Raising Alek – LGBT Weekly http://lgbtweekly.com Mon, 08 Feb 2016 22:38:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Coming out as gay parents http://lgbtweekly.com/2011/02/17/coming-out-as-gay-parents/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2011/02/17/coming-out-as-gay-parents/#respond Thu, 17 Feb 2011 18:42:45 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/2011/02/17/coming-out-as-gay-parents/

One thing that I have gained doing this weekly column is the terrific insight to parenting I’ve received from interviewing so many gay and lesbian parents. I can only hope that some of their wisdom rubs off on me and increases my chances of being a better parent.

I’ve also found it interesting that a fair percentage of people that I interview wish to remain anonymous, for various reasons. My first reaction is it is sad that even though we are making progress in civil rights, the reality is we have so much further to go. There are parents like me who are completely out and have no fear of being so public, and there are those who choose to keep out of the spotlight. This terrific lady I met today summed up her and her partner’s feelings this way:

“Our request to remain anonymous began from the core concern for our kids’ safety. We did not want our children to be targeted in any way, so we have always been very cautious about keeping them out of the limelight, or making them a focus on anyone’s stage but their own. Now that they are older this is still a concern, but not as much. The bigger concern now is our awareness of their own coming out process of their family. We want them to be in control of how and when they come out. We had our time and day when we each came out. We believe strongly that our children should have their time and place.”

I completely respect “Lisa” and her family’s request to remain anonymous during this interview. I found them to be amazing parents with some great insight to parenting.

Sam: How did you go about becoming a parent?

Lisa: I gave birth to both by insemination, using an anonymous donor sperm.

Sam: Do you have any comments or thoughts on the process you’d like to talk about?

Lisa: The process was frustrating when we used Kaiser. We felt they did not take the process seriously and used it more as a testing ground. We wasted a lot of time, money and energy with them.

After many unsuccessful attempts, we decided to go with a private doctor. He was much more professional and took us and the process seriously. I became pregnant the first time with my son and the second attempt with my daughter.

Sam: Did you experience any prejudice or bigotry during the process?

Lisa: Not in a flagrant way. As I mentioned, Kaiser seemed to take it as a money maker and used nurses for the insemination. When we went with a private MD, he completed the process from beginning to end himself. Gabriel Garzo was the doctor we used and we really respected him.

Sam: As your children have grown up and more social awareness occurs, has their identity of children of gay parents changed in any way?

Lisa: What has changed in the past year is he is realizing his own coming out process as a son of two moms. Previously, he was very proud of both of us and showing off a bit in having something that no one else had. He was very excited to share his family and both his moms.

Now he is much more reluctant letting his peers know about his second non-biological mom. He does not want her to be obvious on campus, but incognito. He is afraid of being teased. The kids make gay jokes in a group, not focused on him but in his presence, and it makes him angry, but he does not feel comfortable saying anything.

He is sure to tell us he loves us both and he is sorry for the way he feels. We reassure him that we will respect his wishes. We also try to educate him on how to handle ignorance and discrimination when he hears or sees it.

Both my kids have been around and have gone to school with many kids with a variety of disabilities. I use examples of these kids when I discuss discrimination with them. So they see it from many perspectives, not just their own family.

We also let him know that it is his choice to come out to his friends when he is ready, it is not ours. However, what is funny is that these are the same kids and families he spent Kindergarten through Third Grade with, and they all know his family has two moms.

Sam: If you had to do it all over again, is there anything you would do differently?

Lisa: I only wish I would have had more role models to discuss the challenges to the relationship that comes with having kids. I did not listen to my straight friends because I thought I was different. But it was not. Kids add a whole new dimension and it’s very challenging whether straight or gay.

Sam: To what degree do you think you are a different person today because of being a parent?

Lisa: I am much more protective than I thought I’d ever be. I am more humble and happy. I am less selfish and more grateful for the little things. I am more willing to let the small stuff go. And I believe strongly in the quote, “This will pass.”

Sam: What message do you think is important the gay community knows in regards to gay people becoming parents?

Lisa: A couple things. It really changes your life in a way that you do not expect. It is good and challenging. It challenges your core. It challenges your relationship with your spouse and all your friends without children.

When we had kids 11 years ago, it was tough finding families like ours. As a matter of fact we were part of the first Lesbian Moms Group, started out of Considering Parenthood. This was a lifesaver for us. Many of our friends without kids think it’s great the first year but then they don’t quite get it after that and friendships begin to wane.

As I finished talking with Lisa, I couldn’t help but agree with her that one of the most important things I’ve found as a “lifesaver” is reaching out to other gay parents.

