Archive for October 2010

Honor PAC election endorsements

October 20, 2010

HONOR PAC is a Latino/a LGBT political action committee. They have issued their endorsements for the upcoming election. Find them on Facebook.

MISSION
To advocate for the political empowerment of Latina/o LGBT communities.

I have no affiliation with them, but this is a group I respect.

Dear HONOR PAC supporter:

We have some uninvited guests in our community working to force their extreme conservative ideals onto California’s Latino families.  They need to be stopped.

Earlier this month, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), which masterminded the passing of Proposition 8, announced a partnership with other right-wing organizations to launch a Latino voter outreach program titled “Tu Valores.”  These groups sponsored a statewide bus tour and produced Spanish-language radio and television ads to deceive Latino voters into electing anti-choice and anti-LGBT rights candidates.  Our community pushed back and their messages were met with protest.  In East Los Angeles and in other communities, the Tu Valores bus skipped its scheduled stop to avoid the unfriendly reception.

Now, NOM is using the same divisive hate-laced tactics to get their very own candidate Andy Pugno elected to the State Assembly.

Pugno, the architect of Prop. 8, is too extreme to be in the California legislature.  He’s fought against a woman’s right to choose, even in the case of rape and incest, and stands opposed to issues that we care most about such as increasing state dollars for education, passing the California DREAM Act, and protecting workers regardless of immigration status.

We have a better option and someone who will fully support our right to live with the protections and freedoms that all communities deserve.  Help us elect HONOR PAC’s endorsed candidate Dr. Richard Pan to the State Assembly.

NOM has already spent $200,000 to air an attack ad on equality supporter Dr. Pan.  And just as you’d suspect, it’s filled with inaccurate claims and lies meant to scare voters.

HONOR PAC encourages you tocontribute to Dr. Pan’s Assembly campaign.  Your contribution will tell NOM we won’t let them get away with their lies and deceit again.

Dr. Richard Pan is a pediatrician and educator who builds coalitions and consensus to solve problems facing our communities.  He is supported by a large number of Latino and LGBT leaders and organizations, including our friends Speaker of the Assembly John Perez and Equality California.

But he needs our help to spread his winning message and counter NOM’s fear tactics.  Please go to Dr. Pan’s website,www.panforassembly.com, and add your name as a supporter by contributing to his campaign TODAY.

Together, we will send a message to NOM and Andy Pugno about our values and what California truly stands for.

Sincerely,

Javier C. Angulo
President
HONOR PAC


HONOR PAC ENDORSEMENTS

 

for November 2, 2010 Election

LGBT Candidates:Robert D. Armenta, Jr.
Colton Unified School District Board

Toni Atkins
76th Assembly District (San Diego)
www.atkinsforassembly.com

Ricardo Lara
50th Assembly District (South Gate)
www.ricardolara2010.com

Michael Angel Nava
San Francisco Superior Court
www.navaforjudge.com

John Noguez
Los Angeles County Assessor
www.johnnoguez.com

John A. Perez
46th Assembly District (Los Angeles)
www.perezforassembly.com

Susan Talamantes Eggman
Stockton City Council District 5
www.susaneggman.com

Bryan Urias
Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District
www.urias4cleanwater.com

LGBT Ally Candidates:

David Alvarez
San Diego City Council District 8
www.votedavidalvarez.com

Betsy Butler
53rd Assembly District (Manhattan Beach/Torrance)
www.betsybutler.com

Irene Hernandez-Blair
Chino Valley Unified School District Board
www.vote4ihb.com

Roger Hernandez
57th Assembly District (Baldwin Park)
www.hernandezforassembly.com

Holly J. Mitchell
47th Assembly District (South Los Angeles)
www.hollyjmitchell.com

Dr. Richard Pan
5th Assembly District (Sacramento)
www.panforassembly.com

Das Williams
35th Assembly District (Santa Barbara)
www.daswilliams.org

Congratulations to our endorsed candidates.  Please help them win by volunteering or giving to their campaigns.  Visit their campaign website for more information on how you can help.


LET’S FLEX OUR POLITICAL MUSCLE! 

Volunteer at the East L.A. Phone Bank to help elect
pro-LGBT & pro-immigrant rights candidates this November.

With less than a month until the general election, this is the time to volunteer to elect candidates that support our values for equality and justice. Gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown and Kamala Harris, who is running to serve as our next Attorney General, need our help to win in November. We cannot afford having Meg Whitman and Steve Cooley who have already committed to defend Proposition 8 in the courts. Unless you join us to help decide the election, we run the risk of LOSING much of our rights and freedoms.

