WHAT I CHOOSE.

There are many things that I choose on a daily basis, here are some examples:

I choose…..

  • who I want to become friends with.
  • what to read.
  • what to eat.
  • where to go shop.
  • how I do my hair.
  • what I wear.
  • what to watch on television.
  • what music to listen to.
  • where to go for dinner.
  • what websites to visit.
  • when I go for a walk.
  • when I go to bed.
  • when to relax and unwind.
  • when to have a cup of coffee, tea or alcoholic beverage.
  • when to be a listener and when to be a talker.
  • what religious ideologies to believe.
  • to become vegan.
  • to practice saving the lives of animals by becoming vegan.
  • the place in which I live.
  • the job that I do.
  • the day I decided to live my authentic life.

The one thing that many people believe that I chose – was my sexuality.  THAT IS SOMETHING I DID NOT CHOOSE – that specific ‘thing’ about me, was something I was born with.  I didn’t, one day, suddenly decide to choose that I liked people of the same-sex.  I don’t believe the writings of any religious denomination and what was written.  Therefor – you can’t preach what YOU believe onto me.  If you believe there is a God – and you have an issue with my sexuality – blame HIM, not me.

People need to STOP projecting their religious beliefs (or choices) onto others.  Nothing good comes from telling others that the way they live their lives and how they were born is wrong.  Most importantly – your religious CHOICES should not have any impact on civil rights.  There should always be a separation of what you choose to believe religiously and government policies.

When YOU project your beliefs onto your children – it only hinders them and may potentially kill them.  Instead encourage your children to explore and to have different viewpoints, thoughts and to be their own individual.

My heart goes out to Tyrone Unsworth, from Brisbane, Australia and so many others who have taken their own lives due to bullying because of their sexuality.

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Together, we can make the world a more positive one!

MY KIND OF LOVE IS NOT A CHOICE I MADE.

Can we really choose our sexual orientation or is our sexual orientation already built within our DNA?  I can’t answer that question on a scientific level but I can certainly answer it based on my life experiences.

Let’s start as far back as I can remember.  I can’t pin point the exact moment that I realized that I was attracted to other men but I always knew that this was part of my being.  I wasn’t forced to choose my sexual attraction to other men – I was forced to simulate to what was around me and what other people thought was ‘normality’.  Society, religion and family forced heterosexuality upon me.  I grew up thinking that my attraction to other men was wrong because it was an unacceptable behavior in our society based mainly on religious beliefs.

So as a child – I was already being forced to accept other people’s ideas of what they thought was right.  I was told that my purpose in life was to get an education, get a good job, find a women, get a house, get married and start a family.  This was what was considered ‘normal’.  It wasn’t until I was a pre-teen that these ideas seemed wrong for me, especially the idea of being in a relationship with someone of the opposite sex.  That notion seemed completely against who I was – it wasn’t an authentic feeling.

Needless to say, I lived my life for the benefit of making other people happy.  I dated girls because it was what I had to do not what I felt.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved women but not in a sexual way.  For me, women were nurturing, emotional, great conversationalists, beautiful and loving.

When I began my journey into manhood, I realized that my life of lies, deceit and self-hate were only hurting me.  How can I love others if I don’t even love and respect myself?  I began my life of authenticity – it was a long and painful process.  I had to really look within and start being honest with myself.  I had to release all of the internal homophobia I learned from society, religion and family and then start living my life from love.  This was a struggle and continues to be a struggle but it in the end – it had to happen.

No one can tell you that you must love a certain person.  Love and attraction just happens naturally.  It is something that you can’t choose – I didn’t choose my sexuality, it was chosen for me.  As I said above, I was forced to assimilate to what was considered to be ‘normal’ and was stripped of an authentic part of who I was.

I love who I am today.  I love that I found a path that is in line of who I was meant to be.  I love being an individual with my own thoughts and ideas and I love that I no longer have to hide who I love.  I gained emotional scars throughout my journey but I have learned to love and cherish those beautiful scars because they have shaped me in becoming the person I am today – and I LOVE that person.

Don’t conform to what others tell you – look within and listen to the authenticity that lives within you, that authenticity should guide you in all the endeavors your life’s path will take you on.

Together, we can make the world a more positive one!

 

 

WHY GAY PRIDE?

