You are currently browsing the daily archive for June 29, 2019.

28.06.2019 – Pressenza New York

On The Importance of Pride
First Gay Pride Parade in Boston

By Patricia Smith

June. LGBTQ Pride Month. For years, as a young teacher in Boston, I looked forward to Gay Pride Day (what we called it back then), celebrated in Boston on the first Saturday in June. I went in the early years with my very first girlfriend and I wore, as I saw others had, a paper bag on my head with the word “TEACHER” scrawled on the front. I knew I could get fired if anyone saw me there, if anyone suspected I was gay. I went first to revel in the midst of hundreds of LGBTQ people, of folks who wouldn’t mind if I held my girlfriend’s hand, if we sat in each other’s arms at the festival following the parade. What a comfort to know that at least that many LGBTQ people lived nearby, because growing up in suburban Boston in the 1970’s and ‘80s, I had no clue. I didn’t even have the knowledge that such people existed. Maybe in high school I knew that LGBTQ people existed, but I didn’t know much.

I went to Pride in the following years with my first long-term partner, gathering courage to march in the parade, to be part of the throng of out, proud, LGBTQ people. I marched with fellow members of the Gay and Lesbian Helpline at the Fenway Community Health Center, and I marched with GLSEN, the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network. For them, I helped carry our banner—“Together, For a Change”—buoyed on with the shouts of the crowd. “Look! Gay teachers!” followed by thunderous applause, smiles, camera flashes. Back then, Pride to me was a sort of Gay Christmas, as much about the celebration as it was about visibility and well, pride. It’s heady stuff to find yourself suddenly with a large tribe when previously you just weren’t sure if there were any other people like you. And then imagine you find yourself with a vibrant, colorful tribe, exuberant in their celebration. Who wouldn’t want to be part?

But this was also the Regan era, the years so many in our communities died from lack of care and attention, the most devastating years of the AIDS crisis before funding and any effective treatments. And then Pride became more than a celebration. It became a way to make our voices heard and our bodies seen. Of course, Pride has always been about making our voices seen and our bodies heard; it was always a way to say “we’re here; we’re queer,” a way to claim the streets just for one day, to demonstrate and revel in our own beauty and strength, to honor and celebrate our lives and, perhaps, with our numbers proclaim our value, to demand attention and insist on our right to exist.

Today, in so many LGBTQ Pride Parades, school groups march. And churches. Employees of big-name corporations. Politicians and families. Straight allies. It’s easy to be cynical about it, all the corporate logos and sponsorships, the not-so-subtle competition for our money and loyalty, all the feel-good rainbows everywhere. But in the throng of now thousands who participate, we can see visible changes to society. We can see more inclusion and acceptance. We can see so many fabulous examples of what it means to be LGBTQ.

But what we can’t see are all the young people who still wonder if there is anyone else like them. We can’t see the harassment, the bullying, the terrorizing that continues—and in many instances has increased—lately. In 2018, EdSource reports that “LGBT young people ages 13-15 are 120 % more likely to become homeless,” even in places like San Francisco, a “gay mecca.” In their 2017 National School Climate Survey, GLSEN reports “fewer positive changes” for LGBTQ youth in schools. The statistics are stark: 98.5 % of LGBTQ youth report hearing gay used in a negative way; 56.6 % report hearing negative comments from teachers and staff. Over half of the LGBTQ students surveyed reported feeling unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation and more than three quarters of LGBTQ students surveyed admitted to avoiding school functions because they felt unsafe or uncomfortable.

The story gets even more grave for trans students. While a little more than half of students surveyed reported hearing anti-gay comments from teachers of staff, the number climbs to 71% who report hearing negative comments from teachers or staff about gender identity or gender expression. From 2013 to 2017, GLSEN reports a “steady increase in negative remarks about transgender people.” Perhaps not surprisingly, students in rural areas, especially in the South, reported the most difficulties in schools and had the fewest resources available to them.

