May 31, 2013

THE MAYA of GUATEMALA: The atmosphere is thick with spiritual mystery - reality just takes some getting used to.

Sometimes real seems very unreal when one is blessed to live in the stark/large reality of everyday life in Guatemala.  Leonardo Ricardo/Len

VIRULENT -- FRAUGHT WITH RISKS: Fundamentalist Christian missionaries often convey regressive and dangerous-to-others views in Third World countries

¨One hears a lot — and rightly — about evangelical churches doing works of mercy and healing in Third World countries.
Some of these enterprises, which raise huge sums of money through emotionally charged TV ads exploiting the misery and despair of pitiful children in some of the world’s darkest corners, do have boots on the ground. They really care.
They don’t all make “coming to Jesus” the first condition of delivering genuine assistance and relief — though some still do.
However, the kind of values and underlying philosophy being exported in the name of Christianity is not all sweetness and light. In many cases, for example, the understanding of the Bible being imparted to these largely illiterate masses is the crudest form of fundamentalism rampant today.
The missionaries often are conveying an outdated, regressive view of everything from creation, to the role of women, to sexual morality. What may in some ways seemlike true Christian love in action can be simultaneously a not-so-subtle propaganda campaign to regain overseas much of the ground lost to the devil of “liberalism” or secularism in the United States, Canada or other First World countries.
Nowhere is this phenomenon more virulent or fraught with risks than where homosexuality has become an issue. There has been a vigorous and potentially deadly shift in the cultures of many countries where gay people and gay rights are concerned. At a time when most western countries are moving toward full acceptance of sexual differences — France recently became the 14th country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage — in places such as Uganda and Ethiopia a disaster is pending...¨  please read it all
Thanks to Three Rivers Episcopal, sidebar
Thanks to Tom Harper

May 28, 2013

CANNES FILM FESTIVAL AWARD: Palme d´Or given to girls love affair with another woman -- ¨Blue is the Warmest Color¨

Lesbian drama wins top prize at Cannes

Blue Is the Warmest Color, a sexually explicit drama about a French teenage girl's love affair with another woman, has received the Palme d'Or for best film at the Cannes Film Festival on Sunday, the first time the award has gone to a gay romantic drama.

Adele Exarchopoulos (left) and Lea Seydoux in Blue is the Warmest Color

The French drama Le Bleu Est une Couleur Chaude (Blue is the Warmest Color), an intimate love story about a teenage girl's love affair an older woman, has won the prestigious Palme d'Or for best film at the 66th Cannes Film Festival on Sunday.

Entertainment news website has called the win a "history-making decision" as "the Steven Spielberg-led jury opted not only to give the first Palme d’Or to a gay romantic drama, but to present the accolade jointly to three artists: Tunisian-born director Abdellatif Kechiche and French actresses Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux."

The sex scenes in three-hour coming-of-age movie are said to have caused a controversy and shocked some some critics with Variety magazine saying it contained "the most explosively graphic lesbian sex scenes in recent memory".

The Hollywood Reporter said the "sprawling drama" would "raise eyebrows" as it crossed the barrier "between performance and the real deal" while the The Guardian described the film as "epic yet intimate".
The Reporter further noted that France'sLa Liberation newspaper called the win for Blue “a symbol” noting that the film. "After long weeks punctuated by outbursts of homophobic gay marriage debates, Blue is the Warmest Color looks directly at its two young heroines not as an anomaly or a curiosity but as a passion taking seed in eternal love," the paper said.

Blue is adapted from a graphic novel by Julie Martoh that was published in 2010 in France. The book is scheduled to be released in English this fall by Arsenal Pulp Press under the title "Blue Angel."

