Sunday, June 14, 2009

Looking for Tomorrow

Hi friends
If any of you still drop by, you will have noticed that I have not been blogging as much. I've moved my thoughts on LGBT rights over to Jay and his partner Christopher are truly amazing and it has been a real gift to get to know them. Stop by and say Hi.

At some point, I'm sure that I will start a personal blog again. I'm just not sure on what. My life has become full. I'm enjoying every minute. I love my job, I enjoy blogging with Jay and the rest of his team, it's summer, we're adding a room to the house.

Stop by Facebook or find me on Twitter as bear54.

It's been truly flattering that you have taken time from your lives to read my words.

Mark Your Calendars - Movie about hate on PBS

This movie is about a hate crime in France. A young gay man was killed by two skinheads looking for an Arab. When they couldn't find one, they "settled" for a gay man.
It will air on June 30 on Public Broadcasting System.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Words of Hate From Straight People

Tuesday, June First, the California Supreme Court will announce it's decision at 10 a.m. Pacific Time. Today I looked at two websites. The LA Times and the Independent Mind. As usual, reader comments are all over the board. I've selected some of the negative comments and I have highlighted, in red, the words that reveal the hatred, bigotry, lies and ignorance of the people making these posts. I have copied these comments exactly and I have not corrected any spelling or grammatical errors. I welcome every reader to link to this blog, copy the words to your own blog and share this blog with your friends.

I can't help but ask myself. If these individuals were face to face with a gay person, would they say these words? The Internet provides anonymity. That has its positives - because all of us want to stay safe. It also has its negatives. We say things we would probably never say directly to a person. If you can't say it to someone's face, maybe you shouldn't say it? For those of you that share the feelings that you are about to read, I challenge you to take the time to read some facts. I challenge you to open your heart and think what if you were in the shoes of a gay person. Don't judge a person until you have walked a mile in their shoes. If your positions are correct, it shouldn't hurt you to listen to the other side.

I'm not gay. I have many gay friends and they are are good people. Do you know someone who is gay? If not, I challenge you to purposely meet someone. For those of you that are unable to listen to the why gay people deserve the same rights as straight people, hear this. Gay people are not going to shut up. They are being denied rights. You want to stop hearing about it? Give everyone equal rights and let everyone get on with their lives.

And now, on to the comments.

It's not about giving or denying gay rights... but about demoralizing what a healthy, house & family is all about. Most of people endorsing gay marriages, don't want their children to be educated in a gay home. This is hypocrisy! Church Ministers will be forced by law to celebrate gay marriage. Is this fair?
Posted by: Marcel May 24, 2009 at 02:47 PM

No minister will be forced to celebrate gay marriage. Today, a minister can deny performing a wedding service to anyone. Besides, a church wedding isn't needed to make marriage legal. It has nothing to do with civil marriage. Don't believe me? Ask your clergyman. Or the county courthouse.

Facism is Facism. The "No on Prop 8" supporters have embraced FACISM! Their Mantra is "GAY FACISM UEBER ALLES!"
Posted by: Steve May 24, 2009 at 07:38 AM

I have no clue what this means. But I think it's from someone who is crazy.

You know what? I think that everyone who is unhappy with the outcome of Prop 8 should leave California immediately. Obviously you are very unhappy and you should live elsewhere that will accommodate any perversion you want. Frankly, I'm looking forward to the Supreme Court upholding the will of the people to determine what their society will look like. This isn't a race thing so don't give me that. This is a sexual perversion thing and I'm glad the people of California had the guts to say NO MORE! Others States who are having this issue crammed down their throats will rise up and follow suit. You watch! It will happen
Posted by: CAPearl May 22, 2009 at 05:14 PM

I always love this solution. Don't like how I think? Move. That's intelligent. Crammed down their throats? I have lost count of the number of times that a religious person has knocked on my door, wanting to come in and preach to me. Never, not once, has a gay person, anywhere, tried to invade my home or what I think. Why? First, they are only interested in living their own lives. Second, someone like you might answer the door and kill them.

Gays have their Civil unions and domestic partnerships. This minority of deviants should never have the authority or power to redefine marriage or our society based on their perversions. We chose to honor male and females in marriage. We said it twice to the gays in elections. What part of "No" and "Get lost" do you not understand? Leave marriage alone. You don't need our tradition. Make your own. And don't beg us for validation.
Posted by: jeffrey hepler May 22, 2009 at 04:47 PM

For the ten billionth time, this isn't about tradition, it's about legal rights. Civil unions and domestic partnerships cover a small fraction of the legal benefits of marriage. There are 1138 rights given to married people scattered throughout Federal Law. Look it up. And what part of equal rights and Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You don't you understand?

Gays and Lesbians will have no choice but to abide by the law whether they like it or not. Gays and Lesbians Do Not have the right to disturb the peace or to threaten anyone who disagrees with no on Prop. 8 or their sexual orientation.

Asking for rights is disturbing the peace? It might be disturbing your narrow view of the world. Go in the closet if it bothers you. See what that is like.

Marriage is not a right to anyone, and Gays and Lesbians need to get it through their heads. If Gays and Lesbians continue to persist, they will bring on the hate and suffer the consequences of those who will not tolerate their behavior.

Marriage is a right for heterosexuals but not for gays and lesbians, and heterosexuals need to get that through their heads. Thanks for the warning about the hate but it's already here. Your side has not been shy about holding back. But I do thank you for having the courage to put your hatred and threats in writing. Are you willing to say these things publicly to a gay person to their face?

From Independent Minds
copycat7 wrote:

You're kind of late, copycat. The American Psychology Association removed homosexuality as a mental illness thirty years ago. They disgust you? Just curious. Do you KNOW a gay person? Just one? I challenge you to open your mind long enough to attempt to get to know someone who is gay. Actually, you probably do know someone who is gay. They are just smart enough to know that coming out to you would be dangerous.

Re: Copycatis hate crime
zahradelaplata wrote:
Monday, 25 May 2009 at 12:34 pm (UTC)what marginality? The only marginal ones are gays. They are nothing but 3% of world population, and they try to force the rest of us, the real normal people, to accept'them as normal ones. They are not. Never will be. 97% is straight, that shows that the mere 3% is the exception to the rule, and definitely not the norm, hence, nothing normal or any need to accept their agenda. It's unbelievable how some minuscule groups force the majority, and brainwash society, just because they have the media and enough money to push these issues. You want to live your life? OK, do so between the walls of your bedroom, and leave the rest of us alone. Don't expect the majorities (like the one in California), accept or bend to your whims. See what you gays are trying to do in California. YOU LOST a democratic vote. DEAL WITH IT. But nooo, you just can't, right? You have to terrorize normals, use your economic muscle, your media capacity to force the majority to change what they decided in a ballot. That shows you what is the real frame of mind of gays. They don't just want their so called rights, they have to stomp over the opinions of others, and force them to their whims. What's next? Promoting homosexuality in schools, so you can harvest new kids for your zoo sooner? And we'll have to accept it, right? Riiiight.

Mormons are 1.7% of the population. In fact, most of us are in a minority for something. What does a percent have to do with anything? What percent would it take to convince you they are normal? Terrorize? Gay people want the same rights as the rest of us. I have an idea. Keep your hatred and bigotry inside your house and leave the rest of us alone. Harvesting kids? People are born gay. Or did you go through some agonizing process of deciding to be straight?

it's wrong wrong wrong
joshuacohen2003 wrote:
Monday, 25 May 2009 at 02:02 pm (UTC)Gays are just wrong in every sense of normal rational behaviour.forget the religious aspect because that's plain and simple and clearly obvious. No religion on earth condones homosexuality.
However lets look at it from an atheistic, scientific, logical, rational point of view. It's still glarignly obvious to anyone with a few brain cells that being homosexual is just idiotic nonsense. nature created males and females.
end of argument.

Dear Joshua Cohen. Your lack of scientific education and knowledge of religious texts is stunning. There is a growing body of evidence that sexual orientation has biological origins. Go to Entrez Pubmed and search the REAL scientific literature. Religion? There are groups in every faith that welcome LGBT members. Jews, Christians, Catholics, Buddhists, even Muslim. The religious aspect is anything but obvious. People wrote ancient scriptures 2000 plus years ago. The words have been misinterpreted and the cultural context lost. Why do these words hold more convincing power than modern day science? I'm sorry, that makes no sense to me.

These comments are not only factually wrong, they hurt real people. People who are daughters, sons, brothers and sisters. Real humans who are the same as me and you. I find these comments so unethical, so filled with unfounded prejudice, so unAmerican that I am ashamed.

