Category Archives: Activism

Why I Am A Straight Ally

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With marriage equality being halted in Utah and with Chris Kluwe speaking up, I’m reminded of how frustratingly hard it can be to be LGBTQIA. I’m sharing this again as a reminder to myself and others…

We cannot become complacent.

WHY I AM A STRAIGHT ALLY

Occasionally people ask me, “Why are you so outspoken about gay rights?” My response is usually, “Well, replace the word “gay” with “human.

BAM!

That could SHOULD be the end of the discussion right there. What human wouldn’t empathize with human rights?

I’ve also been asked if I’m a lesbian or bisexual simply because I’m an ally. I’m flattered and say so; however, I feel compelled to follow up with a “no” because it’s important to show people what “straight allies” are – especially those of us who are outspoken about it.

To be snarky or walk off with a “gotcha” attitude, as good as it might feel, wouldn’t be fair. As straight allies, we need to recognize opportunities for education.

I have the good fortune of being loud, proud, and (mostly) unafraid. When I’m passionate about something, my friends and family, Facebook and Twitter communities will hear about it. I am the extrovert you want on your side when you need support. I march with my friends, I share controversial and inspiring news and get into heated discussions, but I also know when to use a kind, gentle approach with those who are fearful of the LGBTQIA community. We could all learn to temper ourselves in order to better serve those who have been misled and have questions. I see straight allies as not only support for the LGBTQIA community, but also as a bridge to understanding for people who are still apprehensive.

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A friend I met through PFLAG said this about his family being slow to accept his new out lifestyle, “It took me 53 years to accept myself and come out!” He doesn’t pressure others to move faster than they are comfortable. I admire that. Change can cause discomfort, which in turn may lead to fear which triggers anger. Anger often causes us to do or say things we really don’t mean. All feelings are okay, but it’s how we process feelings that matters.  It takes practice. And it can be frustrating. Enter the straight ally. Allies are typically wayyy over the uncomfortable stage, or were never there in the first place! Allies recognize the chances to engage in constructive dialogue with those who still struggle with their feelings about the LGBTQIA community. Recognizing this makes an ally a powerful agent for change.

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But we want equality and we want it now!  Again, frustration. Yet, we continue. The opposition often needs to see the struggle of the LGBTQIA community from a different perspective. Straight allies can be a bridge for helping people that are uncomfortable move to a better, more accepting place. Stay open for questions and opportunities. Never make someone feel ashamed who is misinformed just as we would never want our  friends in the LGBTQIA community to feel ashamed. This is about all of us.

Be a role model for other allies. Provide resources and information to allies who wish to become stronger. We straight allies have it pretty easy in the US. Can you imagine the courage it takes to be one in Russia right now? As an informed and active ally, I recognize that advantage and will not waste it. Our global community needs us as well. It’s a good time to be on the right side of history.

There are resources to help you in all aspects of support. If you haven’t gone to a PFLAG meeting, GO! If you’ve never marched, MARCH! Just choose one of these things and I promise you’ll find many ways in which you can make a difference.

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I go to support the LGBTQIA community but I always leave with an overflowing amount of love.

It’s the best part about being a straight ally. If you have friends or family members who are out — or even if they aren’t out yet — remind them that you love them…that you stand with them. You never know when those powerful words may support them in a time of loneliness or vulnerability.

To quote a friend, “It’s ALWAYS been about love.

I am a straight ally. It means I educate myself. It means whether you are gay, straight, misinformed,  or just confused, I am your  friend. I have more than enough love and I’m proud to share it with a community that is struggling. I march, chant and yell. I sit quietly beside you when you cry. I cry when you cry. I will have tissues and I will listen. I rejoice in your victories. I hold your hand. I hug your neck. And when we part, you will know, unequivocally, I have your back.

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The Equality House in Topeka, KS. You can support them HERE!

I WANT to be that person.

Join me. It is breathtakingly rewarding.

 

No Money, No School Lunch. This is a Teachable Moment?

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I feel so sick to my stomach right now I can hardly stand it. Here I was, riding a high from sharing good in the world, happy to be getting to bed at a decent hour, AND I had just registered for my tickets to see A Place at the Table.

So why am I fuming?

Warning: Foul language ahead.

I’m so sorry to bring this to you. I’m sorry you have to hear it. I’m sorry we’re having to talk about it. It sucks to be reminded that shitty stuff happens. To our kids. At school. In a country with an abundant food supply.

But, have you seen this?

Yeah, my day has just ended with that jack wad.

I don’t even know where to start. For now, this:

1. It’s FOX News, so I should have known better than to click, dammit.

2. Could they have found a more Douchey McDoucherson to speak about kids and hunger?

3. We have a rational woman sitting opposite him who gets, oh, about two short comments in.

4. This host…UGH! She keeps trying to soften this terrible, terrible policy and make this guy feel at home while her other guest has a strangled look. Scroll up and look at her again. I think Ms. Reasonable Guest is trying to hold it together for tv. Well, hold it together or not let the vomit actually come OUT of her mouth. Poor thing.

