At this section of the book, I have just read, our writer is telling the story of how a then Cardinal Bergoglio, went head to head with the Argentine Government over Same Sex Marriage. And clearly states, in print, that the current Pope’s stance on gay marriage, was set well before he entered his pontificate.
The news that Pope Francis met with AND encouraged Kim Davis to “Thank her for her courage and to Stay Strong” is a strong black mark on this historical Pontifical Tour of the United States.
This is a blatant show of force, by the Pope, who does not live in a bubble, that there are issues that have been well trod in Bergoglio’s past.
Pope Francis is a very savvy man.
Who ever orchestrated this meeting, for whatever reason, meant for it to be a secret meeting. But the news that has since leaked out, someone in high places brought Mrs. Davis and her husband to the Papal mission in Washington D.C.
This is a blatant slap in the face for many of us who were wowed by Francis’ message of love, charity, inclusion and social justice. But like I tweeted earlier, The Pope’s stance on Gay Marriage was already set.
This is NOT new news, or a new church decision. It is a Papal belief that is ardent and strong, born out of reflection and contemplation, and solidly enshrined from the Bible.
We should not be surprised that the Pope can be so polarizing on certain topics. His entire history as a young man, a priest, Jesuit and now Pope, is one of contrast and contradiction.
Page 314 – 315…
… But that day another, private letter that Bergoglio had sent a fortnight earlier to the four Carmelite Monasteries of Buenos Aires was leaked – how and why is not known. Its dramatic language ensured that is dominated the headlines and eclipsed the public statement. The letter to the nuns had been described as a “dangerous tactic” that back fired. But it wasn’t tactic at all. It formed no part of any political or internal church strategy, and was never intended to be made public.
Bergoglio had an intense devotion to the Carmelite saint Therese of Lisieux and was close to the Carmelite nuns in Buenos Aires, He had great confidence in their power of prayer, and has often over the years sent the nuns letters asking for their prayers for this or that intention, especially when he was under pressure. This was no exception. “It was a letter in which he was sharing what was in his heart with his intimates, intercessors, in the language of spiritual people,” says Bergoglio’s close collaborator.
The Cardinal told the Carmelites what he discerned at stake in the same sex marriage legislation: a serious threat to the family that would lead to children being deprived of a father and a mother. It was “a frontal attack on God’s law”; not simply a political battle but a “bid by the father of lies seeking to confuse and deceive the children of God.”
He went on to ask for the nuns’ prayers for the assistance of the Holy Spirit “to protect us from the spell of so much sophistry of those who favor this law, which had confused and deceived even those of goodwill.” He had spotted the serpent’s tail, with all its usual telltale signs: hysteria, division, confusion, envy.
This was “God’s war,” as he put it later in his letter.
Allowing gay people to marry required that the ancient, natural, God given institution of matrimony be stripped of the very thing that made it a reflection of the divine plan: the bonding of man and woman, and the begetting and raising of children by their natural parents in a relationship of permanence and sexual exclusivity.
As Bergoglio put it in his official public letter, a law that recognized marriage as male – female did not discriminate but appropriately differentiated – appropriately, because a man – woman bond, like a child’s need of a father and mother, were core human realities.
To try and make marriage something else was “a real and serious anthropological step backwards.
The stellar weather finally turned on us. Skies are dark, the humidity is way up there, and showers have been coming and going all evening. We are being warned at this hour that we might get “Pounded” tonight.
I’ve been so busy with things to do, lately, my plate is full. Saturday I installed Baby Mama’s air conditioner in the baby’s room. However, as of late, the baby isn’t using her room, because she won’t sleep for long periods of time. And that is proving to be quite the problem for mama.
Saturday evening I went to visit with a friend. This, our regular Saturday night to sit outside on the patio and talk for hours. We had Portuguese pastries, Portuguese cheese bread, which is totally addictive, and the never ending coffee pot.
I go there to talk to my friend about life, this week it turned out that he was the one giving me advice.
You know, I watch a good amount of You Tube. I read books written by young people who also produce content on You Tube. I read a lot. I see young men from other places, who aren’t necessarily following the North American “This is how you do life” idea.
We of the latter generation, were bred from 1960’s stock. You know that stock. The birth to the age of eighteen growth pattern. Going to school, making the grades, if you can, go to university, get a degree in some far flung topic, that may or MAY NOT get you a job in the real world.
Then you meet a girl, get married, and pop out a couple of kids. Add to that the prospect of owning a house, with the two car garage, the yard, “things” and get work in probably a dead end job that you only go to because it pays the bills and keeps a roof over ones head.
Your dreams going up in smoke, and quite literally we end up bored, sad, never fulfilling those desires or things we really would like to do but can’t, because we are locked in old ideas and ways of life.
We end up in that place where we have to make ends meet, in any way we can. And for most of us, we are not doing what we enjoy or love, we are doing what pays the bills. Because you know, it’s all about the almighty dollar.
In today’s social media driven world, an entire generation of boys and girls, men and women, have turned the normal grind of life and nine to five, into something quite different. They seem to have found their groove doing exactly what they want to do, in the way they want to do, and learning about life themselves, Doing things that the rest of us only dream about doing or putting them on a bucket list.
They have not necessarily followed the old tried and true model.
Most of these folks have been at this for a number of years, and after hours of work, and years of building a following, have lives that contribute to the greater good, in ways that the older generation had never done before.
I know of men, in my age bracket, and some a little older, who, like me, have accrued several pieces of paper, granting us degrees in our chosen fields, who for some, can’t find work in our fields because we chose fields that have fallen out of favor at the educational level, and jobs are scarce for some of us.
There are others who are at a certain juncture of their lives, where it is time to do something to produce content to guarantee us future income, and/or a retirement fund so that when we finally get there, there is money in the bank.
I watch these young people going into the world doing exactly what they want, and they are doing it well. They have built lives of substance and the give back to humanity in the ways they choose to use their fandom (read: stardom). Young people who produce content in video, they write books, the have charitable projects doing things for others, they have record ventures, they have merchandise to sell, and many of them, have done things, the rest of us, only dream about doing, like traveling the world, meeting all kinds of people, seeing places that many of us will never get to see ourselves, but through their content, we get to live vicariously through them.
So I wonder, at my age, with what I know, if the kids of this generation are doing what they love and they are giving back, and making a living at the same time, then why not me?
I’ve considered writing a book a long time ago. I wrote a single manuscript and gave it to my academic adviser when I was in university, but I never pursued it further. I started writing a blog more than ten years ago. I’ve been at this for a long time. I am not of the “Video content” circle. I have a face for writing and a voice for speaking, but I am too self conscious to see myself on film.
I look at myself in the mirror sometimes and say to myself, UGH, I am getting old, yet I have friends who love me just the same. So that’s an all about me concern.
I have over 101 stories located in my pages section. These stories and memories were written in a free thought form, as they happened, as they exist in my memory. I have over 3500 posts collected on the blog to draw from in addition to the stories section.
I was talking to one of my lady friends tonight at the meeting. She is a university professor of fine arts and she is also an academic writer. And I mentioned my discussion with my friend last night to her, and at the moment, she is working on a book herself.
