Tag Archives: Love

How to Love Radically in the Era of Trump

6 Feb

radical-loveI have been struggling, along with 2/3 of the nation, since November. I have been fearful, hurt, and worried for ALL targeted communities. For those who insultingly made this about “Hillary lost, get over it,” you missed the point, quite sadly. This was about resisting a fascist regime, which we are now under, as evidenced by the over 20 Executive Orders delivered by Trump — as evidenced by the myriad lies spread by Trump and his team (please don’t make up attacks, Kellyanne).  This was about supporting a billionaire bully who makes fun of people with disabilities  and says it is acceptable to grab women by their genitals.

And so I struggle. I struggle with how to be loving to Trump supporters, some of whom are family members — family members who have decidedly voted against me, my family, my friends, and the earth. Yet I must maintain that we have to stay in community; we have to operate from our hearts first; we have to make space for those who are hurting us. I STRUGGLE!

I struggle every day to make this space for people who are deliberately oppressing so many. It is hard to love someone when they are punching you or shooting at you or sustaining systems of oppression. Moreover, I don’t want to become like those who are oppressing us! I think our individual and collective ability to RESIST with every fiber of our being and simultaneously love and make space for Trump supporters is Radical Love. I would love to take credit for this, but at least two of my friends for over 30 years, Jen, and DeShawn helped me here.

I feel obligated to share some survival tips and invite you to share how you are surviving a world gone mad.

  1. Take a break from news and social media.
  2. If you are able to, binge watch some tv that brings you joy. Here, I would strongly recommend the Netflix remake of One Day At A Time. My friend Gita recommended this to me, and Robert and I are loving it! It has a Latina cast and addresses social issues and is FUN! Rita Moreno is in it along with Justina Machado, and I think I am in love with Isabella Gómez. 
  3. With intentionality, seek out friends, family, and family of choice who feed your soul.

Finally, join me in a commitment to Radical Love! I commit to being in and operating from a place of love, while I know there are days I will fail at this. When I fail at this, I will not shame myself. I will continue to work towards building community, solidarity, and find ways to both resist this current fascist regime and love those who are engaged in supporting a world of fear, hate, and oppression. If this sounds or feels contradictory to you, all I can say is: I’m able to hold a lot of tension around being messy — this work we do towards social justice/transformative justice is MESSY! We don’t do this work in isolation and we will not complete it, but we must be engaged!

I invite you to share how you are navigating currently. What is working and what is not working?

Standing in love and solidarity,

Michael

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Hero of the Week Award: October 19, Timothy Kurek

19 Oct

Hero of the Week

Just over two years ago, Timothy Kurek was what he describes as a “homophobic Christian.” He believed that the Bible prohibited homosexual behavior and made no effort to reconcile that with true Christian love and charity. Then a close friend came out to him and told him the story of her estrangement from her entire family. That made him think again.

Inspired to take a journey of true empathy, Kurek decided to spend a year masquerading as a gay man. He came out to friends and family and tried to integrate himself into the gay community in Nashville. The experience was more difficult and enlightening than he expected.

He has just published a book about his experiences, The Cross In the Closet, and is touring the country describing the work he did not just to wear a mask, but to open hearts and minds. Although his “coming out” was difficult for his family, he describes them now as active supporters of the LGBT community, a major change from their perspectives before his adventure. Those attitudes have stayed positive even after he revealed the nature of his project.

In less capable hands, the whole thing could come off like a media stunt. Kurek, however, is very genuine. He felt a true calling to understand his brothers and sisters and describes his difficulties as a “gay man” in terms of true struggle and oppression. Significantly, he realizes that his experiences, while enlightening, were still relatively safe.

I will be the first one to say that my experience is severely limited. There is no way I could possibly understand what it’s like to be actually gay. And the book itself is not at all about what it is like to be gay, but only about how the label of gay impacted my external life and how those things kind of altered my faith and challenged my beliefs.

What a wonderful sentiment and expression of true charity and love.

The Titanic: A Very Different Love Story

15 Apr

Thank you to my dear friend Jay for inspiring me to write this story.  While I love Kate Winslet, I must confess I did not enjoy the movie Titanic, nor did the love story interest me.  However, there is a perspective I would like to share with TSM readers regarding an actual love story with a very sad ending and the sinking of the Titanic.

Major Archibald Butt, who was a military advisor for President Taft, saved many lives on the Titanic on April 15.  In fact, President Taft wept openly upon the news of Archibald Butt’s death.  Butt, during his lifetime, was the object of many cruel jokes regarding his name–a name now associated with courage and heroism. Sadly, Butt was able to save so many lives but he was not able to save the life of his spouse.

Too often stories of history leave out important details about people’s lives.  Our hero Archibald Butt was gay and had a long-time partner, Frank Millet. Millet graduated from Harvard and became an international war correspondent. Butt and Millet shared a home in D.C. where they lived a happy life together until their deaths aboard the Titanic.

The couple had set sail on the Titanic, but neither would return to America alive.  What is more sad, is that the couple did not have the chance to be together at the very end.  Butt was busy saving other people’s lives, and Millet was not seen before being lost to the cold sea.

