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Archive for April, 2010

In my life and in my line of work I have seen so much, heard so much… been told about so many things. The hardest things to see, hear or be confided in about are the many forms of abuse that are inflicted on children in this world.

Physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse (which hurts worse and leaves scars longer than physical abuse). It is everywhere. In our communities, on the TV, on the radio, on the Internet mail news splash pages… it seems inescapable!  The hardest place to find such situations happening is right before one’s eyes.

Why? Why do adults hurt children in so many ways? Why do they take out their sexual aberrancy, their suppressed rage, their homicidal tendencies, their fractured psyches… all on children? Do they know what they are doing? To they see the tears? Do they hear the pleas for cessation of the madness?

I don’t have any of those answers. But I do know that young people: you “shouldn’t have to pay for your love with your bones and your flesh”… or your psyche.

One of my favorite professors once said the following regarding young people who must cope with, and survive, abusive childhoods:

“If that child has at least one person in their life whose face lights up when they walk in a room… they are going to be alright.”

May we all have that face in our world that lights up when we walk in the room–because we are all wounded children on some level. And also, because of that, may we all BE that shining face that lights up when young people in our world walk in the room.

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You live your life like a tornado.
Destruction follows everywhere you go.

And you have no plans to stop or slow.
I will not let this bitter root grow in me.
I will not let you leave that legacy,
But it gets so hard when pain is all I see.
And every time I find healing, you’re making a new mess,

And I am learning the real meaning of forgiveness.
And I tried to remove myself from your path,
But I keep on waking up in the aftermath.
So I pick up again and say I won’t look back.
And I will not let this bitter root grow in me.
I will not let you leave that legacy,
But this constant fight is breaking me.
And every time I find healing, you’re making a new mess,
And I am learning the real meaning of forgiveness.
And it hurts when you hit at the hearts of the ones I love;
When everything you touch is rubble and dust.

And it gets so hard to know how to trust,
But I will not let that bitter root grow.
I will not let it, no no.
But it gets so hard.
And every time I find healing you’re making a new mess,
And I am learning the real meaning of forgiveness.

(Lyrics by Sara Groves)

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… this random sign-holding, tea-drinking, protest-attending gentleman.

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Well, President Obama recently made good on a promise to the LGBT community. Did he repeal D.A.D.T.? No. Did he repeal D.O.M.A.? No. What did he do?

He ordered hospital visitation rights for gay and lesbian couples. When did he pledge to grant this “right”? Well, it may have been more than one instance, but I remember it from Brian Williams’ interview with Obama on NBC tonight “Inside the White House.” That was the interview where the President skirted around what issues he would take up for LGBT Americans and offered the carrot of being able to visit their partner in the hospital.

I’m not sure I had ever given that “right” much thought until I had seen the movie “If These Walls Could Talk 2.” Near the end of the first vignette one partner has taken her partner to the hospital. She waits quite a while–having heard no news–then asks to see her “friend.” The nurse tells her that “only family members are allowed.” She tells the nurse she is going to stay right there in the waiting room, and asks the staff to let her know if anything changes in the condition of her “friend.” I’ll let you watch the clip from the movie to see what happens the next morning.

Suffice it to say, I see the immeasurable value of being allowed to visit one’s partner in the hospital–and I am grateful our President has taken this step. However, experience has shown that this “order” alone is not enough. In Oregon when the governor made domestic partnerships law including all the “rights afforded to marriage,” gay and lesbian couples found that they still had to prove their connection when trying to see their partner at the hospital. Can you imagine any straight man and any woman going to the hospital and being asked to see the marriage license before being allowed to see the person they stated was their husband or wife?

Yes, this is an important first step the President has taken. But many more steps are still to be walked on the path toward LGBT relationship recognition and equality in America.

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One distressing thing is the way men react to women who assert their equality: their ultimate weapon is to call them unfeminine. They think she is anti-male; they even whisper that she’s probably a lesbian.
Shirley Chisholm

I became a lesbian because of women, because women are beautiful, strong, and compassionate.
Rita Mae Brown

Some women can’t say the word lesbian… even when their mouth is full of one.
Kate Clinton

Everyone is their own kind of lesbian. To think there’s a certain way to dress or present yourself in the world is just one more stereotype we have to fit into.
Portia de Rossi

I am a writer who happens to love women. I am not a lesbian who happens to write.
Jeanette Winterson

Gay and lesbian people fall in love. We settle down. We commit our lives to one another. We raise our children. We protect them. We try to be good citizens.
California Sen. Sheila Kuehl



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