Thursday, November 10

To My Friends and Family Who Voted For Trump

I would like to have a face to face conversation about why this bothers me but I can't because most won't have that conversation. I'm not just upset because of the personal hurt this causes me but because of the multiple other minorities this effects. When I told you that I was gay, you said that it didn't matter and you supported me no matter what. I felt so much joy from those words of acceptance. I was shocked because the majority of my family and friends are very conservative and I feared the worse. You proved that love was more important. When you voted for Mitt Romney, who was against my right to marry, I didn't take it as personally as I do with this vote. I was upset that you put the rights you feared would be taken away, which have still not been taken away, over the rights you get to enjoy that I didn't at the time. I took the high road because that's the kind of person I am. This time is different.

I am not taking the high road anymore because that road has led to me being run over multiple times. Your actions have spoke louder than your words. You have shown that to my face, you support me but behind my back, you believe I should go to conversion therapy, have my right to marriage stripped from me, be able to be discriminated against when I shop, be fired for being gay, and should not have federal protection when I get in a fight with some homophobe because they think "being a fag is wrong and I'm going to beat it out of you." 

You have told me over the years that there are multiple other things and you aren't a one issue voter. I'm not a one issue voter. I didn't vote for Trump because I empathize with the people he thinks don't matter. Women, People of Color, Immigrants, Muslims, People with Disabilities, Lesbians, Trans, and Bisexuals, I am not one of these people but I stand with them. I fight for their rights and equality. Being gay has not made me empathize more for these people, being a human has. 

One of the first orders of business in the Trump Presidency is to reverse Marriage Equality. You say "he's only president, he can't do that." Yes he can. He has a Republican House, Senate, and the eventual Conservative Supreme Court Justice. He has also stated, through his VP choice of Mike Pence, that they will work to take away the Matthew Shepard Act which makes attacking me because I'm gay a federal hate crime. They will also eventually provide a law to the one similar to one Mike Pence put through in Indiana that makes it legal to refuse service to me because I'm gay. Religious Freedom it's called. This is a joke of a name for a law that openly discriminates against a group of people because of the person they love. Mike Pence also took federal funding for HIV Prevention and diverted it to state sanctioned Conversion Therapy. 

The line has been drawn in the sand and for years, you told me you were on my side of that line. With this vote for Trump, you've shown me that that was lip service. I am disgusted with those that voted for this odius man. You have given voice to bigotry and hate. You have said that it's okay to grab a woman by the pussy. You have said that is okay to have a President in the White House that is endorsed and celebrated by the KKK. You have said that it's okay to judge an entire religion based on fear mongering of a few. You have said Racism, Sexism, Molestation, Homophobia, Xenophobia and everything else this vile man has said and done, is okay.

I have sat by with my mouth closed during get togethers for too long. You have known my politics and personal struggles and you've chosen to vote out of fear.

I'm glad you aren't a one issue voter because I am not either, but when will one of those issues you care about be me?

Friday, July 8

Black Lives Matter.

Black Lives Matter. What does that mean to you? I can’t answer for you but for me, there is so much included in those three words. It is the rallying cry of people that have realized that our society has failed a discriminated group. Our society that has failed to make wrong all the wrongs against black people.

Our country has marginalized black people for hundreds of years. Our society has used them as a poster of hate and has said “It’s okay to discriminate against these folks because they’re different.” We have so marginalized these people that there are federal laws protecting them. Think on that. A federal law. The problem is such an issue that there needs to be protection for them in jobs, schools, and everyday life. When you think on this, it is overwhelming to me that this is necessary. Because of a person’s skin color, they are judged and abused.

Society is responsible for the issues that are arising right now. We are responsible for what is happening. We have allowed this type of behavior and ongoing racism for years. If you are not standing against it, you are allowing it. Yeah, that’s a lot of guilt that you don’t want to feel. You don’t’ want to have these uncomfortable thoughts and conversations but guess what? You have to if you want to see this change.

I have to work on my racism daily. I am a very open-minded liberal and I fight my racism. It is something that was taught through years of my youth and even into adulthood. I started noticing how much there was within me when I started working in the Tulsa Health Department. That was the moment of my awakening that we are doing a disservice to this marginalized group.

I have told this story multiple times. I was teaching a nutrition class to a group of first graders for the week at a low SES school. On Thursday of that week after teaching for three days, I had a little girl come up to me and tell me that she got in trouble by her mom because she asked her mom why they didn’t have more fruits and vegetables in the house. Her mom got upset because she got very defensive thinking that her little girl was telling her that she wasn’t doing enough for her and she was better than what she provided. This little girl also was responsible for making her own ramen on the stove for dinner at night. This was mind blowing and extremely sad to me. At that moment, I realized we need to do better.

