to me as a young kid that propelled me away from all forms of God and it was intolerance, hate, and exclusion that allowed me to shame those that seek outside spiritual interventions. In such a painful world filled with violence, especially towards LGBT people, don’t make the same mistakes I have. As activists whether we like it or not, people are looking to you, looking for you to lead and possibly to even inspire them. It’s kind of difficult to inspire when we leave people out. When we create the space that allows for others to be more human; we are in-turn creating the space for ourselves to be more human.
When we allow all a seat at the table, unconditionally it is only then that we are walking the talk and getting down to the real hardcore business of changing hearts and minds, One person at a time.
Dear brave Trans lady, I do not know your name.
Often I’m often turned off just by the concept of celebrity alone. People who make their living pretending to be one of us average folk in society.
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.
Last week the Indiana state affiliate of The Family Research Council, The Indiana Family Institute, awarded IN Senator, Tea Party (R) Mike Delph it’s ‘Legislator of the Year’ award. Indiana Chief Hetero-Supremacist, Indiana Governor (R) Mike Pence and friend of the Koch brothers was also present as the keynote speaker for the 25th Friend of the Family Gay Bashing Banquet.
In February Delph had a twitter meltdown over same-sex marriage. For two days the Senator made headlines as he raged and frothed at the mouth about homosexual ‘sin” and “biblical truth” Delph was disciplined by the Senate President for criticizing Senate leaders on gay marriage. Not the first time controversy has swirled around the tea party Senator. Mike Delph has also been accused of hiring ghost employees, participating in illegal Ponzi schemes, and planting military officers at political events. Mike Delph contends he “supports” his gay brother. I support you bro, just don’t expect any human rights?
The Indiana Family Institute advocates for and props up the Family Research Council which is a designated Christian hate group of conservative lobbyist. By taking such award Mike Delph ties himself to hate and exclusion, the very opposite of what his Jesus stood for. All major professional mental health organizations have gone on record to affirm that homosexuality is not a mental disorder, including the American Psychiatry Association. The Family Research Council uses biased and debunked social science that asserts gay men are dangerous pedophiles and calls for dangerous gay repairative therapy that leads so many gay teens to self hate and suicide. The Family Research Council has also called for the jailing of all gay men and has claimed school shootings are caused by same sex marriage.
In a happy, feel good release About Mike Delph, The Indiana Family Institute wrote “We value and respect Senator Delph’s unswerving commitment to faith, family and freedom” Yet they do just the opposite. Up is down and down is up as they work trying to deny human rights and freedoms to LGBT Hoosiers and their families and to incorporate the bible into civil law. Despite multiple pro-gay court rulings in the past year, including Indiana. And Despite the fact 500 Mayors have signed up nationwide for an equality coalition under the Freedom to Marry pledge. The Indiana Family Institute also attacks women’s reproductive health choices at Planned Parenthood. They don’t care that a Woman’s choice about family is central to her life, because – god. Mike Delph is anti-immigration, voted against mass transit in Indiana. Voted for required drug testing for welfare recipients and voted for forced invasive ultrasounds for women seeking first-trimester abortions. In a statement to WTHR13 Mike Delph stated: ” I see identity politics and entitlement not to mention evil marching us down to roman ruin”
Thanks to the internet and access of information, more and more people are turning away from religion and dangerous politicians like Mike Delph who claim to work on the ‘side of god’ Atheism is on the rise in the United States. Last taken in 2012 the Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism found that 5% of Americans are now atheist. In 2005 73% of Americans said they were “religious” In 2012 that number had dropped to 60%. Many LGBT people are also atheists and that includes Hoosier families. Many gay atheists view religion as the central cause of homophobia in a socially constructed society. We refuse to accept the teachings of any book or sky god that does not accept us as we are. We reject the silly notion of ‘sin’ We refuse to accept any god that threatens people with burning them with fire, Revelations 21:8. We refuse talking snakes that are banned to roam the earth on their bellies, Genesis Ch31, We refuse dangerous rhetoric like spare the rod, spoil the child Proverbs 13:24, We refuse that a large group of gay men sought to gang rape two angels Gen 19. We refuse the belief that Jesus walked on water, Matthew 14:22-33 And we refuse a book that supports and regulates slavery, Leviticus 25:44-46 and Exodus 21:1-7. and ultimately we refuse to believe in virgin births, Matthew 1:18 – the beginning of the entire Jesus story. Atheist and LGBT people and their families aren’t the only ones not represented when Mike Delph or the Indiana Family Institute speaks. Many religions and beliefs reside within Indiana. By shutting out people whom are not Christian and working to implement Christian, biblical law the IFI and Mike Delph disenfranchise many groups of political power in Indiana that are not conservative christian. But that is what organized religions, especially Christianity is all about. I’m in and your out. I am special because of how I believe. I am saved and you are not. From the eyes of an atheist, religion is all about fear, fear of death, the fear of god, fear fear, fear. Religion forces believers to partake in a dangerous mental fantasy that divides humanity into good VS evil. Politicians claiming to work for god are dangerous because whom they work for never has to make an appearance. The politician can claim to ‘speak for god’ with his votes. By using feel good, warm fuzzy words like faith, family and freedom Mike Delph and IFI are pandering to patriotic, god fearing, tea party voters. People whom likely work too hard for too little but fall for the conservative Koch brothers agenda and vote against their own interests.
Whom we love and form bonds and families with is central to a person’s life. Thank goodness for a candidate like J.D. Ford. Ford is a self described progressive Democrat looking to unseat Senator Delph this November in Indiana’s 29th district. JD is gay, and supports equal marriage, equal pay for equal work, jobs for veterans, and is big on student safety and bullying prevention. He even supports bans on nuts in schools for the safety of allergic students and advocates school buses have seat belts. JD Supports required (AEDs) Automated External Defibrillators in all public schools. Mr. Ford is also looking to start a dialogue about fracking in Indiana. JD Ford is what Indiana is craving right now. Leadership that cares about the little guy and takes progressive steps to implement real policy change in this lifetime and not the next.
Sometimes there are stories in the media that aren’t just stories for me. Sometimes soul smashing details are revealed, drowning me in the victim’s pain, driving me to act, sometimes to the point of obsession.
Recent human rights abuses by Israel in the Gaza strip has Israel facing backlash throughout Europe and Latin America, however the LGBT community remains divided on the subject in the United States, but why?
While prominent LGBT activists fight about their lack of inclusion in Jo Becker’s book ‘Forcing The Spring’ Here in Indiana we are all anxiously awaiting a ruling from the 7th circuit court of appeals in favor of resuming same sex marriages again, however one glance at the landscape and one can’t help but notice thousands of other inequalities all around us.
Staring Indiana LGBT leadership in the face is the state’s lack of hate crime protections for lgbt people. 45 other states have passed such laws but Indiana seems hell bent on becoming last despite accelerated momentum towards equality. Hate crime protections was last defeated in Indiana in 2007 under the leadership of anti-gay activist Eric Miller of Advance America.