In the wake of the most recent events (we’re talking hours, here) ride a few very dubious entities. Tragedy, Loss and Fear. They are having a heyday skiing on the tears of a community ripped apart by Violence.
In Newton, CT, this morning, a shooting happened at a school. The numbers are still coming in as to the staggering amount of loss, but suffice to say that the number is near 30, with the majority being children.
My heart breaks with this news. For those of us that will probably never have children (and certainly most who have), we are outraged by the fact that people could have such a cavalier attitude toward our innocents. Why did this happen?
We may never know. And this tragedy will spark many arguments: gun control, mental health, blah blah blah. This is not what we need to be talking about right now. There are more important issues at stake here.
Namely, how do we combat Fear and Loss now that Violence and Tragedy have already made their appearance and done their damage? What we SHOULD be concerned with, is how are we going to help put this community and this nation back together after this Columbine-like incident?
There are parents, families, friends and teachers that will never be the same. The will be very afraid. They will be devastated. They will be hurting. They will be VERY angry!
Let the experts figure out what happened. What we need to do, in our communities, families and schools, is to educate, love and respect. We need to insure this DOESN’T happen. Now, regardless of your argument about guns, that is not the root of the problem. The root of the problem is how we treat each other and recognizing the warning signs.
What is this world coming to that we can’t even have a simple disagreement without coming to blows? What is teaching people that it’s okay to walk into a school and open fire? Where has our compassion gone? Is it video games? Is it violence on television? Is it guns?
No. And people are going to throw a fit over what I believe the answer is. . .but I’m going to tell you anyway. I believe it’s because we have become latch-key parents and guardians. It’s because we are no longer actively involved in what our children are watching, or playing. It’s because WE ARE THE ONES WHO TEACH OUR CHILDREN THAT VIOLENCE IS OKAY!!!!!
Shut off your technology. Shut off the violent TV programs and don’t buy the violent games. If your child sees something that you think is disturbing, then TALK TO THEM ABOUT IT! Get the hell outside and hug and play with your children. Invite your neighbors over for a barbecue. Go visit an elderly family member. CONNECT (not via internet or phone) with the flesh and blood people in your lives! Touch them, don’t text them!
Truly be involved in what goes on in people’s lives. Know your children’s teachers by name. Know their grades. Know how much and what kind of homework they have. Know who your kids’ friends are. Know their parents. Know what your children are watching on TV and reading (on the internet, or in print). Monitor their phones and read their text messages. It’s okay! You are their parent, not their friend.
Incidents like this ARE NOT okay. It is time for us to stand up and fight what’s wrong. It is time to get involved. It’s time for us to actually teach our children and not leave them to electronic babysitters. If you’re going to be a parent, then by God, BE ONE!!
THIS is how we will fight Violence, Tragedy, Fear and Loss.
Last time you were in an exam room, did you feel that the attending physician received all the information needed to gain an accurate perspective of your plight? Did you share everything you felt you should, no matter how personal? Did said physician even ask about anything, aside from the usual short list of inquiries we are all too familiar with in that particular setting?
If you are a physician, do you really get the answers you need from your patients? Or perhaps it is just too uncomfortable when talking about sexual health and behaviors. More likely, they do not disclose the details out of discomfort, or even fear.
LGBT persons have shown to have some unique healthcare needs, sometimes experiencing disparities in care. LGBT patients are often uncomfortable or inhibited from talking openly with healthcare providers about sexual orientation, gender identity, and sexual behaviors. Certain sexual behaviors do not automatically define that patient as LGBT, and not all LGBT patients are going to have similar sexual behaviors. Truthfully, it’s not about whether a person is a member of the LGBT community or not. It’s about the individuals choices and behaviors that could be putting their health at risk, as well as the health of others. In order to cover everyone’s needs, patients must speak openly with providers. Providers must delve into the patients behaviors and understand where the risk behavior is at for each patient. I am going to lay out a few examples, ideas, and suggestions for physicians, as well as patients.
In any healthcare position, you will find people from diverse backgrounds and lifestyles. Different interests, tastes, and mindset. The right approach will reassure patients that the provider is knowledgeable, genuine, concerned, confidential and accepting. This enables the patient to open up and discuss the very private matters of sexual behavior, often in this society a ‘taboo’ subject.
Ask the patient to tell a bit about themselves. As the patient, make sure you indulge your sexual partner(s), safe sex practices, and concerns. Some behaviors have an amount of risk attached to them that is often unknown to the patient. A physician might ask “Do you have any questions or concerns about your sexuality, sexual orientation or sexual desires?”. Use gender-neutral terms and mirror the patient’s terminology to better understand how they identify. For example, asking “do you have a partner or spouse?” “Are you currently in a relationship?” “What do you call your partner?” are all good ways to decide how the patient will identify without offending them with clinical terms which may sound cold and ‘labeled’. From here the in-depth sexual questions begin: “Are you sexually active?” “When you have sex, do you have sex with men, women or both?” “Are you and your partner monogamous?” “How many sexual partners have you had in the past year?” “Do you have vaginal sex, anal sex, or both?”. These and many more are the key to finding out just what unique needs your particular patient might have.
