Gay for you

John (my husband) and I were having a discussion about the origins of sexuality. Were we really born this way?

He was telling me about a story he’d read where a straight guy had a roommate that he’d known was gay. They’d been roommates for years. But as time wore on he started becoming a little bit angrier and a little bit angrier until he’d become downright mean to the guys his roommate brought home. He’d never considered himself a homophobe. He’d been pretty opened minded about the whole thing but he couldn’t figure out why he was raging against his friend’s boyfriends so much. And it had gotten to the point where his friend was tired of his shit.

Well, it bothered him enough to take it to social media where explained the situation and asked for help. And some of the responses came back inquiring if in fact, his anger may not be gay hating, but simple human jealousy. Was he jealous of these guys? So, he took his issue to his sister, who basically said the same thing.

One night while the two guys were having a Quentin Tarantino marathon *romantic, I know* the guy started to talk to his roommate about what he was feeling and what people had said about it. And then he kissed his roommate. And then suddenly realized, ‘Hey, I may be gay.”

Because now, he has a boyfriend.

We’re all familiar with this idiot diagram below.

The-Kinsey-Scale

Not for the Kinsey Scale per se, but because the scale goes from Modest to Slut in six easy steps. Like the more ‘gay’ you are the bigger hoe you are. And that isn’t true. But Kinsey does allude to sexual fluidity.
Now, if we assume sexuality can be fluid, we should also consider love to be fluid as well.

I believe love is never stationary. It’s in a state of flux.

Consider the process of meeting someone you find attractive. You meet, you talk, and maybe set up a date for coffee. You are attracted to them. You find you like them. Now let us say one date leads to two, two days together ends up, weekends together, then you give them a key, then they move in..over time like (aided by lust) slowly begins to turn into love. Now, you ‘go steady’ (does anyone go steady anymore) and suddenly there is an engagement ring, a wedding. And in that process – love- is changing. It’s, hopefully, but not in all circumstances – growing. You’re in love. The greek called this Eros. Romantic/ erotic love.

But over the years, they body breaks down. Gravity and old age set in. Maybe your no longer having sex. Or maybe you are. But you don’t look the same. But you hold hands, kiss, sleep next to each other. Very much still in Eros sure. But let us say one of you gets sick. And maybe it’s a bad sick. Chemotherapy, vomit, bed pans, maybe adult diapers, maybe even having to clean them up.

What keeps people from leaving?

I hypothesize that love, that selfish Eros, has grown up. And just like the silver in your hair, there is little strains of Agape or Selflessness now, unconditional or even Godly love. Love that allows your heart to remember when you were young and beautiful – and maintains that beauty and holds that steady.

We live in an age now where we’re slapping labels on everything. Genderfluid, homoromantic, genderqueer, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, heteroromantic,- fuck a duck- everyone has a title and I can’t keep up. Today, everyone has a label. My question is, why?

Why the labels? And why are we militantly defending them? And are we really born that way?

I think we’ve said so to legitimize ourselves. There’s an innate need to defend ourselves and saying we’re born that way. It sort of removes the nebulousness of human

When talking about labels, it’s important to understand that these are arbitrary and are culturally determined anyway. Homosexual in the current US meaning didn’t really come around until the 20th century. Until then, there was a concept of same-sex behavior but not BEING gay. (Think Romanesque behavior of the Top not being homosexual because he was the one doing to fucking whereas the one being fucked, was homosexual). We can see this attitude reflected in Latino culture.

There’s an innate need to defend ourselves and saying we’re born that way. It sort of removes the nebulousness of human affection and its necessary in the age where we live. If you can delegitimize people, you can dehumanize them, and if you dehumanize them, you can do with them as you please. And most of that would come from God-fearing religious people. So I understand the why part that.

I’ll even go so far as saying the scientific community, as well as the psychological community, have jumped in to bolster this ‘born this way’ argument. Mostly, because they understand what happens to ‘other’. The usually end up hurt or worse. Murdered because of their ‘otherness’.

But the question I have, is it possible that our understanding of sexuality is as limited as our understanding as to why some couples make it into their golden years and some don’t? Or as limited as our understanding of love? Every time I hear someone say, “Love is love, I want to give them a high five in the face with a chair.”

Because, no it isn’t.

I am not saying one love is less than, or one is more than, but I think Heraclitus said it best, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”

It’s human nature to want to compartmentalize. To label. And point at something and say this is this because it has these attributes.

What if gay people are not born that way? Would it matter? What if people weren’t born lesbian, or bisexual, or transgendered? Would it matter?

“Well, it would delegitimize me.”

To whom? And do they matter?

Could sexuality be as innocuous and mundane as a gentleman who prefers blondes who one day sees a redhead that knocks him off his feet?

Love is a human experience. An Asian no more loves a person than someone of African descent. No gay person loves more profoundly than a woman or a straight man. No lesbians words are sweeter, nor truer, than the depths and breadth of human language  and experience.

Is it simply preferential?

“Well ,then this becomes a sin.”

No, it wouldn’t. The sin is to not seeking love. The sin is To turn away from it. And I am not talking about hate (that is not the opposite of love), I’m talking about Apathy.

