The Very Reverend Jeffrey John was installed as the ninth Dean of Saint Albans on 2nd July 2004
Lord Hear My Prayer as we look to the election of a new Bishop at The Church of Wales...may we humbly pray and ask that you consider:
"Dean Jeffrey John (aged 51) took a First in Classics and Modern Languages at Hertford College Oxford in 1975. After reading Theology at St Stephen's House Oxford, he served his first Curacy at Penarth, in the diocese of Llandaff. He returned to Oxford in 1980 to read for a doctorate in Pauline theology. In 1984 he was appointed to a Fellowship as Dean of Divinity at Magdalen. In 1991 he became Vicar of Holy Trinity, Eltham in Southwark Diocese. Dean John's previous post was as Canon Chancellor and Bishop's Adviser for Ministry in the Diocese of Southwark.
Dean John's interests include learning and reading European languages*
"Jeffrey Philip Hywel John, SCP, (born 10 February 1953) is a Church of England cleric and the current Dean of St Albans. He made headlines in 2003 when he was the first person to have openly been in a gay relationship to be nominated as a Church of England bishop. Owing to the consequent controversy he was asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, to stand down before he took up the bishopric.
Dr John was born in Tonyrefail in South Wales in 1953. He studied at Hertford College, Oxford, where he gained a first in classics and modern languages in 1975. He subsequently studied theology at St Stephen's House, Oxford. After a curacy in Penarth, Llandaff, he returned to Oxford in 1980 to read for a doctorate in Pauline theology. He became chaplain at Brasenose College. In 1984 he was appointed Dean of Divinity at Magdalen College, Oxford. He was later the Vicar of Holy Trinity, Eltham, (in the Diocese of Southwark) in south London from 1991 In 1997 he became canon chancellor and theologian of Southwark Cathedral.
Dr John is a founder member and a trustee of Affirming Catholicism, a group formed in 1990 promoting Catholicism within the Anglican tradition and also supported the campaign for the ordination of women.
On 20 May 2003 his appointment as the new Bishop of Reading, a suffragan bishop in the Diocese of Oxford, was announced. His nomination led to controversy both in the Church of England and in the wider Anglican Communion, despite his having stated that he was celibate. He has for many years been a campaigner for gay rights and he received criticism on his nomination both for his stance on gay issues and because he had not publicly 'repented' his past sexual activities in such a way as to indicate that they were wrong. A number of Anglican leaders in various countries stated their intention to split from the communion if the consecration went ahead. Concerns over the potential for division led the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Rowan Williams, to request Dr John to step down. On 6 July 2003, he withdrew from his appointment to the bishopric. In spite of the withdrawal of Dr John the differences in views of homosexuality within the Anglican church continued to cause controversy in 2003 following the appointment of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire in the Episcopal Church USA.
On 19 April 2004, 10 Downing Street announced Dr John's appointment as Dean of St Albans. He was inducted on 2 July 2004.
Although many conservatives were outraged at the thought of any preferment for Dr John, and although many liberal advocates were equally outraged at the way he had been treated, less interested observers viewed the eventual solution as a masterstroke: by appointing him to the deanery of a famous cathedral, the Prime Minister (who, in consultation with the Archbishop of Canterbury had the final say in the recommendation to the Crown) was able to give him a position of equal or even greater prominence and prestige, but without the hierarchical authority over others which gave conservatives within the Diocese of Oxford grounds for complaint.
In August 2006, Dr John entered into a civil partnership with his long-term partner, the Revd Grant Holmes...."**
Bless your son Jeffery John in the days and months ahead.
"Nigeria’s Mr. Peter Akinola, Archbishop and head of the Nigerian Anglican Church as well as the head of “Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON)” community, was in the news on BBCWorld television broadcast of August 17, 2008 fuming over series of unchristian actions taken by some churches in America. Among others, he cited the consecration of Mr. Gene Robinson, an open gay preacher, as a bishop.
There are also lesbian couples’ approvals in America contrary to Biblical injunctions and his expectations. According to him, the heads of the Anglican Church worldwide had meet in America and held several meetings, prayers, agreed on and issued out communiqués, among others, aimed at suspending the implementation of these unholy exercises.
The Archbishop of Canterbury was well involved too. Soon after all these, the gay bishop was consecrated in America. “What do they take us for”, he fumed.
As I watched the documentary titled “The World Uncovered - Battle of Anglican Bishops” on the BBCWorld that day and the repeated broadcast the following day, one question that cropped up in my mind was “Can America be trusted?”.
It was most probable that our Anglican Archbishop thought otherwise before the said consecration of the gay bishop. That was most likely why he had chosen to have meetings, communiqués, prayers, etc with them. But available statistics show that America cannot be trusted.
The issue has become worse under Mr. Bush, the current American President. A few illustrations are provided below out of a long list of many issues and events...."
(And so attempteth to reporteth, speaketh and freteth the words of The Grand Wizard Hooliganite and Arch Mad Hater of the Fanglican Division of the Phobic Global South...you really ought read the whole story...as we said in the 60's..."it's a REAL trip")
Sarah Palin is VP choice - Get Mad. August 29, 2008 by Emily
"I’m sure you’ve all heard the news that Sarah Palin is McCain’s VP choice. While this doesn’t make any sense to me and I am anticipating it backfiring on him (1.5 years as governor? You call that experience?), it’s still maddening, as she is anti-choice, anti-environment, anti-gay, and anti-everything that we work for. Here’s a fantastic petition on Care2 that sums it up nicely:
No Way, No How, No Sarah Palin!
John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin shows how little he knows about women. In an attempt to woo the women vote, his selection shows how out of touch his platform and candidacy is with the issues that matter to women in this election.
Sarah Palin is anti-choice. Just like McCain, she opposes a woman’s right to choose. Sarah Palin has also stated her opposition to abortion even in cases of rape or incest.
Sarah Palin is a creationist. U.S. teenagers are trailing behind their peers from many industrialized countries in math and science. To truly compete in a global economy, we need leadership that will improve the quality of U.S. education. Yet Sarah Palin has supported creationism should be taught alongside evolution in the state’s public classrooms.
Sarah Palin opposes gay-marriage. Sarah Palin took office less than two years ago in Alaska, and by then the state was one of the first in the U.S. to pass a constitutional ban on gay marriage. But Sarah Palin has stated that she supported the 1998 constitutional amendment.
Sarah Palin is pro-drilling. Even though John McCain has opposed opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling in the past, his choice of Sarah Palin as VP shows how untrustworthy he is on protecting ANWR in the future. Sarah Palin has implored McCain to change his position against drilling in the Arctic, repeatedly pushing policies that benefit Big Oil and could make us even more dependent on foreign oil.
Sarah Palin is anti-environment. She’s responsible for approving a $400,000 state-funded propaganda campaign to justify Alaska’s barbaric wolf slaughter from the skies, and sued the federal government over the addition of polar bears to the Endangered Species list, arguing the designation would slow gas and oil development in the state. [addition by Emily - her husband is an oil tycoon! Now don't tell me that doesn't affect her desire for more and more drilling!]
Sarah Palin is embroiled in scandal. She’s currently under ethics investigation for abuse of power in Alaska: in late July, Alaska’s state legislature voted to hire an independent investigator to find out whether she tried to have a state official fire her ex-brother-in-law from his job as a state trooper. She has also refused to call for the resignation of Alaska Senator Ted Stevens despite his indictment for allegedly hiding gifts received from an oil firm.
Sounds like more of the same broken politics we’ve seen in the last eight years.
Sign this petition to send your “Dear John” message: Sarah Palin is the wrong choice for women for all the right reasons."
WRONG CHOICE UPDATE: Visit JUST ANOTHER BLACK SHEEP blog at the sidebar...review and discover much more REAL INFORMATION regarding the irresponsible and erratic professional and personal behavior/character of Palin:
"Sen. Barack Obama is very progressive on women's issues. Obama voted for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act; supports expanding the Family Medical Leave Act; will strengthen Social Security without privatization; will fully implement the Women Owned Businesses contracting act; is a champion for a woman's right to choose and will sign the Freedom of Choice Act, voted in favor of requiring health plans to cover prescription birth control; is a co-sponsor of the Equal Equality Amendment; and supports full funding of the Violence Against Women Act.
REALITY CHECK Number Dos!
Sen. John McCain is against all of these issues except for Violence Against Women. The Business and Professional Women's Organization Political Action Committee (BPW PAC) board of directors has voted to endorse Obama for president, after a thorough investigation of both men's positions and voting records. BPW/PAC supports federal candidates who will be strong advocates for equity for all women in the workplace.
