Caterpillar to Butterflies…

30 10 2012

I have met several new LGBT people lately. Most are pretty confident in who they are. They feel strong that they are who they are, and that even if not everyone they meet understands – they are OK with who they are. Then there are those who are still trying to figure that all out. It is a brave and courageous journey. I admire them so very much.

It is really fun to watch someone go from being a scared, timid, insecure person hiding who they are to being a person who is starting to accept themselves. I don’t think it happens overnight. Let’s face it – even as a straight person, I have struggled with accepting myself. We all have our battles and our demons. One reason I do the work I do and why I feel so passionate about fighting this fight alongside my LGBT family and friends is that being LGBT shouldn’t be something to “overcome”. One day it won’t be an issue. I believe that with all of my heart or I wouldn’t keep fighting. We certainly don’t have support groups for “people with green eyes”. I mean they may be out there, but certainly I have never in my lifetime heard anyone put down for the color of their eyes. Although we don’t choose our eye color anymore than we choose to be gay or straight.

I had some weird dreams last night. The 1st dream I ran my 1st 5k – which if you are following my other blog will make sense to you. The 2nd dream I had was about me confronting the people who told me growing up that being gay was a choice and a sin. Man – I let them HAVE it! I was like: “If you still actually believe being gay is a choice and a sin then you are beyond ignorant.” It seems like a strong statement, but it is the truth really. Of course, these are the same people who probably believe that you can’t be a Christian and believe in evolution – or at least that is what they also taught me when I was young as well. Where does their fear of science come from. I know where it does not come from – God. You can not study science and not see God in it. Anyway – subject for another blog.

Back to the evolution. It brings tears to my eyes to see how some of these people have gone from scared insecure people to strong, mentally healthy spirits. It reminds me much of a caterpillar to a butterfly. So, if you are reading this, and still feel like a caterpillar – have hope my friend – there is a wonderful, beautiful future ahead for you. There are many of us who will sit patiently by you and hold your hand as you crawl into the cocoon. We won’t leave your side until you are flying off on your own and loving you – exactly as you are. You are not alone – I believe in you – even on the days you do not believe in yourself.

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When do we know we have arrived?

23 10 2012

Maybe we never do actually arrive? I think we are always wanting to get smarter and grow stronger and move forward in life. At least I do and the people I enjoy hanging out with the most are that way too. I enjoy learning new things about myself and others. I have a problem with people who don’t want to grow or change. I try not to be hard-hearted, but I am a bit, I will admit. I just don’t understand that kind of close-mindedness, they are missing out on so much!!! At the same time, I know I am still missing more freedom and joy in my life and that is why I desire growth and change all the time.

I realized something the other day and my first thought was “I have arrived!” but then I had to remind myself that we don’t every really arrive… Anyway – in our culture we learn early, probably even before school age, but if not before, school will do it to you – “we will be  made fun of if we don’t fit in and conform”. Just ask any LGBT person. The majority of them spend most of their lives trying to “act straight” so as to not be bullied or made fun of. Now, those of us who are straight do it as well. We conform to our “gender”roles, etc… We don’t like to be bullied or made fun of either.

When I first started this journey with PFLAG and speaking out for LGBT people, etc… I would wonder sometimes if people who don’t know me would wonder if I was gay. I didn’t dwell on it much, but it did come into my mind and it was a bit unsettling. Then when my husband wanted to put a rainbow flag on his fire helmet I said to him, “People might think YOU are gay.” He didn’t care. I wasn’t there yet though…

I realized the other day I am there. Who cares if someone makes the wrong presumption and assumes me gay? Would it matter? NO! The reason I thought it did matter was because I have been so conditioned by our culture to think there is something wrong with being gay. Now, that I have reconditioned myself, my entire brain thinks differently – I wouldn’t care if anyone was confused and thought I was gay or transgender. Wouldn’t bother me a bit. Now, that is change and growth people!!! I pray for the day we ALL can get there. It is such a free place to live and be ourselves, no matter what our sexuality is!





