PFLAG Odessa, TX

27 08 2013

My mom recently invited me to go on a trip with her. She will be attending her 48th High School Reunion. It is in New Mexico. We will also spend a few days in my hometown, Odessa, TX. I was born and raised there and spent the first 30 years of my life in Odessa. I am excited to go see a few folks and to eat some great food. I am especially excited to be a guest at PFLAG Odessa. I can not believe I have been gone for over 10 years, will be in town for 3 days and it worked out to coincide with their monthly meeting.

When I contacted the president of PFLAG to check on the meeting, everything just fell together. Through a series of emails she asked me to speak that night and of course I said yes. Then as emails progressed she eventually had all of my info for a short introduction on their website including my maiden name in case anyone would recognize it. Then she casually mentioned that she was going to run an announcement in the local papers for the meeting.

I would be lying if I didn’t say that scared me a bit. Not for myself, per say, but I have some other family members whom I share that name with who are not really as supportive of equality as I am. I was a little concerned about how they would feel having their name associated with this controversial subject. The next day I mentioned it to my mom. She paused for a moment and I thought for sure she was going to say something like: “I am not so sure that is a good idea.”

But she did not. She paused and then in her thick southern accent said, “well, honey, this is how I see it. If someone wants to get upset or not be our friend over this, they were never really our friend anyway.”

You go Mom!!! She is of course 100% correct. I love my bisexual son, always have, always will. Just like I love my straight daughter and will love my youngest no matter who she turns out to love. If someone has a problem with that, it is exactly that – THEIR problem – no mine. And I refuse to let it be.

I believe that it was God that coincided my short visit exactly at the same time as PFLAG Odessa’s meeting. I have always prayed daily – “Lord, send me.” So, who am I to not go when He calls. I will go and share my story. I will laugh and cry with new friends as we join together across this nation to increase knowledge and spread love – one town at a time, one meeting at a time. one person at a time. It is my honor to be a part of that!!!!

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Work Meeting Gossip

4 06 2013

I recently found out that a group of former co-workers discussed our family at a business meeting. Inappropriate? yes! More specifically, they discussed the fact that my son is bisexual. One lady even went on to talk about how disgusting it is that he is in ministry with the church. Funny thing – I found this out two weeks after this same lady had asked my husband a very large favor – one of which my husband was willing to do for her, but she had already found someone to do it when he returned her phone call.

You see, we were not just in business with this group of people, they also professed to be our friends. This is where the pain comes in, yet, is it good to know the truth, even if it is painful. An actual friend shared this story with my mom. A friend who has a gay relative and happened to be at the business meeting that night. Want to hear something ironic? One of the people at that meeting that night also has a queer child, but they don’t know it. The kid has shared this secret with me, but not with their family yet. It feels like karma in a way, and that almost makes me want to laugh, yet, it is just too sad to laugh. I know that there will be much pain in that family ahead before healing can take place.

When someone out right judges my kid I tend to go to a place of wanting to compare morality. My son is yet to be in a serious relationship. Yet, two of these women are divorced. Jesus had a whole heck of a lot to say about divorce and not one word about homosexuality. So, that is where my anger takes me – to a place of wanting to shove their own immorality in their face. After a few days or weeks, and some serious prayer, reflection, and just some plain ole deep breaths, I realize that is not the right way to go about this. First of all, they would still walk away believing my son is an immoral, unethical, pervert. They would just be very angry on top of all those beliefs. Secondly, it is not my place to judge them anymore than it is their place to judge my son. I don’t want to be known for judgement. I want to be known for love.

After several weeks, I have come to a place of forgiveness. Although I still feel sad by the betrayal and will not be allowing these people into my life again, I do feel that I have forgiven them. I realize that they really do think they are following God. That also makes me very sad. One day, they will realize that the few Bible verses that they are clinging to about homosexuality are being interpreted wrong and were written about pagan worship rituals and are not talking about committed same-sex couples. When that day comes, we can be acquaintances, but we can never be friends again.

Friends come to you directly when they have a question or a concern, they don’t discuss you in a group of people at a party, a business meeting or any other setting. Friends love you and stand by you, even if they don’t understand what you are going through. I luckily have a lot of real friends, and through this journey they become more precious to me every day.





