Monday, December 22, 2014

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 1882"


"Christmas Love..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.



"The Naked Truth About Politics..."


Saudi Arabia Beheads Gays, but Marco Rubio Has No Problem With You Traveling There

Michelangelo Signorile 
12/19/2014

In about a minute you can book a flight to locales that are home to the most brutal anti-gay regimes in the world, where homosexuality is punishable by flogging, imprisonment (sometimes for life) or execution. I don't just mean Uganda or Brunei, where Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah recently decreed Sharia law shall commence and where you might have no interest in ever visiting. I'm also talking about major vacation destinations of millions of Americans, like Jamaica, where homosexuality is outlawed and punishable with a prison sentence, and where LGBT people are attacked and killed in waves of violence while the police often have little concern for this brutality.

But U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) wants to keep you from traveling to Cuba and believes that American companies shouldn't be allowed to do business there because Cuba isn't a democracy, violates human rights and is run by a "tyrant." He's been lashing out ever since President Obama announced the normalization of relations with Cuba. But if human rights abuses really were the metric by which we decided on trade and travel, the U.S. should be banning Americans from visiting our staunchest allies and our most popular vacation spots (including much of the Caribbean, where homosexuality is illegal, though it's not illegal in Cuba). It would literally be much of the globe.

Everyone's been using China and Vietnam as the examples to point to Rubio's hypocrisy, but let's put aside countries where we "normalized" relations. There are dozens of countries we were never estranged from, some of which we consider major business and military allies, and which engage in brutality against their citizens each and every day. Rubio attacked the president for his overtures to Iran as well, but he seems to have no problem with our relationship with Saudi Arabia. Both are closed societies, Muslim fundamentalist theocracies that have terrorized gay citizens and many others. Both punish homosexuality with floggings, lashings and death, including by hanging and beheading. But one of them has long been a cash cow for American oil companies, so Rubio doesn't seem to see its human rights abuses, which include treating women as if they're property, and arresting them for driving.

The United States gives financial aid to countries across Africa whose leaders are feted at the White House -- and whose laws punish homosexuality with imprisonment, from Uganda to Nigeria. President Obama is hellbent on signing a trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would include Brunei, as well as Malaysia, which criminalizes homosexuality too, and with which American companies are doing much more business. I've heard nothing from Marco Rubio about our close relationship with these human rights abusers.

Even The Washington Post's editorial board, in a myopic piece, criticized the president for his actions, as if we don't do business with human rights violators all around the world (far beyond China and Vietnam). That's because, even in this day of so much more supposed acceptance and support for LGBT rights, many people still see a difference between "human rights abuses" and oppression of LGBT people. They think about issues such as press freedom, crackdowns on protest or jailing of dissidents -- all horrendous realities about which we should be concerned -- as "human rights abuses" (though, again, on even this they look the other way in places like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and among our other so-called allies). But they don't think about the criminalization of LGBT people, and violence against them, in the same way -- almost as if anti-LGBT laws should be expected and tolerated even if they're unsavory.

I'm not one of those who believes that engagement -- and capitalism -- necessarily brings democracy, and we've certainly not seen that with China. But it's completely bogus for Marco Rubio and other Republicans still in the bosom of rich, older Cuban-American political donors in Florida to use human rights to make their argument. Rubio, who is opposed to giving LGBT people in this country basic civil rights -- like job protections and marriage equality -- doesn't seem to care about human rights in the U.S. or in much of the rest of the world where people are facing a far more horrific reality every day.


*******


The naked truth is that Marco Rubio thinks this position will appeal to the elites that he actually represents and by galvanizing his hatred for President Obama's common sense approach to diplomacy on this issue he hopes to be seen as "white enough" to be a contender for the presidency himself.


"Fear Eats the Soul"



"The Views To Love..."


Nothing is more beautiful than a wedding at Christmastime...



"The Artist's Corner..."


