Wednesday, October 31, 2012

It's The Night Before NaNo

It used to be I celebrated the 31st of October because of Halloween. Now I celebrate because, at midnight, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) begins.

For those who don't know, November has become a month when people all over the world concentrate on producing words, 50,000 of them to be exact, in the shape of a novel. It's not a competition in the traditional sense, everyone wins who completes their goal before midnight November 30th.

You'll never find a more supportive opportunity to write a book. The community offers tons of support, from meeting in live groups to write together, to an incredibly helpful forum where all sorts of questions are addressed.

I was so excited to start this year (my second) that I penned a short poem in celebration:

It's The Night Before NaNo

By Genta Sebastian

It’s the night before NaNo and all through the house
Every creature is scrambling, including my spouse
The Halloween costumes had filled me with dread
But now my three munchkins are all Living Dead

Out the door they go bravely, three kids and adult
Upon their return, I’ll be deep in the cult
My fingers will twitch while I watch the clock
Unable to start until midnight will knock

It’s then that their nightmare begins to grow real
I’ll be like the undead to them, that’s our deal
They all are on warning, they all know the curse
The Nano attack will have Mom in full verse

I’m not doing laundry, I’m not cooking meals
I’m not driving errands, no matter who squeals
Instead I’ll be dancing with plot twists and devices
Not caring one bit about pre-Christmas prices

I’ll stop for Thanksgiving, but just for that day
My family comes first, and besides I can pray
That my muse breaks her silence, or gives me a peek
So my word output doubles during the last week

And just when they think that I gave up the ghost
From the office I’ll shamble, but ready to boast
“I did it,” I’ll say, “fifty thousand words, plus!
“The novel is finished. We can all readjust.”

For NaNo I give up a month of my life
The children will suffer, and so will my wife
My eyes will be bloodshot, my back wracked with pain
As I make plans for next year, when I’ll do it again

I hope you'll join us on this adventure into the world of your own creativity. I'll be putting up posts as the days roll along, hoping for your words of encouragement and support.

Write On!


Tuesday, October 30, 2012


I've been floundering around trying to figure out what the dickens I'm doing with a Blog. And I've realized that I need this space to try and communicate more about the writing processes I go through, how well they work, and seek comments and advice from readers.

So be forewarned. My Blog's name is likely going to change to A Novel Approach or something like that. I'll always be Rainbow, and I'll always tell the Rainbow Truth, but I think this blog needs to be more about my work as an author, and less about my political beliefs.

I've started my new novel, and am very excited to see how it develops. The working title right now is: Ghost of a Marriage

No - it's not in the Romance genre. It's my first attempt at Paranormal. I'm excited to try out a new genre, and I'm sure I'll be learning as I go along. I plan to use the elements of fantasy, humor, and erotica to whip up a juicy bit of eye candy. I hope you'll follow along with me as I wrestle this baby onto paper.

The first chapter fairly wrote itself, and the outline is intriguing. So I'm off to see what Chapter Two offers me today.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard

This, ladies and gentlemen, is how you deal with
hypocrisy from the opposition.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has called out the leader of the opposition party. In the heat of a scandal surrounding the parliamentary speaker's sending crude, sexist text messages, Prime Minister Gillard took the opportunity to dress down the opposition party leader, Tony Abbott, for his own long history of sexism and misogyny.

In doing so, she was speaking not only for herself, or her fellow Australian women, she was speaking for the women of the world. The time for men treating women as second class citizens is over. I won't deign to explain why, the reasons are obvious to everyone with a mother. Women are half the world, and we're tired of being treated as if we're not equal to men.

What struck me immediately as I watched PM Gillard, was how impressed I was with the power of the woman. I've seen powerful women speak before, not nearly as many as I should have, not for lack of looking, but lack of opportunity. However, today I was treated to a powerful woman speaking the bald faced truth to the very bullies (yes, sexism and especially misogyny are bullying) who have tormented her every day since her election, in front of a room of her peers, and being cheered for doing so.

The first thought I had was, "Every woman should see this." For that reason alone I was going to share it with you all. But then I thought, "Everybody should see this, not just women."

And THEN I thought, Joe Biden needs to see this! Before he steps out on that stage he needs to watch this woman shred apart the lies and denial of deliberate cruelty, because he can use the same techniques to call out Paul Ryan on his, what is politely known as, mendacity when it comes to Social Security, Medicaid, women's reproductive rights, health insurance, and everything else he's been baldfaced lying about over the course of the election.

Of course, I hope Barack Obama will also watch this video. There are two more debates with Romney, and this is a political stance that is seen as strongly assertive, rather than politely removed. It's time to take the gloves off, Mr. President, and call the opposition leader OUT.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Arrested for Being Self Denfensive

It is my distinct pleasure to share with you an article recently written by civil rights activist and leader, Tara Golden. Tara has spent years working tirelessly for her fellow citizens, cis-, trans, straight, or rainbow. She's recently relocated from Sacramento to Portland; California's loss, but Oregon's gain.

Arrested for crimes most dire:

A concerned citizen faces a law establishment that protects the criminal.

By Tara Golden

“He said, "Shut up, kid. Get in the back of the patrol car."

