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What If We Are Just Like You

Aug 26th, 2013 02:39 PM By Sherri Gray

I’m a 72 year-old grandmother who wrote a marriage equality song 3 months ago for my niece and her fiancee. As a mental health therapist, I was well aware of the discrimination to which LGBT people are subjected, and though I was happy for the girls, I knew they would have countless obstacles to face. Over the decades, I have sat in many sessions with gay, lesbian, and transgender clients, and my admiration and respect for these courageous men and women is monumental, to say the least. Many were raised by rigid, shaming, intolerant parents — some were physically and even sexually abused as children and teenagers. They were taunted and teased at school…they were often ostracized even in church, where congregations would ceaselessly pray for them in an effort to exorcize the ‘gay-ness’. I have held clients as they’d loudly state that they would do anything to NOT be gay because it was too difficult to try and fit into an intolerant world. They dated opposite sex people, they went to church, some even participated in “Take Away The Gay” programs — but none of these changed their sense of who they authentically ‘were’ — a human being who happened to be attracted to other human beings of the same gender. Period. They ‘knew’ they were gay from a very early age…and I believe that’s the way it is with all of us human beings. Like our eye, hair, and skin color, our sexual orientation is — in my opinion — part of our genetic blueprint. God created us all in a wonderful rainbow of sizes, shapes, and colors…and some of us are straight, some are gay. I further believe that to label any of these traits ‘bad’ or ‘good’ is an insult to God–Who loves every single one of us unconditionally.

I have always been liberal and pretty opinionated, and I find that in my senior years, I am even more gutsy, because I do give a damn. The song I wrote, “What If We Are Just Like You” is, purely and simply, about the common hopes and dreams all of us humans have. Many of us wish for a lasting love relationship – for marriage, a home, kids, pets, family vacations. All of this is a part of our maturing process. For a man and a woman, it’s almost like a kids’ game of hopscotch… but for LGBTs, it must seem like an unending parade of decathlons spread out over a mine field of obstacles. Who is anyone to say that any ’subset’ of society does not have aspirations, feelings, and visions? Gay people laugh, cry, live, die. They’ve tried every way possible to ‘fit in’…they are hard workers, and givers. The chorus ends with, “We have a goal…we have a soul….yet you say we’re not like you.”

So, the song was born. I’m a spiritual, not a ‘religious’ person, and I know, unequivocally, that this song was divinely inspired. There is no doubt in my mind about that. The idea came quickly, and the song was written quickly. And to me, that’s God stuff. So I could not NOT write it…and I could not NOT ‘put the song out there’. So I sat my 72 year-old ass down at my out-of-tune piano, filmed myself with my iPhone stacked up on some books, and sent it to YouTube. The comments that pull at my heartstrings are from people in countries where even ‘coming out’ is a crime punishable by incarceration or even death. This makes me more committed than ever to being ‘on the right side of history’ and working for equality and respect for all people everywhere. We are human beings, with human hearts, minds, and souls. Our spirits, individually and collectively, are more alike than different. And we can truly look into the eyes of our world family and know that “we” are just like “you.”

Here is my song.

God Bless Cyndi and all the ‘Give A Damn’ Family. I’m proud to be with you ‘on the right side of history’.

Love – Sherri Gray

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Wedding Plans

Apr 23rd, 2013 07:17 PM By Traci

When I was younger, I never thought that I would be where I am today. For most of my life I have been overweight and never felt pretty or worthy enough to be loved. I pictured myself turning 18, going to college, and being single for a very long time. I always thought that I would have to find someone that loved me despite what I looked like, but then I met Tony my freshman year of college. He loves me for me, not in spite of me or what I look like. He thinks that I am beautiful and sexy. Four years later and we are planning our wedding.

I know what it is like to think that no one will ever love you. I know what it is like to feel unworthy, but I found someone who showed me that it can be different. I wish that everyone felt worthy and equal. I wish that everyone felt loved and everyone felt beautiful. I wish that as I am getting married that everyone could get married. I wish that everyone could plan their own wedding. I will continue to fight so that everyone can.

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Our Story

Apr 23rd, 2013 07:04 PM By Jane

My partner and I first met back in 1996, I was visiting California from Canada I rented a room from Candace for about 5 months before heading back to Canada. We became instant friends but Candace was with someone at the time, plus I thought I was straight.

