Its My Job To Keep Him Safe

Its My Job To Keep Him Safe

Like any parent, its our job to keep our children safe.  We worry about things like them falling while learning to walk, getting into the cleaning supplies underneath the cabinet and later driving the car by themselves.  I think it’s safe to say that we all have similar concerns about our children’s safety, even when they become adults!

I thought I had considered every possible scenario that I could worry about with our kids, that is until the youngest (Xavier) was placed in my care as an infant.  You see, we are white and we have white kids.  We were born into that privilege.  With that privilege comes things I never imagined and never understood.  That is, until Xavier came into my life.

Xavier is not only African-American, but he is also special needs.  He has developmental delays that have put him behind in some areas up to 2-3 years behind where he should be at.  In other ways, he’s very much an almost 7 year old.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve remained focused on ensuring that he gets the best education possible and that he’s challenged to do the best that he can.  However, I’ve also become more and more aware that my job of keeping him safe is a taller challenge that I originally thought.  This has nothing to do with Xavier himself and everything to do with the increasingly blatant biased behavior in this country.  It’s not that I have never had to worry about biased behavior.  We are, after all, a same-sex couple raising 3 boys.  But this, this is about something my son has absolutely no control over.  The color of his skin.

Over the past several weeks I’ve begun to worry about his safety.   Will I have to worry about him walking down the sidewalk and being attacked or even killed because of the color of his skin.  What if he were the one sitting in a Starbuck waiting for friends?  What if he were the one sitting in a car waiting to pick someone up outside a Walmart?  What if he were the one pulled over?  For him, it’s more than just his skin tone.. it’s the fact that he may or may not understand what someone is asking of him.  What if he doesn’t develop the mental aptitude to understand the severity of the situation?  Will he be shot because he doesn’t understand and his skin is black?  Do I need to teach him what the black mom’s have to teach their boys.. if you get pulled over, put your hands on the top of the wheel and do not move!  The simple fact that ANYONE would have to teach their child to not move their hands when they get pulled over, simply because of the color of their skin, is despicable.

I can’t fathom the day to day life of a person of color, I won’t even try to say I can imagine, because I can’t.   I can, however, imagine some of their fear that their child will be arrested or even shot, simply because they are black.   A white man is able to murder multiple people in cold blood and be taken into custody (with a weapon on him) without being shot by police.  A black man can simply be waiting in his car to pick up someone in front of a Walmart (with absolutely no weapons) and be murdered in a hail of bullets fired into his car by police.  It’s heartbreaking and it’s wrong.

This, this is what my child is growing up in.  How do I keep him safe from what has become so emboldened in this country?  How do I teach him that his skin color doesn’t determine anything about him other than it has more pigment than mine does?  How do I teach him that his skin color doesn’t determine his worth when it’s being used to profile & systematically discriminate & murder?

America doesn’t need to become great again.. it needs to become great for all.  All doesn’t mean some, all means all.  #BlackLivesMatter doesn’t mean they matter more or other lives don’t matter.. simply that they matter.  Yes, all lives matter.. that’s the point.




Words Are Important

Words Are Important

As someone who has been physically and emotionally (verbally) abused, I’ve come to accept that words are triggers for me.  No matter how tough I thought I had become, no matter how thick I though my walls were, words still manage to lay my heart bare.

Growing up, my defense to hurtful words was to either slay you with my own vast array of vocabulary and wit, or I’d withdraw, depending upon how strong I was feeling at the time.  I’ve never really been a fighter, although I can certainly more than take care of myself if needed and I generally do not hesitate to fight for others, I rarely fight for myself.  You see, in my house growing up, “fighting” for yourself meant the consequences were only magnified.  If I just shut up, retreated to my room and remained as invisible as possible, things were easier.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize that I generally take words to heart more than I should.  Put more simply, I take things personally.  I know now, that its a byproduct of being abused for so many years.  It’s always a work in progress; it’s always me reminding myself to take a breath, to ask for clarity, to step back and process it as if it had nothing to do with me personally.  I’ve gotten really good at that, but there are still times when words tear me apart.  If that makes me “weak” in some people’s perception, than so be it.  If people think I’m too sensitive, oh well.  I say it makes me more sensitive to the emotional needs of others, or rather more compassionate.

What my experiences have taught me, though, I apply to my relationships with others.  Words can hurt.  Words can’t be forgotten.  Words cannot be taken back.  Once you put them out there, it’s done.  I weigh my words very carefully because if I care about the person, I certainly don’t want to hurt them by saying something in the heat of the moment that isn’t meant and certainly isn’t the representation of love that I want to show.  I’m not perfect.  I still say things in anger or frustration, but those times are few and far between anymore.  If I do, I own up and apologize and I do my very best to never do it again.