Dehumanizing others so that we don't have to face our biases, so we don't have to feel that they are as human as we are, is a slippery slope, the same slope that led to slavery and the Holocaust. Haven't we learned anything from our own history? Our world history? We look back now and are ashamed of the discrimination in our nation's past. The next generation will look back on the fight for gay rights the same way. It is already happening. In the end, hate always loses.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Closet Talk

My good friend at jaysays has a series called Closet Talk that, obviously, is a reference to LGBT folks and what it is like to come out of "the closet" as it has always been called.

My blog today is what Closet Talk should look like for everyone. Gay, lesbian, straight, bisexual, transgendered, not sure, Mormon, Atheists, Italians, rich, black, white, northerners (especially northerners).

Especially northerners? Yes folks. I'm talking about the semi-annual ritual of moving the winter wardrobe to the spare closet and bringing out the summer clothes. Today my husband informed me this is the day. Worse, he pointed out that I have two closets and two dressers full of clothes, most of which I never wear. I said - this just means I need a bigger closet. He said - you have clothes you never wear.

And boy do I ever. I shocked myself. After all these years of being a geek who is proud of her lack of fashion obsession, I've still managed to collect a mountain of clothes. None of them fashionable though, I do want to make that clear. I have some integrity as a geek.

I'm taking a break right now but the slavedriver is watching the clock and pacing past the "office" which on the way to the room with the closets. Can I help it that cleaning gives me hot flashes?

I've sorted through the "with this many stains I can only use this for painting" all the way to the "why are the tags still on this", folded up the good ones and will share them with women who might appreciate saving a buck or two. They are geeks too. So it might just work.

Use your closet for clothes. Bring YOU into the Living Room. Living. That's what it's all about.
Anyone need an ugly sweater?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I love holiday weekends

Today I slept in, went to Star Trek. We need another Gene Roddenberry. His vision of our possible future was so positive. We can change everything that is wrong. Ok, almost everything. We can feed people. We can find new sources of energy. We can provide medical care and education. We can continue to find cures and preventions for diseases. We can take care of the planet. We can make peace and respect one another. All of these are humanly possible.

Can you do one thing every day that changes the world? Can you be the change you want to see? What matters more to you than anything? Whose life can you touch, even if it's just a smile and sharing a joke?

Practice random acts of kindness. Practice intentional acts of kindness. It doesn't have to cost money. Reuse your grocery bags. Walk when possible. Turn off the lights. Volunteer through your church or school. Write to your Congressman. Put your unneeded items on Freecycle. Help a friend fix something. Hold open the door for someone. Give up your seat on the bus for someone. Buy just one food item grown locally. Meditate for five minutes. Remind yourself of all the people that love you. Be grateful for what you have. Help those who have less.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Domestic Partnership Protections in Wisconsin

Today I received this email from Fair Wisconsin:

Today, the Joint Finance Committee voted by a 12-4 margin to approve provisions providing for domestic partnership protections as part of the biennial budget.
“We applaud the Joint Finance Committee’s decision to approve this important measure, and thank the committee co-chairs Senator Miller and Representative Pocan for their leadership,” said Fair Wisconsin Executive Director Glenn Carlson.

“Domestic partnerships offer the basic legal protections that caring, committed couples need to be able to take care of each other,” said Fair Wisconsin Legislative Director Katie Belanger. “Even in tough economic times, providing domestic partnership protections like hospital visitation, end of life decision-making, and the ability to take family leave to care for a sick or injured partner is the fair and decent thing to do.”

Following the executive sessions of the Joint Finance Committee, the full legislature is scheduled to vote on the budget in June.

To learn more about domestic partnerships or to support this important effort, please visit

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Time for Action.

Hello all,

Things were looking good for us with the election of Obama and the democratic majority in congress. I know I felt very relieved watching the inauguration. I was happy that "change had come to Washington" But the lack of action on promises that were made in the during the campaign have left me feeling mislead.

Yesterday I saw a story about a Air Force pilot who was being fired for being gay. Story here This upset me greatly, this man is a decorated hero, who was selected to protect our nation's capital during the 9-11 attacks. But he no longer considered fit to serve. How can this be a good idea? Is it ever in a organizations interest to fire a solid performer? How can this be good for our national security to fire such a qualified pilot?

After reading the article I went to Whitehouse website to see the official stance on GLBT issues. Guess what, they don't exist!! I checked under civil rights, but again no mention of GLBT issues. Nothing under Family either. This got me really angry, so I sent Obama a letter through the whitehouse website, asking him to honor his promise.

But part of wanted to do more, For too long I have given money to various gay charities (HRC, Lambda Legal, and the Task Force) and expected them to fight for our rights. But now I am enraged. It's time for things to change. We need to show them that we are NOT going to be oppressed anymore. We need a new leader, we need a modern day gay Martin Luther King. We need a gay equivalent to the black panthers. I'm not saving we need to bomb or anything violent, but we need to show our frustration and that we are not going to take this BS any longer. There are already calls for a march on Washington this fall More here. Will that be enough, I doubt it. But it is a start. Does anyone else out there have more ideas?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

International Day Against Homophobia

May 17th is the International Day Against Homophobia. Watch this amazing video. Share it. Celebrate the value of every human.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Good Bye From Out In Wisconsin

My personal blog, Christians For Equality, will still stand, Out In Wisconsin website has been cancelled. Out In Wisconsin worked out better as just a website than trying to do anything more with it. At least I tried and I apologize. Maybe I'll reach the public more on an emotional level without paying anything and without relying on directors to help it grow and just have my personal, free blog. Dissolution papers I will file next month. I apologize for the inconvenience and wish I could have done more at a state level than a personal and one person one.

I have realized through all this though who I am inside and who I want to show others I am on the outside. In the last few months I have learned more than I ever have in my first 33 1/2 years. You people have shown me there are still people out there who care and understand, who back up each other in hard times, who laugh with each other in good times. Out In Wisconsin was bound to fail, I know, but the support I got from all my LGBT friends made me feel like I could accomplish anything. My head was above the clouds. But I could not form an organization with what I had. We didn't even have time to open up a bank account for Out In Wisconsin or collect donations. Luckily. Sorry I failed you, but maybe it just wasn't in the cards.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Apology To LGBT And Straights

I apologize for wanting to be happy.
I apologize for wanting others to be happy.
I apologize for using the words "love", "happiness", and "commitment" when trying to define marriage.
I apologize for my unselfishness.
I apologize for coming out nearly three years ago.
I apologize for being happier since I came out, I should have soaked myself in tears the last three years.
I apologize for being Christian and a lesbian.
I apologize for using the word "Christ" in my personal blog and my main website to teach love and forgiveness. I should have done what many others do and use the bible to preach hate and intolerance toward others. I mean after all, control over others is better than love, right?
I apologize for wanting to try to reason with or bring the man-made religious intolerant and uncompassionate rulers to their knees. We should let them climb all over us, I should have just let them continue to climb all over me in my own family.
I apologize for being an individual.
I apologize for not shutting up and following blindly.
I apologize for offering encouragement.
I apologize for living and loving.
I apologize for having a heart.
I apologize for having some sort of a brain. Though others I know are definately smarter than I am but working together and learning from them seemed quite cool.
I apologize for wanting to work together as a team and accomplish something incredible.
I apologize for wanting to be unique.
I apologize for wanting to be special.
I apologize for feeling special.I apologize for Out In Wisconsin.
I apologize for feeling like I'm actually doing something right in my life for once.
Most importantly, I apologize for actually being me.

Saturday, May 9, 2009
Normally, I would just link to an article but I cannot resist copying this comment in it's entirety. That's because every single line makes absolutely no sense.

"On the subject of proper lawmaking in Augusta recently: I want to voice my disapproval of the Maine Legislature and the governor for spending state resources to debate gay marriage.
Whether or not I agree with the idea of gay marriage is irrelevant. The state or government has no business in saying "yes" or "no" to gay marriage. Does anyone recall the term "separation of church and state"?
Unless there is a safety or welfare issue, the government has no business ruling on these unions. Government by virtue of giving tax breaks and incentives for social actions has crossed the line in my mind. This is nothing more than government bias.
While there are good hardworking politicians, there are many others in it for their own egos.
I respect my forefathers, military personnel and public safety personnel too much to have any respect for the politicians tearing at the country's ethical foundation.
Spend your efforts on jobs and putting more people in jobs and fewer on welfare. "
Michael Swanholm

Dear Michael
Yes Michael, I do recall separation of church and state. I also recall that only government can make a marriage legal. So it's ONLY the government that has any business ruling on these unions. It certainly is not religion - that's called - you got it Michael - separation of church and state.
I respect every person's rights. Not just those of heterosexuals.
We should spend less money on giving rights to LGBT people. That's because these are rights they should already have. I'm with you there Michael. Make it federal law across the board. Repeal DOMA, make marriage legal, get rid of Don't Ask Don't Tell (because you and I both respect the military), pass anti-discrimination laws, pass hate crime legislation, teach our children that being gay is normal. I, too, would like to get this over with and move on to jobs.