After leaving for Canada we lost touch, but after 12 years I found her on MySpace. Candace was now single and decide to fly up and visit me, after her second visit she told me she was in love with me. I realized I loved her too and had done since I had first met her many years before. I decide to quit my not-so-good job and pack up for California, even though I had to travel back after 3 months.

I traveled back and forth for about a year until money ran out, we made the decision I should stay in California, even though I would be an illegal resident. Candace is well established in California, born and raised, her family and friends are here. I had nothing back in Canada, no home, no job, I moved a lot, so didn’t have to many friends, my family is spread all over the world, my life was with Candace now.

We had a nice wedding on July 19th, 2009 in Las Vegas NV even though it’s only as domestic partnership it still meant something to us to be married. We are living as a binational couple and we hope that some time soon I don’t have to live in fear of being caught. We look forward to marrying legally in New York in the near future, even though that still doesn’t mean Candace can sponsor me.

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My Personal Nightmare.

Apr 23rd, 2013 06:37 PM By Carl

In 1996, I met the most wonderful man I’ve known. His name was Michael. He was a couple of years younger than me, and full of energy and life. We met on a phone chat line and I went to meet him at his home. Basically I never left. We were dating for a few weeks and he cornered me in a bathroom at a local bar that we were at for a karaoke night.

With tears in his eyes, he asked me what was the worst thing he could say to me. I thought for a moment and because I was already falling in love with him, I said that the worst thing he could tell me was that he had AIDS. I didn’t think this was what he was telling me. He then broke down in tears and told me he loved me and wanted a life with me but he had been HIV positive for 10 years, and was basically healthy on his cocktail of retrovirals. I told him that we could get through this. And I told him that I loved him too.

After 3 years of ups and downs, we had a disappointing diagnosis. His T-Cells were dropping and his viral load was through the roof. The doctors tried different combinations, and they seemed to work for a while, but the virus was winning.

Finally, after almost 5 years together, the last year of his life he was bed-ridden. I took care of him because his family was HIGHLY religious, coming from a good southern baptist Georgia family, didn’t want to have anything to do with their queer son.

I changed diapers, cleaned bed sores, and sometimes had to feed him when he was too weak to do it himself. When the final hospital visit came, we had talked to an attorney friend and drafted a durable power of attorney when it came to all medical decisions. Michael did not want to be put on life support or be recusitated should he pass. His family came in and tried to “save” him and were not able to break the power of attorney.

However, after he died, on February 18th of 2000 at the age of 30, the power of attorney no longer held. I had no say with his family as to his final wishes. Had we been able to marry in the United States, I would have been his surviving spouse and would be able to carry out his final wishes. We had talked numerous times as to what he wanted his funeral to be. He wanted a celebration of his life, with friends and family telling embarrassing stories, and laughing. What he got instead was a fire and brimstone sermon by his mother’s pastor, saying that basically he was burning in hell and should have given his soul to God to “FIX” him.

The next day his mother and brother showed up at our home and started cleaning out his antique collection and personal items that held a lot of memories for me.

If we had had true equality in the States, and I had been able to marry the love of my life, I would have had a legal right to keep my memories with me. This is supposed to be the land of the free, and home of the brave. It’s not very brave of the “Religious Right” to take away the freedom of people who only want the same RIGHTS afforded to everyone else in “The Land Of The Free”.

Please give a damn and keep others, in our situation from experiencing the nightmare I went through. Write your congressperson, your senator, your governer, even the President. We want true equality for all. We DESERVE true equality.

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Same-Sex Marriage or Gay Marriage?

Apr 23rd, 2013 06:33 PM By Harlie

I see a lot of people arguing about whether we should say gay marriage or same-sex marriage. The argument with same-sex marriage is that not all same-sex couples are gay. They could be a bisexual, heteroflexible, homoflexible, pansexual or some other variation. My argument against same-sex marriage is that I am a bisexual transgendered boy. I love my boyfriend. We’re neither gay or same-sex. The best word we could use would be equal marriage. Yes, my boyfriend and I could get married, me being a biological female and him being a cismale. But we still need equal marriage for all.