The racism taught to us is everywhere. You hear it on the news. If there is a story about a man, it’s assumed he’s white because the news will always point out when it’s a black man. When there is a story about a black man, the news will always try to locate a mugshot of the man unlike a white man who raped a woman behind a dumpster and they post his senior picture instead. When it is a black man involved in a shooting, it’s a violent man. When it is a white man who has murdered multiple people in a church, he’s mentally unstable. This is why we are responsible. We have allowed this for tens of years.

Black Lives Matter. Anyone who says that All Lives Matter is saying this because they don’t believe that Black Lives Matter. They say this because they want to keep things the way they are. Saying “All lives matter” is bull shit. Of course all lives matter. If you honestly believe all lives matter, you will be the largest voice in the cry of Black Lives Matter.

This is an issue that needs to be resolved and we are responsible for resolving it. If we continue to just watch the news happen, things will not change. If we continue to not hold our elected officials responsible for the legislation and fear-mongering they are putting through, nothing will change. If we continue to not hold each other accountable for the words we use, we are responsible for each death that is occurring. If we don’t articulate that Black Lives Matter, we are saying we are okay with the way things are.


Black Lives Matter.

Tuesday, October 6

What does Pro-Life mean to you?

The gun debate continues. It is also added to with the situations with Planned Parenthood. These two extremely controversial topics are all ablaze on Facebook and other social media outlets. It gives the opportunity to open discussion but also to hypocrisy.

It is amazing to see how conservatives are saying that liberals asking for gun control are hypocritical because they are also for abortions. The funny thing about hypocrisy is that you can’t see the plank in your own eye. Conservatives care about being pro-life but aren’t pro-life once the baby is born. Once the baby is born and becomes a toddler that possibly gets hold of a gun and accidentally shoots an adult or another toddler because the gun wasn’t locked properly, it’s the adult’s right to have that gun and they shouldn’t be required by law to have it locked.

The other situation is when it comes to the death penalty. Conservatives love the death penalty. They state their “Christian” values over and over again but it is such an unchristian practice. You have made the judgement and taken God’s place to put this person to death. Multiple people have been exonerated by DNA evidence but are still put to death because the evidence wasn’t presented prior to their death. This is murder by the government.

If you only care about life while it’s inside a womb, you have your priorities wrong. You believe that a woman who was raped should endure and relive that moment over and over again until the baby is born. Then you’ll probably judge her for being raped and say she did something that caused the man to rape her. Why not ask the question of “why do we live in a society that rape is even questioned?” Rape is rape. The woman didn’t do anything to deserve that. She didn’t dress in a certain way, she didn’t lead the man on, but you still want to judge her and say that she is at fault. If it were me, I would not want to carry my rapist’s baby and know that I could possibly be bringing in a child into a world of such evil.

If a woman decides to terminate a fetus, that is her choice. Let’s also get another thing straight. Federal money isn’t paying for abortions. Planned Parenthood receives funding for women’s health. Do your research instead of quoting biased lies by conservatives.

If you are truly pro-life, you will be pro-life until the end of that person’s life. If the person needs assistance, you’d be the first to say, give them assistance. If you are pro-life, you will fight tooth and nail for every child to have equal access to health. If you are pro-life, you will help the homeless. If you are pro-life, you will help to mandate gun ownership and responsibility. If you are pro-life, you will try to limit the amount of death by guns. If you are pro-life, be pro-life, not just pro-fetus.

Tuesday, May 19

Social Media and Real Life

We’ve been reading a lot of articles about how Social Media can make us feel like we aren’t doing enough or that everyone else is happier than we are. The crazy thing is, if someone posts on Social Media that they are not doing well, we see them as acting like victims. Do we reach out to them or ignore the negative post?

I always want to post happy things on Social Media but there are times that I need to reach out and ask for help but never do. I don’t do this because I don’t want to bring someone down or let them know my weakness. Not everything is sunshine and roses all the time.

My big question is, why do we victimize people when they need help? You see this everyday from Conservatives. Welfare recipients are just victims not willing to make a life themselves, rape victims are asking for it, and homeless people are unwilling to help themselves. When someone asks for help, why is it seen as weakness?

In my mind, it takes a much stronger person to reach out and let people know that they need help. It takes a strong person to show their weakness. Do we ignore because we are uncomfortable with our own weakness? I say yes. The things we don’t like in others are usually things we don’t like in ourselves. We are brought up to believe that only strong people are successful but the definition of strong is misconstrued here. Strong is being able to reach out when you need help and helping those that need help.