And by the way, gay people have jobs. Gay people can lose their jobs just for being gay. Can you lose your job just for being straight?

Happy Mother's Day

A poem that I wrote for my son, when he was five (he's now twenty).
Happy Mother's Day to all

I hold you up above the fence
to see the world beyond mine
for you are higher

I am your guide and shelter
but I am not your keeper
I am your way shower
but not your way

I let you move up a step beyond my ladder
I hold you closer to the sky

You cannot see the top
You can only see the rise
The road is always moving higher

But turn around and look
at where you have been
it is ok to rest
and experience the vista

Life is never a plateau
but you can learn to rest
in a place that isn’t level
but you won’t roll off

Friday, May 8, 2009

LGBT for Breeders - Lesson 7

Even down under, a topic related to gay folks can cause quite a stir.,27574,25422558-421,00.html

The Daily Telegraph in Australia reported on May 4th that
“.....a book which teaches children about lesbian mums getting pregnant using sperm donors is being pitched at kids as young as two. The controversial publication, "Where Did I Really Come From?", also features a drawing of two gay men holding a baby in a chapter about surrogacy.
The publisher's marketing spruiks the book, which includes in-depth descriptions of sexual intercourse, as suitable to be read to two-year-olds. It was being advertised at some Sydney book stores and inside the cover as being part of the New South Wales Attorney General Office's Learn to Include program, the Daily Telegraph reported today.”

I tried to find the book at my local library and they didn’t have it. I also wasn’t interested in paying $20 for it online. From the information that I could find, the book talks about different methods for conception, beyond the “original”. In vitro fertilization, surrogacy – including how gays and lesbians can become parents.

Besides learning a new word, spruiks (Google it, I had to), I also thought it would be interesting to read some reader comments. Are they different in Australia? Turns out, no they are not.

Master Chief of Omocron Persi 8 Posted at 1:58pm May 05, 2009
"It should be considered child abuse for gays and lesbians to adopt or receive fertility treatment .Think of how messed up the children will be growing up in a strange environment like that, not to mention the torture they will suffer through school, or the fact that they may be taken out of schools for home schooling to shield them from what the other kids will do making them even more unbalanced. And for them to try and impose thier views on the minds of infants and the very young is just disgusting to say the least... I spose my comments will go unpublished or apear 'edited' at best (I no I am not PC but i dont care this is wrong) If you cant make a baby the natrual way then dont do it at all."

I can’t resist the urge to comment on two things. First, Master Chief of Omocron needs major help with spelling and punctuation. Second, most people who home school are religious fundamentalists “to shield them from what the other kids will do”.

And a comment from a different perspective.

“Come on guys, this is reality, life whether you are in denial of hidden under a rock. Some kids have 2 mums, some 2 dads, some 1 parent, some kids are conceived with donors, some via the "old fashioned" way. They are all "children" regardless of conception method. They fact is, this book goes through all the methods, yes parents will exercise wisdom when deciding when to allow their kids to read the book. But then they always have haven't they? Just because the book has been published doesn't mean it becomes a parent's only option in providing the details. Don't like it? Don't use it. I will be buying the book for my 11yo twin sons to read- unlike many other people commenting, they seem to understand that diversity in our community is not wrong. “

If the book did not talk about gays and lesbians, would anyone really criticize? Don’t we all know a heterosexual couple that could not conceive “naturally” and went another route? Don’t we applaud that science is able to help a couple that wants to love a child so much that they will endure the emotional ups and downs of in vitro fertilization, the financial burden of surrogacy, the years of waiting for adoption? Explaining the means of conception for in vitro fertilization is probably less uncomfortable than explaining intercourse. If you can explain why people wear eyeglasses, you can explain a test tube baby.

The comments left by readers condemning any means of creating a child other than through man/woman sexual intercourse are only hiding their homophobia. Whether or not a two year old can understand these concepts is a different question. One I’m not going to tackle here.
It became very clear that the outrage about this book has nothing to do with discussing other means of conception and childbearing, nor at what age can children grasp these concepts. It’s about people who don’t think that gay people should have children.

Do LGBT people make good parents?

First a story. Then the actual research.
Thirty years ago (yes, I was an adult thirty years ago), we were visiting a good friend in San Francisco, who happened to be gay. While we were there, it was Kurt’s birthday and several of his friends called him for a spontaneous birthday party. He explained that he had company from out of town. Straight company. Their answer? “Bring them with. So what?”

I was excited but nervous. First, I had never been in a social setting with a group of gay people. I was more afraid of saying or doing something stupid. Kurt gave us some quick “etiquette” lessons. Still, in all honesty, I didn’t know if I could find something to talk about other than “hmm, so you’re gay. What’s that been like for you?” Could I see the real person, not just the fact that they were gay?

Well thank goodness gay people throw great parties. There were about six men at the party with professions ranging from doctor to lawyer to waiter to financial broker. All very gracious, fun and relaxed. And so welcoming. Within minutes we were talking about the same things that our straight friends talk about.

One of the men had a six year old son, from a marriage. At this point in my life, I was still uncomfortable with the idea of gay people being parents. Not because I was worried about their parenting skills. I was more worried about their kids being teased. I had seen what my friend Kurt went through in high school. Being the child of a gay parent had to be a close second.
When it got to be around 9 p.m., Tom left the group to tuck his son into bed. The bedroom was on the first floor off the kitchen. He left the door open and I quietly eavesdropped. They were reading a book together, laughing and cuddling. If Tom would read a page the wrong way, his son would quickly correct him. If you have children, you know that they expect to hear a story the same exact way every time. Sometimes Tom would change this on purpose and ask his son “So how does that go again?” His son would then become the reader, providing his dad with exactly the right intonation and pace. Tom kissed and hugged his son goodnight, who quickly fell asleep with a smile on my face.

I knew at that moment that any child raised by such a good parent could overcome any discrimination. At least the children of LGBT parents have support, something they themselves may not have had from their own parents.

Since then, we have come to know many gay parents. Some had children in marriages, before they were able to come to grips with their sexual orientation. Some adopted or used other means. All are great parents. All wanted to become parents. The desire to want and love a child is not at all linked to our desire for sex, whether it is heterosexual or gay.

But what about the world beyond my personal, limited experience? Here is what the American Psychological Association has to say. You can find research studies at their website.

"In summary, there is no evidence to suggest that lesbian women or gay men are unfit to be parents or that psychosocial development among children of lesbian women or gay men is compromised relative to that among offspring of heterosexual parents. Not a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents. Indeed, the evidence to date suggests that home environments provided by lesbian and gay parents are as likely as those provided by heterosexual parents to support and enable children's psychosocial growth."

Does it matter how a child is conceived? Parents, gay or straight, that need to use technology to assist with having a child, or adoption, are people who really want a child. Isn’t that the most important thing for a child? To be wanted? To be loved and cared for by a couple, or individual, ready to make that kind of commitment to another human being?

Out In Wisconsin Looking For Directors

At this time Out In Wisconsin is looking for two new directors to fill positions that are needed. These are volunteer positions, meaning you won't be paid for your services. Things directors would be expected to do are bring up ideas and sign paperwork confirming what was discussed on any decisions that were made on what the organization is doing. You must not have been convicted of a felony and you should be known by at least one of our directors or myself for at least the past three months upon contacting me. One more thing I'm sure you already know, you must be over the age of 18 to participate.

Out In Wisconsin is committed to equality and justice for all LGBT citizens and has filed as a non-profit incorporation in Wisconsin and was approved in March 2009. But the newly found organization cannot survive without people like yourselves to help run it, share ideas, and gather donations. At this time no donations are being gathered until such time as I say.

Some people who have signed up in the past are concerned for their safety or because it has taken on more of a religious base between the blog and website. Many LGBT deal with safety issues on a daily basis. We also deal with religious issues to do with right wing fenatics. This must be understood and should have been understood from the very beginning.

I need your help to succeed. People who sign up must be determined, strong willed, focused on the task at hand, willing to go that extra mile for our people, and most importantly they must be willing to be in it for the long haul. You must be dependable.You can contact me through my website at

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Movin' on Up - geekgirl joins jaysays

I'm excited and nervous about an invitation that I received from jaysays at

Jay invited me to put my series on LGBT folks for Straight People on his blog. Eek. I jumped at it and then immediately thought, wow, I'm no where near the writer that Jay is. I sure hope his readership doesn't decline due to this geeky, straight infiltrator girl.

Jay told me that one of my stories got quite a few hits. I didn't have the heart to tell him it could have just been me and all my friends.

So - watch Jay's site for my geeky wit and give me your ideas for topics.
And yes, I'll still be blogging here. It's better for my mental health than many other choices.