How do I feel about GAY PRIDE parades and celebrations?  I have had reservations about gay pride parades and celebrations in the past because I believed the things that people who have never gone before would say because of what the media focused on.  Yes, you may see some nudity and yes you may encounter a festive and partying crowd but these things are evident in many celebrations that are considered to be mainly heterosexual like; Mardi Gras (New Orleans, USA), Carnival (Rio, Brazil), Caribana (Toronto, Canada).  The only reason that television stations show the nudity, or the party animals is to get people to watch their broadcast and to instigate controversy – that is what sells and that is what people pay attention to the most.

I have attended many gay pride festivities, celebrations and parades and have only taken away what was important to me.  I always got emotional when PFLAG (formerly known as, Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) would march by in support of sons, daughters, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters and mothers and fathers who happen to be gay.  I was also filled with inspiration by people who lived authentically and marched in the parade indicating the fact that they were gay professionals such as; police officers, paramedics, firefighters, teachers, members of parliament, doctors, etc.  The most emotional moment of pride parades of the past was when they had a minute of silence (die-ins) for those affected and that have passed due to HIV/AIDS.

Today, the message and advocacy continues but it is drowned out by those wanting to focus on the sensationalism of this celebration.  I hear people say things like; “it’s a marketing tool for big corporations now”, “publicity for politicians”, “it’s just one big party without a clear message”, “it’s too mainstream now” – Isn’t this what the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community want?  To become mainstream and not be victimized on a daily basis, to be considered outcasts and sexual deviants?

Most people who have issues with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people are usually those hiding behind their religious ideologies and beliefs that being gay is a choice and that it is a sin.  Well, as I have stated in previous posts – I  DID NOT choose to be gay, I happened to be born this way.  If I could so easily choose to be gay that would mean that any heterosexual could choose the same.  If those people who live strictly by the world of God and what is written in The Bible – I say this:  If God has created us in his image, than wouldn’t that make God gay, straight, bisexual, transgender, black, hispanic, German, African, Chinese, black-haired, blue-eyed, etc?

I know this – Many people have lost their freedom, died and have become martyrs for what they believe in such as; Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Dian Fossey.  That is also true for people who marched for rights for gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgendered people.  For me, that is what I celebrate when I celebrate GAY PRIDE – I celebrate that we have become mainstream and that corporations are raising our flag because so many gay, lesbian, bisexuals and transgendered people have lost their lives to ensure we have the rights and freedoms we have today because they lived their lives authentically and without shame.

HAPPY GAY PRIDE and THANK YOU to those who have paved the way:

JEREMY BENTHAM – Wrote first known argument for homosexual law reform in England around 1785 at a time when the legal penalty for buggery was death by hanging.

NEMAT SADAT – The first public figure from Afghanistan to come out of the closet as ex-Muslim gay, atheist, and Zionist.  August 22, 2013, Sadat made history by being the first native from Afghanistan to come out as gay.  Sadat is considered to have broken the taboos on cross-dressing and homosexuality by coming out and raising awareness about gender orientation and sexual identity.  Since coming out, Sadat has received numerous death threats.

SVEND ROBINSON – As the longest-serving British Columbia MP of his time, in office from 1979 to 2004, Sven is notable for having been the first Canadian MP to come out as gay, in the spring of 1988.  Robinson, a self-described socialist, is commonly regarded as being one of the most left-wing figures in Canadian politics.  He is best known for his negative views on American foreign policy, especially towards Cuba, his challenge of corporate power, his strident criticism of Israel, and his strong support for Palestinian leaders.

CAMILLE CABRAL – French/Brazillian politician.  The first transsexual woman to be elected in the history of the French Republic.

SHALEEN RAKESH – Poet and Gay Rights Activist.  Shaleen has been an important part of the Gender and Sexuality Movement in India for over 20 years.

ARSHAM PARSI – Activist and founder of Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees.  Lives in exile in Canada.  Parsi has faced death threats and excommunication for his activism to ensure Iranian gay citizens are not being improperly treated.

HARVEY MILK – First openly gay politician to be elected into public office in California when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.  Milk served 11 months in office and was responsible for passing a stringent gay rights ordinance for the city.  On November 27, 1978, Milk and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by Dan White.

