Intro Audiocast

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Suicide as Solution

I have thought about suicide. I have had friends die, due to major health problems, and others have been killed, and still other's have committed suicide. I have talked others out of suicide, and helped them find a reason not to do it.

Ruth Jeanine Henderson 8/14/2014 - 7/27/2011

My mother once signed a Do Not Resuscitate Order, and then died in the hospital. The doctor asked me if she had one, and I said, "No." My mother lived for another 5 years. Bedridden, in pain, constantly going in and out of the hospital, slowly dying and making bad decision after bad decision about her personal care. Then she found out her replacement kidney was failing, and that she would have to go back on dialysis, and she didn't want to go through that again. She told me she wanted to die, and I told her I understood, and the worst part is, I really did understand. I let my mother commit suicide in the only legal way possible, by not accepting medically life saving treatments. I loved my mother and wish, every day, that she were here. But not like that. Not in pain, and wishing she could die.

Their Pain Doesn't Need Your Permission 

Before you tell someone who is hurting that suicide is selfish, and make them feel worse, you should really take a look at yourself. Consider how selfish it is, that you would demand someone you supposedly care about should continue to suffer on a daily basis, when you are not feeling their pain. You are a bystander, that is watching someone you love at the point that they can only see one way out, and you are saying, "Man you are an asshole." This doesn't mean you should condone or encourage their self-destruction. Definitely don't stand by and just let them jump off the edge of reality, but also don't tell them they shouldn't jump just so you will feel better. When someone is at this point it isn't about you. Your feelings don't come into it, past the point that you will miss your friend, mother, father, lover, and you want their pain to end, without their end.

Gabriel

I almost committed suicide in 1995. If someone had told me, when i was trying to figure out the best place to stab myself to end it quickly, that I was being selfish, I would probably have used my knife on them. I was in PAIN. I was at the point that I could no longer see a reason to exist. My life was over, already, as far as I was concerned. I just hadn't stopped breathing, yet. Only two things saved me at that time. I happened to talk to a really good friend that asked me to just wait one more day, and the next day I thought of who was going to have to clean this up. I didn't care if I lived or died, just who was going to have to clean up my mess. Some people will say that means I didn't really want to die, and that may be true, today, but in that moment, I did want to. I just knew my mother would be the one to have to clean up the mess. I wasn't a good person, I just found an excuse not to do it.

Oh Captain My Captain

If you think none of this crossed Robin Williams mind before he committed suicide, you are delusional. Everyone has problems, they think are too big. Some people find the help they need, others don't. Robin Williams did not, and that's not his fault. He didn't see another way out, realistically. He had a family, and friends, and people that cared about him, and loved him. That doesn't mean he let them down. That means they didn't see what he saw, and he didn't want them to. He didn't want them to be burdened with his pain, but didn't know how to wait one more day.
This is truly the first time I have ever cried because someone I didn't know died. I have been watching Robin Williams since the Mork and Mindy days. I saw Robin Williams Live at the Met when I was a kid. That was the first time I saw a long form comedy concert. I fell in love with Comedy as Art at that time. This was also the first time I recognized that most comedians are making fun of their pain. They are telling you, "my life sucks or at least used to," but in a way that doesn't make you cry. They have found a way to let you know they are just as fucked up as you are, but in a manner that doesn't hurt. Robin Williams was a fucking genius. I didn't like all his movies or stand-up, but I had a lot of respect for the fact that he could go through all he went through and still keep it together for as long as he did. I didn't know him personally, but I have listened to stories from people who did, and I really do weep for those who were friends with him. He wasn't a coward or selfish. He was extremely brave and selfless for a very long time, but nothing lasts forever. Not even laughter.

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done, The ship has weather’d every rack,
      the prize we sought is won, The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
      While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring; But O heart! heart! heart!
      O the bleeding drops of red, Where on the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead.
      O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells; Rise up- for you the flag is flung- for
      you the bugle trills, 
                                  
         For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths- for you the shores
             a-crowding,
          For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
             Here Captain! dear father!
               This arm beneath your head!
                 It is some dream that on the deck,
                   You’ve fallen cold and dead.