At the same time, I’ve also learned that at an appropriate time in a relationship, I need to have this conversation with that person.  If I don’t let them know, I cannot expect them to be cognizant of it.  Again, I realize there are always times in any relationship when things are said in the heat of the moment and if you’re mature enough, it can be talked out.  If I say something that hurt someone’s feelings, you better believe I say I’m sorry.  I’m sorry means: I’m sorry that what I said hurt your feelings even though it was not intended that way.  I’m sorry doesn’t mean: I’m sorry you took it the wrong way.  There is a subtle, yet important difference in those two statements.  The first accepts that while you didn’t say something to be hurtful, it felt that way to the other person and you don’t want them to hurt.  The second statement is not truly you’re sorry for anything – it neatly lays the blame for the hurt at the feet of the person you claim to care about and it is therefore their fault they hurt.  Yes, we are all responsible for our reactions to everything, I agree.  We own how we respond.  I own that sometimes harsh or blunt statements do hurt me.  I own it.  However, I also think that in relationships, if you truly care about the other person and you are aware of their past, you make an extra effort to be more gentle with your words.  And if you do say something that hurts, just honestly say I’m sorry.  It’s not a contest, it’s not who’s right and who’s wrong, it’s compassion.  Honestly, I’m not looking for who is wrong if someone says something that hurts me, I’m looking for them to just acknowledge that I am hurt and the compassion to show me they care.

This world is cruel enough.  Be compassionate and understanding of other people’s backgrounds.  Differences are beautiful, but compassion for those differences makes you astonishingly beautiful.

Why I am no longer a Christian

Why I am no longer a Christian

I haven’t considered myself a Christian in over 20 years.

I was raised in a very conservative, Evangelical family.  Let me elaborate on that.  My father was raised in a Mennonite home, although he left the Mennonite church when he turned 18.  His grandfather was a Mennonite pastor.  My mom was also raised in a very conservative, well-known family.  Her grandfather was a pastor in the Mennonite Brethren in Christ (which later became known as the Missionary Church).

We went to church 3 times a week (Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night), we were not allowed to listen to secular music, not allowed to watch movies, not allowed to dance and certainly not allowed to drink alcohol.  We weren’t even allowed to say “geez” or “gosh”, or anything like that as it was just slang for “Jesus or God” and therefore was swearing.  We went to church camp for 2 weeks every summer, participated in Quiz teams (a team of 4 or 5 that are “quizzed” on Bible verses), went to youth group events and were baptized.

We were taught that we were sinners and would only be saved by the Grace of God. However, if you didn’t obey God, there would be consequences.  Bad things happen because its God’s will and he’s either trying to teach you something or it’s punishment for your sins.  If you’ve never actually read the entire Bible, I suggest you do it… it will be very eye-opening.

I won’t go into the hypocrisy I saw in my own home, but it will suffice to say that looking back as an adult, I find it hard to see a God in that house.

I was probably in 5th or 6th grade when I really started to notice the hypocrisy of Christians.  The worst ones were pastor’s kids.  They were mean, un-accepting and entitled.  I cannot tell you how many times I was picked on or bullied by pastor’s kids because I was ugly, or I looked like a boy, or I wasn’t wearing name brand clothes.

When I graduated from high school, I went off to college, attending the denomination’s college (one coincidentally my family helped found and has several buildings on campus named after family members) as expected.  Here, I witnessed even more hypocrisy and overall exclusion of those who did not fit into the “perfect Christian” mold.  There were pastor’s kids having sex, there was alcohol and that horrible thing called dancing, even though school rules prohibited all of that.  In fact, we weren’t allowed to have the opposite sex in our dorms after a certain hour of night.

It wasn’t until I graduated and started working at the district office for our denomination that I truly witnessed the extent of the hypocrisy.  It’s something I’ve never written about (I’ve spoken of it several times) because I guess I cared what everyone would think. Now, I have zero qualms about it.  It was during this short work period that the district superintendent found out (via another staff member who apparently was reading my AOL history) that I was gay (at least I was only left to assume that since I was never really given an explanation).  I was immediately fired, and the reason I was given was that they had discovered I was “in to” things that were not acceptable (he couldn’t even bring himself to actually SAY the words). What happened following that, I can only guess at, but my guess is he realized he would have to do damage control since a large portion of the district pastors were family members (uncles, cousins, brother, etc.) and he proceeded to send out a letter to only those he thought were NOT related to me.  Unfortunately for him, he miscalculated the reach of those who had great respect and affection for my grandparents and one of those pastor’s brought it to my mom’s attention.  I never actually saw the letter, but we were told that it basically said that I “was no longer with the district office and that I had things in my life that went against the church.”

This was the beginning of the end of my association with any organized religion.  It wasn’t so much that they knew I was gay, it was the way it had been handled, and by a district superintendent no less.  He could have simply sent out a letter to all pastor’s in the district informing them that I was no longer working there.  He did not need to include any “shaming” language and the fact that he purposefully excluded any pastor he thought was related to me, only proves his malice intent in sending it.  He never spoke another word to me, even though we attended the same church.  Shortly after this, I stopped attending church and I have never returned, nor will I.  That was 1996.

