We’ve Come a Long Way, But Keep Your Hiking Shoes
December 3, 2014

As we approach the ending of 2014, there is a lot for which to be grateful as LGBTQ Persons. Marriage Equality still has its fight on in some states, but the battle has been won in others, and truly – I see this as going the same way the ERA did years ago. Popular opinion of the vast majority of the population in America shows support for Gay Marriage, or at the very least…indifference as to the need to oppose it. We’re almost there.

Of course we know from humankind’s history that you can legislate prejudice away, but eliminating it as a practice is quite another issue. I still believe in Respect and Dignity for All. I don’t expect to change everyone. I just want to co-exist peacefully alongside my neighbors and have the same rights and protections for my family, as they wants for theirs.

I want to know that “community” is not just a campy word used to describe a sub-culture or fragment of the population, but a truly inclusive term that encompasses my neighbors, my fellow residents of state, country and planet.

I received an email from Rea Carey, Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force with an invitation to let her know what my concerns were for the coming year. Of course, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only person who got that email, still it was a personable gesture and I took some time to put my thoughts together and share.

Here’s what I sent. I share these with you who have followed this blog, and those who may be checking in for the first time. They aren’t necessarily unique or profound, they are just mine…

 

Dear Rea,

Thank you for this opportunity to communicate with you directly. I have 2 major areas of concern that I would like to see as part of our focus for the coming year.

First, according to the StopBullying.gov site, there are still no Federal laws on the books that specifically address bullying. Although  bullying can be covered under other anti-discrimination legislation, I believe that still permits for a degree of “interpretation” when it comes to schools and other institutions. We have made excellent advances in awareness on this issue, but I would also like the awareness and proactive work to extend to the workplace as well. Again, we have made great strides, and I believe we can go even further to ensure that Everyone is guaranteed their Rights and Freedoms as fellow human beings.

Secondly, I’m not even sure what work has been done in this area, so forgive me if I am asking for something already in progress, but I would also like to see more educational efforts and outreach within the LGBTQ community, as well as with law enforcement and other agencies, in the area of domestic violence within LGBTQ relationships and partnerships. I believe we must first remove the “stigma” and element of denial within our own community, and then help to educate the appropriate agencies so that there can be accurate assessment and help can be given to those in need.

I appreciate all your dedication and work on the Task Force, and this invitation to offer my feedback. May you, your family, your staff and friends and their families have meaningful and joyful holidays. After all, we deserve it! 🙂

Sincerely,

Deb Adler

author, MsQueer blog: www.msqueer.com

website: www.debadler.com

 

 

Cheers,

MsQueer

 

 

©2014 Deborah Adler and MsQueer.com. All rights reserved.

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Day of Silence April 15th 2011
April 14, 2011

Friday, April 15th is the National Day of Silence sponsored by GLSEN. To find out how you can participate go to their website:

http://www.dayofsilence.org/

GLSEN Day of Silence PSA with Lance Bass:

http://youtu.be/T8kNYV5EAVw

Take action. Be a part of the solution. Let’s replace the prejudice and hatred with compassion and Respect for All.

-MsQueer

©2011 MsQueer.com. All rights reserved (NOTE: ALL quotes and/or materials from other authors or sources remain the sole property of the original authors/source.)

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via NPR: Wash. Lawmaker Introduces Valentine’s Day Gay Marriage Bill
February 15, 2011

by Brianna Butterfield
You can also listen to the audio HERE

February 14, 2011 from N3

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Lawmakers in Olympia don’t expect to pass many hot-button social bills in the midst of the budget crisis. But gay rights advocates took Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to make the case for same-sex marriage.

————————————————

It was Valentine’s Day in 1998 that Washington lawmakers voted to ban gay marriage. Since then Washington has legalized domestic partnerships. But Democratic State Senator Ed Murray thought Valentine’s Day was just the right time to introduce a bill to recognize gay and lesbian marriage.

He says it’s appropriate even while lawmakers spend most of their time trying to balance the budget.

Ed Murray: “It’s a terrible economic time for everyone in the state, but imagine those families that don’t have the protection of marriage, so I think introducing it this year, I think its a good idea.”

Still Murray concedes lawmakers are not likely to pass gay marriage this year.

On the Web:

Washington Senate Bill 5793:

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=5793

Same-sex marriage timeline:

http://www.ncsl.org/Default.aspx?TabId=4243

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network

 

repost from NPR  at

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=133763097&ft=3&f=133763097

Fight Child Trafficking at Super Bowl 2011
January 24, 2011

from Change.org:

Every year, children as young as 11 are trafficked involuntarily to Super Bowl cities. There, football fans – usually men, often inebriated – will pay traffickers to have sex with them.

