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Human Rights Campaign

7

October 11th is National Coming Out Day

National Coming Out Day

(logo courtesy of zazzle.com)

October 11th is National Coming Out Day, an internationally recognized day to celebrate and support the LBGT community. It’s a day to give support to those that need guidance on how to come out to family, friends, and co-workers. It’s also a day for awareness and discussion.

In the wake of the recent tragic suicides of several students who were bullied to death by their peers, the arrest of 8 men in New York charged with hate crimes against several gay men, and the disturbing remarks recently made by New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, making strides to stop the homophobic hate, fear, and intolerance against the LBGT community has never been more important.

Speaking as a mother, I also want today to be a call to action for all parents. It doesn’t matter if one of your own children is gay or not. It doesn’t matter if your children are far too young to even know their sexual orientation. What does matter is that you live your life as a positive example to your children. Parents who demonstrate fear and hate towards others tend to raise children who do the same and, as we know, hate and fear is the foundation for bullying. By speaking positively about the gay community, advocating for equal rights, and modeling tolerance and respect towards others no matter their sexual orientation, you are teaching your children an incredibly valuable and important lesson. Your child might be gay. My child might be gay. It really doesn’t matter. Let’s work together to make it easier for all children who may need the love and support to come out one day.

Coming out is not easy. For some, it can be a painful process with the possibility of losing family and friends while others may not come out at all because of the homophobic attitudes of the people around them. Whether you need support coming out or want to find more information about gay rights, the Human Rights Campaign has excellent resources and information. Please check out their website at www.hrc.com.

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6

A Message To Mamas

Same-sex couples in Washington D.C. are now legally allowed to marry. For people around the world that support same-sex marriage, this day is a joyous day.

I, for one, am thrilled.

However, this day is also a bittersweet day. There are millions of people who are still not legally allowed to marry. Whether or not they even want to be married is not the point. The point is, they don’t even have the right. I want to see this changed within my lifetime, but I especially want to see this changed for our children.

So, in honor of:

  • the many couples celebrating their love today by legally recognizing their commitment to one another,
  • the many couples who do not yet have the right to marry, and
  • future generations of the LGBT community that will hopefully never have to endure prejudice, hate, and discrimination

I would like to re-post an article I wrote about this topic back in October. This message is for all the moms out there who may not agree with this issue. This message is for all moms out there who may agree, but do not take a stand.

I urge you to reconsider.

Gay Rights: Why Mamas Need to Take a Stand Against Inequality

As a woman, I often think about the time before my birth and what my female ancestors had to endure.

For centuries, women have had to fight to establish equality in a very paternalistic society. Women had to band together to form the Suffrage Movement. Women fought for equality during the Civil Rights Movement and created the Feminist Movement when society still treated them like second-class citizens. In the last 100 years, women have been incredibly successful in overturning anti-discriminatory laws and creating new laws to protect our rights. There is no doubt that the time we live in now is markedly different than the era of our mothers and grandmothers.

As women:

  • We lived without voting rights until 1920.
  • We lived without FDA-approved birth-control until 1960.
  • We lived without discrimination laws and equal opportunity in the workplace until 1964.
  • We lived with sex-segregated employment ads until 1968.
  • We lived without the Equal Pay Act until 1970.
  • We lived without Title IX until 1972.
  • We lived without reproductive rights until 1973.
  • We lived without the Pregnancy Discrimination Ban until 1978.
  • We lived without the Lily Ledbetter Act until 2009.

From our mothers to our great-great-great grandmothers, women have worked hard to ensure a better future for their daughters, and the women of today continue to take a stand against injustice and inequality. As women, we have lived with discrimination and intolerance. We have lived as second-class citizens. We have lived without laws to protect ourselves and our rights. So, I ask my mama-sisters, why aren’t we working harder to ensure a better future for our children and grandchildren? Why aren’t we doing more to stand up to injustice and inequality?

I live in California where Prop 22 passed in 2000 with 61.4% of the vote. On May 15, 2008, Prop 22 was ruled unconstitutional and invalidated. The reaction was mixed, to say the least. Financed by powerful religious organizations and anti-gay organizations, Prop 8 passed just this last year with 52.2% of the vote. I have gay friends who were able to legally marry without problem between May 15th and November 4th. I have other gay friends who missed that small window and do not have that same right. Shortly after the election, I was talking with a few women about the outcome. One mom mentioned that she was tired of all the talk and didn’t want her child exposed to people discussing gay rights. She said, in so many words – it’s so hard for kids these days anyways, so why do we need to add one more thing? I thought about that and replied, yes, it is hard. So why don’t we work to make it easier for them.

Opponents of gay equality rights often cite the Bible as a source for their discrimination. I take issue with that, especially as woman. I am a woman of faith, but I do not take the Bible as a literal and valid source for establishing laws in our society. If that were the case, then equality laws and protections for women would never have been created.

Many of us look back to our history and think, wow, how did women live in a world without equal rights? Within 10 years, I want people to look back and think the same thing. Legal discrimination against gays is a major problem of today. So, I ask you, let’s work to make sure that it’s still not a problem in 10 years. Let’s make sure that future generations look back and think, wow, how did people ever think that discrimination against gays and gay rights was acceptable?

The best place to start making a difference is in the home. As the parents, we are the primary role models for our children. They look to us for guidance on how to navigate this world and how to interact with others. If we are intolerant, discriminatory, and judgmental of others, our children will learn to do the same. Teach your children well. Teach them by being a role model for tolerance, acceptance, and for what is right. It might be your child that needs legal protections and anti-discriminatory laws in the future. But, even more so, it might be your child that needs to know they are always loved and accepted by you…no matter who they love.

Learn more about what you can do for gay rights:

Human Rights Campaign
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Gay Rights

In California:
Courage Campaign
No on 8

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1

Gay Rights: Why Mamas Need To Take A Stand Against Inequality

Married and Straight Against H8As a woman, I often think about the time before my birth and what my female ancestors had to endure.

For centuries, women have had to fight to establish equality in a very paternalistic society. Women had to band together to form the Suffrage Movement. Women fought for equality during the Civil Rights Movement and created the Feminist Movement when society still treated them like second-class citizens. In the last 100 years, women have been incredibly successful in overturning anti-discriminatory laws and creating new laws to protect our rights. There is no doubt that the time we live in now is markedly different than the era of our mothers and grandmothers.

As women:

  • We lived without voting rights until 1920.
  • We lived without FDA-approved birth-control until 1960.
  • We lived without discrimination laws and equal opportunity in the workplace until 1964.
  • We lived with sex-segregated employment ads until 1968.
  • We  lived without the Equal Pay Act until 1970.
  • We lived without Title IX until 1972.
  • We lived without reproductive rights until 1973.
  • We lived without the Pregnancy Discrimination Ban until 1978.
  • We lived without the Lily Ledbetter Act until 2009.

From our mothers to our great-great-great grandmothers, women have worked hard to ensure a better future for their daughters, and the women of today continue to take a stand against injustice and inequality. As women, we have lived with discrimination and intolerance. We have lived as second-class citizens. We have lived without laws to protect ourselves and our rights. So, I ask my mama-sisters, why aren’t we working harder to ensure a better future for our children and grandchildren?  Why aren’t we doing more to stand up to injustice and inequality? (continues…)

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