 And that's what we did, sat in the back of the patrol car and drove to the quote Scene of the Crime unquote. I want tell you about the town of Stockbridge, Massachusets, where this happened here, they got three stop signs, two police officers, and one police car, but when we got to the Scene of the Crime there was five police officers and three police cars, being the biggest crime of the last fifty years, and everybody wanted to get in the newspaper story about it. And they was using up all kinds of cop equipment that they had hanging around the police officer's station. They was taking plaster tire tracks, foot prints, dog smelling prints, and they took twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence against us.  Took pictures of the approach, the getaway, the northwest corner the southwest corner and that's not to mention the aerial photography.”
From Alice’s Restaurant By Arlo Guthrie

                “I was arrested today.”  That is one of those phrases that one simply has to provide a back-story as a necessary follow up.  People’s expressions when you utter that phrase are invariably of the eye-brow lifted type that say… aaaand…?  Their expressions are bound to be even more demanding of an explanation if they know me – the person uttering that phrase in this circumstance.  You see, more often than not it is I who have been DOING the arresting, not the one being arrested.  I was once the Coordinator of a street safety team called the Lavender Angels, which was a volunteer team that patrolled the streets in order to prevent crime and make the area we worked in safer.  And after that brief stint I went on to be a Guardian Angel, performing the same sort of duties, but with more diligence, backing and vigor.  I also carry a level III guard card, and am trained in security, apprehension and the law.  So, for me to get arrested… well, that must have a story behind it!  It does, and it also has a moral to the story… but let me start with the story.
                Not too long ago I had the distinct pleasure to work with an Assembly Woman here in the California Capitol on providing a safety and self-defense course for the women who work in the Capitol, who sometimes leave in the wee hours of the morning during a long session.  I met this Assembly Woman after she asked me to testify for a bill that would allow hate crimes to be one of the “special circumstances” considered in the California CCW (concealed weapon) licensing process.  I was called to testify for her bill before the assembly because her Chief of Staff was a woman I had been friends for years had been brutally mugged and it was I she called to assist her when the police did not show up.  It was my distinct honor to have had the strange series of circumstances in my life that led to my being able to help her, both to testify for this bill and afterwards to help organize this self-defense course.
                Anyone who knows Sacramento, and the area that surrounds the Capitol, will understand that it is not necessarily a place that a woman in heels and a business suit wants to spend much time after dark.  Especially in this era of drastic cuts to public safety programs.  So, when presented with the opportunity to help foster this series of classes for this specific demographic, I jumped at the opportunity… knowing that it was needed.
                It took months of planning and hard work to get these classes together, of which the majority of the heavy lifting was managed by the trainers we selected and the amazing women that worked for this assembly woman who sponsored this series of classes.  Both the Assembly Woman and I were leaving this area, and this was to be our big last parting gift to the community that we had grown to care about.  But eventually the day came.
                We gave the women who attended a folder with useful information in it and a kitty-cat key-chain (which we will return to in a moment).  And, I am happy to say that the courses were brilliantly done by the trainers who helped us, and everyone seemed to go home empowered and a little safer.  Big success, right?  At least that’s how it felt immediately after the courses… right up until today’s events.
                So I became friends with the lovely ladies in the Assembly Woman’s office.  One of them I had been friends with for quite a few years, and the others I was just learning to adore. From the Assembly Woman herself all the way down through her staff, they were all wonderful people I was proud to call my friends. 
                As I’m getting ready to leave California for opportunities out of state, I decided to stop by and say farewell to my friends in the office.  Seemed like a harmless thing to do.  How could that turn out badly?  Just some laughs, a little light conversation, possibly a hug or two, and off I go…
                Aaand then I went to go through the Security gate at the entrance.  I took out my laptop, and put my shoulder bag in the gray bin, and that’s when the trouble started.
                Instead of my shoulder bag going through the conveyor belt x-ray machine, the Security Officer put it on top of the machine.  Hmmm, I thought… that’s odd… oh well.  I walked through the scanning archway after removing my rivet-ridden belt and started to gather my things that had passed through the x-ray machine and put myself and my bags back together.
                “Sir, you can’t take this into the building.”
                “Ummm… excuse me?”               
                “This (holding up the bright pink kitty key-chain fob) cannot go in the building.”
                “Oh (little chuckle) that?  That is something from a self-defense course we taught here”
                Officer does not smile.  “Sir, I do not care, you cannot take this in.” Proceeds to pull my kitty fob off my huge collection of keys dangling from my shoulder-bag’s strap and put it in a little manila envelope.  “sign here” he gruffly says pointing to a blank line on the envelope beneath other lines full of signatures.
                “Okay”   I was still smiling… the girls in the office were gonna love this one!  I signed, gathered up the rest of my belongings and took off, leaving my bright pink kitty key-chain fob in the manila envelope, on top of the machine designed to keep bombs and guns out of the Capitol.
                I went upstairs and told the women in the office about it, and we all did a mutual eye-roll about it before we went on to other topics.  After a short visit I thought I would let the women get back to whatever they were doing.  The Chief of Staff, my long-time friend, and one of the other women, said they would go down with me to have a cigarette after I got my kitty back.
                So we walked up to the unsmiling man with the manila envelope next to him on the machine… designed to keep dangerous weapons such as guns and bombs out of the Capitol, and I went to retrieve my key-chain.  Immediately there was a Highway Patrol officer there to tell me, in harsh terms that this kitty was a felony weapon… as two more officers approached from the front of me…
                Alarm bells went off in my head.  Seriously?  This must be a joke… but the officers were definitely not smiling.
                And so I found myself escorted into a small room just behind the entrance.  Once there I was motioned towards a lone, hard, wooden chair, and the harranging began.  The main officer was livid.  His hands were shaking and he was telling me how I was “going to jail for at least ten years,” “there was no one who could help me out of this one…” that sort of thing.  And more officers came into the room… and I was surrounded by men in those tight khaki uniforms glaring down at me… the monster that had invaded their turf… this heinous criminal… who dared to bring a pink, plastic kitty into the sacred halls of the Capitol.
                Yes… it is funny.  Even then, sitting in that seat seeing my freedom drifting away from me, I was thinking how hilarious it really all was.  It was almost too much when I started hearing Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant” in my head.  But laughing right then would not have been a wise decision.  No, the blonde Highway Patrol who had collared me and was angrily spouting dire futures for me, would not have appreciated the humor of the moment… And so, Alice’s Restaurant played on in my head and I struggled against both laughing at the absurdity of the moment and the horrible reality of my fate.