The Texas Attorney General estimates these kids have a life expectancy of just seven years from the time they’re first trafficked.

This year, the Super Bowl Host Committee is charged “to engage in responsible planning . . . to ensure the readiness of North Texas to host the first Super Bowl in the Cowboys’ new stadium.”

Local anti-trafficking groups have repeatedly offered to help the Committee use its influence to educate fans and the public about the dangers of child trafficking — which could help to prevent thousands of rapes and abuses at America’s biggest sporting event.

But the Host Committee has refused to take meaningful action. And thousands of children will pay the price.

Tell the 2011 Super Bowl Host Committee to take a stand against child trafficking.

In Dallas, a terrific local organization called Traffick911 has created the “I’m Not Buying It” campaign. They’ve offered the Host Committee free PSAs, posters, banners and informational cards to educate the public and protect children from being abused and raped.

But the Host Committee refuses to display the information.

The Committee is working hard right now to generate good publicity for North Texas and the game, so public pressure at this moment will be especially powerful.

Tell the Super Bowl Host Committee that they have a responsibility to protect the children who’ll be trafficked to Texas for the Super Bowl:

http://change.org/petitions/view/ask_the_super_bowl_host_committee_to_stand_up_and_protect_children

After you sign, please forward this email to friends and family to let them know about this crisis, and how they can help.

Thanks for taking action,

– Patrick and the Change.org team

Tell the Super Bowl Host Committee: Don’t be a bystander to child trafficking

P.S. Once you add your name, click here to share this campaign on Facebook.

©2011 MsQueer.com. All rights reserved.

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2010 in review
January 2, 2011

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Fresher than ever.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 4,200 times in 2010. That’s about 10 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 23 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 103 posts. There were 6 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 3mb.

The busiest day of the year was March 13th with 56 views. The most popular post that day was LET CONSTANCE MCMILLEN TAKE HER GIRLFRIEND TO THE PROM! .

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were zimbio.com, msqueer.com, facebook.com, rpc.blogrolling.com, and en.wordpress.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for lawrence king, who killed jenny schecter, carl joseph walker-hoover, 11 year old, and suicide due to bullying.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

LET CONSTANCE MCMILLEN TAKE HER GIRLFRIEND TO THE PROM! March 2010
2 comments

2

11-Year Old Commits Suicide Due to Bullying in School April 2009
10 comments

3

Who Killed Jenny Schecter? December 2008
19 comments

4

Laurel Holloman Picks Up Bravo A-List Award for TLW Elevator Scene April 2009
2 comments

5

Gay Buying Power: A Force To Be Reckoned With August 2008
5 comments

Graeme Taylor: 14-year old Rights Advocate Extraordinaire
November 23, 2010

Graeme Taylor, a 14-year old student from Ann Arbor, Michigan, addressed the Howell School Board this past week with an eloquent and impassioned plea on behalf of a teacher who had been put on suspension without pay after ejecting students from his class for what he deemed to be anti-gay remarks.

Taylor’s remarks, which were not prepared, drew the attention of national media through a video first posted by a local news source that quickly went viral. No need to try to describe it, you can view here and you’ll get the picture. This young man is articulate, intelligent and confident in his extemporaneous address.

Here are some additional sources for the original story, and link to the video of his address:

openly-gay-ann-arbor-teens-defense-of-howell-teacher-gains-national-attention

Ann Arbor teenager Graeme Taylor on the Ellen Show

Yesterday he was featured on The Ellen Show and gave her a run for her money while expressing how he has come to be accepting of his identity. Watch here:

By his own admission, Graeme Taylor survived a suicide attempt at the age of 9 years. But he has come back from the bullying that drove him to nearly end his life to becoming a strong advocate for self-acceptance, human rights and fairness.

Most people discount our young people, yet they are far more sophisticated and knowledgeable than we adults give them credit for. The world is smaller today, faster, and with the advent of  the internet connecting people all around the globe, our youth are more informed and cognizant of the diversity of the Human Family, as well as critical issues of the day than I believe many of us were.

What impressed me most about this young man is how much he reminds me of the young people that grew up as part of my extended family. I’ve been privileged to work and travel with some extraordinary youth.

They were all home schooled and they accompanied their parents to many states and countries, participating in cross-cultural programs, and personal development presentations. The world was their classroom and their worldliness reflected that fact.

These young people were raised in an environment where Respect was paramount. Guided by the wisdom and experience a capable Elder, they were treated as capable individuals. They were raised to be responsible, i.e. to “respond with ability” to whatever they encountered. The adults who had the privilege to work with these young people learned a great deal about themselves in the process, their own upbringings, how to heal the past, and create a better present.