REALITY CHECK Number Tres!
The BPW PAC is the only women's organization with a PAC, which is supported directly by BPW members who contribute specifically to the PAC. Obama told us BPW members in a letter to the membership: "As president, I will dedicate myself to improving the lives of women through pay equity, access to education, investment in women-owned businesses, policies to help manage work-life balance, affordable healthcare, reproductive choice, and violence prevention."
I urge Montanans to actively support and vote for Barack Obama as president of the United States."
Did you see them? I'll bet you did...did you see, think and feel what I did? Do you believe that TODAY the United States of America has been given a fresh slate, a clean shot and full-fledged progress report and REALITY check? I did, that's what I saw. That's what I heard.
Never before in my life experience have I believed that most ALL OF US, as a society, are exactly where we ought be...tonight, together at last, a family at last, the lights have come on and EVERYONES home...it's "all skate."
It's interesting to me as I watched Obama and Biden hugging and glading, one another and others, together tonight on stage/podium center in Denver that WE are a CULTURE given the opportunity to be the FREE SOCIETY and HONORABLE, trustworthy, warm and happy people that God wants us to be...no more games, no more lies, no more shame or blame no more places to HIDE from unattractive character flaws...WE GOT REAL...tonight, in Denver, we saw REAL Americans again and we saw us better than ever before. We have grown up through the tragedy of lies and aggressiveness during the past eight years. All of us understood one another tonight, fear fell away...people spoke, and we saw in the crowd, REAL people laughing, dancing and celebrating at ALL levels of life...no shadows, no dodging, no excuses no awkwardness...nobody was left out or forgotten tonight...there were no creeps, no abominations. None of us got swept under the rug or locked in the attic while the "face men" did "used car" selling things...WE were/are all fully present and accounted for in the RIGHT NOW at Center Stage Denver...you could see/feel all of us for the first time in my memory, one the first time we were ALL CREATED EQUAL and knew we were...what a relief, no need to PRETEND anymore, no posturing, no need to be intimidated or exploited by terrorfied greedy politicos grabbing whatever they think they must/ought have...as fast as they can! There was a lazy chump born everyday...they said, and they believed as they mistook gentle good "will" and wanting to "trust" their leaders for slothful passive opportunity.
Tonight I didn't hear a word from insecure/meanspirited or insane puritan Christians/others blathering on and on about the faults of other "sinful" human beings who are headed straight to Hell (and taking our children and family values with them)...tonight, we ALL became everyday AMERICANS again...flawed or not, ready or not...instead of acting out/being vulnerable and desperately clutching/arrogant and aggressive blowhards of recent Republican memory...tonights rebirth of AUTHENTIC OURSELVES came by simply the telling of personal stories...our stories, like everyone elses stories, are full of REALITY and loaded with happy and sad living/loss, warts and truth...sharing blatantly of OURSELVES beliefs got some of us in the Nation RIGHTSIZED tonight...most of all, we were OURSELVES, LOVE replaced FEAR/HATE in the United States tonight at all levels of society, what a break and such a good START.
Change is coming, it's started already. I'm sure of it now. It's real CHANGE and it's coming our way as we're all FINALLY READY to become the REAL and authentic, natural, unpretentious human beings that God has always wanted us to be. God wants us to be ourselves...ourselves: accountable, responsible and fully present in all of our affairs.
Thanks be to God, we're getting another change to learn how to just "be" ourselves...it's quite a gift that's filled with trust and humility.
Love shined through tonight while watching the Democratic Convention on TV...it was familiar to me, I recognized love, I love love and friendships filled with love and caring for my fellow human beings...it's what's inside of me and I'm glad to feel it again, I thought it had gone away forever.
Del Martin, left, places a ring on her partner Phyllis. Photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez-Pool/Getty Images)
"SAN FRANCISCO—Pioneering lesbian rights activist Del Martin, who married her lifelong partner in June on the first day that same-sex couples here gained that right, has died. She was 87. Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said Martin died at a San Francisco hospital Wednesday morning, two weeks after a broken arm exacerbated her existing health problems.
Her wife, Phyllis Lyon, was by her side, Kendell said.
Along with six other women, they founded a San Francisco social club for lesbians in 1955 called the Daughters of Bilitis. Under their leadership, the group evolved into the nation's first lesbian advocacy organization.
The couple were married at San Francisco City Hall on June 16. Mayor Gavin Newsom, who officiated the wedding, singled them out to be the first gay couple to legally exchange vows in the city, in recognition of their activism.
The two were among the two dozen couples who served as plaintiffs in the lawsuits that led the state Supreme Court to overturn California's ban on gay marriage in May.
The Daughters of Bilitis was named after book of lesbian erotic poetry first published in Paris in 1894."
The Associated Press Article Launched: 08/27/2008 12:11:13 PM PDT
Thank you (boxturlebulletin can be found in the right sidebar): http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2008/08/27/2780
Katyja Nyberg and Gro Hammerseng...HIP HIP HORRAY!
28-year-old openly gay captain Gro Hammerseng led Norway’s championship handball team to a 34-27 victory against Russia in the Olympic finals this weekend, securing the team’s first Olympic gold medal.
The team, which also includes openly gay left back Katja Nyberg, advanced to the finals after narrowly beating South Korea in the semifinals, where center-back Hammerseng scored the winning goal in the final second.
Both women scored in the game against Russia, with Nyberg the third-highest scorer for the team, with four goals.
BREAKING NOTICIAS: Golden Gay, Matthew Mitcham, Australia's Out Olympic Diver Wins Gold
ATTENTION: GAY "excluding" Puritan Archbishop Peter Jensen of Sydney...here is some factual "Good News" for you and yours!
"In what is being hailed as one of the most tremendous upsets of the Beijing Olympics, openly gay Australian diver Matthew Mitcham won a gold medal today after his string of perfect 10's recorded this highest scoring dive in Olympic history. Mitcham's pulled off a stunning final dive in the 10 metre platform, scoring an incredible four perfect 10s, to steal the gold off favourite Chinese diver Luxin Zhou. Mitcham finished with 537.95 points. It was a massive upset defeating the premiere and form Chinese divers Liang Huo and Luxin Zhou in front fierce home crowd.
Mitcham, 20, battled depression, retired in his teenage years after physical and emotional burn-out, then just nine months later resumed his sport in 2007. Last night his triumphant return to the sport was crowned with gold. His coach Chava Sobrino, who encouraged Mitcham back into the sport, elatedly embraced diver and Mitcham broke down in tears.
It was late 2006 that Mitcham lost passion for diving and suffering depression he quit. During his hiatus from the sport last year to make money he plunged from a tower 14 metres high into a pool of water for crowds at the Royal Easter Show in Sydney. That job reignited his passion for the sport.
One person who has been by his side for the entire tumultuous and now brilliant journey is his partner, Lachlan, he was in the crowd last night courtesy of a Johnson & Johnson Olympic sponsorship. Mitcham is one of only a few "out" gay athletes in Beijing and the first Australian to openly declare his homosexuality going into an Olympics. Mitcham, age 20, is now expected to be a star of Australia's 2012 team in London."
Thanks to Joe.My.God. blog to be found at the sidebar at the right...read more:
"Outsports.com tells us that statistically speaking, out athletes have been, as a group, disproportionately successful at these Olympic Games. The 11 openly GLBT athletes Outsports has followed over the past two weeks raked in 4 golds, 2 silvers and 1 bronze medal. In other words, 64% of out athletes won a medal; a third of all out athletes won a gold medal."
The medalists are: Gold: Matthew Mitcham, Australia (Diving, 10m platform); Natasha Kai, USA (Soccer); Gro Hammerseng & Katya Nyberg, Norway (Handball)
Silver: Lauren Lappin and bi athlete Vicky Galindo, USA (Softball)
Bronze: Linda Bresonik, Germany (Soccer)
THANK YOU for more good news: Lavender Wolves (to be found at the right sidebar)
"May I wholly inadequately apologize to my sisters and brothers who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered for the cruelty and injustice that you have suffered and continue to suffer at the hands of us, your fellow Anglicans; I am sorry. Forgive us for all the pain we have caused you and which we continue to inflict on you."
The Anglican Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace, former chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission: Desmond Tutu.
(From the Foreword to In the Eye of the Storm.)
Read more: gay spirit diary (look on the sidebar/scroll down)
Thanks to you Josh: "Why Anti-Gay Bigots Hate to Be Called Bigots"
"The ban on gay sex was inconsistent with the Panamanian Constitution
President Martin Torrijos Espino has decriminalised gay sex in Panama.