To the many parents who have opened up their family lives to our community through this article, bless you, you’re an inspiration to our awesome community.

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Pioneering today’s family http://lgbtweekly.com/2011/02/03/raising-alek-6/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2011/02/03/raising-alek-6/#respond Thu, 03 Feb 2011 21:11:59 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/archives/2139

Ken Dillingham, Anthony Jones and their daughter Chloe.

For the past few weeks, I’ve had the distinct pleasure of sitting down with some of my dear friends to have some serious “coffee talk” on parenting, and I have to say it’s been a real thrill. Despite many being long-term friends of mine, we seldom get the opportunity to sit down and really talk about the nuts and bolts of parenting.

It’s a source of continuous inspiration and motivation for me to talk to these gay parents, and hear their stories, learn of their fears, hopes, struggles and courage that they have as pioneers of today’s modern families. Gone is the 1950s concept of what a family is, as these amazing people usher in a new era of tolerance, acceptance and what it really is to be a family.

I am proud to introduce to you my good friends, Ken Dillingham, Anthony Jones and their beautiful daughter Chloe.

Sam: How did you go about becoming a parent?

Anthony: My partner, Ken, and I did a local private adoption. We hired an attorney … to introduce potential adoptive parents with birth moms looking to place their unborn children. Ken and I created a family album with pictures and descriptions of our families and our backgrounds and gave it to our attorney.

The birth moms are then invited to the attorney’s office to view various family albums and to pick the adoptive parents for her child. This process was favorable to our birth mom as she was in a position to decide which family would raise her child.

Sam: What are your thoughts on the process?

Anthony: The private adoption option worked best for us. However, there are many other options to consider, such as surrogacy, private adoption through an agency, adoption through the county, foreign adoption and foster parenting. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages.

Sam: How have politics changed your parenting and your family since the day you first became a dad?

Anthony: Our politics have not changed that much due to being parents. However, we are more resolute in our political opinions than we were before we were parents. Having a child has made us realize that the actions of today’s politicians have long-standing consequences and we want to make sure that our daughter grows up in a tolerant and accepting world.

Sam: Would you say that being a parent has made you an activist for gay rights?

Ken Dillingham and Anthony Jones.

Anthony: Yes. Being a parent has caused us to be more involved in equal marriage rights, the rights of gay people to adopt, the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and any other legislation that involves the unequal treatment of gays and their families.

Sam: What message do you believe is the most important message that the gay community needs to know about parenting?

Anthony: As gay parents, being that we must proactively take steps to have children, (i.e. we don’t get pregnant accidentally), the most important message that I can relay to the gay community is that parenting will be the most rewarding and the most difficult endeavor you will ever undertake. Becoming a gay parent cannot be taken lightly.

Having said that, it is also important to know that every little detail of raising a child cannot be planned for. If you think you have your child’s life all planned out when they are born, you may be in for a rude awakening. Just be confident that you will have the ability to deal with a situation as it arises the best way you know how.

Sam: If you had to do it all over again, is there anything that you would do differently?

Anthony: If I had to do it over again, I probably would not worry so much, especially when our daughter was a newborn. Being that our daughter is our first and only child, we did not have a reference point as to what to worry about and what not to worry about.

Sam: To what degree do you think you are a different person today because of being a parent?

Anthony: Being a parent has made me truly appreciate my own parents. As parents, we all do the best we can with what we know. When we learn something new, we improve and move forward with our new knowledge.

Also, by being a parent, I am reminded of what it was like to be a child. Each year, as our daughter grows up, I look back at my own life at that age and appreciate how those childhood experiences make me the person that I am today.

Sam: If there’s one single trait, or piece of knowledge or self-discovery that you have gained from being a parent, what would it be?

Anthony: Being a parent has helped me come to the realization that my actions have a profound impact on how our child perceives and relates to the world. Each and everything Ken and I do as parents is important because it affects how our daughter views the world and how she fits into that world. Our children look to their parents as blueprints as to how they should live their life.

Anthony, you’ve touched on topics here that we could elaborate on and probably fill an entire newspaper. Your wisdom and honesty is a testimony to what gay parenting is all about. Equal rights and complete acceptance of gay families is sure to follow with people like you and Ken leading the way.

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Welcome to our world http://lgbtweekly.com/2011/02/03/raising-alek-3/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2011/02/03/raising-alek-3/#respond Thu, 03 Feb 2011 03:14:00 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/archives/1807

Proud parents Rick and Ky

I thought I’d do a 180 degree turn this week and change the topic from teenagers last week, to newborns this week. In many ways, this week’s column is a celebration of life that is dedicated to a beautiful newborn baby by the name of Genevieve Scott, born to my dear friend Rick and his husband Ky.

