Monthly Archives: November 2009

I want to meet this woman!

Thank you Heidi for sharing your story with me and allowing me to share it here.  It is beautiful, as are YOU.

Heidi and Serene Gibson

Heidi and Serene Gibson

“When I was 13 years old in the 7th grade I came home from basketball practice and told my parents I wanted to quit. Mind you I was 6′2 when I was 13 and still am at 32. With that height advantage and the love that I have for sports my parents couldn’t understand why I would want to quit. I was sitting with my mom at the kitchen table. I kept telling her “I just don’t like it..” and she put her hand on mine and said “There’s more to it than that Heidi – just tell me how you feel.” At that moment I began to cry – sob actually.

At that moment I told my mom I didn’t feel right. I was uncomfortable and scared because I wasn’t like the other girls. I didn’t like the same things they did, I didn’t want the same things they did and I didn’t even act the way they did.

I’ve never since gotten a hug as big as the one my mom gave me at that moment. She put my hands in her face and said these words,

“It’s ok baby. You just put a smile on your beautiful face, walk tall and proud. I understand more than you think I do, I understand more than you do. But what I want you to know is that I love you and there is no reason to tell others how you feel. There is no reason for you to talk to kids at school about this. Don’t stereotype yourself.  Just smile and love who you are as I do..”

I had no idea that I was gay, but she did. She loves and loved me regardless. It was tough back then, much different than it is now. When I went to college I wanted to fit in, I dated boys and hated it. I decided I would try and be who society wants me to be. I married my best friend – who just happened to be born a man. My mom cried on my wedding day – not because she was happy for her baby getting married – but because she knew I was doing it to try to be something I wasn’t. It didn’t last. In fact it took longer to plan the wedding than it did to get rid of it. I was depressed and couldn’t take any more.

I was again married June 4th 2009 in Mills County, Iowa to my amazing bride and best friend. We had a reception at home in Salt Lake City for our friends and family this past August. It was amazing to see tears in my moms eyes – this time they were real, this time she was happy and proud and this time she knew her baby was being a mother and showing her own little girl what it’s like to live life the way my life was meant to be lived. It was a beautiful day.

Not all are as lucky to have the amazing mother that I have. But I would like to end this by saying it doesn’t matter who loves you or supports you. The most love and admiration comes from within. And no matter what, there are people like myself who love you for ‘who you are’, not ‘what you are’, because you truly are amazing, loved and beautiful.

I concur with Heidi… find that self-love that is deep inside. It is magical where it will take you, as it did Heidi. I would love each of you to reply to this post with your story… good, bad or indifferent.  It is the conversations that create the change.

I hope we can have those courageous conversations with our family members at the dinner table this Thrusday.

Faith Restored

Church Opens Doors for Homeless Gay Teens

I am always grateful to find these types of articles and to have my FAITH restored in religion. YES, a church acting like a church.

A church-turned-shelter for homeless youth in Queens, New York is a far cry from sleeping on the streets after a $200,000 renovation and a partnership with the Ali Forney Center for LGBT youth.

By Michelle Garcia

ALI FORNEY KIDS 3 X390 (SION FULLANA) | ADVOCATE.COM

A converted church in Queens, N.Y., may look like a pleasant youth hostel, but many of its residents made a tough journey to find this new place to call home.

The Ali Forney Center, New York City’s top service organization for homeless youth, found a partner in the local Episcopal diocese, which also took interest in the hardships that many LGBT homeless youths face. The partnership resulted in a $200,000 renovation of St. Andrew’s Church in the Astoria neighborhood of Queens, where 16 young people can now sleep soundly.

Carl Siciliano, executive director of the center, says he’s grateful for the church’s philanthropic outreach.

“So many of these young people are rejected by their families because of religion,” he says. “Kids come in who have been put through exorcisms, and we’ve had kids whose parents make them go see priests who tell them they’re evil and hateful and that they’re going to hell. It’s a really upsetting and unfortunate situation that so many young people are put through this kind of trauma by their parents’ religious beliefs, so it’s very moving to see a religious organization that’s able to say that these youth should be affirmed and cared for, so I’m very grateful to the Episcopal diocese of Long Island for their support.”

Read the rest of the article here

I recently watched the film “For the Bible Tells Me So” which was very well done.  It so closely parallels my own story in taking on the Mormon church in the recent events surrounding Proposition 8.  Our youth are dying because of the sermons they hear in their church… which should be a place of refuge and security, rather than fear and condemnation.

I continue to hear the heartfelt words of Mary Griffith…

“Before you echo Amen in your home or place of worship, think and remember…a child is listening.”

As an ex-mormon zealot I am forever grateful that my God told me to put my arms around my child and tell him “You are okay, I love you, just the way you are. You are Gods gift to me, always have been and that hasn’t changed”.