We seek love. All of us. In one way or another seek to connect to one another. Be in familial, erotic, platonic, agape, We seek to connect. It’s what makes us human.

I remember looking for ‘my origins’, trying to connect with the past. As if this was some evolutionary process. And trying to find out other people’s experiences. And reading stories about love. And how they fell in love. And when did they know and suddenly the prevailing wisdom was, ‘well, some people are born this way.” But there is NO hard proof to suggest that. There’s stuff that kinda sorta eludes to maybe , but nothing solid. Psychology, the same thing. And I don’t think there ever will be.

So what happened with the straight guy and his gay roommate? He started falling in love with him. He moved passed the gender, moved passed, the labels, moved passed the stigma. Does that make the straight guy gay or bisexual? If he sees himself as bisexual or gay, yes. That’s not a title we get to put on him. That’s a title he gets to claim for himself.

Is it possible for an absolutely one hundred percent heterosexual male to fall in love with a gay man? Sure. If he steps into love and finds the waters have changed. Because when he steps down, he finds that love isn’t the same, and neither is he.

Change is coming, Preacher. And it’s coming fast.

We’re coming up on a year of marriage equality.The world has changed. My world, has changed. Many people’s lives were changed. Those who are gay, their world changed for the better. Those who aren’t gay. Their lives didn’t change at all. Their marriages are still together – one would assume. Their families are still together- one would assume. All the chicken little sky’s a’ fallin’, rhetoric hasn’t come to pass. Much to the religious right’s chagrin. And recently, the Obama administration came out in support of the Transgender community – now that the eye of the religious right has moved from us and upon them. Mostly, with the same old recycled things that they once said – and to the most part- continue to say about gay people.

The lives of gay people and the transgendered community coming into their own, is symbolic. It’s symbolic of humanity stepping forward in one instance, and it’s symbolic of the hold of the religious right’s influence on this world – breaking apart and crumbling. And it isn’t going to go easily. Right now, 11 States (republican states I may add) are suing the Obama administration over the Federal Directive for Transgendered student’s bathroom use. Because of course they are. In the 1980’s the religious right and the conservative party entered into an unholy matrimony with one another – that not only was detrimental to the AFrican American population but also with anyone who found themselves in the category of ‘other’. And in this instance it is anyone ‘other’ than white, male, and straight. And there are still some religious strongholds.

Frank Schaffer, one of the founders of this religious movement as well as this wedding between the conservative base and fundamental evangelicals- has come out in full force against what he says he, ‘bitterly regrets’. I had recently read his book, “Why I am an Atheist who believes in God” and some of you here have seen him on Samantha Bee’s Full Frontal, helping her explain how this dastardly mix of fundamentalism and political ambition came to be. And I applaud him. He doesn’t mince words. He’s pretty blunt about who and what these people were and the damage that they’ve done to people who found themselves in the ‘other’ category.So often we hear on the news about Islamic fundamentalism. We saw it played out on September 11, 2001, we see it all the time on Fox News as they zero into the Middle EAst where fundamentalism has hijacked Islam. We saw it play out in London. And most recently at the Bataclan in Paris. And when we think of fundamentalism we think about these groups like ISIS, the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and we all sit in shocked silence at what it’s capable of. But we’ve not, until recently, started to look inward at a country whose been under the political sway of fundamentalism for the past thirty five – forty years. But we are beginning to. It’s beginning to happen as the rhetorical flourish of the far right becomes heightened, as they become more extreme in their actions, and as people like Frank Schaffer come forward to speak.You are going to learn or have learned some of the movers and shakers of this movement.

Just like Osama Bin Laden, Anwar Al Awlaki, etc and so forth names have been thrown out into the social consciousness or reintroduced into the social consciousness. Names like Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Bob Jones Sr., Oral Roberts, Jack Hyles, Lester Roloff ( Rebekah homes in Corpus Christi), Dr. David Gibbs of the Christian Law Association, Dr. Curtis Hudson (Sword of the Lord Publishers), Jack Patterson (New Bethany homes- a protege of Roloff) etc and so forth – men, who for the most part, created this political, familial, and social black hole of absolutism, rhetorical flourish, control, misogyny, and any and all forms of abuse that can be thought of. The past thirty five to forty years as been a new dark ages when one takes a long view at the falling backward of rights concerning ‘other’. Gay Marriage has only succeeded in pushing forward, as well, as trans issues because of the loosening of the hold of these men and men like them, over the body politic of this country. And over time, these names are going to come to light and historians are going to have to deal with them.But there are other stories to be heard. And not just from people like Frank Shaffer or those minorities (black, hispanic, gay, women) as a whole who’d been directly affected by this unholy union of power and religion, but you’re going to begin (hopefully) to start to hear from people who lived under the direct influence of these men. Whose lives were directly impacted by absolutism.