Unfortunately for Mr. Psychotherapist School Counselor, he chose to be the face of this policy on air and say some incredibly stupid shit. So yeah, I’m going off on him. With his big smile and nonchalant attitude while talking about hungry, humiliated children, I can’t imagine he has a fragile psyche. I wonder if he has suffered through his share of “teachable moments“.  What grounds does he have for insisting children have “teachable moments” of hunger and embarrassment? This is disgusting.

And then, while talking about kids NOT being able to eat, he jokes about not being broke even after HANDING OUT ALL HIS CASH to kids at school! What happened to the teachable moment, jerk? I thought you wanted them to go hungry so they would learn!

Learn what?

I wonder if Mr. Psychotherapist School Counselor understands the first thing about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. I wonder if Mr. Psychotherapist School Counselor understands why I’m spitting fire.

You will have to forgive me. It’s late. And I’m pissed. And I should have just gone to bed. And maybe I can express myself more eloquently tomorrow.

Watch the video. I can’t break it down much more than that right now because I’m tired and too pissed. If you can’t understand my anger at this, then I probably couldn’t make you understand anyway. And I’ve already called him names and likely made my mother in law upset with my language. So, more on this later because we DO need to know more about this policy and where and how often it’s being utilized. Until then, hug your kids, high five and smile at other kids. Remind them that they are seen and that the world can be a good place with people that care.

Talk to you later.

Random Acts of Kindness

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I have been trying to be more conscious of opportunities to do random cool things for people. I was going to keep track but kept forgetting to journal or blog about it. This afternoon I was very moved by an opportunity to be a bit more than the normal nice and it encouraged me to start keeping track. So, these are the ones I can remember so far:)

One

We donated (over the phone) to the Newtown, CT General Store the day after the tragedy. Bonus? I got a call back from the owner who, apparently, needed to talk. He filled me in on so much that was going on that day from the donations being given to the temperature of the Newtown citizens. He filled a bucket full of candy and made a sign that said “From Your Friends in KC“. Kiddos could just take a piece of candy. On us.

Bucket of candy at the Newtown, CT General Store. The sign says From Your Friends in KC: Justus, Evan and Harper.

Bucket of candy at the Newtown, CT General Store.
The sign says From Your Friends in KC: Justus, Evan and Harper.

Two

We randomly pay for the drinks of the people at the drive through at Starbucks. I’d like to count this one as a lot of ARK’s, but I’ve decided to leave it as one. It’s just too darn easy and fun.

The kiddos at the place a good friend lovingly refers to as "my office".

The kiddos at the place a good friend lovingly refers to as “my office”.

Three

My husband always mows the neighbors front yard. He will also be the first to walk over and help another neighbor or anyone else who needs it. It’s no big deal to him, but it’s such a kind thing to do and a great example for our kids.

He is also absolutely not above the silliness.

He is also absolutely not above the silliness.

Four

I started this post because today granted me a more touching opportunity. I headed to CVS to pick up my low dose of Lexapro, cuz, well, ya know;) There was a man in front of me at the pharmacy having a quiet discussion with the cashier. It’s a scenario that, I’m sure happens a thousand times a day. This one particular time I just happened to be present.

An older gentleman was shocked to learn that the price of his prescription had gone up. He was calm and kind while discussing with the pharmacist tech which one he could do without for now. My husband and I are by no means wealthy, but for what he was having to forgo, we would not have batted an eye at had we needed it for our or our children’s health.

I made it so he didn’t have to choose for today. He was quietly gracious. He gave me a greater gift:)

I left on a kindness high.

Five

I have number 5! A lot of you may say we are doing this for ourselves and that would be true. But we do try to be good stewards of our planet and model that to our children. And if others notice then, GREAT! We are going SOLAR, y’all! Woohoo! While this will eventually save us monthly, there is a large upfront cost. But the ONLY thing negative about this is having to have cash on hand. The positives? Generating CLEAN energy for everyone else, lower bills for us means we will not have to cut charity spending (which we actually thought we were going to have to do for about the next eight months and that thought SUCKED), modeling clean energy!!!!, reduce emissions by 223 TONS of CO2 over 25 years which is the equivalent of 726,914 miles NOT driven or FOUR ACRES of trees planted. Also, the more people that go solar, the less the price will come down for everyone else.

So, yeah, I’mma count it as an act of kindness to EARTH:)

Computer aerial image of our home WITH the panels. Yippee!

Computer aerial image of our home WITH the panels. Yippee!

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A Very Special Thank You

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The first time I got to hear a long distance friend's voice!

The first time I got to hear a long distance friend’s voice!

If you didn’t read my blog here, then this may not make much sense. So, go on now. Go read it. We’ll do a little work here while we wait for ya.

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Did you read it? Awesome story, right?

Well, sweet Rusty got up this morning and sent me this.

I don’t want to stay up all night figuring out how to get video on here, but I PROMISE I will soon. I know it will look waaayyy cooler when I do.

Until then, I beg, beg, beg you to click here! You will NOT regret it. Not one bit!!