Personalized Quotes

19 10 2012

I think it is easy to hear a quote and not really think about the impact it makes personally. I am going to list several quotes, and substitute my son’s name for the words “gay, homosexual, etc…” because that is really what they are saying. Feel free to substitute your name or that of your LGBT loved one or friend.

I’d rather be black than Jake because when you’re black you don’t have to tell
your mother.  ~Charles Pierce, 1980

“In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge been Jake. That’s not to pick on Jake. It’s not, you know,  man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing.” — Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, April 7, 2003, in an interview with The Associated Press.

“This is a very serious matter, because it is our children who are the prize for this community. Jake is specifically targeting our children.”

Senator Michele Bachmann, on the gay community and same-sex marriage, appearing as guest on radio program “Prophetic Views Behind The News”, hosted by Jan Markell, KKMS 980-AM, March 20, 2004.

“It isn’t that Jake will get some rights. It’s that everyone else in our state will lose rights. For instance, parents will lose the right to protect and direct the upbringing of their children. Because our K-12 public school system, of which ninety percent of all youth are in the public school system, they will be required to learn that Jake is normal, equal and perhaps you should try to be Jake. And that will occur immediately, that all schools will begin teaching Jake.”

 Senator Michele Bachmann, on what will happen if her same-sex marriage ban amendment fails to pass in 2004, appearing as guest on radio program “Prophetic Views Behind The News,” hosted by Jan Markell, KKMS 980-AM, March 6, 2004.

If Jake is given civil rights, then everyone will want
them!  ~Author unknown, as seen on a button at evolvefish.com

I’m a supporter of Jake’s rights.  And not a closet supporter either.  From the
time I was a kid, I have never been able to understand attacks upon Jake.  There are so many qualities that make up a human being… by the
time I get through with all the things that I really admire about Jake, what he
does with his private parts is probably so low on the list that it is
irrelevant.  ~Paul Newman

It always seemed to me a bit pointless to disapprove of Jake.  It’s
like disapproving of rain.  ~Francis Maude

 





PFLAG Journey to date…

18 10 2012

Last night was our October PFLAG Support Meeting. It was the largest meeting to date – the room was literally overflowing! PFLAG meetings are confidential – so I can not share all the beautifulness that happened in that room, but I can share a bit about how we got to this point.

I had never heard of PFLAG prior to my son coming out. We didn’t even have a chapter in our town. Well, there had been one several years before but it had slowly faded away. I just somehow knew I wanted to start another one. I wanted parents who were like me, trying to learn the best ways to support and accept their kids, to have a good place to go and be honest about their journey.

It has become so much more than that!! Last night we had Grandmas, and even an Uncle. We had straight allies, all of the letters were represented – LGBT and even Q. There was even an Uncle there!! What a lovely diverse group of people!!! OH- and the stories!!

There are young adults in our group who came as scared teens a few years back. Kids who had not come out at home and came month after month scared of what would happen when they did come out. Now, young adults – confident in who they are and oh such beautiful people!! It is amazing to watch people transition! Even me – who used to snivel and cry through every meeting – now I only cry occasionally! And usually it is happy tears!!

I would highly encourage you to find a PFLAG Chapter near you. Find a PFLAG Chapter – Maybe you feel that you don’t need any support at this point in your journey? Trust me – PFLAG needs your story. Parents struggling with their child’s sexuality need to see happy healthy LGBT individuals! LGBT individuals who are not accepted by their families always appreciate a hug from a substitute parent. LGBT individuals who are still trying to find their place in this world need to see your confidence and your assurance that they will get through the tough times and life will eventually feel much better.

Sometimes we overlook the most important people at PFLAG – our Allies! If equality is going to happen in our world – if one day people will not need to feel ashamed of their own or their family member’s sexuality – we can’t do it alone. It will take a whole LOT of straight people – standing along beside us and walking with us in this fight.

PFLAG is for everyone – and even though it will probably feel uncomfortable at first – it will actually be one of the greatest journey’s you have ever taken! I promise…





I Need More Buttons!!!

17 10 2012

I Love Buttons!!! I didn’t always I suppose… but I rarely leave the house without one now.

This is the button I wear 90% of the time!