          My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
          My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
          The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
          From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
               Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
                 But I with mournful tread,
                   Walk the deck my Captain lies,
                     Fallen cold and dead.
Walt Whitman 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Maher is Politically Inept

Bill Maher is a Liberal?


I watched Politically Incorrect when it was on ABC. I've been watching and listening to Real Time for several years. I like Bill Maher's stand-up, and thought Religulous was very funny. But over the last couple of years I've become increasingly irritated at Maher's take on political and current societal issues. He seems to have a hazy grasp on the concept of liberalism. This is not to say he doesn't understand political concepts, just the optics around them. On a recent episode, in which he had on Arianna Huffington, Baratunde Thurston and Matt Welch as the panel, intro segment with Sister Simone Campbell, and guest Dinesh D'Souza. Maher seems to think Liberalism is having a Black friend, Obama, offering Ann Coulter a voice and smoking weed. 

I must say there is much more to liberalism than mouthing the words, "I'm a liberal." Pushing air through your tubes to create that particular noise makes you a liberal about as much as me saying, "I'm really good at basketball," and expecting to be able to dunk on Jordan. Just because you say it, doesn't mean it's true. I'm not an expert on liberalism, but I do know what it DOESN'T look like.
BillMaherSept10.jpg

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

American Healthcare Doesn't Care... or How I Learned to Love the Idea of Socialized Medicine

As kids we are naturally disposed to the idea that we will live forever. We run pell mell, tilting at windmills, never supposing that there are huge fucking blades on those things that knock you over and hurt you. In our young adult hood we've been seasoned a bit and baring the odd motorcycle crash or fall down a flight of stairs, we still believe that serious hospitalization is a long way off, even though this is the point we start seeing our parents and grandparents going in and out of large white buildings, that we vaguely remember from that time we fell off skateboard and had that funny feeling around where our foot used to be, but now look there's this white and red thing sticking out... It's not until most of us are in our 40s or 50s that we start really considering the benefits of older men and women with specialized instruments and really good medication that is legal. It's also the time that our grandparents' grandparents were starting to be fitted for a whole in the ground. We've come a long way in longevity but the adverse of that is that, usually our ancestors did not shuffle off this moral coil from sheer cliff of mountains of debt. There was a time when doctor's charged what you could afford.

Pull back the curtain a little...

Healthcare in the United States has a checkered and varied history. There have been efforts to provide a type of Universal Healthcare since the 1880's. Starting with the Progressive Era, that time in American Political movements, when politicians really started looking at the people they were representing and saying, "Why are we allowing this to happen," organizations and individuals have been trying to ensure people are insured. What they were doing was trying to bring back representative government.They were trying to get rid of the bosses of the political machine. According to the website, Physicians for a National Health Program (PNPH), one of the people at the forefront of this battle was Theodore Roosevelt, even though he supported insurance programs.
If you were sick during this time you basically had two options, come up with money and find a doctor, or hope that you would get better at some point. If you had enough money to do the former, good for you. If you didn't have the money you became one of the average 157.7 per 100,000 people that died. This was the reality for our grandparents and great-grandparents. If you have money, you get better, if not, well, they're running a special at the funeral home.
Then in 1965 Lyndon Johnson, one of the most progressive President's we've had, though not one that is considered so, by today's standards, instituted Medicare. Public Option insurance, for the poor and the elderly. This was the first time we saw a real attempt to address healthcare in the United States. Since that time there has been a constant conflict to address the issue. We've had many attempts to expand and defund Medicare. The Republicans always put up proposals and hold budgets hostage to get cuts to Medicare, such as the Republican controlled Congress in the 1990's, and again after 2010. They want to get rid of Medicare, they want to defund it, they want to tie all sorts of things to it, that will essentially kill it. This is true, and you can see all sorts of video on Youtube.
Medicare is called the single-payer option for reason, because the government is the one footing the bill. One payer into the plan. and many recipients. We pay for Medicare and the state Medicade programs with taxes. Then we still have to buy our own insurance. This is a bit of double dipping to my way of thinking.