I only wish more religions who preach God as an omnipotent, all loving being would behave in accordance with what they preach and follow His example.

You decide…Do sex tapes really matter?

I absolutely loved Meghan’s thoughts on the matter and wanted to share it with you.  What do YOU think?

Is it worse for a Republican to have been caught naked on camera or to support gay marriage? Meghan McCain weighs the hypocrisy of the Carrie Prejean scandal.

If you’re a Republican, is it better to be in favor of gay marriage or to make a sex tape? That is the question. At least that’s the question that comes to mind after the reaction to the news that anti-gay marriage champion Carrie Prejean made a sex tape. After watching several of Prejean’s media appearances this week, it was not her incredibly uncomfortable threat to walk out on Larry King that had me most unnerved; it was actually her appearance on Sean Hannity’s show. This was Prejean’s first stop on her book publicity tour, and when the sex tape came up, he proceeded to ask her if she was “in love with her boyfriend at the time that she made [it].” I’m sorry, why would being in love matter when it comes to filming yourself in a sexual context?

Carrie Prejean is only 22, after all, and a former Miss California USA, not a politician. And lest we forget, she feels the same way about gay marriage that our own president does.

Frankly, I am sick of all the hypocrisy when it comes to sex and politics in this country—and that goes for all politicians, not just Republicans. Carrie Prejean claims making that tape was “the biggest mistake” of her life—it’s the same one that many other girls have made—but it has since come out that she may have made seven other sex tapes and posed for 30 nude photos.

So I want to send this message to my little sister and other women reading this right now: Making a sex tape is never acceptable. I don’t care how in love you are with your boyfriend. Jennifer Lopez made a tape with her then-husband on their honeymoon and she is currently in a lawsuit to prevent it from being released. I am of the mind-set that you should never record anything in private that you wouldn’t mind the whole world to see. Because somehow, some day, those images will find their way to the public.

I know I’ve learned my lesson after posting a now-notorious photograph of myself on Twitter—and I had all of my clothes on. So this is not a good message for Sean Hannity to send, that if you were in love with your boyfriend it is OK. These tapes and photographs can ruin your career and your credibility, but it’s the laissez faire attitude toward them that I find so upsetting.

I find it even more disturbing that as long as you oppose gay marriage, filming yourself having sex is taken more lightly. Does anyone else see the hypocrisy in this kind of thinking? And hypocrisy is something the Republican Party can’t afford to have right now as the GOP struggles to find its identity. As I said, we all make mistakes and I don’t want to be too harsh on Carrie Prejean. She is only 22, after all, and a former Miss California USA, not a politician. And lest we forget, she feels the same way about gay marriage that our own president does.

The problem I have with my fellow Republicans is why gay marriage is the trump card in any situation. It seems that as long as you are against gay marriage, any scandal in your life can be overlooked or overcome. When you are in favor of it, however—and I have been very vocal about my support—that position defines you.

Sometimes I wonder if I were against marriage equality, whether it would make it easier for some Republicans to accept my place within this party. I have to constantly remind people of my pro-life, pro-small government stance because the only view that seems to matter is the fact that I believe my gay friends should have the same right to one of our founding ideals—that all men are created equal with certain inalienable rights. I think if Republicans truly believe in keeping government out of our lives—that should include not dictating who one can marry.

Many believe that it was Carrie Prejean’s anti-gay marriage views that cost her the Miss USA pageant earlier this year. My question is: When it comes to Republicans, is your position on gay marriage what determines your fate within the party?

8: The Mormon Proposition hits the AP news Wire

City Hall 6-17-08Here we go!  The Associate Press just released an article about the Documentary film 8: The Mormon Proposition which features our family story of heartbreak and shock as the LDS Church invested millions toward the passage of Proposition 8.   The film uncovers what went on behind closed doors that the general membership of the church has no knowledge of.  The trailer is posted on this page to the left.

As this film nears release, naturally I have anxiety concerning the eminent backlash we as a family will endure.   Yet I would not change a thing.  Our story is one of thousands…it is painful, sad and hopeful.  I hope that this film will start more conversations between family members and church members..

I hope people will keep an open mind and judge the film after seeing the facts in its entirety. I welcome an open dialogue about it. My real issue is that the lds church funded propaganda ads knowing they were lies….they were warned by their own attnys. and if I say anything I am accused of being anti-mormon or bashing the church because I differ with them. It amazes me too how the church can spin it so they are  the victims in this.  SO my question has always been….how does my sons marriage affect the sanctity of yours?  How does it threaten your freedom of religion, your freedom of speech

The consequence as we have witnessed with our own son in law and his family is heartbreaking and tragic. For a church that the family is said to be of the highest value, this act is of utmost destruction to many LDS families that now feel they are in a position of having to choose following their prophet or supporting their children’s, grandchildren’s, niece’s or nephew’s basic rights. To put families in that position is absolutely wrong. Obviously protecting our children and their basic rights to be treated equal is what we choose. I don’t believe God will condemn me  for that. We are deeply saddened that other family members have chosen otherwise.