May 23, 2013

CHURCH AND STATE CAN HAVE DIFFERENT POSITIONS AND PRACTICES ON SAME SEX MARRIAGE: ¨..the secular Australian state should be able to recognise same sex marriage...¨

Former Australian PM Kevin Rudd now supports marriage equality

"have come to the conclusion that church and state can have different positions and practices on the question of same sex marriage. I believe the secular Australian state should be able to recognise same sex marriage. I also believe that this change should legally exempt religious institutions from any requirement to change their historic position and practice that marriage is exclusively between a man and a woman. For me, this change in position has come about as a result of a lot of reflection, over a long period of time, including conversations with good people grappling with deep questions of life, sexuality and faith."
Following a talk with an unnamed former political staffer, a gay Christian who is active in his Pentecostal Church, who told the former PM that he wanted to be married to a man, Rudd said that he rethought the issue and came to a different conclusion:
"And so the re-think began, once again taking me back to first principles. First, given that I profess to be a Christian (albeit not a particularly virtuous one) and given that this belief informs a number of my basic views; and given that I am given a conscience vote on these issues; then what constitutes for me a credible Christian view of same sex marriage, and is such a view amenable to change? Second, irrespective of what that view might be, do such views have a proper place in a secular state, in a secular definition of marriage, or in a country where the census tells us that while 70% of the population profess a religious belief, some 70% of marriages no longer occur in religious institutions, Christian or otherwise."
Rudd added that he had never thought homosecuaity to be a "choice" or an "abnormality" please read it all: 

May 18, 2013

HAITIAN LGBT ORGANIZATION: ¨Although there are no laws against LGBT ‘homosexuality´ in Haiti, there are few legal protections and homophobia and transphobia are widespread...¨

Haiti: Interview with LGBT organization, KOURAJ by 

I recently met with Ernest Gaubert of KOURAJ Ayiti  which is a grassroots organization with members in Cap Haitian, Gonaïves,  St Marc, Port-au-Prince and Jacmel.    It began as a social organisation Ami – Ami [friend to friend] in 2010 but the group soon realized they needed to expand to include advocacy around rights, access to healthcare, a response to homophobic and transphobic violence and general support particularly of young people who make up the majority of membership.  The name was changed to KOURAJ to reflect a more activist and politicization of the group.
Although there are  no laws against  LGBT  / ‘homosexuality  in Haiti, there are few legal protections and homophobia and transphobia are widespread and often result in verbal and physical attacks as well as discrimination in the workplace and educational institutions.   Ernest Gaubert, who is one of the founders of KOURAJ is also a Houngan and he explained that  Haitian Voudou is inclusive of  ’all gender expressions and sexual orientation’.  Voudou in general is far more inclusive of  sexual minorities and those considered outside the normative heterosexual conformist spaces in whatever ways this might be...¨  there is much more:

May 17, 2013

THE WAR ON GAYS: Campaigners face a powerful progressive lobby at home, but in east Africa their adversaries are isolated and weak. The suffering of homosexuals in such places, is “collateral damage” in America’s culture wars.

¨IT MIGHT seem only a nasty coincidence. As gay rights advance in the West—France and New Zealand are the latest countries to legalise same-sex marriage—homophobia is on the rise elsewhere. But these apparently contradictory trends may be related. Confounded at home, a crusading squad of American conservative Christians are taking the fight abroad.

In an unusual case, brought under the Alien Tort Statute, a judge in Massachusetts is pondering a claim by Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), a gay-rights group, against Scott Lively, a preacher and co-author of “The Pink Swastika” (which argues that Nazism was fuelled by homosexuality). Mr Lively visited Uganda in 2009, meeting politicians, appearing on television, and sharing his theories about homosexuals’ recruitment of youngsters.
This episode is part of a wider campaign. Other preachers, such as Lou Engle, a fundamentalist pastor at a megachurch in Kansas, have also been to Uganda. A new documentary, “God Loves Uganda”, depicts co-ordination between the visitors, resident missionaries and American-trained Ugandan priests. Offshoots of the American Centre for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a group founded by the televangelist Pat Robertson, in Kenya and Zimbabwe, are said to have resisted gay-friendly changes to their constitutions. (The ACLJ insists it “does not export an agenda”.)Shortly afterwards a Ugandan MP introduced a parliamentary bill that would stiffen existing penalties for homosexual behaviour; among other drastic measures it mandated the death sentence for “aggravated” homosexuality. Amid a burst of anti-gay vitriol, and headlines such as “Hang Them, They Are After Our Kids”, a gay activist was murdered. SMUG alleges that, on this occasion and previously, Mr Lively conspired to persecute Ugandan homosexuals. He says he advocated therapy and prevention, not harsh punishments.
In Africa campaigners adopt the language of anti-colonialism, portraying gay rights, and even homosexuality itself, as Western impositions; opponents counter that the criminalisation of gay sex is itself largely a legacy of empire. But the rhetoric and tactics are flexible. The Americans are happy, when necessary, to co-operate with like-minded Roman Catholic and Orthodox believers, which barely count as Christian in the eyes of extreme Protestants. Hardline Islamists are tacit allies too...¨ please read it all

