You Need Us.

It seems the Supreme Court has decided to weigh in on bigotry. A baker has won the right to not bake for a gay wedding. And now intellectuals are busy trying to tell us why the decision is OK.

Well, I grew up during the time when people like me were forced to meet in the shadows. I witnessed the sadness, the retreat to bars and alcohol and drugs, and the shunning of family. I watched as police arrived at the nightclub and were handed a sack of money to keep them from shutting the place down or beating up the patrons. I lived through Ronald Reagan’s ignorance over AIDS that cost the lives of young gay men… and I am here to tell you none of it was OK.

This recent salt to the wound, in the name of religion, will not be ignored by those of us who know better. The insistence to divide humanity is only working for the self-righteous. Human beings are capable of much more than this.

No amount of intellectualism can hide the stench of bigotry. No amount of legal wrangling can change the course that those brave Queens and Lesbians carved for us at Stonewall on June 28, 1969.

And who is this “us”? We are your sons, daughters, your clergy and politicians. We are two spirited at our best and made sickened by your disgust at our worst. How you treat us is indicative of how you look upon yourself: your secret passion to fit in, your secret loathing of anything that challenges your sameness. We will not return to your shadow. You need us.

So I am not celebrating this unwise decision to uphold ignorance by the Supreme Court. But I will continue to honor the gift of my Creator to be the unique person that I am, and I will surely not surrender my ability to be kind, even in the face of such vile hatred masked as religion.

To those who are different, I say, “Come out come out wherever you are”. Let Love win. Light will always trump darkness. Don’t despair. We got this.


This piece aired on WDRT‘s “Consider This” on June 7.

You can listen on Soundcloud.

Photo compliments of Wikipedia Commons.

Grappling With Suicide

I recently learned of another young friend who took her life. Another bright shining star extinguished. It seems we have entered into a new normal. I am old enough to remember when it was not a frequent occurrence. And now suicide has become a common guest. Rates of suicide have increased by 60% since the ‘60s.

Now it’s whittled down to numbers. 22 veterans take their own lives every day – one every 65 minutes. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among our young taking 4,400 lives per year. For each of these deaths, there are at least 100 suicide attempts. With LGBT and indigenous youth among the highest numbers.

Our culture has not yet begun to grapple with the roots of this inhuman unrest. We keep secrets and speak in hushed tones as our beloveds depart. And rarely do we openly admit that the gross behaviors of our culture are more than symptoms. We have become numb to violence. Bullying is now an art form. And #metoo has just begun to pull the scab off a disease that has haunted us since our inception. We hide behind electronics and many now live in fantasy worlds where death is a non-reality that allows you to rise again.

When it comes to “brotherly love” our faiths have failed us and the rise of atheism has thrown the sacred out with the profane. Very little is precious to us. We traffic human lives while presidents boast of our military might and the desire to annihilate entire nations. Militarized police protect corporations destroying the earth in total disregard of the people who live here. Hopelessness is mirrored back to us everyday with anger and fear mounting as dreams slip away.

Apparently we’re not yet ready to reverse this trend. We are certain we are not part of the problem. But we are all part of the problem. Every time we choose hatred and anger and doubt we are part of the problem. Every time we allow inhumanity to win we are part of the problem. This lost humanity can be found. It is a choice and we can make it. But we must summon up the will to live the promise that was placed within us at birth. As long as we breathe there is hope.


Consider This airs on WDRT Driftless Community Radio every Thursday at 5:28 pm CST.

You can listen here.

Flower photo: Forget Me Nots