Now that Pope Francis, and even several secular scientists – have come forward calling fundamentalism a mental illness (and one they contend can be treated if not cured), the question now is what do you with those who had been inside families of these mentally ill people for extended lengths of time. Mostly, I’m talking about the children, the survivors, of these homes and indirectly- these men who practiced what they preached.A friend shared a blog post  and a lot of other people have been circulating a blog post from some preacher admonishing these far right pastors for their behavior – and of course you’ve seen preachers show up to campuses, you’ve seen them outside of abortion clinics screaming at woman and workers, you’ve known they’ve sent amicus to the courts, and recently you saw a video where one walked through target with her bible screaming at the top of her lungs about transgendered bathrooms. But you’ve only caught a whiff of it. A hint of the sewage. Imagine being that woman’s children, imagine being the children of someone like Fred Phelps, imagine being directly involved with that amount of religious passionate fervor on a daily basis.

Dr. Nadine Burke Harris gave a Ted Talk (follow here) recently about ACES – or Adverse Childhood Experiences (abuse :sexual, physical, mental, emotional, a mentally ill parent, etc) and essentially made it clear, that the higher your ACES score ( My score is an 8) – the higher your risk for chronic disease such as: Lung cancer, heart disease, chronic pulmonary lung disease, depression, and suicidality. “…With an ACE score of 4 or more, things start getting serious. The likelihood of chronic pulmonary lung disease increases 390 percent; hepatitis, 240 percent; depression 460 percent; suicide, 1,220 percent. “http://mbcc.mt.gov/…/Now%20that%20you’ve%20got%20your%20sco…Now when some people think about abuse they think about drug users, alcoholics, low income earners, sort of “those people” in “those areas” but the evidence doesn’t bear that out. Out of the 17,000 people tested they were all white, middle class – upper class, college educated people with health care through Kaiser- permanente.These children, these survivors, their lives are already statistically shortened. I think we need to start hearing from them. Because as this all starts to unravel, as the powers that be are forced apart from their religious donors and voting base – I think you’re going to find a terrible truth this country has been hiding for forty years. A lot of things have changed over the past year – and I think a lot of things are going to be changing from here on out.

The LEast of These (Christmas in MAY short story)