Equality California has partnered with the LA County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO to call union members to persuade them to vote for pro-equality candidates.  The LGBT-themed phone banks are held  every Thursday (October 21 & 28) evening from 6:30-9:30pm.
Location:
AFL-CIO East Los Angeles Office
5161 Pomona Blvd. Suite 210
Los Angeles, CA 90022

Contact Joseph Arroyo at joseph@eqca.org or (213) 864-6790.

Dinner provided before phone bank. No experience necessary. Arrive early for parking and check-in.


VOTE NOVEMBER 2 

or turn in your absentee ballot by mail or by dropping it off at your local poll location.

For more information, contact
your local county office.


SUPPORT HONOR PAC! 

Your contribution to HONOR PAC will support civic engagement and political activities that move Latino communities toward supporting full LGBT rights.  Your support is also important to help elect LGBT friendly candidates, and to assist the next generation of Latino LGBT leaders rise the ranks to serve in influential elected or appointed positions.

CONTRIBUTE TO HONOR PAC

HONOR PAC advocates for the political empowerment of Latina/o LGBT communities.  HONOR PAC supports candidates and ballot propositions that advance progressive policies and serve the unique needs and interests of Latina/o LGBT communities.

HONOR PAC – FPPC ID#1278587
P.O. BOX 86713
Los Angeles, CA 90086

 

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Metropolitan Community Churches: Special: Clergy Against Bullying (CAB)

October 18, 2010

Special: Clergy Against Bullying (CAB)

 

CLERGY AGAINST BULLYING (CAB)

FAITH COALITION CALLS FOR ACCOUNTABILITY
AND TIME OF HEALING
IN WAKE OF GAY TEEN SUICIDES AND ANTI-GAY VIOLENCE

Released: 13 October 2010

Today, as leaders of Christian communions and national networks, we speak with heavy hearts because of the bullying, suicides and hate crimes that have shocked this country and called all faith communities into accountability for our words or our silence. We speak with hopeful hearts, believing that change and healing are possible, and call on our colleagues in the Church Universal to join us in working to end the violence and hatred against our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender brothers and sisters.

In the past seven weeks, six young and promising teenagers took their own lives. Some were just entering high school; one had just enrolled in college. Five were boys; one, a girl becoming a young woman. These are only the deaths for which there has been a public accounting. New reports of other suicides continue to haunt us daily from around the country.

Read more: Metropolitan Community Churches: Special: Clergy Against Bullying (CAB).

Bullying Information

October 15, 2010

Kids Against Bullying Logo.


 

Bullying Fast Facts

An estimated 160,000 children miss school every day out of fear of attack or intimidation by other students. (National Education Association, 1995) About 20 percent of Anoka-Hennepin (Minn.) students said they had been bullied. Boys and girls reported that they had experienced bullying in about the same numbers. The survey also revealed that Anoka-Hennepin minority students felt less safe than white students. (Anoka-Hennepin District 11, Minnesota, 2004 survey of students in grades 4, 6 ,8, and 10) Some 69 percent of 7- to 12-year-old rural Minnesotans said there were bullies in their town. More than 50 percent said they had been picked on by these bullies. (Downloaded Aug. 24, 2006, at http://www.extension.umn.edu/info-u/families/BF923.html) One out of every 10 students who drops out of school does so because of repeated bullying. (Oklahoma Health Department, 2001) Victims of bullying are more likely to suffer physical problems such as common colds and coughs, sore throats, poor appetite, and night waking. (Journal of the American Medical Association, 2003)

Cyber (electronic) Bullying Statistics:

  • 42 percent of children have been bullied while online. One in 4 have had it happen more than once.
  • 35 percent of children have been threatened online. Nearly 1 in 5 have had it happen more than once.
  • 58 percent of children admit someone has said mean or hurtful things to them online. More than 4 out of 10 say it has happened more than once.
  • 53 percent of children admit having said something mean or hurtful to another person online. More than 1 in 3 have done it more than once.
  • 58 percent of children have not told their parents or an adult about something mean or hurtful that happened to them online.
  • (Cyber bullying statistics are based on a 2004 i-SAFE survey of 1,500 students grades 4-8)

More Bullying Facts:

  • Bullying is the most common form of violence; between 15 percent and 30 percent of students are bullies or victims. Some 3.7 million youth engage in it, and more than 3.2 million are victims of bullying annually.
  • Since 1992, there have been 250 violent deaths in schools, and bullying has been a factor in virtually every school shooting.
  • Direct, physical bullying increases in elementary school, peaks in middle school, and declines in high school. Verbal abuse, on the other hand, remains constant.
  • More than two-thirds of students believe that schools respond poorly to bullying, with a high percentage of students believing that adult help is infrequent and ineffective.
  • 25 percent of teachers see nothing wrong with bullying or putdowns and consequently intervene in only 4 percent of bullying incidents.
(Cohn & Cantor, 2003; Council on Scientific Affairs, American Medical Association, 2002)

This article may be reproduced for free in your publication or on your Web site with the following credit: ©2006 PACER Center. Reprinted with permission.