                And then, after what seemed like an eternity, but was probably only a few minutes, my savior appeared.  My savior this time was a tall, chiseled-face Highway Patrol officer that the rest deferred to, making him some sort of brass level in the Patrol hierarchy.  He asked the other officers to step outside with him, leaving me sitting there alone… at Alice’s Restaurant.
                And then he came in with the rest of them in tow, including the blonde man who did not cotton to me much at all… and he smiled at me.  It was like angels sang at that moment. There was a light at the end of the tunnel, maybe… and Officer “Clint Eastwood could be my stunt double” was going to be my Virgil and lead me out of this nightmare!
                And he proceeded to tell me that it had been a misunderstanding, and that we would work this all out in a few minutes.
                And then he left the room, leaving behind a sullen blonde officer and an officer in a bike helmet.  And they proceeded to print me out the law that covers plastic kitty key-chains which had eye-holes that were made to fit fingers and and sharp little pointy ears that could deliver a mean punch (essentially a really cute pair of plastic “brass knuckles”) and fill out paper-work which is a part of any police transaction… and Mr blondie told me that it “was lucky for me I knew people.”
                And so it was that I walked out of the Capitol building, escorted by Highway Patrol officers (whom I had stood in front of when they were threatened by a mob during a particularly raucous Capitol protest) minus my bright pink kitty key ring… but free… and shaken… and underneath that… somewhere deep inside… deeply angry.
                And as I walked home, and felt the adrenaline drain out of my body, I got angrier… because I heard the rest of the news.  A call had gone out to all the Capitol, all the women who had gone to our Self-Defense class… that they had to turn in all their Kitty-Cat key-chains or face felony charges.
                And as I walked I got angrier.  I got angrier because of who I am.  I am an out transsexual, who has spent hundreds and hundreds of hours volunteering trying to keep the citizens of my city safe both as a Lavender Angel and as a Guardian Angel.  And now, I was thrown out of the capitol, after being threatened and nearly being charged with a felony for carrying an item to protect myself.  And why did I start doing this volunteer work, this effort to keep my community safe?  Because someone like me was violently murdered in my town, and another one of my sisters’ body was unceremoniously dumped not far from my town… because they were like me.  I got angry because I was a law abiding citizen… except for carrying pink kitty cat key-fobs, and I was labeled a criminal for trying to protect myself from a world where far too many people would just as soon see me harmed or even killed.
                And I got angry because of those hundred plus women that were now turning in their kitty cat key fobs.  In a world where nearly 25% of women will, or have already been sexually assaulted at some point in their lives; in a world where criminals carry guns and knives and other implements of violence as a matter of course, and prey upon the weak and vulnerable… where our police forces have been cut to the bone and fight a valiant, although losing, fight against crime in our streets; some law-maker thought it was a good idea to add little plastic kitty key-chains to a long list of self-defense items that are a felony to carry.  Now, these women are going to leave work tonight with one less tool they could use if they were ever faced with the horrible demand to protect themselves from criminals which are out to hurt them.
                Why do we have these laws banning these items of self-defense?  The officer told me that it was so that they do not fall into the hands of criminals… oh, pardon my French, but bullshit!  Those criminals carry guns and knives and saps and other weapons that would put a little kitty key-chain to shame.  And criminals don’t care about laws… they are criminals after all!  It is law abiding citizens these laws seek to punish.  These laws simply protect the criminal from those who would defend themselves.  These laws assure the criminals that us law-abiding citizens are always going to be defenseless and easy to prey upon.  Officer blondie had the gall to say that “the only weapon a woman needs is a good pair of tennis shoes.”  And, if she can’t run, if she is cornered or suddenly grabbed from a dark hiding place?… well, sorry for ya sista… but we can’t have you being able to protect yourself… you might actually hurt a violent criminal, and then where would we be?
                I’ve known rape victims.  I’ve had people I love with those deep wounds behind their eyes and haunting their nightmares, and I wish to God they had had some weapon on them.  I wish they had had some implement of destruction on them that could have stopped what happened to them.  I wish they had had a way to hurt their attackers… mortally if necessary, if only to have spared them that horrible, evil crime.  Or I wish I had been there… to protect them, with a weapon or with my bare hands against the monsters that violated them and stole from them the light in their eyes.  I would gladly face a hundred felony charges if I could spare one person from being a victim of that horrible crime.
                But we are not concerned with victims in this country… we are more concerned with protecting criminals.  We discourage citizens fighting back against crime, and forbid them from arming themselves to protect against being preyed upon, we have people film criminals being arrested… to stop any discomfort they might experience and make sure that their rights are protected to the letter, we have sharp defense attorneys defend them in court pleading that the criminals are the victims and those they prey upon somehow are the true criminals who should be tried, and finally, we have people who plead for lenient sentences and protest their incarceration… because they are not being treated fairly.
                But just so my meaning is clear, I was never mad at the Police Officers.  Police Officers enforce the laws, they do not write them, or get to choose what laws they enforce.  They merely have the unenviable job of trying to keep our country lawful and do their best to protect the citizens of our cities and rural places.  They don’t do it for the money, they don’t do it for some sort of high regard… they do it because it needs to be done.  They face shrinking budgets and staffs and still do their best to face a public who despises them but still expects them to protect society against crafty, ruthless criminals that are the darkest side of humanity.  They face this darkness every day and still find it in them to believe in law and order and our American system.  They face injury or death as a part of their jobs, and yet… rarely are they thanked for it. And should ever a person behind the badge snap and give in to the darkness that they face every day… they all are painted with the failings of that one police officer.  No, I do not fault those behind the badge, even the blonde cop who played the heavy with such a convincing skill.  I look up to those men and women who have the courage to wear the badge, because I know it is something that I do not the strength to contemplate.  It’s not the police I am angry with, it is the lawmakers that push these insane bills through our legislative process and also the whole atmosphere in America that sympathizes with the criminal instead of the victim. 
                How have we come to this?  How have we come to the place where we are upside-down in our legal system like this?  How have we come to the place where a pink, plastic, kitty cat designed to protect oneself has a higher mandatory sentence than an actual act of violence against an innocent victim?  How have we come to a place where we can have a law officer say that women should only carry “good running shoes” as a means to protect herself?  How can we make self-defensive weapons illegal when offensive weapons are so prevalent?  How can we say to our sisters and daughters and sons and friends and loved ones that the rights of a criminal to prey upon them are more important than their right to defend themselves?
                When pink plastic kitty cats create this much of a tempest in a teapot… we find ourselves truly down the rabbit-hole, in a strange world where people are given the right to prey upon others, but people are punished for trying to defend themselves.  A strange world indeed.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