Hi all,
I was inspired by a recent law passed in my home state of Michigan, that outlaws what they call, “Aggressive Panhandling.”
And instead of writing a blog about how outraged I am, and pointing out that it was passed on party lines, from people who claim to love God the most, I figured I’d address it in a short story.
So, here you go.
The Least of These.
“The meeting of the city council of Corpus Christi will now come to order. Today’s meeting is to hear from the general public over City Council resolution 777, concerning the fining of aggressive panhandlers. The ordinance proposed by council member Melissa Hatfield would impose a one hundred dollar fine in the event that a complaint is made against the above mentioned by someone in the public or witnessed by a law enforcement officer. Soon we will hear conflicts concerning this bill before we vote on the matter. But first, I turn the floor over to Melissa who will explain the rationale for this bill, so, Melissa if you will, “Mayor Peabody finished speaking and sat back in his chair as he gazed out over the crowd of faces that were in the meeting hall this evening. It was six thirty and as his stomach rumbled angrily, reminding him that he had skipped breakfast and lunch today and knew his wife would have dinner waiting for him when he got home. Thankfully, none of the people here seemed to be moved by this proposed bill, and he was sure that he’d be able to get this meeting over. That is, of course, if Melissa didn’t take her sweet ass time explaining away her rational. She did so love the spotlight and as the public access camera turned toward her, he saw her sit up straighter in her chair and quickly brush aside her styled hair with her manicured fingernails, and grinned sweetly.
“Thank you, your honor, “Melissa said to the camera. “I am not only a member of Corpus Christi’s city council but, as I am sure you are all aware, I am also a business owner of a small bridal boutique on Staples Street here in our GORGEOUS city of Corpus Christi. And as such, I propose this bill in an attempt to remove a certain blight on our fair city. Now, I am a Christian woman, and I do not doubt that these poor souls who are seen on the corners of our city streets are in need of some help. But I also know, that some of these people are scam artists. Or are addicted to drugs and alcohol. And like so many of you out there, I’ve given to the poor countless times. But not with money. If they’re hungry, I offer to buy them food. And I did so the other day to one particular homeless woman. And do you know what she did. She refused me. She wanted money. “
Sweet Jesus, this is going to take all day, Mayor Peabody thought as he patted his ample belly. He hoped the growling in his gut wasn’t being caught on tape. But no one in the audience turned their head away from Melissa thankfully.
“So, CC 777, I believe would free people from the unsightly and often criminal element that is plaguing our streets. Panhandling is not only bad for our business, it’s bad for the people who engage in it. Everyone knows, hard work, is the only key to success in life. And these people, are trying to bypass that truth with handouts. Thank you.”
Through the hall there was a smattering of applause, the people who were there must not have come to hear about this issue, alone. Some of their faces were blank, some of them looked like they’d just sucked on a lemon, however, the majority of those gathered nodded their head in agreement with what Melissa had said.
She’ll be reelected that’s for sure, Mayor Peabody thought as he leaned forward and picked up his gavel.
“Does anyone want to address this issue before we take it to a vote?”
Please, can we just get through this? I’m starving!
Mayor Peabody raised his gavel and was about to announce the vote when a voice from the back spoke up, “I do Your Honor.”
A murmur rippled through the crowd as onlookers turned to see him standing there.
Mayor Peabody raised his head to see a man standing in the back of the room dressed head to toe in well-manicured fashion. His suit was finely cut and hugged his tall frame well, his face was clean shaven, and his hair combed back off his brow. He looked as if he’d come off the pages of a fashion magazine and walked forward with a certain self-assuredness that meant prestige. As hard as he tried, Mayor Peabody couldn’t for the life of him figure out who this man was as he approached the podium to speak. Surely, he would have crossed paths with a figure like that in the city during his election campaigns, fundraisers, debutant balls, or the ballet. However, he couldn’t figure it out.
He even turned his head toward various members of the board who all looked as blank as his mind was. Melissa even shrugged her shoulders when Peabody’s eyes met hers. As the mayor turned his head toward the people in the audience, he found all of their eyes glued to the figure who now stood at the head of the room awaiting, probably, the mayor’s permission to speak.
“Uh, uh, please state your name for the record, sir.”
Melissa looks nervous. Is this guy a lawyer? Probably some fag from the ACLU? That’s all we need. Jesus, I’m not going to make it home for supper.
Mayor Peabody turned his attention back to the man and when their eyes met, he felt himself shrivel inside. The man’s brown eyes were staring at him so intently, and a fire burned inside of them, the mayor feared that he may have spoken aloud. There was something about this man. Something Peabody couldn’t place…. but a hush had taken the crowd of onlookers.
“Before I introduce myself, your honor, ladies and gentlemen of the city council, ladies and gentlemen of the city of Corpus Christi, I want to make clear that I am here on behalf of several interested parties. I have been pulled from my place of work, my industry, to come and speak to you. My time is limited, given the current state of the world, I am working overtime. We all are. So, please, I intend to be succinct.
“Excuse me, Mr…but who are these interested parties you represent,” Melissa asked sitting forward. A smile had slid upon her face. Amusement. The rest of the board shifted uncomfortably in their seats.
“I represent the interests of humanity, Madam. Mercy, Charity, Benevolence, compassion, empathy, Forbearance. “
Melissa grinned and smiled sitting back in her chair. “Is that right? Well, sir, would you please state your name for the record.”
The man turned in the podium and addressed her, “I am the Ghost of Christmas past.”
Although Mayor Peabody heard some laughter in the audience, he noticed that most people had remained silent. Exchanging glances, some of them rolled their eyes, but others kept their eyes on the figure in front of them. The man’s face didn’t color, his eyes didn’t betray his statement, he didn’t smirk, he stood there in his statement as if he believed every word.
He’s nuts, Mayor Peabody thought. Once more the man turned his head to look at him, and once more his gaze was so intense that Peabody swallowed with a clicking noise in his throat. His stomach, once grumbling with hunger, squeezed itself with unease. He looked over to his right, passed the rest of the council to the police officer who stood watching the man with the same curiosity as the rest of the room. When Melissa spoke again, Peabody winced at her tone.
“Well, fortunately for us, Spirit. This is the end of May. It seems you are little early. Or late, depending on how you see it.”
The man turned his gaze once more to Melissa, “No ma’am. I believe I am right on time. As a matter of fact, I am here not only in my capacity as the ghost of Christmas past, but I am also here as a representative of The ghosts of present, as well as future. You see, like I said, we are being made really busy these days. So I promise not to delay much of your time. But I am here to address this council and to make a plea to the city’s people. You see, we don’t normally do this. We don’t interact with you.”
He’s off his rocker, his cheese has slid right off his cracker, Peabody thought as he started to motion for Officer Martinez to have him removed. But the man, spoke up, and his words chilled him to the bone. Without looking back at the mayor, but keeping his eyes on Melissa, he said, “I assure you, Mr. Mayor that I am not, in fact, nuts. My cheese – as it were- is safe and I am well sat upon my rocker. I also not a faggot from the ACLU nor any other outrageous and patently offensive things you may be thinking.”
Peabody felt like the floor had fallen out from underneath him as his jaw fell open. The council as well as the audience all muttered. Melissa was taken aback at his language, and her face had drained of color as she started to rise in her chair.
“Please sit, Melissa. “
The chair beneath her seemed to shift forward quickly and caught her behind her knees. She went down with a squeal that quickly was cut off with the raise of a finger of the man’s right hand. He now had everyone’s attention.
“Mr. Mayor, if I may continue?”
Peabody nodded.
“Corpus Christi is translated from The Latin for Body of Christ. And it is the irony of this certain bill that has brought me forward this evening to address you all. See, there’s more to a name, than just a name. When you name something, you invoke something. And this bill, from what I understand from these interested parties, flies right in the face of the name that you have bestowed upon yourselves. “
The spirit pulled out a single sheet of paper from his pocket and unfolded it and began to read, “The word aggressive written herein on the bill to be fined a maximum fine of one hundred dollars should they be found non-compliant in this ordinance.”