It is important to differentiate between sexual identity and sexual behavior. Providers need to discuss sexual behavior with patients regardless of sexual identity in order to define risk-assessment, ascertaining what activities they engage in and to learn what they are doing to prevent the transmission of disease.
And for the majority of readers, as patients we have a personal responsibility to find the courage to openly discuss in confidence all of our behaviors and desires with our doctors, nurses, therapists and counselors, etc. This is extremely important. We cannot rely on someone to read our thoughts and know the truth.
Stand up and be proud of yourself. I can almost guarantee that the person treating you has heard it all. And if they haven’t, they will soon enough.
Ever since I was a little boy, I wanted to be a father. I even asked for a baby doll for Christmas, much to my parents’ chagrin. However, I actually GOT said baby doll. Her name was Tina! Funny how I can remember that. I took her everywhere around the house with me. Made sure she “ate” and changed her diaper. Mom used to watch me with her and she had decided that I would make a fantastic father, someday.
In church, on Sundays, Mom would often take nursery duty. There weren’t that many infants in those days, but she would bring me with her to “help.” Little did she know that my “help” really WAS help. She used to delight in telling people that little babies/children and dogs really love me. Whenever someone was fussy, into my arms they went. And, they quieted down very quickly.
I spent many years believing that I would, someday, be a father. I got married at 19 partly because of that. Now, never you mind that I had come out at 17 for the first time. My desire to be a parent far outweighed the fact that I am gay. And, I knew that the only way I could ever have children was to be married. This was a direct result of growing up in the church with a minister for a father.
Shortly thereafter, I got divorced. A marriage that lasted 9 months, legally. And, I came out again. All of my hopes of parenthood were dashed and I was preparing myself to never think of children again.
Fast forward some years later. I worked my way out of the “pink haze” and I became an adult. (In maturity vs. age – there is a HUGE difference!) I was spending my time around couples of all genders and sexuality. And, there were children. Who knew?
Again, hope flared. Albeit, briefly. I began to look into adoption, but here in the State of Montana, you are more likely to be able to adopt as a single parent, than as a gay couple. Hopes dashed again.
I met a young man at the theatre where I do some music direction and acting. He was a foster kid and really was one of societies throw-aways. He had been in the foster care system since he was 4 years old and was fast approaching 17. We struck up a friendship and then became a bit closer. I was a mentor to him. Eventually, he started calling me, “Dad.” And a family was born.
Fast forward just a few months later. Around the same time I met the young man, I met a single mother with a wonderful daughter. Come to find out, they were our neighbors across the street. We had only just moved in. Well, my partner and I used to spend a lot of time sitting on the front porch. Very late one evening, we send a text to “Mom” saying, “Kid is home. Isn’t she a bit late?” From that, became a surrogate parenthood of a teenage daughter. As a matter of fact, while I sit here writing this, she is staying at our house while her mother is out of town and I am fretting like any other parent because I am waiting for her to come home, the snow is starting to come down and she just got her driver’s license this summer. . .I digress.
Anyway, I read an article that gave me even more hope. Read it here: Foster Parenting
It would appear that in Los Angeles, they are trying to court LGBT couples to become foster parents! Something that we might consider in Montana. Think about it. . .so many children need stable homes. And, how many of us have had the desire to become parents, but lack the funds to adopt or have surrogacy, etc? (By the way, adopting from the foster care system is usually subsidized BY the foster care system! Or at least the costs are greatly reduced.)
So, my point in all of this is, “FAMILY” is defined many ways. There are many opportunities for us to become parents. There are many ways to help children out there. And, there are times for us to be positive role models to young people.
- Foster parent says Social Services investigation long overdue (wtvr.com)
- Failed to Death: Colorado needs hundreds more foster families (denverpost.com)
- My Turn: At-risk Alaska kids need foster parents (juneauempire.com)
- Adding to our family… (angelatucker.wordpress.com)
- 500 Fla. foster kids adopted (sfgate.com)
I’m delighted to welcome some new and shining voices to From Eternity To Here: Jim Bruce, Bobbie Zenker and Timber Venard!
They have each agreed to share their amazing and unique voices here, and I couldn’t be more delighted.
Please give them each a warm welcome and see the all new “Contributors” page under the masthead for more info about these amazing writers.
And there are more to come!
If you are interested in being a contributor, please write me at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Contributor” in the subject line.
- Writers Wanted! (dgsmith.org)
- Let Me Introduce Myself and Our Democratic Republic (dgsmith.org)
…I’ve been fighting a nasty bug. Much better now- thanks for your patience.
By Jim Rollince, GymSource
Adhering to a rigid exercise program can seem intimidating to a person who has been diagnosed with HIV. Because this particular disease is so varied in how it affects each person who has it, people with HIV are often at various stages of physical health and emotional health. Sometimes, the disease can seemingly lie dormant for years. Other times, the disease can attack and leave a person feeling extremely ill, mentally depleted, and exhausted of nearly all energy. Exercise is one way that a person who has HIV can fight back and take positive steps to regaining strength and increasing his or her overall health.