It Finally Happened in 2010 Insurance for everyone... Ya know, if you can afford it. 

In the United States we basically had two ways to get insurance if you weren't on another social program. You could buy into your company's group policy, or you could buy private insurance. The problem with this system continues to be the fact that over 48M people were uninsured before the Affordable Care Act was passed. It cost individuals and families more than their grocery bill for a month to be covered, and that was only if you didn't have a pre-existing condition. 
I remember when we found out my mother's kidneys were failing. She was trying to get health insurance, and had to go get a physical exam. They ran a test on her kidneys and found the didn't function like they were supposed to, so she was denied insurance. She had failing kidneys meaning a life of dialysis and possible kidney replacement, and no insurance. There was no amount of money that she could give an insurance company to have them help her. She worked two and three jobs at a time to make sure we had food, she sacrificed her money, health and time to give us Christmas, and never took anything for herself until she got sick and had to stay in bed. My mother never asked for anything, and now was having everything taken away. Have you ever tried to work while connected to a machine that was recycling your blood, to remove impurities, that your body could no longer remove. You can't. You are strapped to a chair for 4 hours while this thing pulls your blood out, runs it through a filter then pushes it back in. 

Thanks Obama

Now we have the American Health Care Act, which ensures that people cannot be denied coverage but it also means that you have to have insurance whether you want it or not. You have to be covered or pay a tax penalty. With the only real incentive being a penalty, what I wonder is why it doesn't just take the next step and raise everyone's taxes a little and make sure everyone has a basic insurance. Medicare for all, that you can opt out of if you want, to go get your own private insurance if that is what you want to do. You'll still have to pay the taxes, because when you think of it that's how insurance works already. A bunch of mostly healthy people paying in for a few sick people. That's why pre-existing conditions were a cause for not covering you in the past, because you came in saying, "I'm sick, here's my $20, now I'll take my $2000 worth of test please." Except if you didn't have insurance the hospital would say, you're sick give us $20,000.
That hasn't changed much under the American Health Care Act. It probably helps that the AHCA is a redrafted version of the 1993 Republican Health Care Proposal. (Kaiser Health News). It also has many elements of former Governor Mitt Romney's Massachusetts Health Care Plan from 2006.
The American Health Care Act was written by the insurance companies for the we the people to give them more money. It is not what we asked for and not what we need. What we need is a a single payer option. We need to find a way to provide insurance for people like my mother, and my grandfather, and my wife, and even myself.

My Story

In 2008 I had three heart attacks. While I was in the hospital I was diagnosed with Grave's Disease.
Grave's Disease via Mayo Clinic
I have a hyperactive thyroid that has has become toxic, and will probably require surgery at some point. I don't have the money for the medication, the surgery, the doctor's visits, or the treatment that will be required afterword. My partner, Aly, started a gofundme campaign because in 2013 I started having seizures, and had to go to the emergency room on New Year's Eve. That one trip to the emergency room for approximately three hours cost me $4000. The doctor wanted to hospitalize me, but I refused.  He looked shocked, but I told him I had no insurance and no money. He was concerned enough that he agreed to see me for free. They still don't know what is wrong with me, and even though I now have insurance, because of the AHCA and the Federal Exchange, I still can't afford regular visits to the doctor. 
This is a very personal issue for me, because I live in one of the 19 states that has decided to not expand their Medicaid coverage for low-income families. I'm considered middle class based on my income but I can't afford preventative care. I can't afford to make sure that I will be there when my son graduates college. I have to rely on friends and family to help me out. I watched my mother make the decision to die because she didn't want to go through dialysis a second time. I can't blame her for making that decision, because I'm pretty sure that in her position I would do the same, when faced with mountains of medical debt and a lifetime of stop-gap measures that are just prolonging existence, rather than engendering life. If you want to help you can donate by clicking the donate button to the right, or by clicking here. (author's note: campaign concluded.)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Death And Taxes, but Mainly Death

