My Open Letter to the Two Gay Dads, Parents to One of the Most Special Boys in the World

Recovered File 1

It all started with a haircut. Chad, a 22 year old young man, not out about his sexuality, got into Wayne’s chair at a salon. After discovering a sincere enjoyment of each other, they went on a date a week later. Over the course of a year, they realized their slow moving relationship had built into something very solid between them. At the time, they had no idea how solid it was going to have to be.

Others noticed their mutual devotion. In 1999, Wayne’s grandmother was the one who popped the question. “When are you two getting married?” she asked them. They politely explained that same sex marriage was not legal and Grandma gave them a look they will never forget. “She looked at us like we were a dumb as a sack of potatoes,” says Chad, “She asked us if we loved each other, and we said yes, so she asked again ‘So then when are you getting married?’” It was a wake up call for the couple. They had as they call it, their “aha” moment. It was not what was legal that was important in building a family. It was the love. A few years later, they would take this lesson further by demonstrating that family is not doing only what was required, but doing what is mandated by their hearts.

Wayne and Chad married three years before it was recognized in Canada. Wayne had always wanted to be a father as well, and one Christmas, he made a proposal to Chad. “We have a great life now, but it is time to grow. Do we want to be doing just the same thing in ten years? I want to share new challenges and adventures in life with you.” The proposition resonated with Chad.

Many would deny gay men the opportunity to be parents because they cannot biologically create children on their own. For Wayne and Chad, the ability to inadvertently procreate was not a negative. They found themselves enthused where others had a sense of resignation and defeat. “As a gay couple, adoption was our version of pregnancy from an excitement point of view.  For the straight couples we met, it was the final step in a difficult journey of infertility.  When we took our adoption classes (in Canada you have to take mandatory classes in order to qualify for adoption) we were on cloud 9 which was a noticeably different head space than most the other couples in the classes.”

Their happiness seemed to be fulfilled when a beautiful baby boy was born, and they named him Grayson. There were problems right away and they were informed that Grayson would require open-heart surgery, on which they signed off immediately. Four hours after the surgery, the men were informed of another issue. It had become apparent to the medical professionals that Grayson suffered from a potentially lethal disease called Maple Syrup Urine Disease (MSUD). MSUD patients are missing an enzyme to safely breakdown leucine (an amino acid in protein).  Without that breakdown, and by taking in too much protein on any given day, they suffer immediate and irreversible brain damage. When they were informed of Grayson’s condition, Wayne and Chad did not know whether or not Grayson’s brain had already been damaged. Wayne states, “It was for me perhaps one of the worst moments of my life. That moment was numbing, paralyzing.” They were told that they could back out of the adoption if they wanted to, and no one would judge them.

But, all they could think was, “If not us, then who?” They loved Grayson, and cared about him for four days. They had signed off and worried through life saving surgery. If they were intimidated away, certainly no one else was going to step in. Still they found resolve in the fact that they undertook their future life with a conscious decision. Chad states, “We actively chose our path. Birth parents in our situation do not get to choose.”

While taking ownership over their choice, it is readily apparent that the love within them was a compelling driver to what they had to do. They have received many well-intentioned sentiments, but due to the constant and intense challenges, some comments were inaccurately hollow. “We had a lot of people tell us Hallmark-like things like ‘Life only gives you want you can handle’.  I’m sure these types of statements make that person feel good, but it made us feel like crap as it seemed like this was way more that could handle at the time,” shares Chad.

“If not us, then who?” has also been their theme as they stood up to advocate against the disease, create awareness, and fight for kids with a variety of special needs diseases. “If not us, then who?”

The couple has made it a mission to reach out about MSUD and fight the disease. They have contacted celebrities, groups, and magazines — anyone who could help. One group has stepped forward more than any other. Wayne states, “It has been the gay community that has consistently reached back to help us move forward. That’s not to say we haven’t had the support of many, many others, but it is “our” community that seems to be the most willing to speak up and use their voice to help us and our son.” If not us, then who?

Grayson will never be “out of the woods”, but his dads, on a daily basis, keep him safe.  “We have a new heightened level of stress that we live in, all day, every day.  However, as Grayson’s blood is analyzed every week, they know down to the molecule if he has enough hydration, sodium, amino acids etc. Those results are then sent to his dietician and doctor who recalculate his meal plan.  The end result is that Grayson is almost bionic as he has the perfect intake a child his height/weight/activity level should have.  So we seem him as healthy, which he is.  It’s just his risks when he is unhealthy are extreme so we walk a fine line of health,” they report.

Their life goes on.  “Grayson has taught us to be present, to enjoy what we have today as it’s too stressful to think about the future. He has actively participated as the featured story/child in numerous fundraising campaigns, telethons and charity events.  We hope that a side benefit of this involvement is that it will help empower him, as he will see himself as a key player in helping the hospital, instead of just being an ongoing patient there.”

Grayson is growing to be the son of his dads. Grayson has made them laugh harder and smile longer. He is exceptionally brave and kind hearted.  He is social, funny and intuitive. Dad Wayne taught him to say greetings with a British accent which enhance his already insurmountable charm. Recently Grayson did a photo shoot with the mascot for a local Children’s hospital. He has loved the mascot for a while and was thrilled over the idea of being able to hang out with him.  Much to his dads’ surprise, instead of wanting to go off and play with the mascot alone, Grayson instead took the mascot’s hand and asked if they could go visit the other kids in the hospital.  He needed to take entertainment to the kids who needed it. If not Grayson, then who? That’s the kind of kid Grayson is growing up to be.

Here is my letter to Grayson’s dads:

Dear Dads,

I don’t think that in the history of parenting that there has been a group so disparaged as much as gay dads. It used to be that the concept was so foreign and so vilified that all the religious right had to do in order to drive homophobic fear into the hears of their constituents was to show them a picture of two men pushing a baby carriage.

