LOVE DEFEATS BULLYING

Imagine a world in which being homosexual is “normal” and being straight is a “sin.”

When we take HATE and IGNORANCE (and RELIGION) out of the equation; gay, straight, black, white, Mexican, Swedish, skinny or fat would be moot issues because in the end – LOVE WINS!

No-one should be bullied for something they can’t choose.  Here is an example, which I have blogged about before on the topic of homosexuality:

Be cognizant in how you treat others and what type of language you use to describe others.  If we want to end bullying, prejudice, racism, sexism, ageism and so many other negative things, it must begin with YOU!

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

WHO HAVE YOU MADE JUDGMENTS AGAINST TODAY?

How many times have we come across situations we become uncomfortable with and how many times have we judged the people who are in those uncomfortable situations?  Instead of judging others based on their appearance, we should all take the time and try to understand why they may be in that situation.  Here are some examples of how we judge others without knowing the circumstances:

  • The homeless – we assume that they are addicts, are crazy and are they because they want to be there.
  • That “crazy” person screaming on the corner – again we make assumptions without understanding that person’s situation.
  • The lady who is talking to herself beside you on the bus.
  • The angry woman at the market.
  • The young boy who prefers to put on high heels on rather than play with trucks or the young girl who would rather play baseball than be a princess.
  • The guy in the park passed out beside an empty bottle of alcohol.
  • The large man or woman eating at a fast food change.
  • The man/woman walking into traffic – could be blind and not understand what he is doing.
  • etc..

Prior to making judgment’s against any other person – we should practice empathy.  When you see someone in any of the situations above, imagine yourself in their shoes.  Wouldn’t you want someone to reach out to you?

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

I AM…..

I am FORGIVENESS

I am COMPASSIONATE

I am SILLY

I am FUNNY

I am HOMOSEXUAL

I am in love with the EARTH

I am an activist for ANIMALS

I am VEGAN

I am not PERFECT

I am a good FRIEND

I am AUTHENTIC

I am LIGHT

I am NATURE

I am TRUTHFUL

I am an ARTIST

I am a LOVER

I am COMFORTABLE

I am CONTENT

I am POSITIVE

I am HOPEFUL

I am LOVE

I am GOD

Don’t allow the negative perceptions of others determine how you see yourself.  Once you are comfortable in your own skin, it will not matter how others see yourself as long as you know how much you shine!

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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!

MY TRIALS and TRIBULATIONS IN WANTING ACCEPTANCE.

I remember a time in my life where everything I did was to either please friends, family or anyone who would pay attention.  My behaviours, the way I dressed, how I acted all depended on how others viewed me and how they would accept me.  If treating someone like crap or gossiping about another person would benefit me or garner me acceptance, I did not have a problem doing either.  There were moments when I caught myself bullying others in order to avoid being bullied myself.  Why should I be in the line of fire when I was able to put someone else there?

In high school, I clearly remember inflicting cruel words on another student.  Her name was Marla and she wasn’t very popular.  She was what many considered ‘a nerd’.  She didn’t wear clothing that most of us wore, she wasn’t very social and didn’t have many friends.  She also wore a headgear which really made her stand out.  I don’t quite remember what I said but, it was cruel and unjust.  I remember regretting what I said immediately after I said it but I didn’t let the ‘cool’ kids see my regret besides, they were too busy laughing at what I said to Marla.  I visibly upset Marla, who quickly scurried and disappeared down the hall.

Did my words have a lasting impact on Marla?  Could what I have said be the words that pushed Marla over the edge?  Did what I say further encompass Marla with despair, depression and loneliness?  I think of Marla quite often and imagine myself apologizing to her whether she remembers that moment or not.  My heart aches at the cruelty I inflicted towards Marla.

I think about the times I used many derogatory words to describe others – probably to deflect the hurtful words that I was being called.  My cruelty towards others was a way to mask my pain and a way to escape in not dealing with my sexuality and authenticity.  In addition to treating others with cruelty in order to be accepted, I managed to find another means of escape and acceptance in alcohol.