Looking back, that was actually the best thing that could have happened to me.  It forced me out of that sheltered bubble where I had only been taught things that supported their ideology.  I got out into the real world, discovered that there is diversity and diversity is good.  There are scientific studies and those are good!  There are different religions and that’s okay, we live in a country that guarantees us the right to practice whatever religion we choose (or none at all).

There have been continued events throughout the years of my experiences with so-called Christians that have only furthered my belief that it’s an antiquated belief system that is fueled by fear (fear of God, fear of death, fear of sin, fear of things that are different, etc.) instead of by joy and life.  Who wants to practice a religion where you worship a God who killed everyone on earth by drowning them, simply because they didn’t do what he wanted (to rid the earth of evil), yet God created evil… and evil still exists so what was the point of drowning everyone?  Why would you worship a God who supposedly has the ability to cure cancer, end world hunger and stop wars, yet chooses not to… and his lack of doing so is blamed on human beings because we aren’t doing what he wants us to and those things exist in the world because there is evil (don’t forget that scripture says GOD created evil).  That doesn’t sound like the kind of God I want to follow.

Over the years, I’ve continued to read, learn, investigate and question.  I’ve read about sciences (like archaeology, geology, etc.) that are dispelling a lot of the stories told in the Bible.  I’ve read stories (and other information) from the Bible that were actually used by other earlier civilizations in that area (such as the Mesopotamia) that appear to be what some bits of the Bible were formed from – just copied from older writings and changed to suit their needs.  I began to understand why the conservative Christian community dislikes science so much and try to dissuade anyone from believing in its findings.

As a gay child, in a conservative family, I have found it overwhelmingly sad to reconcile the things I was taught with the things I have experienced.  My family tells me they love me (and I’m sure to some extent they do).  However, here is  where I have a hang up with out relationship.  As a parent, I love my child unconditionally.  He is who he is, perfectly Xavier.  He is how he was meant to be.  Is he 100% how I imagined him to be?  No, and I’m certain as he gets older, my preconceived notions and expectations about him may fall short.  I’ll still love him and accept him for who he is because it’s my own expectations that I’ve placed on him and it’s unfair of me to hold him to them. The sticking point with my family is that I (gay me) am “tolerated”, I am not “accepted”.  Tolerating someone is entirely different from accepting someone.  I am tolerated in the hopes that some day I will decide to not be gay anymore, as if I can magically wave a wand and change the way I am.   Accepting is to celebrate who I am, not shame me.  Not tell me “I have chosen to live this way” as if to say anything bad that comes my way from the Trump administration is because I deserve it.

Here is how I have “chosen” to live my life and it’s in vast contrast to how I was raised.  I choose to live a life of joy, not fear.  I chose to adopt my son out of foster care because I am pro-life.  I believe my son is worth every single second of effort that it will take to help him succeed, because the reward of watching him do so far exceeds anything else.  I choose to approach life with an open-mind.  I don’t know everything, but I can learn from others who are not like me and therefore extend my knowledge far beyond what I alone could experience.  I choose to see beyond someone’s skin color, their clothing, their accent, their customs, their religion and see that they are just a human being like me, no better and no worse.  I choose to accept and celebrate people’s differences instead of shaming them and trying to “save” them.  I choose all those things and more…. and I just happen to be gay.

These are some of the reasons I have not considered myself a Christian in 20+ years.  I can no longer accept the ideology that is preached and even more so in today’s climate where conservatives have supported the Trump administration and continue to do so (or are just turning a blind eye to what’s happening).

A large portion of my family immigrated to this country due to religious persecution (they were being imprisoned, exiled or worse).  THAT is persecution.  Christians in this country seem to think they are being persecuted because they haven’t been allowed to discriminate against others who do not share the same beliefs.  That is not persecution, that’s called equality and civil rights.  No one is telling you that you can’t worship the way you want, no one is telling you that you have to practice Buddhism.  No one is telling you that you have to believe that being gay is not a sin.  Those are your rights guaranteed by  Freedom of Religion.  Those rights do not state that you have the right deny another citizens rights, simply because they do not share your beliefs.  If baking a cake for a gay wedding is going to trash your relationship with your God, you’ve got bigger issues.  It’s called hypocrisy.  Making a cake for a gay couple isn’t contributing to their gayness, just like not making one for them isn’t going to make them straight.  A cake has nothing to do with someone’s sexuality any more than it has to do with let’s say… being an alcoholic, or an adulterer… yet I don’t see any establishments denying service to alcoholics based on their religious beliefs that alcohol is the devil and therefore you cannot support them in their sin.  Same thing goes for an adulterer… providing photography services for them at their child’s graduation party doesn’t aid them in sleeping with their neighbor, so why would you deny them service?  The Bible says that no sin is greater than another… yet it seems that the Christian conservatives have taken it upon themselves to deem the “sin” of homosexuality public enemy #1 and therefore those people should be denied rights.  Otherwise, I’d expect them to be filing suit to deny adulterer’s the right to re-marry, the right to adopt kids, etc.  I’d expect to see them working to deny alcoholics the right to buy alcohol or enter any establishment that sells alcohol.  Last time I checked, I don’t recall any of those things occurring for any other “sinners”.