We launched into a conversation about publishing, how to do it, where to find it, and who to talk to. I mentioned to her the amount of written word I have already compiled here, and she told me that unlike the young folks I am reading/watching/ and or listening to, who create content “in the moment” kind of thing, what I have going for me, is that I have content already produced and on file. All I really need to do is polish that manuscript up a bit, and put it into a presentable form to put out a prospectus and a preliminary manuscript.
There really is not much editing to be done with what is already written. I would not change any of the words I wrote, nor would I let an editor or agent, edit my stories or butcher them for the sake of a book, or my readership, in the name of money.
I’ve been reading my social media sites. I have solid life experience in areas of life that are historical. The gay, AIDS experience of the 1990’s is a story that is unique. It is my story as it happened in real time.
Young gay readers of today, have no idea what that was like. Today, HIV is still an issue. However it is not a “you’ve got AIDS kind of problem.” There is medication to be had by the masses. It isn’t what it was twenty years ago. Many of my friends believe that I have a story to be told. That my experiences over the last forty seven years are worthy of telling.
I spend a few hours a week writing here. And when a memory hits me, I sit here and record it on the blog, because I am not getting any younger, and the more time that goes by between a memory and today, my memory begins to get fuzzy.
When I worked my last Fourth Step, we used a particular method. And I was encouraged to work on a Lifetime – Timeline. It took me months to finish it, and it is written down in a journal I kept that is not on the blog. My Aunt Paula was a big help in connecting the dots between memories, and places and specific periods of time, or seasons in our lives as they were lived.
With that long form memory exercise, I compiled some stories that I have never told before, based on the emotions connected to certain memories as I grew up. It kind of goes like this: Write down your years of life, from birth until today. Now, I want you to plot, on that graph, your earliest emotions, as you remember them.
I have this list of emotions, that are connected to people, times and places. I can see them in my minds eye. And with each feeling there is an attached memory, that I can spin out and write about. Forty seven years is a long time.
Today, I have almost fourteen years of sober experience I have written about extensively here. The whole notion of growing up and finding a career that pays, is still a work in progress. Who I am, and what I know today, and how I live my life and care for my husband and my friends, is a direct result of all those people who have listened to me in meetings over the years.
My manhood, you could rightfully say, is an amalgamation of all the men I have in my life today. Not to mention all the women I know as well. They are both integral to who I am. Because if not for them, I would not be who I am today.
I just think that we can learn a great deal from the young people of today’s generation. And if you are not happy doing what you are doing, and you are unfulfilled, and need a specific focus in your life, all we need to do is spend some time watching young people do what they are doing right now, and ponder.
There are plenty of young LGBTQ folks out there, across the age spectrum. There are also a generations worth of people living with HIV because they don’t call it AIDS any more, they are in a specific metal and emotional state, that they bemoan the lives they have today as far as what they can do, who they can do it with, and they are saddled with having to take medication and what a drag that is. And my story is one that my friends think would be beneficial for them to hear, what it was like, what happened and what it is like today.
That’s the running theme in my life today …
What it was like, What happened, and what it is like today.
I have a lot to say, and my friend thinks I have a hit on my hands, in the bank, already written. I just need to get it out there. His final comment that if I self publish, I would probably make money hand over fist. I’d like to think that was possible, but lets stay in the moment and not get sucked into expectations and pie in the sky dreams.
I need a publisher. Somewhere.
Maybe a specific LGBT publisher who would think my story is specific enough and important enough to share with the masses.
So all you people who are subscribed, shoot me an email. Tell me something good.
I need you all to step up and help me as I continue this next phase.
More to come, stay tuned …
June and July are Pride months around the world. Pride this year is ever so much more festive because of just how forwards many places in the world have become. The last year alone we have seen LGBT people recognized and laws changed and also how the perception of the gay community has changed.
However, that is not the norm in many places. Jail and death are the norm for some places who punish our LGBT people for being who they are. We’ve seen atrocities perpetrated in the name of religion in the Middle East. It’s abominable how some pervert the religion of many to suit their extremist ideas.
For many, in many places, we should be grateful for small mercies that we live where we live, and are for the present, free from being thrown from atop a building or imprisoned for who God created us to be.
The marriage business just got a huge boost in business this weekend.
The great thing about providing services to LGBT people is that we know how to spend money. And when it comes to love, marriage or any celebration, we tend to go ALL OUT.
It’s a pity that some are still so ignorant and stupid when it comes down to belief and practice.
I heard someone say, a few days ago that Gays and Lesbians now have the right to be as happy or as miserable as their straight counterparts.
Also that Marriage is not for everyone.
Committing to another human being is not a fly by night decision. For me, my marriage was a celebration of humanity. My husbands humanity. It was a celebration that he was still whole after months of treatment for his Bi-Polar situation.
I was telling a friend earlier tonight, because he inquired about hubby, that he was indeed well, and I explained that a bit further. The man I met and fell in love with was not the same man I ended up with, after doctors treated him, quite successfully for his condition. But that treatment was not kind and changed him from day to night.
I accepted that. Because I was not going to leave him when he needed me the most. So when he got up, we celebrated with family and friends.
Marriage was not something we took lightly. And God knows, He tested us to make sure this was what we wanted. Life threw us the cards and we played. More than ten years later, we do not take a single day for granted.
Marriage has changed the face of gay life. There are some who still run on the Grindr system and flirt with people and live inside frenetic sexual exploration. Never to settle down and have a solid relationship. We’ve had to educate ourselves on just what it means to settle down, and be ok with that in the long term. (My God, you mean I have to settle for having sex with just one person for the rest of my life ???) What happens to the local gay bar, if there are no single and happy with that crowd? There are plenty of APPS for that.
I loved working in the bar when I did, because of the people, not necessarily about the hunt. Meeting hubby was a one off occurrence. If we were off by seconds, we might have missed that perfect opportunity.
I would never enter the market again, should anything ever happen to either one of us.
LGBT folks all over the world are giving credence to our ability to settle down, become responsible and learning to love just one man or woman.
NOT ALL OF US THINK WITH OUR CROTCHES. AND WE DON’T LIVE IN OUR BEDS FUCKING DAY AND NIGHT, JUST TO PROVE A POINT !!!
Funny, all those wingnuts who believe that all we do is have sex, are so misguided. I wonder if they secretly long to be in our bedrooms watching to see if having sex is all we do, because they fixate on sex so much, their husbands and wives must be pretty sexually boring.
If only they really knew the truth.
It’s not all about sex at all.
The LGBT community needs to teach the world just what we mean and how we live with each other, in unity and love. We need to stand up and be counted. To attest that love is possible and marriage is something we take seriously, and that we can raise children just as well as our straight counterparts.
Because we know just how well straight people raise their children right?
- They toss their kids in the street.
- They send them away to be REPROGRAMMED
- Some kids are physically and sexually abused
- The drive to make money, supersedes the desire to be a parent
- Kids are ignored or starved
- They go to bed hungry at night, some have very little clothing
These are not generalizations, they are facts, based on what we see everyday or in print or on TV.
Can you imagine that we, LGBT people, would treat our kids the way WE were treated when we were kids? Do you think we would perpetuate the shit we saw from our parents or our communities?
