I just came across this. CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) is apparently, under the surface, talking about more than just political issues.
There have been times in recent years that we have considered moving back to the west coast, where we would be closer to family and friends. Living in Connecticut, we sometimes feel that we in the middle of nowhere when it comes to being able to connect with family back home. There was a time that I didn't care about that so much, but as I grow older, I have this desire to reconnect with them. And from my experience last summer in Idaho at our wedding reception, it was clear to me that, although many in my family "don't condone" our relationship, they wanted to be there to support us. When you think about it, that's a rather bizarre and illogical position to take. Perhaps they are trying to reconcile their belief from their emotion?
So, in light of feeling somewhat isolated at times, we have, over the years, thought about relocating to the west coast. But where to live? For us to move somewhere that would dissolve our marriage is not acceptable to us. The price is too high for human dignity, legal protections, health care provisions, job protection, and all the rest. And just last week, Kent received a notice of a position offered at the University of Idaho, in Moscow, Idaho, that he would most likely have received if he had any inclination of applying for. He showed me the position, and we both immediately dismissed it out of hand. And this is why...
BOISE – Efforts to prohibit employment and housing discrimination against gay people in Idaho were rejected Friday by a state Senate committee as a shocked crowd of more than 250 supporters of the human rights bill looked on.
The committee, which includes all four members of the Senate GOP’s top leadership, refused to introduce the bill, thus barring a public hearing on it. ...
In Boise, state Senate Minority Leader Edgar Malepeai, D-Pocatello, told the Senate State Affairs Committee that his “Add The Words” bill would amend the Idaho Human Rights Act to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
“The act allows the commission to address issues in employment, housing, education and public accommodations. This legislation does not create a new protected class, since all people have a sexual orientation and gender identity,” he said.
Malepeai said, “It ensures that all Idahoans are free to hold jobs and rent apartments regardless of whether they are straight or gay. So the question before us today with this legislation is whether or not it is the policy of the state of Idaho to allow discrimination against our gay family members, co-workers and friends.” (source; photo credit, Associated Press)
The measure did not even get a hearing. The year is 2012, and Idaho is back in the 1970's on this issue of basic fairness. This bill simply said that you can't be fired for being gay, or denied a place to live for being gay. Really, was it too much to ask? The committee thought so, and this is the environment in Idaho.
The last time I was in Idaho, I went to Emmett to visit a boyhood friend. I would look at the nice new homes being built up in the hills overlooking the small town of Emmett where I grew up, and actually see myself living there, and actually being happy. I toyed with the idea of calling the realtor on the sign, assuming the realtor would sell to two guys. They probably would. They are sharks. And then, reality set in. We would work in Boise for sure, have separate health benefits, separate everything. And then of course, what kind of neighbors would we have? Most likely not very enlightened ones.
As far as moving to the west coast, it seems unlikely at this point. We talked about Vancouver in the past, and on Monday, it seems that Washington State will most likely pass marriage equality into law in their state. So now, Seattle is a possibility as well. Ironically, Rick Santorum will be in the state to use the opportunity to promote "traditional marriage".
The only thing that bothers me a bit about staying in Connecticut is the sense of isolation I sometimes feel, given the fact that we are getting to be in the older age group. I worry about being back here all alone, just the two of us. But if we moved back to Idaho, we would have family around, and Kent and I would be "legal strangers", in terms of all aspects of our relationship. We would be bachelors.
I think I will stick with my feeling of isolation. There certainly are worse things in life.
It Gets Better.
That's what we tell gay kids these days. After nine suicides by gay teenagers who were relentlessly bullied in school, people started to talk about bullying. Specifically, being bullied because you are "different" (what they really mean is, being gay or lesbian or transgendered). This has spawned everything from Ellen Degeneres tearfully giving a plea for tolerance, to Dan Savage launching his web site, "It Gets Better Project".
I'm not putting any of this down, but I think it's time to have a dose of brutal honesty about this problem. I introduce another dead gay teenager...
This was Eric James Borges. He was only 19 years old. In his words, "I was physically, mentally, emotionally and verbally assaulted on a day-to-day basis for my perceived sexual orientation. I was stalked, spit on, ostracized and physically assaulted."
Yet, he made videos about how it gets better, and to hold on to hope because in a few years your life will get better. All of this after the bullying, being kicked out of his home by his Christian parents last September, and an exorcism that his mother attempted. Even after all of this, he said,
I'm giving you this condensed history of my background to tell you this: it gets better. Now, I am a supplemental instructor of sexuality, a freelance guest speaker, a published writer and I work for the Trevor Project, the world's largest organization focused on suicide and crisis prevention among LGBTQ youth. I have met and befriended the most incredible and authentic people since I've come out.