Crime, death, destruction, robbery, rape, other bad stuff. There are multiple reasons that society decides that one of our own should die. We kill in war, in passion, in the name of money, and sometimes just because we are wired that way. As a society we have been putting people to death in the legal system, every since we were walking in and out of caves, like a homes of the stars tour. If someone was a threat to the society they were either cast out or put to death.
The oldest recorded evidence of the death penalty being codified, was in the 18th Century B.C., in the Code of King Hammaurabi of Babylon. Other things they did in the 18th Century B.C.: several cultures were just discovering a use for bronze, besides just being a pretty shade of yellow, a bunch of Middle Eastern tribes were starting to bash each other's heads with aforementioned bronze, someone had found iron and thought, "well shit, this is stronger than bronze," and killed a bunch of idiots still using bronze weapons. This means that we have been killing people for one reason or another, legally, for almost four thousand years. Almost the entirety of RECORDED human history we have been killing the hat industry, because we don't know how to deal with the criminally dangerous.

Oh Let Me Count the Ways

Is There a Doctor in the House? Oh Shit...
We have been very inventive when it comes to killing people. We have invented things specifically to end human life at the end of a trial, or not, such as the guillotine, invented by Doctor Joseph-Ignace Guillotine. The Guillotine is basically an upright Nordick Track with a big axe on the other end. When the rope is pulled the criminal gets promoted to understudy for Washington Irving movie tie-ins.

Shot Through The Heart... head... arms...
Then we have the firing squad, where a bunch of people with very little training get together to hold a prehumous twenty-one gun salute, very badly. It became such a trauma for the people killing the condemned that the officials started mixing up the person that actually was the killer, by giving everyone blanks except one, and no one knew who had the live rounds.

It's a Tie... oh wait a second
We have found many uses for hemp, smoking, clothing, hippie footwear, and for killing people by throwing one end of a large twined pieces of hemp over a tree and putting a nifty little neck-tie then pulling real hard. Someone decided that was too chaotic and came up with a platform with a tricky trapdoor, that gives the condemned a free dance lesson.

Death Potion No. 9
Then some chemists got together and dropped bottles of different materials around the work area, to see which were the most effective at killing the asshole at the end of the hall that keeps using all the toilet paper. This caught on by putting criminals in little boxes and having them take deep breaths of hydrogen cyanide and carbon oxide in it's various forms.

Let's All Rock on Down to Electric Avenue
Old Sparky seems to be the name of every electric chair I have ever heard of. This is a device in which contrary to bad movies does not give hardened killers super powers, but rather sends several million volts of electricity through the human condition and basically boils their moisture in a flash.

I Need a New Drug
The most commonly used modern method is lethal injection. This is an IV drip of lethal drugs that is supposed to be the most humane of all ways to end someone's life. It is supposedly the most efficient way to snuff the spark of life.
Most of this info has come from Deathpenaltyinfo.org. Just in the United States we have 5 legally sanctioned ways to end someone's life, for their sins.

So Why is Acceptable to Kill People

For all practical purposes, according to Antideathpenalty.org, the only reason used for execution, since 1976 is murder. So dude A kills dude B for some reason we, as a society, find repugnant, so dudes and dudetts, decide dude A deserves to die. Okay. Now, according to the same source there are several other reasons for the death penalty, that aren't necessarily as popular.
Reasons for the Death Penalty