Yet, in spite of such vilification men like you, and me, persevered. We had a love within that persisted and we knew there would be a child, or children, who deserved it. Over the time of knowing that was who I am, and fighting ignorance, I have met many incredible LGBT parents. The two of you are among the finest of them, and of any straight parents I have ever encountered either, for that matter.

I am proud to identify with you. Even though I cannot pretend to understand all you have been through, I am proud to be a gay man as you are, a father, and one who is ready to advocate and fight on behalf of a child, my child. There are children in need in this world, and many LGBT parents who are ready and willing to be there for them. A recent study speculated in fact that if all the LGBT couples who wanted to foster/adopt kids were allowed to, we would deplete the US system of kids in need. What a nice shortage for a society to have.

I defined this article by calling Grayson one of the most special boys in the world. Many parents will likely give me flack for that, myself included, as we all see our own kids as the most special. I am sticking by this label for Grayson however, and not because he has a disease that we must find a cure for, and not because he is beautiful, charming and wonderful.

He is of the most special boys in the world because he has you, the most special of parents. He has dads who are two ordinary men who have stepped up to do an extraordinary thing. Two men who discovered, as was said to you, “You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.” Because of you, Grayson is more than a boy with a disease, he is blessed.

He is not alone. We are all blessed for knowing you and seeing of what a family is capable. You live one day at a time, and it has got to be draining. You have shown us a better vision of what it means to be dads and parents. You have made the world a better place.

If not you, then who? It needs to be all of us.

 

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A Survival Guide for Christians Who Have Been Fighting Against Marriage Equality

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Many of us have been in the Marriage Equality war for a long, long time.

I remember a drag queen host taking the microphone at San Jose Pride about a dozen years ago. She saw a group with “Freedom to Marry” t-shirts, and with a twinge of sadness remarked, “Oh honeys, they are NEVER going to let us get married, ever. You may as well give that one up right now.” She was wrong.

As in all wars, there is a foe. In the United States the foes tend to call themselves “Christians” and root their obsessive opposition in their particular interpretation of the Bible.

While these folks have had a series of wake up calls from the landmark 2012 elections where marriage equality won on the ballots in four states, to the earth shattering Supreme Court ruling on DOMA and California’s Proposition 8, the big anvil dropped in many of their states in these last few weeks. The threat of same sex marriage was no longer looming as possible where they lived, it was now here, and here to stay.

Many have started to react. After a story about LGBT couples marrying, Idaho reporter Dani Hawkins bizarrely states that there are “two sides to this story” as if an anti-gay couple who has a Bible on their coffee table is personally affected by the weddings of others they don’t even know. Hawkins presents Justin and Melanie Sease. Their “side” is to paint anti-gay statements on their car and to drive it around town in an attempt to humiliate gay people. Justin explains that his worry has a biblical origin. “The Bible says that when homosexuality is publicly accepted, basically it spreads like a cancer.” In actuality, the Bible does not say anything about the public accepting homosexuality, nor does it say anything about a homosexuality spread, and it never mentions cancer.

This is typical of the public conversations coming from the vocal “Christians”. Misinformation, falsehoods and demonization have moved front and center displacing anything that even remotely resembles logic or reasonable discussion. It has reached such a fevered pitch that it led The Pink Panthers Movement blogger Ken Jansen to plead with Christians at large, “Take a stand.  Raise your voice, shout out to the world that not all people of faith are like the hate mongers that we keep hearing from.  Prove to me that you believe in a religion of love.  Give me at least a bit of hope that there is some love left in the world.”

Christian pastor and writer John Pavlovitz speaks about LGBT people he has heard from after he declared that should his children turn out to be gay, that he would unconditionally support them. “What I was not prepared for in any way, were the literally hundreds and hundreds of people who have reached out to me personally, to thank me for bringing some healing and hope to their families. Parents, children, siblings, and adults have confided in me (some for the first time anywhere), telling of the pain, and bullying, and shunning they’re received from churches, pastors, and church members; from professed followers of Jesus.

Scores of people from all over the world have shared with me their devastating stories of exclusion and isolation, of unanswered prayers to change, of destructive conversion therapies, of repeated suicide attempts, and of being actively and passively driven from faith, by people of faith.”

I therefore submit the following six point guide for those people who have woken up in the past few weeks to find out that marriage equality has moved into the neighborhood.

Dear “Traditional Marriage” Proponent:

It is painful for me to witness the distress you seem to be experiencing over marriage equality coming to your state. I realize that you have fought against it and feared it. I know you think it will somehow damage your world.

Through it all, you have professed a faith in God. Rather than lash out with bad behavior against your fellow citizens, it might be more effective to rely on that faith now.

As a fellow Christian, I wanted to give you a suggested guide on how you may want to cope with what has taken place, and ways to accept it on your own biblically based terms:

