"No On 8" Rally THIS Sunday!!!
THIS Is Going To Be BIG!
Just two days before the election a huge No On 8 Rally is being held in Long Beach. Please join us in fighting for marriage equality! Let's work together to stop discrimination from being written into our constitution.
What: No On Prop 8 Rally
When: 1:00PM Sunday, November 2nd
Where: Bixby Park Bandshell
130 Cherry Avenue
Long Beach 90802
- Guest Speakers
- Face Painting
- Bring the whole family!
|Movie Event |
|As part of their Marriage Equality Week, St. Mark Presbyterian is hosting the screening of the award winning documentary
For The Bible Tells Me So________________
which thoughtfully addresses the questions: Can the love between two people ever be an abomination? Is the chasm separating gays and lesbians and Christianity too wide to cross? Is the Bible an excuse to hate?
When: Sunday, Nov. 2nd
St. Mark Presbyterian Church, Newport Beach
|SAFE SPACE Support Group|
Only two spots left! Pre-registration is required so please contact me quickly if you are interested in joining at:
Group will be open for new attendees until it fills.
We will have our first meetings on Monday Nov 3 and Monday Nov 10 from 6-7:30 pm.
*A circle of lesbian women dedicated to support, non judgment and confidentiality
*A gathering around to share in a theme of discussion and sharing
*A space to ask questions, to wonder, and to receive support
|Holiday Gift Ideas|
The holidays are upon us! This is the season when we stress ourselves shopping and seeing the relatives that don't neccesarily bring us joy and cheer.
Consider giving something that will be truly meaningful and spread peace and cheer at the same time. There are several organizations that provide opportunities for goodwill gift giving and gifts that "give back" -- Gifts that will cheer your heart and increase the peace on our fragile planet.
If we cannot love the person whom we see, how can we love God whom we can't see?
- Mother Teresa
|Welcome to the November 2008 issue of
Be inspired & informed!
|The Color of Fear _______________|
Margaret sits before me with tears in her eyes. Margaret has adult children from her first marriage. She has been with her current partner, Joy, for 20 years. She bursts into tears. "My oldest daughter is voting to support Proposition 8 . I just don't understand how she can do this. She loves me, I know she does. Joy, is like her second mother. I'm shocked!" When Margaret confronted her, she responded that "I love you mom, but its important to protect marriage the way that "God has defined it". Margaret is devastated. Its more than a political discussion. Its an indictment. Margaret's old shame comes bubbling to the surface.
Devon plops down on the couch. At 36, he is a successful businessman, intelligent, and well spoken, and still closeted from his family. He starts the session. "My brother has a Yes on 8" badge on his face book! I'm on there so we can connect but I hide all the evidence of my real life- my friends, my dates, everything. I'm just so afraid that if he knows I'm gay, he won't let me be with my nephews. And this just confirms it. I can't keep this up but I'm so afraid."
The election has insinuated itself into the therapy hour of many of my clients. Not a day goes by, that a I don't spend some part of the hour processing the complex emotions of fear, anger, hurt and shame, that are stirred up in the hearts of my GLBT clients, by the ads and yellow signs of the "Yes on 8" campaign. In these stories, I witness old wounds being opened. Many of my clients have endured long journeys of coming out in order to establish long term relationships and have recently celebrated the amazing opportunity for marriage in the State of California. Some of my clients have lived their entire lives in the closet. Regardless of the roads they have traveled, no one embraces their sexuality without the scars of homophobia, fear, or internalized shame. So the victory of living a life out and proud, is hard fought and hard won. This proposition fight has both given us a chance to speak out, and re-opened old wounds.
My own therapist community is also in turmoil about this issue because it effects us personally and professionally. We learned that C.A.M.F.T. (California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists) has chosen not to take a position on this issue. This disappointed us tremendously as we had hoped our professional community would lend its collective voice to an issue that impacts the mental health of the GLBT clients we serve.
As I listen to my clients, I share in their sense of struggle and hope for change. By telling our stories, my clients, and my colleagues are creating a sense of community and shelter. We talk to each other online and across the table-to combat the psychological onslaught that we experience with every bumper sticker, every sign, every commercial. The punch in the gut that shakes us awake. Where thought we were safe or supported, we are not. Where we thought injustice would not be tolerated, there is ominous silence. Or a bright yellow sign.Fear and Marginalization
Perhaps we should not be shocked when people who enjoy these rights and privileges, are not moved to protect those who do not. Like the rebel in a family system, they threaten the way of life for that family, even when that way of life is toxic or unhealthy. Change is usually not welcomed.