I love this story because it reminds us that there are narratives that neglect to be told and are expunged from history, and I have the fortunate opportunity to share these stories.  Can you imagine how Butt and Millet’s story might affect LGBT youth?

Today, there is a memorial in Washington Square called the Butt-Millet Fountain.

Archibald Butt

For more detailed information and to see another great blog, click here.

Bonnie Raitt Celebrates Love In All Its Guises

9 Apr

Regular readers of TSM will know that I’m a big fan of Bonnie Raitt. She’s not just a talented musician, she’s a great human being, a powerful activist, and a woman who is comfortable being herself. Just when I thought I couldn’t love her any more, I saw the new video for the first single from her forthcoming album Slipstream. (It will be available tomorrow, April 10!)

The song itself is beautiful, a great bluesy reworking of the late Gerry Rafferty’s #12 hit Right Down the Line from 1978. Bonnie is respectful of the original while making it fully her own.

Even more impressive is the video. Filmed at the vacant New Mission Theater in San Francisco, it features Bonnie and her band performing the song while a number of local couples listen, dance, and celebrate (and even kiss). What makes this video perfect is that she includes the full spectrum of love. The couples are all ages and colors, gay and straight. The simple beauty of all these people gathered to enjoy a powerful song of love is astounding.

Enjoy this remarkable video and celebrate the amazing humanity of Bonnie Raitt.

Happy Easter/Happy Passover

8 Apr

In Sunday Morning by Wallace Stevens, we learn that “…death is the mother of beauty”:

But in contentment I still feel
The need of some imperishable bliss.
Death is the mother of beauty; hence from her,
Alone, shall come fulfillment to our dreams
And our desires.

Yes, many people are celebrating Easter or Passover and the start of Spring.  Lest we forget though:

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers. (T.S. Eliot The Wasteland)

What are people searching for? Are most of us on some quixotic journey to find something greater than ourselves and if so, what does that need fulfill?

While I am not religious and refuse to subscribe to any organized religion, I can’t help but wonder and worry for my LGBT brothers and sisters on this Sunday morning. It is both Easter and Passover.  I wonder what it must feel like on a “holy” day to want to worship and be part of a community of worship, only to be met with contempt or self-righteous indignation.  I imagine one must feel quite isolated and rejected.  Don’t get me wrong, I really do believe religion has the potential to build coalitions and unite disparate groups.  I just have yet to witness that.

I was reading a blog by a bisexual youth who identifies as Catholic and my heart broke for this young person. The Pope, or as my husband and I refer to him, Benny the Rat, has been less than Christian toward the LGBT community, as he passes judgement on “the abomination” of homosexuality while wearing his beautifully ornate frocks. I’m sure most of you by now have heard that the Pope has commissioned his own perfume.  How much does the Scent of a Pontiff cost?  How many hungry and homeless could that money have helped?  The designer of Pope Benny’s perfume is the same designer of Madonna’s signature fragrance. No, not the mother of Jesus, that other Madonna.

All I can offer this young person and LGBT people of faith is that: Death is the mother of beauty; hence from her, Alone, shall come fulfillment to our dreams And our desires.  How I interpret Stevens’ line here specifically for the LGBT community is that when the OLD GUARD finally dies and is replaced with a more loving and compassionate community, organically created from a more educated and compassionate populace, only then will we fulfill our dreams.  But it starts with you! Being visible and vocal and by paying attention to politics is our task at hand.  Those of us in the LGBT community do not have the luxury of not paying attention.

Wouldn’t it be nice if religion taught people NOT to marginalize any other humans–if it taught that we are obligated to love all of our brothers and sisters and take them into our hearts?  Yes, that means supporting women, our Muslim brothers and sisters, our Black and Latino brothers and sisters.

Lead with Love: How to Support Your LGBT Child

11 Dec

Thank you to my friend Erin for inspiring me to write this article.

Regardless of how anyone feels about gay rights, even those that spew bigoted homophobic hate (all of the Republican Presidential Candidates), there is bound to be someone that looks like me in your family.  Yes, this may come as a shock, but it is the heterosexual population that keeps breeding us gays.

Over the course of the past year, I have heard from many parents (mostly moms) about what to do if “my child is gay?”  I’m happy to say that most of the private emails I have received through the blog are from parents who want to be supportive, with only a few from parents that want to learn how to “change” their child.

I was very fortunate to come across an amazing resource for parents.  Lead with Love is a documentary created to help and support parents:

Our goal is to provide comfort, information, and guidance for parents who have recently learned that their son or daughter is lesbian, gay, or bisexual. The film follows four families as they share their honest reactions to hearing that their child is gay, including the intense emotions, fears, and questions that it raised.

Click here for the amazing and powerful trailer.  I wish my parents had this documentary as a resource and I’m so grateful that current parents now have this resource to support and love their lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender child.  All we want is to be loved and treated equally. A huge way to combat homophobia and transphobia is to combat systematic and institutionalized misogyny.  Please click here to learn more about Lead with Love.

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