We think NOT !
We shall see just who wins the argument on what sexual model best raises their children.
In the end, I know for a fact, that there are adults out there, who should never have gotten married in the first place, let alone have children. There are many of us out here, who know that they are gifts from God, having been raised by parents that did what they did to us. We might not have been created out of the best situations, but nonetheless we are here.
The least we can do, is to never raise children under that same model.
The world has shown us how kids have been raised. The picture isn’t pretty.
Just a few thoughts for Sunday …
More to come, stay tuned …
“… Then too, damaging emotional conflicts persist below the level of consciousness, very deep, sometimes quite forgotten. Therefore, we should try hard to recall and review those past events which originally induced these conflicts and which continue to give our emotions violent twists, thus discoloring our personalities and altering our lives for the worse.”
This passage, from tonight’s A.B.S.I. is taken from the Twelve and Twelve, and it speaks towards Step Eight … Making that list you are going to use for Step Nine … The Amends.
The first step to make, in this effort, in my belief, is to forgive ones self. After probable years of self hatred, self abuse, self loathing, and beating ones self up with the drink, or drugs, we have come to the point, if we are IN our steps, that we have decided to get clean and sober.
But with that decision, comes a second decision we must make, in order to get better. And that is to take ourselves to task for what we have done, what others have done to us, and how we feel about those two factors.
I was talking to my friends after the meeting about these decisions. If we take these steps and we are moving towards completing our steps, we must be prepared for whatever emotions come up, whenever they come up and deal with them, (however we are able, at whatever stage of sobriety we are, at that point) This is not the easier softer way for most of us.
Dealing with the wreckage of our pasts, for some, as it was said tonight, creates for many, a state of P.T.S.D. about our addiction as it played out. Now we decided to get sober.
The deal is, that we don’t run back to the bottle or the drugs when things get tough. I want so badly for some of my friends to walk forwards and just DO IT.
That means the rest of us have to step up, get off our asses and DO SOMETHING.
If people, men or women, don’t have proper support, 24 / 7 then what good are we to our fellows? I did what I had to do to get better. And God provided me with opportunities to be present, and I take that responsibility very seriously.
It went as it was going to go. This reading brings up specific feelings about the past and many of us spoke to this issue. I was not the only human being in the room tonight, who has heartache and may not be able to properly complete my (read: our) steps a full 100%.
In the end I spoke my piece, not to seek pity or a love fest, but there are very few topics in my life today that spike me into un-sober behavior. This reading speaks, also, to emotional sobriety, which was also brought up tonight.
There are days and holidays which I work very hard to get through, and not loose my composure and I teeter on the edge of a cliff of un-sober thinking, acting and speaking. Steps Eight and Nine, for me, are sore subjects, because I will never get the resolution I am looking for because I have learned and come to accept that I am powerless over people, places and things.
At the end of the meeting, I was standing outside with friends, and the meeting matriarch came out and stood in front of me and looked me in the eyes as she hugged me, saying that I was a wonderful human being. I was almost driven to tears, because I knew what she was trying to tell me and show me, one human to another.
I love my friends. They make all of this possible. My friends have my back and I have theirs. I’ve said before that where else could one go to be loved so much and someone there for you when ever you need them to be?
We are totally blessed.
I am 47 years old and today the United States made history. Gay marriage is legal across the United States. So many Republicans and Preachers have the sadz …
The evangelic base is stirring like hornets. And the battle lines have been drawn. Obama Care and Gay Marriage are the wedge issues that are going to fire up those hell bent voters who disagree with both decisions, as the White House celebrate their winning streak.
Those wily homosexuals got their win today. And you can take that to the bank.
In the end LOVE WON.
All we want is to be recognized legally. And like a friend said earlier today, now everybody can be as happy or as miserable as the rest of those who have marriage rights. Divorce happens on both sides of the fence. Now the gays can do the same.
But I know, most gay folks put straight folks to shame when it comes to marriage.
We do marriage right, we do planning right, we get the flowers right, and we get the music right. Many old timer couples have been together much longer than their straight counterparts. NOW it is legal for their unions to be recognized by the constitution.
We will see who wins this argument in the coming years.
Heterosexual divorce is up there in numbers. I encourage my gay and lesbian friends to put those straight people to shame. We will show you just how good we do marriage.
Well Done Supreme Court.
It was Great day and a great night.
More to come, stay tuned …
Justice Anthony Kennedy, who authored today’s ruling legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States, is sometimes made fun of for his notoriously purple prose. But today he managed to close his opinion with one of the most beautiful passages you’ll likely read in a court case. I teared up. So did a few other Slate staffers.
It was the hope that the many voices around the world, would bring hope and strength to young people who were, at that time, suffering from bullies and negative attitudes.
The other night, a friend of mine, put up a video on the fifth year anniversary of his original video talking about just where he is right now, five years later. His message:
IT DEFINITELY GOT BETTER !!!
This blog has been the center of my life, for many years, and where we are today as a community is a result of all the work I have done for the past five years and more.
So much has changed in the last five years, that it would take me hours of going through past posts to give you an idea of just what happened.
I was 42 when It Gets Better began. I was beginning to figure out that wisdom was beginning to come and that has only deepened over the years. I am 47 today. I would not have changed anything about the journey.
In the gay world, the youngsters tend to think us old fogies are now, “Over the hill” and could not “possibly still be relevant.”
I assure you that I am not over the hill, nor irrelevant.
I have a history and a story that needs to be remembered and shared, because young people of today’s generation have no idea what it was like just twenty years ago. Because that is when the story really starts.
As Dickens writes: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
Things were pretty bad and they really needed to get better.
And in the end it took twenty years for that to come to fruition.
The dawn of social media bright all kinds of trouble with it. Insulated kids who were alone and at home after school, now had the tools to reach out to their peers and the rest of the world. That was not necessarily a good thing. Because we all know what happened.
Social Media brought the instantaneous attack to the fore.
You didn’t have to wait to have conversation locally, thoughts and feelings went global, like wildfire, overnight. And young people, like their adult counterparts were fair game.
Then we saw the ugly side of humanity enter the picture and teens began to kill themselves because of haters and internet trolls. For them it was not good, and it needed to get better.
I am here to tell my young readers that It Does Get Better.
You just have to hang on and walk forwards. Believe in us. Some of us have seen life get very ugly, we have seen human beings get very ugly (without the aid of social media) to begin with.
Suicide is Never an option. Your Life Matters. Every one of you matter. Even if you can’t imagine what that means on a greater scale, but you do.
All you need to do is page back and read. The history of what it was like, what happened and what it is like is here for you to study and learn from.
In just the last calendar year, life has changed so much.
Having all that we need, and being satisfied with that is no small accomplishment.
All you need to have is someone in your corner rooting for you. Someone who speaks kindness to you and supports you. If you can’t find that at home, find it here with all of us. Amid all the ugly internet assholes, there are genuine people who care about you and all we want is for your happiness and survival.
You’ve come so far and you have your whole life ahead of you.
Life is about the Journey, not the destination.
Just keep walking. Believing. Trusting.
We are out here.
You are never alone.
It Does Get Better.