We need to change our mindset on this. When someone reaches out on Social Media and exposes their weakness and need for help, we need to reach out and help them. That one moment could make a massive difference for someone. Would you rather be the person that helps someone or the person that ignores?

Let’s get out of our bubbles and confront what makes us uncomfortable. Social Media isn’t going anywhere and it’s a part of our lives whether we like it or not. Focus on positive things but also reach out when negativity takes hold. Also, be the person that will help and not ignore.

Tuesday, May 5

What The Republicans Get Wrong...again.

The Supreme Court has taken up the case for Marriage Equality. I’m sure everyone has heard that the Oral Arguments were presented at the end of April and listening to them gave me great hope and also great sadness. Not only did we have to listen to the opposing views during these Oral Arguments that marriage is not for people of the LGBT Community but we also have had to hear about these viewpoints from multiple individuals after as well.

You have politicians running on platforms against Marriage Equality and that Christianity is being criminalized because of their refusal to do something for a Same-Sex Marriage. These are the same people who say they fight for Conservative Constitutional review and that the Bible and the Constitution should be taken literally and not interpreted. They say that the Supreme Court has no right to make any judgement in this case because it is up to the people and states to vote on this situation. They also state that marriage is a right.

The hypocrisy that we are seeing here is nothing new. I’ve written about it several times and we’ve had several notable figures point this out. If you say it is a right, you can not have a majority vote on this minority's right, plain and simple. That is why it is before the Supreme Court.

Republican Candidates are running on a platform of hate. Ted Cruz announced his candidacy at Liberty University. An extremely conservative Christian university. Mike Huckabee announced today and stated that the efforts by the Supreme Court “threaten the foundation of religious liberty by criminalizing Christianity and demanding that we abandon biblical principles of natural marriage.” Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, and Carly Fiorina all want to make sure that I am never allowed to marry.

I bring up this previous information because all the Republican Candidates for President have made their line in the sand. If you aren’t a Christian, a Conservative Christian, you can bet they are not for you. This country was found on Religious Freedom.

I have a real fear that if a Republican makes it into the White House in 2016 that all the amazing work we have done and progress we’ve made will be tossed to the side because several of them support putting a Federal Marriage Amendment together saying that only “one man, one woman marriage” will be the law of the land.

There are many other issues at hand here too, not just LGBT issues. I am a proud Liberal and will do all I can to make sure that none of these people make it into office because there is not a single issue I agree with them on. I think they use fear, lies, and Fox News to make United States Citizens vote for them. It’s a terrifying thing when ignorance is everywhere you look. We can’t keep our heads in the sand and we must do what we can to make sure these fear mongers don’t make it far. 

Wednesday, October 29

Another Post, Same Issues

If you’ve read anything I’ve written, this is probably going to be a repeat. I can’t help but right it though. With that being said, here we go.

The hypocrisy is unbelievable these days. Conservatives say that they are worried about their freedom being taken away from them but they have done nothing but that to others for years. They say they are against abortion and adoption is the route someone should go but they want to tell the American people who can adopt and what kind of family can adopt them.

They say that they are the poster children for Christian living but refuse to assist the homeless because they shouldn’t receive handouts and should work for what they have. They don’t want to help those children once they are born because it’s the parents’ fault they are in an unfortunate state and poverty. They want to drug test those parents and put them through an already humiliating time so they can receive food stamps. They judge them if these people treat themselves to some kind of treat because if you’re on food stamps, you shouldn't be able to buy a sweet treat for your children. Those Little Debbies are reserved for those who can afford it.

They are still fighting to keep marriage between a man and a woman because they say that it is not good for the children but do nothing about the divorce rates. Most of these touting these beliefs have been through a divorce, which is against their religious beliefs, but they seem to miss that part of the Bible. They say hate the sin, not the sinner but don’t see the sin in their own soul.

The most recent hypocrisy is with Ebola. They are called, by their religion, to care for the sick but want to keep these people out of the country. If your disease isn’t one they are aware of, they don’t want to help.

They have said time and time again that they want to change the way Conservatives are seen these days but are constantly going against what they say. What they say is like the weather. Hear them say it and then wait five minutes to see them back-track and make their own words lies.

I haven’t written or made any of my news videos for a long time because it finally beat me down. How long can you argue on the side of humanity when humanity won’t even try to accept change? Things are changing and I do believe, mostly for the better. If we can make sure that groups like the Tea Party stay a minority, we will be winning.
I am 100% for having someone have a different opinion and challenging my, and others, opinions daily. I love a debate and have actually evolved my thoughts because of ways these things were presented to me.

