A Gay Man Gains Perspective

 

 

 

 

Lessons Learned

A Gay Man Gains Perspective

 

 

Two years ago, a life changing thing happened to a young man. It was perhaps the biggest, scariest yet thrilling adventure of a certain person’s life. His life had many struggles, some even hidden so deep down he didn’t understand until later in life. Even now fear still crouches at his door waiting to devour him, and well, to be honest- fear almost won out. That person was me. Two years ago, I took a leap of courage and came out as gay. Since that day, I have come to look at my life and situation as an adventure. Like any adventure in life, it has been bared with many foes and many dangers. I am grateful for all of it; even the bad. That is a tough thing to do, accepting the bad things in life as something to be grateful for. Five years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to accept that. I would have thought a person was crazy to suggest liking the bad just as much as the good.

Five years into the past, we are looking at a different me. I was selfish back then: only looking out for myself. The personal lives of my friends didn’t matter to me. Imagine yourself trapped inside your own universe, all alone, with nothing but your self-pity and woes being the center of your everyday life. That’s how it was. It was that way because selfish, self-centered me had nothing else he wanted to do but keep a secret hidden. My life became so focused on my fears that it drove away a lot of people. No one wanted to be around me, and now, looking back on all that has happened- they were right to do so. By letting darkness, fear and anger to crowd me, and wanting to come out of the pit but refusing to take that leap of bravery, it had damaged me- almost to the core. I was consumed with hatred. I couldn’t allow myself to think even one positive thought. I was making myself the prey; the target, just waiting on the front lines for someone to play the predator card. In the winter of 2010, I met a guy, unexpectedly. We connected with each other through some close friends of mine, and we became friends.We were hanging out pretty regularly, but in 2011 during one of our routine conversations, some heavy truths were revealed to me. He had kept a record of our recent conversations at the time. He told me how selfish I was. He emailed me every word of our previous conversations, including the one we were having. He was right. Everything was about me. The whole conversation was completely one sided. He would try and talk about his schooling; I shot it down, started talking about my woes. He would try and talk about something positive, and I would always find a way to turn it around and make it negative. Basically, I was like a thorn in his side. My heart just sank at that moment. I felt a terror come over me I had never felt. I was fixing to lose a friend; the only friend I had. For a few brief moments, I found out what it was like living in my small, one sided, little universe. He had given me acceptance and understanding. He knew I was gay and he accepted me. He was honest, and it hurt when reality struck. I knew right then if I couldn’t change my bitter heart, loneliness would be my only friend. But I had become so bitter I didn’t know how to find my way back. Fortunately, I was able to save my friendship, and we slowly began to rebuild our bridge. But it wasn’t enough.

There was something else that needed to be done, and I was afraid to do it. I was afraid of what people would say or think. I was afraid people would fear me and cast me out of their lives. After a near attempt at suicide by trying to drink poison, I knew at that moment it had to be done. For the sake of my sanity, and my life was on the line. I told everyone I knew that I was gay. That very moment, after I had made it known to everyone that I was gay, and could actually say that word out loud- all that bitterness, hatred, self-loathing and fear left me in an instant. Just like The Flash, the monster that crept within me was gone. But I didn’t know then that it was only the beginning. I soon faced rejection, phobia of my orientation, and with some family members I was even denounced and ostracized.

Presently, for the past 2 years, starting in 2013- I have been writing blogs for The Pink Panther Movement. Lately, I have really felt discouraged. Since I debuted with my first blog for PPM in the spring of 2013, I didn’t feel worthy to be writing alongside all these people on the blog team who have been through so much. I read their blogs all the time as each one surfaces, and I see so much more they’ve been through, and all I have to worry about is an uncle who lives over 900 miles away, and the occasional religious attacks I get that don’t happen very often. These people who write these blogs, not all of them are LGBT, but they suffer just as much. Yet they come on top of the discrimination every time, and even stronger than before. And they have faced some true devastation. A few weeks ago, I was ready to throw in the towel. I wanted to give up thinking I had nothing to give that was of value. But one evening last week, I was talking to the very same friend who revealed the harsh truth four years ago. I told him about wanting to leave the PPM movement. He was surprised I was even considering it. He asked me a question that took me off guard. He asked me if I realized how far I had come since 2010. I asked him what he meant. He laughed about it, and for a moment I didn’t understand what was so funny. He told me I didn’t even see it. He told me how much I had changed in the last five years. He reminded me that what I’ve gone through was bad, and it was a serious situation at the time. But it doesn’t seem so bad anymore, because I came out on top. I was shocked! I had lived through my worst nightmares and didn’t even realize I had conquered them. So twice now this close friend of mine has given me a reason to keep going, and keep fighting for a better future. But as I look back on those five years, I have to be grateful for all of it. I’m grateful for my uncle, and even all the religious people who parade up and down sidewalks protesting. I am grateful for all of it. Why, you may ask? It is because, if those things in the past hadn’t happened- I wouldn’t be here today. The special friend of mine gave me a reason to fight for a better me, and a better future. My uncle taught me that forgiveness is important. All those religious people who scorn me on the streets with their picket signs, they give me a reason to be proud of who I am.

