Year: 2018

19 Apr

Helping Out a Friend Helps me

I am devoting this blog to educating readers about LGBT rights in general and about oppressed populations throughout the world. I care about making people better allies and better activists. I’m a huge supporter of the idea that all people can make a difference, even if it doesn’t seem that way at first. I am not interested in blaming people. Helping people to move forward can make all the difference in the world. Hopefully, reading some of my writings will help a little. With this introduction to today’s blog, I will go on to tell you about a recent effort my friend and I made in the local community.

One way to educate people is to hold events and invite speakers who will draw a good crowd. Publicity, publicity, publicity. It is more important than “location.” I you want to convert your neighbors into activists, tell them how it is done and what causes need their support. While there is plenty of news in the online media, most people are too busy to pay much attention. They would agree with you if you explained all the injustices out there. Beyond this you want them to recruit others and encourage them to participate when the time is ripe. With all the progress we have made in gay rights, for example, there is still more to do. There are so many cases of bullying and numerous examples of blatant hate crimes. We should stand by without protest.

To make this clear, let me tell you about an event I held at my friend’s house in his backyard. He has a covered patio perfect for hosting meetings and rallies. We could fit more people in since the yard is a large space. Not long ago, he asked me to assist in installing a new outdoor ceiling fan from Ceiling Fan Choice. It will help to cool off the space while it adds a touch of décor. Now it is the focal point of his yard. On the patio under the ceiling fan, the speaker’s podium was strategically placed. I planned to spark some real emotions in the listeners and encourage them to “take to the streets” as a form of protest. We were angered by a recent event at a local high school at which a gay student was denied entry to the football team. We wanted to add to the parents’ objections and make it a public issue of outrage.

The event did its job. Everyone in sight became part of the effort. The group at the house began a kind of mass parade, marching directly to the high school gymnasium with enormous signs. We intended to shame the coach and waken the principal to something that cannot be ignored. It was my idea of public education focusing on a real live case in point. I am appreciative of my friend with the patio outdoor ceiling fan for obliging me. Helping him has certainly helped me.

2 Jan

Good News Party

Hate crime legislation is really important to me and my group of friends. We have campaigned long and hard to get it enacted and sometimes it seems like a lost cause. Other times, we cheer in disbelief when we get recognition at the national level. While my town is yet to follow others’ leads, a city nearby passed strong laws that pleased us no end. It is definitely a cause for celebration. We planned to invite everyone close to our cause and spend a good amount of time reveling in our success.

The event was a keg party, very easy and simple. We had snacks like pretzels, chips and other salty tidbits that go so well with beer. Who doesn’t like an icy cold brew drawn fresh from the keg tap? We bought the full size and not the mini version, not really knowing how long does a keg last other than trying to figure out how many beers we can get out of one. We are good drinkers and with friends and relatives at hand, I started to get worried around ten o’clock.

It was a good news party, the kind that brings an inner smile to your lips. We are proud of everything that draws attention to gay rights and new laws don’t happen that often. As a group, we planned to write a support letter to the official who initiated the legislation and congratulated him on his effort and foresight. This is the kind of public relations we do to move our cause forward. We believe in being heard: verbally or in writing.

The beer fest was a time to relax and converse about issues of the day, some beyond the interest of our circle. We are tuned into everything occurring in the world as political beings. We notice what is happening all around the country so we can also write to politicians from afar. We just want more to take place in our immediate area so we don’t go unnoticed. While there has been progress in all sectors, we still have concern about hate crimes and negative attitudes. It is hard to believe what we sometimes hear whispered quietly when we are around. If we dine in pairs, we get those staring looks. It makes me long to live in a place like West Hollywood—such a progressive town.

Thanks to the support of locals and my friends, I am getting more comfortable each day about speaking out in public and in writing such as this blog. We should celebrate our victories and publicize them with pride. A keg party was just what was needed recently to raise our spirits and motivate us to push on. It was particularly important that the keg was donated by a local vendor. It is the sign of new times. There was a time when a keg party for gay causes would be banned, or at least frowned upon. Now group events are dear to our hearts and always well attended.