Treason, betraying your country is bad, and could lead to a lot of deaths. Okay, that's fine. Kidnapping where there is another crime involved, such as injuring, raping, killing the victim. Yeah, I can see that. Willfully causing a train to crash, is okay if you've ever seen Unbreakable. Perjury is lying under oath, and California is good with the death penalty if that lying led to the accused's death. So you lied, someone died, you are responsible. That seems valid. Hijacking a plane seems a little weird, if no one is harmed, but I'm sure they have a good reason. Sex Crimes against a person under 14, okay, right on, kill that asshole Even more-so if he's a repeat offender, and yeah under 13 and 11 sure. That is sick. Capital Sexual Battery is sexual assault on a minor 12 or under, that causes physical harm to the child's sexual organs. Again, fuck those guys. They are beyond redemption. Killing someone while committing a terrorist attack is definitely bad, because are in a war on terror, so terrorists are enemy soldiers. Giving drugs to kids, is definitely a no-no. Gotta protect them babies. All valid reasons for ending the life of a criminal, except maybe that hijacking thing.

Everything I Just Said is Wrong Because....

Our justice system is broken. 1 in 3 African American men will end up in prison, rightly or wrongly. 41% of the death row population is black and male, and they make up 60% of the total prison population, while only making up 30% of the overall population. That's a lot of numbers and statistics, but here is a list of men and women who were executed and later found to be innocent:

Carlos DeLuna Texas Conviction: 1983, Executed: 1989
Ruben Cantu Texas Convicted: 1985, Executed: 1993
Larry Griffin Missouri Conviction: 1981, Executed: 1995
Joseph O'Dell Virginia Conviction: 1986, Executed: 1997
David Spence Texas Conviction: 1984, Executed: 1997
Leo Jones Florida Convicted: 1981, Executed: 1998
Gary Graham Texas Convicted: 1981, Executed: 2000,
Claude Jones Texas Convicted 1989, Executed 2000
Cameron Willingham Texas Convicted: 1992, Executed: 2004
Troy Davis   Georgia   Convicted 1991  Executed 2011

As you can see above, there is no absolute in determining the guilt or innocence of a person, and without that certainty how are we justified in state sanctioned murder. These were people who were accused, tried, and convicted of murder, then later information came up that proved them innocent. At the point of innocence for most of these people the information came too late, but for at least one of them, Troy Davis, the information was available before he was executed. It has been reported that the witnesses at his trial recanted their testimony, have come forward saying their testimony was coerced, and at least one has admitted he is illiterate and did not understand what he was signing was an implication of Davis. There was also another suspect, who was allowed to testify at Davis' trial. There is no forensic or DNA evidence that was brought forward to implicate Davis. This is according to Ed Pilkington of the Guardian Newspaper.


My Thoughts
I used to believe in the death penalty. I've been through situations that have caused me to say, fuck that person, they deserve to die, what they did was too horrendous to forgive. I would still not be upset to see those people die violently, however I no longer think the death penalty is appropriate. I don't think the state should be allowed to carry out the ultimate sentence when they can't even balance the budget, figure out why it's okay for opposite sex couples to have children but not same sex couples, or stop killing people around the world for no reason other than one of them may have one day talked to someone who may have seen the guy who plotted to fly airplanes into our real estate.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

If You Don't Like Queer You Don't Like Someone You Love

Why are we fighting it... and by It I mean equality.

I know a gay? Who knew?