He raised his head, “The term aggressive can be widely interpreted. To include everyone. And these wide interpretations of ordinances and laws is what is keeping myself and my colleagues extraordinarily busy these days. You see, the irony of a bill like this, in a city like Corpus, in a state like Texas, and in a nation that so proclaims its love for Christ – write and enforce laws that are so morally abhorrent to humanity for whom Christ served. Now,” the man said turning to look around the audience, “…some of you are thinking that some of these people are drug addicts, are scammers, and some of them are alcoholics.”
A murmur rippled across the audience as some of the people sat up straighter in their chairs. But the man continued. “And it’s true. But ladies and gentlemen, one doesn’t have to be a spirit to understand that statistically there are alcoholics, drug addicts, and far worse in the midst of us right now who agree with this legislation. Although they shouldn’t as they themselves, given the nature of the current legal system, are one DWI, DUI, injury, or legal conundrum from being in the exact position as the least of these – find themselves.”
He continued, “But this bill has nothing to do with their situation, nor the state of their circumstances – although you don’t hesitate to cast judgement on them for it – this bill, is for you. Because seeing people like that, bothers you. It upsets you. It makes you uncomfortable. And despite the popular belief system that says rich people are somehow blessed by God and poor people must be sinners – that has allowed for this explosion in the creation of the category of ‘other’ something about all of that, doesn’t ring true when you see people like this. And you’re right. There is something about their state, that offends your conscience. And it should. That’s your humanity trying to speak to you. So your response? Remove them from your sight. Problem solved.”
“Sir, I find that offensive. We are Christian …,” Melissa started but stopped when the man held up his hand.
“No. The interested parties I represent; say no you aren’t. They also want to make it very clear, that when you put people into that category of other due to circumstances, you are moving yourself into the category of other as far as these parties are concerned. And the problem is far from solved. ‘That which you bind on earth, will be bound in heaven,’ and the chains that you forge in life, will be carried with you into death. You’ve been led to believe, that people are poor because they are lazy and refuse to work, and people are fat, because they are lazy and eat too much, or people are gay because of a choice they made. That they deserve to be castigated and cast out of society and deserve whatever chance has in store for them.”
Mr Peabody leaned forward, “So what you’re saying to me, is that we have to solve all the homelessness here in Corpus otherwise we’re damned?”
The man shook his head, “No. That is impractical. There has always been and will always be poor. What you’ve done was forgot that Christ was once homeless. And poor. And because you forgot that, you’ve abandoned your conscience and you stop trying to make homelessness go away. Now you just want the people to go away and pretend homelessness and other parts of humanity that are unlike your circumstances– don’t’ exist, due in large part to junk gospel of snake oil salesmen.”
“I’m sorry, your calling yourself the ghost of Christmas past. Taken from a book written by Charles Dickens but your pontificating like an angel from heaven.” Peabody said.
“Why am I not one and the same? Where do you think Charles got his influence? You read your Bible and yet you know God himself did not write it. Man did. Now, Mr. Mayor – Melissa- members of the city council, ladies and gentleman of the citizenry of the Body of Christ, I am going to leave you. You will not be visited by anyone else. No one else is coming. This was a last ditch effort to change your minds. No one else cares for the situations you’ve put yourselves in. We’re too busy intercepting your ‘others’. There are a lot of them now, more than ever. Remember what I said about the chains. Thank you for your time.”
Melissa was about to say something when the man raised his right hand and snapped his fingers….
“The meeting of the city council of Corpus Christi will now come to order. Today’s meeting is to hear from the general public over City Council resolution 777, concerning the fining of aggressive panhandlers. The fine proposed by council member Melissa Hatfield would impose a one hundred dollar fine for the above mentioned in the event that a complaint is made against the above mentioned by someone in the public or witnessed by a law enforcement officer. We will now hear from the public concerning this matter. Afterward, the council will adjourn for a vote. But first, I turn the floor over to Melissa who will explain the rational for this bill, so, Melissa if you will, “Mayor Peabody finished speaking and sat back in his chair as he gazed out over the crowd of faces that were in the meeting hall this evening. It was six thirty and as his stomach rumbled angrily, reminding him that he had skipped breakfast and lunch today and knew his wife would have dinner waiting for him when he got home. Thankfully, none of the people here seemed to be moved by this proposed bill, and he was sure that he’d be able to get this meeting over. That is, of course, if Melissa didn’t take her sweet ass time explaining away her rational. She did so love the spotlight and as the public access camera turned toward her, he saw her sit up straighter in her chair and quickly brush aside her manicured hair, with her manicured fingernails, and grin.
“Thank you, your honor, “Melissa said to the camera. “I am not only a member of Corpus Christi’s city council but, as I am sure you are all aware, I am also a business owner of a small bridal boutique on Staples Street here in our GORGEOUS city of Corpus Christi. And as such, I propose this bill in an attempt to remove a certain blight on our fair city. Now, I am a Christian woman, and I do not doubt that these poor souls who are seen on the corners of our city streets are in need of some help. But I also know, that some of these people are scam artists. Or are addicted to drugs and alcohol. And like so many of you out there, I’ve given to the poor countless times. But not with money. If they’re hungry, I offer to buy them food. And I did so the other day to one particular homeless woman. And do you know what she did. She refused me. She wanted money. “
Sweet Jesus, this is going to take all day, Mayor Peabody thought as he patted his ample belly. He hoped the growling in his gut wasn’t being caught on tape. But no one in the audience turned their head away from Melissa thankfully.
“So, CC 777, I believe would free people from the unsightly and often criminal element that is plaguing our streets. Panhandling is not only bad for our business, it’s bad for the people who engage in it. Everyone knows, hard work, is the only key to success in life. And these people, are trying to bypass that truth with handouts. Thank you.”
Through the hall there was a smattering of applause, the people who were there must not have come to hear about this issue, alone. Some of their faces were blank, some of them looked like they’d just sucked on a lemon, however, the majority of those gathered nodded their head in agreement with what Melissa had said.
She’ll be reelected that’s for sure, Mayor Peabody thought as he leaned forward and picked up his gavel.
“Does anyone want to address this issue before we take it to a vote?”
Please, can we just get through this? I’m starving!
No one in the crowd moved to approach the podium.
Thank God.
Mr. Peabody sat forward to speak again in the microphone and stopped himself. He swore he could hear the rattling of chains. The police officer moved from where he was standing to check the side door.
Other members of the council noticed as well and looked among themselves. Melissa’s face had gone white as a sheet.
“Mrs. Hatfield, are you okay? You look like you just saw a ghost.”
She raised her head to look at him and leaned forward to speak, “I uh…. I…uh…. maybe we should table this for another day.”
“Why? It’s perfectly reasonable? No one thinks there’s a problem with it.” Mr. Peabody said as they turned their attention to the people before them. The ones who had looked content with the bill were now murmuring angrily with each other.
Maybe she won’t be reelected.
Peabody watched as a fine sweat had broken out on her face as she surveyed the room and then back to the council. One of the other members sat forward in their chair, a representative of a poorer district asked “Did you just have a stroke of conscience?”
Peabody watched as she jumped at the question “What? Yes! Yes. This bill is wrong. This isn’t right. I’m sorry for even writing the damn thing. I don’t know what I was thinking.”
Peabody rolled his eyes, She’s nuts. Her cheese has slid right of her cracker.
“Can we just get this over with, I’m starving. Let’s bring it to a voice vote. All those in favor say aye.”
Five people on the council said Aye.
“All those opposed?”
Six said Nay.
“Very well. The ordinance doesn’t pass.”
And even though there was an angry murmur from those gathered, Melissa looked as if she’d dodged a bullet or been saved from perdition itself. She rested her hand over her heart and was breathing deeply.
She’ll lose her election, someone else will snatch that bill up, and use it against her. She knows that! What was she thinking?! She’s off her rocker.
“Very well, on to other business…….”
The End