NIKOLAY ALEXEYEV – Russian LGBT rights activist, lawyer and journalist. Alexeyev won the first ever case at the European Court of Human Rights on LGBT human rights violations in Russia.  The Strasbourg-based court unanimously ruled that by banning threes Moscow Prides in 2006, 2007 and 2008 Russia breached three articles of the European Convention on Human Rights.

FANNYANN EDDY – Founded the Sierra Leone Lesbian and Gay Association, the first of its kind in Sierra Leone.  Activist for lesbian and gay rights in her native Sierra Leone and throughout Africa. FannyAnn, traveled extensively addressing the United Nations and other international groups.  She was murdered on September 29, 2004 leaving behind a 10-year old son and girlfriend Esther Chikalipa.

DAVID KATO – Was a Ugandan teacher and LGBT activist, considered a father of Uganda’s gay rights movement and described as “Uganda’s first openly gay man”.  He served as advocacy officer for Sexual Minorities Uganda.  Kato was murdered in 2011 by a male prostitute, shortly after winning a lawsuit against a magazine which had published his name and photograph identifying him as gay and calling for him to be executed.

JACKIE FORSTER – Was an English news reporter and lesbian rights activist.  Founding member of Gay Liberation Front (GLF) in London and was on the first Gay Pride march in the UK in August of 1971.  Was married to novelist, Peter Forster, but divorced him in 1962 when she realized her true sexual identity.

PATRIA JIMENEZ – Mexican politician and head of El Closet de Sor Juana (Sister Juana’s Closet).  in 1997, she became the first gay member of Mexico’s legislature in the country’s history-the first in any legislature in Latin America.  Both as a civil rights leader and a member of the government, Jimenez is a major Latin American voice for LGBT rights and civil rights.

KATHERINE ZAPPONE – She and her wife, Ann Louise Gilligan, founded An Cosan which supports individuals and communities to actively engage in the process of social change through transformative education.  Katherine is the first openly lesbian member of the Oireachtas and the first member in a recognized same-sex relationship.  She is a former CEO of the National Women’s Council of Ireland.

IRSHAD MANJI – Well-known critic of traditional mainstream Islam and was described by The New York Times as “Osama bin Laden’s worst nightmare”.  Manji is an author, educator and advocate of a “reformist” interpretation of Islam.  Born in Uganda of mixed Egyptian and Gujarati descent.  Her family moved to Canada when she was four, as a result of Id Amin’s expulsion of Asians.

2015 GAY PRIDE is dedicated to all these people mentioned above for creating positive change in the world and for those not on this last – past, present and future for their efforts in making this world a more positive one!

WORLD PRIDE

Heart In Turmoil

Together, we can make the world a more positive one!

MARRIAGE MOMENTS OF THE PAST – NOBODY’S MEMORIES

This was published on YouTube on April 24, 2015.  Here is the caption from the PFLAGCanada channel:

This is our tribute to all those in the past who were never allowed to marry by law – and to everyone who is still denied the right today.  Share your love stories, wedding photos and videos on Instagram and Twitter with #lovemadelegal and let’s make gay marriage legal everywhere.

Thank you PFLAG Canada for this wonderful video:

Together, we can make the world a more positive one!

I DECLARE….

I declare the following and stand strongly behind these declarations as they come from a positive place and they come from LOVE:

  • A person’s CHOICE to believe in religion should not impede on the rights of those who don’t follow any religious doctrine.
  • MARRIAGE is just a word – the process of being or becoming married is NOT solely based and afforded to heterosexual couples.  Individuals who are in loving and in committed same-sex relationships also have the right to be married and call it a marriage because that is what it is!
  • There is no difference between physical abuse towards an animal or a person.  Abuse is abuse.  All sentient beings should be treated with respect, compassion and love.
  • Don’t ever apologize for wanting to spread love and positive energy into the world.  Stand behind what you believe with conviction and with passion and people will respect your views.
  • Religious beliefs SHOULD NEVER influence legislation – religious views are choices people make in what they believe and should never be used to deny civil liberties of others.  Leave religion OUT of politics.
  • Money should never influence a decision for a person, organization or government to do something that will have a positive impact on society.  Isn’t the positive impact worth the money?  Example:  Climate Change – spending money to make our planet more sustainable and moving towards more renewable sources of energy is a good thing whether or not you believe that climate change is happening.
  • LOVE is my religion – I know that I am here on this planet to create positive change in the world.
  • Finally…if you believe in “GOD” – He/She/It made us in His/Her/Their own image.  We are a reflection of Him/Her/It.  So ‘GOD’ is gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, black, white, yellow, red, Muslim, Jewish, Catholic, Christian, man, woman, child.  GOD is everyone and everything so when you are judging someone else, you are judging GOD.