  1. Do What Would Jesus Would Do: Jesus believed in the separation of church and state. “Render to Caesar that which is Caesar’s.” Jesus did not call for a rejection of same sex marriage; He merely described the terms of the current opposite sex marriages of the time. He did not hurl insults at people who society disparaged, He befriended them. He healed the lover of a Roman Centurion and praised the Roman’s level of faith. He gave us the golden rule, the good Samaritan and instructed us to “Love our neighbors as ourselves.” Emulate Christ.
  2. Meet Our Families and Understand Who We Are: There is a ridiculous amount of focus given to what our families aren’t. We aren’t couples who accidently got pregnant and needed marriage to encourage us to take care of the children we inadvertently created. That is true. We aren’t that. Almost without exception, we are families where a couple has planned how and when to have children. Many of our families are formed by adopting children who would live desperate lives without us, if they survived at all. My oldest son was born 6 weeks prematurely to a heroin addict, my youngest was found abandoned in a trailer at 10 months. Our kids are growing up to be safe, loved, well adjusted members of society. Jesus tells you to love the children of the world and the Ten Commandments tells you to support the honoring of parents. Please follow these Bible directives when looking at who we are.
  3. Focus on the Goodness in Marriage: Same sex marriage honors all the principles you hold dear in marriage itself. It is still about responsibility, the importance of family, love and commitment. The more same sex marriages there are, the more of those qualities there are in the world.
  4. Stop Valuing Discrimination and Seeking the Right to Do It: Discrimination is an evil. It is acting on an ignorance about others who you don’t know but pretend you do. It is bad enough to fall into a human tendency towards it, but even worse to actively fight for the right to behave that way. You pay the price for it. Discrimination comes at a huge personal cost. As you allow yourself that mindset, you concurrently develop the fear of being discriminated against yourself. We observe exactly this in all the paranoia being expressed by vitriolic anti-gay pundits sounding off today. Break free. “Thou shalt discriminate” is not biblical.
  5. Get Real With Your Relationship With the Bible: I have never met a non-lobster eating, pro-slavery, Sabbath-worker killing, woman silencing, flat-earther, poverty seeking Christian in my life. I am not saying that there isn’t one, just that I have not had the displeasure of meeting such and individual. I therefore, have never met someone who TRULY and literally believes in what every word of the translated Bible actually says. Every single Christian on the planet picks and chooses passages they find relevant. Believing that same sex marriage is wrong due to passages with potential interpretations depicting the rape of angels, and orgies in Roman temples is passé and completely irrelevant to committed relationships by two informed consenting adults. It is time to get real about with which principles you scan the Bible. Many have found that the Bible is not a literal rule book, but a profound book that traces the evolvement of spirituality and knowledge of higher consciousness. It is time to join them.
  6. Love: John, the right hand disciple of Jesus, defined God in direct terms in the Bible. He stated simply, “God is Love.” One’s relationship to the principle of Love is probably the most universally unifying and highly spiritual states achievable. Love cannot be proven, seen or even described, yet we all seem to have some sense of what it is, and hold it in esteem. It can be the common ground for the atheist, the religious and everyone in between. It is the single most gratifying aspect of both being human, and seeing oneself as a child of God. It is time to live it. It is time to give it generously, and experience the miracle that the more you give it away, the more you have, defying all other laws of limitation and depletion.

The Bible starts with a story about the tree of life, and Jesus concludes it with a directive on how to know who is truly representing cosmic truth. His litmus test is “By their fruits ye shall know them.”

I know “the fruits” of my life, and who I am every night at 8:30 PM. That is the time that I hold two young boys in my arms, and kiss them good night, and let them know how very much I love them. As I turn out the light, I breathe in my purpose and my path. It is time to look at what fruit your anti-gay behavior is producing. If it is shame and hurt, something is rotting badly.

My path with my family and our journey is not something that should cause you harm. My hope is that you stop fearing that it will, that you lay down your stones and pitch forks, and join us for a stroll. We would welcome you.

 

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Posted in Bible, Family, Gay Christians, Marriage equality, News, Prejudice, Religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 37 Comments

When a Homophobic Cousin Attacked a Woman’s Marriage, He Helped Her Understand What True “Family” Means

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Once upon a time there were two cousins, Jessica and Robby. They grew up together in the warm and wet Mississippi back lands. They swam, they fished and Jessica loved and respected her cousin. He gave her the sense of understanding family and loyalty.

That sense of family and loyalty was upended completely recently when Robby recently ran to the American Family Association, an entity defined by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “hate” organization, to get their help in humiliating and attacking Jessica’s marriage. Robby has never met Jessica’s husband.

Jessica and her husband, Nick, are legally married. Nick is a transgender male. A mutual friend introduced them a few years ago. Jessica states, “Nick has been my best friend since day one. We can always count on the other one during the hardest times in life. While he was in paramedic school, Nick felt my full encouragement through the whole way and I never gave up on his dream with him.  We stand by each other through every thing just as a husband and wife should. I know at the end of the day I can count on him and that’s what real romance looks like. Our love is the kind some people only dream about and I’m very lucky to be able to say I found that in this life with him.”

On the afternoon of September 23rd, Jessica got a private message from her cousin Robby out of the blue. It said “Jessica, I want you to know that I love you both as a person and as my family. You hand I practically grew up together, and I don’t want you to think that I am angry with you. But I have to tell you that what you and Nick are doing is wrong, and I am going to be doing all that I can to challenge it. I realize this might upset you, but I have to do what is right as difficult as it is going to be.” Jessica had no idea what he meant about “challenging it”, but she was soon to find out.

That evening, Robby posted this to his Facebook wall: “Last week I learned of a same sex marriage that took place right here in the state of Mississippi. Two females, one of which is a family member of mine, applied for and was granted an official marriage license in Desoto county. One of the partners poses as a man and managed to obtain a driver’s license that legally identified her as a male. I would like to urge all Mississippians who are outraged to join me. This is a battle that has come to us and we cannot afford to lose traditional marriage”. Then he then gave the phone numbers of the attorney general, lieutenant governor and the governor.

Around midnight, Jessica received another private message from a woman she had never met. “You need to see this video,” the message said. The video was her cousin Robby on a show with the AFA’s Bryan Fisher. Bryan Fisher is infamous for homophobic statements that include the encouragement of the kidnapping of children from LGBT families. They were making public Jessica and Nick’s names, implying that they were criminals, that their marriage was a fraud scheme and stating out and out lies as fact. The video is here .

“The video makes it seem like we did all of this to pull one over on the state of Mississippi, and that’s nowhere close to the truth.” Jessica told me. “Mine is not an illegal marriage in any state, because it is not a same sex union at all. That is not legal in this state, and there is no “loop hole” for that to be possible. Nick actually transitioned from female to male, and had his name and gender legally changed complete with birth certificate, social security card, drivers license, and all medical licenses. After all of that was completed we were able to apply for our marriage license and got married, the same as any other opposite gender couple.” Bryan Fisher characterizes Jessica and Nick as two lesbians, one of which had a hormone shot, and then fraudulently had records changed.