The final nail in the coffin has been this election.  Just the simple fact that so many conservative Christians support(ed) Trump and continue to support him is absolutely reprehensible.  It has to be the greatest feat of hypocrisy ever witnessed.  The fact that you can turn a blind eye to a man who has been married 3 times, admitted to sexually assaulting women, has been sued more times than any of us can count because of “shady” business deals in which he never pays his suppliers (sometimes resulting in the supplier going bankrupt), has a LONG history of derogatory comments about women in general, lies so much that even he, probably doesn’t know what the truth actually is anymore and you wash it all away by the excuse of “he’s surrounded himself with good people”. .. and yet you still call yourself a “Christian” is absolutely disgusting.  All of that just serves to further my belief that the best thing that ever happened to me, was walking away from the Christian church.

I’ll bid you adieu and leave you to worry about what goes on in my bedroom.  I’ll even through in an appetizer that my DNA carries more races than just Caucasian.

In the meantime, I’ll be living my life to the best of my ability…  and without fear.



The Inconvenient Truth

The Inconvenient Truth

For the first 20+ years or my life I was led to believe the falsehood (let’s call it an alternative fact lol) that the ACLU and ADL were horrible organizations that were against Christianity and sought to take away Christian’s rights. Like most other things, when you grow up in a bubble, you don’t question what you’re told.
Obviously, I no longer think that as I know the truth (the factual truth, you know.. THE TRUTH). Both groups stand up and fight for human rights, work against hate crimes and work to ensure religious freedom.  This would include defending Christianity, if it was actually in jeopardy or if Christian’s were victims of hate crimes.
Now, imagine my surprise (and shame on me for not knowing this already), as a 42-year-old, I sat listening to someone from the ADL speak to our diversity group… and out of his mouth comes “The Anti-Defamation League was started to protect the Jewish people..”
I don’t recall much of what else he said because I was still stuck on his first sentence. The anger in me began to rise as I realized that for all of these years, the Christian community (not everyone, I realize) has labeled these 2 groups in the “enemy” category.  They had lied to me!  I’m not sure why this surprises me anymore as I watch the Christian right politely swallow every, single, falsehood and un-Christlike thing imaginable from the Trump administration.  The ADL was founded to protect Jewish people. I repeat that, the ADL was founded to protect JEWISH people!!!!  Jewish people, I’m sure you know Christian, that the Jewish people are the CHOSEN people and yet you perceive this group as evil, when they are the ones on the front-lines protecting them and have been for over 100 years.  Yet THEY are the bad people? They are the ones deserving of horrible rants about how evil they are? These are the people standing in the gap where you, CHRISTIAN, should be!
The ACLU also fights for Freedom of Religion.  You know, that First Amendment Right that guarantees all of us citizens the right to practice ANY religion or none at all. It doesn’t guarantee your right to push your religious beliefs on anyone else or use them to take away someone’s rights.
As his first sentence sunk in, I began to realize that I thought I was already disillusioned and utterly disgusted with the “Christian” faith before that day. I was wrong. I am now.
As this began to sink in, I realized that what’s going on in our country and with the Christian right is not new.  This need to view anyone who wouldn’t allow them to force their religious beliefs on any other person, as a threat, has been long in existence.  This perception that a lot of Christians have (because that’s the propaganda they’ve been fed generation after generation) that they are being persecuted is utter ridiculous.  Not being allowed to require every single U.S. citizen to believe the way you believe, isn’t persecution.  Not being allowed to take away rights from another citizen isn’t persecution.  In fact, I argue that you have more rights than any citizen in this country.  In some states you even have the bonus right of discriminating against me and if unchecked, the Trump administration will make that a Federal right.
Persecuted, my dear Christian, is what is happening to a tiny fragment of the Syrian refugees who are indeed Christians.  How DARE you compare yourselves to them?  You have absolutely no concept of what persecution actually is!  They make up a fraction of the rest of the refugees, of which we are turning away all of them from our “Christian” land.
You have been allowed to worship as you wish, practice the religion of your choosing and have been granted additional perks like having your churches as tax exempt, with very little oversight.
At 42, I am now questioning everything I was taught, not only because of this conversation about the ADL, but also because of the complete disregard for facts that I’m seeing by the Christian right.  I grew up in a very conservative Evangelical Christian family, church & community.  When I was younger, we were not allowed to dance, watch movies, listen to secular movies, drink alcohol, etc.  We were in church 3 times a week at least.  It was all we knew.  As a child, you learn from those who you are surrounded by and for me, it was almost exclusively conservative Christian people.  I finished up my high school via a Christian High school and graduated from a Christian college.  I thought that I had re-educated myself or at the very least, tried to investigate and learn about things that I either had no exposure to or were portrayed as “evil”.
It’s no longer surprising to me that the Christian right is not speaking out against this administration.  Why?  Because I actually do think he is representative of their beliefs.  If not, they have sold their soul to the devil and that’s on them.
When you raise children with minimal exposure to the real world, without exposure to scientific facts, without knowing that not everyone believes the way you do and that it’s okay that they don’t, you’re failing as a parent.  You are taking away their free will to decide how they will believe and live their life.  Instead, maybe you should be raising them with your beliefs but yet exposing them to everything.  The Bible says, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”  From my vantage point, most of you (not all) are training up a generation of kids that disrespect differences, disrespect other’s rights, and are intolerant of any other view-point.
When you support someone like Betsy De Vos for Secretary of Education, the reasons become clear.  This woman, is completely inexperienced and woefully unqualified for this position.  She does not support public education, which the majority of the United States is educated through because that’s all they are able to attain.  She didn’t have a clue what IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) was, let alone know that it is a Federal law that mandates all public schools to provide equal education opportunities to children with disabilities. Why, why would any intelligent person support her (Republican or Democrat)??  It’s simple.  She wants to push “God” back into the schools.  And for that fact alone, she has the support of the Christian right.  Let’s be real here people.  If you truly do believe in God… God never left the schools.  God is everywhere, in everything.  He doesn’t need a bright and shiny sign saying “I’m here”.  If you believe in God, and you are teaching your child right from wrong, God IS in the schools because he’s in them.  The truth is, Christian kids are some of the most hateful, judgmental, bullying kids I know.  Why?  Because they’ve never been taught to see the beauty in those that are different.  They feel inadequate themselves, because they aren’t taught self-worth because their worth is found only in what they can do to “further the Kingdom.”  Mind you, when I use the term “Christian”, it is not my intention to say that every, single, Christian is this way.  I know some very decent Christians who teach their children to love everyone and treat everyone equally (which is what Christ’s love is all about).
So no, I do not attend church.  I do not pray.  I do not teach my child about any God.  My goal in life is to raise my son to be a decent human being.  A man who respects his elders (if they deserve respect), treats every human with compassion, sees differences as beauty, is in awe of science and what we can learn from it, cognizant of history so that we don’t repeat the same mistakes, lives his present to the fullest and excited about what the future holds.  When he is old enough to make a decision of his own, he can choose what religion (if any) he wants to practice – regardless of what choice he makes at this point, I hope that I have provided him with the building blocks to be a successful, kind and decent human being.  Those are the values we should be passing down to our children, not hate, not division, not lies, not half-truths, not judgement.