I escaped the woes of being a teenager, my sexuality, my father’s abuse and reality with alcohol.  Wanting to be accepted creates strange bedfellows.  Alcohol was a great escape, so much so that there were moments in my life that I can’t even recall or remember.  It is quite embarrassing when people from the past recall stories of things I did that I don’t even remember.

I had such a huge craving and desire to be accepted that I not only treated others like garbage but, I also treated myself like garbage.  I had no respect for others so why would I have any self-worth or self-respect?  I can’t pinpoint the exact moment in my life when this changed but, I am glad that it did.

Am I still seeking acceptance from others?  I am seeking acceptance but in a completely different way.  I want acceptance in the positivity I want to create in the world.  I want acceptance in the LOVE that I want to spread into the world.  I don’t want to inflict any emotional or physical pain on anyone.  Today, I imagine how it would feel like to be treated without respect, without love, without compassion and with only with judgments – I remember the moments in my life when I lived without love, without compassion and only judgments, it was very lonely.  I never want to be responsible for someone’s withdrawal from life and from a social connection.

If I had the opportunity to see Marla today – I would take it with open arms and apologize.  If this opportunity never comes, then my apology comes in form of the goodness and the love I will continue to spread.  I will be kind, considerate and compassionate and I will always remember that we are all Marla in one way or another.

Live with love, kindness and without judgment and you will truly be accepted.

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

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REVOLT FOR LOVE and POSITIVE CHANGE!

Many people are talking about starting revolutions – celebrities and regular people are asking for CHANGE in our world.  They are asking for peace, tolerance, compassion, but most of all, they are asking for LOVE.  Forget incompetent government ‘shut-downs’ – these governments are not really working for the people but for themselves and those who can further give them more power or money. 

How will you express your desire to revolt?

My revolution began when I acknowledged that I had to live my life as authentically as possible – if I couldn’t love myself, how could I be effective in creating positive change into the world?  I continue my revolution by blogging and expressing my concerns for those who may not be able to express themselves for whatever reason – I blog for the planet, the environment, animals that can’t express themselves except through the pain they face, the LGBT community – who continue to be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation and for all those other people who face the threat of violence for speaking out in the name of LOVE.  I also express my desire to create positive change in the world through my art pieces.  This also me to paint my thoughts and feelings onto canvas which allows me to release my creative and positive energy into the universe.  (Examples are included at the bottom of the post).

My role models are people who managed to spread the word of love, compassion and acceptance – some are still with us today and others are physically gone to the other side but continue to inspire many to continue the revolution of peace, love and acceptance.  Here are just some of those role models:

  • Gandhi
  • Louise L. Hay
  • John Lennon
  • Bob Marley
  • Ingrid Newkirk
  • Woody Harrelson
  • Al Gore
  • David Suzuki
  • Bill McKibben
  • Bill Maher
  • Princess Diana
  • Mother Teresa
  • Dalai Lama
  • Bishop Desmond Tutu
  • Nelson Mandela
  • The Freedom Riders
  • Harriet Tubman
  • Sinead O’Connor
  • Roseanne Barr
  • Governor Jesse Ventura
  • Representative Alan Grayson
  • MP Svend Robinson

There are so many more individuals and celebrities that have inspired me to continue to spread positive energy into the world….but my list would be too long.

As mentioned above – here are some of my original art prints (acrylic oil and digital photography) inspired by my desire to continue to spread positive energy into the universe:

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Digital Print – I call ‘Let Love Glow’

Heart In Turmoil

Acrylic Painting entitled:  ‘Love In Turmoil’

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

HAPPY GAY PRIDE – MUSIC VIDEO

As we continue to celebrate the ruling SCOTUS made yesterday in deeming Prop 8 unconstitutional – I want to look back into the past, 1984 to be exact.  I was in High School and was living a life as a closeted teenager.  I didn’t know where to go for support – I knew how my friends and family felt about homosexuals (especially males) and wasn’t about to ‘come out’ to any of them.  The only release I managed to receive was in pop music. 