Dear Me…

8 04 2013

Lately I have thought a lot about the old me. The me that was a much more closed-minded, rigid soul of a person. I often ponder what words would have caused me to become more open-minded and less rigid person earlier than I did on my life’s journey. Here is a letter that I hope I would have listened to back then:

Dear Younger Me,

I am going to say some things that may make you feel uncomfortable. Listen anyway. I know that you tend to get defensive and that comes from your insecurity. Please realize that you can trust me, I have grown to love you over the years much more than you love you now. You have a lot of good to offer this world – spend more time looking at your good qualities and less time focusing on your shortcomings.

I want to talk to you about something very dear to your heart – your church. There are many good people and good things happening there, but there are some things you need to be aware of. First of all, if any leader uses fear tactics to sway you – beware. Fear is NEVER from God, so when your youth leader tells you that Catholics, Mormons, and the like are all going to hell and that if you hang around with them that they will draw you away from God, do NOT believe it. I am still not sure where this mentality came from, but it is garbage. You do not need to fear being drawn away from God by anyone or anything. He loves you more than anything, and you have a heart to seek Him. Trust yourself and your faith and all will be well. Love people, and leave their eternal destiny where it belongs – in God’s hands. That is one thing you do not need to worry about.

Also, when you are told that if you do not tell every single person that you meet about Jesus, and they end up in hell, then on Judgement Day their blood will be poured on your hands – literally – don’t take that on. That is entirely too much pressure for a young person, or any other person. Can you imagine if a human was responsible for the eternal destiny of every other human? Eternity is God’s job – not yours. Again – Love people, and leave their eternal destiny where it belongs – in God’s hands. Trust me, He is capable of handling things.

Are you still with me? Take a deep breath before you read the next part. Everything you have ever been taught or told about homosexuality is false. Everything – all of it. Yes, I realize you have seen that in the bible and this is not making sense to you. I know that fear and unbelief are rising up inside your chest right now. Take some more deep breaths and remember that Jesus is truth – and that God never uses fear. This fear is not from God. This fear is from what you have been falsely taught, and it is ok move past the fear into truth. You will begin to research and will find out some amazing things. For instance, the word homosexuality was added to the bible in the 1940’s and the original Hebrew and Greek are FAR from what the bible says now in many instances, not just about homosexuality. You will learn to take the bible seriously, but it can not be taken literally in many instances. That is fine and dandy, and again there is nothing to fear because the best news is that God is right with you while you are learning and growing. and God is still speaking today. The bible is a great resource, but God is the best resource – tap into Him.

If I haven’t blown your mind already I want to tell you one more thing. One of your children will not be straight. I won’t tell you which one now because I do not want to rob you of the wonderful journey it will be when you find out. I will tell you that they know at a pretty early age and because of your previous stance and beliefs about homosexuality, they are afraid to tell you. The great news is that now that you know the truth, you can alleviate those fears. Talk about it – make sure they know that some people are born different and that it is fine with God and you. God doesn’t make mistakes. Buy more gender neutral toys for all of your kids. Boys can wear pink and girls can play trucks. Open your mind and make your home a more welcoming space for everyone to grow in whatever ways they desire. Life is full of possibilities – open up your mind to them.

One more thing, life is wonderful. I know right now, you must feel overwhelmed with all of this information, and maybe even a bit sad and grieving that life is not what you thought or expected. Allow yourself some time to adjust, but know this – once these truths begin to set you free, your life will be better than ever. You will feel more free to be yourself and that also helps you to allow those around you to be themselves without judging them, and it is a great place to be! Bottom line – just love people exactly as they are, leave the judging to God, although I think He spends much more time loving than any of the other things people accuse Him of. Just love people and the rest will fall into place.

Peace out – Me

 





As a Mom…

13 02 2013

How does it feel as a mom to see things in the news. It depends on the day. Somedays I can distance myself from it and not let it bother me. Such as the recent teacher in Indiana and the students who don’t want gay students at their prom. (you can read about it here) I can read that, and tears come into my eyes and I wonder if the gay kids have supportive family. Are they even out to their family yet? Or are they dealing with all of the rejection and judgement alone – within their own head? It breaks my heart – but I can rationalize – “that isn’t my kid” and I can store it away on a shelf of sadness – yet not let it affect me.

Why would I do that? because the pain is too great to bear. The percentage of those LGBT kids who don’t know that life will get better and go ahead and end their own lives before they find out – it seems like too much pain to carry around. Somedays I just can’t do it.