Nick’s process to his correct gender started before 2010. He had undergone full psychiatric exams in preparation. In 2010 he started a permanent hormone therapy program and had physiological operations in support of his transition.

Nick works as a paramedic saving lives and he has been seen as a true hero in his community. The AFA’s intrusion into his private life, and their dishonest portrayal has now caused him issues at work. Jessica reports, “While he is out saving strangers lives, we have to worry about the safety of our family and his career. It takes teamwork from his fellow co-workers and since the videos and articles have come out, he has been treated like an outcast.” Many that Nick worked with had only known of him as male, his actual gender. Now feel they have license to judge.

Jessica reached out to the popular Twitter site Stop-Homophobia. “Help us,” she asked, attaching a link to the AFA video. She began hearing from many people who have showered love and support. Those messages helped her deal with her feelings of betrayal and crisis over what family was supposed to be about. “For me when I saw the video I felt it was one of the worst betrayals ever, to find out that someone made us out so horribly, and on top of it for it to come from a family member. The feelings we felt over this outrage, words can’t describe. We are being vilified for the same loving and commitment other married Mississippi couples share with each other. Our right to commit to each other for the rest of time is being portrayed as everything it’s not. The video want to portray us as deceivers who did all of this to pull one over on the state of Mississippi, and that’s nowhere close to the truth. The truth is our marriage is built out of the love we have for each other.”

“We are very grateful for the support and love that we have come across through this attempt to humiliate us,” Jessica states. “So much of our family have stepped up and let us know they are open minded and accepting and loving. The members of Nick’s family are powerful defenders of him as a man and a hero. Especially his dad, who has always been his biggest supporter. My family accepts Nick as the person for who he really is, especially my sister and most of them right here in Mississippi.”

This has given Jessica and Nick a new definition to, not the word “marriage”, but the word “family”. Blood cousin Robby is not family. The “American Family Association” is not an association of families; it is an association of those who want to attack families that do not look exactly like a set of limited parameters. Those who see his life saving work but who cannot see Nick as he is, are not family. It is the people who love, support and celebrate him who are the true family, and Jessica and Nick are blessed to have many who have such qualifications in their lives.

“Nick taught me what marriage is,” Jessica commented. “Now someone I grew up with has caused me to re-look at what I thought being family meant. It does not mean blood and telling falsehoods to meet an agenda. It means love and honesty. I stand corrected, and we are now a stronger family as a result.”

Sharing DNA is no big deal. A person’s ability to look deep, push past their own pre-conceived notions to better understand a family member they love, and then stand up for them, that ability brings the greatest value in life. Some will learn they have that ability within themselves and stand proud. Others will make videos.

 

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Posted in Civil Rights, Equality, Family, Living, Marriage equality, Mixing religion and politics, Politics, Prejudice, Religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

A Gay Dad’s Open Letter to a “Christian” Mother Caught on Tape Wishing Death on Her Disabled Lesbian Daughter

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Video has again captured a “Christian” parent behaving badly. This week, the Facebook and Twitter mega-page Stop-Homophobia broadcast out a post depicting the plight of a lady named Kelly.

Public disapproval over who could marry whom was an issue for Kelly’s family early on. Her father is black, and her mother is white. Kelly and her brother were bullied frequently in the small town of Guntersville Alabama. They were the only mixed race kids in town. Kelly was quiet and shy and kept to herself.

When she was 16, Kelly found a name for the identity that had been growing within her: lesbian. Her feelings had been developing for a while, but it came to fruition when she started a relationship with a girl in her class. Kelly was confident that the hardships her parents had gone through would make them accepting of who she was growing up to be. She was wrong. “At the time I thought that being gay that my parents being a bi-racial couple that they would be more accepting. My father had nothing to say. Til this day he hasn’t spoken about me being a lesbian. My mother freaked out. She put me in counseling to try to make me straight.” The counseling did not change Kelly, as her mother had hoped but in fact, made her more confident in who she is.

Kelly’s mother kicked her out of the house. While her father did not intervene, he divorced her mother shortly thereafter, and Kelly suspects that her mother’s behavior might have been a contributing factor. Kelly found refuge with her aunt in Huntsville, Alabama.

Kelly passed her GED, and did not see or hear from her mother for over a year. After a period, Kelly’s mother made contact again. She said she had reconsidered, and wanted to re-establish contact. Kelly was reluctant but over time, resumed sporadic communications.

Eight years ago, Kelly had moved to Florida and met a woman named Leslie. Leslie fell in love with Kelly immediately, and had to work hard to get through the protective emotional walls that Kelly had built up. Kelly over time was able to trust this wonderful woman in her life and to trust that the love they shared was real. As they quickly became soul mates, and were working towards a happy ever after in their life journeys, tragedy struck.

“I started breaking out all over my body and everything hurt. You couldn’t touch me without me screaming,“ Kelly states. What was first diagnosed as shingles, finally was determined to be Lupus, which was running out of control through Kelly’s body. She also was found to be suffering from both Fibromyalgia and Lumbar Disc Disease.

Conditions with the fibroid tumors led to a full hysterectomy. Kelly understands that at this point, her mother may have started doing fund raising in her local church. The funds presumably raised allowed for Kelly’s mother to come down for the operation. If other funds were raised to help Kelly, Kelly never received them.

Kelly’s heart has been damaged by Lupus. She was finally declared Disabled, and is on constant risk for heart attacks. Financially she was devastated and relies on Leslie for survival. Half of her disability income goes to pay past medical debt.

Kelly’s aunt was under the impression that money was coming into Kelly from Kelly’s mother and the church. Kelly decided to have a casual conversation with her mother by phone, tape it, and get confirmation for her aunt that no money was coming Kelly’s way.

