Sunday, September 20, 2009

I Support The Dallas Principles

The following eight guiding principles underlie our call to action. In order to achieve full civil rights now, we avow:

1.Full civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals must be enacted now. Delay and excuses are no longer acceptable.

2.We will not leave any part of our community behind.

3.Separate is never equal.

4.Religious beliefs are not a basis upon which to affirm or deny civil rights.

5.The establishment and guardianship of full civil rights is a non-partisan issue.

6.Individual involvement and grassroots action are paramount to success and must be encouraged.

7.Success is measured by the civil rights we all achieve, not by words, access or money raised.

8.Those who seek our support are expected to commit to these principles.

for more info see: Dallas Principles

Religious intolerance cuts deep in gay community, Gold says

From the Pendulum at Elon University

by Laura Smith,

On Tuesday, civil rights activist, Mitchell Gold spoke to the Elon community at the Elon School sharing what he described as "such an incredibly painful memory."

Gold is the current CEO of the Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams furniture business, founder of Faith in America (a non-profit organization aimed at educating people about how religious-based bigotry is used to justify discrimination against homosexuals) and is now the author of his book, "Crisis."

"Crisis" was published in September 2008 and is a compilation of stories from those who have experienced religious intolerance and persecution as a result of growing up gay in America, something Gold felt quite a bit himself.

"People use the Bible to marginalize and dehumanize people," Gold said.

Growing up Jewish, Gold knew what it meant to be an oppressed minority. He also saw the discrimination towards black Americans that took place in the 1950s and 1960s.

He did not know how much he would one day experience that same intolerance for being gay.

"It's a problem because it's not acceptable," Gold said on realizing he was gay as a young teenager.

Gold described how he lived in fear every day of how his family would react if they knew he was gay. He feared getting beaten up at school, being seen as an outcast and not getting a decent job.

"I don't want one more kid to go through what I had to go through during my teenage years," Gold said.

He even contemplated suicide and saw a psychiatrist for help, who helped him learn to live being gay.

"I was lucky," Gold said of being able to get help and gain happiness.

Gold later moved to New York City, where being gay was commonplace and openly accepted. He got a job at Bloomingdale's, where several of the employees were gay. He even met someone he could settle down with, his current business partner, Bob Williams.

He even got to meet actor Richard Chamberlain, whom he discovered was gay as well.
"I got really comfortable," Gold said.

But all of this changed in 1988 when he moved down South to North Carolina.

"It's interesting to see how being naïve can be a good thing," he said of not realizing the difference of homosexual social acceptance in the South.

Gold began hearing conversations from co-workers and employees who described marriage as only being between a man and a woman.

"I started realizing there was a real movement afoot," Gold said of seeing how large of an intolerant sentiment there was toward gays.

He then realized this persecution was no different than what he had seen as a child.
"The same kind of discrimination that was used so horribly against black people was being used against gay people," he said.

Gold began his personal movement to create awareness of religious intolerance towards the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community.

"This country has a sad history of segregation," Gold said. "I wanted to go out and teach people and remind them of that. Most decent people in America don't want to be a part of that history. Most decent people don't want to continue that hatred."

"Crisis" was compiled with contributors such Chamberlain, U.S. Congressman Barney Frank, Major League baseball player Billy Bean, TV actor Alec Mapa and former tennis champion Martina Navatilova. All are gay and openly talk about the struggle and pain of being a gay teenager in the book.

Gold is happy to be living in North Carolina, where there is currently no federal ban on gay marriage.

"In the state of North Carolina, we have the chance to be the shining light of this country," Gold said.

Gold said he hopes Americans will see the harm that intolerance toward the LGBT causes.

"Anybody who is oppressed has the right to confront their oppressor," he said.

Proceeds from "Crisis" go toward seven national gay advocacy programs for teens.