Together, we can make the world a more positive one!

HOW DO YOU IDENTIFY YOURSELF?

If you had to write a brief description of yourself, what would you say about yourself?  What are your greatest attributes?  What are the things you don’t enjoy about yourself?  Have you really ever thought about how others see you?  Do you even care?

I’m going to take a look at these questions and answer them as honestly as I can. 

What are my greatest attributes?

My loyalty, my passion, drive and desire to create positive change into the world, my empathy, my honesty and sincerity.

What are some things I don’t enjoy about myself? 

I like everything about myself.  I like the direction my life took.  I love that I advocate for the ethical treatment of animals.  I love that I have made the choice to become vegan.  I love that I think with my heart.  I love my strong convictions in creating positive change into the world.  I love being in love.  I love learning and growing.

Do I care about what others think of me?

The only person that matters in my life is ME.  Without trying to create the best possible me – I would not be able to motivate others into creating positive change in the world.  I do care about how other people view me – especially if they view me in a negative way.  I encourage feedback in order to ensure I become a better person.  What I don’t care for is when people make judgments about me.  I don’t care if you do not like what I am wearing, the colour of my eyes or hair, that I have gained a few pounds or that I raise my voice a bit when I am defending the earth, our environment, animals that have no voice or people who are oppressed because they were born with certain uniqueness. 

A brief description about myself:

To expand on what I have said above – my commitment in my life is being the best partner, husband and friend to my partner of 21 years.  I want to continue to advocate for the things I am passionate about (animals, environment and the LGBTQ community).  I want to become a beacon in creating positive change in the world – if I have influenced just one other person to be kind to animals, our planet or to each other – my job is done but I’m not going to stop.  I am comfortable and love living my life in the most authentic way possible.  I am not afraid to share my views about many of the injustices in this world.  I really believe that we should treat others in the same way that we want to be treated.  I am not afraid to be expressive and passionate in my convictions and have been known to get into heated discussions about those passions and beliefs.  I am avid believer that ‘one person can make a difference’ and get quite offended when people say that a problem is too big to solve.  I get annoyed when people also say, “you can’t change the habits or thoughts of so many people.” – I don’t think Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Rosa Parks, Jane Goodall, Ingrid Newkirk or so many other influential people thought this way.  Even Adolf Hitler didn’t think this way. 

I believe I am honest, caring, loving and passionate.  I am overly sensitive – which is an amazing attribute considering most people think that being overly sensitive is a negative trait and a sign of weakness.  Sensitivity is a sign of strength and empathy – people who are sensitive can really put themselves in any situation and act to ensure a positive outcome is not too far from reach.

Today, so many people are too concerned about how others see them and are afraid to live an authentic life.  Imagine the changes we can make in the world if people would just live authentic lives.  Imagine if more people cared about the environment, the poor, the ethical treatment of animals, child poverty, income inequality and other issues that are more deserving of our time and efforts.  More people care about Hollywood gossip than the possible extinction of certain animal species.  We can make huge strides in protecting our declining forests, lakes and oceans but we need to raise our voices and we need to raise them LOUD and STRONG!   The time is now.

Together, we can make the world a more positive one!

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WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE GAY

I have known that there was something wonderful and different about me.  This wonderful thing wasn’t something I reacted to – it was something that was embedded within me.  I didn’t learn it because it was something I just didn’t turn on – it was always there since my birth.  The only time I started doubting my authenticity was when I realized how others viewed those who were born with this ‘uniqueness’.  I was gay, I was me, I was authentic but I now had to deny my authenticity because others were uncomfortable with it.  So I did, until I was 21 and tired of living a lie and trying to please and garner respect from others who had no respect for me. 

So what was it like to be gay?  I can answer this question based on various stages and ages:

From my birth to the age of 12Like I mentioned above, it wasn’t until I understood how people felt about those who were different, that I decided to keep my authenticity to myself.  I remember how ridiculed, belittled, verbally and physically abused and harassed gay people were by those who didn’t tolerate it and only because of this, I decided to live a closeted life.