The only thing that I can hope for is this:

Matthew 7:3-5

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

Thursday, October 31

The Duality of LIfe

There are two of me. I know this and it's been this way for a long time. Before I came out of the closet, I was pretending to be a straight man. I paid attention to the way I walked, talked, and interacted with people. You name it, I was on top of my game to make sure that no one had an idea that I was gay. If someone ever asked me, I got very defensive and upset.

This was the first time that I was two different people. After I came out, I was still acting certain ways around people who didn't know I was gay, certain family members, but around those who did know, I was very comfortable. It's true that I still had a bit of a closet to me even after I came out. This was because I didn't want to be seen as gay because of what people might think if they had an idea that I was gay. I never wanted to be judged.

I can say with pride that I was the best people pleaser I knew. I wanted people to like me and throughout my growing up, I would change certain things about myself because I wanted to be accepted. This is something I think we all go through but for some reason, I think there are certain aspects of being gay that make us more likely to be people pleasers. When we come out, most stop being people pleasers and stand up with a backbone of "I'm here, I'm queer, so deal with it!" I never grew out of my people pleasing. It's still something I struggle with.

I call this blog "The Duality of Life" because of multiple reasons. I feel there are two parts of me. One that is very confident in my abilities and another that is so shy, reserved and afraid of judgment that it hinders many aspects of my life. When I'm at work, I am not trying to impress anyone and I'm just being myself. I know that I'm in an environment that isn't going to judge my looks or the fact that I'm gay or what "kind" of gay I am. At work, I feel the most confident.

When I'm out with friends or on a date, this is my most vulnerable. I'm not confident. I see all my faults, I notice everything about myself that I want to change. Now, there are differences. If I'm out with friends at a bar or party and I know someone that I'm attracted to won't be there, I'm confident because I'm not looking for a date. I don't have to make myself vulnerable.

I do this while I'm dating someone as well. The insecurity has led to the downfall of many of my relationships. I've been working very hard over the last few months to correct this because I want to be the person I am at work with the person that I'm dating. I don't want to feel less than or that I don't deserve to be with this person. I also don't want to self-sabotage because of the negative feelings I have for myself.
You may ask, "Why are you saying all these personal issues? Just deal with it!" Well, for me, this is dealing with it and it's also something that I believe multiple people deal with, straight or gay. Also, writing helps me a lot.

The people pleasing is such an important part of this conversation because if I don't get a response that I think is satisfactory from someone, I take it very personally. I feel like I've done something wrong instead of just allowing myself to think that this other person is busy, doesn't feel like talking, or what have you. Why is it my fault that this person isn't responding? It's not and I'm finally starting to understand that.
I'm not a people pleaser at work. True, I want my co-workers to enjoy my company and I want to make them laugh but I'm not going to sit back and let conversations pass that I feel are inappropriate. I'm not going to allow a superior make me feel less than because they're just a person like me and I'll say hello, even if you're the're a person, not a deity.

How do I get this duality into a single constant? Now that is the question that I have yet to answer. How do I become the person that I am at work while I'm dating someone or while I'm out at a party where there is someone that I like? How do I see this confident person in the mirror or when I have personal reflection?
When I am alone and thinking...every night before bed, I see my faults and also where I can make improvements. Making personal improvements are a good thing but you have to accept yourself for who you are and where you are in life. I have to learn to not dwell on someone that doesn't respond the way I expect them to because that's my personal expectation and you should never put those expectations on others. No one is like you and that's what makes living life so amazing.

I see myself as a very positive and optimistic person. Where does being negative get you except...nowhere? My goal is to constantly remind myself that I am loved and lovable. That I am a good person who truly just wants to make people smile but at the same time, look out for myself.

The duality is coming into a singularity these days. This constant reminder that Stuart Smalley taught us all, "You're good enough, smart enough, and dogonit, people like you!" is one that I will be using daily. Instead of thinking of the negatives about myself, I'll focus on the positives. When a negative thought comes into my head, I'll replace it with optimism which I'm so good at.

My hope is that we will all become aware of our duality and work on bringing the multiples into one. Think of the world we could have if we were selfless and giving people who saw the amazingness that is in each of us. If that consistency was there, what a happy place we'd be in. My hope is also that you'll help others on their journey towards a singularity of optimism. If you have a friend that is being pessimistic, help them turn that frown upside down.

If I can do it, anybody can! And if you need a reminder about what happiness is, here you go:

"Happiness is like peeing your pants. Everyone can see it but only you can feel its warmth."