E Pluribus Unum - Out of Many, One

Eleven years ago today, I was sitting in my living room after getting my then 12 year old grandson out the door and on his way to sixth grade. I turned on the news to find the anchors speculating on some crazy, horrible mistake made by air traffic controllers in NYC. An image of one of the twin towers in flames filled the screen, and as I watched in horror, a second plane flew into view.

It took a moment to recognize that it was headed directly for the second tower, and as it struck I cried out, as I'm sure many other people watching at that moment did as well. It quickly became obvious that this was no accident by sleeping air traffic controllers. My country, our country, was under attack.

In those first confused hours there was no knowing how many airplanes were compromised, or how many attacks were planned and in the process of being carried out. I sent Traf out with a short list of absolute necessities: batteries, bottled water, candles, matches, and Pop Tarts.

Then I phoned, waking my mother and sister, to tell them we were under attack and to immediately go get emergency supplies. I told them to prepare for the worst, while hoping for the best, and that I loved them. It was only just past eight in the morning here, and two hours earlier in California so it took a moment for them to understand the unimaginable, we were under attack.

That night, after our grandson was safely (we hoped) back at home, once the planes were downed and the horror of watching people leap to their death rather than face the fire and collapse of the buildings, and after that, the shock of the towers falling to dust and rubble, had finally numbed our senses, I dug out two dozen candles, tapers from our dining room collection. My grandson and I walked up and down the street, knocking on doors, handing out candles, and asking our neighbors to join us on the corner at 7pm.

And they did. Our little knot of candlelight on that desolate evening was mirrored over and over again throughout our country. People who'd never met before stood shoulder to shoulder to honor our dead, our dying, and our brave rescuers toiling to save as many as possible. We were a proud people, that night. We'd been knocked down, but we were getting back up, and we helped our neighbors to stand with us.

We didn't know what was coming next, or whether we were under immediate threat of further attack, but our candles burned fiercely in the gathering gloom of fear. People honked their horns as they drove past us, shouting into the winds of change that we were ready. We stood united, one country with one people.

E Pluribus Unum. From many, came one. It was perhaps America's darkest day, but it was also the day we put aside all differences in recognition of our greatest shared attribute.

We are Americans, and we stand together.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Rainbow Truth: Fung Shui That, Little Brother.

Rainbow Truth: Fung Shui That, Little Brother.: Every now and then you run into a glib comment made by someone much younger than yourself that just ticks you into next week. That happ...

Fung Shui That, Little Brother.

Every now and then you run into a glib comment made by someone much younger than yourself that just ticks you into next week. That happened to me yesterday when I found this, written by a gay man who's a dozen years younger than I:

"...changing GLBT to LGBT really annoys. It lacks poetry and style to reverse it like that. Honestly though, I'd rather use a "D" for Lesbians anyway. GDBT or DGBT, it'd at least flow properly.
I just think it throws the "Fung Shui" off and makes it all seem ugly, when it is all mixed around." 
That torqued my cookies so much I shot off this:
There was a lot of Karma involved in that simple switch J***. The historic changing of the letter arrangement from GLBT to LGBT took place in the late 80's and early 90's. 

It was a time when nearly everyone in the gay movement knew at least one person who'd died from AIDS, and quite possibly many more, all of them men. HIV was a ticking time bomb that when detonated was inevitably fatal. No one was sure just how contagious it was and the men who contracted the disease suffered horribly. Their lovers and families often abandoned them just when they most needed support. Hospitals were turning away AIDS patients leaving many men suffering at home, waiting to die alone as they grew sicker and weaker.

