Thursday, September 30, 2010

To Teens from Dave Navarro

Alexandra Billings posted this open letter to teens from Dave Navarro on her blog. She is living proof of Navarro's vital words.
Dave Navarro is not only my guitar hero anymore.

"Ok everybody, here is the deal. I cannot imagine what it’s like growing up in a close minded environment and being gay, bi or tans-gender. I don’t think any of us who aren’t can possibly imagine. The strength and character it must take to stay true to yourself in such an unforgiving microcosm are qualities that a major portion of the world lacks… Sad, but true. It’s just how it is at the moment. However, it’s that very strength and character that gives the world hope for a new way of thinking and acceptance in the future and when one of our children gives in and gives up, it is not only a tragedy but a victory for those who fear diversity. DO NOT LET THEM WIN! I know how overwhelming the feelings can get and how small the reality can feel, but the bottom line is that this is but a drop in the bucket in terms of the magnitude of life. You can get through this. High school is full of plenty of bullies and fear based hate, as is the world. With any group of people comes a percentage of people who just don’t get it and probably will never get it. That’s OK. We all deal with this to an extent. The truth is that in High School, you are kind of stuck in the group you are a part of until graduation, but trust me… You can pick and choose who you associate with and there are plenty of like-minded people in the world that are understanding, accepting and loving. Sometimes, we just have to stick it out to meet them. The hard cold reality is that once you have chosen suicide, that’s it. No going back. Sure, there is a public outcry and MAYBE the bullies feel remorse for a while, but it all dies down, life goes on, the bullies let the memory fade and get on with their lives. They learn to laugh, love, reach their goals and in many cases go on to have a full and productive life. Who loses? You do! Your family! Your friends! Other teens who need support in this area! Oh yeah… We all Lose! Now the world has one less mind that is open and different and unique and sensitive. Instead, we inherit the bullies, the fear, the set back… Our world has one less soul to help it evolve with a new level of clarity. Personally, I have seen a lot of darkness and tragedy that has felt insurmountable. The murder of my mother, my battle with drug addiction, the loss of friends and family. Utter depression and despair. Of course the thought of suicide has crossed my mind a time or two. Let me share this. THANK GOD I never took that action. The friends I have made, the experiences I have had, the laughter I have shared would have all been missed. In hindsight, some of my darkest moments now seem so small and insignificant that I am amazed I gave them so much power at the time. I am even able to laugh about it now. When I think back to the times I have considered ending it all I end up saying to myself, “What was I thinking?” To those of you contemplating such a course, please do us a favor. Seek counseling first. Find a network of people who have gone through what you are going through. Help others in even more turmoil than you. I am certain that you can find peace. As you know, our society and political climate is SO divided right now. We need your voice. The world at large needs your sheer existence in order to come to terms with itself and where we are going as a planet and species."

Friday, September 24, 2010

De Rossi, Degeneres, Delightful

Portia de Rossi has officially taken wife Ellen DeGeneres' last name. A Los Angeles Superior Court commissioner granted De Rossi's request to take the last name of her partner during a closed hearing Thursday. The television star will now legally be known as Portia Lee James DeGeneres.

The couple was married in August 2008 during the five-month window in which gay marriage was legal in California. The 37-year-old Australian-born actress asked for the name change last month. Delovely!


Can you spot the gay soldier?

(Thanks AnneMarie Kneebone)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

New Yorkers are Remarkable People

As usual about that time in the morning, I was talking to my mother on the phone when we both stopped in disbelief at what was happening on TV. At first we all thought it a terrible air accident. When the second plane seemingly tried to fly between the two towers and crashed into the second tower, we screamed "why would a pilot try to do that!" Still in our safe American cocoon, it never occurred to us that it could possibly be deliberate. Then the Pentagon and Pittsburgh and reports of hijacked planes made it clear that our safe little world was under attack.
I'll never ever forget my mom's voice when the first tower fell. "Oh Jackie..Oh Jackie."
Monica called me from work, which is very rare because she can't usually call from the classroom. She said she was taking the streets home instead of the Ike expressway because the sight and closeness to the Sears Tower scared her now. I couldn't wait for her to get home safe where I could see her.

My 26 year old nephew, Nolen, called me in tears. He was 26 and I had never heard him cry as an adult. He wanted to do something. He said he had to do something. He got busy and we designed a tee shirt and he put up a website with all profits going to the Red Cross. 911 Rescue Team U.S.A. was on the shirt. Buying and wearing the shirt makes us all a part of the rescue team. It was sanctioned by the Red Cross and given an official charitable number for the contributions. Nolen's effort was noted in an article in a Chicago newspaper. I still wear mine on the anniversary every year. It still helps to feel and know that I was part of the rescue team. I thank Nolen for helping so many people, do something. It helped. He is a remarkable man.

New Yorkers are remarkable people. We all felt vulnerable, scared and every other emotion possible during that tragic time. But New Yorkers took that hit in their hearts and their guts and in their everyday. They had to smell and taste and feel and live the grit that was September 11, 2001.
All I can say is, New Yorkers are remarkable people. I love you New York City.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Go Ahead, Burn That Holy Book!

This weekend on the anniversary of the September 11 tragedy, Rev. Terry Jones, pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center, an evangelical church in Gainesville, Fla., said that he and his 30 member congregation will build a bonfire and burn the holy book of the Muslim faith.
Muslims believe the Qur’an revealed to Muhammad through the angel Gabriel, to be the verbal book of divine guidance and direction for mankind. That is what Muslims believe.
But the passinate Rev. Jones knows that he must disrespect and destroy that horrid, evil book that is the bases of the religion that drove those Muslim men to fly planes into our buildings.

"It's something that we feel we need to do," Jones said. "It's a message that we feel we need to send."

Rev. Jones is determined. But, based on his criteria Jones needs to add the bible to that fire and throw in a few copies of the Torah too. Murdering nutjobs are an equal religious background employer. From your everyday garden variety serial killer to well planned air attacks, to socially upheld astrocities like slavery, Rev. Jones should be saying that all the holy books need to be smoked.

Based on the Jones point of view there certainly shouldn't be any African American Christians. Christians were slave hunters, traders, owners, and passages from the Bible were used to justify it. America's Christian society upheld slavery and Jim Crow laws. The KKK was a populated by Christians and used Christian symbols. American Indians should join us Black folk for a daily Bible burning, don't ya think Rev. Jones?

Rev. Jones admits he's never read the Qur'an. (There should be a law: read before burning.) So, he obviously does not know that the Qur'an has many common elements with the Bible and the Jewish Torah because they all are determined to come from the same divine source. He does not know that Muslims recognize the old testament prophets and the Gospel as divinely revealed. So burn away Rev. Jones. You will be burning stories of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, David, Job, Jonah, Moses, John the Baptist, Jesus and many more from Christian and Jewish sacred books.

Rev. Jones is a lot of things. The Rev. Jones is a pastor in the Christian faith. He is an extremist. And, he is a user. He's using 9-11, fear of Muslims, Christians, the Bible and the Qur'an, for his own self aggrandizing, showboating, hypocritical agenda.