"Perfect Place for Christmas"



Sunday, December 21, 2014

"Gay PDA Is Okay!"


"Love Gives You Courage To Be You... Live Fearlessly "




"The Truth About Hoping For Freedom..."


Gay Syrian Man Who Was Forced To Flee His Country Shares His Heartbreaking But Hopeful Story




When Shadi Ismail’s father caught him in bed with another guy, he took a burning coal from a hookah pipe and pressed it against his son’s arm.“In my mind, I was thinking I deserve it because I did something wrong,” Ismail (pictured) says in a new interview with Boise Public Radio. “It was awful.”

Ismail grew up in Syria. As a child, he says he always knew he was attracted to members of the same sex. After the burning cold incident, he fled his father’s home to live with his mother. (His parents were divorced.) But, he says, the abuse didn’t stop.

One day, Ismail’s mother ordered her son to be beaten by his cousins. When Ismail eventually ran away from his mother’s home, his brother attacked one of Ismail’s friends for refusing to reveal where he had moved.

Over the years, Ismail’s house was burglarized, but he didn’t report the incident to authorities out of fear that they would require he give his real name and his family would discover where he was living. Another time, he claims he was physically attacked by three men for being gay. That incident led Ismail’s boss, who was also a closeted gay man, to encourage him to request assistance in escaping the country as a refugee.

That was about two-and-a-half years ago.

“I left everything to be who I am,” he says.

Today, Ismail lives in Boise, Idaho. It may seem like a random location to some, but according to him, it couldn’t be more perfect.

Almost immediately, he says, his life improved. Two weeks after arriving, he landed a job. And two weeks after that, he landed a second job. This enabled him to support himself financially. In addition to finding steady work, Ismail also found a roommate, who he says is now like a sister to him.
“If I don’t see her, I miss her,” he says. “This [is what] I feel is my family now. Not there [in Syria].”

Despite everything, Ismail still remains in contact with his family. One day, he called his father out of the blue.
“I did not think about it,” he says. “I [just wanted] to call him.”

Though they didn’t discuss the past or the abuse Ismail suffered at his father’s hand, Ismail says, “[It] was a very good conversation.”

Today, he sends money back to his family, though he doesn’t plan on ever returning to Syria, given the current political landscape.

“Sometimes I cry for it,” he says. “I watch it. I can’t take it.”

Instead, he is looking to the future.

Up next on his agenda: A husband, a dog, and a house.

Listen to Ismail’s full interview with Jodie Martinson at Boise Public Radio interview here.


********

Freedom to be who you are is worth losing almost anything for...


"Fear Eats the Soul"



"The Truth About Love..."


"In the arithmetic of love, one plus one equals everything, and two minus one equals nothing."

Mignon McLaughlin



"The Truth About Santa Claus...?"


Is There Really A Santa Claus?

Once a year, millions of children around the world eagerly wait for a plump, bearded man dressed in red and white to bring them presents. Known as Santa Claus, his origins are mysterious and his very existence has been disputed. Some people believe that he lives and works in the North Pole, employs a group of elves to manufacture toys, distributes the gifts annually with the aid of flying reindeer, and regularly utters "ho ho ho" in a commanding voice.

But is Santa Claus man or myth? Santa proponents argue that he is commonly sighted at shopping malls, that the disappearance of milk and cookies left for him is evidence of his existence, and that, after all, those Christmas gifts have to come from somewhere.

Santa opponents argue that no one man could deliver presents to millions of households in one night, that his toy factory has never been located in the vicinity of the North Pole, and that Christmas presents are really purchased in secret by parents. Read More...

Did You Know?

  1. The first time Santa appeared in his now-classic red and white outfit was in work by illustrator Thomas Nast, published in Harper's Weekly in the 1860s.
  2. Every Christmas, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (known as NORAD), tracks Santa's worldwide flight using radar and satellites.
  3. Santa's ancestor, St. Nicholas, was a monk born around 280 AD in what is now known as Turkey.
  4. The first time Santa was spotted in a department store was in 1890 in Brockton, Massachusetts.
  5. Pro & Con Arguments: "Is There Really a Santa Claus?"