And so—if in a small city nearby—as happened recently in Hendersonville, NC—there is a Pride March or celebration, if there is a visible presence of what it might mean to grow up LGBTQ, if young people can see that it can, indeed, ‘get better,’ that is reason enough to get out there and dance on floats, sing all the songs, march with rainbow stickers. As Harvey Milk said, “You’ve got to give them hope.”


Patricia Smith is the author of the novel The Year of Needy Girls (Kaylie Jones Books, 2017), a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Her nonfiction has appeared most recently in the anthologies Older Queer Voices: The Intimacy of Survival and Nine Lives: A Life in Ten Minutes Anthology as well as Parhelion Literary Magazine, where it was nominated for Best of the Net. Her essay, “Border War,” which appeared in Broad Street Magazine, received a Special Mention by Pushcart. A teacher of American literature and Creative Writing at the Appomattox Regional Governor’s School in Petersburg, VA, she lives in Chester, VA with her partner.

“We want spiritual principles to be more than beautiful abstractions; we want them to actually transform our lives.”

Marianne Williamson quote #71

“We have to wage peace. That’s the law of the spirit is the waging of peace, because if we simply seek to manage the effects of hatred, which does need to be done, of course. But if all we do is manage the effects of hatred, then hatred will simply stalk us the next decade or the next generation. We need to dismantle hatred itself.”

Marianne Williamson quote #72

“You know what we need to heal are the thought forms and the feelings that cause us to create war and mass destruction on this kind of a level, because ultimately if we are to survive as a species, we have to become a human race for whom the thought of war is unthinkable.”

Marianne Williamson quote #73

“Children are happy because they don’t have all the “facts” yet.”

Marianne Williamson quote #74

“Unless we can be like children, we can’t be happy.”

Marianne Williamson quote #75

“We must relinquish our passive observation of the world outside; we can open the door to the world we want. In understanding ourselves, we come to understand the world. In allowing ourselves to heal, we become the healers of the world. In praying for peace, we become bringers of peace. Thus we actualize the power within us to remedy the psychic wounds of humanity.”

Marianne Williamson quote #76

“Life as we knew it is passing away, and something new is emerging to take its place, … The Gift of Change: Spiritual Guidance for a Radically New Life.”

Marianne Williamson quote #77

 

BE OPEN

Be open

When you pray

And see life

In a whole new way

David Herr

Reading for June 29 from Praying for Justice. “For your name’s sake, Lord, preserve my life; in Your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.” Psalm 143: 11

