Christmas Eve 2011

From the First Reading of the Christmas Vigil Mass:

Merry Christmas Baby (album)

Image via Wikipedia

You shall be called by a new name pronounced by the mouth of the Lord….. No more will you be called ‘Forsaken,’ or your land ‘Desolate. But you will be called ‘My Delight,’ and your land ‘Espoused.’ For the Lord takes delight in you…”
Isaiah 62.2

A God that takes delight. I love that image. On this night when we celebrate the birth of a baby who changed the world, I think it’s worth asking the question: Who among us can resist the face of a delighted baby?

Not me.

That’s the kind of delight I believe in on this night. It’s what I’m counting on. It’s the joy of a crazy universe that may not make much sense, but then again, love never does. Not really.

It’s built on a type of joy that transcends doctrine and moral posturing- that simply enjoys and revels in the craziness of creation, desperate for attention, aiming for hope, betting on simple kindness, compassion and the better nature that can’t help but smile at the face of a delighted baby.

Because it’s just that simple….

I’m in.

2011 Election Results- An LGBT Glance

In State politics, candidates who favor inclusive policies for LGBT persons won seats on City Councils in Missoula and Helena. Caitlin Copple of Missoula and Katherine Haque-Hausrath of Helena both ran on inclusive policy platforms- and it didn’t seem to hurt their electability- although the races weren’t quite runaways.

Nationally, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force gives a great rundown:

Supporters of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights in Michigan’s Traverse City, workers’ rights in Ohio, women’s reproductive freedom in Mississippi, and voters’ rights in Maine were among those scoring big victories in the Nov. 8 election. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force assisted in many of these efforts.

Full story here. 

But the best national rundown comes from Towleroad (which includes our own Caitlin Copple!):

Overall, LGBT candidates and causes scored huge wins in yesterday’s elections. Here’s a round-up of some of the highlights and stinkers. Apologies if I’ve missed any. Please add them in the comments section.

Read more: http://www.towleroad.com/2011/11/election-results-highlights-and-stinkers.html#ixzz1dEU0YpGV

 

God does have ‘A Better Way’- don’t stand in the path of it

My friend, Kathy Baldock, writes about her crusade to counter anti-gay christianist hate groups during Charlotte Pride last week.

It’s an historically heroic effort- and her writing is very moving, funny and important- especially if you believe that  God is Love….

 

On Saturday, August 27, a group of about two hundred Christians marched into “Pride Charlotte” with “God Has A Better Way” (GHABW), an action formed by the Coalition of Conscience and the Speak the Truth Project.

Three quarters of the group, including children, wore red tee shirts boldly declaring the message and website “God Has A Better Way.” The balance of about 30 were “plain clothes” street evangelists.

I heard about the GHABW action two weeks before the event and decided to go to Charlotte with a str8apology action that I have done at many Gay Pride events. Some have striven to label me “gay activist;” a term that is often used to dismiss my intentions and the core of my Christian beliefs.

Would you label Martin Luther King as simply a “black activist” missing that his passions were deeply rooted in his faith that called him to strive for justice and against oppression?

I, too, am driven by my faith which compels me to fight against oppression and injustice. (Isaiah 58)

I am keenly aware that some Christians will and do use the Bible to exclude an entire class of people not only from social equality, but more egregiously, from the benefits of a relationship with God both now and in eternity. So, I took Str8apology to Pride Charlotte. Str8apology is a Christian action. We see the value of positive expressions of God’s love and are acutely aware of the damage caused by conditional and condemning messages from some Christians .

Read  the rest of Part One here. And watch LGBTQ Nation for parts 2 and 3- they just keep getting better…

Pride Vigil (text)

I had some requests to put up the text for the Pride Vigil for Memory, Strength and Hope which we did on Saturday night at The Emerson. There will be more to come, but before I put Gregory and Patricia on the airplane, I’ll just post this here….

 

The darkness can be frightening.

We have sometimes been very afraid here in the State of Montana, because at times, it has been very, very dark.

We have lost good men and women and children to HIV/AIDS.

We have been bullied and teased and yes, driven from our very homes and schools and communities. We have been killed and we have killed ourselves. We have been legislated against and told by official political platforms that we are criminals.

We have been hurt here under this big, dark sky.

But there is light.

There are people whose bravery have driven away darkness. Whose voices refuse to give in to hopelessness or complacency or fear. You know those voices in your lives. You also are those voices. And when we use our voices to proclaim the goodness of our lives and the lives of our brothers, sisters, parents, children and friends- the light grows stronger.

The bravery is here.

Look around you now. Look at the strength that surrounds us.

Look at the light. Now share the light.

(candles lighted)

This light is in your hands. It belongs to you. It has always belonged to you.

Share it. And remember the lives that have lived with pain to bring us here- to this place of hope and triumph.

Now we take a moment to remember our loves, our losses, our reasons for hope.  (silence)

Today is a gorgeous day in Montana History, because the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Two-Spirited People and our Allies will not let this light die.

We will not be afraid.

We will stand up when we are told to lie down.
We will speak when anyone tries to shame us into silence.
We will remain when we are told to leave.
We will proclaim the truth.
Firmly and gently and clearly and proudly.
The truth that we are light.
And that light makes Montana more beautiful, not less.  More.

If you believe it, say Amen!
If you promise to live it, say Amen!
If you promise to not give up, say Amen!

I hear the dance music next door, and I’m reminded of the words of Joe Jervis:

They wish we were invisible.
We’re not.
Let’s Dance!