Sorry, You Can’t Protest!

Sorry, You Can’t Protest!

I’ve tried to refrain from commenting on other people’s political Facebook posts lately, given the turmoil our country is in and the strong feelings on both sides of the matter.

Over the weekend, the Women’s Marches around the world garnered millions of people standing up to say that we will not tolerate the racist, xenophobic, homophobic, male chauvinist rhetoric the new administration oozes from every pore.  In response, the current administration has tried to diminish the success and turnout of the Marches all over the world, by offering “alternative facts” just like they have offered about the turnout (or lack thereof) at Mr. Trump’s inauguration.  They’ve claimed the press is inflating the success of the Marches.

I sat and thought to myself, “Do they really think we are that stupid?  Do they really think I can’t see all of the personal pictures flowing through my Facebook feed from all over the world?  I can see with my own eyes the huge crowds.  These are not pictures posted by media, but by private citizens participating in the marches.”  Then I realized, yes, yes they do think we are that stupid.  Why?  Because if I were a Republican, the chances of me having anyone on my social media that participated in the Marches is slim, there may be a few but certainly not to the extent of what really occurred.  I probably would not see all the personal images posted from all over the world of women (and men) protesting Mr. Trump and what he represents.  So, if Mr. Trump’s administration told them it’s the press embellishing on the actual turn out for those events – and knowing that the people who support him (not all)  tend to not look at or listen to any other view-point or look to non-biased information sources, I can see them eating it right off the silver spoon he’s using to feed it to them!

Then, as if to further bait me, this picture appears on my Facebook feed, posted by someone I know.


There are so many things about this rant that I wish to address, I’m not sure I can do them all justice, but I will try!