By: Shawn Pogatchnik, The Associated Press/The Canadian Press.
DUBLIN – Ireland’s citizens have voted in a landslide to legalize gay marriage, electoral officials announced Saturday — a stunningly lopsided result that illustrates what Catholic leaders and rights activists alike called a “social revolution.”
Friday’s referendum saw 62.1 per cent of Irish voters say “yes” to changing the nation’s constitution to define marriage as a union between two people regardless of their sex. Outside Dublin Castle, watching the results announcement in its cobblestoned courtyard, thousands of gay rights activists cheered, hugged and cried at the news.
“With today’s vote, we have disclosed who we are: a generous, compassionate, bold and joyful people,” Prime Minister Enda Kenny proclaimed as he welcomed the outcome. Beside him, Deputy Prime Minister Joan Burton declared the victory “a magical moving moment, when the world’s beating heart is in Ireland.”
Ireland is the first country to approve gay marriage in a popular national vote. Nineteen other countries, including most U.S. states, have legalized the practice through their legislatures and courts.
The unexpectedly strong percentage of approval surprised both sides. More than 1.2 million Irish voters backed the “yes” side to less than 750,000 voting “no.” Only one of Ireland’s 43 constituencies recorded a narrow “no” majority, Roscommon-South Leitrim in the boggy midlands.
Analysts credited the “yes” side with adeptly employing social media to mobilize young, first-time voters, tens of thousands of whom voted for the first time Friday. The “yes” campaign also featured moving personal stories from prominent Irish people — either coming out as gays or describing their hopes for gay children — that helped convince wavering voters to back equal marriage rights.
Both Catholic Church leaders and gay rights advocates said the result signalled a social revolution in Ireland, where only a few decades ago the authority of Catholic teaching was reinforced by voters who massively backed bans on abortion and divorce in the 1980s.
Voters legalized divorce by a razor-thin margin in 1995 and now, by a firm majority, have dismissed the Catholic Church’s repeated calls to reject gay marriage. Abortion, still outlawed, looms as the country’s next great social policy fight.
Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said the “overwhelming vote” against church teaching on gay marriage meant that Catholic leaders in Ireland needed urgently to find a new message and voice for reaching Ireland’s young.
“It’s a social revolution. … The church needs to do a reality check right across the board,” said Martin, who suggested that some church figures who argued for gay marriage’s rejection came across as harsh, damning and unloving, the opposite of their intention.
“Have we drifted completely away from young people?” he asked. “Most of those people who voted ‘yes’ are products of our Catholic schools for 12 years.”
David Quinn, leader of the Catholic think-tank Iona Institute, said he was troubled by the fact that no political party and only a half-dozen politicians backed the “no” cause.
“The fact that no political party supported them must be a concern from a democratic point of view,” he said.
Fianna Fail leader Michael Martin, a Cork politician whose opposition party is traditionally closest to the Catholic Church, said he couldn’t in good conscience back the anti-gay marriage side.
“It’s simply wrong in the 21st century to oppress people because of their sexuality,” he said.
Some political leaders in Canada approved of the result. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, who is openly gay, and federal NDP leader Tom Mulcair both tweeted congratulations.
“Especially proud of my Irish roots today. A clear progressive message from voters & resounding victory for equality,” Mulcair tweeted.
After the result was announced, thousands of celebrants flooded into the Irish capital’s pubs and clubs — none more popular Saturday night than the city’s few gay venues.
At the George, Ireland’s oldest gay pub, drag queens danced and lip-synced to Queen and the founding father of Ireland’s gay rights campaign, Sen. David Norris, basked in the greatest accomplishment of the movement’s 40-year history.
“The people in this small island off the western coast of Europe have said to the rest of the world: This is what it is to be decent, to be civilized, and to be tolerant! And let the rest of the world catch up!” Norris, 70, shouted with jubilant zeal to the hundreds packing the disco ball-lit hall.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Norris waged an often lonely two-decade legal fight to force Ireland to quash its Victorian-era laws outlawing homosexual acts. Ireland finally complied in 1993, becoming the last European Union country to do so. This time, the gay community in Ireland managed to build a decisive base of support.
“People from the LGBT community in Ireland are a minority. But with our parents, our families, or friends and co-workers and colleagues, we’re a majority,” said Leo Varadkar, a 36-year-old Irish Cabinet minister who in January announced on national radio that he was gay. “For me it wasn’t just a referendum. It was more like a social revolution.”
Many gay couples took the moment to declare their intentions or renew their vows. One lesbian couple in Limerick proposed on bended knee at the vote count there, while one of Ireland’s most prominent advocates for gay marriage, American-born Sen. Katherine Zappone, asked her wife live on Irish TV: “Today in this new Ireland, Ann Louise Gilligan, will you marry me?”
The couple, who met at Boston College and already were married legally in Canada in 2003, sued Ireland unsuccessfully in 2006 to have their marriage recognized as valid. Once parliament passes enabling legislation by this summer, that Canadian wedding license will become legal in Ireland. But Zappone and Gilligan, a former nun, still plan an Irish ceremony.
“There’s nothing like an Irish wedding,” Zappone said.
The Dublin Castle crowds saved their greatest roars of approval for Panti Bliss, Ireland’s most famous drag queen, who strode gingerly into the castle’s central square in high heels and a body-hugging floral dress to conduct a joint live interview on Irish TV beside Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and Sinn Fein party chief Gerry Adams.
“It feels like we asked the whole country to marry us and they just said yes,” said Panti, aka Rory O’Neill, who in a viral-internet speech last year inspired a national debate on the level of homophobia in Irish society.
“Today’s vote isn’t actually for 46-year-old aging drag queens like me. This vote is about all the young faces out there,” Panti said, gesturing to the square-full of mostly 20-something onlookers, some donning rainbow-colored feather boas and parasols. Panti said that within a few years going to a gay marriage “will become an ordinary, normal part of life — and that’s what changes hearts and minds.”
When asked whether she — Panti’s preferred gender of pronoun — intended to marry, the already surreal scene turned flirty. “Sure, why not, if I can find the right fella,” Panti said, slyly putting an arm around a beaming Adams. Laughter cascaded through the crowd.
Political analyst Sean Donnelly, who has covered Irish referendums for decades, said Saturday’s landslide marked a stunning generational shift. He noted that two decades ago in Ireland’s last tortuous vote challenging a benchmark Catholic teaching, voters barely approved divorce — but only because heavy rain deterred voters in the then-conservative west. More than half of Ireland’s constituencies recorded “no” majorities to divorce.
Not this time. Even far-flung Donegal in Ireland’s northwest corner, renowned for its reactionary record of voting against the national mood, voted “yes” to gay marriage.
“We’re in a new country,” Donnelly said. “When I was reared up, the church was all powerful and the word ‘gay’ wasn’t even in use in those days. How things have moved from my childhood to now.”
With files from The Canadian Press
I was born in 1967 in a small town called New Britain Connecticut. Family was all one had, in whatever form they came in. And I was lucky that I HAD all the family I could use because we all lived fairly close, a short walk or a short car ride from point A to point B.