Between the ages of 13 and 20I understood I was different, I understood I wasn’t really interested in a sexual relationship with those of the opposite sex but alas, society, peers, religion and family enforced their distaste for homosexuals.  I wasn’t encouraged to live an authentic life, so I continued living a life for others and not for myself.  This lie caused much inner-turmoil and created self-hatred and internal homophobia.

Between the ages of 21 and 30I was finally free.  I was in my first long-term relationship and felt I couldn’t live my life filled with lies, deception and without being true to myself.  I came to terms with the fact that I couldn’t change who I was – I was born like this.  I was happy with who I was and the problem didn’t lie with me, it lied with those who were ignorant and biased against me and others who were born like me.  These people justified their hate and ignorance behind their religious beliefs and the stereotypes they knew to be true about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gendered community.  I had enough.

Between the ages of 31 and nowI became more and more comfortable in living my authentic life.  The weight of the world was lifted from my shoulders.  If any of my friends of family had issues with who I was, I was comfortable enough to remove them from my life and allow them to deal with their own prejudices.  Mostly, there weren’t any issues about my sexuality amongst my friends or family that became evident.  If anyone had issues, they were never brought to my attention.  I am who I am.  For those who believe in religious doctrine – I am who God made me to be and if we are all products of The Maker, than the maker is gay, straight, bisexual, black or white.  We DO NOT choose the colour of our skin or our eyes but we do choose what we believe.

So, what is it like to be gay?  Simply, the same as it is to be straight.  If being gay is a choice, then being straight must also be a choice.  I am not defined by my “gayness”, I am defined by my character.  I believe that my character CHOOSES to create positive change in the world, to help people who are down, to encourage people to be kind, loving, compassionate and caring – those are choices, and I would rather choose love and kindness over hate and ignorance.

Together, we can make the world a more positive one!

 

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE – THE DOWNFALL of CIVILIZATION….

I have heard many religious leaders indicating that allowing same-sex couples to marry would be the downfall of civilizations.  People have even gone as far as blaming environment catastrophe’s due to states grating same-sex marriage.  Okay….let’s look at some statistics and facts surrounding the implementation and recognition of same-sex marriages around the world, here are some timelines: 

  • Netherlands was the first country to extend marriage laws to include same-sex couples.  A same-sex marriage bill passed the House of Representatives and the Senate in 2000, taking effect on 1 April, 2001.
  • Belgium became the second country in the world to legally recognize same-sex marriages.
  • The provinces of Ontario and British Columbia in Canada legally recognized same-sex marriages in 2003 – Ontario (June) and British Columbia (July).
  • In 2004 – The Canadian provinces of Quebec (March),  Yukon (July), Manitoba (September), Nova Scotia (September), Saskatchewan (November) and Newfoundland (December) legally recognized same-sex marriages.  Nationally, Canada (July) legally recognized same-sex marriage as of July 20, 2005 – becoming the 4th country to do so.  Sandoval County, New Mexico, USA (February; discontinued, reinstated by statewide legalization in December), New Paltz, New York, USA (February; discontinued, reinstated by statewide legalization in July, 2011), Massachusetts, USA (May)
  • On July 3, 2005 – Spain became the 3rd country to officially recognize same-sex marriage legally.
  • 2006 – South Africa (November) recognizes same-sex marriage.
  • 2008 – California, USA (June, discontinued November and reinstated June (2013) and Connecticut, USA (November) recognize same-sex marriage.
  • 2009 – Norway (January) and Sweden (May) and in the USA, Iowa (January) and Vermont (September).
  • 2010 – The US States of New Hampshire (January) and District of Columbia (March) along with Portugal (June), Iceland (June) and Argentina (July) begin recognizing same-sex marriage. 
  • 2011 – New York, statewide (July).
  • 2012 – Denmark (June) and the US states of Washington (December) and Maine (December).
  • 2013 – The US states of Maryland (January), Delaware (July), Minnesota (August), Rhode Island (August), New Jersey (October), Hawaii (December), New Mexico (statewide) (December) and Utah (December, discontinued in January and reinstated in October, 2014) along with the countries; Brazil (May), France (May), Uruguay (August) and New Zealand (August).
  • 2014 – In the USA; Oregon (May), Pennsylvania (May), Illinois (statewide) (June), Wisconsin (June, discontinued 13 June and reinstated October), Indiana (June, discontinued 27 June and reinstated in October), Oklahoma (October), Virginia (October), Colorado (October), West Virginia (October), Nevada (October), North Carolina (October), Alaska (October), Idaho (October), Arizona (October), Wyoming (October), Montana (November), South Carolina (November) along with England of Wales (March) and Scotland (December).
  • 2015 – Luxembourg (January) and the US States; Florida (January) and Alabama (February).