First of all, it’s exactly WHY women (and men) were protesting.  We are protesting an administration that see’s women (and minorities) as tokens, as property, as “less than”.  This mentality is one that is wide-spread around the world and it’s exactly why there are horrific acts that this person is using as the reason we women, in the United States, have no right to protest.  This mentality has been bred over thousands of years, generation after generation.

Whether or not we deserve it or asked for it, the United States has taken on the world-wide role of leading the way in Human Rights.  This means that we should be an example to the world when it comes to the decent, kind and RIGHT way to treat other humans.  So, when the women (and men) in this country peacefully protest against an administration who is anything BUT supportive of human rights, we are leading the way.  We are empowering women around the world to stand up for themselves and that is obvious in the solidarity marches across the world this past weekend.  These ARE the women who live in those countries – the ones this above pictured message speaks of.  These ARE the women of Kenya, of South Africa, of Nigeria.  Look at this map (provided by the NY Times) showing all of the Women’s Marches around the world last weekend.  THESE are the women (and men) opposing what Mr. Trump stands for, the degradation of other human beings.


Do you STILL think that we are protesting alone?  Use your own minds and do your own research.  Look at news sites from other countries to confirm that indeed, there were large amounts of people protesting Mr. Trump in solidarity with the U.S.  Here is just an example of what you can find.

Were women in every country protesting?  Obviously not, many due to the fact that they are so repressed they are not allowed to even consider doing such a thing.  THEY are why we march just as much as any of ourselves.  We cannot be an example to other countries on human rights, if we ourselves have a leader who degrades women, treating them like property and has deplorable views on anyone else who is not a white male.

If we do not stand up for ourselves, how can we possibly stand up for others around the globe?  If we do not stand up for what is right and speak out against what is wrong, how can we call ourselves a global leader?  What kind of legacy do we want to leave this world, a legacy of used and abused women or a legacy of respect, equality, strength and compassion?

These marches were not women screaming profanities about “men”.  These marches were about women standing up to a specific group of men (and women) – Trump, his cabinet and staff members, saying “We will NOT be silent and we will NOT sit idly by while you turn our country into a mockery for human rights.”

To the person who posted that original post – I would wish I could ask her when the last time she did ANYTHING to help those women she speaks of?  It’s very convenient to throw them out as an example of why we should not protest – but never lift a finger to make their world a better place.  There’s a term for that – “Armchair quarterback.”

I will leave you with two quotes – take a moment to think about what Mr. Trump and his cabinet are attempting to do by using their “alternative facts” ploy.. they are attempting to downplay and silence anyone who disagrees with him.

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable.” ~ John F. Kennedy

“To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.” ~ Abraham Lincoln


You’re Pro Life? Really? I don’t think so.

I’ve recently seen a surge in posts on social media (due to the ongoing Presidential campaign) regarding how Hillary supports abortion (not true) and that Trump does not.  People sharing their stories of a child they lost, etc. playing upon the heart-strings of readers. I don’t think there is a single person, Democrat or Republican, that isn’t moved to tears when a child is suffering, let alone dies.

To those of you who are “conservative Christians” that have been sharing and re-sharing these posts, I ask you to consider my words.

You are not pro-life. You are anti-abortion.  That is your right.  It is not your right to force your beliefs on others, that is what Freedom of Religion is about (it can also be Freedom FROM Religion should an individual choose that path).

You scream, you rant, you cry and lament over the lives of the unborn children that you must protect.  I am not here to argue with you over right or wrong (the morality of aborting a baby).  I have my own strong opinions that are not only founded in my deep love for children but also as a mother and a woman.

What I am here to propose is this question.  Why are the lives of the unborn any more sacred than the lives of the starving, the poor, the homeless or those dying from uncontrolled gun violence?  On any given night in the United States, we have almost a half million people sleeping on the streets.  It’s estimated that throughout a year, over a million and a half LGBTQ youth experience homelessness.  In 2014, 14.5% of the population in the United States lived below the poverty line.  To date in 2016, 46,861 humans have lost their lives in the United States from gun violence.

Are you down at the local homeless shelter, volunteering or pledging money to non-for profit agencies that work with and support homeless people?  Do you know that the reason over 1 million LGBTQ youth are homeless throughout a year?  Because their families have kicked them out because they do not agree with their “lifestyle”.  Are you supporting and loving to LGBTQ people you know?  Are you donating food to your local food pantry?  Are you supporting stricter gun control laws?

I can’t answer those questions for you but unless you can say yes to the majority of those, you are not pro-life.  You are simply anti-abortion.

Here are the things I know.

As a woman, no one has the right to tell me what to do with my body or anything inside my body.  Whether or not I agree with abortion isn’t the issue, the issue is I am a free adult and *I* get to choose what I do or do not do.