PRO Santa Claus 

New York Sun editorial, Sep. 21, 1897

"Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy… He lives and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood."


"Mountains of historical data and more than 50 years of NORAD tracking information leads us to believe that Santa Claus is alive and well in the hearts of people throughout the world...

Based on flight profile data gathered from over 50 years of NORAD's radar and satellite tracking, NORAD concludes that Santa probably stands about 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs approximately 260 pounds (before cookies). Based on fighter-aircraft photos, we know he has a generous girth (belly), rosy cheeks from sleigh riding in cold weather, and a flowing white beard...

NORAD can confirm that Santa’s sleigh is a versatile, all weather, multi-purpose, vertical short-take-off and landing vehicle. It is capable of traveling vast distances without refueling and is deployed, as far as we know, only on December 24th (and sometimes briefly for a test flight about a month before Christmas)."

- North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), Dec. 2014
               

"Science has long shown that Santa Claus is real, and those who claim otherwise are invariably in the pocket of the big toy companies, who don’t want people thinking they can get free playthings and so will pay for their products.

But the evidence is beyond any reasonable doubt, and the arguments of the Santa deniers have been repeatedly debunked...

Admittedly, the whole 'flying reindeer' thing does seem very far-fetched, and this is a fair accusation. Investigations suggest that the flying reindeer image is a distortion of the truth, in that reindeer are native to the Arctic so Santa may well keep reindeer on his premises and perhaps they did pull his sleigh originally. But there is substantial evidence now to suggest that Santa powers his sled with the energy obtained from a precisely controlled quantum singularity. Basically, Santa has access to a small black hole, which he uses to perform his duties."

-Dean Burnett, PhD (neuroscientist), "Santa Claus Deniers: Why Do They Get So Much Airtime?,"
The Guardian website, Dec. 11, 2014

CON Santa Claus 
                   
Ebenezer Scrooge, Dec. 19, 1843
"Bah! Humbug!"
                                   

"Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west (which seems logical).

This works out to 822.6 visits per second. This is to say that for each Christian household with good children, Santa has 1/1000th of a second to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left, get back up the chimney, get back into the sleigh and move on to the next house.

Assuming that each of these 91.8 million stops are evenly distributed around the earth... we are now talking about .78 miles per household, a total trip of 75-1/2 million miles...

This means that Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man- made vehicle on earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second - a conventional reindeer can run, tops, 15 miles per hour...

The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized lego set (2 pounds), the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa...

On land, conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that 'flying reindeer'... could pull TEN TIMES the normal amount, we cannot do the job with eight, or even nine.

We need 214,200 reindeer. This increases the payload - not even counting the weight of the sleigh - to 353,430 tons."
- Spy magazine, Jan. 1990

Background: "Is There Really a Santa Claus?"

Once a year, millions of children around the world eagerly wait for a plump, bearded man dressed in red and white to bring them presents. Known as Santa Claus, his origins are mysterious and his very existence has been disputed. Some people believe that he lives and works in the North Pole, employs a group of elves to manufacture toys, distributes the gifts annually with the aid of flying reindeer, and regularly utters "ho ho ho" in a commanding voice.

But is Santa Claus man or myth? Santa proponents argue that he is commonly sighted at shopping malls, that the disappearance of milk and cookies left for him is evidence of his existence, and that, after all, those Christmas gifts have to come from somewhere.

Santa opponents argue that no one man could deliver presents to millions of households in one night, that his toy factory has never been located in the vicinity of the North Pole, and that Christmas presents are really purchased in secret by parents.