Warm regards

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

LGBT for Uptight Straight People - No Offense, Maggie and Carrie

Many years ago, my main mentor as a scientist taught me that "If someone starts a sentence with no offense, it means they are going to say something that offends you".

No offense, Maggie and Carrie, but gay marriage hurts no one. Children that have gay parents do as well as children who have a mother and a father.

No offense, Maggie and Carrie, but your social views are not shared by everyone in this country. Over 50% of Americans believe in same sex marriage, another 20 to 25% believe in civil unions.

No offense, Maggie and Carrie, but your religion is no proof of how God feels about LGBT people.

No offense, Maggie and Carrie, but I would not want my child around either of you. I am straight and have been married to the same man for 32 years. We have raised our son to love and respect all people. This includes the many gay, lesbian and transgendered friends that we have. Friends that we have visited, have stayed in our home, we have stayed in their homes. Friends that we have dinner with, go to movies, go shopping, go on vacations, and just plain enjoy them for the people that they are.

No offense, Maggie and Carrie but I believe that making marriage available to everyone strengthens society and all families. Marriage is first and foremost a legal contract that protects families financially and provides over 1138 legal rights to married couples. Marriage is a social institution, presumably based on commitment, trust, love and monogamy. Sadly, straight people have done a wonderful job of destroying it's meaning. Last, marriage is a conservative institution. It means settling down, being responsible to one's spouse and children and persevering through tough times.

No offense, Maggie and Carrie but please explain to me how same sex marriage will hurt you. Gay couples are already living together, already having children. Marriage will improve their lives and not hurt you. The only thing that will be hurt is your bigotry, which sadly you aren't able to see.

No offense, Maggie and Carrie, but I'm sure glad to know you won't be offended by any of my comments.

Wisconsin Library Board dismissals criticized

Here is some words from the article:

"Last week, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression joined with the National Coalition Against Censorship, the Association of American Publishers, and PEN American Center to send a letter to the West Bend (Wisconsin) Common Council criticizing its dismissal of four members of the West Bend Library Board who refused to remove controversial books from the young adult section of the library.

"The Common Council has made a terrible mistake," said ABFFE President Chris Finan. "It has punished four dedicated public servants for trying to ensure that the library serves everyone in the community. Free speech is under attack in West Bend."

In February, two patrons complained that the library's young adult section included both fiction and nonfiction about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issues. They also demanded the removal of all "pornographic" books from the young adults section, including Brent Hartinger's Geography Club (HarperCollins), Stephan Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and Esther Drill's Deal With It! A Whole New Approach to Your Body, Brain, and Life as a gURL (both Simon & Schuster)."

Read full article here:

Two Right Wing Nuts Interested In Gov. Jim Doyle's Seat

Two right wing nuts are trying to take Gov. Jim Doyle's seat in the state of Wisconsin. Jim Doyle has been really great so far and hopefully Jim Doyle will run for re-election again this coming term. Here is what the Green Bay Press Gazette reported:

"Neumann represented parts of southeastern Wisconsin in Congress from 1994 until 1999. He caused a stir in 1997 when he said he would never hire any openly gay person in his office. He lost a bid to unseat U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold and faded from politics. He’s spent the last decade in the home construction industry and working with charter schools.

Walker mounted a gubernatorial campaign in 2006 but dropped out when his fundraising lagged behind that of eventual nominee Mark Green of Hobart.

Both have criticized the governor on the economy, making it likely they will have to distinguish themselves on social issues during the primary, Franklin said.

Neumann had the backing of social conservatives when he was in Congress, Franklin said. Walker, meanwhile, has had to be more moderate to succeed in Milwaukee.

Both must take care not to appear too conservative, which could hurt their chances in the general election against Doyle, said Joe Heim, a political science professor at UW-La Crosse."

Get the full story on these two right wing nuts click this link

Monday, May 4, 2009

LGBT for Straight Parents - Lesson Six

Even straight people who support gay rights can struggle with what to tell their children about gay relationships. We're barely comfortable talking about straight relationships. And for many straight people, sex is front and center, covering up the real person.

Let me tell you about my friend at work. Last fall, there was a movement to send postcards to Obama, asking him to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, DOMA. I bought forty postcards, addressed and stamped them, then sent an email to folks at work that I knew support gay rights. This is a dear friend. She comes to me and says "Tomorrow I will let you know how many postcards I need." Ok.

The next day she comes in and says she needs three postcards. I'm curious so I ask her why.

She tells me that their family discussed this at dinner. She has a ten year old and six year old. She explained that in California, the judges gave everyone the right to marry. Boys could now marry boys and girls could now marry girls. She explained that love is so rare, so special and so priceless, that if you find love with someone and want to spend the rest of your life with them, that it doesn't matter if they are a boy or a girl. And that we are born usually preferring one over the other. But then, there was an election and people voted to take that right away. She explained that it meant these people might not be married any more and if they had children, they might not be a family anymore under the law.

Her six year old son was outraged. He pounded on the table and said "You can't take away someone's family. You can't take two people away from each other if they love each other. I want MY OWN POSTCARD."

My postcards were all superhero postcards, and my selling line was "because if you are straight and support gay rights, you are a superhero." She took Spiderman, her son's favorite and let her son write his own message, in his six year old handwriting. At the bottom she wrote "My son is six. And he gets it."

Children understand love and family instinctively. Because that is what makes them feel safe and secure. I wonder what the law would be if children made the rules. More so, what can we adults learn from them?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

LGBT apology for getting married

Because we all know how much gay marriage has hurt straight marriage....
Happy Sunday all

Saturday, May 2, 2009

LGBT for Straight States that border Iowa

Iowa was the dark horse in the race for LGBT folks to gain equal marriage rights. No one saw it coming. Not even those of us who live in bordering states. I know Iowans. They tend to be quiet, hard working, fair minded, optimistic, kind, welcoming, strong willed, sensible, intelligent and unassuming.

Their Supreme Court voted unanimously. Their state legislature and governor have resisted attempts by anti-gay groups to overturn the ruling. And this video brings it all home. No hokey storm, no attempts at fear. It takes the high road, it is intelligent, compassionate and focused on equality. It is simple and down to earth, just like Midwesterners. Other than Illinois's habit of having governors who end up in jail, we having fairly boring politics.

I live next to Iowa so I will let you know when that "storm" comes. You see, they have our weather one day earlier. And lately....... let's just say we're having a beautiful spring.

LGBT for Math Impaired Straight People - Lesson 5

As read in the comments log of a news website, "Why do they want special rights? They are only 2% of the population." Ignoring the ignorant adjective "special", let's talk about the ignorance of handing out civil rights based on what percent that minority is.

Are we making laws by the percent of people in a minority group now? If LGBT people were 10%, 20%, 50%, would this person change their mind? What's an acceptable number for a minority group before we respect them? Do they need to reach a majority because we are going to give rights based on voting? If we do that, all of us will lose some type of right. Because I doubt that very many of us are in the majority for every thing. Let's get some numbers and then answer that question.

It has been quoted for many years that 10% of the population is gay. These figures come from the original Kinsey study. There have been many surveys since then, with widely varying results. After all, the survey size has to be large enough and spread out demographically far enough in order to be statistically accurate. And then there is the problem of people telling the truth. Why would they? I searched the web trying to find a reliable source of information on this, figuring that any estimate by a gay organization would be immediately dismissed. Gallup came up and they seem as reputable as anyone. They estimate that anywhere from 3 to 8 % of the population is gay. They have some pretty interesting survey information so check it out.

Now, let's move on to religious denominations. Again, I sought out a reputable source of information, Pew Forum. This page shows the % of Americans belonging to each denomination.

Let's see. Mormons - 1.7%, Jewish - 1.7%, Catholic - 23.9, Atheist or not affiliated - 16.1%, Buddhist - 0.7%, Evangelical - 26.3%. Hmm. People not affiliated with any faith are about nine times those who are Mormon.

But there's a problem with these numbers. You see, they are constantly in flux. Why? Because, according to surveys done by PewForum, close to half of Americans change their faith.

Surprisingly, they do this without going to any ex-insert faith name here- therapy. For many reasons, they choose to leave the faith that they were raised in. Forgive what may sound like sarcasm here, but this seems like pretty good proof that people choose their faith.

So let's go back to something people don't choose, like being LGBT, their racial or ethnic origin. I tried to find out what percent of us are white, black, Hispanic, etc. Yep. Most of us are white. A good 70% or more. However, it turns out this is in a state of flux too. At the last census, households were allowed to choose more than one race. Huh? Well, that's more like "duh". Interracial marriage is on the rise. The US census bureau changed their rules in the year 2000 in order to more accurately measure the amount of interracial diversity in the United States. My source? The US Census Bureau, where else?