The conversation (you can hear it below) did not go as Kelly had planned and instead of an admission that funds had been diverted, Kelly’s mother outlined the plan should Kelly pass away. Her exact words were, “You know Kelly, I tell you what. If you die before me…you know what, when you get dead, we’re going to go through your house and we are going to strip it, and that girl won’t have a pot to piss in…you little heifer, you have put my life through hell. Gay sh*t. I hate gay sh*t. I am not going to live my life telling you that I believe in two women being married. It is not in the Bible, it is a damned SIN!   And I am ashamed you live with a damn woman… You go straight to Hell! Go to Hell, Bitch!” Where other videos speak to the horror of coming out to homophobic parents, this one speaks to the vital need for marriage protection for couples like Kelly and Leslie.

Kelly has not communicated with her mother since.

But I will:

An open message to Kelly’s mother:

I am the dad to two boys, 12 and 11 years old. When I got them as babies, I somehow knew that as a parent, I was being given a special charge. I was to throw all that I could muster to their well being, emotionally, physically and spiritually. I admit, that spiritual well-being takes an open hand since none of us has all the cosmic answers. I can only nurture them so they grow into good men and develop a consciousness of their own discovery within their soul to something greater. I do that through my own spiritual path and inspiration through Christ.

Emotionally, I strive to believe in them. I am learning who they are, and what they can accomplish. It is not mine to define them, but to witness them. It is mine to love them, cherish them and celebrate them and as an influencer of their sensitive self-worth, to do my best to make them as emotionally confident and grounded as possible.

Their physical well being is the most obvious and tactical. I care for that part of their well being every day. I make sure they are nourished, protected and healthy. In times when they have been sick, I have been amazed that an almost parental super power kicks in. I have been soaked in vomit, diarrhea and wiped snot. For some reason, from my sons, those things have not fazed me.

They are my charges, my charges from God.   Kelly is your charge from God. In my opinion, there is no greater accomplishment that you could achieve that to be with her at the end of her life, and have her feel “Thank God for my mom,” and for you to know at the end of your life that you did all in your power to protect her.

Obviously, you are not there now. Your behavior is dark and evil and belongs more in the plot of a horror movie than in a mother/daughter relationship. That is your current legacy to bear and to rectify.

For your daughter, and for whom I do not presume to speak, I believe a change in you would bring forgiveness, as exemplary, on her part, as that sounds. One of her first comments to me was how she holds the recording of you to remind herself to stay away. She said, “ I will delete it when I find myself not missing her. As much as … she hurt me she is the only mother I had.”

It is time for you to find that higher calling as a mother. Step up. Your family needs you. Your family is plagued with a woman suffering from a terrible disease. The disease is ugly, painful, debilitating and it ruins the heart. That woman is not Kelly, it is you. The disease is not the horrible one of Lupus which Kelly has, it is the disease of Homphobia that you have. Kelly’s disease takes a lot to manage it and she needs a good deal of love and help around her. Your disease can be cured by a change of heart.

In the scheme of things, you have the option to institute a healing where Kelly cannot. You have the option of change. Kelly may not be able to find relief from the physical hell she has been through, but you can revolutionize her world anyway.

She needs a miraculous physical cure, but even more than that, she needs a mom who loves her. She deserves both.

 

(Note: A friend of Kelly’s set up a gofundme account after seeing the video, it is here: https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/tjt5/disabled-woman-need-help )

Photo: Flickr/Vicki&Chuck Rogers

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Posted in Family, Hatred, Living, Prejudice, Religion | Tagged , , , , , | 20 Comments

A Gay Dad’s Open Letter to the Christian Grandmother Proposing Homophobic Themed Books for Teens

Teen Plot evol

Laurie Higgins is a Christian grandmother with a limited professional background (according to her bio). She has worked as “cultural analyst” for The Illinois “Family” Institute for six years, and before that was employed in the “writing center” for a high school. I am not exactly sure what the job qualifications are to be a “cultural analyst” but whatever they are, they have not won Ms. Higgins many friends. The Illinois “Family” Institute is one of twenty three hate groups in Illinois tracked by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Consider Ms. Higgins dubious honors: She is listed at # 764 in the Encyclopedia of American Loons. There, she is described as “an unrepentant, hatefilled bigot”. Q Salt Lake anointed her as “Creep of the Week” for the week of December 4th, 2013. The website Reasonable Conversation nominates her for “Human Excommunication”. The blogsite Skepacabra defined her in a three-part article as a “Crazy Bitch.” (Skepacabra was referring mostly to Laurie Higgins alleged stalker-like attempts to get atheist Herman Mehta, known throughout the blogging community as the Friendly Atheist, fired from his teaching job for expressing his opinions.)

Her reputation is earned through her own actions and statements, in 2010, for example, she stated that McDonalds is “hell bent on using its resources to promote subversive moral, social, and political views about homosexuality to our children.” It “hoists high the rainbow colors of the homosexual movement that points to the substitution of the worship of man for the worship of God and leads to depravity and destruction.” McDonalds had run an ad in France depicting a young gay man.

This week she publicly explored a new potential avocation—that of theoretical teen book author. JK Rowlings has nothing to worry about. Ms. Higgins listed out a series of plotlines she proposes Illinois librarians consider having on their book shelves to enhance public intellectual discourse, and because, in her opinion, it will quench some deep unmet thirst within kids in LGBT families like mine.

I googled the plotlines to see if any of these books, or something close to them, actually exist for discussion. It appears that they are only in the frantic mind of Ms. Higgins. Based on the reactions of all I’ve asked, the general hope is that they stay there.

Here is Ms. Higgins proposal, in her exact words: “If librarians really cared about the full and free exchange of ideas and if they really believed that “book-banning” is dangerous to society, they would direct their rage and ridicule at the powerful publishing companies, professionally-recognized review journals, and their own profession, all of which do far more book-banning than does a handful of powerless parents seeking to have a picture book moved… Next year, will the Schaumburg librarians display photos of empty shelves where books that challenge Leftist assumptions about the nature and morality of homosexuality should be (you know, pro-heterosexuality/pro-heteronormativity books)?

