Archive for the 'Marriage & Sexuality' Category

01
Mar
10

Why Do We Need a LGBT Health Month?

Because LGBT individuals historically have been labeled deviant or pathological by many in the medical and psychiatric community, they have been marginalized by some segments of the health professions. As a result, many gays and lesbians do not disclose their sexual orientation to their health care providers (Cochran & Mays, 1988). Consequently, many LGBT individuals, particularly transgender individuals, are reluctant to use mainstream health care services and are medically underserved.

However, LGBT health advocates and professionals have lobbied for changes in mainstream professional organizations. This has resulted in policy statements addressing the needs of LGBT clients and the formation of official LGBT affiliates, such as the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on the Status of Lesbian and Gay Psychologists and the American Psychiatric Association’s Committee on Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Issues. Although these changes have been important steps in establishing ethical guidelines for appropriate care, many health and mental health treatment providers remain uncomfortable with sexual diversity and continue to discriminate against LGBT clients. Continue reading ‘Why Do We Need a LGBT Health Month?’

19
Sep
09

Health Care Reform: A Different Take

Health Care: A Lesbian Mother’s Sudden Passion for Reform

By Elizabeth G. Hines, Women’s Media Center

September 9, 2009

They say parenthood changes you in ways you’d never expect. As a gay parent, I’ve found that to be doubly true in at least one particularly surprising way: Being a parent has turned me into a warrior — a warrior for health care reform.

To be honest, before I had my child I was hardly riveted to the ups and downs of this most recent version of our national health care debate. I’ve been pro-universal health care for my entire adult life — in part, perhaps, because I spent half of my 20s without any health insurance to speak of — but watching the pols jaw their way around the details of this one was more than I could bear. The lines drawn had become so partisan that all I could do was shake my head and hope for a fair outcome. Until, that is, I found myself facing the gated community that is American health care from the outside looking in.
Continue reading ‘Health Care Reform: A Different Take’

10
Aug
09

Walter Wink co-sponsored by Church Within a Church

CWAC logo 1

“A progressive Methodist movement dedicated to BEing the fully inclusive church.”

 


 

Walter Wink

 

 

Grand Taylor Chapel of Chicago Theological Seminary,

5757 S. University Ave, Chicago, Ill 

Thursday, September 24, 2009, 7pm—9pm

  Continue reading ‘Walter Wink co-sponsored by Church Within a Church’

12
Jun
09

The Continuum of Sexuality

In response to a question, “What if a heterosexual becomes a homosexual?”

I am inclined to think that the sexual dichotomy of hetero- and homo-sexuality is what is wrong. Given an environment in which no outside forces were exerted, people would land wherever they felt led on the continuum of sexuality. For people towards the outer limits of the continuum their sexual inclinations would be clear – either same gender or opposite gender attraction. I think, however, that there aren’t too many people dwelling at these extremes. So you have what I believe to be the majority of people – those dwelling in the more central places on the continuum. Continue reading ‘The Continuum of Sexuality’

28
May
09

Dallas Principles

 

LGBTfront

No-one has commented on more lucidly, nor collected articles about, The Dallas Principles than Lawrence at First Light. I am posting his comments and articles he cited here, minus any identifying details, since First Light is a membership based list serve. Feel free to go to the link and sign up if you are allied to the cause of LGBT equality.

The meeting in Dallas which produced “The Dallas Principles” is another in a recent series of efforts by grassroots and out-of-the-mainstream activists to stimulate greater popular initiative and control over lobbying to achieve greater TLGB equality. In many ways, it seems to me that it’s at least partly a reaction against the failure of ‘official’ activist groups to defeat Prop. 8 in California last year, and partly an expanding anger and unhappiness over the go-slow approach of national groups like The Human Rights Campaign, which seem to be unwilling to make hard demands of persons in power.

The strength of the Dallas 24, who met to hammer out some foundational goals of the TLGB community in 2009, seems to me to be that they are not tied to top-heavy bureaucracies with huge budgets that support highly-paid staff with power, status and positions to protect. Perhaps their weakness is pretty much the same: they have no official standing, no ongoing structure, little serious connections to the people in power, and are just as much self-selected as the organizations which they believe are failing to achieve community goals quickly enough.

Despite a flurry of media releases, they’ve gotten precious little mainstream news coverage. What they have going for them are basically internet blogging audiences (how large? unknown), some potential funding resources (how much? unknown) and initial enthusiasm and desire to make an impact (how lasting? unknown). The Dallas Principles are scarcely arguable, but their influence is very much up in the air. But if you’re weary of the questionable pace and product of the ‘big boys’ of community lobbying, you have nothing to lose by checking out the Dallas bunch. Continue reading ‘Dallas Principles’

13
May
09

Articulate and Thought-Provoking – Is My Marriage Gay?