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Be Anyone You Want To Be

Apr 23rd, 2013 06:31 PM By Briana

Every day I hear people say rude things to people and about others. I hate that! When I hear people saying hateful things about gay marriage it upsets me so much, I stand up for it with all my heart. I am straight but it doesn’t matter, we are all human beings! Who cares if people are attracted to the same sex or the opposite, it doesn’t matter. I am so tired of people trashing others because of their sexual preference, and honestly its pathetic that people have nothing better to do with there lives than to put down and hurt others!

We all deserve the same rights and if someone wants to marry someone it really shouldn’t matter if they are the same sex. In school I stand up for gay marriage every day. If I ever hear someone put it down I tell them that its not their life to control, they can’t control everything that they don’t like. If you don’t agree with it fine, I think that that’s ridiculous, but fine. You still don’t have the right to put anyone down!

If you’re out there and your straight, stand up for gay, lesbian, transgender, and bisexual people. We all deserve to be equal and it’s so wrong that the world is a place where people have to live in hurt and pain and social isolation just because they feel a certain way. I will always do what ever I can to fight for others no matter what! I GIVE A DAMN!

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Waiting and Hoping

Apr 16th, 2013 07:56 PM By Andre

Like many, my husband and I are in a marriage that is not recognized by the Federal Government of this nation. I am a U.S. citizen, and he is a Canadian citizen in the U.S. on a work visa. He is in the application process for a green card, but is several years from a decision, so in the meantime we must wait and hope. I fear that something as simple as a layoff, health emergency, or minor criminal offense could force him from the country and pull us apart.

We met over two years ago and haven’t really been apart since. I’ve never been happier. We got married in Canada this year, in a simple but beautiful ceremony at the Toronto City Hall. I find a lot of encouragement in knowing that our marriage is recognized in Canada, but wish so badly that it was the same here. I know several people that have secured citizenship or permanent residency for their spouse through marriage. It feels so unjust to me that I am not able to do the same.

I look forward to the day when we can enjoy the full rights and security afforded married couples in this country.

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You Love Who You Love.

Apr 09th, 2013 07:05 PM By Savannah

I have friends who are totally against gay marriage, and I keep telling them “People love who they love. gay, bisexual or straight, everyone is meant for someone. Let people love who they want to love, and love who YOU want to love.” I support gay marriage. I have friends who are bisexual and a few that are gay, and I love them to death. They are very nice people.

Man + Man = love.

Woman + Woman = love.

Woman + Man = love.

No matter how you put it, love is love.

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Adjusting To My Wife’s FtM Surgery

Apr 09th, 2013 06:12 PM By april

Went I first met my girlfriend I was truly happy. I’d been searching for years for the right woman for me. I finally found her at work, of all places. She would come down to get food from the deli where I worked and one day a mutual friend came to see me with her. We hit it off and I asked her out and she accepted. Our relationship blossomed from there.

In 2005 we had a small civil union ceremony in Connecticut. After that things changed, she was acting like she wanted to tell me something major. I just brushed it off until one day when she said, “I don’t feel comfortable as a woman, I feel that I am a man.”  This blew my mind and I was confused on what to do. We talked about it and she had top surgery a year later. I had a rough time adjusting to all those changes that came and were yet to to come.

I realized you need to support all the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people no matter what. We have many friends who are transgendered and in the community.

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A Short Path on a Long Journey

Feb 19th, 2013 06:31 PM By Claudia

I am a 49 year-old lesbian who was fortunate enough to be allowed to marry my partner in Massachusetts. My spouse has multiple sclerosis and collects disability but cannot collect my social security because in the eyes of the Federal Government our marriage does not exist.

We are a family just like any straight couple but do not have the same rights that they do. That is why I give a damn and am so grateful for this web-site. We are all one nation under the constitution, it was not signed for straight people only. All we want is the same rights as everyone else.

My company was bought out and I was unable to insure my spouse with my new employer because they followed Federal Guidelines. If I wanted to insure her it was as a household member and we would have to pay more for her insurance. Is that fair? The year is 2013 and it is time for change. I don’t get mad anymore. I get sad because it is still hard for me to understand why others do not want their neighbors to be equal. Not better, just equal. This is just one of the many stumbling blocks we face.

I thank you for taking the time to read this, if you do, and for just giving a damn.

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