So what has happened since the all these countries and many states have legalizes same-sex marriages?  Have economies collapsed?  Did civil war break out in these countries and states?  For those who are religious and God-fearing – has God caused biblical floods of epic proportions or burned cities to the ground for granting same-sex marriages?  I can confidently say – that, with the introduction of same-sex marriages, unions, partnerships (whatever you want to call them), nothing drastic has changed for any heterosexuals couple that have opposed this in the past.  The only thing that has changed is for those individuals in same-sex unions.  Same-sex couples have the same benefits and rights that are afforded to heterosexual married couples and are treated equally under the law.

Let’s look at Canada – Canada has been grating same-sex marriages since 2003 (in 2 provinces – Ontario and British Columbia).  Ontario is my home province and nothing significant has happened in the province since allowing same-sex marriages.  As a matter-of-fact, nothing has happened anywhere in which same-sex marriages have been granted.  Same-sex unions/marriages are not to blame for the huge spikes in the divorce rates between heterosexual couples.  Instead of focusing their dissent on couples who are in loving  and committed relationships, why don’t those who are so opposed to same-sex marriages focus their rage and dissention on the increasing divorce rates, homelessness, poverty, violence towards women, and other more pressing social issues?

My spouse and I have been together for over 20 years and married for 7….our relationship or marriage hasn’t infringed on the rights and responsibilities of anyone we know.  We made the decision to marry to ensure we were treated equally in the eyes of the law (not to mention the fact that we love one another).  My marriage is as equally meaningful as my parents, my sisters or my brother’s marriage.  That is all.

As I mentioned above, if people would just focus their energies on the real social issues that need our attention, this world would be a much brighter and positive one!  Let’s make that happen.

Together, we can make the world a more positive one!

 

“COMING OUT” IS FOR THE BENEFIT OF THOSE WHO “COME OUT”

How many times have I heard the following statements?  “Why do gay people have to come out?” or “Straight people to come out.”  Those individuals who complain the most about any man or women that are finally able to embrace their gender/sexual identity and live authentic lives are the ones that protest the loudest.  As a gay male – who hasn’t really officially ‘come out’ explain why this process is a process that many in the LGBT community need to allow to happen naturally:

First, here is the reason that people in the LGBT community must ‘come out’……(using my own personal experience, which is very similar for so many people)….I have always known that I was attracted to men, it wasn’t confusing – I was attracted to men.  I didn’t wake up one morning and decide, “I think I’ll begin an emotional and physical attraction to men today” – that just doesn’t happen.  

There are many reasons that I didn’t decide to share my feelings in regards to being attracted to men, the most pressing was societies lack of acceptance towards people in same-sex relationships due to their religious beliefs.  Many so-called “religious people” who identify as Christian and God-fearing, justify their hate through their interpretation of the Bible.  They impose their religious ideologies and outright condemn homosexuals due to those religious ideologies and beliefs.  What if you don’t buy into those religious ideologies?  How do you justify not accepting a group of individuals as equal to everyone else?  Sounds very similar to what many black activists demanded during the civil rights movement, doesn’t it?  

I heard the many negative stories of people being kicked out of their homes and being disowned by family and friends after coming out.  I saw the harassment and bullying that many ‘out’ kids received in school.  Many were verbally, emotionally and physically assaulted – not only by their peers but by the school officials.  I wasn’t even out and was called, “faggot”, “queer”, “pussy”, “fairy” and so many other names that reinforced the lack of acceptance of people who were attracted to the same-sex.  This mistreatment wasn’t only experienced in public places – it was present in the home.  My uncle was gay – he has since passed but I remember that my mother loved him very much but no-one talked about his lifestyle.  It was kept secret and was a taboo topic of discussion because he was gay.  If family frowned and looked negatively upon my uncle’s homosexual identity – why would I make the decision to come out and open myself to further emotional turmoil?

