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Making It Up As We Go Along

By: Karen J. Allen
Co-Publisher, On the Gay Horizon

For our generation, those of us with the foresight to gather our ducks and try to put them in rows have faced the challenge of defining and structuring our relationships, followed by the equally daunting task of seeking or creating the paperwork to make everything legal.  We didn't have many choices.  Often we weren't sure what we needed.

But today, as our options change from day to day, and from state to state, we have a lot more to consider.  We can have domestic partnerships, civil unions, and the legal mother lode itself:  gay marriage.

What the November election will bring is unclear.  Some reduction in our options?  Some expansion of our options?  Some streamlining?  Some unity?  Who knows?  The short story is:  we cannot count on the federal or state governments at this point.

The One Right You Must Protect

One right we must legally protect is our right to die in the manner we wish, often referred to as a living will, a medical directive or a directive to physicians.

I briefly shared in the introductory newsletter that I lost my life partner very unexpectedly due to complications from emergency heart surgery.  But she didn't die during surgery. She had a massive stroke immediately following the surgery and died several weeks later.  Because she never spoke again, her medical directives governed the following months and the decision to honor what she wanted --- not what the hospital or the doctors demanded.

As horrible as that experience was for the both of us, I will go to my grave knowing that it would have been far worse without that simple piece of paper. (Not to mention that I might well be writing this from prison, because I would have honored what I knew were her wishes, no matter what.)  The directive didn't make it perfect --- some doctors were resistant to her wishes. And, although I was allowed to pay her medical bills, I was not allowed to pick up her ashes.  But, in the end, her values and the person she was, were both honored.  And that was what mattered most to me. 

How Prepared Are You?

Do you have this particular duck lined up?  Don't wait to make your wishes or your partner's wishes known.  Don't ask your loved ones to shoulder that burden.  Make your wishes legal and binding by having medical and financial directives executed.  Make an appointment with your attorney today or check out the sites below.

It could be the most loving thing you ever do.

Advance Directives from Rainbow Law   This is a gay-owned business and even offers a free service for advance directives. 

Medical Powers of Attorney & Living Wills from NOLO Press  This site provides affordable, plain-English books, forms and software on a wide range of legal issues, including products for the gay community.

 

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Running From Your Center

By: Ann-Marie Giglio
Co-Publisher, On the Gay Horizon

Are you aligned with what you're doing?

I practice ChiRunning.  One of its principles is to bring everything to our center and point it in the direction we're moving.

Consider for a moment how important that is.

To move from point A to point B, it's most efficient if everything moves toward the goal.  If our move is business-oriented, that means our plan must align with our direction.  Our employees.  Our finances.  Our advertising.  Our expectations.

If the move is health-oriented, we need to align our desire with our actions.  Our pantry with our goal.  Our attitude with our dream.  Our schedule with our bodies.

When everything is centered --- aligned --- success happens.  The path becomes friction-less --- the path of least resistance, like a current, surging forward.

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Singled Out --- Single Again?

As I write this, the room I am in is lit by my Itty-Bitty-Book-Light. So, basically, I'm sitting in the dark. Life hasn't been the same since Hurricane Ike roared through here a week and a half ago. Up until yesterday, I had power. I lost it the night of the storm but had it restored after a few days. I was so happy when I heard the hum of my refrigerator and felt cool air coming from the AC vents!

All of a sudden I could do so many things that I hadn't been able to --- it was wonderful! Then, in a flicker, it was gone. And somehow this is far worse. It's just my neighborhood this time, not everyone. So, it feels personal. Almost as if we were singled out.

Of course, my loss of electricity is not personal. As they fix one area they are creating problems in others. Our power will be restored in time.

What is happening in California with Proposition 8, however, is about as personal as it gets. And, not merely personal --- it goes against those things that are supposed to be most dear to us.

It violates the very principle upon which this country was founded:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness..."

It violates the scriptures that Proposition 8 backers claim to live by. Jesus taught that right after loving God, the most important commandment is:

"Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself."

And it's just plain mean-spirited. No matter what you feel about gay marriage, how could anyone not be moved by the happiness in the faces of those thousands of couples who were finally able to step forward and have their love and commitment to each other recognized?

How much damage will be done if that is taken away? How would the women in this country feel if we took a vote and their right to vote was taken away? How would African-Americans feel if we took a vote and tomorrow on the way to work they had to once again sit at the back of the bus?

When any one of us is made to feel "less than" it diminishes us all. It is simply unacceptable.

So, what do we do?

If you live in California, you vote --- you vote early and you vote often! If you know someone in California, you make sure they understand just what is at stake. You write letters to the media. You volunteer with the organizations that are working so hard on behalf of us all.

And, if you can not do any of those things, make a donation through an organization like the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force that is specifically targeted to defeating Proposition 8.

Protect the Freedom to Marry in California

Because if they lose in California.....

Karen 

 

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