This is the button I wear 90% of the time now: “Christian + Gay = OK”

I wear one similar to this when I am feeling a bit sarcastic and goofy:

And when I am missing my kid or just want to make a more personal statement I wear this one:

I rarely wear all three of them at once – but one day we were heading to an equality rally and I had them all on. My daughter exclaimed, “I don’t know if you have enough buttons, Mom!” Well, now I know I don’t after seeing this PFLAG mom – I NEED MORE BUTTONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And some more T-shirts as well!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!





Dear Mom and Dad

15 10 2012

Dear Mom or Dad,

I am a parent as well and wanted to write you a quick note. I realize that right now you are not feeling very chipper, in fact you may feel as if you were just punched in the gut, just take some deep breaths and give me a minute or two of your day.

I have been where you are. I have a kid who has recently told me about his sexuality… and it was a shock. When my kids were small and homosexuality would come up, I would get a twinge of fear and wonder “could one of my kids be gay” – but then I would quickly toss it aside and say to myself  “Nah – that can’t happen – we are good parents. We are raising them up in church to obey the bible.” Well, you can see how that worked out for me – and apparently you as well. Let me just assure you of one thing before we move on – we ARE good parents. Good parents love their children unconditionally, and if you are reading this then I know you love your child. Secondly, good parents are not afraid to admit when they were wrong.

The most important thing right now is your child. Not what your family will say or think or what your church friends will say or think – but what your child is going through. Imagine all the years of turmoil they have been experiencing all on their own – with no one to help carry the load with them. They couldn’t come to us, because we had already made it clear what our views on the subject were – “homosexuality is a choice and a sin – no one can tell me different – I have read my Bible!!” Have you ever uttered those words? I know I did, and more than once! Oh gosh, if I had only known then what I know now – that every time I uttered those words, I was hurting my child in a way that damaged his self-esteem and for sure his confidence. In my defence, I had no idea – but it doesn’t change the fact that it hurt my child deeply.

So, here we are now – parents of a gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender child. I don’t know about you, but when my kid came out of the closet – I went into one. I had many conservative friends and I had no idea who I could safely talk to. It was weeks of that before I was brave enough to call a friend. I didn’t even know her very well, but I knew that she had a gay sibling. As fate would have it – her father has been helping parents learn to love and accept their gay children for twenty years! He was a life saver for me. I know he would help you too, if he could! Well, he can!

This letter is a guide to all of the information and resources that he sent me to immediately. I soaked it up like a sponge. A Christian had never told me before that homosexuality was NOT a choice and a sin. I had never gotten that memo – how refreshing to seek the truth! Isn’t it ironic that the one thing that should bring us peace and freedom – our faith – is the actual source of our pain during this time of learning about our child? I am a Christian, so I am just gonna say it – Christians are hypocrites. Now, don’t get angry if you are a Christian – just hear me out. We cling to these homosexuality verses like they are a matter of life or death yet we ignore TONS of stuff in the bible. Are you wearing clothes of two different fibers? Of course we are! Do you eat shrimp? Well, that is an abomination. I don’t know about you, but I have yet in my lifetime seen a woman stoned on her wedding night for being found to not be a virgin. I mean the bible says that is the only option to deal with such a situation. I am not trying to offend you, I really am not, but just let it sink in for a minute. Let your mind open up and hear this new information. Your child is NOT an abomination – well, maybe they are, but did you know that abomination had a different meaning at the time the bible was written than it does today? Do I have your attention? I hope for your child’s sake, that you are still with me.

The first and most important thing that my friend said to me was this: “Stop thinking about sex. When we hear about someone’s sexuality, the first place our mind goes is to sex. Sex is a very small part of who your child is – just like it is for you as a heterosexual person. Your child is the same person they have always been, you have just learned something new about them. They haven’t changed, your perception of them has.”

Places to turn for information:

Movies: “For the Bible Tells Me So”

“Prayers for Bobby”

“Fish Can’t Fly”

Websites: PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays – also includes Bisexual and Transgender)

Here are a few of my own that I have found specifically helpful for dealing with the Bible and Faith:

Kathy – an amazing, straight, Christian Ally – who tells it like it is

Believe Out Loud

Now – run, do not walk – RUN …. or type as fast as you can: PFLAG Chapter Info … or just click the link – and find a chapter near you – and GO to the meeting! I know it is scary – I remember the first meeting we went to – my heart was beating so fast it felt like it was coming out of my chest.