There came a period in my life where I wanted nothing more than to find a partner and finally be free of living a double life.  But I knew that if that day came, my life would be an open book. 

I had many internal struggles and luckily found a community of people I could be myself with.  Many people like me – outcasts, freaks of nature, sexual deviants and predators as we were commonly referred to by those making the judgements.  I finally realized that my sexual identity didn’t define me and that I just happened to be a man who had attractions to other men.  There was nothing wrong with me.  On a warm night in Toronto’s gay community – I walked and pondered how my friends and family would react when I finally ‘came out’?  As I pondered this – a van squealed by and I heard several guys calling out to me; “hey faggot, wanna suck some cock”, “come and get it fairy” and eventually “die, faggot”  I had never been a victim of gay-bashing but I certainly came close that night – one of the guys in the van threw a beer bottle in my direction – missing me by inches, they then sped off.  This incident enraged me.  I was physically attacked because of where I was and for who I was even though these bullies didn’t know I was gay.

I was lucky – I finally made the decision to come out but only to myself.  I had to address and remove all the internal homophobia I had within.  I learned to love myself and I learned to deal with all the anger within me.  I met some wonderful people who looked death in the face but decided not to look at the world with hate and anger.  These people showed me that we had to stand strong and that we should not be treated as sexual predators or deviants.  We were brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, sons and daughters.  They showed me that we were teachers, policemen and women, doctors, lawyers, government employees, bank tellers, janitors or scientists – we were like everyone else.

I came out alright – but, I came out for the person it meant the most to – ME!  My ‘coming out’ wasn’t for anyone else.  It wasn’t for my father, mother, brothers, sisters or friends – if they didn’t accept me, I wasn’t going to take on their ignorance.  In ‘coming out’ – I made a decision that my life was going to be better for it.  Coming out would allow me to live authentically and positively.  So many of us in the LGBT community, want and need to be accepted by friends and family but, I learned that the only person that mattered in this process was me.  Coming out didn’t change the person I was.  I was the same Rob and this realization allowed me to see the ignorance in other people.  

The worst thing I hear from people now is – “I respect and love you but I don’t accept your lifestyle choice, it’s wrong” – I don’t accept that.  If you love and respect me as I love and respect you – there are no stipulations to that love and respect.  Imagine if I turned to a friend and said, “I love and respect you but your heterosexuality disgusts me.” It sounds just as ridiculous as, “I love and respect you but I don’t accept your lifestyle choice, it’s wrong.” 

Lifestyle choice….these words suggest that I made the choice to become gay.  That being said – if I can make the choice to be gay – then everyone can.  So, to all of you God-fearing people out there who are quick to reference the Bible on homosexuality, I dare you to make the same choice I did and become gay. 

We must thank those people who hold no judgements on others because of the colour of their skin, their gender, sexual identity, nationality or any other attributes that make them unique and different.  We must embrace individual diversities and allow people to live authentically so that we can all have a safe, inclusive and positive environment.

Together, we can make the world a more positive one!

 

 

LEAVE GAY PEOPLE ALONE!

Religion should not dictate or influence policies on social issues.  Belonging and believing in religious doctrine is a choice and should remain in people’s homes.  When individuals try to influence their beliefs in order to deny others privileges and rights that everyone is entitled to is absolutely wrong. 

I support everyone’s right to express their ideas and to voice their opinions but when you try to instill your personal religious beliefs to preach hate – I draw the line.  Many preacher’s or religious leaders from various religions continue to discriminate against the LGBT community and they continue to spread outrageous claims based on their religious beliefs.  Here are some examples – with my rebuttals in red:

“As a mother, I know that homosexuals cannot biologically reproduce children; therefore, they must recruit our children.” – Anita Bryant

Homosexuals everywhere are devising plans to kidnap as many children as we can to teach and force them to become gay so we can build our armies and take over the world.  As a mother, Ms. Bryant should have been more concerned about teaching her children how to spread love, compassion and kindness into the world – not hate and intolerance. 

