One Step Forward --- Two
Co-Publisher, On the Gay
Last week felt like one of
those one-step-forward-two-steps-back kind of weeks. I really
wanted to feel a part of the excitement sweeping the
country and most of the world. But the results of those
ballot initiatives in Florida, Arizona, Arkansas and,
especially, California, pretty much cancelled out my
I went from disbelief to
hurt to anger. Usually, my immature self chooses to
withdraw --- they don't want us, then who needs them! The
problem is that there really isn't any place to withdraw
How long would I have
been able to maintain that "poor us" frame of mind?
Forever? Its such a familiar place that it would have been
easy to tarry there for a good while. But earlier this week I
was forced to explain On the Gay
Horizon over and over to attendees at a seminar.
This group of 200 complete strangers
included maybe a couple who weren't
straight. One even stood up and "testified for Jesus"
--- not something you usually see at business
I attended this
training to learn how to make OTGH better. Now, I am not
closeted, but, "Hey, I'm gay" is not usually the first thing I
say when I meet someone. So, when the first question anyone
asked was always "why are you here?", I had to choose: tell
them or make something up. I told them. Turns out,
all the usual
suspects were in attendance. Some reacted with that
deer-in-the-headlights expression and couldn't wait to escape.
Fortunately, they were in the minority. Most folks were fine.
And some were absolutely wonderful.
I learned some useful
techniques about websites and search engine optimization but my
biggest "take-away" from the conference was something else
entirely. By the end of the three days, my attitude toward the
election had totally shifted.
Barack Obama kept
saying the election was never about him --- that it was
about us. And you know what? He was right. Those ballot
initiatives were not about us --- that close-minded
judgment has never been about us. Whether it comes from fear of
the unfamiliar, self-hatred, religious intolerance or simply
the inability to think for ones self makes absolutely
no difference. It's not about us --- it's about
So, where do we go with
True, we have to do our
homework and put some extra pieces in place to get most of the
same legal protections and advantages that are supposed to come
with marriage. I say "supposed to" because that certificate is
not a guarantee. Ask women who ended up with nothing
because their husbands controlled the finances and hired good
The simple truth is that
nothing changed in California last week --- anymore than it
changed last May. Being given the right to marry or having it
taken away says nothing about who we are. One did not make our
relationships equally loving and committed and the other
make them less. Anyone who doesn't see that just isn't
I believe that it's a
matter of time until most people realize that you can't have
equality unless you include
everyone. Look what the New York Times
"Struggles over civil
rights never follow a straight trajectory, and the ugly outcome
of these ballot fights should not obscure the building momentum
for full equality for gay people, including acceptance of
marriage between gay men and women. But the votes remind us of
how much remains to be done before this bigotry is finally
We can bring that
bigotry-free day closer. Start by letting go of the
anger and channel that energy into something more
positive. The Task Force is asking everyone to
Anger into Action Declaration.
From a jail cell in
Birmingham, Martin Luther King wrote "Will we be extremists
for hate or will we be extremists for love? Will we be
extremists for the preservation of injustice --- or will we be
extremists for the cause of
HRC is advocating that we
to become extremists for love.
Then, talk to your
friends. To your family. Talk to us. There's only one way to
move forward --- together.
[Editor's note; We
created On the Gay Horizon for the
sole purpose of trying to level the playing field. Everyone,
gay and straight, needs to make certain decisions as they age.
Soon, we will be publishing our next ebook outlining the basic
steps unique to our community. We'll be telling you more
about that as we get closer to the release date. Until then, we
A Legal Guide for Lesbian & Gay Couples by NOLO Press
for the legal documentation too important to put
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has some thoughts to share about how small, gradual
changes can have an enormous impact on our quality of
life. Since that seems to be the theme of what we are
both trying to say, we wanted to ask for your thoughts.
Do you have a story you would like to share about change
--- or some advice for implementing it?
love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org
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One at a Time
I was walking the trail
behind my house yesterday and saw the same 40-foot tree
dangling along a tiny cliff beside the walkway. Half the soil
is missing beneath it, yet it hangs on. And each time I walk
by, I'm reminded of all the tiny grains of soil shifting under
the tree's weight, one at a time, and I know one day, the last
one will move, and the tree will fall. A tiny change: an
Wouldn't it be great if
by making small changes, we had an enormous impact on our
Well, we can.
We are the same way. We
can make very small changes which seem insignificant by
themselves but will eventually rock our world.
We can practice
replacement therapy: the practice of replacing one habit with
Some two thirds of our
cancers develop as the direct result of environmental factors:
like poor diet and lack of exercise --- things we can change.
We can decide to move more. Or change the quality of the food
we intend to eat for the next 30 or 40 or 60 years.
If we eat the food which
is as full of life as possible, most like its raw state (though
not necessarily raw, just pure), we give our bodies the benefit
of all the micronutrients necessary for healthy cells and none
of the foreign matter.
Do we have to throw out
our entire pantry and begin from scratch? No. We simply need to
start replacing processed foods with whole foods. One at a
time. When you run out of your favorite snack food, replace it
with a more wholesome one. Even if it's still corn chips, for
example --- find the corn chips which are made very simply of
corn, non-hydrogenated oil, and salt. If you can find organic
ingredients, even better.
Choosing organic foods
makes your impact even larger. First, your own cells will not
have to deal with any foreign substances. Second, the planet
will not have to deal with foreign substances, like excessive
nitrogen or pesticides. Third, you will be supporting farmers
who practice clean farming. Fourth, you or someone you don't
know, will not suffer the consequences of ground-water
pollution from chemically managed farm run-off, which occurs
every time it rains or fields flood. Fifth, you will keep the
food chain and the earth more pure by rejecting genetically
modified grains which are developed specifically to endure more
All that from a bag of
And gradually, over the
course of perhaps six months, you will have completely emptied
and replaced your pantry, one item at a time. But you'll barely
notice the doing of it.
To move more, do we need
to run out and join a gym? No. We simply need to move
What's the easiest,
cheapest way to add movement to our lives? Consider replacing
one television show with a walk. Yes, take a walk! Even better,
grab a friend and take a walk. Walk around your neighborhood.
Or drive to a large store --- Home Depot, Walmart, a mall ---
leave your money home and just walk. Not walk. Walk. Stop. I
mean walk, at a comfortable pace, for as long as you can. If
it's five minutes the first time you walk, stay with that
the first week.
Aim for 6-minute sessions
the next week you walk, and so on, until you're walking about
30 to 45 minutes per session. Be really picky about the
television you watch and replace any shows that don't make the
cut with a walk!
What will this do? Burn
calories. Work your heart. Move your limbs. Grow your brain.
Cultivate a friendship. Make you feel better.
In six months, you
could be exercising --- er, I mean walking --- five nights
Imagine that: healthy,
wholesome food and plenty of exercise in six months by
making very small changes, one at a time.
And if we can replace one
habit with another, painlessly, we'll never be limited by ideas