On 29th July, President Espino and Health Minister Rosario E. Turner signed a decree repealing a 1949 law that made gay sex an illegal offence that would incur a $500 (£266) fine or a prison sentence.
The decriminalisation came after protests from gay equality group New Men and Women of Panama, the San Fransisco Bay Times reports.
The ban on gay sex was found to be inconsistent with international human rights treaties that Panama has signed, as well as the Panamanian Constitution.
The law was also in conflict with the Health Ministry's policy to 'maintain respect for the sexual preferences of each person, without the existence of any type of discrimination' in the administration of its sexually transmitted diseases programs.
Amnesty International states that there are currently 11 nations in Central America, South America and the Caribbean where homosexuality is illegal.
Those countries are Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.*"
ATTENTION: ARCHBISHOP DREXEL GOMEZ (chair of the Anglican Covenant Design Group):
*The ONLY countries in Latin America where homosexuality is ILLEGAL is in The Anglican Province of The West Indies/Primate Drexel Gomez! Note also that the frequency of Crimes of HATE generated against LGBT people correspond directly to these SPECIFIC countries with JAMAICA being the most violent and abusive and deadly!
Bishop Drexel what are you going to do about the CRIMES OF HATE running rampant against LGBT Anglican/Christians/others in The Anglican Province of The West Indies (especially Jamaica)?
Those who ignore crimes of HATE are accessories to crimes of HATE!
By Laurie Goering, Chicago Tribune foreign correspondent
WINDHOEK, Namibia—As a boy, Telwin Owoseb wanted to wear lime green. His mother told him blue was for boys and pushed him out the door to play ball, over his protests.
At the end of high school, he told his family he was gay. While his mother accepted the news, his brothers and family friends were horrified.
“A man should be a man and marry and have kids,” he remembers them saying.
Since then he has been called a “moffie”—an Afrikaans slur for homosexuals—on the streets of Namibia’s capital, and he has faced trouble finding work and a partner in this nation where being gay is considered unnatural, un-Christian and un-African.
But he considers himself lucky compared with Namibia’s rural gays and lesbians, an estimated eight out of 10 of whom are forced to marry and have children as a result of fear, ignorance and social pressures, according to gay-rights activists in Namibia.
“The government says homosexuality is a European import,” said Owoseb, 21, a member of the country’s Damara ethnic group, which tends to be more accepting of homosexuality. But “if it were European there wouldn’t be names for homosexuals in our own languages, from before the Europeans arrived. It’s not a European thing. I’m not a European.”
Africa is not an easy place to be homosexual. Across the continent, millions of gays and lesbians find themselves increasingly under threat and pointed to as a source of Africa’s ills.
Homosexuals have been shot by warlords in lawless Somalia and stoned in northern Nigeria, activists say. Hundreds have been arrested in Egypt on debauchery charges. Zanzibar has proposed 25-year prison sentences for men convicted of sodomy.
Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, the most homophobic of Africa’s presidents, dismisses gays as “lower than pigs and dogs.” Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni has threatened them with arrest, prosecution and deportation. And former Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi long characterized them as a “scourge.”
In Namibia, homosexuals have been blamed for severe drought by religious leaders, who insist their wicked behavior displeases God. Government officials, who have threatened to deport gays, accuse them of trying to depopulate the country and describe their lifestyle as a kind of cancer, threatening to lead to “social disorder.”
While gays generally are not blamed for the spread of AIDS in Africa—the disease is a largely heterosexual one on the continent—they are dismissed as “unnatural.”
“Homosexuality is an unnatural behavioral disorder, which is alien to African culture,” Helmut Angula, Namibia’s agriculture minister, once observed.
Some Namibian gays find themselves subject to brutal “cures.” Families arrange to have lesbian daughters raped to show them the “right” way to behave. Gay men are held down by police and earrings are ripped from their ears. A leading government official has written a treatise describing how homosexuals can be “cured” by sawing off the top of the skull and washing the brain with a chemical solution.
What is remarkable is that Namibia’s outspoken homophobia is relatively new. A decade ago, gay men held hands on the streets of Windhoek, seen as a homosexual mecca for southern Africa. For generations lesbians and to a lesser extent gay men were quietly accepted in at least some of Namibia’s ethnic cultures.
Glow has dimmed
What has changed, gay activists believe, is the country’s confidence in its future. Since Namibia won its independence from South Africa in 1990, “the euphoria has been wearing off,” said Ian Swartz, director of The Rainbow Project, a gay-rights organization.
Namibian leaders promised better times after independence but have found stubborn problems such as poverty and southern Africa’s AIDS epidemic difficult to solve. In frustration—and sometimes to divert the public’s attention from their own shortcomings—they have begun looking for someone to blame and have settled on minorities, including homosexuals, according to human-rights activists.
“There’s a sense of economic and political powerlessness, and when you feel powerless about your economy and your country’s politics there’s a tendency to turn to culture as the one thing you can exert control over,” said Scott Long, director of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Rights Project at Human Rights Watch.
Namibia’s public campaign against homosexuals began in 1996, after a group of cross-dressing gay men used the women’s bathroom during a meeting of the ruling South West Africa People’s Organization. Days later, President Sam Nujoma gave his first anti-gay speech, insisting that “homosexuals must be condemned and rejected in our society.”
Since then government officials—most of them from northern Owamboland, Namibia’s richest, most populous and most traditionally homophobic region—have tried to criminalize gay sex and threatened to deport homosexuals. In heavily Christian Namibia, the government has promoted a view of homosexuality as un-Christian and as an imported European deviation.
The problem with that view, gay-rights activists say, is that Christianity itself is a European import in much of Africa. Over centuries of colonization most of the continent’s rich oral tradition was lost, making Africa’s traditional views on homosexuality unclear. What is evident, however, is that gays were an accepted part of at least some African societies.
In northern Namibia, many homosexuals traditionally served as healers and spiritual leaders, said Daniel Somerville, editor of Behind the Mask, a Web site for gay Africans. Even today, large numbers of lesbians practice as traditional healers in neighboring South Africa, one of the few nations worldwide where homosexual rights are protected under the constitution.
“People say it’s imported colonial behavior,” Somerville said. “But in fact the opposite is true. The colonialists, if anything, tried to stamp it out. They were, after all, the Victorians.”
`Welcoming and belonging’
The All Africa Rights Initiative, a gay-rights movement that met in Johannesburg in February, issued a statement saying “we have and have always had a place in Africa.” African traditional culture, the statement said, is based on “principles of welcoming and belonging,” not on exclusion.
Reversing the image of homosexuality as a European import has been difficult, largely because Africa’s gay activists have tended to be white. That is changing, but only slowly. Most gay Africans, like their heterosexual neighbors, are too busy trying to feed themselves, earn a living and take care of their families to get involved in politics.
“That white people brought [homosexuality] here is a lot of nonsense, but our own black community believes that,” said Linda Baumann, 21, a lesbian who lives in Windhoek. “The only answer is education, and more of us speaking up for ourselves.”
That isn’t easy, particularly in the conservative Owambo community where Baumann grew up. Her partner and housemate was thrown out of her childhood home when her family discovered her orientation a few years ago. Baumann, who said she lost most of her friends when she came out, counts herself lucky that she got only a lecture, largely because her strict father had moved out years ago.
“I was lectured about the Bible and God, and mom cried and said I wasn’t raised this way,” she said. Today her mother and one of her two sisters accept her, but it is an acceptance forged out of necessity—her salary puts food on the table.
“If my father knew, he would say I am no longer his child, that the devil is in me and I need to go to a traditional healer and be healed,” she said. But she is thankful she doesn’t live in a rural Owambo community. If so, “I would have a husband and kids by now.”
Many Namibian gays who emerged from the closet in the 1990s have gone back in as a result of the government support of homophobia, activists said. Gay men who married and later divorced have married again, Swartz said.
But the attacks also have spurred new activism. Gay Namibians have turned to the country’s hugely influential churches, seeking their acceptance and help in rebuffing myths about homosexuality. The response has been mixed, but at least some denominations, especially the Lutherans, have been relatively welcoming.
Gay-rights activists also have teamed with other troubled minorities—white farmers, AIDS patients, abused women—to work for improved human-rights protections for all. The country now has an annual human-rights parade, dominated by gays.
Across the continent, gay-rights groups have formed in nations such as Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone and Uganda, largely in response to government hate speeches. That mobilization suggests “it’s not always a bad thing to have these outrageous statements,” Somerville said.