The basis for the mistreatment of any marginalized group; whether it is racial minorities, sexual minorities, religious minorities is fear of the other. The dominant group is convinced that the marginalized group is so different that it's inclusion will threaten the livelihood, security, or success of the dominant group; and that no common dreams or values are shared between the dominant and marginalized group. Often, the dominant group harbors the fear that the minority group will proliferate and become the dominant group. Examples of this have played out in the arenas of immigration waves in American History. Similarly, these fears are part of the themes in the rhetoric used by all sides of the Cold War and the War on Terror.
This fear is so primitive and so automatic-it doesn't even have to be thought through. It is presumed, without question, to be true. The fears about gays and lesbians who are fighting for the right to marriage fall into line with this thinking. That our right to marriage will destroy heterosexual marriage. That the relationship of love and commitment between two men and two women is qualitatively different than that between a man and woman. That giving gays and lesbians equal rights to marry will tear down the "family". That ensuring gays and lesbians equal rights to marry will "legitimize" the gay "lifestyle so more people will be gay.
Fear and Systemic Change____________________________________________________
What are the beliefs that Margaret, Devon, I find shattered, each time a neighbor or a friend reveals that they are voting yes on 8? That if you see me as your neighbor and your friend, you will want me to have my civil rights. That if you see me as a good person, you realize I am just like you-trying to raise my children and love my partner. That if I am a good mom, friend, community member, you will accept me. That I can count on you to stand up for me. But this is not always the case.
"The thing women (any minority group) have to remember is--no one gives you power. You have to take it" -Roseanne Arnold
Okay, not usually a source of abiding wisdom, but she's got a point. We give our power away when we seek to "prove our worth" to our family, friends and neighbors, in hopes of getting their support. This wave of yellow signs, has simply woken us up to the fact that prejudice and fear are still alive and well. And our reaction can be to take it personally, to get angry and attack and make these folks the "other". When we do this, fear wins.
Instead, we can take steps toward understanding how fear plays in to systemic change and how real change occurs. The first step is to assume that people who oppose you, or are simply indifferent, hold such views for reasons that make sense to them. The people who support Prop 8 truly believe that they are doing the "right thing". How is it that these good people that we love, and we know love us-can oppose our equality? Or at the very least, do nothing to ensure it.
Perhaps the dissonance of our friends and neighbors is much like the dissonance that people in the South had in the days after Segregation ended. African Americans had more rights, but they didn't necessarily have respect.
I grew up in a racially divided town, where good "Christian" people in my family, my church and my community, often referred to black people in atrocious terms and refused to associate with them socially. Black people lived on one side of town and whites on the other. We had a black high school and a white high school. Black churches and white churches. The African-American women could cook for us, clean our houses and baby-sit the children, but they stayed in their places. I was reprimanded by my grandmother for befriending the black boys down the road and she didn't hesitate to use racial slurs. She went to church three times a week and served the elderly and infirm daily. She wasn't a bad person. She was a product of her culture which was steeped in ignorance and fear of the other.
Homophobia does not equal racism but it flourishes in the same manner. Through lack of empathy and the power of privilege, there are those in society who do not care about issues of justice. But even well meaning people can fail to see the injustice they participate in. I honestly believe that many people really can't see how their opposition to gay marriage is unloving to their gay son, friend or neighbor. They do not make the connection. They simply are afraid of what will happen to the world they "know", if the minority group, takes their place at the table. And there are still more, who believe, wrongly, that their inaction in the face of injustice, has no consequence. We have to stop waiting for them to pull up a chair for us.
So I listen to Devon, to Margaret, and many others. Together, we work on getting past the fear and the shame. Laying down the old outdated beliefs that no longer serve us. And together, we find the truth that is deep inside-that I don't have to wait for you to approve of me, or agree with me, for me, to love myself. That I give myself the power to create the world I want to see-I don't have to wait for you to give it to me. So we vote, we march and we continue to make our voices heard.
At publication, CAMFT responded that it was not their tradition to take a position on social issues. However, the Executive Director of CAMFT, welcomed my proposal to submit an article for the Professional Exchange Magazine: The California Therapist, that would address the needs of GLBT clients from an affirming perspective.