Excerpts from the full New York Times opinion piece to be found at “Is My Marriage Gay?”

AS many Americans know, last week Gov. John Baldacci of Maine signed a law that made this state the fifth in the nation to legalize gay marriage. It’s worth pointing out, however, that there were some legal same-sex marriages in Maine already, just as there probably are in all 50 states. These are marriages in which at least one member of the couple has changed genders since the wedding.

I’m in such a marriage myself and, quite frankly, my spouse and I forget most of the time that there is anything particularly unique about our family, even if we are — what is the phrase? — “differently married.” Continue reading ‘Articulate and Thought-Provoking – Is My Marriage Gay?’

13
May
09

LGBTQ Young People & Risk of Suicide

From a report compiled by The Trevor Project:

StaticAfAmBoy300x250Although, practically, there is no way of knowing how many suicides are completed by LGBT and questioning adolescents, reliable research on the attempt rates of this demographic group  are available. In the 2005 Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey (MA YRBS) concluded that lesbian, gay and bisexual youth are “almost four times as likely to have attempted suicide” and “more than five times more likely to have received medical attention for a suicide attempt” than their heterosexual peers.

The reasons for these disproportionate numbers are varied and many, but almost certainly include the lack of self-acceptance as the primary among them. In a 1995 study published in the Journal for Developmental Psychology (Herhberger and D’Augelli), the single largest predictor of mental health was self-acceptance. According to Remafedi (1991), highly feminine boys have also been shown to be at higher risk for suicide attempts because they are the ones perceived by others to be homosexual and behave outside of gender specific norms.

Because of this, feminine boys and “butch” girls are more likely to receive the brunt of bullying in school along with traditional society’s disapproval. As recent events have proven, the perception of being gay is enough to precipitate bullying and harassment, Continue reading ‘LGBTQ Young People & Risk of Suicide’

04
May
09

Open Letter to Legislators of NY – Same-Sex Marriage

Whenever one writes letters to legislators it is always better if it is short, sweet and to the point. The problem with that is that the lack of logical arguments that can fit into a short letter tends to limit their educational and persuasive value. Short letters simply allow room to state an opinion – one among a plethora of opinions fielded by constituents – that do little to edify, persuade or even debunk opposing arguments.

Faced with this dilemma, I am writing a letter that is in two parts. The first simply states my opinion as a constituent and asks that my opinion be considered in deciding on the merits of legislating for same-sex marriage. The second part, which can easily be ignored if the legislator is so inclined, or read if he/she sees fit to consider logical arguments, outlines various points using opponents’ logic as a springboard.

Part 1.

Very briefly, I would like to state my opinion that it is a travesty that same-sex relationships are not afforded all the same civil benefits in New York as heterosexual married couples. Continue reading ‘Open Letter to Legislators of NY – Same-Sex Marriage’

03
May
09

Dignity For All Students

I have been asked repeatedly why I am a straight ally of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) sisters and brothers. Whether it is because of things I write, things I say (for instance on the floor of my presbytery) or where I choose to be activist, the fact that I am straight and a minister seem to stand out significantly. There is, at the same time, suspicion and excitement that a straight minister would care enough to be visible in support of LGBT.

Jenna and I ran directly into this while present and active at the Equality and Justice Day put on by Empire State Pride Agenda. No less that a dozen times we were asked if we would allow our picture to be taken and placed on websites or blogs. We also entered into numerous conversations, all concerning the role of the church in oppression and anti-GLBT equality.

One specific effort of Pride Agenda is Dignity For All Students, a bill in New York that seeks to address bullying for any reason including sexuality and gender expression. When asked, I responded that my interest in this is very personal. I was on the receiving end of homophobic bullying in grade and high school simply because I was slightly built (hard to imagine now) and a little effeminate. My young life in school, along with some friends, was hell that left me contemplating suicide many times during my high school years.

While meeting with an aide of Senator Farley to make the case for Dignity, I stated the reasons for my interest and followed up by saying, “We have a moral obligation to protect the most vulnerable, and no-one is more vulnerable than our children.” As an expression of our concern in this issue and the dangers faced by those deemed by peers to be different, Jenna and I will be attending “train the trainers” classes for the Trevor Project, a nationwide hot-line for children and youth at risk and contenplating suicide.