When children are raised with Respect, and provided the opportunity to realize their full potential at each step of their development, rather than being sheltered and denying their intelligence and creativity, they are fully capable of delivering a positive contribution to family, community and society at large.

Graeme Taylor is not atypical. When raised in an environment of acceptance and love, and given responsibility, young people will rise to the occasion. This 14 year old’s sexual identity isn’t really the issue here – it’s not the most important part of the story. The real heart of this story is how a young person can evolve into a courageous, forthright citizen when given the opportunity.

We need to encourage and listen to more young leaders like Graeme Taylor. Obviously one organization agreed, in that he was presented with a $10,000 Scholarship by Tonic.com, “a digital media company dedicated to promoting the good that happens around the world each day. We share the stories of people and organizations that are making a difference by inspiring good in themselves and others.”

Right on!  -MsQueer 🙂

©2010 MsQueer.com. All rights reserved.

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Curing Hate Within the LGBTQ
November 9, 2010

We are at a crossroad as LGBTQ people. We are actively lobbying in the political arena for equal rights. We are also vocal in the socio-cultural arena “demanding” Respect.

We can March, we can Lobby, we can form non-profit Activist groups until we are blue in the face, BUT UNTIL WE ARE WILLING TO LIVE WHAT WE SAY WE WANT WE WILL GET NO-WHERE!

We cannot expect Respect from others when we are not willing to grant it within our own community. Or the Global Community at large. It is not acceptable for us to remain factionalized. We can’t march together for Pride then go off into our little click groups demeaning the others we just walked alongside demanding “Respect for Diversity.”

IF WE WANT CHANGE WE MUST BE THE CHANGE WE WANT!

So if you are a Lesbian and hating Gay Men, or Bisexuals or Transgendered Persons, IT DOESN’T WORK!

If you are a Gay Man who cuts down Lesbians, or Bisexuals or Transgendered Persons, IT DOESN’T WORK!

If you are a Bisexual or Transgendered Person who has made Lesbians or Gays or anyone else the enemy – IT DOESN’T WORK!

If we want to end Bullying we need to stop practicing it. That extends to our Straight Allies. (If we believe that we didn’t choose our sexual orientation then they didn’t either – so let’s not hold that against them!) 😉

I DON’T USUALLY SHOUT THIS MUCH IN THIS SPACE – but I’m tired of the HYPOCRISY.

We need massive change in society – American society in particular, which seems to be way behind the European and some other societies and cultures. If we are going to achieve that then we need to tear down the fences between ourselves as LGBTQ and TRULY live in Respect of one another. We have to heal our “Society” first.

I may not understand everyone’s orientation, any more than I understand everyone’s views or opinions or life experiences. But here’s what I know – I can RESPECT anyone. If I’m going to demand respect for my choices then I MUST be willing to respect those of others – whether or not I agree with or understand them.

Here’s a video that I found on YouTube since the “It Get’s Better” Project took off. It deals with someone within the LGBTQ community who is targeting Transgendered people. Please, let’s put this kind of crap to rest – For everyone’s sake. -MsQ

©2010 MsQueer.com. All rights reserved.

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It Gets Better Project – Deb Adler
September 28, 2010

Here’s the video and the text from my submission to the “It Gets Better Project” on You Tube.

Hi. My name is Deb Adler. I’ve been out for about 40 years. I’m a singer-songwriter. I’ve been a professional actor, a businesswoman, an entrepreneur, and I‘m also the author of a blog called MsQueer.com.

I just wanted to share with you that whatever you’re experiencing today as a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender youth in school…it does get better…

Whatever you might be feeling right now…it’s not “Forever” – and whatever you’re facing right now in terms of how other kids treat you at school – or even your family – it’s really just temporary. Just hang in there…it gets better.

I was this total tom-boy in grade school. They didn’t use labels like “Butch” – or “Dyke” then. I always played with the boys, I excelled in sports.

I didn’t really get harassed by my peers, but I had this fifth grade teacher who called my parents in for a conference because she felt they should be concerned that I wasn’t more “lady-like” and didn’t involve myself in more “girl-type” activities. My mom told her to back off and leave me alone – in no uncertain terms – which I think was pretty cool!

Even though I didn’t experience bullying in school, I can remember being really confused and scared by thoughts of wanting to lean over and kiss the girls in my class – as early as grade school – and feelings of attraction that I didn’t understand. I got really scared.