Your lesbian sisters stood up. Many of us took AIDS patients under our care, providing them with food, transportation, company, a
nd the simple dignity of human touch. We worked individually and in small groups to reach those men who were isolated and dying alone, pariahs as homosexuals, and even more so as AIDS victims. We held their hands and eased their passing. I buried five, myself.

Now up until that point, the newly burgeoning gay movement had been largely run by the men - not too surprising considering that at the time women earned only $.65 to a man's dollar. Gay men (who were almost never parents then) had a lot more expendable cash to use growing the movement. And because they spent the most, they got the top jobs and recognition. But the lesbians refused to be silenced, and earned our stripes the hard way, by rolling up our sleeves and working long, thankless hours manning copiers and phones, bookkeeping and scheduling, going door to door and business to business to drum up support.

So when the AIDS plague hit and their lesbian sisters filled the void left by lovers, families, friends, churches, and hospitals, it humbled the men. They saw our strength, and our passion not only for the cause, but for our entire rainbow family. They reached out across the gender void and recognized our contributions by changing the order of the letters so that lesbians were listed first.

And it was a first for lesbians. It marks the first time our community recognized us as equals, and that at a time when even the women's movement wouldn't.

Fung Shui that, little brother.

And you know, I feel better now that I've shared that little bit of herstory. We lesbians have given, and still give, our 100% to the movement for equality, and I'm proudly reminded of that every time I write the term LGBT. I don't suffer lightly young gay men who seem eager to reassert their dominance in the movement once more.

And I forgot to ask him just where the hell he gets off changing our label from lesbian to dyke. I assume that's what his D is all about. Personally, I don't like the word dyke, or lesbian either for that matter, never did. I'm pretty sure the bi-sexuals aren't all that crazy about their name either. And I know for sure that many of the Transgendered people don't like that term one bit. So how should we identify ourselves as a group if we give up the string of letters?

Look at the title of this blog. We took the symbol of the Rainbow because of our diversity (and because Judy Garland was a gay icon). This is how I choose to label my family, my gay brothers and lesbian sisters, my transgendered and bi-sexual siblings:

Rainbow Folk

That's good enough for me. But let's not forget the past.

Sunday, September 9, 2012



Until midnight (PST) you can download THE BOXER REBELLION for free at Amazon. An excellent opportunity for older teens and/or their parents, librarians and teachers. Perfect for a Kindle, or download the free Kindle App for your electronic devices.

If you’ve ever been bullied or watched helplessly as it happened to someone you love, this novel is your next must read. If you were once a bully, or helped someone else to bully, this book offers redemption. If you stood by then but wonder now if you can make a difference, THE BOXER REBELLION will give you inspiration.


  • People who have experienced teenage bullying first hand report being triggered by this book. 
  • Although THE BOXER REBELLION is about teenagers, the subject matter is frank and intended for mature readers.
  • The author of the Boxer Rebellion is Genta Sebastian, who manages and writes this blog.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

File Under: Life Lessons Learned

The Aug. 1, 2012 Christian protest of gay rights is now known by many as Chick-Fil-A's Hater Appreciation Day. I know this will come as a surprise to some of the Christians involved, but it is true nonetheless.

And why shouldn't we think of it as hate? It was a prideful boasting of their Christian power to keep us down and in our second class status.  It wasn't a protest over supporting the right to free speech as many claim, that was never the point. Cathy may say he believes in an orange magic cantaloupe in the sky and no one will  stop him or say he can't, because it's his civil right as an American citizen to speak freely.

No - the almost completely Christian rally was to show us LGBTers how much support Cathy has for financially supporting (to the tune of $5 million) legislation seeking not only to: 

  • outlaw marriage for same sex couples in every state in America, but
  • any civil unions and/or adoptions by gay folks as well. 

That is clearly an effort to deny, and prevent if possible, our families from existing at all. Chick-Fil-A money also went to: 

  • making sure gay teens do not have support groups on campus or any support from faculty and staff, and
  • supporting reparation therapy, which is based on self-loathing and has been proven over and again not to work.

But that's not all. Cathy's money also went to recognized hate groups that support the Kill The Gays Bill working it's way toward passage in Uganda. That's the one where if you're a gay parent you're put to death, but if you're a single, lonely, celibate queer you only get life in prison.

Where's the love in that, you Jesus folks? I certainly don't see it, feel it, or recognize it in anything that happened on Wednesday. One week ago today anyone who ate at Chick-Fil-A slapped everyone they know who is gay in the face and told them to sit down, shut up, and get ready to be shoved back into the closet

The talented author Jane Devin wrote the next day, Being Gay in Tucson Hurts. I couldn't agree with her more. It hurts right here in the Twin Cities too (perhaps even more because of the redundant, unnecessary marriage amendment on our November ballot), and from sea to shining sea. Yes, haters, you scared us. Proud of yourself for that?

I was stunned by the overwhelming support shown for such hateful policies, but I was even more deeply injured by the born again Christian faction of my own family. They have made it clear for years they don't approve of my life and assume I choose to be gay. But until Hater's Appreciation Day, when they repeatedly posted their complete support of the 3 C's: 
  1. Cathy, 
  2. their version of Christianity, 
  3. and Chick-Fil-A, 
I truly believed they love me. Now I sorely doubt it. 