Does the US Census bureau track the percent of LGBT households? .....Sort of. The question is buried and has to be extracted, something that I could not find on their website. However, other folks with more patience and savvy than myself have pulled together the "unmarried partner" and "gender" data to compile what percent of households are gay. Take a look.

Ok, enough with numbers. Even those who are math impaired must know where I am going by now. It doesn't matter how many people are LGBT. It doesn't matter how many people are Evangelical Protestants or Mormons. If we are going to use percentage as an argument, all religions will lose as none are even close to 51%. Mormons will lose. And no matter how much I disagree with their faith - and I do, big time - I'm a staunch believer in freedom of religion.

How can I ask for rights if I want to deny the rights of others?

Our constitution was written in a time when we allowed slavery and women did not have rights. Only property owners had rights. Then we had literacy tests and poll taxes. We have read more into the words written into our Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and Bill of Rights as time has passed. We know that the founding fathers had heated debates about slavery and gave in so they could move forward with uniting the colonies. They knew in the long run, this would be best. Their vision reached beyond the social norms of the time. Did they intend for us to re-interpret their words? I don't know. But we do and we are stronger for it. I believe our constitution protects the right to equal treatment under the law for all - even if it applies to just one unique individual.

Some religions have taken this same approach with ancient scriptures. The motto of the United Church of Christ is "Our religion is 2000 years old. Our thinking is not." How could authors from 2000 years ago see into the future? Only Biblical scholars know why Leviticus was written for priests and it's cultural and historical context. But the messages of love one another, kindness, compassion and charity are timeless. It's the "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" lessons that are important. One does not have to be religious to have strong values or morals. One also does not need to be straight. One simply has to be human - with an open heart and compassion.

And I'm truly sorry I could not find a survey to find out how many of us fall into this last category.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Need Help Passing Out Pamphlets

Whether you are in Wisconsin or not, needs your help. I just produced a pamphlet can hand out to all communities. Put on cars, hand them out to members at your church and make sure to bring extra copies people may ask for to give to their friends. It discusses some of the things I have discussed in my three parts to "What Did Christ Really Teach?" and also introduces some of us from Out In Wisconsin. If you are able to download wps files to your computer please look to the "Take Action" page on the website listed above and download the proper files. Also, email me at to let me know if you've used them and how many you plan to hand out. I am very curious to know what people think of them.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New York and gay marriage

I was in New York city about ten days ago for the first time in my life. I was visiting a friend and had a wonderful time. I left just in time to miss the swine flu and the Air Force One fly-by.
But the real story I'm watching is gay marriage. Interesting that in this case it is a governor pushing for the legislation. A recent poll by CBS news shows that 42% of Americans support same sex marriage. That is up 9% over one month ago. One month. Let's see, with, twelve months in a year, we should be at 100% in......7 months.

When I was in New York, I had the opportunity to speak with the Statue of Liberty. Evidently, she also gets to Times Square on Saturdays. I asked her if she would be willing to support same sex marriage and she said yes, that is what Liberty is all about. Come on New York, be on the right side of history. Don't look unsophisticated now that you have to compete with Iowa. Won't the last state to legalize same sex marriage feel pretty embarrassed?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Let Us Prevail

Let those who stand for equal rights prevail, while those who oppose it fail.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

It is the end of the day - and the end of a battle.

I've been wandering aimlessly for the last four hours. That's because four hours ago I learned that a friend of ours, whom we have known for 24 years, who was fighting cancer, lost her battle. She passed away this morning, at home surrounded by her husband and grown children.

I can only sit in silence. I'm listening to the sounds of spring peepers and the rain. Only nature can comfort me now. She and her husband both come from very large families, so I imagine they are being overloaded with phone calls and making arrangements.

Helen was made of pixiedust. A wonderful mom, wife and friend, who was taken way too young. With her red hair and Irish heritage, she was part leprachaun. She was always smiling and laughing.

Be alive now. Don't wait. Risk caring. Risk loving. Risk giving. Risk sharing.

LGBT for Confused Straight People - Lesson 4

Ok, I know. You're thinking "They're all confused. Or worse, geekgirl." Good point. I'm trying to be kind, remember.

I wish I had copied the source of this quote, something I will do in the future. I tend to read comments by readers left on website with gay rights stories. One person wrote:

"Why do they need to get married in a church anyway? Why can't they be happy with their civil unions?"

Dear Confused:
There are two basic answers to this question.

The first one is, no one needs to get married in a church. All that two people need is someone who is allowed by the state to sign a marriage license. You can get married in a county courthouse. No religious representative is needed. That is because marriage is a legal contract between two people. Do you really think this is about a church wedding? They want their legal rights. Maybe some want a church wedding. Maybe some wish that the religion they were raised in would accept LGBT people. All of those desires are understandable. However, they won't give people legal rights. Only the government can do that.

Which leads to the second answer. Civil unions rarely cover all the rights given to married heterosexual couples. People like to say that marriage isn't in the constitution or the Bill of Rights. Look a little farther and you'll find 1138 rights that are given to married people. You can find stories about how the lack of these rights affect the lives of LGBT people at Would you be happy if you could not stay with your spouse in the emergency room? If you could not legally adopt children as a couple? If you could not add your spouse to your health insurance? Leave your spouse your possessions without incurring inheritance taxes?

And oddly enough, by giving LGBT people all of these rights through marriage, doesn't take away any rights from straight people.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

LGBT for Straight People - Lesson 3 - geekgirl's own story

I would be a hypocrite if I didn't write about my own life experience in getting to know people who are gay. Mysteriously - and truthfully - I don't recall learning that some people are gay. It just kind of became something I knew. In many ways, I consider myself lucky that I came of age in the late 60s, early 70s. Yes, I believed in the hippie messages of peace, love, accepting other people, fairness, and justice.

My family was a typical white Anglo-Saxon Protestant (aka WASP) but we weren't exactly rich. My father never went past 8th grade and he always did physical labor. It wasn't until I was an adult that I realized we lived at the poverty level. (She's straying, where is this going?). Here's where I'm going. Even with being white and straight, I knew the world wasn't fair. I knew that kids with money had an easier time, I knew rich kids got into Ivy League schools, thanks to their alumni parents and I knew that women were supposed to stay home and have babies.

In other words, I knew that who we are and what we are capable of as individuals was nowhere near #1 on the list of how a person became accepted or successful.

I watched other kids get bullied. I was a wallflower and being around mean kids made me retreat even more. I was already painfully shy. The last thing I needed was to be made fun of for crooked teeth, knobby knees, ugly glasses, a not-so-gorgeous face and, worst of all, being smart.

So when I learned about gay people - and we're going back 40 years - I thought "so what?". Mind you, I had never heard of people who were bisexual or transgendered. But I knew that the words faggot and queer hurt as badly as being punched. I saw it happen.

Still, a lack of bias doesn't equal being comfortable with people who are gay. After all, what does one say? What is the etiquette? Are there things I should say? Shouldn't say? Were the stereotypes real? Just what were they like?

My first real friend that was gay was a woman I worked with. I didn't know she was a lesbian. I just knew that she was kind, smart and funny. This was..... at least 32 years ago. We worked the switchboard in a hospital. After a few months of knowing her, I asked her if she had a boyfriend. I could see her face start to panic and I didn't know what I had done wrong. I do have a gift of asking the most innocent of questions and it turns out I've tapped a sensitive topic. At that very moment, the switchboard lit up and as I started to take the call, my co-worker said "My lover's name is Doris." Her face was in a state of fear and I could tell that every nano-second was an eternity as she waited for me to be able to respond.

Not wanting her to wait out this interminable, excruciating 30 seconds, I wrote on a piece of paper and gave it to her. I wrote " I sure hope this is a woman named Doris as I would hate to see you involved with a man named Boris." She burst out laughing with relief. Our friendship continued the way it was. It never occurred to me to change how I treated her, what I asked or what we talked about. After several weeks, she said to me "I want to thank you for not treating me like I am a dyke." I sat quietly and staring blankly. I had never heard the word dyke. And back then, words like dyke and queer were still words that hurt. The gay community had not used the strategy of reclaming words. After waiting for me to respond, and me saying nothing, my friend has the aha moment and says "You've never heard the word dyke, have you?" I nodded. She said that explained a lot. I think this was one instance of ignorance is bliss. Without stereotypes to cloud my mind, I was just simply myself. But more importantly, I saw only who she was - not a stereotype.

And now I will apologize to everyone named Boris. Forgive me. I was young and humor is how I express caring and affection. I just needed something that rhymed with Doris.