As a mother, one who has miscarried a baby also,  I can tell you that I can imagine the life-long consequences that a decision to abort brings.  I can’t imagine ever not wondering “what might have been” or grieving the loss of my child regardless of how many weeks along I was or wasn’t.  To live with the knowledge that you chose to abort a child (regardless of the reason) has to tear you apart on some level.  It is still not my right to tell someone else what to do.  That is on them and if you believe in God, then only he has the right to judge them.  It.  Is. Not. Your. Place.

As a member of the LGBTQ community I have experienced anywhere from outright hatred and discrimination to a family who “loves” me, but does not support nor truly accept who I am.  When who I sleep with or who I’m married to affects you so deeply that you simply cannot accept me as is with no desire to change me, then you are not pro-life.

You see, being pro-life means that you love life, all life.  All life, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, sexuality, sexual identity, gender, etc.

Do not post your “heart wrenching” stories of how you lost a child and that’s why you’re anti-abortion.  That’s your personal belief and I know that particular experience can deeply affect you.  Losing a child does NOT give you the right to tell another person how to deal with theirs.

Don’t tell me you’re pro-life when you do not love unconditionally, without desire to change your LGBTQ friend, family, neighbor or co-worker.

We live in a free country and freedom means FREEDOM from being told what religion we must follow, what language we must speak, how we dress, how we wear our hair, who we can marry, if we drink….

And for the record, Hillary is not pro-abortion, she supports a woman’s right to choose.  That’s called FREEDOM.

Living In A World With Made Up Memories

Living In A World With Made Up Memories

As a child I was in a serious accident (motor vehicle vs. pedestrian, I was the pedestrian).  Among multiple physical injuries I suffered, was a head injury resulting from my head impacting and shattering the windshield of the car and then slamming on the pavement when the impact sent my body flying through the air.

While my physical injuries healed with time but the resulting trauma to my brain has lasted.  I have learned to function and deal with the side-effects as best I can, which have included severe migraines, speech and motor processing issues and the usual arthritis that tends to creep in to bones that have been broken.  The one effect I have never been able to recover are the majority of my memories before age twelve.

As a teenager and young adult, this never bothered me.  I have very few legitimate memories of my childhood, my “memories” are stories told by my siblings or parents of when we were little.  It’s hard for me to listen to someone talk about when they were little, things they experienced, fun they had.  I don’t have any memory of those things.  At other times, I am grateful for the lack of many memories as I do not remember first-hand the abuse I suffered at the hands of my father.  I have plenty of those memories from after my accident to make up for the lack of them before.

I’ve had embarrassing, self-conscious moments over the years when I have difficulty getting words out when speaking in public.  There have been times in public when my brain simply will not process what to do next, simple things like how to take my next step.  One of these such incidents occurred when I was in college.  I was climbing the stairs of one of buildings heading to class at a high traffic time when my brain simply shut down. I stood in the middle of the stairway not having the ability to move out of the way, to step up, to even verbalize what was happening.  Luckily my good friend was walking with me and realized in a beat what was happening and simply took my arm and said gently “lift your leg and step up”.

These experiences have made me ultra conscious of what other people experience and my reactions to their seemingly odd or abnormal behavior.  I have no idea what they have experienced in their lives, what medical issues they may have or what is triggering their behavior.  What I do have the ability to do, is treat them with respect and dignity, to not make fun of or gossip about them.  Each of us have a story and most of the world will never know the majority of our chapters.

My purpose of writing this brief post is to say that you have the ability to be the change, to treat people with respect & to not judge someone based on their physical or mental capacity.  Everyone is beautiful in their own way and there is no way that is better than another.

#BeTheChange #BeKind #ShowLove #BeCompassionate #YouAreBeautiful

Sunday Ponderings

Sunday Ponderings

Picture this: You & your significant other are overjoyed to learn you’re expecting a baby. Time goes by, and now it’s time to reveal if you’re having a boy or girl. The ultrasound is performed & its discovered that your baby has a medical condition called hermaphroditism (also known as intersex). Your baby has both male and female reproductive organs & carries both an XX and XY chromosome pairs. When this baby is born, you will have to make a decision on how you will raise the child, as a male or as a female.
Now picture this.You & your significant other are overjoyed to learn you’re expecting a baby. Time goes by and now it’s time to reveal if you’re having a boy or a girl. The ultrasound is performed & it’s discovered you’re having a boy (or girl). Your baby is born healthy and life carries on. Your child grows, and at some point reveals to you that while they may physically possess male (or female) organs, their mind does not match. You will have to make a decision, how will you react?
Now – put aside everything you’ve heard, everything you’ve been taught. Read those two scenarios again and without preconceived notions, ask yourself again. What would you do?
We accept the first scenario because we can physically see the medical condition. We cannot see the second condition because it is part of the make up of someone’s brain and the brain continues to hold vast mysteries on how it works.
A quick education of the mind. A trans-gendered person is NOT the same as a transvestite. A transvestite is simply a male (or female) who enjoys dressing in what society has deemed as female (or male) clothing but has no desire to actually be a woman (or man). A trans-gendered is a person who’s brain does not match the physical genitalia they were born with.
There is no need for laws barring trans-gendered people from using the bathroom that matches their brain instead of their body. If people are afraid that perverts will dress up as a woman or man and enter the bathroom with evil intentions of molesting or peeping at your wife and kids, they are going to do it regardless. Trans-gendered people are not perverts, they are not child molesters or rapists. They aren’t going in the bathroom to peep at you. They are going in to pee! If you’re want to protect your family or yourself, worry about the actual perverts. There are already “Peeping Tom” laws on the books that will apply to those dressing up to commit crimes.
Please, educate not only your mind on this issue, but also your heart.
Aristotle once said “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” Put aside your prejudices, the tails you’ve been told, the fear mongering that has been spread. Put aside your fear of the unknown and educate ALL of yourself.