Santa Claus, as we know him today, first appeared in North America in the early 19th Century, but his ancestor is believed by many to be St. Nicholas, a monk born around 280 AD in what is now known as Turkey. Reputed to be kind and generous, St. Nick became the subject of several legends, and his Dutch name, Sinter Klaas (shortened from Sint Nikolas) eventually evolved into Santa Claus. Early images of Santa portrayed him wearing a variety of robes, hats, and colored stockings, and he looked nothing like the familiar rotund figure we know today.

Santa's modern appearance has been traced to an 1822 poem titled "A Visit from St. Nicholas" (also known as "The Night Before Christmas"), written by American author Clement Clarke Moore, which described him as having a "beard on his chin… as white as the snow," and being "chubby and plump." He was also described as being "little," and was pulled in "a miniature sleigh" by "eight tiny rein-deer."

In the late 19th Century, the classic Santa we know and love came into being, dressed in a red outfit trimmed with white fur, in images drawn by illustrator Thomas Nast and first published in Harper's Weekly from 1863-1866. Santa remained half-size, however, until later in the century. Before Nast’s interpretation emerged, one portrayal of Santa in Harper's Weekly showed him beardless and in a sleigh pulled by a turkey. Contrary to a common misconception, the Coca-Cola Company did not invent the red-suited Santa, although they did feature the jolly gift-giver dressed that way in a 1930s advertising campaign, which may have led to the popularization of this instantly-recognizable outfit.

The first time Santa was spotted in a department store was in 1890 in Brockton, Massachusetts,was in 1890 in Brockton, Massachusetts, although some believe it was nothing more than the store owner, named James Edgar, dressed in a costume.

In the UK and some other English-speaking countries, Santa Claus is known as Father Christmas, and in French-speaking areas he is known as Père Noël. Each of these alternate Santas was once a distinct individual, but they are now virtually synonymous.


In 1955, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) began tracking Santa's yearly flight, a tradition that was adopted in 1958 by the North American Aerospace Defense Command, known as NORAD. With the use of radar and satellites, NORAD follows Santa's progress as he delivers his Christmas present payload. According to NORAD, the satellites use infrared sensors to detect the bright red nose of one of Santa's reindeer, known as Rudolph.

Whether or not Santa Claus is real, his presence is felt around the world each Christmas, and his popularity only seems to grow every year. He appears in movies, shopping centers, at Christmas parties, and, many believe, in chimneys everywhere, carrying his sack full of presents.


********


"Merry Christmas"



"Same Gender Loving People - No. 1881"


"Christmas Is About Love..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.



"The Truth About What Would Jesus Do...?"


Jamaican Pastor Angers Congregation By Washing Feet of Lesbian, Trans Visitors

Honoring a tradition established by Jesus more than 2,000 years ago, a pastor in Jamaica is getting major push-back from his flock after controversial foot-washings.

Thom Senzee
December 15, 2014

A Christian pastor at a Jamaican church has angered some of his congregants, first by urging acceptance in the church of LGBT people last week, now by washing the feet of lesbian visitors Sunday, according to 150-year-old Kingston newspaper The Gleaner.

"I was shocked because it was never mentioned that you going have these things. You hear human rights, and human rights is broad, but I don't know how suddenly gay rights become human rights and human rights is now gay rights, and I have a problem with that," a congregant who wished to remain anonymous told the newspaper.

Despite expressions of "betrayal" from his regular members, Christ Church's pastor, Rev. Fr. Sean Major-Campbell, seemed determined to begin welcoming the LGBT community into the flock.

"It is quite understandable that some persons will have some difficulty because human sexuality is a difficult subject and, generally speaking, in our country and culture, we really do not have enough safe spaces for people to explore the subject, without feeling safe or judged, and that is true even of the Church itself," the reverend told The Gleaner.

The newspaper described Major-Campbell's feet-washing fot two lesbians and a transgender man to the church as "an unprecedented act within local church ministry." The act itself symbolizes humility and service to humanity and God, and has great significance and history for Christians.