All of those people throughout those five years helped me to become who I am today. Some were good- others were bad, but I needed all of it. So that is why I am grateful for the bad things in life just as much as the good. Because I know I will always come out on top. When you face your greatest nightmares and overcome them, you can triumph over anything.

So, any of you in the LGBT community, and it doesn’t even have to be that you are LGBT. Perhaps you have a gay son or daughter you have chosen to accept, or perhaps you were horribly bullied in high school. It can be anything. When you feel yourself doubting your true potential, and you question whether you have anything you can give to the world, I encourage you to look back on your life. Remember the people who walked the path with you, both good and bad. Let the good people remind you that you are worth something, and let the bad people remind you why you can’t give up the fight. Each person on this earth is unique in their own way, and sometimes you can be so unaware of how special you really are.

Stay encouraged!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revolution for Sale: Pride, Community, and Advertising

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By the time I was twenty-five in the summer of 2012, I was certainly a certified radical queer; I had been a veteran of many picket lines both in my hometown of Indianapolis and in Terre Haute where I went to school, I had seen my name splashed across local newspaper headlines and even racked up a few appearances on the evening news for my activism. Pride was something I believed in heart and soul, a high-octane rock n roll sort of pride, the kind of pride that drives a person to say “Enough!” and take to the streets. But despite all my experiences up to that point, I had never made it out to a Pride Festival.

In June of that year, I finally made the pilgrimage to the Pride Festivities in Indianapolis. I hadn’t been able to do it before due to my job as a camp counselor, being at camp during June and all. But that job was over after nine years, so I could finally go. I put on my black beret with all my street buttons and ribbons on it, wrapped my Colors around me and headed downtown.

I didn’t quite know what to expect, I think I was looking for an oasis, a home in a sense if you can dig that. I figured I’d run into other like-minded young radicals and maybe even score a new gig or two. I had been out of street activism for several months and was looking for some action.

Well sadly, I didn’t see any of that. Instead I saw tents and booths hawking cheap merchandise emblazoned with rainbow colors. The closest thing to any activism I saw was the booth of the HRC (Human Rights Campaign). I saw cut lean pretty boys strutting around shirtless, teasing the crowds in hopes of scoring at least a free drink. I saw corporate feces being smeared with our rainbow colors, like a bank or a beer brewery was really gonna be on our side just because they decided to hoist our Colors for the day.

This was Pride, this was our celebration of the Stonewall Riots, our time to embrace each other and keep up the fight. Instead it seemed we had allowed our forefathers (and mothers) vision to be turned into a den of corporate thieves and there was no Christ to drive them away from our temple.

It was a revelatory experience for me, no doubt. But maybe not in the way I had planned. I went in expecting to find like-minded activists; instead I left the events feeling isolated, too heavy and crazy for even my own community. Later that night I went to Rocky Horror and found a haven of radical queers, activists, and just plain weirdos.

This isn’t just a question of advertisers taking over my hometown’s Pride festivities; this is a national campaign of injecting corporate smack into our celebrations.

Consider Oreos campaign in 2012, in “honor” of Pride month; the famous cookie posted a picture to their Facebook page consisting of a big Oreo with six layers of cream, each a different color, forming the famous Rainbow Flag. The text simply read “June 25 Pride”. A Kraft foods spokesperson was quoted in the Huffington Post in regards to the ad campaign saying “As a company, Kraft Foods has a proud history of celebrating diversity and inclusiveness.”

Or Burger King, in 2014, the fast food chain unveiled a special Whopper available only at their San Francisco locations. It was wrapped in Pride colored wax paper. Customers were initially baffled, wondering what the Pride Whopper had on it. Turns out it was just a regular Whopper, a reflection of the company’s then current marketing campaign “Be Your Way”. A senior vice president of marketing told TIME magazine “We felt that [the Proud Whopper] could bring to life a message of equality, self-expression, authenticity and just being who you are.”

