Sunday, August 3, 2014

Learning to Grieve

Today I would like to talk about something many of us don't want to discuss. I want to talk about grief and learning to deal with it. Grief is a very powerful emotion and ravages us so at times. Yet regardless of LGBT or not few are ever taught how to deal with it. Yet being LGBT we seem to deal with it so much more.

Being LGBT we grieve so much but rarely see how much it affects us. We focus on the symptoms but not so much how it affects us or how we deal with it. We grieve having to hide our self, having to lie to family and friends. We grieve not being able to explore relationships as others would for fear of being hurt or persecuted. We grieve being denied the fundamental right other citizens possess. We even grieve being dismissed.

So many things in life shape and mold us. So many seemingly minor actions by others slowly chip away at us and we tend to ignore or suppress them. We don't want to deal with them for many reasons. Will we be rejected, will I lose my family or friends, will I lose my home or my life? All are valid fears.

Each is a loss. A loss of freedom, love, and life. Yet we rarely think of them as such. They are great trials of ones soul and can ravage the soul if left unchecked. But we should not fear confronting our losses. We should not fear learning to incorporate our lives, good or bad, into the fabric of who we are.

We should mourn each oppression, pain, and hurt. Don't keep it bottled up. You have to let it out or you are only creating an explosive that will rip through your life. And it will be far more destructive than the feelings you wish to avoid. It's not easy. I won't pretend to tell you it is.

Releasing that which strikes us can be a gut wrenching experience. Let those tears flow, that anger out, even tend those bruises. They are not your burdens. As much as people always try to bring the focus of pain upon you it is rarely your fault.

You did not make a law that excludes you from equality. You did not create the intolerance that made you hide who you are. You did not throw the fist that blackened your eye. You did not create you.

Existence is not an excuse to create pain or make people hate. Know that! Know also that love is not a crime. Release those emotions that weigh your down like chains oh so heavy. Release that guilt that people like to place. Release that anger for being different. Simply let it go.

Letting go of what others seek to place upon you is its own liberation. When they can not control you through fear, pain, or oppression they become the ones less relevant.

I know dealing with that which you don't want to is hard. But if we can not let go we are doomed to live in the world others have created for us. And you what? It's our life. We should be able to be masters of it. I'm not saying it won't hurt or we wont struggle to rise above. I'm saying we must move on. We must live and place that which ravages us in perspective.

All things in life can teach us something. Grieving is a powerful one. It teaches us loss, recovery, vision, and even love. Please don't fear grief. Embrace it and give it time. You will move on and things will get better. For you may learn some of the greatest secrets of all... Love and forgiveness.

Rise above! Know what and who has dealt you pain and be better for it. Resolve to live and live with grace. Realize pain can not hurt love. And know love heals anything pain can inflict.

Grieve! Embrace your life and let it flow forth. Love yourself and forgive those that which hurt. Know the most powerful person in your life is you. And when you do, you will know grief is merely the temporary pause for us to reflect and learn. And in time you may no longer be grieving for you but for those who hurt you.



Love is Never Wrong


Friday, August 1, 2014

Extremism

Being LGBT we know a lot about extremism. Many of us have felt its pain or we have shed our blood to it. Still it is an entity that we still struggle with. Extremists are usually not bad people but they are people who allow fear, the unknown, and change to whip them up into a frenzy that leads them to make bad choices and create pain.

One of the greatest dilemmas we have is how to deal with those in the in the throws of this frenzy? The answer is simple but the act is not. Time, patience, and vigilant education are what change peoples minds. I know this seems a tired explanation but we must realize this is not a battle or a war. This is a struggle for liberty, freedom, and love.

The people who march under the banner of extremism did not get so overnight. Usually they are people of principle or values that have seen the erosion of teachings they have known their whole lives. Things their families, their church, or even community leaders have bestowed in them. Slowly the fabric of what they hold dear has begun to unravel and at a certain point they say no more and they take up a battle to preserve what they have left or dream of days when things were better. This is the struggle of traditionalism and liberalism. 

It is not wrong to hold on to values and traditions if they are positive and do not hurt others. There are many wonderful things to preserve but there are also many that should be changed. By all means say please and thank you, open doors for others, volunteer your time, be good to your family and friends, and lift people up in life.

Our first steps in dealing with extremism must be life, love, and respect. We are dealing with other Human beings and if we can not extend to them what we seek we have no ground for which to stand. It wont be an easy task to undo that which may have persisted a very long time. We must do so peacefully as I already mentioned its a struggle not a war.