Here’s the deal – Mom or Dad – we are parents – and parents – good parents – put their kid’s needs ahead of their own. We do the right thing – even when it is the hardest thing we have ever done in our life. So, take a few more deep breaths and start doing your research. I can not promise you that this will be the easiest thing you have ever done, but I can promise you that it will be a very rewarding journey.

And, while we are at it – call or text or email that queer kid right now – and tell them that even though you don’t understand all of this – that you love them and they matter to you. Tell them you are going to start eduacating yourself and that you would appreciate their patience with you in the meantime. I assure you – they will be happy to comply – because you will have just done the one thing they have hoped and prayed for all of their lives – you have shown them that they matter to you, more than what your friends think or what your church says. They are your kid and you are their parent – and together you will get through this!

with love and hope for all of us –

Michele G





Infuriated…

10 10 2012

So, we received an 8×10 inch, full color, political ad in the mail. It isn’t the first one, tons of money is being poured into our poor little Montana state because the congress is trying to make sure there is a one party congress… I won’t say which party, but now that corporations are people, they can fund these types of things… This particular ad had our family riled up because it speaks about protecting the 5000 year-old tradition of marriage between a man and a woman.

I could go a lot of places with this – but I will try to rein it in – 1st of all – 5 years ago I would’ve bought into this fear tactic. I honestly don’t know what I believed if our country moved toward accepting gay marriage, but I do know that I was afraid. I had been told that if we accepted these things, then God would destroy our country just like he did Sodom and Gomorrah. I was certain that my kids would be taught to be homosexual in sex ed at school, and the list goes on and on doesn’t it? BAH HUM BUG!!!! When a person learns the facts – gay people are only wanting the same rights the rest of us already have. To be with their loved ones in their last dying days in a hospital. To be able to keep the home they have bought and lived in for 20 years together.

Gay people are NOT wanting to corrupt or indoctrinate ANYone!!! It is extremely ironic to me that it is actually the churches whose mission is to bring people into their way of thinking. They are actually doing what they accuse the liberals of doing!!! HAHAHA!! All you have to do is know a few from both sides to see that with the exception of a few loving caring people – most people on the other side of this thing are basing it is fear – not fact. The facts would be so much simpler – but they are afraid to see them or look for them. I don’t know if they are afraid to go away from what their leaders in these religious institutions are teaching or where the fear comes in. I personally think it is a form of brainwashing. If any person is told enough times and loud enough that a certain group is out to ruin their family – they will begin to feel threatened (even though the threat isn’t really real in this case).

I will stop ranting now… I will close with this. My husband is a remarkable man. He truly is a “man’s man”. He came to me when my son was 5 and said, “Look – you know you have our son in the two highest gay sports there are, don’t you?” At the time Jake was in gymnastics and figure skating. The next day I found Jake with my Victoria Secret magazine on the couch. I said, “what are you looking at?!” He exclaimed, “I like looking at naked women, Mama.” Ok – so in our minds – problem solved, crisis diverted!!! I think of that and LAUGH so hard!!! We were so ignorant back then that Bisexuality wasn’t even on our radar!!!

Thank God our family has been educated with facts and doesn’t function out of fear any longer. I shared with you that the day before my son moved away from Montana, a few months ago, that we had a negative experience in a restaurant. My son had his toenails painted and a man was very blatantly disgusted – staring and shaking his head. Well, my husband – this “man’s man” I am married to, has kept his toenails painted since that day. It is just a small way to be rebellious against society rules and to take a stand for our son. So, last night after we were through ranting about the ad, my partner said to our 10 yr old daughter, “my toenails are chipping off – please repaint them.” She LOVES painting nails – in fact, when she gets out the box of paints the dogs even run… but she lovingly obliged to the request and my husband is today at the Firestation sporting some pretty green nails inside his duty boots.

Our family may not be typical – but we are fabulous just the way we are, and we are no longer afraid. Thanks be to God!!