Saturday, September 28, 2013

Via Gay Marriage Watch: The Importance of Holding Hands

The Importance of Holding Hands

Written by scott on September 28th, 2013 Gay Wedding - Hands

My husband Mark and I were coming out of a movie theater in Folsom, California, yesterday (yes, that Folsom – prison and all), when he excitedly pointed to something and said “Look, look!”

I followed the direction of his outstretched finger and saw a group of people, a car, the building across the street – nothing particularly noteworthy.

Then he said “No, there,” and pointed again, and I saw it.

A young gay couple, walking across the street, holding hands.

Now, Folsom is no right-wing backwater, but neither is it a progressive mecca like San Francisco (or even nearby Sacramento). Its a solidly working-class community, a bedroom city, known for its famous prison, its Intel offices, and its shopping for locals in other cities close by.

Mark called out to the couple, and they stopped, obviously perplexed about being addressed by this stranger. We faced each other, two couples separated by something like 30 years, and Mark told them how amazing it was to see them engaged in the simple act of holding hands on a public street.

They were a little surprised – they couldn’t have been more than 20 years old, and I guess that, to them, nothing was more natural than holding the hand of the one you love.

And that’s the point. We live in a rapidly changing world. Sometimes I forget how fast its changing.

The next generation has no problem holding hands in public because, well, why should they? They are equal to everyone else, and they know it. At least here in California.

The whole thing made me realize how far I haven’t come. For all that Mark and I have embraced the marriage equality movement, a part of me is still stuck back in 1986, when I was a senior in high school, and petrified to think that anyone might find out.

In fact, my first thought when I saw this couple holding hands was the danger they might be placing themselves in by being so public.

My second thought was how sad it is that I grew up in such a different time, and that I still carry vestiges of my internal homophobia with me, twenty two years after I stepped out of the closet.

I wonder what it would be like to grow up gay now, in this place, in this time. To be sure of myself as a gay man in a way I never was at that age, and in some ways am still not today.

I wonder what it would have been like to have had a “real” wedding – one planned with time and care, instead of the one that was forced upon us by the onslaught of Prop 8 and the impending public vote on our fitness to be married.

And, if truth be told, I am a little envious of that young gay couple in Folsom, walking down the street hand in hand as if… as if it were the most natural thing in the world. And I was intensely proud of them.

We left the two of them there, probably shaking their heads at the strange attitudes of this older gay couple.

And I took Mark’s hand in mine as we walked back to the car.

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Via JMG: Quote Of The Day - Guido Barilla

"Yesterday I apologized for offending many people around the world. Today I am repeating that apology. Through my entire life I have always respected every person I've met, including gays and their families, without any distinction. I've never discriminated against anyone. I have heard the countless reactions around the world to my words, which have depressed and saddened me. It is clear that I have a lot to learn about the lively debate concerning the evolution of the family. In the coming weeks, I pledge to meet representatives of the group that best represent the evolution of the family, including those who have been offended by my words." - Guido Barilla, in a video message posted yesterday to the company's Facebook page.

Reposted from Joe

Via The New Civil Rights Movement: United Nations LGBT Meeting Issues ‘In Your Face Russia’ Declaration

The members of the United Nations’ LGBT Core Group held a ministerial level meeting yesterday – the highest level UN meeting ever held concerning LGBT issues  - to discuss violence and discrimination against the LGBT community throughout the world.
According to the Human Rights Campaign blog, Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, reminded Ministers at the meeting that in some places, conditions for LGBT people are deteriorating, not improving.
 “They say that same-sex relationships and transgender identities go against their culture, religious beliefs or traditional values. My answer is that human rights are universal,” Pillay said.
“Our campaign on behalf of marginalized communities will meet resistance, even opposition. We must not be discouraged. We must stay engaged. Let us keep voicing our concerns, let us keep finding new allies, sharing good practice and standing fast alongside local human rights defenders on the front lines of this struggle.”
High level members from Argentina, Brazil, Croatia, The European Union, France, Israel, Japan, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, and the U.S. who gathered behind closed doors, issued this joint declaration, guaranteed to displease Russia:

End Violence and Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.
United Nations, New York, 26 September 2013

1. We, ministers of Argentina, Brazil, Croatia, France, Israel, Japan, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and United States, and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy – members of the LGBT Core Group at the United Nations – hereby declare our strong and determined commitment to eliminating violence and discrimination against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.