As the consequences for our participation in this film will surely come, we will not stop standing for our children and the many others that deserve to be treated equally, with love and respect.

When Mormon Leaders Speak, Members Follow

America Forever is at it again!  They are obviously clinging to the words of Mormon Leader Dallin H. Oaks when he spoke at BYU Idaho last month  saying  that LGBT rights are “alleged”.

In response to the recent statement of “alleged’ support of the LDS Church, America Forever felt inspired and compelled to send 80,000 faxes of the attached flyer.

This is the same lovely Mormon group that bussed people into San Francisco from Utah for the Supreme Court Hearings on the legality of Proposition 8.  I think you can imagine the vile things they were shouting at me and my children.  That was absolutely the most painful day of my life… I had never experienced that much HATE so up close and personal.

I love Steven Greenstreets title “America Forever’s Batshit Insane Response”

Don’t be fooled!  Remember the words of your apostles.. bigotry is a right as long as you say it with a smile!amerforeverad

Violence against Marriage???

Thanks to Steve Greenstreet for this perspective…  I’m with you 100%

Mormons Endorse Not Leaving the Gays To Rot.

Stop the presses! The LDS church, via spokesman Michael Otterson, held a special news conference today to announce to every soul in the entire universe that they support “the right of people (gays) to have a roof over their heads and the right to work without being discriminated against.”

Wow… what a stance.

A truly groundbreaking day in the progression of civil rights. Gays can now have a roof over their heads and not be fired from their jobs thanks to the stamp of approval from the Mormons.

C’mon, really? How is this even news? Did gay folks really need the church’s nod of approval to have what Otterson himself admitted are “common-sense rights”?

Now I’m sure all the national press is eating this up with a spoon printing headlines of “WHOA! MORMONS ENDORSE SOMETHING THAT HELPS GAYS” and so on. Because that’s the angle the church wanted and that’s the easiest angle to fit into 250 words or less. And that’s just lazy journalism. Copy / Paste.

Because if you read the church’s statement, it’s really full of the same old mumbo jumbo.

Starting with this zinger:

“The Church supports this ordinance because it is fair and reasonable and does not do violence to the institution of marriage.”

Violence? Against the institution of marriage? Seriously? Has no one else called “crazy” on this yet?

I’ll tell you what, Michael Otterson Official Spokeperson for the Mormon Church, violence is exactly what your church’s policies have enacted over the past couple decades. Violence? How do you address the high suicide rate among gay Mormons? In our film, we tell the story of Stuart Matis who, after sitting through countless church meetings listening to gay bashing, stood on the steps of his Mormon church in California and put a bullet in his brain while holding note saying, in essence, “I’m sorry”. Stuart, sadly, is one of many. Or what about the countless scores of homeless teenagers roming the streets of Utah because Mormon bishops told their families to throw them to the curb? In our film, we followed a group of them around as they slept on filthy mattresses in abandoned warehouses. “There is no hope”, one of them said, “I’m surprised I’m not dead.” How does that fit into “fair and reasonable”?

I’d really like to know. Which is why I asked you a few months ago. I spoke with Kim Farah, another spokesperson with the Mormon church. I asked, “The church raised millions of dollars and engaged entire communities in helping pass Proposition 8 in California. How much of the churches efforts are being used to help the gay members, within your church, who are suffering suicide and homelessness in Utah and nationwide?”

She stumbled a bit before candidly saying, “I’m not familiar with any specific programs the church has for that. I’ll have to… I’ll have to get back to you on that.”

She never did.

The fact of the matter is that the press conference held today was a desperate attempt by the Mormon church to curb the relentlous bad press they’ve had since Proposition 8 passed. They lied about their financial reports, they coerced church members into donating exorbitant dollar amounts (some even gave their kids’ entire college savings), they ended up donating 30 of the 40 million dollars for “Yes on 8”, and then, when it was all over, they helped strip a civil right from tens of thousands of Americans.

Oh, but it’s “not an issue of civil rights”, Kim Farah said in my interview.

And the Mormon leaders know a thing or two about civil rights. Just ask Dallin Oaks, who said that the backlash his church has endured because of Prop 8 is equal to or more than the lynchings, fire hoses, police dogs, beatings, and utter chaos that blacks endured during the civil rights movement.