Each connection you make in life show another who you are. It changes a view in someone of what they think something is. When it becomes tangible and personal it is no longer a threat. They may not understand and they may not agree with you but it is a step that removes a stone from their eyes and hearts.

Only in love and mutual respect can we then begin to converse and find out that each other are really not so different. We might even be surprised that we share many similar views. And in that we can return our attention to the traditions that are worth saving and do not hurt others.

I know this all sounds so easy but it is not. It takes time. We must give it time. To much to fast and we leave those who struggle with things with their heads reeling and feeling disoriented. You can disenfranchise their voices. And that is not what we want. Equality can only begin in respect and openness.

In some places those who lead the struggle may fall. It is then another needs to rise and take their place. Pick up the banner of equality and carry on. If another falls pick up the banner and carry on. It is a not a war but it is a struggle. In that, our will can burst from our hearts and we can shape the world.

Love, honor, respect, and most of all live. Be the whisper of all those wonderful values and traditions and watch the wind of our voices blow the storm clouds away so we all may dance under the rainbow and live in peace.



Love is Never Wrong

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Charity Begins at Home V

Today I have some more suggestions on how we all can contribute to better helping those in our community who may be in need. As always we all can do something to help someone, somewhere. It only takes the kindness of one to set in motion good things for others.

One of the greatest issues facing society today regardless of LGBT or not is hunger. People need to eat and they need to eat healthily. From homeless youth to the sick, and elderly we have many mouths to feed. Obviously there are the traditional sources but they are overwhelmed.

We should begin using our existing community centers as food pantries. Support is essential but so is health and well being of our community. Many more people can usually give food than money. And in the end it all adds up.

Another option for local communities are food co ops. Pool together your buying power to create purchasing options that will be cheaper for all involved. The more money we can free up the more it helps us and gives us the ability to help others.

The next issue is housing for so many of us. Some larger communities have dedicated LGBT housing but its few and far between. Our biggest need is to help the young, the elderly, and those whose health is faltering. Allocating special funding from traditional programs is unlikely in most areas. However we do have options.

Those of us who have spare homes or rental properties can create affordable options to those with lower incomes. Maybe we can advocate our existing centers create overnight sleeping areas so people at least have a safe place to sleep.

We can also take a lesson from many college communities. Create co op housing. Giving people a home from which to safely stay, an address for which to look for work, and others that can understand and support them is a great goal. They learn community, working together, and even sharing expenses.

One thing we can all can do is offer some form of labor. Maybe we should organize time banks, and work programs for those that need it. Many of us have things we need done and we spend money on them.  Whether it be our lawn being mowed, a car washed, a house painted, or even an artist to create things for business or enjoyment. Whatever the skill someone out there can fulfill that.

If we trade services or work with our centers to create job postings or time banks we create work and ways for people to get things for their efforts. Pride in achievement is so important and can lift us up. Sometimes we have to look beyond traditional methods and create new ones.

As I began today it only takes kindness and a bit of effort to set things in motion. Our goal should be to lift all that we can up in life. Give them pride, meaning, health, life, and most especially love. If we can not do that then our efforts fall short. And when you fall short with Humanity we all lose someone.

All efforts help from the smallest to the largest. Please do what you can where you can.



Love is Never Wrong!


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Gay Indiana

Today I have a few update to the Indiana resource list.

Kokomo Pride serves the Kokomo/Howard County area. The site is focused on a support and social mission currently.

http://www.kokomopride.org/

https://www.facebook.com/KokomoPride

https://twitter.com/KokomoPride

Fort Wayne Pride is a pride festival.

http://www.fwpride.org/

Indiana Youth Group Is a support and social group for LGBT youth.

http://www.indianayouthgroup.org/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Indiana-Youth-Group-IYG/10030937062




Love is Never Wrong

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Links of Love International: Gay China

One of the most popular searches I have is for Asian resources. Thankfully new ones have come about since my early searches to provide links for everyone. So today I have some new ones for China. As always I have language barriers so I hope these are useful.

Beijing LGBT Center

http://site.douban.com/bjlgbtcenter/

Beijing LGBT is a social and support group.

http://www.meetup.com/BeijingLGBT/

Chengdu Gay Care Organization is a support, health, and HIV/AIDS resource center. They do not seem to have a website other than this info. Hopefully it is still current.

http://www.chain.net.cn/english/Civil_Society/NON_Government_Organisation/6461.htm

Hong Kong Gay & Lesbian Film Festival

http://www.hklgff.hk/

Pink Season is Hong Kong's LGBT Festival. The site is in English and Chinese.

http://pinkseason.hk/

https://www.facebook.com/PinkSeason.HK

https://twitter.com/pinkseasonhk

Rainbow of Hong Kong seems to be a full LGBT center with many support and health resources.

http://rainbowhk.org/en-about.html

Shanghai Pride is a LGBT festival

http://www.shpride.com/?lang=en

https://www.facebook.com/shanghaipride2014

https://twitter.com/shanghaipride




Love is Never Wrong


Monday, June 23, 2014

Is Equality for Sale?