National Coming Out Day from 1 Evangelical Perspective

October 12, 2010

Again, this is not my writing. It is not my journey. It is that of my friend Maria Kettleson. It should be shared with all people coming from “evangelical” places. Maria’s blog is: http://www.myrealjourney.com/

Maria, if I were to give you one bit of “criticism,” it would be to stop saying that your opinion is less valuable than anyone else’s. That just isn’t true, and this post is a demonstration of that.

(I placed quotation marks around the word “evangelical” above because this is another good word that has been coopted by one segment of Christianity. Thanks, Maria, for saying that your point of view is but one such perspective.)

____________________

I told Bet Hannon and Adele Sakler last week that I’d post today, for National Coming Out Day, as a straight ally to my LGBTQ friends . . . and I have composed at least half a dozen very distinct posts since then, each with a different focus and different twist. And this morning during my normal time of prayer I found myself composing blog posts in my head rather than approaching the throne of the Triune God. Hmmm . . .
Reality is that I am not going to change anyone’s mind in this post, but that I am going to anger or disappoint people who see things differently than I do now. But I believe obedience to the Triune God requires me to say all this today; so how do I go about this as a layperson with less credibility than many of you?

I finally decided to narrow it down to addressing the real people in my life, because there are plenty of places for any of you to get big general pronouncements of ethics or correct theology or correct exegesis. And I DO address the real people of my life with this issue, face to face and on the phone and in many other avenues. It is important to me.

Why is it important to me? Because, as Rachel Swan first told me, we each have our “queer card” (the place where we hide who we really are for fear of being rejected); and because I think this issue is a microscope that lets us examine the reality of our soteriology: What are we saved from? What are we saved for? How are we saved? What does that salvation look like when we walk it out? Finally, for all of us of any faith or no faith, this issue gets at the heart of “what is THE GOOD LIFE?” What will really satisfy us?

But I’m not going to do an essay on a satisfying life, or an essay on soteriology, or an essay on ethics, or an essay on community. When I did debate in junior high and high school, I learned how to study both sides of an issue to argue either side in a way to win the debate, and I also learned how to recognize that TRUTH goes way beyond talking points to win the debate. Each person who reads this is capable of choosing real study of both sides, and each person who reads this is free to stick blindly to their own side without really considering the other side beyond what it takes to win the debate against them in your own head. I can urge the first and caution against the second, but you are you and it’s your choice.

So instead, I’m giving you glimpses of my words to the people I love in regard to sexual orientation, ethics, and lifestyle:

To my boys, in age-appropriate ways and at age-appropriate times:

It is my heart’s desire that you experience the life God created you to experience, in every arena. I pray you love the Triune God and learn obedience and learn appropriate freedom. I pray you learn “how life works”, and can navigate that reality in ways that fulfill you and fulfill God’s purposes for you fully. I long for you to know scripture more and more thoroughly, for you to study many spheres of knowledge, for you to experience the reality of prayer, the reality of action, the reality of solitude, the reality of community, the reality of contemplation, the reality of hard work both physically and mentally. I long for you to have wonderful friendships and to grow into a fully satisfying sexual partnership that will last a lifetime. I am excited to see how that plays out for you!

Sin is what separates you from God or from others. Part of maturity is learning to recognize that separation and realize that God is after a healing of that separation, and that God personally provided THE WAY to real salvation. Accept God’s gift of life in Jesus Christ, and pursue that life with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. It is our relationship with God that satisfies the part of us that nothing else can satisfy, and God so desired that relationship that God provided in Christ (in Christ’s life, death, and resurrection ) all that you need to be able to experience that life daily and for eternity as you turn away from the things that do not satisfy and turn to the things that DO satisfy.