Perhaps the best news for Africa’s gay men and lesbians, however, is that plenty of their neighbors do not take homophobic government messages to heart. Gays and lesbians have quietly been part of African society for centuries, anthropologists argue.
Too hungry to care
And on a continent struggling to feed itself, “a whole number of issues come before worrying about other people’s sexual behavior,” Somerville said. That means “the levels of homophobia one hears about in the press and from leaders is not necessarily reflected in the populace. People could care less.”
Activists say the best way for gay Africans to overcome prejudice is to be good neighbors.
“You have to take away all the myth, and the best way to do that is just to live and be open,” Swartz said. “When all you talk about is sex, you forget there’s a person behind that label.”
Brazilian President calls homophobia a "perverse disease"
Homophobia: "the most perverse disease impregnated in the human head."
By Sophie Picheta
"The president of Brazil has become the first nation leader to launch a conference with the sole purpose of promoting gay equality.
The First National Conference of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transvestites and Transsexuals was inaugurated by president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who called for a "time of reparation" in Brazil.
At last week's conference President Lula announced his support for gay rights, and stated he will "do all that is possible so that the criminalisation of homophobia and the civil union may be approved."
He also called homophobia "the most perverse disease impregnated in the human head."
Toni Reis, president of the Brazilian Association of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transvestites and Transsexuals, advocated a gay statute.
This would codify in law specific rights that Brazil's legal framework could not prejudicially deny to LGBT citizens.
The conference, which was called an important historic event in the history of Brazil, coincides with the news of a gay Brazilian army sergeant who was recently arrested, reportedly for desertion.
He had given a series of media interviews about his sexuality before he was detained.
Homosexuality has been legal in Brazil since 1823, except in the armed forces, and civil unions are allowed in some areas.
However, homophobia and gay-bashing remain significant problems in the country of 184 million people."
Argentine gay couples may claim widow's pension By JEANNETTE NEUMANN –
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentina on Monday announced its first nationwide gay-rights measure: granting same-sex couples the right to claim their deceased partners' pensions.
Couples must prove they have been living together for at least five years to receive the benefit, Amado Boudo, executive director of the national social security administration, told local television reporters.
The government's national decree will "put the rights of all cohabitants on a level playing field," Boudo said.
Gay activists welcomed Monday's announcement as the fruition of years of campaigning the government to grant them the same rights as heterosexual married couples.
Gay civil unions already are legal in five cities, including Buenos Aires.
The measure is "historic" and marks a "step forward" for human rights because it is the first nationwide gay-rights measure approved by the government, gay activist Pedro Paradiso Sottile told The Associated Press.
"The government is moving past words to action," said Sottile, an activist with the 24-year-old Argentine Homosexual Community organization in Buenos Aires.
Prior to the new decree, the deceased partners' pensions went directly to the government.
"The state was stealing our money," said Alejandra Portatadino, also a member of the Argentine Homosexual Community, calling the previous law "discriminatory" and "anti-constitutional."
The organization will now focus efforts on nationalizing civil unions, which would confer additional rights to gay couples, such as adoption and inheritance, Sottile said.
Buenos Aires was the first Latin American capital city to legalize gay civil unions in 2002. Since then, the Argentine capital has become one of the hotspots on the international gay-friendly tourist circuit, going head-to-head with Rio de Janeiro.
The soccer-crazed country was host last year to the first international gay world cup as well as the international gay tango festival.
"First, I would like to thank you for your inspirational leadership of our beloved country Uganda.
I am personally disappointed in your support for the Church of Uganda’s crusade against homosexuality. That is because I am a homosexual myself. A gay Ugandan.
No. I am not a foreigner.
I am not white. Actually, my beloved dad used to infuriate me by making me cram my genealogy back ten generations of pure bred Africans.
You described us as ‘stupid’, demanded that those foreigners who are forcing this culture on us Ugandans should go and practice their nonsense elsewhere. You intimated that we are not in order, us homosexuals.
Now, dear beloved leader, you are the elected president of all Ugandans. Not just the good Ugandans, as you describe them. You are the president of all of us Ugandans. Even, homosexual Ugandans. We know, by the constitution of the country, that you are our president.
It hurts us, a lot, to find that you, our leader, rejects us so soundly. Saying that we are foreign puzzles us. We are Ugandans. Through and through. Why do you call us foreigners, just because we are homosexual?
As for saying that homosexuality is not African, I would call upon the authority of no less a person than Archbishop Orombi, and anti-gay Pastor Ssempa. From their mouths you will believe the fact that homosexuality was here in Uganda, even before the coming of the Christian religion. So, if homosexual Ugandans were here in Uganda before Christianity, why are Christians insisting we homosexuals cannot be Ugandan?
When you say that we are sick, I would advise you to actually ask medical doctors whether in truth we are. To my knowledge, doctors concluded as far back as 1994, when you were president of the country, that we homosexuals are not sick or deranged, as you were quoted saying in the newspaper article.
Now, dear sir, when Archbishop Orombi rails against me, I can keep quiet. His religion is an option. I may choose to leave. Since his god does not love me, and rejects me.
But I am a Ugandan. To be assailed by your Excellency so badly, in support of a religion which bashes me as bad is very hurtful.
I can say I am not a Christian. According to the Archbishop, I am too much of a sinner to be that. I can also opt out of Islam. According to the Mufti, I should be marooned on an island in Lake Victoria till I die.
But sir, I cannot stop myself from being Ugandan.
I am a Ugandan. A simple, common, Ugandan.
I have the same problems of poverty, and corruption and others, just like all other Ugandans. We homosexuals are a minority which will never be a majority.
For the beloved leader of my country to deny my birthright as a Ugandan, and demonise me, just because I am homosexual is something which hurts me a lot. For His Excellency the President, despite the wealth of advice that is at his hands, to do this from ignorance of what homosexuality is, that, again, is deeply disturbing.
Sir, I am gay, and Ugandan. I may not be a Moslem. I may not be a Christian. But I do assert that I am a Ugandan.
You, sir, cannot reject me, because I am a Ugandan. I cannot reject my birthright, nor deny it. I am a Ugandan who is gay. And I am happy that I know that there is no problem with that.
I would like to invite your Excellency to study a little bit about homosexuality, so that you are not led in error by religious leaders’ condemnation of us as human beings.
We are deeply hurt by all that they say, but are more hurt when our country rejects us for what we are, and when our country mates do so. We are hurt when our beloved President does the same, just to help the very strong church in its moral crusade. We accept that we may not be good enough to be in the church or mosque. But if we are denied our birthright as Ugandans, that is more hurtful, more galling.
Please your Excellency, do not bash us like so, and out of ignorance. We are just a bit different. Homosexual, yes; Gay, yes, but we are still Ugandans."
It's true, Ms. Vanna White, known to the greater World around us, as "Dodgy", has arrived for a visit to my garage/home (wherever it is that I think I am)...my friend Bonnie, from distant North Carolina which is bunches of miles North of America Central, I'm told, and is in another part of The Western Hemisphere altogether, felt Vanna was worth checking out...so here goes Bonnie and David G...fasten your seat belts, lift the hood, maybe it'll be a GO!
Vanna pulled in around mid-day today and we went immediately out for a spin...I must say, for a elderly, yet wrinklefree/spotless, Dodger...she speeds, she climbs, she zooms, she wizzes and is cool as a cucumber too (airconditioning blasting)...power everything and automatic too...she seems to be a gem of a "Caravan"...does anybody know more about them? I think David G is right...she probably uses quite a lot of gas as she's got those roomy bucket seats and plenty of leg space (the last row is straight accross seating which can fold down for extra luggage/gear)...she's a BIG LADY and soooo comfortable after my "Red" pick up truck....what do you think, she's got SPRING(s)? BTW, Vanna looks just like the one pictured above (however she's definitely not a big city "Van near modern building" photo op type...she's more like a "Dulce Blanca Serena" hostess, right out of the "campo" waiting to run into bigtown and pick YOU up at the airport so you can come and visit us...mi casa su casa.
My MUCHO Admired list of Bloggers are (although I'm very fond of many of the ones who have already been awarded) listed below according to the following instructions:
1) Choose five other bloggers that you feel are “Kick Ass Bloggers” 2) Let them know that they have received an award. 3) Link back to both the person who awarded you and also to http://www.mammadawg.com/ 4) Visit the Kick Ass Bloggers HQ to sign Mr. Linky and leave a comment.