I grew up in the middle of Oklahoma, during the 1970's, 80's and 90's. Over that time I have known several gay men and women, during times when being gay was, in all ways, unacceptable. Some I knew were gay, and many others I never suspected. Based on what I know of the statistics of closeted homosexuals in the U.S., there are still others that I don't know are gay. I've know many LGBT people that have been discriminated against, persecuted, and beaten. I used to be one of the people that discriminated and persecuted, in language, action and social contexts.
I actually remember when being queer was a social stigma, rather than an empowering identity. I know the reasons to stay closeted about your sexuality, even today, when it is more socially acceptable to be out. The fact that one of the most overused derogatory comments in the common vernacular is, "That's gay," to denote the odd or unacceptable. According to the Westboro Baptist Church, an invisible, imaginary, self-delusion doesn't like it when people are okay with equality. Either that or their imaginary friend really doesn't like bonfires, cigarettes or any other thing that fag has meant.
I've recently had a really good conversation where it was revealed that one of my friends, that I haven't seen in a couple of years, had come out and moved in with his new partner. There was surprise that this person had come out, but it wasn't upsetting and no one made a derogatory statement, as we all would have in the past. There was a question about why this friend hadn't come out to us, and I made the remark that is was probably because, while we had progressed in our thinking over the years, the general rule was still to deride the choice to be open and honest about one's sexuality.
Since then I have thought about the conversation and have come to the conclusion that what I really should have said was, he doesn't have to come out to us, because it's his life. There is no need for your gay friend to come out, to you, if they have come out. I've realized I was a really shitty person for a lot of my life, by expecting others to express themselves to me, when they don't fall under the Straight, White, Cis dominance of our society. Why should gay men and women ask for acceptance, to live openly? It's not like everyone else introduces themselves as "Bob Parker, straight guy." It also isn't as if straight people have an epiphany, and have to come out to their friends and family.

Are You Now, or Have you Ever Been Gay?

There are no hard numbers on the LGBT population in the United States, however since I was a kid, I always heard it was about 10%. It was a joke, "Check with 9 of your friends, if they're straight, you're gay." However, now there is a study from The National Bureau of Economic Research that purports to have a better grasp on this particular demographic, citing a study of over 2000 participants, using anonymity and undirected questions, to conceal identity and mask the intent of the survey. According to the survey, the number of gay men and women stands at around 20%. 1 in 5 people. 62M people regularly engage in homosexual relationships. This is not the number that engage in one-night stands and go back to their "normal" life the next day.
Growing up in Oklahoma I didn't know any gay people. If you asked anyone in my peer group, they would more than likely punch you in the nose. Now that I am grown in Oklahoma, I know a few gay men and women, and count most of them as friends. I know that there are more of my former peers in small town Oklahoma that were gay, but for some reason they didn't walk up to me and announce it. However, statistically speaking, there are approximately 63,000 homosexuals in Oklahoma, which means that I probably know about 1,000 gay people. Of that 1,000 I know less than 100 are openly gay. Why is this important? Why do I need to know who in my social contact book is gay? I don't. I want to know, because I want to be any ally. I want to be someone that understands the experiences that my friends and acquaintances have gone through. I want these people to know that in every way I consider them to be my equal, and in some cases my superior.
I wasn't always an accepting person. I used to be, as I've mentioned before, someone who was extremely homophobic and transphobic. Then I had three very personal experiences that really made me think about these issues in a new light. I had one friend that came out several years after I had seen him, last, and then saw him again after I found out. I tried to strike up a conversation with him, let him know I knew and it was cool. He acted like he was afraid of me. It took a bit to figure it out, but I finally remembered he was my best friend at one time and knew my thoughts on homosexuality, from that time. The second thing that changed my world view was myself developing a crush on another man. I don't mean I could look at him objectively and think, he's good looking... for a dude. I mean I wanted to ask him out and have him say yes. This really opened my eyes and made me start re-examining my entire life. I started putting men and women in the same categories of interest. The final thing was having real conversations with my friends who were going through the same things I was, or who were coming out of the closet, and having it explicitly stated that I was an asshole because of the language I used, and the way I expressed myself. To this end I recently asked a very good friend of mine from when we were kids about their coming out. I promised not to use their name or the place we were when we met and became friends. This is a person that I knew for about 3 1/2 years, and never knew they were gay, or that they were struggling with their identity.

This conversation took place online, and while it is completely anecdotal and only one conversation, I have had conversations similar to this, in the past. I believe it represents a larger group of people than just this one person or only my circle of friends and acquaintances. I've removed my friend's name and pertinent information, that I believe could be used to identify them, at their request.