The other day I saw a video that reminded me of one of the reasons I started this blog. That reason being the lack of equality if you do not live in a larger city or a college community. The fact is many people get rejected by out LGBT personalities, organizations meant to help, and those that have made their visibility into a career.

I guess before I continue I should show you the video that sparked this.



Jay & Bryan at Gay Family Values channel are two wonderful guys. I confess I don't always agree with Jay but at least he is honest and open to discussion. I respect that. In this case I think they have a point of interest.

Please don't mistake me; however, making a living is fine. Making a living at someone else's expense is not.

So when is it at someone else' expense? That's not always an easy question. What I can say though is if you have the ability to inform or change opinions and you are out there in some way, you should. Only through diligent exchange can we all learn and know why it matters.

I don't think everyone needs to lead the charge for equality but it does matter you contribute. It matters when you do contribute that you are not at the same time accessing another persons pocket for money. If you wish to entertain, then do so. If you wish to make your career in equality, then do so. Please do not use equality for profit.

With that said there is a very good reason for my statement, as I began above. So many people in this world are still struggling. So many need help. Violence, oppression, intolerance.. still rage. It's easy to get wrapped up in slogans and ideas. The fact is though we are talking about lives.

No one should have to live in fear, be hurt, or murdered. These are the reasons we all must be accountable to equality. Until the day where all LGBT people can walk free, live a life in peace, and not have to struggle, ever so much, we have an obligation to lift them up. We have an obligation to make the next generations path easier than we had.

The struggle does not end with money and it should not be held hostage for it. Make your living, by all means. But do so knowing 'you' made it. Making it from those who need you is not ok.Make it in honesty, openness, and pride.

So to answer the question Is Equality for sale? Only if you make it so. If people or organizations drift away keep them focused. Don't be mean or harsh but let them know they have crossed a line. Let them know the changes they have made do not seem right to you.  You can not make people do things but you can be a positive influence in their lives. You can make changes.

So Jay & Bryan thank you for the reminder. I wish you and all those who read this peace and the strength to stand.



Love Is Never Wrong!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

To Feed the Soul

Today I would like to talk about a special topic in our community. I would like to discuss social isolation of many LGBT people.

Not everyone in life has a lot of resources, are widely connected to the Internet or social media, or even know where to begin. Many more so may be dealing with issues they have had for years and simply don't know how to begin to solve their problems or get help. Worse yet many still live in places where they fear to get help.

When you are alone you battle so many things, most commonly depression. But if we expand that we include loneliness, despair, even inadequate care. Everyone needs someone!

To many times people who are isolated live in fear or pain. For them the meer act of reaching out is is a monumental journey. When they do reach out they are brutally rejected or discarded. It may be because of hate, intolerance or even lack of patience.

A person in isolation, let alone being LGBT, is in what I call survival mode. They are people who need exceptional time and patience. They need to learn trust, openness, compassion, even love. They need to learn not to fear.

It is so easy to dismiss people stuck in a cycle as not wanting to get help or deceiving themselves to be victims. Sometimes it scares or shocks us the state that some people are in. Life is not always kind. So many get left behind or ignored.

The few who do reach out so clumsily can easily feel stung and reviled by those they seek help from. Maybe its social awkwardness, maybe its years of pain or hurt, worse yet maybe its lack of love.

I think we as a community need to reach out unconditionally to everyone. We need to learn patience and compassion. It's so easy in an electronic world to not build attachments. But regardless you are still dealing with another Human.

I don't think we must carry an entire burden alone in such situations but we must carry one of connecting them to someone. As I mentioned before Everyone needs someone. It is not enough for us to just live. We must feed our souls and touch another. For we are a union of souls.

I've talked about the meaning of the rainbow in our community before so I mention it now. Take those principles and use them. Let that rainbow be the bridge for someone somewhere to find out they are not alone and that someone cares.

So allow me to leave you with two very relevant quotes.

"Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead."

-  Oscar Wilde

"Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do... but how much love we put into that action."

-  Mother Theresa





Love is Never Wrong