Other days I can. Other days I allow myself to feel what those parents and kids must be feeling. On those days I want to draw my sword and charge like a Samuria Warrior in battle. Those days I want to hug all of those parents and kids – absorb their pain and let it drive me to continue on in this fight for justice. Don’t forget that one day, not that long ago, I would’ve been the one applauding that teacher. I would have been the parent so proud of my child for standing up for their “Christian values” I was the one blind to the pain and hurt that people of faith are actually causing in this world. I was the exact person I now feel such disdain for.

There comes in hope – If I could change – if my Southern Baptist Mama could stand at Montana Pride holding a sign above her head that read “1 Straight, Proud, Christian Grandma” and playing “Over the Rainbow” on her boombox so that the man on the ladder screaming his judgment and shame couldn’t be heard – if we can change – there really is hope. What will it take? The truth – the truth will set you free – just like it did us. The truth about what Jesus said about homosexuality – NOTHING by the way. The truth about what the bible really said in original Hebrew and Greek. The Truth – that is all that is needed.

I have a dear friend whom I am proud to call my friend. She recently attended several session by an Ex-gay minister, who is unfortunately spreading lies about homosexuality. He is not speaking the truth. She tried to stand up on the last night during a Q & A time and read a statement that was a few minutes long. She was not only thrown out of that “loving” Christian church – she was nearly physically assaulted. There is something very wrong with what is happening in our churches today. You can read what happened  here .

 

In case you don’t read it all – this is the part you NEED to know. This is the statement Kathy was going to read – this is the TRUTH about rejecting our children when they come out:

“Do you know the consequences of rejecting your gay youth as opposed to accepting them?

If parents with gay children were to follow the teachings and therapeutic tools offered by Kent Paris, your gay youth are EIGHT times more apt to attempt suicide than those gay youth who are accepted.

They may suffer depression SIX times more often than those who are accepted.

They are THREE times more likely to get involved in drug and alcohol abuse than those gay youth that are accepted.

They are THREE times more likely to contract HIV and/or STDs than accepted gay youth

This is research; this is scientific, peer reviewed research.

If you are the parent of a gay youth, when you leave here, stop on the way home and buy a package of razors, a bottle of whiskey, a hypodermic needle and a lifetime supply of antibiotics because that is the life you will more often impose on your gay child through your rejection and shaming.

This is what you will be doing to the child you have been charged to raise in the way they should go.

Do not try to force your child to be something they are not, something to your liking. You will not only be responsible for the effects on their mental and physical health, you will also, in all likelihood, push them from God.”





Another Step for Equality

28 12 2012

Right this very minute it is midnight in Maine. Right this very minute couples are getting ready to be married – Same Sex couples no less. It gives me chills. This next Tuesday the new law goes into effect in Maryland as well. 1/5th of our states now recognize marriage for ALL couples – that is 10 out of 50 states. It is very exciting indeed.

I hate to always harp on the same thing – but I often find myself going back mentally to how far I have come in my beliefs of equality. I used to be such a bigot. I never considered it a Civil rights issue – only a moral one. I felt these people were disobeying God himself – so why should they receive the privilege of marriage. It should be upheld for those of us who were obeying the heavenly Father and living a moral life. What a farce – it is just still so embarrassing to me that I thought that way. So, prideful and high and mighty – considering myself so much more moral simply because I was born straight. I know I have apologized – but I must do it just one more time. I want to apologize for all of the people who have hurt you – openly and behind your back. All of the people who have considered themselves closer to God – more in sync with Him – simply because of who you love.

I feel like I want to write the exact words that would get the religious right’s attention. I feel a burden to do so. Yet, I know realistically that until they are ready within themselves to receive the truth, my words are not going to matter. I will put my energy into something that can be useful. I will hug the brokenhearted, I will be an adopted parent to those who are parentless, I will love as much as I can and continue to speak up and share my story with any who want to hear it.

I will rejoice – rejoice right now with the couples who have been waiting many years for the chance to publicly embrace the one they love. People who have paid taxes just like all of the straight citizens have all of their adult lives now have a civil right that the rest of us have taken for granted. It is a thing to rejoice and be happy about. One day at a time, one state at a time, one couple at a time.





Dogs

12 11 2012

This morning as I watched our dogs greet us I was overcome with the joy they were showing. I can’t help but wonder what the world would be like if we all loved as unconditionally and were as forgiving as our dogs.

Wouldn’t it be a beautiful place to be?





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.