There were a lot of ambiguous music groups and artists that were just reaching peak stardom levels, groups such as; Duran Duran, The Cure, Depeche Mode, The Human League, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, New Order, Yaz, etc….What I really connected with were bands that had openly/known gay singers and band mates like; Culture Club, Frankie Goes To Hollywood and especially Bronski Beat.  (I learned of Andy Bell of Erasure a few years later).  

Music transcended the closet for me and I guess, for many others.  These bands had massive hit records and albums during that time.  I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t come out especially when Bronski Beat had a hit on the charts about a young boy’s struggle and coming out with his homosexuality.  The song was called “Smalltown Boy”.  This song resonated with me – it was about me, it was my story and it was on the radio everywhere.  The irony is that the song didn’t give me the courage to come out and live my authentic life – for me, it reinforced why I should stay closeted.  I didn’t want to be bullied, I didn’t want to lose my friends and most of all – I didn’t want to be ostracized by my family.  What that song did was allow me to begin the dialogue with myself in accepting who I was because it was confirmation that there were many others out there like me.

I think the LGBTQ community should acknowledge the importance of pop music and artists such as Divine, Sylvester, Culture Club, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Madonna, Elton John, Erasure and Bronski Beat – some for being openly gay and not apologizing for it and some for embracing the community without fear of what could happen to their careers.  These artists, through their music and videos, have provided an escape of a harsh reality that so many today (and yesterday) couldn’t live through.  So thank you and Happy Pride.

Here are the lyrics to “Smalltown Boy” :

You leave in the morning
With everything you own
In a little black case
Alone on a platform
The wind and the rain
On a sad and lonely face

Mother will never understand
Why you had to leave
But the answers you seek
Will never be found at home
The love that you need
Will never be found at home

Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away
Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away

Pushed around and kicked around
Always a lonely boy
You were the one
That they’d talk about around town
As they put you down

And as hard as they would try
They’d hurt to make you cry
But you never cried to them
Just to your soul
No, you never cried to them
Just to your soul

Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away
Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away

Cry, boy, cry…

You leave in the morning
With everything you own
In a little black case
Alone on a platform
The wind and the rain
On a sad and lonely face

Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away
Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away

Here is the video that gave me inspiration to begin to live my true and authentic self….enjoy!

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

SAME LOVE – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert (HAPPY GAY PRIDE)

The last time I posted this song was when it was surrounded in controversy.  NOT TODAY!  Today, I am positing this song to celebrate LOVE, DIVERSITY and ACCEPTANCE.  This song is dedicated to all my gay brothers and sisters around the world.  It is dedicated to all those who have and continue to fight for equality and human rights.  It is also dedicated to all those who are no longer with us and that have never been given the chance to experience the love they were forced to hide.

HAPPY PRIDE!!!! 

SAME LOVE Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert

When I was in the 3rd grade I thought that I was gay ’cause I could draw,
My uncle was and I kept my room straight
I told my mom, tears rushing down my face, she’s like,
“Ben you’ve loved girls since before pre-K”
Trippin’, yeah, I guess she had a point, didn’t she?
A bunch of stereotypes all in my head
I remember doing the math like “Yeah, I’m good a little league”
A pre-conceived idea of what it all meant
For those who like the same-sex had the characteristics
The right-wing conservatives think its a decision
And you can be cured with some treatment and religion
Man-made, rewiring of a pre-disposition. Playing God
Ahh nah, here we go
America the brave
Still fears what we don’t know And God loves all his children it’s somehow forgotten
But we paraphrase a book written 3,500 hundred years ago
I don’t know

And I can’t change
Even if I tried
Even if I wanted to
And I can’t change
Even if I tried
Even if I wanted to
My love, my love, my love
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm

If I was gay I would think hip-hop hates me
Have you read the YouTube comments lately
“Man that’s gay” Gets dropped on the daily
We’ve become so numb to what we’re sayin’
Our culture founded from oppression
Yeah, we don’t have acceptance for ’em
Call each other faggots behind the keys of a message board
A word rooted in hate, yet our genre still ignores it
Gay is synonymous with the lesser
It’s the same hate that’s caused wars from religion
Gender to skin color the complexion of your pigment
The same fight that lead people to walk-outs and sit-ins,
It’s human rights for everybody
There is no difference
Live on! And be yourself!
When I was in church, they taught me something else
If you preach hate at the service Those words aren’t anointed
And that Holy Water, that you soak in is then poisoned
When everyone else Is more comfortable remaining voiceless
Rather than fighting for humans, that have had their rights stolen
I might not be the same But that’s not important
No freedom ’til we’re equal
Damn right I support it

I don’t know

And I can’t change
Even if I tried
Even if I wanted to
My love, my love, my love
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm

We press play Don’t press pause
Progress, march on!
With a veil over our eyes
We turn our back on the cause
‘Till the day That my uncles can be united by law
Their kids are walkin’ around the hallway
Plagued by pain in their heart
A world so hateful, some would rather die than be who they are
And a certificate on paper
Isn’t gonna solve it all, but it’s a damn good place to start
No law’s gonna change us
We have to change us. Whatever God you believe in
We come from the same one
Strip away the fear
Underneath it’s all the same love
About time that we raised up

And I can’t change
Even if I tried
Even if I wanted to
And I can’t change
Even if I tried
Even if I wanted to
My love, my love, my love
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm

Love is patient, love is kind
Love is patient
Love is kind (Not crying on Sundays)
Love is patient,(Not crying on Sundays) love is kind (I’m not crying on Sundays)
Love is patient,(Not crying on Sundays) love is kind(I’m not crying on Sundays)
Love is patient,(Not crying on Sundays) love is kind(I’m not crying on Sundays)
Love is patient, love is kind

I AM GAY, AND I AM NO DIFFERENT THAN YOU ARE!

Why is the world obsessing over homosexuality?  I don’t understand the constant debates about gay marriage, being an ‘out’ boy scout, being a gay politician, teacher, celebrity, athlete, preacher or garbage collector.  People need to face the facts – GAY PEOPLE EXIST and we are tired of being treated as if we are second class citizens.  We have jobs, we pay taxes, we have hardships and families and go through the same life experiences as everyone else on the planet go through.  So what is the difference between homosexuals and heterosexuals besides the same-sex attraction?  Let’s look at some of the things that heterosexuals can do that homosexuals can not (in most places) – Let’s also look at some of the stereotypes people have about homosexuals.

  • Heterosexuals can marry – homosexuals can not (in most countries)
  • Heterosexuals can adopt – homosexuals can not (in most countries)
  • Heterosexuals are not discriminated against because of their religious beliefs
  • Everyone is born a sinner – but in the eyes of religion, homosexuals are damned because of whom they love
  • Homosexual athletes will try to hit on you in the locker rooms if they are open about their sexuality (said very sarcastic)
  • Homosexuals can’t play sports – they are not manly enough (said very sarcastic)
  • Lesbians want to be men and gay men want to be women because one partner has to be effeminate and the other manly
  • There is a gay agenda 
  • Gay teachers only teach homosexuality so that they can recruit your children to that lifestyle
  • Homosexuals can not be ‘out’ while serving and possibly dying for their country
  • Homosexuals can not have visitation rights if their partner is hospitalized for any reason (most parts of the world)
  • Most religions condemn homosexuality even though the basic message of religion is to love all and show compassion to all (possibly interpreted by a homophobic male)
  • Homosexual parents will try to convert their children to their lifestyle
  • Homosexuality is not natural because – man and women are put on earth to procreate (like there isn’t enough people on the planet)
  • If you listen to Cher, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Liza Minnelli, Barbara Streisand and like show tunes – you are gay!
  • Homosexuals are put to death in some countries for being gay (I don’t think a heterosexual has ever been put to death because they love a person of the opposite sex)
  • All homosexuals practice bestiality (no heterosexuals practice this)
  • All homosexuals are promiscuous (there are no heterosexuals who are promiscuous)
  • All homosexuals have HIV/AIDS (heterosexuals can not contract HIV/AIDS)
  • All homosexuals are pedophiles (there are no heterosexual pedophiles)
  • All homosexuals are interior decorators (although we are great at it…lol)