Increased Cardio Health Benefits Stem from Consistent Exercise Routines
It is well known that physical exercise can greatly improve cardio health. In many situations, healthy hearts equal healthy bodies. Many people are able to fight diseases through consistent exercise programs. While beginning with a rigorous exercise program may not be feasible for an HIV patient who is fighting severe symptoms of the disease, beginning with a mild program and then steadily increasing it can result in wonderful improvements on the way the person feels each day.
Setting up home gym equipment is an ideal way to be prepared to exercise any time there is free time to do so. If an HIV patient is working full time or part time, going to regular doctor visits, and taking care of other responsibilities, a home gym may be the best solution to find time to exercise. Using a treadmill, an exercise bike, and an elliptical machine can result in tremendous health benefits and improved heart conditions. Improving the heart and blood circulation throughout the body will make the person feel physically stronger and this can have a great and lasting impact on how well the person is physically able to cope with the disease.
Remain Committed to Regular Fitness Activities for Increased Health
The US National Library of Medicine provides an online medical journal that details numerous benefits that people who have been diagnosed with HIV or AIDS can gain from committing to regular exercise sessions. Psychological benefits, increased circulation, easier breathing, and stronger muscles are all potential benefits a person can gain by committing to exercise on a regular basis.
Getting outside during nice weather and taking advantage of warm and pleasant weather to hike, swim, or go biking with friends is an ideal way to enjoy exercise and socialization at the same time. When time is short, the individual can take advantage of fitness equipment at home to get in a few minutes of treadmill jogging or working out on an elliptical. Every time a person engages in physical activity, the body will respond by increasing metabolism and potentially increasing levels of energy.
In 10,000 Same Sex Couples Magazine, an excellent overview of the benefits of the ACA for LGBT persons. Excerpt:
Nondiscrimination protection measures have been included in the Affordable Care Act, and significantly, by 2014, insurance companies will not be able to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions such as HIV or transgendered medical history.
Increased services for preventive care and HIV testing and treatment have been included in the ACA. As insurance companies will no longer be able to cancel or deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions, Americans living with HIV will have better access to care and to life-saving drugs, whereas currently, an estimated 25% of the 1.2 million Americans living with HIV in the United States have no health insurance coverage. Many of those living with HIV without insurance, or with insurance but consistently fearful of having it canceled due to a pre-existing condition, have been forced to pay out of pocket or seek other methods of treatment.
LGBTQ Activist Chris Barnett of San Francisco says: “I’ve been fortunate to have health coverage all my years of living with HIV, so pre-existing condition has thankfully never directly affected me. Though I must say, in my early years with this, late ’80s to early ’90s, I was fearful of using my insurance for fear of being redlined, so I paid for early treatment out of pocket, or found medical studies.”
As most states in America fail to recognize same-sex relationships, healthcare through a spouse’s workplace is not an option for many LGBTQ Americans. This often results in a high number of citizens forced to pay high prices for private insurance or to forgo having any insurance at all due to cost. With ACA’s expansions to the affordability and accessibility of healthcare, more LGBTQ Americans will be able to be covered.
Pride Foundation, The Northwest’s largest LGBT community foundation is accepting Letters of Inquiry for its 2012 Grant Cycle. Pride Foundation is proud to support LGBTQ equality in Montana. Building on our first Montana grant awarded in the 1990s supporting a LGBTQ youth conference, we have been growing support for Montana organizations and scholars thanks to donors and volunteers with more than $300,000 awarded to date. For Every $1.00 given in Montana, $3.80 comes back to the state- allowing Pride Foundation to make major investments in Montana Equality.
The simple online Letter of Inquiry application is available here. If you are a previous applicant, please log in using your email address and password. If you are a new applicant, please select “Create New Account” on the registration page. Only successful Letter of Inquiry applicants will be invited to submit a full application. However, all applicants will receive notification.
Please review our grant guidelines before applying.
2012 Application Process
Letter of Inquiry
- Letter of Inquiry available: June 1, 2012
- Letter of Inquiry deadline: July 31, 2012
- Letter of Inquiry applicant notification: August 27, 2012
Full Application (By Invitation)
- Full Application invitation notification: August 27, 2012
- Full Application deadline: September 21, 2012
- Full Application notification: November 30, 2012
(Funds will be disbursed in December 2012)
All of Pride Foundation’s granting decisions are made by teams of local volunteers knowledgeable in their community’s needs.
If you need more information regarding this process, contact your area’s Regional Development Organizer.
In Montana, that’s Caitlin Copple. She can be reached at 406.546.7017, by email: Caitlin@pridefoundation.org
For general grant assistance or questions, please email our Director of Grants Programming or call 206.323.3318 or toll free at 800.735.7287.
Sign up for Pride Foundation’s monthly eNewsletter to receive notification of future grant and scholarship deadlines, and other Pride Foundation news.