But I and others, good Christians among us, will turn the other cheek, keep getting up when knocked down, and refuse to be silenced. Slap me as many times as you will, knock me back with the ruthlessness of your hatred, but I will not bow to your pressure to be less than I am, and happy with less than I deserve. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Pass It On, Please

The big moment has arrived! 

Kickstarter, a crowdfunding site where artists, rather than seeking patronage from one large donor instead seeks funding for their projects from small amounts pledged by many donors.

I've just launched a campaign to raise funds to polish up The Boxer Rebellion and send it out into the world to find support from:

  • Book Reviewers with recommendations
  • Libraries with readers
  • Educators with impact
  • Politicians with power
  • Celebrities with platforms
  • Anyone who might be able to help stop bullying
Kickstarter is an All or Nothing deal. That means that if I reach my funding goal the people who have pledged will be charged that amount and receive rewards from me, but if I fail to reach my goal then those who have pledged will be charged absolutely nothing. And that's where you come in.

I need news of this campaign to reach far and wide. Every ReTweet or FaceBook share, GoodReads or Amazon review spreads the word to those who've never heard of me or my novel about gay bullying in High School and cyberspace. The more people who take a look at my campaign the wider my audience and pool of potential pledge makers.

Check out the Kickstarter Project: The Boxer Rebellion

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Intolerance. I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means.

And the controversy rages on.

Floating around FaceBook I saw a poster of one of my favorite movie characters of all time, Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride. Printed on the picture is this: "You're banning Chick-Fil-A from your city because they're intolerant. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

Clever, eh? No. Because the word intolerance is quite fitting when it comes to the owner of Chick-Fil-A S. Truett Cathy's beliefs. As noted by the MinnPost he discriminates against gay people becoming franchise owners, and even employees. Now he's in his nineties and his policies are being carried forward by his son, Dan Cathy. And now that everyone knows how anti-gay they are (against marriage, against DADT, for DOMA, etc...) people are boycotting them. And I guess it started hurting, because they now say they're out of the political arena and back in the kitchen. Except that once you burst that feather pillow it's impossible to regather them all.

I mean, when even Miss Piggy won't eat your food then you've hit rock bottom.

We know that people who are gay were born that way. YES, all credible medical and scientific sources agree that gayness is in the genes. (Ersatz science disagrees, but then they would. They also cling to the idea that reparative therapy works against all evidence to the contrary.)

And if you're taking it to the Good Book then point out one, even one, condemnation of gays or lesbians from Jesus Christ's lips. You won't be able to find any because He never said one word about gay folks, rather he directed us all to love one another. It always amazes me when self proclaimed Born Again Christians would rather follow the teachings of the ancient Jews than Jesus Christ.

All of which brings up the point that there's direct scientific evidence that narrow minded bigotry IS a learned behavior and can be changed by choice. That's a choice we hope people make by themselves, but when they don't we have a civil rights uprising, as we are experiencing now in our country, and not for the first time.

Soon people will have to declare themselves either FOR tolerance and equality or AGAINST them, just as they did for black civil rights and women's civil rights. Either a person agrees that all American citizens must have equal rights, or disagrees. If one disagrees and thinks that some people deserve fewer rights than others then one would be, by definition, a bigot. (I am NOT calling you a bigot, I don't know your beliefs. I am simply defining the word.)

Chick-Fil-A's owner is intolerant of gay folks, their families, and their having equal civil rights. "Guilty as charged," right? Personally, I think a boycott of his restaurants is in order, although I was surprised to see the mayor of Boston take the same stance for his entire city as I had personally. But then, Beantown was the birthplace of the original Tea Party, rabblerousers one and all.

It's notable that Boston has since been joined in banning Chick-Fil-As by Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. The movement is growing and gaining strength. We can tell because the violence against LGBT folks is escalating. Bigots fight back with bullying, after all.

"...and the times, they are a'changing."

Monday, July 23, 2012

HATE CRIME: Woman Has 'DYKE' Carved Into Her Face

LGBTQ Nation

According to the FBI:

Defining a Hate Crime

     A hate crime is a traditional offense like murder, arson, vandalism with an added element of bias. For the purposes of collecting statistics, Congress has defined a hate crime as a "criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender's bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation." Hate itself is not a crime - and the FBI is mindful of protecting freedom of speech and other civil liberties.
     Keep that in mind as you read on.
     Yesterday, during the early hours of the morning in a quiet suburb of Lincoln, Nebraska, a woman's home was broken into by three men wearing masks. They stripped the woman and pinned her arms and ankles together with zip ties.
    They cut her all over her body. Then they carved words into her skin. Then they poured gasoline on the floor and threw a lit match on it.
     According to the Journal Star a friend said the woman crawled from her house, naked and bleeding and screaming for help before reaching the doorstep of a neighbor's home.
     A source to LGBTQ Nation said "the words 'cunt', 'fag', and 'dyke' were carved into her face and body, and that assailants tried to set her house on fire."
     The woman's friends told LGBTQ Nation the assailants also spray painted anti-gay words in her basement, including, "We found U dyke". They say it's a definite hate crime because the woman assaulted is a lesbian.
     "When someone takes the time to handcuff someone with a zip tie and carve derogatory comments or words into somebody else's body, that's sheer hate and at this point, this is a hate crime."
     Damon Robbins, the Lincoln FD arson investigator, told the local media there was evidence that a match ignited vapors coming from gasoline pooled on the woman's floor. Luckily the fire did not continue to burn. He estimates the damage to be around $200.
     So, just to recap:
  1. These guys broke into a lesbian's house.
  2. They carved the word DYKE into her belly.
  3. They spray painted FOUND U DYKE on her basement wall.
  4. They set a fire to kill her and burn the evidence.
     Yet as of late Sunday night the Lincoln PD had not ruled the home invasion, assault, and attempted murder a hate crime.