  • Will they ask for young adult (YA) novels about teens who feel sadness and resentment about being intentionally deprived of a mother or father and who seek to find their missing biological parents?
  • Will they ask for dark, angsty novels about teens who are damaged by the promiscuity of their “gay” “fathers” who hold sexual monogamy in disdain?
  • Will they ask for novels about young adults who are consumed by a sense of loss and bitterness that their politically correct and foolish parents allowed them during the entirety of their childhood to cross-dress, change their names, and take medication to prevent puberty, thus deforming their bodies?
  • Will they ask for novels about teens who suffer because of the harrowing fights and serial “marriages” of their lesbian mothers?
  • Will they ask for picture books that show the joy a little birdie experiences when after the West Nile virus deaths of her two daddies, she’s finally adopted by a daddy and mommy?

Surely, there are some teens and children who will identify with such stories.”

As a gay dad, and a parent at the helm of one of the families Ms. Higgins targets, I feel compelled to respond.

Dear Ms. Higgins,

Thank you for concern over the possible reading material available for the kids in families like mine. Reading is an absolutely vital part of a child’s education. Getting my sons to do it, and finding the books in which they have interest, can be a challenge.

I would say “thank you” for trying to help, but your intent was not to help. It was to apply your very warped and misguided perception of what LGBT families must be like, but universally, in reality, are not. Instead of that thank you note, I thought I would give you some Insight into our actual lives and show you where you have severely missed the mark.

The plots you outlined only exist in your mind of fanciful perversion. You speculate that your plot ideas might have a market since “surely some teens and children will identify with such stories.”

I am please to tell you that, no, in fact, none of the hundred-some kids I know from LGBT families would relate. I specifically tested them on my own sons (in terms they could understand.) My eleven year old commented, “those sound like the dumbest books ever,” while my twelve year old looked me in the eye and just said simply, “what is wrong with her?”

I asked them to develop a few ideas for the books that they would like to read about families like ours, and these are what they came up with:

  • A dad and a papa and their two sons find a trunk with some wizard robes, and when they put them on they are transported to a land where they fight a dragon and find a lost treasure.
  • A girl and her mom are trapped at the bottom of the ocean to deal with enormous sea creatures, while the girl’s other mother is the head scientist in the ship above trying to help them.
  • Two brothers are stolen by pirates and hit the seven seas while their fathers search after them with the old pirate map that is left behind in their bedroom.

I believe my sons have a better sense of “good books” than you do. Theirs sound like a lot more fun.

More importantly, they reflect the real dynamics of LGBT families where parents and kids are focused on the happenings in our current lives, not focused on the procreation process that brought the kids into being. I suspect heterosexual families are essentially the same. Their dinner discussions do not start with dad sharing, yet again, how he impregnated mom. Even when we do discuss that aspect of our lives, we are not ashamed of having adopted our kids. They are not ashamed or regretful for being adopted. You need to stop attempting to shame families like mine for the beautiful bonds we have created from situations that were otherwise dire.

The book plots my sons imagined recognize that each person is uniquely individual, and no two personalities exactly alike. Your point of view boils each person down to being solely identified by genitalia. Your mono-vision conflict against your boogey man “The Left”, and its underling “Homosexual Activists” blinds you. I have to note that of all the characteristics you list in your plots from promiscuous gay dads, serial marrying lesbian moms and dying parents, none are accurate descriptions of the real parents I know in LGBT families. The same sex parents I know have stepped up in some of the most super-human situations imaginable, and have accomplished heroic things on behalf of their children. Our families are beautiful, and if you can’t respect that fact, the least you can do is not to spread ignorance about us.

Your plots and point of view imply a foundation assumption that simply does not exist. You hypothesize that for kids in LGBT families, there exists a mother/father family alternative in the wings that have either been robbed of these kids, or are sitting available should they be called upon. Again, in 100% of the families I know, this is not the case. A possible exception could be perceived in cases where the children’s lives were saved by being taken from an existing mother and father who were incapable of keeping them safe. I would not consider such parents as being “robbed” or “sitting available,” however.

That is the case with each of my sons. Both were born to drug addict parents and were exposed to drugs in the womb. All the parents were given the opportunity to show they could responsibly care for my sons, but each failed. At least one of the birth parents was life-threateningly violent. The two birth fathers each spent significant time in prison. All four of the parents have multiple children with multiple partners—in total my sons have twelve birth siblings in the world – none of which are in the custody of their biological parents.

If you think I somehow beat out an eligible mom/dad combo for the adoption of each of my sons, that did not happen either. There are plenty of children in my sons’ situation to go around. The fact is, most heterosexual couples find other ways to start a family, and see our way as an act of desperation were they to do it. I remember when I was talking to a family friend when I first got my oldest son. Born 6 weeks early, my son was 4 lbs and slept on my chest in a sling. She had just finished declaring how adorable he was and then segued into a story about how her sister had “almost” adopted recently. “Really?” I asked. “What happened?”

“It wasn’t right,” she explained. “It turns out the child was ethnic and had drug exposure. You know…” her voice trailed off as she looked at my son whom she had just been fawning over — my son, the beautiful Mexican heroin-exposed infant asleep on my chest. “Oh my God…” she said quietly as the realization hit her. My beautiful baby was just like the one who “would not work out” in her own family.

If you do not believe me about the reality of these fantasy parents of whom you think kids of LGBT families have been deprived, you only have to look as far as the case of the two incredible Iowa moms who lost their baby boy back to the birth mother when she changed her mind. The baby ended up dying a month later at the hands of the teen birth father.

The imaginary land of removed moms and dads is as far fetched as your plot concoctions. Also far fetched is your evil implication that my sons would be somehow relieved to be assigned to a mom/dad family after the death of my partner and me. Should my death occur, my children would be devastated and would not feel solace from being assigned to any new parents same sex, or opposite sex. Your suggestion otherwise is sociopathic.