May 14, 2013

EXPOSING DECEIT -- THE AGE OF REALITY: Gaining on honesty, equality, justice and self-accountability!

My view from the foot of the volcano is good.  The fog and clouds are lifting and much is clearing as I look around me and upward into heaven and the setting of a older way of being. The world is changing faster than ever before. This time, our time, is the time of one of the giant-step ages of enlightenment and progress that will benefit all.

The sun is shining and the dark shadows are being swept away.

As I sit in my little pueblo in Central America with donkey's, cows, goats and heavy hand-carts going up and down the street, progress in this rural setting, is alive. The world around us is changing as fast as it can, and this is good.  It's not quite kicked up into vertically dealing with every unsavory/outdated issue yet, but the rusty ancient chains that have physically, spiritually and economically bound us are rotting and breaking rapidly.  Change is real.  Playing pretend is dead. 

There are few places left to hide.  We, all of us, are being set free to travel  higher roads paved with learning, understanding and everyday integrity provided by authentic/reliable news sources and helpful scientific information at/in hand.  

Mischiefmakers/worsemakers from the past are being held accountable and many greed driven abusers of others will continously be known for their violent harming of mankind.  Every thieving and selfish act causes human suffering.

There are inexpensive computer/internet shops on every block even here in a small pueblo in Guatemala.  Almost everyone is learning how to read and write (and operate computers).  There are ¨Learning Centers¨ in this town and soon to be in other towns too

Rusty/rotted mechanisms of communication/sensibilities are being replaced with better understanding when facing reality and acceptance of things that can, and often must, be changed and understood better. Exploitation of people, nature and everyday humanity is being starkly clarified before us and discrimination against others, for whatever reason, is being exposed for the hate/fear and most often opportunist soulsouring public illness that it is

The cards have been dealt face down on the table. Now, right now in this period of time, one-by-one those cards are being turned up for all to see.

The age of REALITY, self-accountability, equality and justice is here, open your eyes to see.

Thanks be to God

Leonardo Ricardo
Leonard Clark
Guatemala, Central America

FROM THE SOUTHERN CONE/SOUTH AMERICA WITH LOVE: More than 50,000 attend Chilean LGBT rights march

Gay News, Washington Blade, Chile

More than 50,000 people marched for LGBT rights in the Chilean capital on Saturday. (Photo courtesy of JP Catepillán/Movilh)
LGBT rights march in the Chilean capital on Saturday drew more than 50,000 people.
Chilean folk singer Camila Moreno; presidential candidates Andrés Velasco, Tomás Jocelyn-Holt, Marco Enríquez-Ominami and Marcel Claude and Rafael Dochao, the European Union’s ambassador to Chile, took part in the Santiago event that also commemorated the International Day Against Homophobia. Former President Michelle Bachelet, who is also a candidate to succeed President Sebastián Piñera in this November’s presidential elections, endorsed the march in a letter.
The march also took place against the backdrop of the debate over Piñera’s proposed bill that would extend civil unions to same-sex couples in the South American country.