While the Pride Whopper was released only during Pride Week and only in San Francisco, images of the burger’s wrapper quickly spread to social media, attracting many reposts and calls of support, claiming that the burger chain was on our side.

Of course, both companies marketing campaigns also attracted a small amount of protest, with many taking offense and claiming that both companies had “abandoned moral values”. Needless to say, there were also calls for boycotts which promptly went nowhere and were ignored. I’m still not sure what moral values these people had attached to their burgers and cookies, but apparently those values had been violated.

These ad campaigns and the prevalence of big corporate advertising in our Pride Festivities mark a strange watershed in our movement. Companies don’t generally like to gamble with their advertising and pissing off a large potential customer base definitely constitutes a gamble. Think about it, would Burger King or Oreo have run such a campaign say ten years ago when the culture wars were reaching their zenith? I doubt it, back in 2004 we were still a viable threat and the conservatives were exploiting people’s fear of us for all the votes they could get (the conservatives were ultimately successful in that campaign, Bush got another term and many states outlawed marriage equality in their state constitutions).

We have struggled for over forty years to be accepted into mainstream America and being a target audience for major corporations counts as a form of acceptance, what’s more American than consumerism? But is this the sort of acceptance we want? Have we wadded through rivers of spilled blood and hail storms of nightsticks and fists just to become corporate mascots of consumerism?

That’s a question we have to ask ourselves at this crossroads and for me personally, it’s not the sort of acceptance I want. I’m not fighting like hell just so that in five or ten years I can see stores offering big sales on Harvey Milk Day. In a capitalist society, one of the tools at the disposal of any activist is the power of the dollar and I say we use that power. We use that power to tell these big corporations to back off. We use that power to tell them that if they really support us then they will cease splattering their corporate vomitus all over our parties and they will cease zeroing in on us merely to line their pockets with our dollars.

Pride Festivals were born out of a sense of community, a chance for us to proclaim to the world that we are here, we are mighty, and we ain’t going anywhere. Corporate advertising has no place in our parades, we are a family, a network forged in the struggle for liberty and justice, and we don’t need our parties to have banners proclaiming “Welcome to Pride! Sponsored by the Big Corporation”.

The Art of Letting Go

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The Art of Letting Go

It is hard to believe that this year has only three months left. This year has flown by so fast, but it has been a very productive and worthwhile time in my life for many reasons. It had a lot to do with letting go of a lot of things in my life that were weighing me down both physically and mentally. It started, with coming out as being gay. Ever since the beginning of this year, the world had been revealed through a different set of eyes then last year. I thought I was hopeless, and a lost cause. I felt like a monster. Somehow I felt as if I were broken and could never be fixed. Everything bottled up inside was almost too hard to contain, so hard, that I almost committed suicide. If it wasn’t for a wonderful, loving, straight man named David Stevens showing just an inch of kindness, just an inch of love and understanding, I would not be alive today. David is married to his wonderful wife and has two daughters, and he’s really like the big brother I’ve never had. I was very impressed with how he was able to forgive a Baptist preacher for speaking ill of his younger brother who happens to be gay and married, and for cutting off their friendship. It inspired me so much that I began to think about all the hate and anger I had bottled up inside me. I was able to release that anger and pain, and forgive those who simply miss understand.

I felt inspired to share two women who I have come to greatly admire in the last few months. One is fictional, and the other one is an author. Both of them have greatly influenced me, and each of them had a beloved friend like David Steven’s, who helped to bring them out of despair.

Elsa of Arendelle is my most favorite and beloved Disney character ever, and I honestly don’t think there will be any others who could top her. I liked her so much because at the time, I suddenly found myself able to relate to her every feeling of mental pain and heart ache that was brought upon her. I had never felt that way before in my life. I had never at all come across a character in a movie or television show that I could actually relate to. I found tears were trickling down my cheeks during the whole movie. I wanted to crawl into the screen and hug her, and tell her everything was going to be okay. The surprising thing is the feeling I had as I left the theater that night. She had done it. She had found happiness and she found peace. That began to inspire me to do the same. Eventually, I ended up using the song (Let it Go) as my way of coming out to all my family and friends. Since I met the fictional character Elsa, I began to do some thinking. Her younger sister Anna often came to mind just the same. Suddenly, I realized if it hadn’t of been for Anna, Elsa would be lost forever. It was Anna who came to her door every morning when she was confined to living only in her room. It was Anna who traveled miles and miles to the North Mountain to tell her sister everything was going to be okay. In the end, Anna did the most beloved thing ever. She sacrificed herself to save her sister. It had me thinking every day about the friends and family I have in my life right now in the present that believe in love and equality. Every day they are, in a way, sacrificing themselves on my behalf. When someone threatens me, my friends are the ones who are on the front lines. Those being pro-gay is no small thing. They get trampled on, and beaten down just as much as the LGBT who are born the way that they are, and are brave enough to stand in the spot light.