Write your story (Hop for Visibility)

UmbrellaNo Year

Fear

Hate

Bigotry

Homophobia

Transphobia

Bi-phobia

Racism

Sexism

Violence

Pain

Exclusion

Erasure

ERASURE …

Everyone who has drawn breath, has a story to tell. Everyone who has lived longer than ten years on this earth, has a story to tell.  This world is not easy to live in. By any stretch of the imagination regardless of who and where you were born. How much money you did and did not have. What your skin color is. What your gender is. What your sexuality is. What religion you adhere to (or not) and on and on we go.

And regardless of all these things, these constructs and titles that separate us from one another, there is a history there. And we all have, and ALL OF IT, is important. And the best part of it all, is despite everything we’ve been through, we’re here…right here and right now and somehow, we made it to this point.  That, is miraculous.

And it’s through that history – those stories – that we as readers and writers, connect. One of the greatest parts about writing is being able to revisit something in your past. Something that may have happened and being able to pick the event apart. Unlike others, who wish to move past certain things, we dwell in them. We perform an autopsy -so to speak -of the event and when we put this down on paper we are able to place a value judgement on so said event that not only makes writing cathartic it also creates a safe space for the reader and the author to meet. And it’s in that safe space where humanity is shared. An experience, a feeling, an understanding, and it’s there that one finds empathy – and it’s in THAT moment, when simple words on a page – become art.

P!nk while accepting the Presidential Award at BMI (an award given for writers in the music industry) gave a speech where she said, “”I find, as a human being, that it can be really difficult to hear someone else truth, but it ends up being the only reason you can connect with them, and that truth becomes either what you agree or disagree on, – but you are engage ultimately, And as far as ‘memories’ they help you relate and can build a bridge between your differences.”

Your story – matters. So the point of this blog today is to get you to express it in some way or another. Whether in a journal no one will ever read except perhaps your children or grandchildren, whether you put it to the canvas with paint brushes, wrap it up in fiction in a book that you sell, express it through poetry, or scrawl it all down in a notebook and take it out back and burn it- dance around the firepit with a fifth of jack daniels in your hand and laugh at the full moon (Hello, my pagans) , you should write it down.

If you haven’t noticed – and Jamie Fessenden touched on this with an earlier blog yesterday about the importance of knowing if Abraham Lincoln was gay or not – LGBTQI – and A , people’s stories have been erased in the past and are just now starting to be uncovered, and as these people have pushed forward with rights – there is a certain segment of the population who’d originally been responsible for that erasure – are trying yet again to get in the way of people’s fundamental right to live as they were born to live. And if you’re brave enough to share your truth with the world, that is how we learn, and how we come together and understand each other. We – society – are the better for it. And that is how we stop them.

