My Morning Soundtrack, Part II

As I mentioned in my original post, I’ve awoken with random songs in my head for years so I decided to log them into a playlist of my subconscious. It’s kind of like being in Mr. Peabody’s Wayback Machine.*

Maybe a multi-morning mashup?

*Great background if you’re curious about (or too young for) Mr. Peabody.

8/27/13 I Live Alone (Sonia Dada)
Hallelujah (Jeff Beck; Written by Leonard Cohen)
8/26/13 Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen; written by Freddie Mercury)
8/23/13 Blurred Lines (Robin Thicke; written by T.I., Pharrell and Thicke)
7/25/13 Abraham Martin and John (Dion; written by Dick Holler)
7/2/13 California Stars (Wilco; written by Woodie Guthrie, music by Jeff Tweedy)
7/6-11/13 Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen; written by Freddie Mercury)
7/12/13 California Stars (Wilco; written by Woodie Guthrie, music by Jeff Tweedy)

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Yo, Philly! Yo, Everyone!

If you’ve ever seen Philadelphia’s UnLitter Us campaign, with local spoken word artists beautifully and powerfully making the case for keeping Philadelphia litter-free, you’ve likely seen Denice Frohman. And, if you’re anything like me, you’ve lost track of Denice and the other poets from these PSAs, unless poetry and spoken word are your “thing.” I did, however, know that Denice Frohman is program director for Philly Youth Poetry Movement, and have heard about the great work they do with Philadelphia’s youth, many of whom have often had little voice. And, between her UnLitter piece and her commitment to Philly Youth Poetry, it was clear that she’s a force to be reckoned with, a voice that needs to heard.

She showed that, and powerfully, in Minneapolis as the winner of Women of the World Poetry Slam.. In “Dear Straight People” she addresses LGBT issues and homophobia — including, and especially, the damage it’s done to kids in our country — with rhythm, chutzpah, intelligence and humor. Check. It. Out.

Truth to power. Yo.

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Children Should Not Be a Debate

I’ve reposted and commented on posts from Raising My Rainbow, by Lori about her family and her gender-noncoforming son, C.J. It’s a wonderfully written — funny, touching, informative — chronicle of their day-to-day journey and the hurdles they face (and overcome). She’s a parent who, like most parents, thinks long and hard about how her actions will impact her children. Unfortunately, though, since her child does not fit the so-called “norm,” others feel free to judge how she parents and comment on what they think is best. And because — thankfully for the kids and for the future of our every-diversifying society — more parents are joining Lori in “coming out” and talking about the challenges their children face. Of course, for some folks in our society this means more targets, more parents to criticize. Amelia’s piece, “Don’t Be Your Child’s First Bully,” in the Huffington Post, written in response to an earlier one by Randi Zuckerberg (yes, same family) questioning parents of gender-nonconforming children — citing Kanye West as an expert, no less — eloquently sums up what she, Lori and other parents go through and think about every day… trying to keep their child safe and happy and honoring who they are.

Parents do the best they can each and every day and, as my own parents have said many times, children do not come with instructions. So maybe the naysayers should consider a version of the old adage before speaking or writing: Until you’ve walked a mile in someone’s shoes, don’t judge.

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Ben + Matthew’s Wedding Registry

Matthew has done a great service for both our country and the LGBT community’s quest for marriage equality, by coming out [as an active Marine] and by his words and actions as an out serviceman. If anyone’s in a position to do so, please consider donating to his and Ben’s fund for their move to Okinawa… since, because of their status as gay men, the military will not. Good luck to both of you, Matthew and Ben! And congratulations!

Work in Progress

Ben and I will be getting married in a few weeks and set up our Wedding Registry at MyRegistry.com. With our upcoming move to Okinawa, we don’t have much need for many things. We are, however, concerned about the cost of Ben moving to Okinawa with me, since the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) prohibits the military from recognizing Ben as my spouse. That means Ben’s airfare, moving expenses, lodging, and medical will be on us. The expense will run into the thousands of dollars. If you’d care to contribute to help us meet these costs until DOMA is repealed, please visit our registry and consider donating to our Okinawa Fund. We will donate anything beyond the actual costs to continuing the fight for LGBT equality.

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And Then There’s the NFL

While the NBA expresses its support for Jason Collins, the first player in American team sports to come out as gay, NFL players Chris Kluwe and Brendan Ayanbadejo, vocal supporters of gay marriage, now find themselves without jobs. Coincidence? I sure hope so, though, frankly, I’m skeptical. Care to prove me wrong, NFL?

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Taking #98 Public and out of the Closet

Of course, with the Internet and social media, it’s practically old news that Jason Collins, center with the Washington Wizards, came out as gay. But even as it’s no longer new news, it’s still huge. Huge for Jason, of course — when talking about not coming out sooner, he explained that he needed “more time to cook” (read Sports Illustrated for the whole story) — and huge for professional sports. The big man who wears number 98 (silently until now) in honor of the memory of Matthew Shepard, who was murdered in 1998, is the first professional team athlete to come out. He has now stepped into the limelight as an example, I hope, for other professional athletes and certainly as a role model for kids, showing that, just like with all people, gays and lesbians come in all colors, shapes, sizes, degrees of athletic ability, and toughness, among so many other things. There’s no single way to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, and Jason Collins has stepped out of the shadows to show us just one more piece of the puzzle. Albeit a 7-foot piece.

Congratulations, Jason, and thank you. Professional sports are such a huge part of some kids lives, hopes and dreams that your actions, I truly believe, will have an impact on many.

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