Gay Uganda http://gayuganda.blogspot.com/
GAFCON:The Reverend Doctor Christian Troll http://gafcon.blogspot.com/
I don't know how to tell this REAL LIFE story...it's a "close to home" story and it's filled with emotional and spiritual sickness and sexual depravity, violence, desperation of every kind and hate/self-loathing.
This REAL LIFE story is related to the GRAVE and IMPORTANT Worldwide "Violence Against Women" issue that Suffragan Bishop Catherine Roskam/New York was speaking against/exposing two weeks ago at The Lambeth Conference/Canterbury...her words were not-so-well received by many male Bishops who became defensive and annoyed...do you wonder why? I think they are accomplices to crimes of violence, prejudice and stark hate.
Although Dr. Rowan Williams, The Archbishop of Canterbury, "touched" on violence against women at his 3rd and final Presidential address at The Lambeth Conference, he ought be reprimanded for spending over two weeks witch-hunting and plotting and perpetuating ignorance (refusing to allow other Bishops to review the corrupt Lambeth 1.10 document) against many of his fellow Anglicans/Christians/others. MOSTLY ++Rowan ignored the REAL crimes of hate (including the fatal one directed against Michael Causer in Liverpool, England as Lambeth Conference was IN SESSION) in OUR World.
OUR Christian world is running rampant with everyday thugs and murderers. Murderers who are quietly "sanctioned" by the likes of weak and cowardly/slothful clergy and politicos. Despotic clergy and politicos who refuse to speak/preach out against the REALITY of deadly injustice, thievery, corrupt cultures with forms of "accepted" abuse by bullies, greedy criminals and dangerous politicians.
Leaders/Preachers who exploit their fellow citizens/flock...often, grandstanding opportunists or simply muddled thinkers.
Rowan Williams joins a group of spineless/spiteful "religious leaders," in my opinion, as he ignores the visciousness of Anglican Primates, Akinola, Orombi, Kolini and others while running from conflict...++Rowans seems to turn his throne around so it faces away from "sensitive" yet "crime generating" social issues...where is his moral leadership? Where is Dr. Williams? What does Dr. Williams have to say about gross abuses at The Anglican Communion? Does Rowan Williams only have "selective" ethical integrity? Why doesn't Rowan Williams teach, insist and demand the violence must stop?
Yesterday I was walking in the center of my village on the Calle Real (High/Main Street) and noticed many people walking toward me and high carrying a coffin down the middle of the street...in my village it is the tradition for family and friends to leave the home with the "departed" in the coffin (always a very recent death as there is no embalming and probably after a all-night or early-morning vigil) and hand/high carry on their shoulders the coffin to the Catholic Church in the Main Square....then after Mass, onward to the pueblos cemetery. Sometimes there is a little brass band following the mourners playing heavy funeral music/durge...yesterday, as the coffin approached me, I stopped, positioned myself to pay "respect" and watched as this particularly grim group of mourners approached.
This humble wood plank coffin was carried by stricken looking men (normally a womans coffin is carried by women)...there was even more of a bleak feeling about this funeral procession than I have ever noted before...the coffin was a barely nailed together affair with only streaks of reddish wood stain trying to make it look "suitable" to be inside the Church for Mass, the coffin was trying very hard to "look nice"....after I crossed myself and the procession passed me by, a ancient old indigenous women, with heavy black head covering, came up to me, touched my forearm, paused and gave me a long and deep look of hurt...a look that said without words: "this is what happened, this is the result of the vileness, of injustice and violence and this is what happens right here in OUR VILLAGE and we are lost as to know what to do." I looked back into her eyes, touched her arm...she moved back into the group following the coffin that was heading to it's final home.
Shortly afterward I learned the ghastily story of the brutal murder of the women inside the small/make-shift coffin.
There is a small "cantina" almost directly accross the street from where I live...it's a tiny place without much business because only poor people are clients there. It seems that a well known women suffering from periodic alcoholism had made her way to the bar in the evening...she was a women in her mid-forties with grown sons and lived up the hill in a ghetto area near a very big finca. She was very poor. She left the bar and was apparently followed up the hill and through the little passage ways toward her home. They jumped her and smothered her by putting dirt in her mouth and into her throat and covered her mouth with theirhands...she silently choked to death (people live all around) and they they spread her legs apart in alley way and raped her...they raped and raped her repeatedly.
There is more to write and say.
I don't know what the authorities are doing about this but I blame ignorance. I blame spiritual depravity. I blame desperation. I blame sexually twisted sexual thinking. I blame the diseases of alcohol and substance abuse. I blame violence against women. I blame Dr. Rowan Williams and his ilk for their denial of the REAL MORAL issues impacting OUR lives everyday. They PRETEND "life" is different than it really is while scurring around and plotting to exclude LGBT people and Heterosexual WOMEN from all levels of Churchlife/everyday life...it's time that ++Rowan takes responsibility for his own failed leadership actions and ability to identify REAL and common "abominations." OUR World needs moral leadership and not more cowardly priests who are afraid to face up to dangerous bigots, drugged (prescribed and not prescribed) lunatics and self-righteous religious thieves/extremists posing as puritans both inside and outside of The Anglican Communion.
Pray for our sister, the murdered Lady from the aldea of San Sebastian...pray for REAL and BRAVE moral leadership at Church/beyond.
Pray for the departed soul of Our Lady of barrio San Sebastian and pray her murderers find their way to accountability, justice, sanity, repentence and the possibility of final forgiveness for all they have done, and may yet do, to more Christians/others before they die. Lord, stop the abuse and stop the violent crimes of hate. Lord hear my prayer.
Today is day two of my cargrief saga. My pickup was stolen yesterday, midday, in the central part of town...who would have imagined it...it's not like "Red" was a super-hot vehicle, it's just that he was a WONDERFUL car/truck and I'm thinking I'll never see him again in this lifetime...today I went to the Ministerio Publico and met with the Auxiliar Fiscal who was soooo nice, helpful and professional...he's sending documents from my deposition to the department of taxes so "Red" can't be resold...he seems to think that since "Red" was in good shape, albeit a bit elderly, there may be a real demand for his body and they may not "chop" him up afterall..."so, we shall see what we shall see" as my Mom always said to me. Meanwhile, some wonderful neighbors at the other end of my village invited us for breakfast and offered the use of one their cars..."as long as you'd like" and/or they offered to sell it to me at a very low price...it's a more elderly vehicle than "Red" but it is quite the well-turned out "White" Dodge Van with lovely original upholstry.. air, seating for three hundred...plenty of space for schelping paintings and/or people (when are you coming for a visit?) and the back double seat pulls out for more storage...anyway, I'll try it out...only draw back is that it gets horrid mileage...but then, I don't need to drive it that much either...I could take public transportation and there are lots of tourist vans to key places (but I do love being able to stop wherever I want and hang-out amongst old ruins or explore local open markets when I see them)...we will see but gas is about $5.00 U.S. a gallon here RIGHT NOW!
Thanks you Saint Anthony for helping me through my loss and thank you dear friends for being supportive and encouraging me...all is well and who knows, maybe I'll still see "Red" again even if Ms. "White" joins our little family...now, that's an idea.
Today, was another glorious day in Central America...my friend Juan Carlos and I jumped into the Old Red "pickup" Truck and drove away from one volcano and whizzed past another and then traveled into a charming nearby colonial city...it's a quick ride that we take several times a week and we carefully select a parking place (usually the same one) that's centrally located so we can run our various errands efficiently...today was a Banking day and a "let's have fried chicken" lunch day...all was well, very well, unti we returned to the truck...someone has stolen our friend the "Big Red" Truck...BUT nobody has stolen our ability to clearly and gratefully understand, that we, unlike millions of desperate people in this not-very-prosperous country have our health, a little financial stability and lots of feelings of good-will and peace-of-mind.
"It was an international conference, and a researcher was presenting findings.
The audience could not have been more international. And less liable to homophobia. And the findings were supposed to be scientific.
But there was a glitch.
The researcher was a Ugandan. With some western exposure.
One of the research questions addressed was the ‘foreign’ influence on Ugandan homosexuals.
I am Ugandan, and have lived in Uganda my life. I could actually understand where the researcher was coming from. Straight, and thinking homosexuality a ‘foreign’ entity, that this ‘view’ was something that should be disproved. And the researcher had set out to do exactly that.
I think, to the audience, it was like trying to disprove the notion that the world is flat. Everyone knows the world is round. Except a dis-favoured few. Going through the proofs for the earth’s round shape.
Ugandans believe that homosexuality is a foreign import!