I thought I was sick or bad or something. I didn’t know. I mean, it’s not like there were celebrity role models – like Ellen or Rosie – around at that time. There were NO popular TV Shows or movies that dealt with being Queer. There was nobody I could talk to, so I had to keep this giant secret – that I didn’t understand and was afraid of – all to myself.  All I knew was I was different, and I was pretty sure my “difference” wasn’t socially acceptable. I was convinced that if anyone found out the truth about me they’d haul me away and lock me up forever.  So that’s what I lived with.

But I survived! And that’s the point. You can get through whatever you’re experiencing.

It Does gets Better.

I had thoughts of ending my life, but I’m really glad today that I didn’t! There are so many experiences I would have lost out on if I had ended my life as a teen.

In high school, I earned my school letter playing sports in Girl’s Athletic Association; I was elected President of that organization in my senior year, I was active in the Girl Scouts all through High School – and got teased for that – but we went camping and did cool stuff – we worked for three years and organized a week-long trip to Washington DC. – that the other kids didn’t get – and we had a blast!

I wrote songs, I sang in choirs; I even had the lead in the senior play, which was really kind of funny because I had to kiss a guy on stage in this big scene and that was really awkward! But I didn’t hide. I was active in school; I excelled at the things I loved.  And that helped get me through.

I got to be a camp counselor and met some really great women – some of them are still friends today. If I had ended my life early, I would have missed out on all that, and so much more.

See when you don’t allow other people’s opinions of you to rule your life, they become powerless. If kids talked about me, I did my best to ignore it. I found friends and teachers who supported me and cared about me and that’s who I interacted with.

And It Does Get Better.

When I went away to college, I discovered this amazing book by Del Martin and Phyllis Lyons called Lesbian/Woman, and these ladies had it together. They had already been together as a couple for years -in the Fifties! – and their message was – We’re okay. I was so relieved to find out who I was and what I was about….I started writing “coming out” songs and singing at rallies and special events. I started accepting me. Once we accept and get to love ourselves…we find others who accept and love us.

I’ve been part of a global humanitarian volunteer organization for over twenty five years and I have friends –straight, gay, old, young – from all over the world who love and accept me for who I am. We’ve done some amazing things together helping others, building projects, cultural programs, traveling all over the States and Canada – that’s been so rewarding.  I wouldn’t have missed a minute of it!

Bottom line – I’m okay – you’re okay, and We are okay GAY. – or Bi, or Trans – or however you call yourself.

So if you’re being bullied by kids in school, they’re just acting out their own ignorance. Don’t let someone else’s stupidity screw up your life.  It gets better.

If someone’s harassing you on Facebook or Twitter – UNFRIEND them. You don’t have to put up with their crap! Don’t interact with the haters. Stay with the winners.

It gets better – I know being harassed isn’t fun and it can be really painful at times, even but you know what – I came through recovery from addiction over 30 years ago – one day at a time – sometimes one moment at a time, and if I can do it – you can do it.

Nothing is forever. There’s a better life waiting for you at the end of school.

If things get too overwhelming or you think there’s no one to talk to – there are resources out there – like The Trevor Project. That’s a 24/7 Nationwide Helpline for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or Questioning youth. Call them. There are compassionate understanding people at the other end of that phone line. Their number is 1-866-488-7386. Website is www.thetrevorproject.org

So just hang in there. It Does Get Better. You have gifts to give to this world – stick around! Learn to be proud of who you are. There’s a lot of life out there to live – and love.

I want to share with you a quote from a woman of both Native American and European heritage, known to many as an ambassador for peace, an advocate for human rights, and my spiritual mentor for over 25 years. Her name is Grandmother Parisha, and I’ve never met anyone more inclusive, more accepting than her. She’s had her own life’s challenges – here’s what she says:

“I am an old warrior, I have my scars,  and I have counted my losses,

but I am stronger than ever and I am not running away,

I am here for the distance.

You can depend on me.

When your faith is weak, walk with mine.”

(from A Joyful Day by Parisha Taylor. © Copyright 2007 Parisha Online. All Rights Reserved)

I can’t count the times I’ve drawn on that. So today I’m here to say to you, It Definitely Gets Better. If that isn’t your experience right now, then draw from mine, and from the countless others making videos just like this one to share their experience and hope with you. Because we do know. It Gets Better.

You’re a good person, and You are loved. So stick around. There are great things out there in the world waiting for you – just around the corner. Hang in there.

It gets Better, and Better, and Better – Guaranteed!

:)MsQueer, aka Deb Adler

©2010 MsQueer.com. All rights reserved. (with the aforementioned exception of Grandmother Parisha’s quote taken from “A Joyful Day” by Parisha Taylor. © Copyright 2007 Parisha Online. All Rights Reserved)

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Awesome “It Gets Better” Project
September 23, 2010

There is a new video project on YouTube that I found through Facebook via The Trevor Project and GLSEN posts – how’s THAT for Social Networking!