 

Scooby Mix: Pop Goes The World II

More from my workout mixmaster, DJ Scooby!

  1. On The Floor (Mixin Marc & Tony Svejda LA to Ibiza Mix) – Jennifer Lopez
  2. Better Than Today (Yiannis Reinvention Remix) – Kylie Minogue
  3. Rolling In The Deep (Oliver Watt JBH Vocal Club Mix) – Adele
  4. Till The World Ends (Liam Keegan Club Mix) – Britney Spears
  5. E.T. (Manhattan Clique Remix) – Katy Perry
  6. Just Can’t Get Enough (Suneil S Club Mix) – Black-Eyed Peas
  7. Moment 4 Life (DJ JST Club Mix) – Nicki Minaj feat. Drake
  8. All Of The Lights (Dustindl Bootleg Mix) – Kanye West feat. Rihanna
  9. Someone Like You (eSQUIRE vs. OFFBeat Club Mix) – Adele
  10. Fuckin’ Perfect (Funk3d Club Remix) – P!nk
  11. Born This Way (Funk3d Club Remix) – Lady Gaga
  12. What The Hell (Funk3d Pop Extended Mix) – Avril Lavigne
  13. Good Girl (Bimbo Jones Club Mix) – Alexis Jordan
  14. Coming Home (Dave Nicholson Remix) – Diddy-Dirty Money feat. Skylar Grey

Download it here (click the title).

Newsflash! MT GOP Hates Human Rights (and LGBT People)

It’s been a rough few weeks for LGBT persons in Montana.

I testified at the legislature (with many of my brothers and sisters) against HB 516 which would overturn (perhaps even unconstitutionally) the right of cities and towns to enact their own anti-discrimination legislation. It passed out of committee- despite the amazingly logical arguments against it.

And Senate Bill 276, introduced by Tom Facey would have brought the criminal code into line with the judiciary- in effect aligning the language with the law, by removing the language of the deviate conduct laws which criminalize sexual behavior between consenting adults of the same gender. Bringing the language of the law in line with legal precedent. A no-brainer, right?

Sigh. Not for these Republican legislators. It just got worse. The hearing had some of the most disgusting things I’ve ever heard– much less to be spoken publicly by elected officials. The Billings Gazette had this to say:

Also turned back was a plan to get rid of a state law making gay sex subject to criminal penalties — even though the courts have ruled it unconstitutional and unenforceable.

Republicans, in a 13-7 vote, stacked up against the idea of removing from the books the law offensive to the gay community, which has argued over the years that the antiquated law sends a hostile message.

But House Republicans stuck with their party’s platform that calls for keeping the anti-gay law, even though many Senate Republicans had supported the idea in sending it to the other chamber.

“Voting to say this should stay on the books is truly a cruel act,” said Rep. Diane Sands, D-Missoula. “When you cast that vote you said that I and other members of this Legislature who are gay or lesbian should go to prison for up to 10 years for whom I love. Don’t come up to me later and say you are sorry.”

The Montana GOP has made things very clear- they don’t give a shit about human rights, they don’t give a shit about science and they don’t give a shit about gay people. In fact, they hate them. The only reason not to pass this bill was to slap the faces- repeatedly- of Montana LGBT persons. The only reason. That’s hate.

The plank that still stands in the Montana GOP Platform that promotes the criminalization of “homosexual” acts, I argued before, is anachronistic and hateful and should be removed.

I’ve changed my mind.

It should stay because that’s exactly what they believe. That kind of ridiculous hate and intolerance is exactly what the GOP legislators have sanctioned, promoted and supported. I thought that out of deference to some amazingly open Republican Montanans I know (and am related to) that this kind of thing could be avoided- that the official government of Montana would not tell LGBT kids that they are less valuable than others, that it wouldn’t keep LGBT adults living under the specter of vilification, intolerance and second-class citizenship.

I was wrong.

The MT GOP is intolerant and anti-gay. Period. And the people of Montana need to know that- without equivocation.

So, if you’re a Republican-leaning Montanan and you’re saying to yourself, “These legislators are crazy, they don’t speak for me,” you’re wrong. They do. And if you don’t follow the same ignorant, bigoted stance they are taking, you need to speak up.

Immediately.

And maybe consider leaving the party of bigotry and ignorance. Because, like it or not, the Montana Democrats are the only people standing united for human rights.

And if you’re an LGBT person who is still a Republican, the only thing I can (honestly) say is “Why? They hate you. Do you hate yourself?”

Because- mark my words, it’s just going to get worse.

Ten Becomes Eleven

A slide show of images
with flashes of faces,
glimpses, varietal vistas
I love and not love, yet.

With sounds and tastes and
scents to complement rain,
snow and sunshine, grass,
flowers and falling leaves.

The highway between
home and Sound, palm trees,
pride, babysitting and dogs,
airports, books and a dream.

The family- biological and
accidental, chosen and
necessary, met, unmet,
imagined and realized, all here.

Joints and hands, hair,
fingers and skin, eyes
and ears- older, wiser
maybe, complain anyway.

And handful of pills-
all different colors, shapes,
do their thing inside
and life, grateful, continues.

The houses, the faces,
funerals, weddings, hospitals,
parties, debates, lonely quiet,
advance, retreat and sleep.

Love as puppy breath,
too-early mornings with
him and them, us, all of us,
at home- anywhere we are.

~D Gregory Smith