Monthly Archives: December 2008

Moving Forward

We’ve spent quite a bit of time discussing “big pictures” — politics, economy, equal rights. As the New Year unfolds, we will be revisiting those topics as well as others that affect us as a community. So, what do you say, for a few moments, we narrow the focus to our own individual selves?

What do I want for 2009? For me, personally.

My situation is a little different. Losing a life partner is pretty much the same as losing your life. It simply no longer exists. When people suggest it’s time to “snap out of it” or “get back to normal”, I’m sure they mean well, but they have no idea what they’re saying. There is no normal to go back to. Everything has changed, and it will never be the same again.

Okay, so it’s taken me over two years to figure that out. Now what?

Seems to me that there are only a couple of choices — since there’s no going back, there is only standing still or moving forward. I’ve tried standing still, and it served its function. I was certainly not capable of making any decisions. But now I think I’m ready to try moving forward.

If you read the OTGH newsletter, you know that we are kicking off 2009 with a special program designed to encourage changes that will have a significant impact on our reader’s health and fitness levels — gradually, one small step each week of the year. This program is being developed and presented by my co-publisher. Not only is she a personal trainer, fitness instructor and owner of a fitness studio, she is the real deal. I’ve been in her kitchen — everything’s organic and comes from a health food store. There’s not a partially hydrogenated fat or molecule of high fructose corn syrup to be found (trust me, I looked). No sodas in the fridge (except when I’m there) and if you ask for a glass of water, you’ll get it at room temperature.

I know — how can you listen to such a person? Well, she’s in her mid-fifties, looks at least ten years younger, teaches athletes how to run properly and took up roller blading last year. But! Lest you think this is someone you wouldn’t be able to relate to I will share a little secret — I was driving the day we had to try at least four exits on the way to South Carolina because of the search for a Krispy Kreme doughnut. And it wasn’t for me!

So, I’m thinking this is a great opportunity to give my “moving forward” plan a head start. I would just as soon no one mentioned to her that I’m going to be following her suggestions — she would just pester me about it. But by this time next year I can either be healthier — or not. Seems like kind of a no-brainer. Maybe I’ll even share my progress and thoughts on the process in the newsletter.

How about you? What kind of year is 2009 going to be for you? Are you going to buy into the doom and gloom permeating everything we hear and read? Or are you going to choose to move forward on your own path?

Its always a choice, you know — your choice.

Sexual Jihadists — Who Knew?

I couldn’t help but think about Robert Hillsborough today. Oh, I honestly didn’t remember his name, but I’ve never forgotten him. And it wasn’t hard to find. Just had to do a quick search on the gay man that was stabbed to death while his attackers shouted “Here’s one for Anita”. It was two weeks after Anita Bryant’s “Save the Children” campaign overturned Dade County’s non-discrimination ordinance.

Why think of him today? Because another contemporary of Bryant has written a column so hateful and inflammatory that it almost surprised me — and this stuff rarely surprises me. Pat Boone, white buck shoes and all, felt the need to lash out last week at Proposition 8 protesters with statements such as “…there is a real, unbroken line between the jihadist savagery in Mumbai and the hedonistic, irresponsible, blindly selfish goals and tactics of our homegrown sexual jihadists.”

Homegrown sexual jihadists? What is it about Christian singers anyway?

And what is it with people who purposely spread hatred and incite violence? Sure, Boone will probably become the next greatest thing to happen to gay rights. Just like Anita Bryant was. But that doesn’t make up for what happened to Robert Hillsborough. Or to Ovidio “Herbie” Ramos. He was a gay activist in Miami who committed suicide following the backlash from the Bryant campaign. After participating in a radio talk show where callers said gays should be deported, forced into concentration camps or executed, Ramos told a friend “I didn’t know they hated us so much”. A couple days later he shot himself.

So, what do we do, now?

For starters, we continue to support organizations like HRC. I sent my donation in today and they promised to send Pat Boone a note stating that a donation had been made because of him. I thought that was a nice touch. I’m sure they will do the same for you. Tell Pat Boone you’re no terrorist

More importantly, though, I think we need to focus on the incredible progress that we’ve made. We suffered some heartbreaking losses at the polls but the entire tenor of the campaign was different. The vast majority of our opponents were falling all over themselves saying that we certainly deserve equal rights — just don’t call it marriage. That’s a huge difference from the standard rhetoric of just a few years ago.

We still have a lot to do. But I honestly believe that the momentum is now with us. I think the “other side” knows that too and that’s what is motivating this last push. So, it may get a little worse before it gets better — but one of these days….

Yeah, one of these days!

Frisky Business in Wal-Mart

The Human Rights Coalition recently published their Buying for Equality Guide 2009. Not surprisingly, Wal-Mart received a pitiful score, and HRC recommends that we shop elsewhere.

Not a problem for me.

I’ve avoided Wal-Mart since my partner passed away a couple years ago. I don’t know if straight folks can relate, but I’m sure most of you have your own “Wal-Marts”. You know those intoxicatingly energized weeks, months — years, if you’re lucky — right after getting into a new relationship? When you can’t stand to not be touching, but you’re out in public where that’s frowned on? So, you … improvise?

We lived in rural areas for the first few years, so we spent a lot of time in Wal-Mart. A lot of highly charged, playful, nobody-in-the-world-but-us time. I can remember being in the towel aisle of Wal-Mart, in nowhere Louisiana, and knowing that I wouldn’t trade places with anyone, anywhere. Talk about being in the now!

I hope everyone has those moments. But I still can’t go back to Wal-Mart.

From the looks of their score in the HRC buying guide, it may never be an issue.