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!!!!





Rest In Peace

12 01 2013

Today we celebrate a champion. She never won an Olympic Gold Metal and most people wouldn’t even recognize her name. She is a champion none the less. Jeanne Manford was a mom. I will be the first to admit that moms are not perfect, but with the exception of a few crazies out there, moms are unique in the love that they give their children. Just get in between a Mama grizzly bear and her cubs if you want an example, although you would probably not live to tell that tale. Moms love their kids like no one else. Jeanne was this kind of mom. In 1972 Jeanne found out that her son, Morty,  had been beaten at a Hilton Hotel in New York City. Morty was gay. People stood by as he was beaten, including New York City Police officers.

Let’s be honest, in 1972 people still thought that if someone “chose” to be gay that they deserved whatever they got. Unfortunately, there are still ignorant people today who think the same way. On the good side, there are far fewer of them and they are decreasing all of the time. This change is brought about by heroes and champions like Jeanne Manford. Jeanne had never been an activist of any sort prior to this event. I can SO identify with that. If someone would have told me that one day I would be championing for a cause, ANY cause, I would have just laughed. It is that love of a mother thing that will get you every time!

So, after Morty recovered Jeanne started what is now PFLAG. It started with about 20 people and has now spread all over the country and even other parts of the world. If you are going to bet against something – probably don’t bet against a mother’s love. We moms are tough old birds when it comes to our kids. We will do things for them that we wouldn’t do for ourselves.

Jeanne sadly passed away this past week, but she will never really “die”. Her legacy will live on in parents around the world who rally with their kids. Not just LGBT parents, but all parents who begin to fight for what they feel will make this world a better place for all of our children. Making this world a better place is a group effort and it will take all of us. Let’s get to work!

Here are Jeanne and Morty in a New York City parade! Thank you Jeanne for standing up and showing us the way to show the world that we love our children unconditionally!

JeaneManford





Gay Dad Project

8 01 2013

Have you seen this? Gay Dad Project

You will enjoy it!! A friend of mine’s daughter is heading it up. If you scroll down to the 2nd story – that is my friend, Pete. It breaks my heart that the discrimination continues today. He is right, it is from the two places all of us should be able to lean on – family and the church. Heartbreaking!!





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?





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!





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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!