On The Importance of Pride
28.06.2019 – Pressenza New York

First Gay Pride Parade in Boston
By Patricia Smith
June. LGBTQ Pride Month. For years, as a young teacher in Boston, I looked forward to Gay Pride Day (what we called it back then), celebrated in Boston on the first Saturday in June. I went in the early years with my very first girlfriend and I wore, as I saw others had, a paper bag on my head with the word “TEACHER” scrawled on the front. I knew I could get fired if anyone saw me there, if anyone suspected I was gay. I went first to revel in the midst of hundreds of LGBTQ people, of folks who wouldn’t mind if I held my girlfriend’s hand, if we sat in each other’s arms at the festival following the parade. What a comfort to know that at least that many LGBTQ people lived nearby, because growing up in suburban Boston in the 1970’s and ‘80s, I had no clue. I didn’t even have the knowledge that such people existed. Maybe in high school I knew that LGBTQ people existed, but I didn’t know much.
I went to Pride in the following years with my first long-term partner, gathering courage to march in the parade, to be part of the throng of out, proud, LGBTQ people. I marched with fellow members of the Gay and Lesbian Helpline at the Fenway Community Health Center, and I marched with GLSEN, the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network. For them, I helped carry our banner—“Together, For a Change”—buoyed on with the shouts of the crowd. “Look! Gay teachers!” followed by thunderous applause, smiles, camera flashes. Back then, Pride to me was a sort of Gay Christmas, as much about the celebration as it was about visibility and well, pride. It’s heady stuff to find yourself suddenly with a large tribe when previously you just weren’t sure if there were any other people like you. And then imagine you find yourself with a vibrant, colorful tribe, exuberant in their celebration. Who wouldn’t want to be part?
But this was also the Regan era, the years so many in our communities died from lack of care and attention, the most devastating years of the AIDS crisis before funding and any effective treatments. And then Pride became more than a celebration. It became a way to make our voices heard and our bodies seen. Of course, Pride has always been about making our voices seen and our bodies heard; it was always a way to say “we’re here; we’re queer,” a way to claim the streets just for one day, to demonstrate and revel in our own beauty and strength, to honor and celebrate our lives and, perhaps, with our numbers proclaim our value, to demand attention and insist on our right to exist.
Today, in so many LGBTQ Pride Parades, school groups march. And churches. Employees of big-name corporations. Politicians and families. Straight allies. It’s easy to be cynical about it, all the corporate logos and sponsorships, the not-so-subtle competition for our money and loyalty, all the feel-good rainbows everywhere. But in the throng of now thousands who participate, we can see visible changes to society. We can see more inclusion and acceptance. We can see so many fabulous examples of what it means to be LGBTQ.
But what we can’t see are all the young people who still wonder if there is anyone else like them. We can’t see the harassment, the bullying, the terrorizing that continues—and in many instances has increased—lately. In 2018, EdSource reports that “LGBT young people ages 13-15 are 120 % more likely to become homeless,” even in places like San Francisco, a “gay mecca.” In their 2017 National School Climate Survey, GLSEN reports “fewer positive changes” for LGBTQ youth in schools. The statistics are stark: 98.5 % of LGBTQ youth report hearing gay used in a negative way; 56.6 % report hearing negative comments from teachers and staff. Over half of the LGBTQ students surveyed reported feeling unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation and more than three quarters of LGBTQ students surveyed admitted to avoiding school functions because they felt unsafe or uncomfortable.
The story gets even more grave for trans students. While a little more than half of students surveyed reported hearing anti-gay comments from teachers of staff, the number climbs to 71% who report hearing negative comments from teachers or staff about gender identity or gender expression. From 2013 to 2017, GLSEN reports a “steady increase in negative remarks about transgender people.” Perhaps not surprisingly, students in rural areas, especially in the South, reported the most difficulties in schools and had the fewest resources available to them.
And so—if in a small city nearby—as happened recently in Hendersonville, NC—there is a Pride March or celebration, if there is a visible presence of what it might mean to grow up LGBTQ, if young people can see that it can, indeed, ‘get better,’ that is reason enough to get out there and dance on floats, sing all the songs, march with rainbow stickers. As Harvey Milk said, “You’ve got to give them hope.”

Patricia Smith is the author of the novel The Year of Needy Girls (Kaylie Jones Books, 2017), a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Her nonfiction has appeared most recently in the anthologies Older Queer Voices: The Intimacy of Survival and Nine Lives: A Life in Ten Minutes Anthology as well as Parhelion Literary Magazine, where it was nominated for Best of the Net. Her essay, “Border War,” which appeared in Broad Street Magazine, received a Special Mention by Pushcart. A teacher of American literature and Creative Writing at the Appomattox Regional Governor’s School in Petersburg, VA, she lives in Chester, VA with her partner.

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We must act and dare the appropiateness and not whatever comes to our mind not floating in the likelihood but grasp the reality as brave as we can be freedom lies in action not in the absence of mind obedience knows the essence of good and satisfies it, freedom dares to act and returns God the ultimate judgment of what is right and what is wrong, Obedience performs blindly but Freedom is wide awake Freedom wants to know why, Obedience has its hands tied, Freedom is inventive obedient man respects God’s commands and by virtu of his Freedom, he creats new commands. Both Obedience and Freedom come true in responsability (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

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