Back in the day gender roles were set in stone. The binary system was held in place and I never heard or saw any “other” gender role or met anyone who lived “outside” the norm.
But history tells us that Gay existed well before I was born, and it was a silent life of hiding in the shadows and living your lifestyle behind closed doors, or in places that you could be yourself, but in my reading of history, those stories are few and far between.
I didn’t know that “other” existed until I was in grade school and happened upon reading material my father had collected and was reading around us, as if to say, leaving mags around the bathroom was commonplace and not “wrong.”
I had a little transistor radio with one of those little ear pieces that I listened to at night. And I was so interested in a certain radio show that played during those years. You wouldn’t find them on any dial today, or maybe you would, on some internet channel. Times have changed.
There was a particular radio show hosted by a woman who invited guests on to her show in the hopes that she would hook those guests up with callers. One guest piqued my interest when he identified himself as a Master, and was looking for a sub. I didn’t know what that was, or maybe I did, after reading my father’s mags…
This was not a heterosexual match up show, it was a Gay match up show. This guy was a regular on the show.
What was this, and why did I find it so appealing ???
I could read by that point in my life. And I read well.
Along with Readers Digest, Playboy and Penthouse magazines another little booklet was meat and potatoes. I wasn’t interested in titty girls and naked women. Variations was written for the person who straddled the sexual fence.
After my rebellion at day care, I had a key to the house and that’s where we went after school. I was a nosy little shit and I had to know everything about family. And I was like that for many years after that. My father (in hindsight) was living a double life. I know that today.
The words he spoke, were very different than the actions he was displaying behind the scenes. His internalized homophobia was rampant. I think he read magazines and lived vicariously through them, while he abused me terribly, hoping to beat the “gay” out of me later on.
My father would not have a GAY in his house, but he was one himself, he wasn’t just bisexual, it was full on gay.
My mother was not exempt from this. She actually participated.
They say gay is a choice. Let me ask you this, can a child make a choice of that kind of proportion and know for sure that is what they are or want to be? Or as happened, I came across informative reading that 100% informed what side of the sexual orientation coin I would later land.
It wasn’t a choice. I knew. I knew right then and there. But I didn’t know what it meant.
Fast forward into our last move into the house we lived in the longest.
I did not know anyone who was gay, or better yet, I had never met anyone who was transgendered. My parents kept us out of the social discussion. I listened to them talk about the Queers and the Gays and those sick people with AIDS, who should just die already.
My parents met other families, some with means, and others not so much. All of these kids, us and those we came to know, grew up together. Family dinners, holiday banquets, birthday parties, and summer barbeque’s were the stuff of legends.
My introduction to Gay had begun.
One of my friends, who is still my friend to this day, I call her mom my step mom, because where my mother failed, she had stepped in and filled that role. She would have wedge wood china dinner parties, and invited people from across the spectrum.
That is where I met the gay men who would facilitate my walk across that proverbial bridge, when it came. I straddled the orientation line because my father would beat me after every dinner party we attended to make sure he would beat the Gay out of me. He abhorred Gay, but he loved reading about them, and having sex that was well outside the normal vanilla sexual slant.
My parents were not so vanilla they loved their chocolate side.
I dated girls throughout high school. I kissed girls, but I had never had sex with a woman, never have, and never will. I could never be who I wanted to be, as I was educated in what that meant by people who were.
When I learned to drive, and get around, I discovered Gay “in community.” Back in those days, pride flags were something I learned about, because they told me what I needed to know, as I drove through particular neighborhoods.
The “Gay community” moved from one section of the city to another, trying to find a footing for itself. And they went from sparse to the entirety of Coconut Grove proper. There were gay stores, gay shoppes, gay bars, and gay festivals.
Later when Gay grew, us gays moved from the mainland to the beach. Miami Beach, the mecca for retirees and snowbirds, now shared space and lives with the gays. It took a long time for that community to grow and then flourish. And it did.
I could not stay in Miami to be gay. My father would not have a gay child in his family.
I moved away to be gay. My alcoholism came along for the ride.
Over a decade saw me hit new highs and lows, and over time I not only became the gay in my family, I became that gay with AIDS in the family. Two strikes and I was out.
It was the gay community who stepped in when I really needed it. When my parents tossed me to the curb, it was the gays, who took me in and I am still alive because of just how good they took care of me. Over a hundred of my friends died, but I survived.
Because I did what I was told.
I listened to real people, gay people, show me how to survive. And if you think gays are not compassionate or loving, you are dead wrong. You say we are sick and perverted, well, some are, and I love them for it. What is life without a little “spice.”
Where Heterosexuals failed to take care of their children, where very sick homosexual adults were tossed into the streets, kicked out of their homes, tossed out by lovers, the good gays stepped in and did what they had to do for the least of these.
I fell away and walked out the door on four years of sobriety and it was the worst mistake I have ever made. When I returned from my disastrous gay odyssey to hell, I moved to the Beach.
Rental assistance afforded me an apartment two blocks off the beach, in a gay friendly building with gay friendly people who had my best interest in mind. But I was still drinking.
I prayed for an alcoholic to bring me back, and he appeared.
I was thirty four. I wasn’t a beach boy. I didn’t have the looks nor the money.
So on my first sober day, I returned to a gay meeting. Nobody noticed me.
What I did find was a group of straight men and women who did welcome me and provided everything I would need to live soberly.
I moved to Montreal. By this time, by my family’s standards and resentment list, I had four solid strikes against me.
If you want to be gay and live a life of your dreams, move out of the United States.
Every day I read articles and watch videos of just how sick heterosexual people are. I read articles about heterosexual people doing the worst indignities to the least of these.
Every day we are bombarded with all kinds of actions that are abhorrent to me abhorrent to all of us.
I am ashamed to call myself an American. There is only one reason I retain my citizenship.
But for all intents and purposes, I am a Canadian.
Gay is all over. From city to city, from province to province and from neighborhood to neighborhood. Here we have marriage equality. We can walk down the street holding hands and not fear some asshole making a scene. Cities have dedicated Gay Villages.
Here is where my gay education took another step in its evolution. At a particular meeting I was introduced to a trans woman, who we all love and respect. I actually heard her speak a few weeks ago.
Who knew from trans boys and girls, men and women?
In the last ten years or so, gender rules and assignments have expanded. It the most wonderful time in our lives. No longer in the shadows, kids, young people and adults are making their stands to proclaim who they are.
But in the United States, sadly, beatings, killings and suicides are the norm.
Around the world we know that LGBT people are being killed, ostracized and imprisoned for who they are. Sadly the world is not moving ahead with acceptance and love.
I’ve known a handful of young kids battling with who they were born as, coming to see who they really are. Some have been in transition for a while now. There are pockets of locations where kids are being allowed to explore who they are, with support and love, but that is far from the norm.
Kids killing themselves because of internet trolls and hatred by family and friends is terribly disturbing. We have to step up and be their voice in a world that wants to only shut them up.
Over the last few years I have become friends with a family that is remarkable. One son is gay, One daughter is in transition at age six, and the third son is in the mix.
I’ve witnessed what it takes to parent a transgendered child. Parenting any child is hard work, it is a lifetime calling for parents. And we know, by what we are hearing and seeing, children are being born into families that really, should never have had children to begin with.
