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.