There will be more stories on geekgirl's LGBT education as our series continues.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Goombah's Rainbow: Homophobia and the beauty queen: Kitty litter for brains

Goombah's Rainbow: Homophobia and the beauty queen: Kitty litter for brains

LGBT for Blonde Straight People - Lesson 2

I know. That was a low blow. After all, blondes don't choose their hair color. Then again, changing hair color is not as challenging as changing being gay. Shoot, another low blow.

I was trying so hard not to comment about the almost Miss California. I really did have mixed feelings about this. Do I agree with her? Of course not. Should she have lied, saying something she felt was politically correct rather than her real feelings? I vote that telling the truth was the right thing. I also agree that this was enough to base a decision to disqualify her.

But I am conflicted. The press seemed to make as much fuss about this as they do when a politician is anti-gay. Maybe more. That is what confuses me. Does it matter what a beauty pageant contestant says? Certainly there are consequences for what we say. But I'm still a big fan of free speech. And quite frankly, I want to know where people honestly stand.

It comes down to this. Until the government gives full equality to LGBT people, why do we care what a beauty pageant contestant says? If the government can get away with it, isn't that sending the message it's ok? Look at how many states have passed "marriage is between a man and a woman" acts. It's the GOVERNMENT that we need to hammer every day.

Last, I'll quote Thomas Jefferson. I may disagree with what you say but I will defend your every right to say it. That's because I want the same right. So that it's ok for me to say what I have thought about beauty pageants since I was 12 (and that was some time ago):

Beauty pageants make women into sex objects, valued more for physical beauty than their morals, intelligence or talent. When walking in high heels and wearing a bathing suit is something women strive to perfect, that's a sign we're close to crazy. Change the pageants and you'll get a different answer. Let's have a Miss/Mr./Mrs./Straight/LGBTQ Fill In Your State contest where contestants are chosen from people who have done something amazing for their community, created amazing art, music, poetry; saved lives, invented new technology, helped people heal, given foster children homes, and the list goes on. I think you get the idea.

Choose Susan Boyle from England for Miss California. I'm just betting her answer would be different.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

LGBT for Straight People - Lesson One

Ok. So it's not a witty title. But it's... ahem, straight to the point. I hope to tell some stories, my own thoughts, and hopefully get you readers, yes you, to contribute too. Who knows, maybe we can write LGBT for Dummies when we're done.

People range from hateful, violent homophobia to complete and utter nonchalance when it comes to LGBT folks. But I think most are somewhere in the middle. Uncomfortable, uncertain, don't know anyone who is gay or don't know them well. I don't think I can examine, explain or educate those on the hateful end of the scale. I don't have a degree in psychology. But we all know that big group in the middle.

I'll start with a story that is true. I have a friend that I used to work with, whose wife had a lot of lesbian friends. For many years, our city had an annual Lesbian Variety Show, put on by Kissing Girls Productions. His wife was invited by her lesbian friends to be part of an act that included singing and dancing. Hey, that's cool. My friend, let's call him John (and no that's not his name), loves to chat. He went around work telling everyone that his wife was going to be in the Lesbian Variety Show. I can't tell you how many people gave him a perplexed look and said "Your wife is a lesbian?" After all, that doesn't quite fit what one expects. It was fairly hilarious.

Here's where it gets interesting. My friend is liberal, a staunch believer in human rights, would never call an LGBT person names or treat them disrespectfully. No one would guess that he was struggling with something. But he was. He confided to me that he felt repulsed when he thought about two men having sex. I don't think he had the same feelings about women. As scientists, we discussed if this was "ingrained" in straight men or if it is learned.

My friend decided that being accepting of LGBT people was not enough. He was self-aware enough to realize that his discomfort made it difficult for him to be at ease with gay men in the same way that he was with straight men. He set a goal for himself. That he was going to get past this discomfort. Only - he didn't know how. He would meditate on it, rationalize. But that didn't change what he felt. And after all, it is hard to change what we feel. Feelings just happen.

He changed jobs, moved far away and started to make friends at his new job. He hit it off pretty well with one guy and they became fast friends. Later, that friend came out to him. It was at that point that my friend's feelings changed. He respected and liked this person so much that somehow, maybe magically, it washed away any feelings of repulsion or discomfort. He saw that sex was about the same level of importance as it is for straight people. He saw that LGBT folks experience the same things in a relationship that he did.

Does this story mean that the only way people get past these kinds of feelings is by knowing someone gay? I doubt that. But it helps. Does this story mean that people have to get past these feelings in order to truly accept LGBT people. Actually, I don't think so. My friend was in a "good enough" place where he was. He just felt he needed to overcome these feelings to be truthful to his values. But if people could just get to the point of not worrying about what goes on between mutually consenting adults, I would be satisfied

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Matthew Shepard Act To Be Voted On Soon, Take Action Now To Help Pass It

Here is a message we are instructed to hand out to as many friends and family as possible from HRC. We need you to send a very urgent and strong message to congress and watch this video. Here is the message. Also copy and paste this message and send it to whoever you can.


Did you know that hate crimes against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are on the rise?I just watched a really powerful video that I think you should see – Judy Shepard's story of losing her son to hate violence and fighting for a federal hate crimes bill to give LGBT Americans the protections they need and deserve and to honor his memory. I hope you'll watch it and then send a message to your lawmakers to pass that bill, which is up for a vote in the coming days.

Congress is taking action on the bill now – but right-wing lawmakers are trying to derail it. There's no time to waste. We can't let the forces of discrimination prevail on this one.Judy Shepard speaks with strength and eloquence. I hope her words will move you to send a strong message to your representative. Click the link to watch and then take action.

Thank you.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Seeking title for next blog series

If you are a fan of, you know they have a penchant for finding stories about women teachers who hit on their male students. They especially delight in finding these stories in Florida. Today is no exception. A female teacher, in her 30s, sent photos of her "private parts" to an 8th grade boy, referred to him as her husband, kissed him, and threatened him with "divorce" as he has too many girlfriends.

I don't know what is worse. This story or the comments - most of which appear to be from men wishing they had had a teacher like this. These comments are a clear reflection of how shallow these men are, how unaware of the real harm this woman is doing to this child. No one seemed to notice that what she is doing is, what's the word I'm looking for, wrong? A pedophile? Off her rocker? Sexual harassment? Please forgive my conservative, prudish nature but I would not want this woman around my kids.

Where is the right wing outrage when these incidents happen? Too busy worrying about gay marriage, that's where they are. And constantly reminding us how dangerous knowing about gay people is for our children. We fear having them teach our children.

My fellow blogger over at Jaysays occasionally writes about "Stupid Things People Say About Gays". So next, I'm tackling why straight people are uptight about LGBT people. Look forward to some raw and perhaps controversial opinions. But in the end, I hope they are educational.

This series will need a title. Send your suggestions - and topic ideas too.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Fair Wisconsin: We Will Not Be Silenced

Fair Wisconsin: We Will Not Be Silenced

Yep, right here in my backyard. A lesbian voiced her opinion regarding domestic partnerships in the town where she lives. And to thank her, a hate group spread anti-LGBT literature to all of the houses in her neighborhood. Fortunately, she and her partner and her neighbors bonded over this event. But think how scary this is. These people know where she lives. They tried to turn her neighbors against her and her partner. What's next? Burning a rainbow on their lawn?

Expose people who hate at every turn. They are a vocal, dangerous group. But I am convinced they are out numbered. Each of us needs to raise our voice against hate - of any kind.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Is Being Gay a Birth Defect? What if we could treat it?

In the last week, a news story came out about a seven year old girl who has a Y chromosome. It was found during an amniocentesis and the child was determined to be a boy. Everyone was surprised when, voila, a girl was born. Physicians examined the child and determined that she was a fully equipped girl, with normal female genitalia. So how did this happen? A gene on a non-sex chromosome (meaning, not on the X or Y chromosomes) was defective. The protein made from this gene is involved in starting the development of male genitalia. This interesting story clearly shows that the development of gender is not simple, nor is it restricted to the chromosomes that we typically associate with gender; X and Y. Details on this story can be found at:

I’m curious. Will this little girl grow up to be a straight girl? Transgendered? A lesbian? Is the development of genitalia related to our sexual orientation? Clearly, there is already evidence that being gay is influenced by genetic, biological and developmental factors in the womb.

How is gender determined? How is sexual orientation determined? Is there something different about the brains of people who are gay? As a biologist, I have always been fascinated by the human brain. It is, without a doubt, the one organ we understand the least. And arguably, our most important organ.

It’s a legitimate scientific question, worthy of objective, controlled studies.
I won’t be providing the references for these studies as that would make this blog so long, I don’t think anyone will keep reading. So look forward to visiting Blogging For Truth during the week of May 25-31st, when this blog will be dedicated to the scientific research in this area.