Q: Did you have a coming out moment?
A: I would not really say that I had a specific coming out moment. I always knew that I was gay from at least elementary school. Of course that was not acceptable in [REDACTED], so I hid it until I was 24. I built up the courage to go to a gay bar in Tulsa because I was scared to go out in OKC. So I went and had a few courage beers at Cover Girls and then went to the gay bar and discovered exactly what I had been missing. I continued going to Tulsa on the weekends until I got comfortable enough to go out in OKC. Soon after, I told my best friend and his wife, and then my Mom and everyone else. It was a gradual process, not really a coming out moment.

Q: Was coming out actually important, or was it just something that happened?
A: Coming out was very important. I know people that have stayed closeted and for the most part they are miserable individuals. I was lucky to have supportive friends and family (for the most part). Many people try to lead the double life and it just does not work in my opinion.

Q: Do you find coming out, to the younger generation of gay men and women, to be an important step, or is that just an individual thing?
A: Yes I think coming out for the younger generation is very important. They are lucky that it has become so much easier because of the internet. Today, movie stars, sports figures, and other notable are coming out every day and as a result, America seems to be slowly changing. Kids are coming out at 13 or 14 now instead of at 24 like I did because it’s socially more acceptable now. I wish every day that the internet would have been around for me when I was young.

Q: Does sexuality become a topic with those who don't know you, when the subject does come up?
A: It's not really that big of a deal I guess. At work, everyone knows and it's not discussed. I don't talk about my personal life at work. In social settings when I tell someone, it's usually not an issue. I usually get the standard, "I have so many gay friends" comment and then that's the end of it. There is so much more to me than my sexuality. I'm sure it’s an issue to some, but no one has ever told me to my face that it's an issue. The internet is a different story. Just last night, a guy on KFOR's website told me that I should leave the country and go somewhere else with my lifestyle.

Q: When we were kids we used a lot of homophobic language, and I'm wondering if that ever upset you?
A: No, and I used homophobic language too. It was kind of a coping mechanism. Deflection, I guess you could say. I even called a guy that I knew was gay a faggot in 9th grade. I later apologized after he and I both came out and we are still [REDACTED] friends today. I have found most people who are the most outspoken against homosexuality are the ones who have a secret of their own to hide.

Q: Do you know others in our former social group that came out of the closet after we all grew up, and if so did they have similar experiences?
A: I don't really know of any others in our particular social circles who came out later, or their story. I know of several people who we went to school with us, who came out later and have met tons of gay people who graduated from [REDACTED] before us or after us. Must be something in the water out there.

This is someone that I knew and hung out with, and spoke with, on a daily basis. We were friends, and I had no clue that they were going through this. This was a time when, as stated in the Q&A, being gay was a social stigma and could get you beaten or worse. This was before Matthew Shepard, but there were many Matthew Shepards out there.

This is Not About Marriage

This issue is more than marriage. This is about acceptance, tolerance and equality. This is about the fact that in 29 states you can be fired for being gay. In the United States we are supposed to have a guaranteed right to Life, Liberty and Happiness. How many people in your life are being denied these basic rights? 1 in 5. You have a right to be an asshole. What we don't have a right to, is denying people basic human rights. If one class of people are entitled to a right, then everyone has to be allowed those same rights. We do not have privilege codified, but it is embodied in our society. We have a entire 1/5 th of our population that can be, and has been legally discriminated against. We have children, who according to a study by the Williams Group (via: Think Progress)  are running away from home or are being ejected from their homes, because of their sexual orientation. We as a society are condoning and encouraging the rejection of children.

Society cannot exist without successive generations. If we continue to reject a full 40% of our youth and ensure they never make it in life, then how can we continue to stand on the moral high ground in the world? How can we tell ourselves and the world that we are a moral society, until every citizen has full equality, regardless of who they love?.

We can't.