That is another stark reminder of just how sick some parents really are.
We’ve witnessed celebrities born into celebrity lives. Growing up one gender, and today a handful of them are who they really want to be. The transgendered community is growing in leaps and bounds after a handful of celebrity transitions.
Last night was a watershed moment for Bruce Jenner. It was a watershed for all those boys and girls still in the mix, making lifetime decisions about who they would like to be and who they really are.
We Must speak for them. We must stand up for them. We must accept them.
WE MUST LOVE THEM.
We must love each other, even if we do not understand why they are doing what they are doing.
Phil said this last night, “I may not understand but as long as they aren’t hurting anyone else, respect!!!”
Kanye said it best …”I am nothing, if I can’t be who I am!” Being true to ones self is the key to a life flourishing.
To Thine Own Self Be True.
Kids are killing themselves because of bullying and indignity.
We must stop this trend any way we are able.
It takes a village to raise a child, and an even bigger one to raise a trans kid.
Who do you know today? Do you know a gay person, Do you know someone with AIDS, I am sure all of you know someone who has faced or is facing a terrible fight for life because of illness.
How many of us know families with trans children in them?
You shall love the Lord with all your heart, all your soul and all your spirit, AND you should love your neighbor as yourself.
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
When is it important to expect Belief, Faith and Practice to be unified?
I have given you some comments via other writers on the recent rash of states decisions to promote the practice of hate and exclusion, in the name of religion or the practice of ones faith, or the fear that the freedom to practice their faith and religion is being diminished because a Christian would have to serve his brother or sister, and that brother or sister being Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgendered.
I can say, with pride, that I earned degrees in Religion and Theology.
I can also say, with pride, that I have the faith of a family and faith of my own to draw on.
When it comes to recovery and my belief, my faith and practice, are rock solid. I have no doubt, in my mind, that there is a God. And I am not He.
Today I speak with my voice to tell you that I am FED UP with governments choices when it comes to legislating hatred on a state level as well as on a governmental level. I am FED UP with Christians who speak from both sides of their mouths, when it comes to faith and practice.
When can you call out a Christian for being not – so – much – a – Christian?
For every man, woman and child on earth, there is a way to practice faith, be that faith among the lists of faiths that are claimed on the earth.
Some say they know God.
Some say they know their Bibles.
Some say they they speak for one, and believe in the other.
Then there are those who know neither.
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I have, in the past, been called to task for my faith and my practice, when it comes to my education as a Homosexual Christian. I have, in the past, been victimized by one particular church in the United States, who seem to think that being a Homosexual and a Christian, are incompatible with God’s word. That I could not possibly be both. That I can’t be both.
That what I am, is incongruous with who I claim to be.
Today I want to call out all of those Christians, that Speak the name of God, out of one side of their mouths, and also speak and practice hatred out the other side of their mouths.
I don’t believe that God honors a human being that speaks His name so confidently and at the same time can speak and practice hatred and bigotry.
You cannot claim to speak for God and speak His name, and do the exact opposite by your actions. Your faith must abide with your practice.
God does not abide in Hate
God does not abide in Bigotry
God does not abide in Homophobia
God does not abide in Exclusion
Jesus Christ, as I live and breathe, never condoned exclusion
Jesus went out of his way to pointedly INCLUDE everyone that was excluded
We are amid Holy Week and Passover right now. The most blessed and anointed time of the liturgical year for Christians and Jews. Everything we claim to be and the faith we claim to practice, began during Holy Week.
Was everything that Jesus did and said, faith and practice, just words in a book? How can you look yourself in the mirror every day and call yourself Christians, when you cannot stand up and do and say what Jesus asked you to do and say?
What did he say?
For what ever you do to the least of these you have done to me.
Love your neighbor as yourself.
You cannot serve two Masters.
You cannot serve God and hate your fellow man or woman
Your Faith and Practice must abide
Live the Word, Breathe prayer
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
We cannot stand by and allow the Right, The Christian Right, to roll over and rip apart the fabric of the nation, that we are all a part of and the world at large. We cannot allow Christians who profess Christian faith to oppress and exclude our brothers and sisters, because of their sexual orientation.
This is NOT a just cause.
This is plain and simple. I’m really not sure what Bible these people are reading, nor where it is written that based on ones “Faith and Practice” I (read: GOD) Divine you the right to exclude your fellow man or woman, because of their sexual orientation ! Where did God ever mention exclusion of Gays and Lesbians, Bisexuals or Transgendered humans?
We’ve had this discussion. It is appropriate to mention Matthew Vines and his groundbreaking book, God and the Gay Christian. He, with his minions of believers, are changing the face of Christian faith and practice. We have discussed those seven biblical passages that the most vehement of Christians, still stand behind that allow them to hate and exclude.
When I was a child, I was introduced to God, by women I revere and honor to this day. Everything that I am, came from what they taught me about Life, God, Faith and Practice.
My parents claimed to be Christians, Catholics and Believers. They spent decades waiting for a man of God to absolve them for their choice in preventative birth control, when Holy Mother Church, kicked parishioners out of the fold, because of their choices of preventative birth control.
They eventually got that absolution. They turned around and served God to the best of their ability. And they did that work gladly and without complaint. But when it came to the fact that I was a homosexual, their faith and practice splintered.
They began to speak out of both sides of their mouths.
Well before I ever decided to come out of my self imposed closet, I knew, well and good what they actually thought about Jews, Niggers, Dark skinned Asians. and Homosexuals. I knew this was truth because I listened to them for years, pontificate their hatred and bigotry and serve God at the same time.
My father abused me terribly, because he feared me becoming a homosexual, because I was friends with adult homosexuals and that was an abomination. And he was going to beat homosexuality out of me if it was the last thing he ever did.
But they could not serve two masters. Practice went by the wayside. I cannot tell you what their faith looks like today, because I, along with my aunt Paula, have been blacklisted by the family, shut away in the darkness of radical faith and resentment, to have our voices and lives shut in the dark, never to be acknowledged.
When I got sick and came very close to death, from AIDS, I turned to my family for faith, support and practice. They in turn, turned their backs on me and denied me love, faith and family.
The last holiday I went home for Christmas, my father humiliated me in front of a table full of guests they had invited for dinner. He went on to encourage me to “die quickly!”
My mother, a Christian, a Catholic, at one time, worked in Home Healthcare for the sick. She served the least of these, albeit grudgingly. Every night after work, with colleagues in tow, would come home, pop a beer or two, and talk about the faggots with AIDS that they had to visit with medication to help keep them alive, and their only wish, in that moment, was that for them just to die already !
My parents called me things like dirty homosexual.
They called me sick.
They called me an ABOMINATION …
And they claimed they could use these kinds of words because they read it in their bibles. And believe you me, we had a bible. I never saw them open it nor read from it.
I knew what good faith and practice was. I went to church. I served God. I spent a year in a Catholic Seminary, only to be told that my faith and practice were not good enough to pass muster and they told me to leave and not return.
In my darkest night of horror, the family I trusted to stand with me did not. When I needed them the most, they were absent, by choice. Because of their faith !!!