To end of bringing as much attention to the issue as I can, I am reprinting the NY Times commentary by Charles Blow. Continue reading ‘Dignity For All Students’

29
Apr
09

LGBT Equality and Justice Day – NY Capital

The caucus gathering

The activists gathering

Yesterday, the Empire State Pride Agenda held it’s annual E&J day – a day that includes both political activism and a very visible public rally. The turn out again this year was phenomenal. Having had same-day and pre-registation in previous years, there was already a full roster of activists before the actual day arrived. Anyone showing up on the 28th with the hope of being part of the lobbying effort were sorely disappointed. Many of those did, however, stick around for the rally. Continue reading ‘LGBT Equality and Justice Day – NY Capital’

14
Apr
09

Then Comes New York

A week ago, I asked, “Where is New York?” Vermont’s legislature had just passed a marriage equality bill, and Empire State Pride Agenda’s Executive Director had just made a press release. New York’s legislative bodies, however, have been bandying the notion around, but seemed reticent to bring it to the floor.

Now enter Governor Paterson of New York. After ordering New York state departments to recognize same-gender marriages performed out of state, and to extend insurance and other rights to same-gender partners, Gov Paterson today announced that he will introduce legislation to allow same-gender marriages in New York. The full story can be read on CNN at http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/04/14/ny.same.sex.marriage/index.html.

Citing New York’s history of involvement with civil rights issues, the governor said, “There is clearly a problem in that those individuals who are gay or lesbian who would live in a civil union are still not entitled to somewhere between 1,250 and 1,300 civil protections” available to married couples. We would like to try to address that at some point in the near future.” It is time to start wotking in earnest on our state senators.

07
Apr
09

Vermont legislates equality – where is New York?

message_from_exec_director

Shortly after Vermont’s legislature voted to override Gov. Douglas’ veto earlier today, we released the following statement:

“We are thrilled that Vermont—another one of New York’s neighbors—has passed a marriage equality bill through the state legislature. Less than a week after Iowa’s Supreme Court recognized the need to recognize and protect same-sex couples and our families, more than two-thirds of Vermont’s legislature sent the same message by overriding Governor Jim Douglas’ veto.

Vermont was the first state to pass a law recognizing same-sex couples through civil unions and now becomes the first state to provide real marriage equality for same-sex couples through a vote in the state legislature. This is truly a victory for LGBT people in Vermont and across the country.

But I’m embarrassed for New York State. Continue reading ‘Vermont legislates equality – where is New York?’

18
Mar
09

“Abstinence Only” Rears Again

I would always prefer to avoid criticizing other religious beliefs, opting instead for simply offering an alternate view. I find myself, however, struggling in order to deal with the Pope’s stand on condom use in the battle against HIV/AIDS in a way that is not derogatory. I understand that Catholicism takes an official stand against contraception – well, that isn’t quite true – I accept that it does, even though I do not understand it. In the case of HIV/AIDS, however, the issue isn’t contraception, but the very life of millions of Africans. Continue reading ‘“Abstinence Only” Rears Again’

28
Feb
09

No, Please! Tell Us What You Really Think

If you are looking for the perfect example from which to learn to write a “quirky, snide, and very thoughtless comment” to someone with whom you disagree – look no further. Sen Paul Koering’s aid seems to have the technique down to a fine science, and will gladly send you an example should you want to disagree with the senator on anything.

 News from the Minnesota Independent: Gay Republican responds to criticism: Same-sex marriage is a ‘pointless issue’

The office of state Sen. Paul Koering, a gay Republican representing a district near Brainerd, Minn., is responding by e-mail to criticisms over his decision not to vote for the Marriage and Family Protection Act. The gist? Legislators can’t “waste their time” with “pointless legislation.”

The mass e-mail, penned by an impassioned Ken Swecker, Koering’s legislative assistant, concludes with a punchline that shows someone’s got their knickers in a wad over something. Swecker wrote: Continue reading ‘No, Please! Tell Us What You Really Think’

25
Feb
09

The Nature of Marriage

I would like to direct your attention to a discussion on Soulforce forums. The discussion is not primarily about same-sex marriage, although it does enter into the discussion, but about the nature of marriage in it’s most basic form. What is it that makes a marriage?

The post was started by 17 year-old Jennifer – one of my favorite 17 year-olds because of the depth of her thoughts and her gentle spirit. The answers have ranged from the almost, but not quite, mundane to purely and simply eloquent. One of my favorites is post #6 from u-dog, one of the other ministers on the boards. Jennifer’s inquiry began:

What is marriage? Continue reading ‘The Nature of Marriage’




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That's too bad - I'm so sorry. Oh, well, just try to make the best of it. What you'll find here is a variety of essays and ramblings to do with things theological, social, whimsical and, sometimes, all three. I don't write to get famous - trust me, I've been told how futile that would be - but to express myself. I love to communicate and browbeat - ummm, I mean dialogue - about the things I find intriguing. Since you're here, and the door's locked, why don't you stay a while. There's a page bar under the header with links to information about us - I mean me. Don't forget to tell me what you think - in a nice way, I mean.

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