So, of the 200 or so Kampala homosexuals interviewed, only about 2 or 3 were foreigners. But that fact was highlighted. And, they were asked whether they had ever had homosexual sex with a foreigner. And the answer faithfully recorded and reported on.
The audience could not help it. They asked the researcher for more information, and it was given. In a way.
Different cultures, all of us with our own blind spots. But it was very clear that we were coming from different spots of the globe. And could not understand one another, at least on the question of whether, hum, my ‘gayness’ came from outside me. Which foreigner out there injected it into me like a medicine?
Yes, there were other questions addressed. But I was no longer listening, but laughing my head off. Chuckling into my fist. Sometimes it is so hilarious when people insist that we are not African, because we are gay.
Yes, I do take it personal. Very personal, though I understand them, having grown up in Uganda. Why should a foreigner be blamed for what I am? Why cant I be gay, and Ugandan; gay and African?"
"We were meeting religious leaders. Those concerned with the problem of HIV and desiring a dialogue between us, gay men and themselves as religious leaders.
It was supposed to be a dialogue, a meeting, a sharing of experiences.
It had been arranged with us, and I was chosen to go. Me, despite my deep antipathy to religion, and all things religious.
Maybe I should not have gone.
I am a very angry, cynical homosexual man. And an unbeliever. And, though I claim not to believe, I have my country people’s respect for faith.
First spoke the religious people, opening up, introducing themselves. I was happy to acknowledge that in countries where comes the most hate speech (unlike Uganda), there are those who do affirm gay people as human beings. I listened to them, as they talked about faith, about God’s love, about inclusion, about reaching out to gay people. I listened of churches that reach out to gay people. I was amazed, humbled.
Then my colleagues talked. A Muslim from Indonesia; gay, muslim, Indonesian. An Indian Hindu, an Eastern European who had lost faith on accepting his sexuality.
I was the last, but talked the worst.
I had determined not to attack, but I could not stop myself. I do not talk of religion at home, my lover being religious, and me not. I discuss it with no one, because I find more hurt that way, seeing beautiful ideals corrupted, beautiful people hating me simply because I am what I am. I see prejudice glorified as love of me, hate for me counted as the heat of zeal.
They had introduced themselves.
I refused to introduce myself. Hid behind my anonymity, and poured out my anger, pain, hurt.
Just said that I am a homosexual. Refused to acknowledge that I am gay, because, in my eyes, they refuse to acknowledge that simple fact of my self assertion. Religious people.
I said I was an angry, bitter homosexual. An African, and a Ugandan.
And I said why I was so bitter.
Hate speech, being chosen by the religious leaders of my country as the object of hate speech. The impunity they had, the religious zeal. I did not spare them, because they have not spared me. From the Mufti and his idea of a ghetto on an island in Lake Victoria, marooned till we die; the Anglican Archbishop with his fight against ‘colonialism’ using my sexuality as the rallying point. And of course Ssempa, though I did not mention his name. The Inter-faith Coalition against Homosexuality, and the hate speech on the FM stations, the lies about us, and all the other things.
They speak and it is politically correct for them to hate us in Uganda.
And they then go ahead and talk about love.
I talked about my loss of faith, a subject I didn’t want to touch, but touched, in the heat of the moment. I talked of the anger in the community when the archbishop intimated we wanted to kill him. Yes, we do want to kill him, because of his lies, and his hate of us. That may be true now, it was not true before.
I talked of my lover’s bitterness. He is gay, and a catholic, and with the siege on his faith by our religious leaders, he is no longer attending mass. And seeks a congregation that affirms him. And though in my pride I refuse to acknowledge any pain on my part, his pain does touch me.
I talked at length, and depth, and hoarsely. And the final hoarse demand, or cry for help, or, whatever it was in that heated moment. My deepest desire- please stop the hate speech. Because you are making us hate you. Hate is a dark desire, a ferment of the soul, and as surely as I would not like to hate you, I will hate because I am hurt, and all my rationalization will not take away my hurt at your hand.
At the end, they were quiet. I was stunned, both by the depth of my anger and bitterness, and the fact that I have been keeping it in. The angry eloquence, the desire to attack when they were surely offering a helping hand.
That is what it was. I decided to be open to myself and explore this part of me. My pride has walled it off for a while, but, I am a human being. And I am an African, and Ugandan. And gay.
Funny that in their desire to declare me unAfrican because of my sexuality, I have just become more militant about it. Hate and hate speech have that effect. You may hate without reason, but I get a reason to hate. And we can all hate well.
Yet I wish I did not have that hate, and bitterness, and desire to pound some knowledge into hating minds. Why should you hate me just because you do not understand me?"
The Effects of Betrayl can be good or bad, depending...you decide what trail/trayl you want to trot/fall down Leo Jack (can include renegade priests...the term/word "fallen" is a Christian or a knight "without allegiance" during the Middle Ages and apparently is coming into "not having" allegiance again) at The Episcopal Church Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas:
Distress | Loss of trust | Justice | So what?
"The most immediate effect of the betrayal of trust is in the emotional impact on the person betrayed. Generally speaking, the greater the trust that you had put in the other person and the greater the impact their betrayal has on you, then the greater the distress you will feel.
A number of different emotions may be felt upon realizing you have been betrayed. The most common is anger although, depending on the situation, you might the fear of loss of the relationship and repulsion at the lack of integrity of the other person.
Loss of trust
When you are betrayed by someone, it is highly likely that you will not easily trust them again. Trust is fragile and can be lost instantly or there is a hysterisis whereby a long-earned trust may be eroded and then suddenly lost.
When a person feels that they have been betrayed, they may well seek some form of justice, putting right (at least for them) what they feel has been wronged, including their sensibilities.
Note that justice and fairness are different things and vary with context. From a personal view, justice means 'making me feel better'. From a national view, it means carrying out the law, no matter how unfair this may seem.
So don't get into these situations!! If you betray someone, it is often best to come clean. Accept responsibility for personal failure and personally apologize. Demonstrate how you will fix process failure, and offer compensation.
The alternatives to these recovery actions may cost you much more.
Note: A small betrayal can, in fact, actually help. The way it works is that you fail in a relatively unimportant way, then go overboard in recovery. The message sent is 'we care so much about you even for the small things (so just imagine how much we care about the bigger things)'. Done well, it can actually increase loyalty."
UPDATE: Bishop Leo Jack opts for the "small betrayal can, in fact, actually help" option and looks forward to The Fort Worth Convention and the unlawful realignment within the Anglican Communion (no sense making a ugly legal mess elsewhere when promoting the marginalizing and excluding of LGBT Christians and Heterosexual Women at all levels of Churhlife can be orchestrated to appear to be remotely, and falsely, attached to the see of Canterbury) :
"Time gives me the creeps. It is so confusing when I try to follow the thread of my childhood, Doctor Ricardo.
When I was a little boy? I keep trying to remember what happened that I didn't get right. All I ever wanted to do was squeak by and be like other people and do whatever it was/is that other people do so they would leave me alone. I liked being alone some of the time. My Mom was extra nice and very pretty and a good Mom, I even knew that then. She loved me a lot and I loved her too. She loved me "this much" as she would open her arms as wide as she could and then throw them around me and we would laugh and we would roll on the bright green grass of my childhood.
Sometimes I can remember those times when I was little, when I was happy or hurt and sometimes when I cried.
I was really a handsome little guy. Ask anybody. I have a few pictures stuck away somewhere. Even my older sister Mildred will sometimes admit I was "adorable." She does, or at least did once that I remember! Milly actually sort of spitted it out for me..."you were adorable." I couldn't believe it when she mentioned it last year. Milly never gives compliments to anybody but does get all choked up when talking about/visualizing The Passion of Christ.
I guess you can tell, my sister and I weren't great friends. Wouldn't you think your older sister, who thinks you were a "adorable" little guy would want to show you off to her friends and be loving to you? Dr. Daytona, what do you think? I would have if I'd been her. But, no, not Milly the mean. Not her, not my six years older sister, the one in 'training' to become the first/female humble and sainted angel of death.
Did I ever tell you about the time she took me for a walk accross the street to the vacant lot? It was attempted murder, Dr. Daytona.
She gleefully walked me over to where they had dug a foundation in the dirt for something that was never built. It had steep hardened sides that went down into a pit. One of those abandoned vacant lots that grew its own bushes and trees it was so neglected. You've seen the kind? People dumped old junk into the pit. They dumped wood cuttings, tree branches, dirtfill and clinkers too. Oh, clinkers are the burnt out skeletons of coal. Dr. Daytona, in those days people burned a lot of coal in furnaces to heat their homes in the Wintertime. The lot I'm describing to you had lots of sharp clinkers at the bottom of the dug out pit. Nobody wanted clinkers around their homes. Clinkers were dangerous and everyone knew it...clinkers needed to be hauled away and disposed of fast.