The explanation for Rusty’s crazy lost voice? Well, after chanting at the Supreme Court rally yesterday for marriage equality, I’d say his voice sounds like pure joy!

And if you were touched, please leave me a message here on the blog!

Rusty will get it, too. Promise:)

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“GAY, STRAIGHT, BLACK OR WHITE-MARRIAGE IS A CIVIL RIGHT!”

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I am NOT a great morning person. I will soak up every last second of shut eye possible. But this morning my eyes opened, like, POW! I remembered right away what was happening today. I moisturized, threw on my red shirt, my supportive bra and got in touch with my buddy, Rusty.

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While I was getting ready and figuring out how I was going to teach my preschoolers while being so juiced, Rusty was passing by Union Station and Columbus Circle,

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making his way to the rally just in time to see the sun come up over the Supreme Court.

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You see, today was history. Freaking history! The Supreme Court heard arguments for and against same-sex marriage for the first time. And Rusty was there! Lucky for us he documented his day and shared it with me via text. Even more luck, I JUST started my blog and can remember this day forever, have a bit of history passed directly to me and share, share, share!

Rusty:

I was a bundle of excitement from the moment I woke this morning. I had never been to a demonstration in front of the High Court before so I kinda didn’t know what to expect. A big showing? Small crowd? Yelling and shouting? Civil disobedience?

Michelle:

What did you feel when you got there and realized the magnitude of support?

Rusty:

Well, as soon as I exited Union Station, there were two kinda lonely looking marriage equality supporters in Columbus Circle. I smiled and gave them the thumbs up and asked if there were a lot gathering. They smiled and nodded. I high tailed it to the front steps of the High Court, maybe a ten to fifteen minute walk from Union Station. My energy only elevated.

When I saw the crowds I smiled and lost my breath a little.

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I couldn’t see any of the opposition! All I saw were people IN SUPPORT of marriage equality.

Michelle:

*sniff*

Rusty:

Groups were chanting “EQUALITY NOW!” and “ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR, LOVE IS WHAT WE’RE FIGHTING FOR!” and “GAY, STRAIGHT, BLACK OR WHITE-MARRIAGE IS A CIVIL RIGHT!”

Opposition were organized elsewhere and making a marching entrance around ten o’clock. They marched up First Street NE with a  police escort. That’s when it got loud! The excitement intensified. Good vs Evil collided. The chants got louder as they approached. There was also a pastor who began preaching and condemning the pro-marriage demonstrators but our voices drowned him out! That moment was spectacular. I was yelling at the top of my lungs “EQUALITY NOW! EQUALITY NOW!” Getting in his face, pumping my fist. I was fired up, tranny!

But I saw no instances where it got really ugly or nasty.

You can see his short video of rally footage here.

Rusty:

There were also two proud gay republicans showing their support with us. They had a sign with the GOP elephant logo in rainbow.

Michelle:

(Remembering to breathe)

What would the end of DOMA mean to you?

You can see the defeat in this guy's face already.

You can see the defeat in this guy’s face already.

Rusty:

An impossible future of a loving committed relationship with another man suddenly becoming possible:’)

Legally.

Recognized by the federal government.

The ability to say with conviction, “I am an equal American with the same right and privileges that heterosexual Americans enjoy.

(Here I believe we both paused to choke back a few tears)

Michelle:

What about adoption?

Rusty:

Haven’t thought much about it. My brother has two kids, a boy and a girl. I’m my nephew’s godfather. Bobby and I are quite happy with what we have now.

Who knows what will be.

Not arrested. Yay! But a hoarse voice. Small price to pay for equality, right?

Not arrested. Yay! But a hoarse voice. Small price to pay for equality, right?

And that’s Rusty! Can you see the energy, happiness and thrill he’s exuding? Today I got to live vicariously through this sweetheart. Bless him!

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Today my Facebook looked beautiful with the red equality signs everywhere. I wore my red, though I’m not sure how many here in south KC noticed. But that’s ok. I couldn’t be in front of the High Court, but I was carrying the spirit of this historical day with me. I teared up a couple times and my chest swelled with pride with every sign of equality I saw.

Finally, I will end on this. My cousin Mike is very dear to me, has an amazing heart and has, as you’ll see, an amazing insight and way with words.

“Hi, Love. I don’t believe in labels. Mainly because a label is giving someone else empowerment. But the one label I do believe in is love. No matter who you fall in love with, you should be able to express that love the same way as the rights of the majority. We’ll look back at these times and be either ashamed at the ignorance, or proud that we allowed acceptance in love.”

I know it will be the latter.

The red is all about love.</p><br />
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Evolution vs. Creationism

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With much debate and bills being introduced, I wanted to ask the question: Does creationism belong in the public school science classrooms? I have a post in the works on this topic with my own personal opinion and action taken.

In the poll below are four popular opinions. Please vote for the opinion closest to yours.

The results should be interesting!

Photo credit: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-fcIQOB79Ls4/UAFwtoVIxOI/AAAAAAAAkno/VUqxm2QYIaE/s1600/science-class460_1111495c.jpg