The next woman that I admire greatly, is the author of that old, classic Disney movie we all know and fell in love with. She flew in the air with an umbrella and had the most exquisite singing voice ever. Mary Poppins. Thanks to the beloved writer, P.L. Travers, (Walt-Disney) turned her book into a movie icon and master piece. P.L. Travers book was not so easy for her to “let go.” The book was very dear to her, and it was the story about her life as a little girl and the love she had for her father despite him being and alcoholic, and eventually he died of Tuberculosis when she was only a child. Walt-Disney loved the book, and saw the potential of what Mary Poppins could create for families and children for generations. P.L. Travers saw the book as a painful reminder of what her life was like as a child. She and Walt-Disney’s inspirations for the book were on a totally different level. Despite her repeated refusals, he didn’t give up. Finally she agreed to make it a movie, but it was like pulling teeth. She didn’t like any of the ideas, nor would she approve them, and above all she wanted no animation of any kind in her movie. It came to the point where she gave up, closed the movie production and went home. Walt-Disney himself traveled to London where she lived, and he paid her an unexpected visit. This special moment brought about the wonderful movie we all know and love. If it weren’t for Walt-Disney’s interest, P.L. Travers might not ever have leaped out of the dark hole she had dug. She ended up loving the movie, and turning her book over to Walt-Disney was a decision she never regretted.

Through my life experiences and the examples of the two, wonderful women I have come to admire, I have learned the greatest gift I could get is something only I could have given. That is learning how to forgive myself. Learning that the way I came out of my mother’s womb is something that can’t be taught, it can’t be given. Being gay is something I had to come to terms with. It is something I had to learn to embrace in order to be set free. It would have never happened, if it weren’t for my friends and family who support, and for my big brother at heart, David Stevens.  I feel grateful and blessed to have Anna’s and Walt-Disney’s in my life.

The art of letting go is instilled inside every one of us, and my greatest hope is for those who are brave enough to let it happen.

The Day a Ninety Year Old Told Me to be “a Betty”

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I am a 63 year old transwoman who is three years in on hormone replacement therapy.  When I was younger there was a huge lack of understanding, education, and role models in people who are transgender. I was confused and misguided and when I finally realized the truth about myself.  I was almost 60 years of age.

I struggled with alcoholism all my life and I was able to finally embrace it and own my recovery from it and in doing so, I saw my life had purpose and meaning. I was surprised when my head cleared and I began associating with other people who shared this disease and were living sober and were happy people!

Through these people I learned to begin to think differently and look at things differently. I began to find I had courage inside me that I never thought I had. I went through therapy. I attended a group for male survivors of sexual abuse. I joined a group of people who are transgender. I really worked on myself. I was sent to a doctor in Santa Cruz along with a letter from my therapist stating I had met all the requirements for beginning hormone therapy. She gave me two prescriptions, one for estrogen and the other for spirolactone which is a testosterone blocker.

At this time of my life I was having trouble finding work in my new profession as a caregiver/home health aide and it was very frustrating. I have come to believe that when I do all the right footwork amazing results happen. The day I took my first dose of hormones my cell phone rang. It was a woman who had seen my flyer I put up at the Carmel Foundation stating I was available for caregiving work and she asked if I would be interested in coming over to meet her mother. I told her I would be happy to.

Her house stands on a corner lot in Carmel just two blocks from the beach.
I parked my car and got out. I went through the rickety old gate and immediately noticed there were a couple of bird houses, one on the side of the house and another up in a tree. I have always loved birds and I collect bird houses. When I was younger I had wanted to be an Ornithologist. I also had wanted to be a Nun. I once told a friend this and they laughed saying I could have been the flying nun! So right away I felt a connection to this old house with the wood shingles and reddish paint on the window trim.