There's a bigger issue involved here. The fact of the matter is, it doesn't really get better. It gets different. After high school, the bullying usually does stop. It did for me. But then, other things come in to take its place. As you enter the work force, you can be faced with all kinds of new problems. Is your new boss homophobic? How about your coworkers? How about your workplace in general? For that matter, what about the state you are living in? Does the state have a law on the books preventing that employer for firing you merely on the grounds of being gay? Many states allow this. On a personal level, I can't tell you over the years how many homophobic jokes I've heard in the workplace, and I've been with the same company for 24 years. Hell, I was even blackmailed once. The latest one occurred eight months ago when a gay joke was stated right in front of me. I sat, listened, and said nothing. Why bother? It's a battle I will not win. And, if I make trouble, there's other ways to get rid of people at work. I'll play their game.
People wonder why I'm always harping on gay marriage. It's actually not marriage per se that I'm interested in. It's the denial of marriage that puts us in a state of separation. It is a vehicle for the likes of Rick Santorum to spread the concept that they (the queers) aren't like us (regular Christian folks). Putting us in a separate category is the impetus of practically every bad thing that has happened to us. Even before marriage equality caught on, we were separate. You find out that someone was gay say in the 60's or 70's, and they were instantly a "queer" (other terms apply). Today, in more and more places, it's not so cool to call people those names, at least in public, outside of school. This has happened over time, and today, marriage is the last hope that people like Eric Borges has at being part of the larger community of mankind.
Last night, I watched the new episode of Bill Maher. As a guest, he interview Herman Cain. Cain is no friend to gay rights, but I did find something he said quite compelling. He said in essence, that what is tearing America apart is the use of labels. He said that you can be physically free of slavery, but mentally, you can be a slave of the labels that are put upon you. I doubt that he would apply that principle to gay people (we deserve it after all), but I think his concept is solid.
Perhaps Eric Borges could see what life would be like, and simply didn't like what he saw. There was certainly a time that I was right with him on his decision. I chose to live, but it still goes on. Everyday at work, I still wonder what people think of me. And the only reason they are silent is because they are so down about the economy that they don't know what their own future will be. I've grown used to it, and, I've accepted that this is what life as a gay man is, at this point in time. I have been able to marry the love of my life, and I'm very thankful for that, but outside of my life in the real world, it hasn't changed anything. We stay in Connecticut because our marriage is valid here. We still don't have full equality, and couples in other states can't even get married.
It's all about labels and the bucket that you are put into. Until we get rid of these buckets and labels, there will be many more suicides as young people come to realize what they are up against, and there's very little they can do about it.
I wish I could say "it gets better". The best I can say is that if you surround yourself with real friends, you can hold on to life, and it's not that bad. I've tried to do just that.
Last year had a lot of milestones in my life. I haven't posted in awhile because so many things have been happening. I haven't felt that I've been able to write about some events, but now I feel that I can.
One of the biggest events of the year, and my entire life, was a celebration of our wedding. As some of you know, Kent and I got married, yes, officially married in the State of Connecticut on October 15, 2010. It was a quiet wedding - just the two of us, our two cats, and the Justice of the Peace. It took place in our home. It was a bittersweet affair for me. I was overjoyed that we finally had the opportunity to have a marriage license. I was also sad that I really wasn't able to share this amazing experience with my family and friends in Idaho. Idaho, being the very conservative state that it is, really killed that opportunity. I think we would both have preferred to have our families present for the wedding.
A few weeks after the wedding, as I thought about it more, it occurred to me that I now know why some people want to keep marriage out of the reach of gay couples. POWER. It is a not-so-subtle way of telling us to sit in the back of the bus, drink from the "gays only" water fountain, and use the "gays only" restrooms. History repeats itself. And there are many who will read these analogies and scoff at them, saying "it's not the same thing!" Really? Many black folks will say the same thing and be insulted that I would even dare to compare the two. But from where I'm sitting, it's exactly the same thing. When this realization set in, I became quite angry because it's not so much about "saving marriage", but rather, keeping marriage, with all its legal responsibilities, out of our reach. So today, we have the over 800 legal rights afforded to us by the State of Connecticut. We do not have the 1,138 legal rights afforded us at the national level (the big ticket items). It's hard to look at the hypocrisy of politicians today who want a national constitutional amendment voiding our marriage, when many of them have been married 4-5 times in the past. If they really wanted to "save marriage", perhaps they should start by looking in the mirror.