P!nk also had this to say, “I think you can be pretty, slim, have nice shoes, be popular – but if you have nothing to say, than I’m not listening. Because you’re not going to tell me who you are, what you’re afraid of, what you regret, what you REFUSE (emphasis mine) to regret, and therefore you won’t’ teach me anything.”

None of your titles matter, whether you’re gay, straight, bisexual, White, Black, Buddhist, etc. there are people out there right now talking shit about you. There are people out there right now filling the airwaves, the pages with words, on television – with static. With hyperbole. With fluff. With nonsense, trying to convince like minded people that they know who you are and what they think is best for your life. And they’re trying to pass laws with your name on them. If you say anything with a modicum of conviction, if you question the status quo, if you sometimes even try to defend yourself from people who want to label you – or defend yourself against popular views of who and what you are, often offends people.

Your story, your experiences, your truth – wipes them out each and every time. And right now in the state of American politics (and in the current state of popular art) as it is, it’s imparative – now more than ever – to ground yourself in your truth and speak.  The artist has always been on the forefront of societal change – speaking out even in the most dangerous of circumstances – leading that charge.

And as we stand in the midst of an election season that could go really really good or really really bad, it’s important now, more than ever, for us to push. To speak, to join in a conversation, to add to the list of growing voices out there coming out against the darkness, against those who wish to reverse track and push people down, who wish to reassert control over us, or who would perpatrate and support violence against us. And now this is an open invitation to you to join in the conversation.

You have a story.

Tell it.  Strive for your art. Strive for that connection. Strive for that moment. Whether it’s in poetry, music, visual art, journalism, blogging, public speaking, non- fiction, fiction, let us see you. Let us hear you. We’ll all be better for it. Art challenges society. Art – reflects it. And there are people out there who say you should never judge society . I think those people are full of shit. I think if you hold people out over perdition’s flames (Thank you Jonathan Edwards, you son-of-a-bitch) – they often times come back smelling like sulfur.

I look forward to seeing what you can do.

F.E.

You can watch the entirety of P!nk’s speech here at this jump. 

 

 

 

Some days

Some days I feel the air on my face
And some days I feel the shadows creeping out from underneath the live oak
Some days i feel like a beloved
And some days I’m just damned

Some days I am the sexiest man alive
And then some days I’m Quasimodo
Some days I am Sir Galahad
And some I’m Quixote

Some days I’m the best writer in the world
And some days I don’t believe the lavish words thrown upon me
Some days my poems touch my soul
And some days I can’t even find my rhythm

Why am I so insecure
((Your a right fucking nutter is what you are))
Shush, it isn’t one of those days today and I’ll not have you ruin this verse for my fans
The masses
All three of you

Back to what I was saying before my failures spoke up
Some days
Some day
One day I’ll believe something.

Filtered Water (poem)

I give my plants and dog filtered water
as i smoke a pack of marlboros a day
i do yoga and eat pizza
and sometimes when i’m conscientious
I’ll have a salad with ranch
i love rock and roll, show tunes, and opera
and i sing with a voice that sounds like it’s
been put through a cheese grater. And it cracks and I laugh
and i embarrass myself when no one’s here.
I listen to live music in my car
a friend once said that he thought I liked the crowd cheering
at my driving skills
i have a big fucking mouth
that most people hate
but my husband loves, for several reasons
but I love it when people like me
and hate it when people don’t.
I have an ego the size of montana
that is fragile as your most expensive crystal
and booze and me get along real well
especially if I am around another friend who is Irish
who can’t remember fucking lyrics
its David not Daniel
and I know he’s going to read this because he stalks my page.
and I love him for it.
I am not someone to invite to your birthday party
but I am someone to talk to when you’re feeling out of sorts
and kinda low
I won’t remember your anniversary, but I’ll remember the important things like how you felt, your scent, and those kick ass boots you wore.
I’ve the heart of a man but the soul of a woman
and the mouth of a sailor.
but I cry at “How Great Thou Art’ in a four part harmony
that sometimes I hear in my head when I’m staring up and far away
I love art, and dogs, and cats, and flowers and I hate anything squishy
and the word, “moist”
Jesus Christ, that word.
That’s why I am a homosexual. An adversity to that word and anything that may be that word.
I am a comma whore, if you haven’t noticed and I write just like I think
and I like to lecture and think long thoughts that are sometimes shallow as one motherfucker once pointed out
(but he’s as deep as a teaspoon himself, so…)
I speak when no one is listening
but I can hear when no one says a word
and understand exactly what they mean
But I write just like I think and if you’re impressed with that, come live in my head for a little while
I hate religion but I love God
and I hate people but I love certain ones
and I hate my body
but I’ll let you touch my butt if you promise to buy me tacos
I really like tacos
so this is me, at least how I’ve been in the time it took to write this
but I’m an artist (deal with it, bitch)
and It’s all prone to change.
and change again
but my love for you never will. That…THAT!!…will always be the constant part of me that exists solely for you.
For If I love you, I will always love you, even though we may be years, and miles, and terrible words and feelings apart
for that is the lot of this wretched creature, to live in an unfiltered world
to bring to you a cool glass of water when I’m thirsty and dying for my art.