To highlight a few studies that support that being gay has biological origins:

· Birth order – having older male siblings increases the odds that subsequent male children will be gay. This is thought to be due to maternal antibodies that feminize the brain.
· Identical twins have a 50 to 70% chance of being gay. Side note – some people argue this proves that being gay is not genetic. These people lack an advanced understanding of genetics and development. Being gay is not controlled by one simple gene. If it was, that mystery would have been solved.
· There are correlations to being left handed.
· Fruit flies can be made gay by changing a single gene. Note: Humans are not fruit flies.
· Being gay occurs in many animals, most notably penguins in zoos that mate for life and will not convert to heterosexuality, no matter how many fabulous looking female penguins are presented.
· Women with gay children have higher fertility rates.
· If two brothers are gay, there is a higher rate of other family members being gay.
· Pheromones – straight women and gay men are attracted to a pheromone produced in the sweat of men. Gay women and straight men are attracted to a pheromone produced in the urine of women. This study was done using PET and MRI scans, looking at areas of the brain that reveal sexual arousal, not the opinions of the participants. It was also published in a very prestigious journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Now let’s explore one study in a little more depth. I have taken an excerpt from an article that can be found at:

“Scientists at the Karolinska Institute studied brain scans of 90 gay and straight men and women, and found that the size of the two symmetrical halves of the brains of gay men more closely resembled those of straight women than they did straight men. In heterosexual women, the two halves of the brain are more or less the same size. In heterosexual men, the right hemisphere is slightly larger. Scans of the brains of gay men in the study, however, showed that their hemispheres were relatively symmetrical, like those of straight women, while the brains of homosexual women were asymmetrical like those of straight men. The number of nerves connecting the two sides of the brains of gay men were also more like the number in heterosexual women than in straight men. “

Where science leads, technology follows. Two years ago, scientists in Oregon reported an attempt to “interfere with defeminization of adult sexual partner preferences” in sheep. Their method, as they described it, was to alter hormonal inputs in pregnant ewes “during the period of gestation when the sheep brain is maximally sensitive to the behavior-modifying effects of exogenous testosterone.” When the attempt failed, they concluded that the dosage should be increased.

Would hormonal intervention work in humans? Should we try it? Some thinkers are intrigued. Last year, the Rev. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote: “If a biological basis is found, and if a prenatal test is then developed, and if a successful treatment to reverse the sexual orientation to heterosexual is ever developed, we would support its use.” Mohler told the Associated Press that morally, this would be no different from curing fetal blindness or any other “medical problem.” The Rev. Joseph Fessio, editor of the press that publishes the pope’s work, agreed: “Same-sex activity is considered disordered. If there are ways of detecting diseases or disorders of children in the womb … that respected the dignity of the child and mother, it would be a wonderful advancement of science.”

If the idea of chemically suppressing homosexuality in the womb horrifies you, I have bad news: You won’t be in the room when it happens. Parents control medical decisions, and surveys indicate that the vast majority of them would be upset to learn that their child was gay. Already, millions are screening embryos and fetuses to eliminate those of the “wrong” sex. Do you think they won’t screen for the “wrong” sexual orientation, too?”

(And now back to geekgirl) Here we are. We’ve arrived at the intersection of science, ethics and morals. We are already capable of treating many conditions while the baby is still in the womb. Most of these are structural defects corrected by surgery. For some children, this is a matter of life and death. For others, it improves the quality of their life. Hearts can be repaired, bone marrow transplants, a closed urethra can be opened. I doubt that any of us would argue that this is unethical. We view it as a triumph of modern science and helping an unborn person.

But what about correcting being gay? Surely well intentioned parents will ponder sparing their child a life of discrimination, hatred and fear. One could even argue this is a compassionate act. But is it? If you have a child who is "different" in any way, you will know what I mean. My son is a high functioning autistic teen. (Note: I'm not comparing autism to being gay. I'm talking about what parents feel when trying to protect their children) Do I wish he didn’t struggle so with social interactions and making friends? You bet I do. But would I have fixed him in utero? I don’t know. Now that he is grown, I ask myself, would he be as smart, creative, artistic and such an original thinker? I love him as he is. He’s able to function, is amazingly logical and mature, and continues to consciously learn what the rest of us learn instinctively.

Let’s talk science first. A physician’s first obligation is to do no harm. How would we treat this? Not surgically. With hormones? How would we determine if there are dangerous side effects? Now we’re messing with physiology. Sex hormones are connected to many other systems in the body. Working out a safe treatment would require very expensive, long term research. As a scientist with a little knowledge of how the system works, I can’t even imagine what it would take to prove to the FDA that this treatment would be safe? Is this where we want our tax dollars spent? Or would we choose a vaccine for HIV, ways to prevent heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimers?

If we choose to “correct” sexual orientation, why do we deny transgendered people insurance coverage to pay for hormone therapy and surgery? These are adults, who know who they are inside, capable of making their own decisions about their bodies. Certainly from a medical point of view, there is less risk than administering an in utero treatment.

So let’s say, we can’t fix it. Can we determine if a fetus is gay? Scientifically, again, this will take a lot of research. Let’s say that happens. That leads to questions of ethics and morality, the first being abortion. It doesn’t get more controversial. This is one controversy where I understand the logic on both sides. I would prefer to see abortion used only in cases of rape (better yet, use the “morning after” pill) , if the mother’s life is truly at risk, if the child has a severe medical condition that is untreatable and would result in a child with a terminal illness or so debilitating that there is no quality of life.

What are we correcting? Gay people are born with the same range of characteristics as straight people. Physically normal, normal intelligence and mentally healthy. Where is the medical condition that impairs their quality of life? There isn’t one. It is society that causes gay people to be stressed and live in fear, not their biology. If we correct being gay, what will we lose? Would Ellen be funny? Would Michelangelo have been a lousy artist? What kind of songs would Melissa Etheridge write?

Worse, would my best friend, a lesbian, be less understanding when she listens to me whine about the stress in my life? My life has been vastly enriched by my gay friends, starting with my best friend in high school – a guy. It is scary for me to think that they could be different if they weren’t gay. What would I lose? What would all of us lose? There’s a reason straight women say that all the good ones are gay or married.

Think about it. There is probably something about you that someone disagrees with. Something they don’t like. Would you want to be corrected to suit the beliefs and comfort zone of someone else? Should I propose that we find the combination that lightens the skin of black people, in the name that they will face less prejudice? Is there a biological combination that creates Republicans or Catholics? Hate, anger, or bigotry? (Ok – I admit – that one is tempting). Should we change people’s brains so they are submissive? So they don’t believe in God? Yes, there is evidence that belief in a supreme being is programmed into our neurotransmitters. That’s a whole different blog.

“Treating” being gay is the choice of a biased and prejudiced society. It is equivalent to denying people basic human rights that we see in China and Middle Eastern countries. A form of oppression. Medical intervention should be reserved for clear cut cases of improving the quality of life of the individual – treating an inherent limitation or disability, not “a disorder” imposed by the flawed belief systems of the religious right and conservatives. Leave science to scientists and the medical definition of a disorder to physicians. No, they are not always right. But their batting average is better than those with an agenda of discrimination.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Wisconsin challenge to same sex marriage ban

In 2006, Wisconsin voted to amend the constitution to prohibit same sex marriage. I thought seriously about moving. It's bad enough to live in the state that gave us Senator Joe McCarthy (for you young'uns, Google it) but also the birthplace of the Republican party. On the other hand, we have a Democratic Governor, two Democratic Senators and Tammy Baldwin, my Congressperson, is openly gay.

So I was shocked, saddened and embarrassed that it passed. It never even occurred to me that it could pass. Yes, my district is a little different than the rest of the state.

Now, a UW professor is bringing a case to the Supreme Court. It's based on a technicality that the law requires a referendum have only one issue and this one had two. Now, you would think someone would have noticed.... but that would be thinking logically. Just like I thought it would never pass. Again, thinking logically.

I'll take a "oops, throw out the amendment" even if it has to be won on a technicality. And I hope Wisconsin has made progress in the last years. Because we're neighbors with Iowa and I really don't want to look stupid now.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Blogging For Truth

Is being gay genetic or biological? Would it make a difference in our attitudes? Let's take those one at a time.

As a scientist, I'm eager to contribute to Blogging For Truth, a fellow blogger looking for valid scientific studies on LGBT issues. Do I believe these studies? I've read plenty that seem valid. Beyond that, it is a reasonable conclusion, even without studies, that being gay is inherent. Sexuality is very primal. I didn't choose to be straight. And I can't see how something that comes so instinctively, so deep from within, could be anything other than biological. Some people may choose to "experiment". But that is different than their natural inclination with respect to gender.

But.... what if it isn't biological? Let's say, it is something people actively choose. And let's set aside that most people would not choose something that could get them killed, even in this country. Stay with me, I know it's not making sense. So two people of the same gender fall in love and want to be together? My answer is:

So what? I cannot see how this harms anyone. Two people loving each other causes harm?