Negative thoughts aside, I'll take what we have and cherish it. And on the more positive side, we were able to have a wedding reception on June 11, 2011 at my cousin Kim's home in Caldwell, Idaho. Yes, IDAHO! She really did give us a wedding reception, cake and all. I love her so much for just being her, and having such a big heart. I was a nervous wreck. I didn't know how it would be received. And it's not as if it were concealed to be something else. She sent out invitations to the entire family and our friends, and at the top of the invitation, it read, "We Have Wed". It listed our names and location of the celebration. At the reception, I kept wondering if the police would show up to arrest us for an illegal act or something by celebrating this (Idaho has a state constitutional amendment against it). That's just my insecurities showing through I suppose. Not surprising, not all familly members could bring themselves to come to the event, I assume for religious reasons. At least I suppose I now know who supports us in our journey through life together, and who doesn't. My Uncle Bill came. He's 90 years old, very conservative, and very red neck. I told him of all people, I was surprised he came. He said, "You are my nephew and I love you. And, it's what Irene (my mother) would have wanted." Sometimes, support comes in the most unlikely places.
Another big event of my life this past year is work related. I'm still in the same job, but my job has changed a lot. The company that I've worked for over the last 24 years, was acquired by another company in 2010. The change has been tremendous, and I report to different people now. I can't say it's good or bad, just much different. It's difficult for many people to accept change. I try to roll with it and be as accommodating as I can be. I can't say it's all been easy, but I have on my side experience and wisdom. Ten years ago, I think this would have been much more difficult for me.
Will I have a home at this new company we are forming? I believe I will, but I've been through enough things in my life to simply not worry about it. As I tell others, "Worry about what you can effect. Everything else is a waste of time and energy." I tend to live my life that way now. Trust me, there are worse things in life than worrying about job security. I've lived through most of them.
Finally, we had a very nice Christmas with our folks in Yuma, Arizona. I thought it would be warmer. I think I've become more sensitive to cold. It was 65-70 degrees there during the day, but it felt like the 50's to me. It was nice to see the folks again, along with Kent's brother and sister-in-law. We seem to only connect in person every Christmas.
I'm looking forward to the New Year with great optimism, and I'm thankful for all that we have. I hope you all have a great New Year!
Very slow Sunday here. We have about 3 feet of snow here, but it's slowly melting. That's of course before we get the next storm on Tuesday-Wednesday of this coming week.
Work is going ok. I'm actually learning a lot about virtualization. My department is a staff of one (that's me). I basically sit in this big room and with the help of a few outside people, make it all work. It's ok. It's a good way to concentrate on network issues and get caught up on my music listening. And occasionally, when I want to let the world in, I will hook up my XM radio and listen to political commentary. I seem to do that less and less though these days.
The State of the Union Address was "ok". I'd give it a B+, but Obama left out a bunch of things I would have at least touched on, like mortgage losses, jobless people, and the like. And what was up with Michele Bachmann? Aside from the fact that the Founding Fathers did NOT rid our nation of slavery (yeah, she really said that. I guess she didn't realize that many of them were slave owners), she was not looking into the camera. It was kind of freaky. Only other tip I can give her, aside from NOT SPEAKING, is to use way less eye liner. She looked like she just walked in off the street, and not in a good way!
Other concerns on Bill's mind... the ice cycles hanging off our rain spouts are like ten feet long now. They are beautiful when the sun disperses light through them in an array of colors. But I'm wondering if I should somehow get them them off the gutters. That has to be a lot of weight.
Finally, my thoughts are for the people of Uganda who are still hunting down gay people, and putting them in prison. A bill is pending that would in some cases put some to death. It's infamously called "kill the gays" bill. And all of this came after U. S. Evangelicals went to Uganda to teach them that gay people recruit and rape children and are evil. Last week, one of the leading gay activists for human rights was brutally beaten to death. The U. S. Evangelicals simply said that the act was "horrible". They would know. They planted the seed for this to happen.
I'm also thinking of Egypt. I hope they fine their way.
All of this makes me thankful that I live a small but important life out in the country with my wonderful husband. I'm so lucky.
With everything that's been happening in Arizona lately, I've been hearing a lot about how everyone should tone down the rhetoric against one person or another in politics. I immediately remember seeing the graphic of different politicians with their mug shot up on a website, with cross-hairs over them, suggesting to me that the person making the post felt that we'd be better of as a society is something were to happen to these people (such as being assassinated). That sent a chill through me.
Even Sarah Palin posted a graphic of different districts around the country with cross-hairs over the district. Oddly enough, after the Arizona shooting, that graphic was removed from Sarah Palin's Facebook page.
So naturally, I decided to go to Sarah Palin's Facebook page to see what she had to say about the whole thing, and what viewers of the site had to say. She simply said:
On the tragedy in Arizona
By Sarah Palin·
Saturday, January 8, 2011 at 3:02pm
My sincere condolences are offered to the family of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the other victims of today's tragic shooting in Arizona.
On behalf of Todd and my family, we all pray for the victims and their families, and for peace and justice.