Let us hope that God is a Liberal

I would like to know how it’s possible that a nation who proclaims its belief in God can subject it’s people to the likes of someone like Donald Trump?
I would like to know how it’s possible how Christians who find themselves supporting a man who is the worst kind of bigot ? How do they do it?
How do they balance the idea of racism and go to church on sunday and sing amazing grace, and how does it slip their mind that that song is so entrenched in slavery that to play it on the piano would show them that even the keys they play it on are black?
How is it possible? How is it possible that evangelical churches led the charge to undermine civil rights in this country as they did after the passage of the civil rights act of 1964? Infuriated over Brown v Board. And continue to do so – like bigotry isn’t a sin of the heart?
How is it possible to profess a faith that speaks about Christ leading men out of the bondage of sin the way Moses led the children of Israel out of bondage – to turn around and try and subject people to second class citizenship? To, in a sense, bind them to the power of religion out of pure spite and disdain?
How is it possible- that when black people say their lives matter and gay people marry, and trans people are denied the right to use a bathroom – that they are trying to destroy Christian rights? When Christian ‘rights’ have existed in this country simply to punish anyone who walked outside of what they consider moral? Or white? Or Christian as they see it to be?
Is it simply cognitive dissonance? Or is it something more?
Is it more along the lines of that AFrican proverb that says, “Beware the naked man who offers you his shirt?”
Meaning that, in this instance, perhaps you shouldn’t try to offer salvation to anyone when you yourself don’t possess it? And maybe when you condemn someone for reacting in a certain way to the pressures around them that , you in fact, condemn yourself? And perhaps you aren’t as ‘SAVED’ as you think you are?
That the original sin wasn’t theirs, but was a product of yours?
If then should these people stand before God- the one, the source of justice if you accept anamnesis, who is really going to be held responsible in the long run?
I know it isn’t fashionable to take society to task over things. People roll their eyes often times when you try and say that it takes a village to raise a kid. And they reject the notion that environment really has an impact on the way people turn out, although they exist in societies and are products of them themselves.
My father used to always preach that if God didn’t destroy america he would have to resurrect Sodom and Gomorrah and apologize to it. And of course it would get people nodding their heads and saying ‘amen’ because in their mind, sodom was a city filled to the brim with roaming bands of homosexuals.
But I agree with my father’s premise. But not for the same reason.
Ezekiel chapter 16: 49 says, “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy”
When you see people carrying signs and shouting, ‘black lives matter’ it’s because since this nation was founded, they never mattered. And the reason they never mattered was due – in large part- to some American Churches (Bob Jones Sr. Vs. The United States). Jim Crow was preached out of pulpits. And schools were built by Christian churches who used their 501c3 to do so, were furious – and sued- to keep that right. And even though they lost, the  lone dissenter – Bill Rehnquist – became this nation’s chief Justice until 2005.
They stood in the way of Gay marriage and some of these same churches are trying once again to deny people rights as they aid rogue states (Liberty Law Center- a product of Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University) in passages of discriminatory lgbt laws that violate their rights as citizens of the United States in 20 states.
all because of the actions of this ‘immoral majority’. Every wicked thing in the hearts of man is represented in ONE person trying to become the head of state. Every wicked deed produced by the church to acquire power – is represented in one man. And the fertile field of the GOP – where he was grown – finds itself powerless to stop him. This ‘stop trump movement’ headed up by the likes of Erik Erikson – has failed. Not because they didn’t try, but because of the character of those who tried.
Franklin Graham stood some time in the not too distant past and decried that Stonewall inn, which the U.S. is going to declare a national landmark, would be a monument to sin. Which is interesting because I think these churches are.
When the ‘WORLD’ is better at trying to set men free than the churches are?
Suicide rates of gay youth are extremely high
homelessness of lgbt youth is almost 40 percent of the entire number nationwide.
domestic abuse numbers are higher in same sex homes due to external pressure
More African Americans live in poverty, are more likely to be murdered, and are more likely to lose their freedom because of the war on drugs and other things.
Mexicans have fled their homes and immigrated here because of that very same war which has bound the African American has caused a civil war in their country because of the War on Drugs – and we are unconcerned.
And in the background pulling the strings? You guessed it.
If we remove benevolence from God (the liberal version of him) and just make him simply a JUST God (The conservative version), Donald Trump would be this nation’s potential punishment. Despite popular belief, and despite the fragmented cast system we’ve put in place that allocates privilege depending on demographics, this nation will rise or it will fall – together. And the churches- that immoral majority- bought and paid for him.
“…What rough beast, its hour come around at last, slouches toward Bethlehem to be born.”
~ William Butler Yeats.
How poetic.
Maybe he will be elected. Maybe he’ll build that wall. But the funny thing about walls is – not only do they keep people out – they also keep people in.  But maybe that wall will spare them from our own self fulfilled prophecy.
Let’s hope the liberals are right.