Oh wait, I forgot, it will harm our children. Yes, my son of age twenty, who knows several of our gay friends, has been dramatically affected. He is tolerant, loving, kind, goes to church, votes his conscience, donates money to charities, loves animals.... oh and he's straight. Worse, he doesn't do drugs or drink. He doesn't smoke cigarettes. I will say he prefers the cooking of one of our gay friends over mine, and he also prefers his dog (who is much better behaved) over ours. I suppose I should be upset by that, except that.... it is also how I feel. Gee, I'm hungry now.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

LGBT issues are our smallest problem

Oooh, I figure that title has all of you saying "What?!"
Just follow me here. Today is my birthday. The number got bigger. I'm just too old to wait for something that has been obvious to me for forty years.
LGBT rights are simple. It's a no-brainer. The best anyone can do in the way of objections is Leviticus? Words written over 2000 years ago for priests in a different land, different culture, then interpreted by whom how many times? Leviticus overrules laws written by Americans regarding equality? Huh? Enforce all of Leviticus, including the shrimp eating part - or GET RID of it.

Just pass the laws. It's a piece of cake.

And then I realized. No brainer. Yes. This is a no brainer. Those against LGBT rights have no brains. But they have mouths, money, influence. (Geekgirl reacts - Light bulb goes on, depression reappears. It ain't over yet....)

CHANGE THE LAWS. Then, let's get on with fixing the world before we melt it. Global warming (I refuse to say climate change), economics, education, hunger, health care, curing cancer and HIV and every other life compromising medical condition, opportunities for all people. We have everything we need in the terms of brains, knowledge, potential to fix our species and our planet. Use the potential of every person. Grow the potential of every person. We are all on the same planet - together. At least for a while. Don't we want our grandchildren to have a planet too?

Whew. There. Hope every birthday isn't like this. Thank you friends. Enjoy some peace on this day of rest.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Geekgirl's Defense of Marriage Act

It's time I simply take over. I'm starting with my blog but I plan to expand from here. I don't know how yet. I don't like to get bogged down by reality and tactical details. First, I have to develop the new Defense of Marriage Act.

Marriage is a legal contract between two individuals that want to share their lives, property, children, inheritance, life insurance, etc. These rights shall be given to any two individuals. Polygamy will be debated next. There's only so much I can do in one day.

First, the real purpose must be defined. Society is more functional and stable when couples and families are supported, both legally and by their families, friend, employers and greater community at large. This is a circle. Stable families create a stable society.

Second, the need for this act must be explained. Over the last fifty years, society has continued to make divorce easier and apply less pressure to married couples to work hard at marriage. With a divorce rate of 50%, the institution of marriage is clearly the largest failure of our society. From a statistical point of view, it is a bigger failure than our failing economy (8.5% of Americans are out of work, 10% have lost their homes). While I haven't checked, I don't think teenage pregnancy is at 50% nor do I think 50% of people are drug users, thieves, corrupt executives or illegal immigrants. What other institution is a bigger failure? The failure cannot be measured in dollars alone. Everyone ends up hurt and damaged.

Therefore, all couples will be required to receive counseling on what this legal contract means. Not all 1138 laws. That seems like too much. We'll boil it down to the major points.

In addition to educating couples about their legal rights and obligations, couples will also be required to have lengthy engagements. This will allow time for the couples to determine if they are really right for one another. Because, it is going to get a lot harder to get a divorce. We ARE talking about DEFENDING marriage. Marriages end through divorce. If anyone can get a divorce for any reason at anytime, marriage is not being defended. Counseling will be required before any divorce proceedings can begin.

The most significant part of this education will be a discussion about each's individuals rights and obligations as a parent, as children are often deeply affected by divorce and marital issues between their parents. Society must protect children from neglect, harm, sexual and physical abuse. Children need loving parents who will provide for their education and health, love them and nurture them. Couples need to understand the impact of their relationship on their children.

People who are allowed a divorce must repeat the counseling before they are allowed to remarry, they will have a waiting period to prove that they have grown and can make a better choice, and they must demonstrate what they have learned and explain how they intent to prevent a second divorce.

Third marriages will be illegal if the prior two marriages ended in divorce. If you can't get it right in two, just live together in sin. Special exceptions will be made for individuals who felt they had to hide in heterosexual marriages when their actual preference is for the same gender. Fear of discrimination is a reasonable explanation and we want people to be happy.

Tomorrow I take on ..... oh, it's Saturday. My day off from solving the world's problems.

It is always the same decision

Here is a link to a map that shows state by state what the laws are and what court rulings and legislation has been put in lace. Check it out.

Today the Iowa State Supreme Court ruled that banning same sex marriage is unconstitutional. Their ruling was based on laws that require equality or prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation. Funny, they reached the same conclusion as the California judges. And the same as Nebraska, Oregon and New Jersey. Not every court has ruled this way. But most have. Hmm - a conspiracy of activist judges? That doesn't make sense. Although I am praying this is true.

I'm still struggling to understand where the "activist" part is in the phrase "activist judges". It seems like they are simply using existing laws to make their decisions. How are they making new laws all on their own? Where is the new law written down? It's a court ruling. Courts interpret existing laws.

Other states have rushed to amend their constitutions to ban same sex marriage, even states that already had a Defense of Marriage Act. In other words, the only way they can get around equality and anti-discrimination is to legalize discrimination. They have to get a new law passed to stop the courts. Who is making the new laws here? Not the judges. I still don't get how people can amend their state's constitution when they have laws preventing discrimination or protecting equality. Aren't the two in conflict? Is this my viewpoint because I am an anal-retentive analytical scientist?

One day our citizens will look back on this the way that we look back on slavery. Horrified. But think about it. Slavery was only a few generations ago. My father knew freed slaves growing up as a young boy in Georgia. My prayer/wish/hope/dream is that in one generation - my son's generation - that people will stand up and say "This is wrong. This is shameful."

We should be so embarrassed as a nation. But at least we can be proud of the judges in Iowa. Here in America's heartland - away from the high profile states on the coasts - judges did the right and moral thing.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

There is no immortality

It's April Fools Day and the day came and went without a virus destroying the nation's computers. (Should I knock on wood?). It was a typical day for me - until a coworker gave me an update on the wife of a former boss. He was a wonderful man to work for and his wife and kids are just the greatest family. His wife, Helen was diagnosed with cancer just before Christmas. Sadly, many of her internal organs and abdomen were filled with tumors.

She is facing a battle for her life. The doctors are out of treatment options. She is at home with IVs and a feeding tube. Her family has not lost hope. But they are all educated enough to know the odds.

But this isn't a medical log of a friend's health. It's an expression of how deeply this news is affecting me. Helen is the kind of person that we all want to know, that we all want to be. Kind and loving, sparkling eyes, a contagious laugh. She is like a woodland fairy, tiny with red curly hair and a beautiful smile. A wonderful mom who did a million loving things for her children, who all grew up to be fantastic. Both my husband and I admired Helen and her husband so much that we contemplated putting them in our will to take care of our son should anything happen to us.

We are not immortal. Or, at least we stop being immortal somewhere in our adult lives. There is something deeply ironic about cancer and how it kills. The cancer cells ARE immortal. They divide and grow when they should not. They are out of control. If grown in culture in the laboratory, you can keep them going pretty much forever. This is not easy to do with normal human cells. They will die after a set number of divisions. Cancer is especially cruel - death by immortality.

Today, at this very moment, there is something meaningful happening just for you. It could be as simple as just being present in the moment. Looking at the sunset, being in touch with your feelings, or as big as having something sad - or wonderful - happening today - that will forever alter your life.

You can learn from yesterday and enjoy memories. You can plan for the future and take precautions. But all you have is right now. Owe someone a phone call? Been planning lunch with a friend? Don't wait. There might not be any operators standing by. But if you aren't present in the moment, you are the one standing by.

Breathe. Stretch. Smile. Hug. Cry. Laugh. Be brave and take a risk on someone. We find friends in the strangest of ways. The more accidental it appears, the more it likely it was meant to be.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Transgender Day of Visibility - March 31st

I just learned today is a new holiday. So new, I bet Hallmark doesn't have a card for it yet. Transgender Day of Visibility, started by a college student who wanted something more positive than Transgender Day of Remembrance (which is important but sad as it is about victims of hate crimes).

As a biologist, I'm rather "so what" about LGBT folks. There's variation in nature.
As a human, I'm also "so what" about LGBT folks. I just expect people to be kind and decent.
I'll end with a great quote I just read on StraightButNotNarrow.

"God didn't ask us to understand each other. God asked us to love one another." So even if you don't understand, that isn't what is most important. Compassion, respect and treating others the way you want to be treated - that is what matters.