I think I have covered everything.  Looking at this list – it’s no wonder gays and lesbians consider it a hardship to live their authentic lives.  Many lesbians and gays don’t ‘come out’ because they know that society doesn’t have a positive perception of them.  Many choose suicide because they want to end the constant bullying from those who believe all the stereotypes and prejudices listed above.  Many gays and lesbians don’t want to live their authentic lives because of the threats of violence they may face.  Many don’t want to live their authentic lives because they may face death – Imagine, being put do death because of who you love. 

I didn’t ‘come out’ until I was 21…..why did I have to come out?  I had to come out because I was tired of being called a faggot, ass-muncher, fruitcake and fairy.  I had to come out because I was tired of being told that homosexuals are not capable of having loving and committed relationships.  I had to come out because I was tired of living a life that was making me miserable.  I had to come out because I wasn’t living my true authentic self.  I had to come out because I didn’t want to see another gay or lesbian endure violence just because they were born gay.  I needed to come out because I wanted to stand up to those punks who threw a bottle at my head (they missed by inches) from their car as they drove by yelling ‘die faggot, die’.  I needed to come out because I could potentially be a positive influence for those who may have struggle with their sexuality in the future.  Most of all – I needed to come out so that I could start to live.  I wonder if heterosexuals have these struggles……

Gay marriage will not destroy the world.  Why do I know this?  Well – if the institution of marriage was so important to heterosexuals why all the divorces?  Why the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th marriages – are you not supposed to be happy with the first partner you choose?  Didn’t you have the opportunity to ‘scout’ potential life mates when you were single?

Gay scouts will not destroy society.  Why do I know this?  Well – there have been gay boy scouts since the boy scouts inception and those people who think otherwise, are fooling themselves.

We are not trying to convert anyone – there is no gay agenda, we don’t want your babies so that we can convert them to our lifestyle.  We don’t become teachers, politicians, preachers and police men and women so that we can push a gay agenda.  We do the exact same things you do – we do the best we can with the lives that are given to us by living, loving and by being compassionate towards others.  I can’t change my attraction to the same-sex, that is a composition of how I was born – so why would YOU want to change me?  If it was that easy for me to choose my lifestyle, then the same holds true for you – the only difference is that I don’t want to change who you fundamentally are, I only want to remove the stereotypes that you have towards me and those who were born like me.

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

 

SPIRITUALITY and RELIGION

Before we look at spirituality and religion, let us define the words spiritual and religious.

Spiritual – adj. 1  of or concerning the spirit as opposed to matter2  concerned with sacred or religious things; holy, divine; inspired 3  (of the mind etc.) refined, sensitive; not concerned with the material.  4  (of a relationship etc.) concerned with the soul or spirit etc., not with external reality (his spiritual home). 

Religious adj. & n.  adj. devoted to religion; pious, devout.  of or concerned with religion.  of or belonging to a monastic order.  scrupulous, conscientious (a religious attention to detail).

Religionn. the belief in a superhuman controlling power, esp. in a personal God or gods entitled to obedience and worship.  the expression of this in worship.  a particular system of faith and worship.  life under monastic vows (the way of religion).  a thing the one is devoted to (football is their religion).

***Definitions from The Concise Oxford Dictionary – Ninth Edition***

Growing Love

Looking at the above definitions – in my past, I can’t say that we were devoted to religion.  I grew up Catholic but was rarely in church and never really studied ‘the bible’.  The extent of our religious practice was:  if you are bad or behave badly, you will be sent to Hell and if you were good, you would be accepted into Heaven.  We all have images of what the differences between Hell and Heaven are – think about them for a moment………..Did you envision Hell as a fiery pit were only damned souls are forever tortured and ruled over by a ghastly beast with horns, a tail and pitchfork?  Was Heaven a solace place with winged angels gently floating around and people happily walking around clouds smiling and reunited with their long deceased loved ones ?  That was the extent of my religious upbringing until my parents decided to try a new faith – Jehovah’s Witness.  