The meanness and vitriol with which you attack gay families may have an additional unintended consequence that you may want to also consider.

You are a grandmother with a number of grand children, and I assume the number of that clan will grow exponentially over time. The odds of at least one of those kids being gay are high.   That may lead to a plot line, more likely to be true to life than any you have suggested, that goes something like this:

  • The grandson of a highly visible homophobic “cultural analyst” discovers he is gay. He tries desperately to hide his sexuality from his angry grandmother, which leads him to a crisis of faith, depression, drug experimentation and suicidal thoughts. Finally, he can hide it no more and has to tell her….

How that storyline will end will be up to you. Will you hold to your irrational hatred and dogmatic theories? Will you look to see that your beloved grandson is the same as he has always been, and continues to be worthy of your love? Will you reject him or celebrate him?

In your story, you will get to pick the part you ultimately play. You will be the one who decides if you are the prodigal hero, or the unrepentant villain. Choose wisely, a villain’s life rarely ends well.  For LGBT families, you are currently playing the proverbial bad guy, minion of the Dark Force, maniacal Devil’s henchman. Like in any good story, though, you can change.

Nothing concludes a tale better than an affirming resolution with a former evil-doer’s redemption. Do it. Re-write the book. Give us a happy ending.

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Posted in Family, Hatred, Living, Prejudice, Religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

A Gay Dad Says Good-Bye to Joan Rivers

Joan RiversThe old adage is that celebrities pass away in threes. In the past few weeks, this theory could be said to have been “proven true” with the passing of Robin Williams, Lauren Bacall and Joan Rivers. One can only wonder if when Joan was calling Robin out fondly as one of the “nice guys” that she could have known that she would be number three.

There are huge differences in saying good bye to each of the three. When Joan Rivers death was hitting social media, those who loved her decried her passing, but there were plenty who were quite clear that they would not miss her at all. Even within the LGBT community, people had to weigh feelings for one of our first and strongest allies with a recent failed quip that President Obama was “gay” and that the First Lady was a t-slur.

Joan Rivers thrived on shock, inappropriateness, and “saying what everyone is thinking” in the most in-your-face way. Her theory was that to laugh at it, even in derogatory terms, was to master an issue. She stated that had she been captured and sent to Auschwitz, she would have been in the barracks cracking jokes – shock humor to battle the horror.

Many did not agree. For me, as a gay dad, I know that she fascinated me and I was constantly laughing at things that I “officially” did not find funny. The name of her recent memoir gave me pause. “I Hate Everyone….Starting With Me.”   Hatred, and particularly self-hatred is the core of so much of the violence in our world. Certainly, she meant mock hatred, but is shock humor around our society’s core failing really a help, or does it make it worse?

On the issue of bullying, most bullies terrorize their victims with the claim of “being funny”. Where is the line? Is a bully with great comic timing acceptable, but one that merely demeans his or her victim just doing evil?

While I had guilty pleasure over Joan Rivers comedy, I would never have permitted my young sons to see it, or to mimic anything like it.

Joan Rivers has exerted her influence on American humor for five decades. The trickle down effect through less talented hands has not always been pretty, or funny. As I watched the “tweeny” vision programming that my sons have wanted to view, I cannot help but observe the shock/insult style of “humor”. This poorly executed humor seems to be attempting the Joan Rivers shock punches, but ends up as just insults followed by an old 1950s sounding laugh track.

When young viewers ,who see spouting insults as a popularity badge, copy it with their school mates the results are worse. I nipped this in the bud with my son Jesse, who sincerely want to make his friends laugh, “Pal,” I admonished. “Mean does not equal funny. Being cruel is NOT cool.” He has gotten the message, and that programming no longer graces our living room.

Is that nature of comedy the fault of Joan Rivers? No, of course not. It is no more her fault than the huge waves are the fault of the master surfer. To Joan’s credit, she rode the line of being a foul mouth terminator on stage, while being to all accounts a gracious lady in person. I was surprised at how many of my gay men friends had personal accounts of close encounters with La Joan.   One had done her hair and she apologized for not being MORE personable as she poured over her notes. “Comedy takes a lot of homework”, she told him. Another friend heard her at a convention where she was not only funny, but talked at length about her very deep care for her daughter.

For me, my own elbow rubbing happened in a Tower Records store on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. The record store was right next door to famed Wolfgang Puck’s eatery and Joan and her husband Edgar had landed to do a quick walk through to see how her new album at the time, What Becomes a Semi-Legend Most, was doing. Joan was running the show and handed the gay clerk at the front a copy of the album. “You really want to be playing this, it is funny as hell.” She advised. “It’s going great Joan!” the young man gushed. “I was just going to put it on.” Joan and Edgar counted all the copies in the bin, and then the couple was flying out the door. “Love you!!!” the clerk shouted at the star. “Oh I love you too, mwaa mwaa mwaaa,” the famous voice echoed in, now from the parking lot. For those of us in the store, we sort of felt like witnesses to a small but hugely powerful tornado.

That was Joan Rivers, taking our culture by storm.   While I will not teach my sons to zing or to shock people by screeching insults, there is much of the spirit of Joan Rivers, I would want to see them and myself emulate.

I want to emulate her love of family. I love my sons with the same intensity which Joan loved her daughter Melissa and her grandson Cooper. I hope my sons in turn love their own families with the same fervor.

I want to be brave and stand up for people before it is popular to do so. She was pro-gay before it was “cool” to be in any circles. Her “take no prisoners” style gave us means to diffuse our anger and outrage while not apologizing for who we are.