My sister Milly took me for a little walk one afternoon. I was just walking real good so it was all kind of exciting for me. She was being extra sweet that day after we got all bundled up and said goodbye to Mom.
Lucky for me that I ever saw my Mom again.
When we got to the vacant lot, Milly ran to the bottom of the pit and outstretched her arms, like Mom always did, and said 'run down to me and I'll catch you.' I was scared. This was a steep hill. I didn't even run much yet and she's wanted me to run down a hill with my wool leggings on? I resisted, she insited! Milly was being ever so nice that day. "Come on" she said "and I'll catch you," with a big smile and dipples dippling on her sweet face.
I did and she didn't.
I ran down into the open arms of my sister Milly who quickly stepped back when I came in for the landing. She stepped back over the pile of clinkers at the bottom of the pit that she had been standing on. Face down I went. It was just a terrible accident they told me and off we went to St. Johns hospital to get stiched up.
I still have the scar on my forehead...it's in the center of my face...you can you see it right here, Dr. Daytona? Ah, you do see it, good.
A pretty wicked gash. It's still a ugly scar but I try and let my hair cover it and never think of the scar it left inside.
I belived them. I thought it was a accident.
That was the first time I remember being wrong and the first time I ever remember being deceived and betrayed by a fellow human being."
"I can't keep going on and on with this boring thing! I've got to find a way to escape being normal. You know, normal, like all of them, like most everyone else has settled into "being." I tried it, I've done my part, it was fine, I gave it my best but it just isn't working for me.
Normal is so gray and I hate it! I once knew a women by the name of Gray, and she certainly was boring, attractive and boring, I nicknamed her Ms. Beige...I quit my job when they promoted her to become my boss...she had "normal" down real well.
The whole idea of "normal" makes me feel trapped and edgy. Did somebody talk me into this or did I do it to myself? Did I think it would be easier in some way to act like all the others and accept the everyday stuff they accept as "the way that it is?" I've been normal for over five years now. I can't remember why I did it but I think it was when I returned from living in Central America...there must have been a good reason. It's about time I become alert and notice why I did "normalizing" to myself with "good intentions" for "good reason" ...so I became normal?
Normal is going to kill me! I wonder why so many people like it? I feel friendly, accepting and have goodwill for the "normies" ..it's not that I disdain them. I think they should be allowed to do whatever they want to do and keep roaming around freely experiencing their blandish form of seeking bliss...but, I'm a little angry I'm starting to become one of them. "Come on, join in it's safe." That's what they think. Of course it's not safe, they just think it is safe because they all wander around in people packs for protection from having any real adventure and risk. They stay with thinking "safe" thoughts (mostly) and call it "being responsible"....however, they avoid thinking about stark reality, infinity and the really big picture of life and death...they don't like being required to pay excessive attention to how life really is.
I'm happy they have all those chickens in their pots, sleek cars in their triple/double quadruple bi-pass garages along with all the other, expensive buffed out sports home work-out stuff. I admire their Platinum covered partners and all their sweet, cute 18 carat golden kiddies and pure kittens/doggies/birds and the rest of the joys and toys too...but, my time is running out and I don't want to be trapped in a live museum of what should "be"... I don't want to be like them. I never wanted to be like them and I never really was like them.
I've got to think this next living my life part out very carefully.
This is no time to slow down, cower, or roll over and play living dead. Getting old requires getting serious about whatever it is that I think I want and/or must have and/or contribute to life in the time I've got left. This is the hard part, the no going back part, I'm getting a last "gasp" of a sprint and energy before getting ready to go...go wherever it is we all go in the end.
I turned sixty years old last Monday. I can't pretend it didn't happen. Birthdays never bothered me before this one. The enemy is circling my wagon, this is it, it's high noon and there are buzzards up in the sky...the line to the cliff is forming and I'm not ready to drop off.
What do I do?
I'm going to stay focused. This is entirely about me. YES! No diversions. no distractions! My senses won't be fooled with fearfilled covers of what I should or must "do." I'm not interested in fillers. I'm only interested in locating the original me and building a fuller life in a happier direction for a great finale. I want to enjoy me for the rest of my life! I'm going to win my struggle against boring myself to death.
I want to find out where I went wrong and where I want to go. I'm going to take the flying leap and get on with my life the hard way...by participating in all that I find, even if I find nothing at all...I know how to do that real well!
About Monday. I didn't notice anything that different, so I'm older so what! However on Tuesday my good friend Sam in the Mid-West had a massive stroke and died. I love Sam and I never met him in person. Sam and I became friends at our cyber group...one for recovering from the madness of the 60's..
Since Sam and I were the longterm, still living, members in our group we sort of hung-out cyberspacewise together...we understood each other. You know, he became my confidant my best friend. We told each other everything. We sat at our computers, in our various bedrooms, in our various cities thousands of miles away from one another and we spilled our guts to each other, every night. We didn't use the group for sharing our personal dilemmas much. It worked real well with just the two of us on "messenger" before bed.
What a good friend I had until Tuesday morning of this week when Sam dropped dead.
I knew it beforehand! I knew it before I tried to find him on-line. It's one of those things that happens between friends. I felt it. I felt it the whole day like something was wrong with my good friend Sam. I call that feeling of apprehension "pending doom" other people call it intuition. It's gloomy. It feels like you know something is about to happen. Pending doom is like some prehistoric instinct coming alive and edging up to me through the tar pit of lifetimes ago. I bet other people notice it too. It isn't the kind of thing that people talk about. People probably don't like to talk about it. People don't like to look at real feelings of dread...feelings that are weird or mystical, sometimes they think it's a anti-religious or superstitious. It scares them. Not me, I want to get understand the really deep and under-the-surface/current stuff. I want to know what everything means. I'm not interested in how things "appear" to be. I'm on a mission of knowing the absolute truth about me and everybody else around me. I'm going to find a good shrink. I'll talk to the shrink about all of these things. The shrink will know for sure exactly what I mean and what I need to do to find my way to live enthusiastically in reality...enthusiastically, right up to, and including, the end." Chapter One, Dr. Swoozie Nights, by Leonardo Ricardo
"Guatemala A republic in Central America with the third largest area in the region, Guatemala is, after Mexico, the largest of the Central American countries in population, with about 11.5 million people. Homosexuality was made illegal by the Spanish conquest (1524). It was decriminalized in the nineteenth century, but it was not until the 1960s and 1980s that more open-minded attitudes toward homosexuality began to appear within Guatemalan society as a whole.
The Colonial Period After the Spanish conquest, the administrative entity called Captaincy General of Guatemala comprised an area that today comprehends six countries (Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua). The Spaniards condemned the same-sex sexual practices that were common among many of the Mayan peoples and promulgated the Christian sexual ethic that only heterosexual relations in marriage were acceptable sexual behavior.
The Spanish colonial period ended in 1821, but the cultural hegemony of the Catholic Church remained until 1871, when a liberal revolution took place. Through all the "ecclesiastical period," homosexuality was illegal and persecuted under statutes forbidding "sodomy" or "pecado nefando." The law covered both male and female homosexual acts, but only male cases were indicted. Female homosexuality was invisible to the male-centered establishment.
Although homosexual acts were illegal, the penalties were rather mild. Natives were regarded as minors under the law, and thus they were not actually tried for sexual offenses. Instead, they were subjected to sermons and lectures. The more common offenders during this period were friars and priests, but if they were sentenced for violating these statutes (which very seldom happened), their jail terms of six months to four years were served in their monasteries or religious houses, not in secular prisons.
The Revolution of 1871 In 1871 a vast reorganization of the Guatemalan state began. The state abandoned the colonial discourse and changed the laws that had been dictated by the Catholic Church. French ideas and concepts replaced the old ones. As part of this revolution, homosexuality was decriminalized on the constitutional grounds that private sexual acts between consenting adults were not the concern of the state.
The law changed, but a culture that despised homosexuals and homosexuality remained for many decades. Denigrating jokes about homosexual relations were common in families and even in the newspapers.