It then fell to the man named Todd who stepped in and became God incarnate, and he saved my life, when I should have died, by the side of the road, alone and destitute.
He chose to step in. He chose to save me. From all those others in our circle, he picked me.
Because He loved me unconditionally, as God loved me unconditionally.
The family I came from, could not and would not love me unconditionally, because of their faith and practice. Because I was one, a homosexual, and two, because I had AIDS, therefore God’s judgment came down upon me and He spoke my death to them.
Sadly, families all over North America still believe, in faith and practice, that because we are Homosexuals, and some have AIDS, God has spoken his condemnation upon us for our past transgressions and for who we are as human beings.
Therefore we are owed no Love, Respect or Salvation.
It is ABOMINABLE for a Christian to speak out of both sides of their mouths. You cannot serve God and hate your neighbor. You cannot claim to Love God and hate your neighbor.
You cannot love God and Hate your neighbor.
Every day you decide to hate your neighbor, or exclude your neighbor you spit in the face of Jesus and you desecrate the faith you proclaim. You did not do as Jesus asked you to do.
Therefore, can you, Christian, still call yourself a Christian, and hate your neighbor?
That answer is NO !!!
What Would Jesus Do ???
… Jesus Wept …
Religious discrimination is a real thing.
History — both modern and ancient — is tragically full of examples of times and places where religious discrimination has been the source of persecution, death and destruction. The perversion of religion into a weapon of mass destruction is antithetical to the core beliefs of all the world’s great religions. And yet none of those religions have escaped the sad reality that human beings — given the power to do so — will use God as an excuse to inflict pain and suffering on other human beings.
Our forefathers knew that. And they brought that knowledge — that wisdom — into our Bill of Rights with a First Amendment that begins: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”
The First Amendment both prevents the government of the United States from privileging one religion over another and protects each and every one of us — as American citizens — to believe whatever we choose — or choose not — to believe about what God thinks, approves of or blesses.
It is what protects our democracy from becoming a theocracy. And, as we watch with sadness and horror the nightly news stories of religious wars and sectarian violence, this guarantee of religious freedom is something Americans of all religions — and no religion — should rejoice and be glad in.
What that guarantee of religious freedom is not is something to be distorted and exploited to further a homophobic agenda of legislated discrimination against LGBT people. But that’s exactly what happened today when Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed the so-called “religious freedom” bill into law during a private ceremony in his Statehouse office.
Officially entitled the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” this bill will allow individuals and businesses in the state to deny services to LGBT people on “religious liberty” grounds – doing nothing to restore freedom and everything to bolster bigotry. It is the first of many proposed measures pending in statehouses around the country – all with the intent of allowing business owners and individuals to discriminate against LGBT people on religious grounds.
It is a dangerous and detrimental piece of legislation — not only for the LGBT Americans who are its direct target. It opens the door for discrimination, inequality and prejudice to nearly every citizen of every state, undermining the foundational American value of equal protection. It nothing less than an orchestrated backlash against equal protection for LGBT citizens and the flagrant distortion of the ideal of religious freedom into a vehicle for religion based bigotry.
Bottom line: The First Amendment protects your right as an American to the free exercise of your religion. It does not protect your right to use your religion as an excuse to discriminate against other Americans.
And watching the tragic consequences of genuine religious discrimination on the nightly news makes it all the more urgent that we stand together and speak against this and other pending legislation – and challenge those who are supporting it.
Because religious discrimination is a real thing. And this blatant effort to exploit it in order to attack LGBT citizens is a reprehensible thing.
Let the boycotts begin.
We are sitting at a Zero degrees this evening. A bit cool. Slowly, ever so slowly, the snow is melting and bits a pieces of grass have been uncovered in the neighborhood.
On my way out, I passed through the mall, and it is with great sadness that I report tonight that our little Target that couldn’t has been shuttered. What was once a store brimming with possibility, is now an empty shell of its former self. Gone too soon.
Now Target Canada has to make something of all of the branded items that are now useless, like scooters, bags, and shopping carts that bear the Target name. Destroying them is useless, they will have to go back to the U.S. in its closure settlement.
All the Target stores are set to be fully shuttered over the next two weeks. The mall proper will now remove all the signage that hangs inside/outside the mall.
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It is the last Sunday of the month, we sat a fair crowd tonight. And we read Tradition Three:
“The Only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.”
The story I am about to repeat, I have never heard come from another human being I know, who is in the room today.
“We were resolved to admit nobody to A.A. but that hypothetical class of people we termed ‘pure alcoholics.’ Except for their guzzling, and unfortunate results thereof, they could have no other complications. So beggars, tramps, asylum inmates, prisoners,queers, plain crackpots, and fallen women were definitely out.
Yes sir, we’d cater only to pure and respectable alcoholics.”
Twelve and Twelve pg. 140
The first time I got sober, was in the fall of 1994. I then relocated from Ft. Lauderdale to Miami. I was two years sober at the time of this story taking place. I was attending meetings at a Club Room called “The Coral Room,” in South Miami. A club room hosts meetings all day and night seven days a week.
I was attending an evening meeting, that counted a few hundred in attendance at that particular meeting. Around my two year anniversary, the chair asked me to speak at that meeting. I accepted the invitation. Mind you, I had a lot going on during this period of time.
I was one, trying to stay sober amid still learning how to survive my AIDS diagnosis, just two years earlier. I had about reached my death date, and I was still alive, I did not die, and I was trying to figure out what I was going to do now. Nobody knew what to do when they were supposed to die, and were still living.
So that was a thing …
Imagine. a room full of people. I got up there and began my share. Partway through my share, I hit that rough patch, when I disclosed … Hindsight tells me that I should have not disclosed…
One by one, men began getting up from their seats, and left the building. In the end, about 100 men had gotten up and left. I finished my share, some clapped, I don’t remember the rest. What I do remember was walking outside after the meeting and was greeted by one of the men, who seemed to want to speak for the rest of them saying:
“We do not accept people like you, we don’t respect people like you, we would like you to leave this meeting and do not come back in the future…”
What the Fuck ???
There were other meetings to go to in this room at other times. I never went to this earlier meeting ever again. But the damage was done. I did not have a sponsor. I did not touch the book, however I was going to meetings, I just wasn’t present for myself to do any good.
I no longer trusted anyone in the program from that point on. I hung on barely.
Two years would pass, and I took my leave of meetings. I went back out and drank again, much to the dismay of the people I counted as friends.
Upon my return a few years later, my friend Troy took me to my next First Meeting. It was a gay meeting at SOBE. (Sober on South Beach) Nobody noticed me, so I hung outside until the 10 p.m. meeting, where I met the people who would welcome me and help me stay sober.
I was sober four months when I moved to Montreal. I was new in the city, and new to the meetings here. One Friday night I went to a meeting on the West end of the city. There was a group of folks at this particular meeting, and they plied me with twenty questions about myself.
You know, the who, what, where and why of it all …
Upon considering my answers, the Patriarch of the meeting stepped up to me and said:
“We think that it would be better if you got sober somewhere else, don’t come back to our meeting.”