Do not be afraid of your sexuality or of your identity as it develops. Sex is a wonderful part of the life God plans for most of us, and God will walk with you there just as God will walk with you in all the other areas of your life. Do not feel you need to run or hide from God because sex is sin. Sex is not sin. Turning from God toward something that you prefer over God is sin. Let God lead you even in your sexuality, and let God affirm you no matter what you experience there, and bring forgiveness and/or healing when you find you need healing or forgiveness. Sex is not just for procreation, but is for intense connection to another human being. Treat it with respect, treat yourself with respect, and treat others with respect!

Develop a community of friends and family around you that are safe for you. Tell them what is sacred and private. Let them nurture you as you nurture them. Do not feel you need to allow yourselves to be exposed to or hurt by those who prove themselves unkind or sick emotionally. Minister to those people, but know with everything in you that you do not need their approval.

It is my prayer that you will find me safe, even as you find me real and full of character flaws that have impacted you and will impact you. I pray you will forgive me, and I pray you will be able to build a relationship with me that meets your deep needs from me as your mother and as your friend. But you have the right to increasing privacy from me as you grow, and to complete privacy from me as adults. You get to choose as adults the role you want me to have in your lives.

Treat others with respect and love, and do not become people who are unkind for any reason. Most especially, do not become people who are unkind and who justify their unkindness by their religious beliefs!

To my straight, evangelical friends and family:

I am grateful for you! You model for me real love and real life, and God has used you to make me. You have taught me to think and live and love. You have shown me God’s forgiveness and restoration. Losing you would be devastating!

But today I need to tell you that the Bible we’ve been reading all our lives doesn’t say some of the things we thought it said. It DOES say that there is a law that leads us to the TRUTH. It DOES say that we are called to obedience in all things, even as we learn the freedom of obedience. But it doesn’t say that the gender roles we were taught are more than cultural, nor does it say that the sexual and marital ethics we were taught are the only way to fulfill the fruit of the Spirit at the end of Galatians. We ARE to be faithful, temperate people who use our sexuality to honor God and each other. But our ultimate calling is not to the Christian version of the American Dream. Our ultimate calling is to wholehearted devotion to the Triune God.

I believe that homosexuality is something we misunderstand in just about every way as a subculture, and I believe the main reason for that is that we are more invested in our idea of the Christian version of the American Dream than we are invested in the real Triune God or in God’s real people. I believe we need to repent, and commit ourselves to obedience even if it is painful because it turns all our ideas about gender and family and stability and safety upside down. I am not calling us to turn away from God’s WORD, but rather to actually hear it and live it in ways we are failing to hear it and live it now.

We are willing to turn our back on our homosexual parents, siblings, and children because we believe it is a sinful choice that God is against, and we have invested so much into that belief (in our rejection of them and in the cost emotionally to us) that it is scary to even consider that that stand goes against the whole of scripture even as we have ourselves preached it and taught it. We are caught between many rocks and hard places, because to even consider that perhaps God created them to have the desires they have with as much joy as God created us with our desires (let alone that God is glad for healthy expression of their sexuality and not just of our own) is to start to face our inconsistencies, fallacies, and guilt, and is also to expose ourselves to the same kind of rejection and social norming and persecution that we have exposed them to.

But we are called to extend the gospel to all, and to know that gospel ourselves as we do it. That means studying anew the letters of Paul and Peter and James and John. That means studying anew the words of Jesus. It means knowing Christian history. It means knowing science and philosophy and ethics. And most of all, it means living it out. We will be held accountable. Clergy won’t get off the hook because of the vows they took to their denominational beliefs. Laity won’t get off the hook because they were limited to the beliefs they were taught. Each of us will be held accountable for all that we could have learned from God through all the channels God tried to teach us . . . and the opportunities for that learning and practice are so rich for every single one of us!

In Jesus’ parable of the sheep and the goats, the “what they did and didn’t do” that separated the sheep from the goats was not the ideology they embraced, or the forms of justice they espoused verbally. It was the ways they extended kindness to real people, or the ways they failed to extend kindness to real people. And the kindness was not extended in order to bring the objects of the kindness to faith, even, or to obedience. The kindness was extended in a lifestyle of kindness, oblivious to whether the object of the kindness was the Son of God Himself.

I do not mean to simplify our faith, or to simplify what obedience means. Study it out yourself. Analyze it again. But don’t miss living it.

To my gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer friends:

I ask you to forgive me for my silence that has been my part in creating a pain-filled world for you.

I thank you for your friendship, which has allowed me to experience myself and God and reality in ways I was not capable of experiencing without you.