It was not until the late 1930s that a noted lesbian, Julia Quiñones, began a cultural club composed of gay men and herself. The activities of this group were very discreet, consisting mostly of reading and discussing poetry. Nevertheless, it was a beginning. The 1950s and 1960s
In the 1950s, the attitudes of Guatemalan society began to change. After the surgical sex-change of Christine Jorgensen in the winter of 1952-1953, a timid discussion of sex in general began to take place in the media. The most important of the newspapers, El Imparcial, published for some months a weekly page about the "third sex." This opening was expanded during the presidential tenure (1958-1963) of General Miguel Ydigoras, who appointed some noted homosexuals to important administrative offices.
From the AIDS Panic to Today The AIDS epidemic of the early 1980s found the Guatemalan glbtq community without any cultural, social, or political organizations. At that time there really was no glbtq community. Moreover, the AIDS pandemic had a very negative effect on attitudes toward homosexuality.
However, in the 1990s a few political organizations appeared. The most significant of these was the Colectivo Gay de Guatemala that in October 2000 changed its name to Guatemalan Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transsexual and Transgender Community. It has subsequently grown to become an important voice in Guatemala.
However, despite this new political voice, crimes against homosexuals continue to be a serious problem. Moreover, they do not receive the same attention from the authorities that other crimes do. Several transvestites were murdered, and the crimes were not seriously investigated by the police.
Thanks to the valiant struggle of activists to counter a long tradition of intolerance and machismo, Nicaragua now has a more visible glbtq community than ever before."
-Morales, Oscar. Al final del arcoiris. Guatemala City: Editorial Oscar de León Palacios, 2003. -Whitam, Frederick L. Male Homosexuality in Four Societies: Brazil, Guatemala, the Philippines, and the United States. New York: Praeger, 1986.
After Jose was murdered in 1997 I was in grief...I didn't realize how sad and empty I had become...I returned to Puerto Rico to try and stabalize my everyday emotions and life...my dear friend Suzanne Woods suggested I start writing a book...a "thin book" a "little novel"...NOW, from time to time here at Eruptions at the Foot of the Volcano, my blogspot, I'm going to read/write you one of my thin chapters from that thin book...I hadn't read any of it for many years and I was startled by what I just discovered...we will begin with Chapter X:
"Hey Doctor Goldberg, How's it going today?"
"Yes, I'm well, and you're looking healthy and chipper Dr. G. I think you must be feeling as good as you look! Have you lost some weight?"
"I thought so. You're looking handsome and fit as hell
"Yes, I'm doing fine but I'm getting a little restless and I find myself daydreaming and thinking about my past quite a lot."
"Oh, It is normal? I was wondering about it. I didn't realize these sessions would stimulate my thinking about the past to the extent that they do. I also think silly thoughts about trying to make sense about life and the big world and I try to make sense about all of the 'thems' too. Right! Like I could ever make sense about life or know what the heck the 'thems' think. The 'thems' don't even agree on what they think! The 'thems' could use extensive theraphy with you Doc."
"Dr. Goldberg, I'm starting to get worried. I mean, I don't want to start dwelling or getting obsessed about my past." I want to be able to live in the now and accept life exactly as it is! I'm starting to wonder if I'm ever going to be truly active, happy and feel love again."
"No, I'm not depressed. I don't think I'm feeling depressed at all. I'm just starting to do all this introspective type thinking and seems to be happening more and more. Well, I guess I've always had a very active and colorful mind. If anything, I'm feeling a little lonely and sad."
"O.K. Doctor Goldberg, I won't be concerned. I know we're making great progress with our sessions. I'll keep my eye on the ball."
....going back and back and back....closing your eyes now and slipping back...slipping back further than you have ever gone back before. Going back past the time when you were a child and then past the time when you were a baby and going back and back in the time when you lived before...going back and slipping into the space and time when you existed before....slipping back now, slipping back past your birth and your conception....back and back and back...dropping off and going far, further back and into the darkness of before. Dropping back to the time when you were living before....
"It's dark and I'm going back and back into the darkness and into the silent place where I'm alone and but I'm not afraid. I'm going back to before there was a me...I'm falling and flying backward to the place that was me...the place where I was me before...one of the me's before this me. Back and back...slipping and drifting far down past this me. Dropping down into the valley of before that is further back than ever before...I'm slowing now, I'm starting to slow to a stop now...I'm stopping now...I fell far back and I'm feeling hundreds of years back in my primitive world of before and finding my way back to the original me. Falling back to discover the origin of me."
"I've stopped now. I've stopped and I'm letting the shapes and images form around me. I'm not forcing the shapes to appear...gently, I'm letting the shapes appear from out of the dark and from out of the graygreen of this place that I see is my before."
"..yes, I can hear you whispering Doctor and I'll keep telling you what I see....I'm starting to see the outdoors around me...I'm outdoors and it's cold..."
"I'm out in the craggy wilderness and I live alone in a little shack that is made out of stones and branches. It's small, but there is only me. I live here alone now. It's cold and windy out here in this place with only a few trees and mostly dry and frozen brush. It's always cold here but sometimes in snows too and that makes it worse. It's always cold in the highlands and sometimes it freezes and I take my dog and my cow and we stay inside my house. I don't care about anything very much. I have my dogs and I have the cow and I have a few sheep that I keep at night in a covered and walled pen. I don't have any family or friends because they all died from the cold and I buried them under piles of rocks to keep them warm. I stay near my little house. I'm not very old. I don't know how old I am but I have my teeth and my body is strong and my hair is brown. It doesn't matter if I'm old or not and it doesn't matter what I look like. It only matters that I'm the original me. Nothing matters to me because there is nothing that changes anything for me. I just exist in this place that is graygreen colored and windy and cold.
It does matter that I keep my fire burning and I stay alive to take care of my cow and my sheep. My dogs keep good care of themselves and sometimes my dogs take good care of me by sleeping on top of me and keeping me warm. Dogs are smart and they want to play but I don't feel like it anymore.
At night, when I go outside for wood, I stare up into the sky and wonder who keeps all those tiny fires burning up there? When the little fires go out in the nightsky the whole sky turns blue and the cold moon becomes warm and then I have day. I wonder how far up it is to those tiny fires in the sky? There must be other people and dogs up there in the nightsky place. There must be other people like me who take care of cows and sheep and build the nightfires. I wonder who lives up their in the nightsky and I wonder if they don't care about anything either. I wonder if they are alone? I wonder if they look down on me lighting my nightfires and then they wonder about me. I'm so small in this place and the sky is so big and I bet there are many people like me up there that would like me to come up and so we could be friends. I can tell their fires are set far apart and they probably live alone just like me. They are like me and they don't know where anyone else is either. They just see the fires and dream about having a friend like me.
My life is lonely and small in this empty place and I don't care about anything at all. I don't know anybody and nobody knows me. Nobody knows that I'm here in this place except the people in the sky that see my nightfires and wonder who I am.
I hear noises coming near my house. My dogs are barking. I see there are three men coming down the hill toward my house. They are angry bad men I can tell. They are killing my dogs. I stare and them and feel nothing. They are coming to me with big knives and I know they are going to kill me. I don't care. They killed my dogs and I don't care about anything at all.
They stabbed me and killed me and rolled my body down the hill. I don't mind because I'm glad I'm dead. I feel better now that I'm dead and my dogs are glad to be with me and they are dead too. My dogs are jumping all over me and are glad to be with me. My dogs are so happy and are licking my face. We are all feeling warm again.
My dogs and I are going to go exploring up into the nightsky. Right now we're leaving this place where we didn't ever want to be. The bad men can keep the cow and sheep, and my dogs and I don't care anything about them.
Being dead has made us free. This is the way I always wanted to be. I didn't know it before.
I'm going to go find friends up in the sky.
I didn't know I wanted friends, until I was dead."
Thanks also to you fs, for reminding me I'd written some chapters of this little "thin" book.
¨We tend to think that things are better today than they were long ago. After all, we have mobile phones, HDTV, Satellite communication and...
REAL HERO/REAL LIFE: Bishop John Shelby Spong
“I was simply interpreting a rising consciousness,” he said. “Whether it was race or women or homosexual people, the issue was always the same: fighting against anything that dehumanizes a child of God on the basis of an external characteristic.” Bishop John Shelby Spong (click on his photo)
IT GETS BETTER--Archbishop Desmond Tutu supports LGBT full acceptance and inclusion too!
¨Churches say that the expression of love in a heterosexual monogamous relationship includes the physical, the touching, embracing, kissing, the genital act - the totality of our love makes each of us grow to become increasingly godlike and compassionate. If this is so for the heterosexual, what earthly reason have we to say that it is not the case with the homosexual?¨ Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu
The No Anglican Covenant Coalition -- COMPREHENSIVE UNITY
A VERY UN-ANGLICAN COVENANT (click on logo)
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