When our family studied to become Jehovah’s Witnesses it involved much more dedication to learning about God and all the stories of the bible.  We generally attended church on Sundays for about 2-3 hours and had bible study group on Thursday nights for a few hours.  We gave up birthday’s and Christmas and were told that blood transfusions were not accepted – but were not given specific reasons as to why we couldn’t do any of these things.

I didn’t necessarily see anything wrong with religion and was captivated by the stories of Adam and Eve and The Garden of Eden, Cain and Abel, Abraham and Isaac, Noah, Moses, Sodom and Gomorrah, David and Goliath, Jesus and the horrors that await us as accounted in the final book of The New Testament, in Revelation.  What I understood about religion (at such a young age) was that it was a method used to control those who are or would become unruly.  Another thing I took away from my brief religious experience was how disconnected religion made me feel.  I felt religion instilled fear, anxiety and paranoia into people to make them believe all the stories the apparently were ‘the word of God’ through the interpretations of man.

Needless-to-say, our brief stint into the world of the Jehovah’s Witness faith ended and my parents returned to their devotion to the Catholic faith.  My siblings and I, on the other hand, were left in a religious abyss – how do we proceed, what do we believe, who do we follow, what is the truth?  We were left to find our religious beliefs to ourselves and most of us just slipped back to what was comfortable with us – our Catholic upbringing, which was not religious in any sense except that we believed in God, the devil, heaven and hell (or at least that is what I understood).

Today – I am not very religious.  That is to say, I don’t really believe the stories that captivated me as a younger individual, I see them as fantasy now.  I am amazed at how many wars and conflicts rage across the world based on religious beliefs.  How can you trust an institution that preaches words of acceptance, love and compassion when many of their preachers and parishioners believe homosexuality is a sin “it is right there in The Bible”.  I guess God really messed up when he created women, people of colour, and homosexuals (said very sarcastically).

People – especially those who are inclined to believe The Bible and the belief in a superhuman controlling power, esp. in a personal God or gods entitled to obedience and worship – become very offended when I tell them my religious views.  I am told, “I haven’t found my way” or that I am “lost” or “you are very unfortunate not to have God in your life”.  First thing – I haven’t found my way because I am not lost and God is in my life everyday – but not that “superhuman controlling power” that you believe in.  People are adamant that their beliefs are the right ones and those without any religious beliefs are lost and condemned but what makes their religious belief system ‘the end all and be all of religious beliefs’?

I live my life the best way I know how.  I don’t maliciously hurt people and I haven’t killed anyone.  I am generally a good person and try to contribute to society.  I pay my fair in taxes, I choose not to have children, I advocate for animals and our planet.  I do believe that there is something bigger than all of us – this doesn’t make me religious and it certainly doesn’t make me right.  What I have learned is that I can be an amalgamation of spirituality and religion and be really happy with that.  I believe in science and in a higher power – I don’t think one could exist without the other.  Is this a conundrum?  Is it contradicting?  I don’t know.  But what I do know is that my beliefs are not as right or as wrong as anyone else’s.  I am not perfect, but who is?  I try to live my life out of love, compassion and non-judgement everyday – but as I said, I am not perfect.

I do not dislike Christians, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, or any person that associates themselves with a religious denomination – what I do dislike is those who use religion to hide behind their hate and prejudices.  Please do not quote your Bible references to me as I believe those words were written my men to keep society in check.  If you happen to be right about your religion and its stories, then I will either be condemned to Hell for eternity or God will forgive my sins and allow me into Heaven.  Until then – don’t judge me, don’t take my rights away, don’t demonize me, don’t justify violence against me and most of all don’t hate me because ultimately you are hating yourself.

Path To Love

Together we can make the world a more positive one.