This would be the second time in sobriety that someone told me to leave a meeting and go somewhere else to get sober…
Thirteen years later, I’ve never set foot in that hall on the West end. It is a good thing that people usually stay in their general vicinity for their meetings, because I never crossed paths with some of those ignorant fucks ever again.
There are some sick people in the rooms.
When push comes to shove, we are all suffering alcoholics and addicts. Stats today confirm that the presence of dually addicted people are high across the board. Today, we turn no one away, no matter who you are, or where you come from.
We are ALL afforded the chance at recovery and a full share in the Solution that awaits every man, woman and teen ager who walks in the room on any given night.
Hearing “Go Away,” twice in recovery could have ended very badly the second time.
But I did not have a drinking history here. I never drank here and I wasn’t going to try, at any rate. I found meetings to go to where I would not be judged based on my sexual orientation, or my medical situation either. For a while I went to gay meetings and meeting where nobody judged me.
Over the last decade, the dedicated LGBT meetings have fallen apart, and LGBT people assimilated into mainstream meetings across town.
If you think you have a problem with alcohol, there IS a Solution.
Tradition Three guarantees you a seat in any meeting world wide.
It was a good meeting. Next month we begin reading Experience, Strength and Hope. Stories from the First, Second and Third editions of the Big Book.
More to come, stay tuned …
A man reportedly in his early 20s was thrown from the rooftop of a tall building in Raqqa, Syria, for the alleged “crime” of being gay, according to The Daily Mail.
Raqqa, the de facto capital of the terrorist group which calls itself the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, is the latest setting in a series of grisly executions recently carried out by ISIS militants against men accused of being gay.
The most recent atrocity seems to have drawn an especially large and enthusiastic crowd, according to accounts the Daily Mail reported from an activist group calling itself Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently. The Mail identified a banner that can be seen in photos and video of the murder as that of militant group’s propaganda unit, Al Hayat Media Centre.
As with other antigay executions carried out by ISIS, several photos and videos of the horrifying event have emerged. All are disturbing, perhaps most especially a photo showing the blindfolded young man, so far unidentified, tumbling face first toward the ground and flailing in mid-air.
The Mail also reports that there is video showing two unmasked executioners escorting their victim to the rooftop, while also capturing the entire travesty with cameras on their cell phones.
The first reported execution of men who militants claimed were “gay” took place last November, though family and friends of the victims reported that the men were targeted because they opposed the ISIS occupation, not because they were actually gay. Since that time, there have been credible reports of public crucifixions of people convicted of other “morals” and religious crimes.
Just last month, an older man was thrown from a roof in Tal Abyad, Syria, for the “crime” of “having a homosexual affair.” When the still-unidentified victim survived the seven-story fall, militants and bystanders stoned the man to death.
We are sitting at a balmy (-1c/-7c w.c.). Today was grey and dreary. We did not even see the sun once today. And as I was leaving, snow fell over the city. It started slowly, but as we got to the church, it was really coming down. Just enough snow fell to pile up but not enough for a plow, however plows were out salting and carelessly and with no real effort, plowing the rut of the plow as it went by.
It was a careless day, I really did not have much to do, I sat and doodled around here for a few hours, then called it a day at 3:30 for an afternoon nap. I was up and ready to go by the time I had to go, and like I said, it was snowing when we left for the bus. Had I looked outside before I went downstairs, I would have chosen my rubber boots instead of my sneakers.
Cause they got WET !
It was a good evening. One of my friends spoke. I’ve known her since she came in, a few years ago. We travel in the same circles, and hit the same meetings during the week. There are several groups of young people who travel in packs all over the city.
The Girls, The Guys and The Gays.
Getting sober with your friends is the way to do it. Because when we were out there, many of us did not have many friends, and the ones we did have we eventually alienated them and ignored them into obscurity.
That’s a common theme amongst our young people.
It is also a really good thing that our young people embrace the thought that:
IT IS BETTER TO BE ON THE INSIDE … than on the outside.
That being on the inside, gives us the feeling of being part of, the direct opposite of how we felt when we were out there, being all alone in our misery.
All of our young people are in the rooms, and they are actively working and doing service.
Another common theme amongst our young people, is just that, they are young.
In the beginning when they first came around, they saw us old folks getting sober, and that little voice spoke to them saying “Aww you’re young, you still have a few years of good drinking and using to go, why get sober now, you can always come back when you are thirty or forty, and turn your lives around!”
So they may have stayed a bit, but eventually went back out only to prove to themselves that NO, they did not have any more youth to waste on misery and addiction.
Even then, the road was tough. The world is not kind to our young people. This is the third revelation for them, and in the beginning they found it a daunting process to stay sober, being so young and not having lots of them together (As they are NOW) It seemed to me, they came in, in stages and not all at once. So each of them needed to find their ways.
They did not initially get connected (As they are NOW).
That took some work, honesty, humility and self determination.
I can safely say that all of our young people are connected to home groups of their choosing, they are in their steps, and they are present all the time.
They are PRESENT in their recoveries.
Having them at the meeting tonight, gave us old timers the opportunity to speak to them and check in and chat for a bit. Our young people are truly kind people. We cheer for them and we hope for them, and in getting sober with them, we get to see them grow up into honest, humble young adults.
Growing up in the real world is a challenge for any human being, and many young people don’t make it. They come from other places, to Montreal, where it is Bright Lights and Big City, booze, liquor, beer and drugs are aplenty.
Many of them got caught in that web of misery, until they found their way to us.
Montreal is not New York, size wise. But you can surely find your way into depravity and darkness, because it is everywhere. Where there is a bar, there is darkness, for those who get caught up in addictive behavior.
Who didn’t Cheat, Lie and Steal, when they were out there?
Who didn’t ignore that little voice that said, “I don’t think you should do this!” and ignore it?”
And Who didn’t push the envelope when it came to MORE, and not More in a good way?
It seems to me that our young people suffered their own torment, and went to places they really should not have, but addiction is cunning, baffling and powerful. Their journey to hell. might have been shorter than ours, (We who came in much later in life, and went to the bitter end ourselves).
So they all now know, that had they stayed the course, they might not have survived, pounding the drugs and alcohol they way they did, because they were young and invincible…
We not only get to get sober with these young people, we get to participate in, hopefully a good way, in showing them how to grow up into sober adults. That this isn’t the end of the road for them socially, emotionally and mentally.
It takes a village to raise a child in the real world. It is no different in the rooms.
By being present to them, by listening to them, and by sharing with them, they listen to us and they either take it or leave it, but they are always respectful. Everybody in the rooms plays a part in raising our little village of young people.
There is no greater challenge for us than sponsoring a young person.
I mentioned at the top that many did not connect right away. Now, after several round ups and hearing how others, in other places got, and get sober, many of our young people are hooked into THE WORK. They are hooked up with sponsors who are taking them through The Work.
Hence … It is better to be on the inside, rather than the outside.
Hearing our young people talk about the rewards of sobriety so young fills my heart with joy.
Because that tells me that they’ve got it.
We just have to keep the fields fertile for them to flourish.
And that takes PRESENCE. Everybody’s presence.
Presence is the greatest gift you can give another human being.
All my guys, and all the girls, and all the gays are sober another night.
A good night was had by all.
More to come, stay tuned …