I affirm that I do not believe an orientation is sin. I affirm that I do not believe homosexual sexual activity is sin, anymore than I believe heterosexual sexual activity is always sin. (If you believe in the concept of sin as that which separates one from God and from others, certainly you can see ways that either heterosexual or homosexual activity may be sinful in the wrong situations or with the wrong motives. If you do not believe in the concept of sin, then we stand separated by that belief rather than by our orientations or actions, but it is my hope that you will be willing to extend me your friendship anyway.)

I am amazed by your stories of faith and struggle and suffering and change. I am amazed by your perseverance in membership in faith communities that have rejected you. I am grateful for your dedication to TRUTH and for your courage in the face of a world set against you.

You are individuals with individual callings. I pray you will be wise in your choices in safe people, in safe places, and in safe communities, so that you can avoid victimization you have not chosen, even as you gear up knowingly for victimization as you push the world to be a safer place for our children.

You are my parents, my cousins, my children, and my friends. I want for you pretty much the same stuff that I wrote that I wanted for my own children. For all of us, but especially for you, I want a world where we have freedom to publicly believe what our hearts and minds actually believe, and where we can choose to live the way God leads us to live without fear of brutality or rejection or poverty.

May you experience fully God’s best for you . . . with the love and support of our culture rather than with its opposition and hatred!

To All of Us:

We cannot afford to not spend the emotional energy it takes to fully consider this. We cannot afford to be hardened into ideological numbness that lets us justify cruelty with phrases like “love the sinnner but hate the sin”. If you are angry at me and about to unfriend me on FaceBook, feel free to unfriend me, but afterwards take time to consider why it provoked those emotions in you. Take it to God, and ask God to enlighten me if I am deluded, but also open yourself to ask God to enlighten you if God has something new to show you here.

I grew up listening to Focus on the Family, and come from the place where it was shocking to me to consider how a Christian could be a Christian and yet accept homosexuality as okay. One of the posts I considered writing was my story in how God brought me from there to here. But instead I have addressed us all with the challenge to be willing to fully live out each of our own stories without fear, and to accept each other as we encourage each other to do the same.

God created each of us. God created sexuality to work a certain way. God is bigger than our politics, and even bigger than our theology. I am clicking “publish” with the prayer that God will accomplish the Triune God’s purposes on this day through this drop in the bucket.

Amen.

World Communion Sunday

October 1, 2010

I like what Susan Leo says about World Communion Sunday: This Sunday is World Communion Sunday, the one day of the year when virtually every church all over the globe commits to celebrating communion. It’s like millions of people being gathered around the table all at once! It’s kind of a cool idea isn’t it? People in every country, hearing the words of institution in every language, sharing in the bread and the cup however they experience it. While Jesus likely celebrated the last supper with matzah and wine, what elements are used — what is served — varies from place to place. Green tea and rice cakes, water and tortillas, jallab and pita, apple juice and bagels, pepsi and cookies, grape juice and challah – it doesn’t matter what the elements are. What matters is the intention. What matters is that when it is celebrated we “Do this in remembrance of me.” We do this in remembrance of Jesus and all he showed us, all he taught us, all he did for us. This Sunday we’ll gather around Christ’s table — the table that is spread around the world — and we’ll worship God as we sing, pray, read, listen, and rejoice together. We’ll celebrate with you, wherever in the world you are.

I made this graphic to use for our church bulletin.

Out October: My Transgender Life

October 1, 2010

This isn’t my post. It’s from my online friends at The New Civil Rights Movement. With the rash of young queer suicides in the news, please read it. Remember: these are just the suicides we hear about. There are many, many more.

by CALEB EIGSTI on OCTOBER 1, 2010

I created “Out October” as a month-long series dedicated to sharing stories of hope and strength. Stories that highlight people finding their way. Stories that tell everyone, but especially LGBTQ youth, that you can make it, that there is always hope, that there is always a way.

Here we have our first story to kick off “Out October.” I choose this story to start out the series because of its power, the strength of the individual and the message it sends to all who see it. Each weekday I will be adding to the list of stories, some are videos, some are written letters, but they all highlight the courage and strength it takes to “Take the next step.”

This documentary describes Erin’s feelings of growing up in the wrong body, how she dealt with it and how she is dealing with it. She tells of her feelings and her emotional responses. Erin Winter is a pillar of strength, and in her weak moments she knows she has people in her life she can turn to, like her partner, also transgender and a lesbian. These words don’t define them, they are a part of them but do not make them who they are.

Read the rest of this article at The New Civil Rights Movement.