Yeah, I said that too.

(Journal Star via Towle Road)
     Last night a group of  between 500 to 1000 people gathered at the Nebraska State Capitol building to hold a vigil for the woman.
     Those gathered were so numerous they spilled out into 14th Street. Police forced them onto the Capitol lawn to make room for passing vehicles. The crowd complied, but were understandably agitated.
     Karen Bratton-Cranford, the president of Star City Pride, an LGBT advocacy group, used a microphone to urge the crowd to act respectfully and not take matters into their own hands.
     "Don't go out and act on your own. Don't give them the power to control your actions," she said.
     The unidentified woman's friends and neighbors are speaking out on her behalf, and I think it is important for every out Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgendered or Queer person to help get her very real story out in the public's eye.
     For this woman it's too late. She will see the evidence of bigotry and hate scarred into her face and body for a long time to come. Her healing will take years, if it ever comes, and her personal nightmare will roll along with horrifying flashbacks and daily visual reminders whenever she catches a glimpse of her own face.
     We must get a handle on these horrific hate crimes and prosecute the vicious animals who do them to the fullest extent of the law. If our local law enforcement offices don't recognize a hate crime when they see one, then it's our duty to show them the connection. We must stand behind our rainbow brothers and sisters, supporting those victimized by hate with as much love as we can possibly shower on them. We will take up their cause and refuse to let them be silenced.

SO WAKE UP LINCOLN PD. The rainbow world, and the world at large, is watching to see just how much more proof you need before you classify this a hate crime and get a real investigation underway.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Four Children Bullied - Possibly by Adults

What happens to bullies after high school? After all, their bullying behavior must have been reewarded of they wouldn't have done it in the first place. It just makes sense that they would carry a successful behavior forward into their adult lives.

So it shouldn't come as a surprise that four young children and their gay parents have been repeatedly terrorized over the last ten weeks.

According to The Raw Story and other sources Felix Bermea and his partner Roy feel sure they and their four children (one of whom is disabled) have been targeted because they are gay and Felix is Hispanic. Remember, the Bermea's live in Arizona where Hispanics are a targeted group. Arizona's Governor Jan Brewer's ultra conservative viewpoint on gay rights is undisputed. No one can claim the Bermea family is just being paranoid, their identification groups have indeed been targeted by a state government one could arguably call suppressive.

Beginning ten weeks ago the bullying started out slowly with minor damage away from the house, like graffiti spray painted on the street in front of the house and on their cars. But then the bully started setting fire to bushes in the Bermea's front yard, one of which was up against the wall of the house.

Then s/he upped the ante and started pounding on doors to scare and intimidate those inside the house, including a window in the disabled girl's room. "Imagine how a 9-year-old girl, who is disabled, who can barely walk, feels when they are banging on her door. My daughter was shaking in her boots when I talked to her..."

And finally the bully broke into the house, vandalized the children's furniture and using a felt marker scrawled "ass" on the kitchen island, "bitch" on a wall in one boy's room, and "hell" on a wall in a daughter's bedroom. To Bermea these seem like words chosen by adults rather than the usual "Fuck you" and "asshole" preferred by teens. No similar incidents have been reported anywhere else in the neighborhood.

The Bermea's four children are terrorized. The couple now makes sure there is always one adult present in the house at all times. The children sleep huddled on the floor in the living room, too afraid to sleep in their own beds. The fathers are worried for their children's safety.

And until Felix's complaint went viral around the world their local Police could give a damn. ABC 15 reports that thirty-three police visits and reports have been recorded during the ten weeks with little or no follow up. After the publicity they've finally been assigned a detective.

What is happening to the Bermea family is a hate crime perpetrated by grown up bullies. And once again the community support system was okay with that until their consciences were nudged by the public.

Indiegogo (the people who hosted a fund raiser for the abused school bus monitor) have launched a campaign to send the abused Bermea family to a camp for rainbow families in Provincetown, MA where they can get away from the madness and relax in the company of other families like their own.

The campaign is called Send the Bermea's to Family Week. The goal is $10,000 and as of this writing has gathered $3,144. If the goal is not met, the family will receive nothing. Donate if you can, and if you can't, pass the story along to others who might.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Bully for God

Pastor Sean Harris, senior pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, North Carolina, while speaking in favor of Amendment 1, a bill defining marriage, veered onto the topic of child rearing. This is his advice to parents who find themselves with a lesbian, transgendered, bisexual, or gay child, as transcribed from the Good As You Website recording:
So your little son starts to act a little girlish when he is four years old and instead of squashing that like a cockroach and saying, “Man up, son, get that dress off you and get outside and dig a ditch, because that is what boys do,” you get out the camera and you start taking pictures of Johnny acting like a female and then you upload it to YouTube and everybody laughs about it and the next thing you know, this dude, this kid is acting out childhood fantasies that should have been squashed.

Can I make it any clearer? Dads, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up. Give him a good punch. Ok? You are not going to act like that. You were made by God to be a male and you are going to be a male.
And when your daughter starts acting too butch you reign her in. And you say, “Oh, no, sweetheart. You can play sports. Play them to the glory of God. But sometimes you are going to act like a girl and walk like a girl and talk like a girl and smell like a girl and that means you are going to be beautiful. You are going to be attractive. You are going to dress yourself up.”
You say, "Can I take charge like that as a parent?"
Yeah, you can. You are authorized. I just gave you a special dispensation this morning to do that.