2.In so doing, we reaffirm our conviction that human rights are the birthright of every human being. Those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) must enjoy the same human rights as everyone else.

3.We welcome the many positive steps taken in recent decades to protect LGBT individuals from human rights violations and abuses. Since 1990, some 40 countries have abolished discriminatory criminal sanctions used to punish individuals for consensual, adult same-sex conduct. In many countries, hate crime laws and other measures have been introduced to combat homophobic violence, and anti-discrimination laws have been strengthened to provide effective legal protection against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace and other spheres, both public and private.

4. We also recognize that countering discrimination involves challenging popular prejudices, and we welcome efforts by Governments, national human rights institutions and civil society to counter homophobic and transphobic attitudes in society at large, including through concerted public education campaigns.

5. We assert our support for, and pay tribute to, LGBT human rights defenders and others advocating for the human rights of LGBT persons. Their work, often carried out at considerable personal risk, plays a critical role in documenting human rights violations, providing support to victims, and sensitizing Governments and public opinion.

6. We commend the adoption by the United Nations Human Rights Council of resolution 17/19 on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, and we welcome the efforts of the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights to raise global awareness of human rights challenges facing LGBT individuals, and to mobilize support for measures to counter violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

7. Nevertheless, we remain gravely concerned that LGBT persons in all regions of the world continue to be victims of serious and widespread human rights violations and abuses.

8. A landmark 2011 study by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, which drew on almost two decades worth of work by United Nations human rights mechanisms, found a deeply disturbing pattern of violence and discriminatory laws and practices affecting individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

9. It is a tragedy that, in this second decade of the 21st century, consensual, adult, same-sex relations remain criminalized in far too many countries – exposing millions of people to the risk of arrest and imprisonment and, in some countries, the death penalty. These laws are inconsistent with States’ human rights obligations and commitments, including with respect to privacy and freedom from discrimination. In addition, they may lead to violations of the prohibitions against arbitrary arrest or detention and torture, and in some cases the right to life.

10. In all parts of the world – including in our own – LGBT individuals are subjected to intimidation, physical assault, and sexual violence, and even murder. Discriminatory treatment is also widely reported, inhibiting the enjoyment of a range of human rights – including the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, and work, education and enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health.

11. We are fully committed to tackling these violations and abuses – both at the domestic level, including through continued attention to the impact of current policies, and at the global level, including through concerted action at the United Nations.

12. We recognize the importance of continued dialogue between and within countries concerning how best to protect the human rights of LGBT persons, taking into account regional initiatives. In this context, we welcome the outcome of a series of recent regional consultations on the topic of human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity that took place in March and April 2013, and encourage the holding of further such meetings at regional and national levels.

13. Key to protecting the human rights of LGBT individuals is the full and effective implementation of applicable international human rights law. Existing international human rights treaties provide legally binding guarantees of human rights for all – LGBT people included. But for these guarantees to have meaning they must be respected by Governments, with whom legal responsibility for the protection of human rights lies.

14. Cognizant of the urgent need to take action, we therefore call on all United Nations Member States to repeal discriminatory laws, improve responses to hate-motivated violence, and ensure adequate and appropriate legal protection from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

15. We strongly encourage the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to continue its efforts to increase understanding of the human rights challenges facing LGBT people, advocate for legal and policy measures to meet these challenges, and assist the United Nations human rights mechanisms in this regard.

16. We agree with the United Nations Secretary-General’s assessment that combating violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity constitutes “one of the great, neglected human rights challenges of our time”. We hereby commit ourselves to working together with other States and civil society to make the world safer, freer and fairer for LGBT people everywhere.

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Via Tricycle Daily Dharma:

Tricycle Daily Dharma September 28, 2013

We Don't Start with a Clean Slate

When we first sit down to meditate—and later when we return to the cushion—we can immediately recognize that we are not starting with a clean slate. Whatever the previous day, week, month, year, decade have brought—it is immediately clear that our minds are already in motion, already have movement and momentum in a particular direction before we sit down. Our experience when we sit down to meditate—whether we’ve been sitting for 30 minutes or 30 years—will often reflect our previous physical and mental 'training.'
- Gaylon Ferguson, "Fruitless Labor"
Read the entire article in the Wisdom Collection through September 29, 2013
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