“If the world accepts homosexuality as its norm and if it moves the entire world in that regard, the whole world is then going to be sitting like Sodom and Gomorrah before a Holy God.” – Pat Robertson

Mr. Robertson’s beliefs are not the same as everyone else’s beliefs.  I know many ‘straight’ people who accept ALL people for who they are.  There are great kind, generous and loving people who happen to be gay…and then there are ignorant, hateful and judgemental people who claim to be Christian.  If Pat Robertson (and so many other religious leaders, preachers, pastors, etc) believe their religious ideologies/doctrine, then they should stay silent regarding their obsession with homosexuality and let their God make His judgement Himself.

“Don’t misunderstand. I am not here bashing people who are homosexuals, who are lesbians, who are bisexual, who are transgender. We need to have profound compassion for people who are dealing with the very real issue of sexual dysfunction in their life and sexual identity disorders.” – Senator Michele Bachmann 

When you make a generalized statement that homosexuals, lesbians, bisexual and transgender individuals have a sexual dysfunction and sexual identity disorders – you are bashing them.  I didn’t wake up one morning and decide, “I think I’ll have an emotional and sexual relationship with a man today.”, because if I did – then that would suggest that anyone can make that same decision.  I wasn’t born with a disorder, I didn’t decide to become gay, I wasn’t influenced to become gay – I was born as is. 

“Let’s say we discover the gene that says the kid’s gonna be gay. How many parents, if they knew before the kid was gonna be born, [that he] was gonna be gay, they would take the pregnancy to term? Well, you don’t know but let’s say half of them said, “Oh, no, I don’t wanna do that to a kid.” [Then the] gay community finds out about this. The gay community would do the fastest 180 and become pro-life faster than anybody you’ve ever seen.  They’d be so against abortion if it was discovered that you could abort what you knew were gonna be gay babies.” – Rush Limbaugh

I wonder if Rush Limbaugh would feel the same way if they discovered a gene that would suggest a child would be born sexist, racist, homophobic and ignorant.  Mr. Limbaugh has made countless and offensive remarks about women, minorities and homosexuals and justified them by saying he’s a comedian….I don’t think comedians become comedians to justify and spread their hate.

“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong. Sin becomes fine,” he later added. “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men. Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers — they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.” – Phil Robertson (Duck Dynasty)

Comparing homosexuality with bestiality….why do these God-fearing men and women always make this comparison.  As I proud gay man – I have no desire to have sexual inter-course with any animal and I don’t know any other gay person who feels the same.  Why the obsession with homosexuality, bestiality and adultery Phil?  Creating controversy that instills hate in order to increase viewership and financially benefit is irresponsible and not very Christian, is it?

If these so-called “Christians” like Pat Robertson, Maggie Gallagher, Brian Brown, Phil Robertson, Michele Bachmann, Bryan Fischer and so many other judgemental individuals focused on issues that would promote love, kindness and compassion into the world, imagine how much more supportive, inclusive, loving and kind people would be?  If organizations such as the American Family Association or National Organization for Marriage tackled issues of homelessness and poverty imagine the lives that would be changed.  Religious leaders need to re-focus and declare war on human rights violations, income inequality, domestic abuse, destruction of the environment, greed, gang violence, sexual eduction, rape and so many other issues of importance that will ensure positive outcomes.  From my understanding, God’s message is to support love, compassion and kindness – His message wasn’t to spread ignorance, hate and incite violence on those who are different or have different belief systems.

Larry Tomczak, anti-gay pastor, has recently made comments about the film, Foxcatcher, directed by Bennett Miller and starring Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum as well as the Ellen Degeneres show, American Idol, Glee and Two And A Half Men of being part of Hollywood’s gay agenda.  He also said professional NFL football athlete Michael Sam was a “castaway” for coming out.  Tomczak also suggested that gay advocacy groups were trying to push their gay agenda on children.  Ellen Degeneres addresses Larry’s ignorant views in a very eloquent and humorous way:

You may ask yourself why I’m writing a blog that has seems to be somewhat negative…my intention in writing this blog is to create awareness of those who may instill their ignorant views on others.  This blog is a means of providing a different view-point – and considering the subject – who do you believe has the most knowledge of the subject of homosexuality, those who make ignorant and biased statements or a homosexual?  Creating positive change in the world won’t happen with hate, ignorance and judgement – it comes from love, compassion and truth.

Together, we can make the world a more positive one!