I could go on, but I shouldn’t have to. This was a ruse from the Mormon church. Plain and simple. And most of us should see right through it. You can’t strip rights from thousands and then endorse “um, ok you can have a house” and then call yourself a champion of civil rights.

Otterson ended his comments by saying that “In these comments and in our actions, we try to follow what Jesus Christ taught.”

Well, Jesus taught, “By their fruits, ye shall know them.”

Mr. Otterson, our film is full of your church’s fruits. Lies, tears, misery and death.

“Ye shall know them.” Indeed.

Big News Coming from the Mormons!

Big news coming from LDS Hierarchy regarding the LGBT community!

From the production team of “8, The Mormon Proposition:”

———————————————————————

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: STEVEN GREENSTREET (801) 580-3103

PRESS@MORMONPROPOSITION.COM

MORMON CHURCH LEADERS BEND UNDER SCRUTINY BROUGHT ON BY 8: THE MORMON PROPOSITION. IS THIS ANOTHER MORMON P.R. STUNT?

office

On November 10, 2009 several highly placed people featured in the upcoming documentary film 8: THE MORMON PROPOSITION were contacted by well-placed people inside the Mormon Church in anticipation of an “historic statement against discrimination” to be made by the Mormon Church.

They were told, “Watch what we are about to do. You will be pleased.”

At this hour gays and lesbians all over the world hope that the Mormon Church’s announcement will not be yet another Mormon public relations smoke screen and result in action that will result in full marriage equality for the LGBT community world-wide.

Since the release of the trailer for 8: THE MORMON PROPOSITION, intense scrutiny has been focused on Mormon involvement in the passage of Proposition 8 and allegations that the Mormon Church set up the infamous NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MARRIAGE which was the key player in Maine’s recent ban on gay marriage.

Sources close to those who called our cast and production team alerting us to the upcoming Mormon statement on discrimination say that Mormon Mitt Romney has recently put pressure on his own church to extend an olive branch to the gay community to try and deflate the anticipated negative press that will come from the release of 8: THE MORMON PROPOSITION that would likely damage his hope for a successful 2012 presidential bid.

Ironically (and we suspect in step with the Mormon’s anticipated statement on discrimination) Mormon-owned KSL TV released an article on their web site saying “Romney appears to be front-runner in 2012 election.”

http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=8613293

While the 8:TMP team hopes Mormons end their game of discrimination against the LGBT community and wishes to work with people of all faith traditions to end discrimination, we would like to assert the following.

FACT: Under similar international scrutiny, Mormon leaders have in the past made similar statements regarding being against discrimination directed towards minorities & the LGBT COMMUNITY.

FACT: Gay leaders in SLC begged Mormon leaders to back up their statements on ending discrimination against the LGBT commmunity, through Mormon support for their COMMON GROUND initiative.

FACT: Despite lip service, Mormons did not get behind the COMMON GROUND INITIATIVE and in fact worked to see the initiative’s defeat.

FACT: Despite lip service to people of color, the holiest book of Mormon scripture THE BOOK OF MORMON still refers to people of color as being “CURSED WITH A DARK SKIN, FILTHY AND LOATHSOME.”

FACT: Despite lip service to people of color, printings of MORMON DOCTRINE by beloved Mormon Apostle Bruce R. Mcconkie, assert African Americans are “marked” for not being fully behind the plan of Jesus Christ in a pre-earth life war in Heaven.

FACT: A Mormon spokesperson told 8TMP’s director “this is all about public relations and making the church look good.”

In conclusion, as Mormon heavy-hitters prepare for the so-called “historic announcement” our team would encourage Mormons to put their money and their membership by doing the following:

1. Severing all Mormon ties to the NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MARRIAGE, which works to rob the LGBT COMMUNITY of their civil rights.

2. Directing an amount of money equal to Mormon money spent in California’s Prop. 8 campaign to LGBT marriage equality.

3. Removing from all Mormon canonized scripture any reference to people of color as being “cursed or marked with a dark skin” or being “filthy and loathsome.”

4. Ask Mormon Apostle Dallin H. Oaks to retract his recent teachings on LGBT “alleged civil rights” and affirm that LGBT rights are not “alleged” but deserved and long overdue.

Our production team and cast await the day when Mormons will work with the LGBT community not only with their words, but their money and their members to achieve FULL MARRIAGE EQUALITY. This is the only way to truly advocate for the end of discrimination against ALL PEOPLE. Anything else is lip-service.

For all the Mother Bears…

Moms of gay children stand up and roar for equal rights! The civil rights movement of our day. Protect our young from the daily attack of injustice.

Watch this and see if you don’t relate….Then show it to your neighbors to help them understand why you fight for your childrens rights!

Thanks to Millie Watts, one of my favorite mother bears, for sharing this with me!