So here’s the deal (directly from the description on YT): “If you’re gay or lesbian or bi or trans, and you’ve ever read about a kid like Billy Lucas and thought, “Fuck, I wish I could’ve told him that it gets better,” this is your chance. We can’t help Billy, but there are lots of other Billys out there—other despairing LGBT kids who are being bullied and harassed, kids who don’t think they have a future—and we can help them….”

http://www.youtube.com/itgetsbetterproject

Here’s the background from Dan Savage, as it appears in his column “Savage Love” at http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/SavageLove?oid=4940874

I just read about a gay teenager in Indiana—Billy Lucas—who killed himself after being taunted by his classmates. Now his Facebook memorial page is being defaced by people posting homophobic comments. It’s just heartbreaking and sickening. What the hell can we do?

Gay Bullying Victim Who Survived

Another gay teenager in another small town has killed himself—hope you’re pleased with yourselves, Tony Perkins and all the other “Christians” out there who oppose anti-bullying programs (and give actual Christians a bad name).

Billy Lucas was just 15 when he hanged himself in a barn on his grandmother’s property. He reportedly endured intense bullying at the hands of his classmates—classmates who called him a fag and told him to kill himself. His mother found his body.

Nine out of 10 gay teenagers experience bullying and harassment at school, and gay teens are four times likelier to attempt suicide. Many LGBT kids who do kill themselves live in rural areas, exurbs, and suburban areas, places with no gay organizations or services for queer kids.

“My heart breaks for the pain and torment you went through, Billy Lucas,” a reader wrote after I posted about Billy Lucas to my blog. “I wish I could have told you that things get better.”

I had the same reaction: I wish I could have talked to this kid for five minutes. I wish I could have told Billy that it gets better. I wish I could have told him that, however bad things were, however isolated and alone he was, it gets better.

But gay adults aren’t allowed to talk to these kids. Schools and churches don’t bring us in to talk to teenagers who are being bullied. Many of these kids have homophobic parents who believe that they can prevent their gay children from growing up to be gay—or from ever coming out—by depriving them of information, resources, and positive role models.

Why are we waiting for permission to talk to these kids? We have the ability to talk directly to them right now. We don’t have to wait for permission to let them know that it gets better. We can reach these kids.

So here’s what you can do, GBVWS: Make a video. Tell them it gets better.

I’ve launched a channel on YouTube—www ­.youtube.com/itgetsbetterproject—to host these videos. My normally camera-shy husband and I already posted one. We both went to Christian schools and we were both bullied—he had it a lot worse than I did—and we are living proof that it gets better. We don’t dwell too much on the past. Instead, we talk mostly about all the meaningful things in our lives now—our families, our friends (gay and straight), the places we’ve gone and things we’ve experienced—that we would’ve missed out on if we’d killed ourselves then.

“You gotta give ’em hope,” Harvey Milk said.

Today we have the power to give these kids hope. We have the tools to reach out to them and tell our stories and let them know that it does get better. Online support groups are great, GLSEN does amazing work, the Trevor Project is invaluable. But many LGBT youth can’t picture what their lives might be like as openly gay adults. They can’t imagine a future for themselves. So let’s show them what our lives are like, let’s show them what the future may hold in store for them.

The video my husband and I made is up now—all by itself. I’d like to add submissions from other gay and lesbian adults—singles and couples, with kids or without, established in careers or just starting out, urban and rural, of all races and religious backgrounds. (Go to www.youtube.com/itgetsbetterproject to find instructions for submitting your video.) If you’re gay or lesbian or bi or trans and you’ve ever read about a kid like Billy Lucas and thought, “Fuck, I wish I could’ve told him that it gets better,” this is your chance. We can’t help Billy, but there are lots of other Billys out there—other despairing LGBT kids who are being bullied and harassed, kids who don’t think they have a future—and we can help them.

They need to know that it gets better. Submit a video. Give them hope.

mail@savagelove.net

So if you have a message you want to get through to our young people to give them hope for getting through their school experience, get a YouTube account and submit your video! -MsQueer

©2010 MsQueer.com. All rights reserved. (Note: Quoted material from other authors and websites remains the property of the original authors. )

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Bigotry Takes a Hit
August 6, 2010

Another good article on predictable reactions to latest Prop 8 Ruling.

Bigotry Takes a Hit.

Thanks to author Michelle Goldberg

©2010 MsQueer.com. All rights reserved.

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