Oct 7, 2010

IT GETS BETTER: Everyday life is overflowing with healthy human beings equipped with various sexual orientations

In the beginning--my road to self-acceptance started at Grant School, age 5, front row/right
It´s always a temptation and sometimes even necessary to attempt to  ¨pass for heterosexual¨ and not allow the world around us to know us or to know the details of our most private thoughts/lives.  It can be a matter of personal security and most of us intuitively know the danger signs that lurk around us.

I was fortunate to grow up in a loving family, Christmas, age 16
Everyday life is overflowing with healthy human beings of various sexual orientations in our families, at school, at work and socially too. But sometimes in a hostile environment ¨Gay people¨ are forced to deal with blind rage, selective Scriptural demonizing , wild superstitions, blatant lies, uninformed opinions and plain fear/loathing that generates hate against us...all of these factors, habits/taboos and human ¨quirky¨ threatened forces are sometimes difficult to ¨live with¨ as we try to figure out how to ¨cope with¨ them in a culture that includes us, your LGBT family members.


Silence/humility/secrets/guilt seem the only options when awkward confusion, life vs. death confrontations, discrimination/persecution or abusive--self or outside--acts impact LGBT lives.  Alternative possible solutions for our frustration and choices ought appear before us but rarely do.  Dead silence!  It´s seems relationships ought to make sense just like they would in ¨heterosexual¨ peoples lives, but, hell, they don´t, what is it that life wants from us?     It´s not like someone shared real life experience with us as we¨go it¨ alone (mostly) and piece together a life for ourselves from the far outside part of the loop!

My first year at College--San Francisco Area (It Gets Better), age 18, Yearbook Picture
Now I´m experienced enough to know that sometimes my own apparent inauthenticity isn´t  always a reflection of intentional deceit.  However, I think it´s important that my ¨insides¨ and most personal character must attempt to remain clear on who I am as a ¨Gay person.¨ Attempting to not allow my personal character to be tainted by outside/twisted understandings of who and what others may think I AM is essential as I strive to be self-accountable, self-accepting and a generally responsible full-fledged citizen.  I strive for those ¨good¨ character qualities for my own peace of mind plus a added eager desire to successfully live out ¨my part¨ in life/society with my extended family, friends and loved ones.

Visitng a friend at Santiago, Atitlan, Solola, Guatemala, age 65
There seems little hope of genuine happiness if ones life is under the constant threat of intimidation and bullying by others....darkness before the dawn!

Now I don´t accept unwise ¨street talk/religious ignorance¨ as emotionally stable verdicts about people like me.  I didn´t always know who was right and who was wrong about me and people like me. Gossip or preaching laced with bigotry, blame/shame, fear and hate is not ¨wise¨ or ¨just¨ or ¨true¨ reflections of most reality. Life is sometimes difficult/unjust for everyone/anyone and doesn´t always make sense. However, becoming a LGBT willing victim of other peoples prejudices,  mental/spiritual illness by accepting lies/nonsense and slander as valid judgements against Gay people is cowardly or plain warped thinking. Learning HOW to grow and deal against outside negative pressure, false information directed against LGBT people, is key to discovering and accepting the authentic and positive version of myself that God created.  This is my challenge, this is my ongoing quest and I become more courageous along the way as I know more about me.

Recovering from multiple eye surgeries this year--A trip to beautiful/hospitable Mexico, age 66
LGBT human beings live side by side with our heterosexual brothers and sisters. Many of us, ¨straight and gay¨ aspire to love/befriend all others regardless of the possible dangers and acting-out directed against us.  We take our chances, we trust ourselves as we are mostly a well-meaning, unpunishing/non-vindictive, forgiving lot of human beings who have learned how ¨to be¨  generous of spirit under many, often difficult, REAL LIFE circumstances...¨it gets better¨ for people like me/us...it really does get better and I think the same is true for most everyone else who endures and survives real life difficulties while refusing to accept lies generated against them...ANY flat out willful ignorance, bigotry, fear or hate that comes our way has suddenly become more about the real and flawed character of  ¨those who  humiliate¨ than about us!   Now it´s time to be ¨tolerant¨ of them...what an order, I don´t know if I can go through with it as Bishop V. Gene Robinson/New Hampshire quietly suggests we are called to  ¨love them anyway.¨   Damn, this is hard but I´m glad I finally get to read about all of YOU and what YOU DO via ¨It Get´s Better¨ project. HERE

· Thanks to Dan Savage
· Thanks to The Advocate
· Thanks to The Daily News
· Thanks to ¨It Gets Better¨
· Thanks to Bishop V. Gene Robinson/New Hampshire
· Thanks to David Green, Pride Shield
· Thanks to The Episcopal Church (Welcomes Everyone)
· Thanks to My Nephew Jeff, Photos

2 comments:

Fred Schwartz said...

Leonardo,
You write every bit as good as you draw/paint. Your words are as beautiful as your art work. Your character is strong. I am proud to know you and it is my hope that we can togehter, rid this world of all that awful, haetful, spiteful, mean-spiritedness that still permeates our world. To quote a jerry Reed song, "We got a long way to go and a short time to get there but we gonna do what they say can't be done!"

Leonardo Ricardo said...

Dear Fred,

Thanks for the kind words and I often think about you feeling dazed in Viet Nam after a particularly nasty encounter that took many lives...yes, we are both of ¨strong character¨ and I´ve always felt honored to know you...you´re in charge of the San Joaquin Valley and I´ll work Latin America and see how far he can get ¨ridding¨ the world of mean-spirited, hateful dorklike thinking. We can do it, we´re on the first team!

Abrazos,
Len