- Sarah Palin
Then I followed the comments. People kept commenting against all the hateful things people were saying about Sarah, but I couldn't make heads or tails of it, because I couldn't find any "bad" or "negative" comments. And now I know why.
They were removing them as they were posted. Read about it here. So much for being able to take the heat.
Hi everyone. It's been awhile since I've written anything. I don't really know if anyone reads this blog or not, so I guess I'm just writing it for me. In the off chance that someone does read this, I hope you have a great Thanksgiving!
We are going down to Mystic again this year. We'll stay in the Inn at Mystic, and have dinner at Floodtide Restaurant. They make an awesome home made (no, really!) Thanksgiving dinner.
Life has been good. I took this week off from work and aside from the six phone calls a day from work, I'm having a great time. It's been awhile since I've taken any time off and after awhile it seems like your whole life is all about work. But, I'm lucky to have a job I guess. You know what I'm saying... fewer people because of lay offs, but the same amount of work has to be done with less people. Work is more stressful for those who have a job. But nothing like being without a job. So, I'm not really complaining.
I worry about our country. I've been thinking a lot about it. It seems like we are going down the tubes. Everything seems imported. It doesn't seem to me that America makes anything anymore. National debt gets higher and higher, and who know what's going to happen in Washington anymore. I get why people voted in the Republicans, and I'd be ok with that if I thought they had "the answer", but they don't. In fact, it seems to me that their answer is to make it so nothing gets done in Washington. Is this a good thing? Is it really a good thing when so many are out of work and the stress in our nation is so high for nothing to get done?
Yet, maybe some good things will come out of this. Shakespeare wrote, "Sweet are the uses of adversity....". Maybe, the sweet thing that will come out of this adversity is that we will eventually stop fighting each other and come together and be closer as a nation. I predict that at the end of two years after nothing in Washington is achieved, that there will be another big election and many seats lost again. Eventually, maybe they will stop bickering and start listening to the people. At this point, I don't really care what party makes it happen.
The silver lining for me personally is that there are so many big problems out there, that politicians can no longer use gay people as a scapegoat without looking like idiots. You ever notice how "gay marriage" is no longer the issue? Don't Ask, Don't Tell is still amazingly an issue, even with 70% percent of Americans (and military personnel) wanting to end this policy. My belief is that this now has little to do with gay soldiers serving openly, and is just being used as yet another issue to drag Obama and "the liberals" down. It's as if the man can do nothing right. And I'm sure the fact that he's a black man has nothing to do with it because after all, American is past the race issue, right?
Yet, I have hope. I think Don't Ask, Don't Tell will eventually go away, sooner than later. There's also a bill pending in Congress that concerns bullying in schools. This all came out of all the gay students committing suicide in recent months. I don't know why all the sudden this is an issue because it's been happening for years and no one cared. Perhaps this is a change in attitudes?
Another bill deals with hospital visitation where anyone admitted to a hospital will be able to list the people who can visit him/her. This all comes out because although they don't want to allow gay couples access to marriage, they want to make it look as though they aren't without compassion. So they make a bill where anyone, gay or straight, cousin, whoever, can visit. This is good news if you are a gay couple living in Nebraska for example. It's a "feel good" bill. But if it passes (big IF), it may help some folks out.
Oh, another startling statistic that I heard on the news last night is that 80% of Afghans don't understand why we are even in their country! Also 92% have never heard of "9/11". It's a different world over there. Why are we there? And apparently, all the time we've been negotiating with the Taliban, we've been talking to an impostor, who we've been paying millions of dollars to. Our tax dollars at work.
Anyway, my random thoughts over this Thanksgiving holiday. I hope you all have a great day tomorrow. I'm not going to be thinking about all of this, but rather all the blessings in my life that I do have. We should all do the same.
I just voted for the non-religious-owned party, that believes in separation of church and state, civil rights, EQUALITY (yeah, even for gay people), health care for ALL... Yeah, the party who is bringing us back from the edge of bankruptcy left over from the last administration. That party.
To that, I say, GREAT! Do what you want to do and stay the hell away from politics -- something you know nothing about! The other tidbit was from Jim Bennett, the son of longtime Republican Senator Robert Bennett. Jim Bennett clicked "Like" on the Facebook page of the man his father would have faced in the general election, Democrat Sam Granato. With the speed of the Internet being what it is, an hour later, Jim Bennett received a call from Granato's campaign manager asking Bennett if he would like to meet Sam Granato. After a friend told Jim Bennett, "You're throwing away your future in the Republican Party," Bennett fired back, "But there isn't a Republican Party. There's the tea party and the Democrats." My thoughts exactly.
I'd rather be doing this than in some stuffy, old political office. I'd rather be out here being free.