Churches May Be Key to Acceptance in Jamaica

The newspaper reports that a transgender visitor to the church, who was not identified, delivered a testimonial to the congregation about the challenges, dangers, and fears inherent in being LGBT in Jamaica today.

But the regular congregants were not pleased, sounding unmoved by or unaware of the connection between their pastor's act and the story of Jesus washing the feet of society's outcasts, "untouchables," and downtrodden.

"I don't believe you should beat anybody or anything because of their sexual orientation," another anonymous congregant told The Gleaner. "However, I just think the minister was disingenuous to us, as members, because he told us he was having a human-rights service and at no time did he mention that he would be having these lesbians and whatever, having their feet washed by him. I think the service was more gay rights than human rights."

Christ Church is located in the Vineyard Town neighborhood of Kingston, and is a parish of the Anglican Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. There was no immediate comment from the diocese regarding Sunday's controversial service at Rev. Major-Campbell's church.

Life in Jamaica's capital, Kingston, can be so threatening that many LGBT youth find shelter, camaraderie and a modicum of safety in a storm drain beneath the city's streets called Shoemaker Gully. A recent film by Vice documented the stories behind the physical and emotional scars many LGBT youth bear in the nation declared by Time magazine in 2006 to be the most homophobic country on earth.

If nothing else, Rev. Major-Campbell's gesture broke the ice. Whether an ongoing conversation can now occur among the open-minded pastor, his entrenched congregants, and the broader community across Kingston and Jamaica itself remains to be seen.

The religious community was responsible for organizing a massive antigay protest last summer in Jamaica last summer, aimed at pushing back at Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller's promise to lead an effort to repeal the country's colonial-era buggery law that criminalizes same-sex contact. An estimated 25,000 people showed up for that demonstration. Though it will clearly be a Herculean task, winning acceptance by at least some churches may be the key to winning greater acceptance of LGBT people in Jamaica.

Before he was bullied out of a lawsuit challenging the buggery law in Jamaica's Supreme Court, plaintiff Javed Jaghai and the court had been considered the best hope for symbolic change in the country.

Now that hope might lie with the ancient act of foot-washing by a humble minister before a hostile crowd.


********

A sign of hope in this "the season of good will towards men..."  I think this is a pastor who has rightly discerned the answer to the question, "What would Jesus do?"


"Fear Eats the Soul"



"This Made Me Smile..."


"Just got back from the mall Christmas shopping..."

Saw this on another blog with the above caption



"The Artist's Corner..."





Saturday, December 20, 2014

"Gay PDA Is Okay!"


"Love Is Beautiful... Live Fearlessly "




"Selfie Love..."




"A Thought To Ponder..."



"Life without Love is as a flower without fragrance."

Richard Garnett



"Love And Life's Journeys..."


From the work of Chicago born photographer Richard Renaldi. Over the course of more than a decade, Richard has recorded images of himself and his partner Seth Boyd in their hotel rooms across the country and around the world for his project "Hotel Room Portraits."

I fell in love with these images from the very first time that I saw them.  There is something incredibly familiar and comforting in recognizing not only the love between Richard and Seth, but also the rigors of travel and the occasional weary eyes and tiredness that we all fall prey to.  Moreover, these photos reveal an intimacy and comfortableness that one finds only when two people are truly in love... They reveal "love and life's journeys."


Richard RenaldiRichard Renaldi was born in Chicago in 1968. He received his BFA in photography from New York University in 1990. Exhibitions of his photographs have been mounted in galleries and museums throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe. In 2006 Renaldi's first monograph, Figure and Ground, was published by the Aperture Foundation. His second monograph, Fall River Boys, was released in 2009. Richard Renaldi is the founder and publisher of Charles Lane Press.



"A Little Sane Advice..."



"Fear Eats the Soul"



"Same Gender Loving People - No. 1880"


"Love And Happiness Looks Like This..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.



"The Views To Love..."


Home Is Where The Heart Is



"The Artist's Corner..."





Linkwithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...