The door opened and a lovely woman with a big smile came out and greeted me. She introduced herself and told me to please come in and meet her mother. Inside the house everything appeared very old yet there was a warmth to the interior. She guided me to the living room where I saw this very sweet looking older woman with white hair sitting on the couch with her feet up on the coffee table knitting a scarf. She smiled at me. “Josie this is David. He came over to meet you.”

Right away she looked puzzled and she leaned forward and put her knitting down.
“David?” she said. ”David? Why did your parents name you David? You should be a Betty!”

I laughed, I was surprised at what she had said to me and I was trying to figure out what to tell her. I looked at her daughter who was smiling at me and it felt right to say “Josie I have no idea why they named me that but it’s been an issue with me…”

“Well I should think so!” she agreed.

The three of us sat and talked and found we all had some things in common. Josie grew up in Pasadena, California and I had lived there many years myself. Her daughter had been born in Gloucester, Massachusetts and I was born in Boston. Eliza, the daughter lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico and had been there for two months working with Josie and decided help was needed as Josie was dealing with dementia.

I spent a few days with Josie and it was clear she needed someone with her 24/7 and I worked out an agreement to live there with her for five days, 24 hours, with weekends off.
I also disclosed to her daughter that I was a transwoman who had just begun hormones.
She just lit up! She told me she had a cousin who was transgender. Here I find a job doing what I love and taking care of a woman who sees me as a woman. I began my transition and my life was far better than I could have ever dreamed.

Josie grew up very privileged. Her paternal great-grandfather was Gustavus Swift, the founder of a major meat processing company, and her maternal grandfather was Arthur G. Leonard, president of the Chicago Stockyards. He had built a beautiful big home right on the water at Eastern Point, Gloucester, Massachusetts which at some point a big storm had damaged it so badly they had it torn down. The property there is still owned by the family but only the Gatehouse still stands and Josie’s younger sister occupies the Playhouse next door, and another sister lives further up the road.

I began developing a deep bond with Josie. Her daughter returned to Santa Fe and I had yet to meet her two sons. One son is a photographer and was up at their ranch in Wyoming and the other son is in Rwanda coaching a bicycle team, he was the first American to ride in the Tour de France and he won the Race Across America back in the1980’s.

Josie was an Alpha Female and did what she wanted. She walked with two canes or used her walker. Every day at 5:00PM we had a fire in the fireplace and she wanted to go out and bring the wood in herself, forgetting she couldn’t do it carrying canes or pushing the walker. I was able to keep her dignity by letting her put the logs in my arms.

She always wore wrap around skirts and she thought any woman who wore slacks was suspect of being a lesbian. She seemed to be preoccupied with lesbians.

One time I was running through the house with a load of dirty laundry in my arms and she was sitting on the couch, knitting, which I called her office because she sat there and knitted all day and I stopped and kiddingly said to her, “Josie! We should go get drunk!”
She looked up at me and said, “I’d rather get laid.” and winked at me.

After dinner and her ice cream cone we would sit and talk and she disclosed things to me that were very personal. I felt honored she told me these things. Before bed time I would get her nightgown and place it over the fire screen to warm. She encouraged me to get in my nightgown and sit and knit with her. At first I wouldn’t because A. I didn’t own a nightgown and B. I didn’t know how to knit.

She taught me how to knit and went to Macy’s with me to pick out a nightgown.
We had a great time sitting and knitting in our night gowns at night or as she said, ”Shitting and knitting. She appreciated me helping her undress and get into her night gown. She would look down at her breasts and remark about her nipples. “I nursed three children.” she’d say. “Did you nurse yours?”

“I didn’t have children Josie.”

She really liked me tucking her in bed and giving her a kiss on each cheek and a hug.
I would then go to the door, turn and smile and say “Goodnight”, and go upstairs to my room and get in bed and read as I listened to the waves crashing at the beach. One time as I leaned down to kiss her she said to me “Lets hug like lesbians!” I laughed and hugged her, went to the door and smiled at her and as I turned to leave said “Lez be friends!”
I went upstairs, got in bed, and heard her door open.

“Are you still awake?” she called up to me.

“Yes I am” I replied.

“Then get on down here and lez get on it!”

I laughed. Ninety years old and she still has “it” on her mind. That August her grand daughter was getting married at the family estate out on Eastern Point and she began worrying how she was going to introduce me to everyone at the Yacht Club.