(Note:  I didn't include Trans-issues here, because I plan on another post focusing exclusively on that population)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

I have a domain

I am currently working on increasing the space that Silent Raging occupies. I have a Domain name now. I'm setting up a Youtube channel, and will be blogging and podcasting again soon.

If you want to help out, just send an email to Silentraging@silentraging.com, or you can donate by clicking on the donate button on the right side.

Check back for more updates as they become available.

Monday, March 17, 2014

It's Saint Patrick's Day, Everyone is Irish... well not really everyone...

It is 2014. It is March 17, 2014, which means it is St. Patrick's Day. The one day when everyone is Irish, supposedly. So why, in 2014, are two of the biggest cities in the United States, excluding LGBT citizens the right to march alongside their cis-gendered fellows and peers? Two of the most liberal cities in the United States is excluding gays from their parades, because.... I'm not really sure. It's legal for them to do this, because the parades are run by private groups. But the sponsor's are also run by private groups. The marchers are private citizens, and the officials that run these cities are also private citizens. For some reason the St. Patrick's Day parade groups in New York and Boston have made severe mistakes. They have taken a day when everyone wears green and claims the most tenuous connection with the Emerald Isle, and excluded the other colors of the Rainbow, and have told the LGBT community, "You are not Irish."

Dublin is LGBT Friendly

The Parade in the Capital of the birthplace of St. Patrick's Day, Dublin, is allowing their LGBT community to proudly march in the open. In the place where they can't agree on who's interpretation of the Christian Bible, is correct and routinely kill each other because of that, can agree that it's okay to be gay and out, in their parade. They have come out strongly is support of their LGBT community, and have for years. Even though the Irish PM says he will march in the New York Parade, because, "The St. Patrick’s Day parade (in New York) is a parade about our Irishness and not about sexuality, and I would be happy to participate in it"


Beer is LGBT Friendly... Now

Sam Adams, Guiness, and Heinekien have all withdrawn support from the Saint Patrick's Day parade. Beer, the lifeblood that keeps Saint Patrick's Day in a stupor of veiled racism and stereotypes of the drunken leprechaun vomiting into a pot of piss drunkenness, says, "Dude that's fucked up." Now there are reasons that the beer companies are withdrawing their support, that have nothing to do with diversity. They are in business to make money, and excluding a full ten percent of your drinking audience is bad for business. Though that may be a concern for these companies, they are making the right choice, regardless off their reasons.

Mayors are LGBT Friendly 

New York City's Newest Mayor is the embodiment of Diversity, a straight, white, male married to a black woman who has had female partners. He has decided to break with 235 years of tradition by boycotting the New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade, due to the exclusion of the Queer communities open engagement in Irish Pride.
Boston's Mayor, Marty Walsh, has decided to forgo the St. Patrick's Day Parade in one of the most Irish Cities in the United States. He has decided to not support the parade because of it's organizer's refusal to allow LGBT members of his constituency to participate openly. 

So Why Can't the Parades be Inclusive

The Parades are organized and run by private groups of citizens that apply for permits and put all the float rules and marching order together and literally give people their marching orders. They have decided that the LGBT community can't prticipate in these two parades, and probably many more. This is chilling in more ways than one, because it sends a message to all the LGBT people, young and old that live in these cities. It sends a message that anyone can claim an Irish Heritage by getting drunk and wearing green, as long as you are not attracted to people who claim the same gender, or as long as you don't have any questions about your gender.

You can't have a significant population of your city, that supports the local economy, invests in their communities, and supports their local governments, and then tell them they cannot participate in it's celebration of their heritages. Are we next going to tell the LGBT community they can't participate in 4th of July celebrations, or that they can't go Christmas Caroling? How long are we going to deny a significant portion of our population their place in our? How long are we going to tell our youth that their budding feelings are wrong, just because they don't conform to the majority population's ideas of what is right? How can we say that we are an inclusive and accepting society when we can now celebrate one group that was vilified and denigrated, to exclude another group that is facing that same exclusion?