Monthly Archives: October 2009

Be the change!

me and marching

I am changed

I am the change

I welcome the change

I need the change

Change is good

Change is life

Change works

Change only works

if we do SOMETHING

Be the change

in thought and word

but also

in deed

indeed

be the change

Have a conversation

write a letter

make a visit

carry a sign

educate a person

LIVE YOUR TRUTH.

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The power of Soulforce

About four years ago, I was conducting an online search for resources, mainly, spiritual or religious resources, for LGBT youths/students that offer authentic support to them. There were some organizations and places that I found that seemed genuine. However, there was one particular organization that caught my attention, and kept my attention, the most.

Soulforce.

Soulforce is an organization that believes in nonviolent, passive resistance as a way to get things done on behalf of LGBT persons. Through activism, writings, and their forums, they help others to understand, and also offer active support for those who identify as LGBT, and assist those persons in their coming out. It may sound oversimplified, but it really is difficult for me to put into words how grateful I am for this organization, and the people that I met through it. Soulforce is a life preserver for many who have been damaged by others in the name of religion.

Soulforce, I believe, helped me to find my voice within the LGBT community. I always had a pretty clear idea since I came out who I was as a gay person. Even when I struggled with the coming out process, I kind of knew how I would turn out. However, Soulforce helped me to understand who I was within the LGBT community. It helped me to find out how to speak out, on behalf of my truth and the truth of us all. The need to find equality, the need to be treated fairly. The need to be viewed as beloved.

The need for justice.

But, Soulforce became more than an organization of support for me, more than an education in how to advocate, how to inform, how to protest injustice. Soulforce, by its meaning to me, means to fight injustice not with physical force, but with soul force. To combat inequality with love, compassion, understanding and awareness rather than fists, clubs and weapons. It means, meet those that oppose us with love, self knowing and peace, and seek to inform others rather than fight against them.

So, going to Washington two weeks ago, marching on behalf of myself, and millions of others, I carried the message and lessons and love of Soulforce with me.

Yet, there is more.

I made friends, many good friends, at Soulforce. Sharing stories, support and love. Meeting when we can. Sharing our joys, our sorrows, our peaks and valleys of life. So, a few of us were able to meet up in Washington, D.C. on October 11.

Here we are, after numerous texts to track each other down amidst 200,000 of our closest friends:

soulforce friends

Soulforce, as a belief and an organization, has helped me to grow as a person. Has helped me to pursue justice in a more formalized way. I have known since I was very young that I would fight on behalf of those that are oppressed, I just needed to get organized about it. Better informed. Better able to focus my efforts.

Soulforce has helped me to do that. And, in the process, helped me to meet some lifelong friends.

I am eternally grateful for that.

Soulforce.

Marching onward!

I was filled with anticipation, and I have to admit, a bit of anxiety. We were not even at the train station yet in Wheaton, and it was after 12 noon.

Noon was when the march on Sunday, October 11 was about to start.

I didn’t want to miss it. I was trying to let go; trying to realize how difficult it was when were trying to keep a group of 18 persons together for one six hour trip. Delays were bound to happen. There would be plenty of other moments that would occur that day that I could take in and carry with me.

I couldn’t help but be a bit disappointed that we might miss the march. That was a big part of what I was looking forward to. Marching down Pennsylvania Avenue, with what I expected to be thousands of others who believe in full, equal rights. I wanted to carry my neon sign. I wanted to be one of the many that were present and visible, walking past the White House, voices raised in unison.

So, to Wheaton we went. We finally found the train station, so that we could ride the Metro into the city to avoid driving into traffic. We got our passes. We made our pit stops.

Then, we were on the train. We were on our way.

When we got off the train, about one block from where the march was beginning, we weren’t sure if it was still going on. It was close to 1:00; surely, it was close to being over, and preparing for the rally.

But, we heard them. The crowd.

At first, I couldn’t tell if it was the crowd that was marching, the crowd that was lining the streets in support, or some of both. All I knew was, I saw it right ahead of me. A torrent of humans, carrying signs, chanting, and walking down Pennsylvania Avenue.

marching to the capitol!

The march was still going on…….

And, the thing is, there were SO MANY people marching, we couldn’t possibly have missed it. There were still marchers for several blocks by the time we entered the line. We just walked up to the march, and jumped in. Carrying our signs. Mine was neon pink, and on one side said: “Love is Love”. The other side, the one that I showed most often, was “Accept No Substitutes: Full Equal Marriage NOW”. I had my newly created tee shirt on as well; one bride plus one bride equals love. That simple.

bride plus bride equals love

me and marching

That is it, in a phrase, that is what we want. That is what I want, for myself, my family, and anyone else who feels so inclined to marry. We deserve that right.

On that bright, sunny day in October, on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC, it didn’t matter what we were wearing, what color or gender we were, even whether or not we carried a sign or a flag.

We were united, fully together, connected, by the desire for change, the hunger for justice, the demand for equality and full rights.

We had a purpose, and we were so rocking that purpose in that moment of time. And, it worked. And, it will continue to work, I so know that.

the crowd

Earthdance Peace Watch

I just found this today on my friend cordieb‘s blog; I just loved it!!! For now, I cannot figure out how to have it in my sidebar, instead of as a post, but it marks the time that all who read it can meditate in the name of peace, all around the world, at the same time. I just think that totally rocks.

And, it can be shared, so feel free!!!!

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The rings

So, the van that we rode in to Washington, DC for the National Equality March was seating for fifteen or so. Some people rode in cars so that we might have a bit more room. Since I was travelling alone, I went to the back of the van, to get situated and organized. I was soon joined by Dar and Kat, who were soon to be a couple of my new found friends.

back o' the van

At 6:00 AM, we began getting acquainted by the need I had to point out that, as opposed to Dar’s Jeter jersey, I am, in fact, a Boston Red Sox fan.

We sat next to each other anyway, amicably.

Over the next few hours, the three of us talked about our families, our struggles, we shared food (Kat makes a mean egg salad), and connected. We discovered some people, and ideas, that we had in common. It was really cool.

dar and kat

One thing that I noticed about the two of them as a couple, is that they genuinely cared for each other. I don’t mean, love each other; that was apparent also. But, the gently reached for each other’s hands at times, gave a quick kiss to one another. They talked and shared and genuinely cared for one another.

What I found out as we were preparing to leave Washington for the day, is that in the midst of the connection and marching and gathering, they had taken a moment to sit on the lawn of the Capitol, and to exchange rings with one another. There, in our nation’s capitol, they were witness to history being made, and making some special memories of their own as well. Until they could have it be legal, either in New Jersey, or in the country, or both, this would have to do.

the rings

What a beautiful testament to love. Even in the face of our unions not being legally recognized in most places, love reigns. Commitment rings true. We make what we can from what we are given.

And, true love wins out, every time.