I want to live my life right to the end with the full gusto that she did. I do not want to melt away in some rocking chair remembered for some past glory. I want fire and passion to the end. I am reminded of the lines from Cabaret when it comes to Joan: “I used to have this girlfriend known as Elsie ; With whom I shared four sordid rooms in Chelsea; She wasn’t what you’d call a blushing flower; As a matter of fact she rented by the hour; The day she died the neighbors came to snicker; “Well, that’s what comes from too much pills and liquor” But when I saw her laid out like a Queen; She was the happiest corpse, I’d ever seen; I think of Elsie to this very day… as for me ,and as for me ; I made my mind up, back in Chelsea; When I go, I’m going like Elsie”

Mostly, I want to emulate her sheer guts. She had guts as a woman. She had guts as a person of age who refused to let ageism take her down. She had guts as to one who met failure and rejection and kept coming back for another day. She had guts to use her brand of humor to make a point about strength and beating adversity rather than to rationalize bullying.

Judge Judith Sheindlin (“Judge Judy”) made the observation of her old friend Joan on the talk show The View:

“Joan Rivers knew how to be the hero of her own story”

For my sons, that is the quality that I hope they learn the most from the legacy of Joan Rivers: face your triumphs and your disasters without taking either too seriously, and strive to become the hero of your own life.

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Posted in Entertainment, Family, Hatred | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Gay Dad’s Open Letter to the Homophobic Parents Caught on Video Throwing Their Gay Son Away

 

parents caught on vid

Another young person has been thrown out of his home for coming out as gay. I have written about this on a number of occasions covering such events in the United States, Nigeria and Uganda.

This time the event was recorded. Trying to imagine the evil some people can impart on their children is no longer necessary. Now we can hear them in their own self righteous voices

It started when the family called 20 year old Daniel Pierce to an “intervention.” He left his phone recorder going during the confrontation and was later posted online as “How not to react when your child tells you he is gay.” It has gone viral. In the video, Daniel , explains to what sounds like his mother, step-mother and father that he is gay. The choices this set of parents makes as a reaction are almost as bad as they possibly could be.

His mother makes a statement at the outset that becomes increasingly shocking as the video proceeds and the parenting adults collectively verbally attack and physically abuse the young man. The mother’s statement is “I have known since you were a young boy that you were gay.” If there was ever clear pointed evidence that Daniel was “born that way”, her comment would be it.

She knows who her child is, yet due to her own personal agenda she pretends he is making a choice and coldly rejects him as a result.

This is my open letter to Daniel’s parents.

To Daniel’s family:

Now you know.

You have handled this badly. I don’t know you, and I don’t know of what you are capable, good or bad. I hope that there are better people within each one of you than those displayed on that video.

I am a parent as you are. For me, contributing to my sons’ welfare, personal joy and life success is my purpose and mission in this world. I hope that somehow in your own warped way, that you want that for Daniel. I have written to children killed by parents who feared they might grow up as gay, and I can’t be sure those aren’t individuals who share your mindset.

To Daniel’s dad: I hear great frustration of not being thanked for having provided the food and “roof over the head” of a child for twenty years. Accomplishing that is no small feat- I have two sons, 11 and 12, and I provide for them. I have to. I will not get thanked for it. It’s cool, it is the gig I signed up for. Part of being a parent is being your child’s oxygen. They need us to survive, but they do not thank us as they take each breath. We just have to provide for them, because being a parent means you do that.

We seek to inspire our children to be the best they can be, and to do that, we have to know who they are. You all now know Daniel .

Choice is relevant here, but not for Daniel. It is for you. You are choosing only to accept him if he is as you want him to be, rather than who he really is. Instead of embracing this child that you nurtured through life, you cling to a bastardized concept of “the word of God” that has turned a religious practice into an exercise of superstition.

Where exactly you get this religious mandate is itself a mystery. The Bible does not define itself as being “the word of God”. It defines Jesus, and Jesus alone as being “The Word”. Jesus never once claims that gay people choose to be gay. The Bible directs us to the covenant of God, under Jesus, as written on one’s own HEART and HIS MIND (Hebrews 8). I believe that Daniel DID ask God, and God wrote back on Daniel’s heart and mind, “I made you gay.” God generally does not cc others so, you getting a copy of that directive is unlikely. That is what the Bible says and you can choose to believe it if you want.

To Daniel’s mom: At the beginning of the recording you tell him you love him. He says he believes you. I don’t believe you.

For me, my sons come first—before my dogma, before my standing in the local community, before anything.   If I was Abraham in the desert and Jason and Jesse were strapped to a stone slab, and a big voice in the sky was telling me to make a sacrifice of them to Him, I would turn to the heavens and say “Screw you.”

That’s how monumental my kids are to me—they are beyond biblical proportions of importance. All the real parents I know feel the same about their kids.

Daniel has very little choice here. He is who he is, and now thanks to your rejection, he will do what he has to in order to survive. Our community will come around him, love him support him. He will be our son now and we will give him healthy alternatives. Many in his situation do not get that chance. They end up on the street and within weeks are surviving through less than savory means. We will watch Daniel, and encourage him to grow. We will give him hope for his life, and a vision for an inspiring purpose. That purpose for him may or may not include a family of his own. We will show him how to find joy and fulfillment, and he will do it without you. Unlike you, we will let him know he can be his authentic true self.

Your choices are important ones that will affect the rest of your lives. Rejecting is a choice. Not caring for Daniel is a choice. Saving your face in the community over the well being of your son is a choice. What is your best possible choice? That would be a sincere re-evaluation of your priorities, bringing him home, and working towards a level of acceptance.

Whatever you choose, it will define you forever. You will either be defined as the people who worked to grow as parents, or the people who should never have been parents in the first place.

If you do have any love in you at all, it will fester and one day you will find yourself sitting upright in bed, having a better educated sense about the nature of the true God, and realize that you have made a horrific and terrible mistake. One that, at that point, you may not be able to fix.

You may truly be cold loveless shells. Certainly, it appears that one or more of you deserves to be in jail right now for assault. Instead of looking for healing, you may launch into a further tirade of homophobia and tell us about the vengeful God that you emulate.

You will not need to preach to us about hell, however. We will see it in your eyes.

 

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Posted in Bible, Family, Hatred, Prejudice, Religion | 86 Comments