I Choose Love

I Choose Love

I posted this several years ago on my personal Facebook page.  Sometimes it’s good to remind myself.


A long time ago, I decided that I would distance myself from people in my life who made me feel less than the perfectly created human that I am.  Living with the constant disapproval, judgment and unkind words was making me miserable.  Once I realized that I didn’t need their approval to be happy and enjoy life the way that I am, life became so much more of an enjoyment.

I have endured some harsh words and some pretty unkind judgments from people I would not have expected to act in that way.  It doesn’t affect me the way it used to, I simply choose to move them right on out of my life.  It does not mean that those words and actions do not hurt me.

I’ve also come to realize that it’s okay to speak up and say that your actions hurt and because I don’t rely on other people’s approval, it does not change my happiness.  I have the ability and the strength to say if you can’t love & ACCEPT me for who I am, and not try or hope or pray that I “change”, then you are not the kind of person I want in my circle.

I would NEVER dream of treating someone with the kind of passive aggressive disregard for another human’s feelings as I’ve experienced.  I am tired of seeing the religious posts from certain people claiming that they have devoted their lives to following Jesus’ teaching, yet have apparently not learned lesson #1: Love thy neighbor as thyself.  You hide behind the cloak of “religion” and hide your bigotry behind the guise of Christianity, you belittle others for their “sin”, yet cannot see the plank in your own eye.

If you choose to claim you are a Christian, then practice what you preach.  Stand in the mirror and honestly ask yourself how your sin is any less than my perceived “sin”?  Now turn and look at your son, daughter, brother, sister, niece, nephew, etc. and ask yourself – what if they were gay?  Would I love them any less?  Could you turn your back on them or use your guise of Christianity to push them away?  What if it was your child?  Would you stand for someone bullying your child?  What if it was you?  How would you feel if you were in my position?

Do you not see how your “religion” is hurting others?  Do you not see the kids & teenagers and even ADULTS who take their own lives because their own flesh and blood cannot accept them and truly LOVE them for who they are?

How about a turn about in roles.  I do not want you in my home, I don’t want your toxic oppression to turn the love that lives here to hatred.  I do not want you around our child, your religion might  “rub” off on them and turn them Christian.  Your bigotry and narrow-mindedness might cloud their ability to love unconditionally regardless of color, disability, gender, nationality, religion.  I don’t want you to “recruit” our child to a community where he must follow the leader at the cost of his own individuality.

I am an adult and I have the ability to choose what I expose myself to and I simply choose love.  Love means love, regardless of who it’s with or for.  Love is what I want our son to know.  Love, pure and simple.  If that’s not what is truly in your heart, than you have no place in our lives.

Please think about what you say, what you do, what you post.  Think about how it would make someone feel.  If it is not your intention to hurt, then don’t post it.

Who I Am Is Beautiful

Who I Am Is Beautiful

I’ve sat next to you in school, on the bus and at the game.

I’ve shared a room, a drink and my food.

Would it have mattered if you had known?


I’ve shared a restroom, a locker room and a dressing room.

I’ve cared for your children, your parents, your friends.

Would it have mattered if you had known?


I’ve helped you move, helped you build, and helped you clean.

I stopped at your accident and cared for you until help arrived.

Would it have mattered if you had known?


I’ve been in your slums, your homeless shelters, the 3rd world countries.

I’ve built you houses & given the clothes off my back because you had nothing.

Would it have mattered if you had known?


I’ve been stared at, sworn at and disowned.

I’ve been told I cannot marry, cannot worship with you, and cannot use your services.

All, because you knew.


Why are things so different now, now because you know?

You know that I am gay?

Now you know and you think that I have changed?

I have not changed.  I’ve stayed the same.

I’d still hold your bleeding head, still give you the shirt off my back and still help you if you needed it.

You are the ones who have changed; your acceptance is so fickle.

You think my worth is tied to who I love.  You are wrong.  My worth his tied to who I am, and who I am is beautiful.

~ Cori Garrison © 2016