FYI: Vacation

Hey y’all!

I’ll be communing with nature (and some awesome friends) along the Smith until Tuesday, so there won’t be much action here until then.
(B I G  thanks to my house/dog sitters!)

Until then, be fabulous!

~G

Bozeman Men’s Group Begins March 21st

support-group-by-KLatham
Bozeman Gay/Bi Men’s Group
 
This group begins March 21, 2013
Thursday evenings, 6:30-8 pm, in Bozeman, MT
Registration Closes March 15th!
 
Laura Bailey, MS, LCPC, and
D Gregory Smith, MA, LMHC, LCPC
Facilitators
 
This 8-week group will explore
Dating ~ Relationships ~Sex~ Being Out ~ Mental Health
Community ~ Substance Use ~ Being Healthy
Whatever You Need To Talk About!
~FREE, SAFE AND CONFIDENTIAL~
 
Space is limited.
 
If you would like to participate,
please contact Laura Bailey 
406-539-8890
Feedback from past participants:

“This group changed everything for me- thank you!”
“I didn’t know that I needed support until I started attending this group- and now I have the skills to live a better life.”
“I learned more about myself in 8 weeks than I have in 25 years.”
“It’s so amazing that the State of Montana provides this opportunity for us.”
“I wish it didn’t have to end- I really look forward to this every week.” 

Look of love

IMG_1002Greg is at a wedding today – in Seattle! Congrats to the happy couple, John Carroll and Jason Ohlberg. Many blessings and much love to you both!

Heaven

From something sent to me years ago- just stumbled across it again. Attribution unknown.

A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead.

He remembered dying, and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them.

After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch glowing in the sunlight.

When he was standing before it he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold. He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side.

When he was close enough, he called out, “Excuse me, where are we?”

“This is Heaven, sir,” the man answered.

“Wow! Would you happen to have some water?” the man asked.

“Of course, sir. Come right in, and I’ll have some ice water brought right up.”

The man gestured, and the gate began to open.

“Can my friend,” gesturing toward his dog, “come in, too?” the traveller asked.

“I’m sorry, sir, but we don’t accept pets.”

The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going with his dog.

After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence.

As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book..

Author: Marian Gladis Water pump, Ťahanovce

“Excuse me!” he called to the man. “Do you have any water?”

“Yeah, sure, there’s a pump over there, come on in.”

“How about my friend here?” the traveller gestured to the dog.

“There should be a bowl by the pump.”

They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it.

The traveller filled the water bowl and took a long drink himself, then he gave some to the dog.

When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree.

“What do you call this place?” the traveller asked.

“This is Heaven,” he answered.

“Well, that’s confusing,” the traveller said. “The man down the road said that was Heaven, too.”

“Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope. That’s hell.”

“Doesn’t it make you mad for them to use your name like that?”

“No, we’re just happy that they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind.”

Majority of Montana Voters Support Same-Sex Domestic Partnerships

 

No, seriously- Welcome!

I mentioned this in passing yesterday, but a newly released poll shows that a majority of voters in Montana support domestic partnerships for same-sex couples. That poll, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research for the American Civil Liberties Union, found that 53 percent of Montana voters favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to enter into domestic partnerships.

“Support of same-sex domestic partnerships is growing, and now we can quantify what our day-to-day interactions with people are telling us,” said ACLU of Montana LGBT Advocacy Coordinator Ninia Baehr. “It’s heartening to know that people understand that every loving and committed couple who pays taxes in our state deserves fairness.”

The change in attitude mirrors an increase in the number of same-sex couples in Montana reporting their households to the U.S. Census Bureau. Recently released numbers show 2,295 same-sex households in the 2010 Census – a 54 percent jump since 2000.

Key Highlights of 2011 Polling

  • Most Montanans favor domestic partnership. By a 13 point margin, voters in Montana favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to enter into domestic partnerships – 53 percent favor, 40 percent oppose. There is more intensity among those who favor; 35 percent strongly favor, while 29 percent strongly oppose.
  • More than half of Catholics (55 percent) favor domestic partnerships, including 36 percent who strongly favor allowing domestic partnerships. This measure also wins the support of nearly half (47 percent) of seniors, a majority of older women (54 percent), and blue collar women (52 percent).
  • Support for domestic partnerships seems to be increasing. A 2008 survey conducted by Lake Research Partners asked voters a four-part question asking them to choose between traditional marriage, marriage with another name, civil unions, and no legal recognition. The survey found that 33 percent of Montanans thought that gay and lesbian couples should have the same right to marry as straight couples, or should have the same right to marry but it should not be called marriage.2
  • Voters recognize discrimination against gays and lesbians. A 47 percent plurality believe gay people in Montana face a lot of discrimination; only 38 percent think that gays and lesbians in the state do not face much discrimination.

People understand that the lack of legal recognition of same-sex relationships leaves couples extremely vulnerable. In Montana examples of unfairness toward same-sex couples include a woman who was denied bereavement leave when her partner’s father died, and another woman who lost her home because she was ineligible for worker’s compensation death benefits when her partner was killed in an accident.

“Same-sex couples have told us time and again that they are meeting more and more people who sympathize with their plight,” said Baehr. “This polling reinforces the growing support those couples have been experiencing.”

While it’s not exactly marriage, I’ll take it. For now.

This shows the evolution of the Montana voter’s attitude is in favor of eventual, full equality-and this change in attitude has a cause. This is happening because more of us are simply visible as co-workers, neighbors, children, siblings and friends. We are not a threat, we’re just people.

I’m particularly impressed with the Catholics- and not surprised, really. This is about social justice for us- not particularly about morality. Even though the hierarchy is deeply out of touch on this issue, this is a reminder that the sense of the people in the pews is leading the church here. My mother would have agreed- I know the rest of my Catholic family does.

In the eyes of Montanans, “The Gays” are slowly changing from scary bogeymen into recognizable human beings. Never underestimate the power unleashed by broken closet doors….

More info here.

Bozeman PFLAG

Last night I told my story to a lovely group of people at the Bozeman PFLAG meeting- and it occurred to me that maybe more people need to know about PFLAG and what they do.

From their website:

Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) is a national non-profit organization with over 200,000 members and supporters and over 350 affiliates in the United States. This vast grassroots network is cultivated, resourced and serviced by the PFLAG National Office, located in Washington, D.C., the national Board of Directors and 13 Regional Directors.

A great group of people invested in LGBT equality. And they’re special because they represent the best of our allies- our parents, neighbors, siblings and friends- as well as LGBT persons.

Equality will only happen when the majority of Americans- who are not gay- realize and accept the ordinary reality of LGBT persons and their human desires for a beautiful life.

Bozeman’s group is fantastic- and they could use any extra support and encouragement you might be willing to give. Thank you all for a great evening!

Go ahead and look them up. Their Facebook page is here.

The Return

My week off has been full- Seattle, Spokane, Sand Point, best friends, family (marriage in NY!) Ken’s marathon, Seattle Pride, friends, more friends, walking, cats, dogs, Canadians, Sisters, sun, reunions, lots of good food and an amazing amount of time in the car.

I have lots to share, and I’ll get to it. Promise.

I just need some time to do the laundry- I’m out of underwear.