A special dispensation from who, God? No, from Pastor Sean Harris and no one else. See how far that will get you in family court.

Parents - please - do not follow Pastor Sean's advice. Consider instead the predicament of Nick Clements, the unlikely hero of my book The Boxer Rebellion:

What pleasure do they get from hurting Penny, from hurting me? We never did anything to them, why do they hate us so much?
Nick knew if they found out he was BoxerRebellion on LookSpace they would post the same things or worse, if they could come up with any. He seriously doubted if even one of them would dare to say such things to his face. They’re cowards hiding behind a screen.
Why is it so important to them if I’m gay or not? I do everything to prove I’m not gay. I even date a wonderful girl knowing that it isn’t going anywhere and that I’m wasting her time. I go to church, I pray for guidance every single day. What more do they want from me? And why do I feel like I must give it to them?
Okay look, I didn’t even think I could be gay until they locked me up in a place with a bunch of other guys just like me. I recognized myself in them, and realized I’m not the only one like this, there are others like me out there. If I am gay I won’t have to always be alone, but I’m sure as hell alone now and will be for at least another year and a half, gay or straight. It’s me and Penny against them all. We don’t even have Mr. Kincaid anymore.
That hurt. A dull thud struck behind his forehead, his heart skipped a beat.
Think about something else.
That whole ‘God says it’s wrong’ thing was just insane. It didn’t make any sense to him at all. Back in Styxwater at the Chapel of the Savior he’d been treated like everyone else until the bullying started. Then no one would talk to him anymore; even the adults never had time. His Sunday school youth group leader asked him to stop coming at all.
He’d stopped going to the youth group, but he didn’t stop going to church with his parents, and he prayed, he prayed so hard for the bullying to stop. And then, when a year of prayers went by and the bullying was worse than ever, he’d begged God to make everyone know he was straight, or kill him outright. He asked every single time he prayed, and three times on Sundays. But it never made a difference. It was like God was saying, “It’s not my problem. You’re on your own here kid.”
So he’d studied, just like he did for school assignments. He used the family computer to search for answers, and asked questions on Christian forums. He read the referenced Bible passages over, and over again. What he found just confused him even more.
            First of all Jesus Christ never said one word about homosexuals. Not one website, or internet forum, or research book ever included a Jesus quote condemning, or even discussing homosexuals. Every Biblical condemnation of gays was recorded before the time of Christ; He apparently didn’t think it important enough to mention, much less be the subject of a sermon. Never once did Jesus refer to Adam and Steve, or Madam and Eve, not once. So, if Christ thought homosexuality so normal it needn’t be discussed in His lessons, why did those who claimed to follow His teachings find it so abnormal?
Thud, thud; pain pounded his head. His heart started to speed up.
Calm down. Don’t take it so personally. But it IS personal; maybe not me, but gays are people and that makes it personal to them.
Old Testament passages that condemned being gay also condemned those who were disobedient to their parents, and women who didn’t seclude themselves for two weeks after giving birth to a boy, or four weeks if they were unlucky enough to have a girl. The same passages condemned eating shellfish, touching the skin of pigs, and getting divorced.
But people played football with pigskin all the time and they weren’t shunned. They ate crab and shrimp and paid big bucks to do it, and they didn’t feel ashamed. Kids talked back to their parents every day and weren’t exiled; they still had a place to live, parents who loved them, and protection from harm. And if certain statistics were to be trusted, more heterosexuals ended up in divorce court than not, yet they weren’t put to death.
Why was the one thing, the only thing it seemed these super religious types couldn’t develop a tolerance for was being gay?
Because they’re mean? That was too simplistic.
Thud, thud, thud, beat his brain. The pain was sharper this time. He ignored it.
Because they’re scared? More basic, more to the point, but what were they scared of?
It certainly can’t be me. No one’s ever been scared of me. It’s not like I’ve ever tried to force anyone to do anything, much less anything they didn’t want to do.
Thud. Thud. Thump. The headache was taking hold. Focus your thoughts. Don’t let the pain take over. Focus.
So if he was no threat to them, what was the point of all the bullying? If it was going to change him straight it would have happened already and they would be happy and quit, right? If it was to warn others that he was a predator, they clearly had the wrong guy. And if it was because they were Christian soldiers marching on God’s orders, then they had forgotten to ask themselves Nick’s favorite question: What would Jesus do?
Christ’s silence on the subject spoke volumes to Nick. Jesus never said a word within the hearing of His disciples condemning anyone because of their sexual orientation. It clearly didn’t matter to Him. But it sure seemed to matter to everyone else.

H*ckeyW*ng94:  God hates fags

87 people had ‘liked’ that comment. That was a lot of hate, aimed at Penny, aimed at him. Why? What was the point?
The coffin with Mr. Kincaid’s face framed by white roses flashed in front of his eyes. He squeezed them shut, but a new vision played on his eyelids: Mr. Kincaid, wispy hair disheveled, portly body splayed on his stomach, pinning Julian to the floor.
The migraine grabbed his head and squeezed. His heart was racing and cold sweat washed his body. Nick needed to turn off the computer, go lie down, stop thinking about everything for awhile. His hands shook as he reached for the power button.

NutCase:  Queers burn in Hellfire forever.

He snatched his hand away as if scorched. The computer screen blazed in the darkness, sending out messages of hate.