May 12, 2013

GUILTY AS CHARGED: Former Guatemalan dictator Rios Montt guilty of genocide!

Former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt was found guilty of the genocide of more than 1,700 indigenous Ixil Mayans during his 1982-1983 rule.
The trial marked the first time that a head of state was tried for genocide by his country's own judicial system.
Follow complete coverage of breaking news on CNN TV, and CNN Mobile.

May 9, 2013


Ellen and Irene, the Kossoy Sisters, shopping at San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico market 2013, we love them (and they are great traveling companions)!

¨The Kossoy Sisters are identical twin sisters (Irene Saletan and Ellen Christenson ) who perform American folk and old time music. In their music, Irene sings mezzo soprano vocal, and Ellen supplies soprano harmony, with Irene on guitar and Ellen playing the 5-string banjo in a traditional up-picking technique. Their performances are notable examples of close harmoniessinging. They began performing professionally in their mid teens and are esteemed as a significant part of the popular folk music movement that started in the mid-1950s.
The sisters were born on May 11, 1938 in New York CityUSA. The twins began singing together at about the age of six, in imitation of harmonies created in the home by their mother and aunt. At fifteen they attended a summer camp at which Pete Seeger and other well-known folk singers often performed, and they developed a lifelong attachment to the genre. They quickly discovered the bustling folk music scene in the Greenwich Village section of New York City and mingled with the people who congregated in Washington Square Park.
I ALSO LOVE MY MOMMIES,  Calvin de las Gemelas
When they were seventeen, they recorded the album Bowling Green which features the sisters' close harmonies and accompaniment by Erik Darling. The duo were introduced to a new audience when their version of "I'll Fly Away" from this album was used in the film O Brother, Where Art Thou?.

The Newport Folk Festival 2012
They performed in the first Newport Folk Festival in 1959. They also were in the original stage production of Woody Guthrie's "Bound for Glory" and at the Fox Hollow Folk Festival inPetersburgh, NY. They toured California in 1981 and have appeared in the Boston area, Washington DC, New York Pinewood Camp, various venues in the St. Louis area and numerous other locations.
Folk singing friends forever:  Sarah Grey from Scotland visits Irene and Ellen, December 2012 

 A second CD, "Hop on Pretty Girls," appeared in 2002 on the Living Folk label. A non-commercial CD, "Kossoy Sisters," is available from Public Radio Station WBUR in Boston. It is a recording of an interview with the twins on February 23, 2003, during their promotional tour for "Hop on Pretty Girls."[3]
The  2012 Holiday Season in Guatemala:  Ellen Christianson,  at home entertaining friends
Irene and Ellen attended local schools in New York and went on to graduate from Blackburn College in CarlinvilleIllinois. Soon after completion of their formal studies, the sisters married. Ellen moved to St. Louis and Irene settled in the Boston area. Irene and her former husband Anthony D. ("Tony") Saletan performed together for some time as Tony and Irene Saletan when Tony was Irene's current husband. They released an album themselves, Folk Songs and Ballads, in 1970 on Folk-Legacy Records. Over the years the sisters have continued to perform live while also immersing themselves in the responsibilities of family life. Ellen has a son and a daughter, and Irene has a son and a daughter...¨  
Irene and Ellen with Sherry, a recent festive dinner party in San Miguel Dueñas
Irene and Ellen at the Tropic of Capricorn, 2013
The Kossoy Sisters and Dick Weissman playing the banjo. (Photo-Sound Associates Photographs, Ron Cohen Collection (#20239), Southern Folklife Collection. Louis Round Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.)— with Irene Saletan and Dick Weissman.

ALL IS WELL:  We're back from our trip to Argentina and Brazil, and what a fabulous trip it was! This is at Iguazu Falls on the Brazilian side, after a rainy day. It's hard to show the magnificence - the scope, the sounds. It was truly awesome!¨  Ellen and Irene  April 2013
Irene: Salta, Argentina, 2013-¨there was this big guitar on the street so Ellen took a picture of me playing it. Couldn't reach the pegs to tune it though.¨


May 5, 2013

NO MORE PRETEND - PART 3: Three Gay Teens Killed At Death Camp To Make Them Real Men!