I had not quite decided what my female name was going to be so I hadn’t chose one yet.
We flew to Boston and the wedding had been moved up a day because Hurricane Irene was heading up the coast. We missed the actual ceremony which was held down by the water in the pitch dark with clouds of mosquitos all around. Both her sons had driven us from Logan up there, then jumped out of the car and ran down to the beach to catch the end of the ceremony leaving Josie and I in the pitch dark falling all over the patio furniture on her sisters back deck.

The ceremony ended and a mass of humans began coming into view out of the darkness as I held Josie up so she wouldn’t fall over. We were driven over to the Yacht Club and people began making toasts and one of her sisters made a toast to Josie in honor of her 90th birthday. Josie got up and thanked the 200 odd guests then had me stand up and introduced me as David. “This is David and HER parents had wanted a boy and that’s why they named HER David. She should have been a Betty!”

Everyone raised their glass to me and said “Welcome!” I was very surprised at such a warm welcome.

Josie has passed away now, and I miss her.  She was a character, but that is not why I tell her story.  I am telling you this because this dear woman afforded me the opportunity to be ME.  While I am not actually “a Betty”, I AM a Dana, and I do not have to pretend to the world that I am a David anymore.  Thank you, Josie, my angel.

The Five Ways We Can Keep That Pride Feeling Alive 

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It’s been a couple of weeks, and for me, the feeling is still there.  World Pride, 2014, in Toronto, was incredible, uplifting and empowering.  Just me and a few million of my closest friends, crowding the core of Canada’s largest city.  I finally had the chance to finally meet and spend time with a few incredible people who are out to change the world, and have changed my life.  People I’ve grown to love and admire while working with them.  Lyndsay, the powerhouse who created the Facebook page, Stop Teenage Suicide,  that started me on this journey of activism.  Her amazing young son, Mac.  Rush, my co-administrator on The Equality Mantra.  And Kel, the “fingers” behind Wipe Out Homophobia, StopHomophobia.com, Adam and Steve and more incredible pages.

The energy was palpable.  The crowds, the laughter, the talk, the music…sheer pleasure.  The most amazing part was the fact that millions (and I do NOT use that count frivolously) of people, both LGBT and straight, were gathered in one place for the same reason; to promote LGBT issues on an international level.  An international Human Rights conference, social events, concerts, marches, “The” parade, and a huge amount of networking reminded us of the hardships faced by our LGBT brothers and sisters around the world.  The fact that 2014 is the 45th anniversary of Stonewall shows just how far we’ve come.  But talks with people from Russia, Uganda, Zambia, to name a few brings to mind how much work there still is ahead of us.

So how do we keep this feeling alive?  Is it even possible?  Personally, I think it is.  There are many ways to do this without having to gather en masse.

  1. Join LGBT support groups. “Like’ pages on Facebook that promote equality, fight bullying, etc.  Even if, like me, you live in a country where equality is the norm, join groups in areas that don’t have these things.  I’m Canadian and work directly with groups centred in New York, Colorado, California and as far away as England.  Helping in some small way with these groups, and especially working with the people involved, ranks among the most rewarding experiences in my life.
  1. You don’t have to be LGBT to keep it going. The huge number of straight allies enjoying Pride was incredible.  Inspiring, really.  You are definitely a huge part of the reason for recent LGBT successes.  Continue to help us educate the world, showing that there really isn’t some dark sinister “Gay Agenda.”  We simply want to be seen as the same as everyone else – human.  And with your help, this is happening, more and more.
  1. Probably, the most important thing we can do is to stop our own in-fighting. We NEED to stop trying to separate the letters in LGBT (and throughout this blog, I’m including any and all other letters that are added to this) and continue to work together as a community.  We have to support and encourage ALL of the members of this vast and widely varied group.  Supporting Gay and Lesbian groups HAS to come with equal support and encouragement for Bisexuals, Transgenders, Asexual, Pansexual and any everyone else that identifies with us in some way.  Without this kind of unity, we’re just a bunch of different factions, making noise. There IS power in numbers, and together we have made, and continue to make a huge difference.
  1. I love the fact that for ten days, LGBT people and our allies from around the world collectively raised their voices and said, “We’re here, and we’re not going away.” Let’s keep it going, because now that we’re home, and spread back around the world, our raised voices will be heard around the globe.  In the words of President Barack Obama, “Our journey is not complete.”
  1. We have proof that we’re on the right track. As the closing ceremonies were taking place, this appeared over Young Dundas Square in downtown Toronto.  Even Mother Nature approves.  We ARE the gold at the end of that Rainbow!closingceremonyrainbow