Thursday, April 27, 2006

A little late, kids

A while back I gave into pop culture and signed up for myspace. I know...I still feel a little dirty about it, though it has helped me connect with new friends and find old friends from WAY back. (Like...back when I was straight WAY back.) Today I noticed several people were posting a video on their bulletin...a video of one of Phelps' kids on Hannity and Colmes. Yes, Fox News had her on to talk about the protests at funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq. Needless to say, the boys were none too pleased with her views, and the whole clip is pretty much name calling and shouting. So, like any other Fox News program. ;) There has been a lot of outrage at these latest flavors of protests, and several states have started passing laws restricting protests or "disorderly conduct" within a certain distance of a funeral, cemetery, etc. People are up in arms, and asking "how can you picket at a funeral?"

Watching the clip made me realize how angry I am about this sudden indignation and outrage. This is not a new tactic for him. People are shocked at the crass behavior and the impact on families. Where was their righteous indignation when Phelps protested at Matt's funeral? Or Sonny Bono (since he didn't turn his back on daughter Chastity, an out lesbian)? Or countless AIDS victims? It was okay to picket funerals then. They didn't rush to pass laws protecting mourners or worry about the family of gay people. So it's okay to do this to the dirty homos but leave our troops alone?! I'm never a fan of double standards or hypocrisy. But this really got me steamed.

In recent weeks I've heard people say "He's started protesting at funerals." No. He's been doing that for a LONG time, it's just a different group of people now. "You shouldn't be allowed to do that." I agree...but you didn't seem to care for the last decade and a half. Only when it's someone you respect or agree with. Not those silly faggots. They deserve it, even if only a little bit. GROW UP. Save your indignation for someone who hasn't been dealing with him for 8 years. Try to muster the same anger when he protests an AIDS funeral. Or a gay one. But don't pretend this is something new. Don't pretend you're just now learning about it. I know firsthand how much coverage he received in 1998 and 1999. Where were your condemnations then?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The $1000 Blister

You heard me right. AIDS Walk was Saturday. For those of you who missed it without a VERY good excuse, shame on you. So far, we've raised over $14,500 for people in Wyoming living with HIV/AIDS. We saw old friends, like Heidi and Issac, Chamblee and Alexandra, Mandy, and Rachelle! And the President pulled a dirty trick on me.

In the middle of the opening ceremonies, he called me up on stage. He said "I understand you usually spend the walk inside working the registration table." I told him that was true, and he said "the President's Office will pledge $1000 if you'll walk." How could I say no?

Since I wasn't planning to walk, I didn't have on sun screen, and got a lovely sunburn. Since I wasn't planning on walking, I was wearing $6 flip flops from Wal-Mart, and got a lovely blister. I named it "the $1000 blister." I also got to see the walk first-hand for the first time. It was amazing seeing over 400 people walking down the streets of Laramie, raising awareness and raising money. It was amazing seeing the faces of people on the street as they looked to see what the "parade" was for. It was amazing seeing the people drive past or look out of windows and cheering us on. And it was amazing to do it all with the First Lady of Wyoming, the President and his wife, and dozens of my closest friends.

Today's lesson: Be ready for surprises. You might earn a $1000 blister and a full heart.
Today's other lesson: Always wear good walking shoes to AIDS Walk, even if you don't think you're walking. ;)

Friday, April 21, 2006

A catchy little ditty

Apparently I've been living in a bubble, as I'd not heard the song Pink wrote recently. It's called "Dear Mr. President." It's GOOD. See her sing it live on YouTube:

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Little things make a difference

It's easy to feel unappreciated and tired, especially when you've been at something for a while. I've been out and active in Laramie for 11 years now, and there's still so much to do. So many changes I think need to happen. This time of year brings a sense of rushing and hurrying and stressing for everyone. Finals are approaching, AIDS Walk is this weekend, and summer is just around the corner. It's enough to make anyone's head spin. But the extra awards dinners, panel presentations, and committee meetings can mean a sense of things left undone. Goals you didn't get accomplished. Working long hours and putting extra time...and having go unnoticed.

At times like these, the little things can mean a lot. Margaret put together an AMAZING video of photos from last year's walk, to remind us all why we put in the extra time and energy. Spectrum asked me to be the closing speaker at the Day of Silence rally; they want me to speak on what's changed over the past decade or so. While conducting interviews with staff at Family Planning for the Executive Director's performance review, staff members commented how much it means to see my smiling face at the clinic, something most other board members don't do.

While I would love to have a stack of awards, certificates, and trophies to represent the work I do, I continuously remind myself that it's not about shiny objects on a shelf. more thing to dust, right? ;) It's about seeing Brittany become a force to be reckoned with. It's about watching Travis learn to let go, and growing his own replacements (a lesson that is HARD to learn, trust me). It's about watching Ainsley take risks and become more involved, despite the consequences with her family. It's about hearing of a brand new UW student, reaching out for help for the first time and finding Spectrum there waiting. Peolple are my awards. Open hearts are my trophies.

Homework: Find a way to make a little difference to someone. Say thank you to someone who means a lot to you. Don't do it for recognition. Do it because it's right. You'll be amazed how full your heart can become.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Sorry for the delay

Between trips to DC and Denver, trying to recover from a lost phone, AIDS walk being just over a week away, and trying to date someone long distance, I've been swamped! So on to the gay update:

My trip to DC was incredible. Georgetown Day School is a whole different world. A world of privilege. Money. Influence. And the students were....students. Most were very privileged as well, but students nonetheless. The assembly was optional, and was packed. I think the talk went very well. I had several students come talk to me throughout the day, and many were thinking in new ways. Some came out to me, thanking me for making their school a better place. Bear in mind that this was their second annual gay pride week at GDS. This year they did a "Day of Noise," as opposed to a Day of Silence. Music playing at the table handing out buttons made by the students. My presentation. A panel discussion that night. It was amazing.

I had lunch with some of the students. Then spoke to a class that focuses on race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexual orientation, etc. The students at both impressed me. They understood the intersections of different forms of discrimination. That racism, sexism, and homophobia are related. One student is part of a committee that plans an annual conference on racism, and might contact me to speak about racism and homophobia. Then I spoke at the faculty meeting after school, thanking the staff for their support. Making them understand why weeks like this were important, and telling them about some of my interactions with students. The principal, who had only attended the 1 hr assembly, offered me a teaching contract in front of the whole faculty. Literally. (No...I'm not taking the job, but was VERY flattered to get the offer.)

None if this is intended to be bragging. I simply want everyone to understand that we all have the power to make a difference. All I did there was tell my story. Talk to people about my opinions and thoughts. Share part of myself, and listen as others did the same thing. We ALL have the power to do this. Whether it's at a school assembly or talking to our grandmothers in the living room at home, we can do this. Here's your homework: go talk to someone about something important to you. Try to make a difference today. Then wake up tomorrow...and do it all over again. It never stops.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Lost my phone

Hey gang. I left my phone in a cab today. Yeah yeah yeah. Shuddup. My phone number is disconnected until I get the replacement phone. This also means I prolly lost your numbers. So give me a call with your number. But you'll have to wait until they turn my account back on. Sorry for the hassle. Imagine being me...on a trip. With no numbers and no ability to call anyone. Including my new boy!!!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Ask and ye shall receive

So before a lynch mob forms to kick my ass, here's a picture of the boy. Dejan "Dayo" Z. Yes...the date went very well. Date #2 is next weekend in Denver. Please forgive the stupid grin on my face for a while.