Raymond Buys looked a picture of health and vitality before being sent by his mother to The Echo Wild Game Rangers training course, to “Make him a better man, to give him a better future” on 12th January 2011. Less than ten weeks later the 15 year old was in hospital, severely malnourished, dehydrated, his arm was broken in two places and there were cigarette burns and wounds all over his body.
He was put on life support in intensive care just two months into the three-month course at the bush camp an hour away from Johannesburg, South Africa. He was so badly injured his mother was told by the doctors the chances of his survival were ‘Virtually Zero’. Raymond Buys lay for four weeks in intensive care before he died...¨ please, read it all 

The accused:  Alex de Koker  

Rest in Peace, Raymond Buys

Thanks to Gay Agenda, sidebar
Thanks to   

May 4, 2013

FIDEL CASTRO'S NIECE TO VISIT THE UNITED STATES: Mariela Castro, daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro, to receive Gay Rights advocacy award

Fidel Castro’s Niece Cleared to Attend U.S. Conference

Will receive Gay Rights Award
Mariela Castro, daughter of acting Cuban President Raul Castro is now allowed to travel to the U.S. to accept an award for her gay rights advocacy.  On April 30, 2013, U.S. officials, reversing themselves, said that Mariela may go to Philadelphia where she will receive an award from theEquality Forum, which is hosting an annual conference on gay rights. This year’s conference is featuring Cuba as its spotlight nation.  Last year, she was allowed to attend an academic conference in San Francisco at San Francisco’s General Hospital at which she addressed the audience.
Married Mother of Three Ally to LGBT Groups
Cuba’s most prominent gay rights activist, Mariela is the director of Cuba’s National Center for Sex Education. She is noted for training Cuba’s police on LGBT relations and working to legalize same-sex unions. Ms. Castro was elected as a deputy in Cuba’s parliament in February.
The director of the Equality Forum, Malcolm Lazin, was glad to learn of the State Department’s reversal of last week’s decision.  Lazin called Mariela “unquestionably, the leader for progressive change for the LGBT community in Cuba.”
Mariela received a U.S. visa to attend several gatherings in May at the United Nations headquarters in Manhattan. Because President Obama’s administration has eased travel restrictions, Cuban academics, scientists and entertainers are finding it easier to visit....¨

May 1, 2013


The following are some Twitter death threats given to Jason Collins, the one of the first athletes in professional sports to come out: []

-- "Yous a dead f****t talkn on tv Boy."
-- "Listening to Jason Collins describe his gayness as 'beautiful' makes me wanna puke. And kill him."
-- "Jason collins comes out the closet! Kill that biiitttchhhh!!!"
-- "First jason collins say he gay.. Now he on espn w lipgloss on  kill him now !!!"
-- "Jason Collins should get the death penalty lol how u a 7 foot gay dude lol the west is crazy smh"

We can't underestimate the hatred visited upon LGBT people in the larger society.
 This may well be undoubtedly true among many of those who are sports fans.  

Many of these fans value the "cult of macho" and despise the feminine that they summarily equate with gay men. These haters are also likely to have contempt for women who are in powerful positions in society, and are also likely to be xenophobic as well.  

To say they are a danger to our society is a gross understatement, and I fear for the life of Jason Collins, and for all other athletes who have Collins' courage to finally be authentic and come out as the people they are.

Jason got it right when he wrote, "Openness may not completely disarm prejudice, but it's a good place to start. It all comes down to education." LGBTQ youth face unique challenges that can be compounded by intolerance -- even if the hurtful messages aren't directed to them personally. Too often, the fear and hate directed at aspects of who they are by adults or team members they look up to can contribute to high risk behaviors, including possibly attempting suicide.[]

Thanks to the Reverend Dr. Jerry Maneker:

Prayers ascending for Jason Collins