Genevieve was born on Jan. 9 at 4:00 p.m. via in vitro fertilization (IVF) and surrogacy. I asked Rick to share with me the details of his journey to fatherhood.

Sam: I’ve said before that people say it takes a village to raise a child, but with gay and lesbian people, it takes a village to create a child. You used an agency to pull your “village people” together; the IVF doctor, the lawyer, the egg donor, and the surrogate. Do you think there’s any difference in the attitudes of the villagers during the surrogacy process for a gay couple versus a straight couple?

Rick: We actually learned that it’s common with straight couples that the woman often feels very threatened by the egg donor and surrogate. The woman may have jealousies or feelings of inadequacy that get triggered by the surrogate performing a role that she wishes she could have done. With a gay couple, however, men already know they cannot give birth, so there’s an immediate feeling of gratitude towards both the surrogate and egg donor.

Sam: Any interesting stories about the process you’d like to share?

Rick: One story was how hard we fought to have our egg donor. Out of all of the profiles, hers was the only one that “felt” right. Once we got the agency to say she was available and reserve her for us, we ran into a series of difficulties. At first, the IVF doctor recommended not going with her because she was only 18 and they have a policy of working with more emotionally mature donors. Their fear was that at that age, she could forget to take her intense regimen of drugs or get her priorities out of order. Though we appreciated his perspective, we still felt right about her, so asked to meet her.

We flew her in for an interview and the doctor changed his mind. Since she was married and had a child, he felt that she had the emotional maturity that they wanted. We started to move ahead with the process and then found out that our egg donor, though listed as being from Texas, had been living in Austria for more than six months. By American law this gave us cause to be concerned about her being exposed to mad-cow disease, so they could not move forward with an anonymous egg donation. The agency tried to get us to go with another donor, but we really wanted to get over this hurdle and stick with her. The only legal way around this was for the surrogate and egg donor to meet so there was an established relationship between them. This changed completely the direction of our privacy.

We decided we would rather stick with her and let everyone meet, so we flew in the surrogate and egg donor to meet each other and the surrogate agreed to take a chance with an egg from out of the country. Once again, we moved forward in the testing process and then got a call that our egg donor tested positive for Tay-Sachs disease, which means that if either of us tested positive that our child would most likely die within a couple of years.

The agency encouraged us to go with someone else, but we chose to go through more blood tests and found that we were both negative to Tay-Sachs, which means there would be no chance for this disease to come through to the child. Final hurdle completed and we had a successful egg retrieval. She produced 25 eggs, 17 of which were healthy. We were able to get 12 of those fertilized (we each fertilized half of the eggs) and asked the doctor to choose the two healthiest embryos to put into the surrogate without letting us know who the genetic father was. We could have chosen the sex at that point too, but did not.

Genevieve asleep after bath

Sam: So as I write this, Genevieve is approaching two weeks old. Assuming you’ve gotten enough sleep to even know, how does it feel?

Rick: With the birth of our child, there has been an overwhelming protective “Papa Bear” energy that has come forward. It has deepened our love for one another and our feeling of rhythm as a couple to create a safe and loving family. The best part is watching her feed and the worst part is the 2-4 a.m. time when she is wide-awake. We are sleepless, but happy, zombies.

Sam: Genevieve is probably one of my favorite names for a girl. I had an “Aunt Neva” and always loved that name. What’s the story in picking this name for your daughter?

Rick: We had a whole list of boy names that we agreed to, but could not come up with ONE girl name that we both felt was right. Then we decided to ask the egg donor what names she liked, since she was much younger than us and we figured she would be more in touch with what our daughter’s peers would be named. The egg donor said the other name she had loved, that she didn’t name her daughter, was Genevieve. As soon as she said it, we both knew immediately that that was the right name for our girl, and we liked that she would know her genetic mother had loved that name. We wanted a name that was both feminine, but also would allow her to move into the world as a powerful woman. This name feels perfect for us.

Sam: And a powerful name it is. Can you tell me how you prepared for being a parent? Is there any real way to prepare?

Rick: The best baby gift we received from a friend was a book called What to Expect the First Year by Heidi Murkoff. It was invaluable in helping us feel prepared for every aspect of fatherhood. Once the baby arrived, it has continued to be helpful going month by month on what to expect from your baby and what their needs are. A second book that we read and enjoyed was The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp. The Canadian medical practice provides home visits from midwifes that has given us great comfort, knowing we would have someone every week coming by to check on us and answer questions.

Sam: How is your life different now than it was two weeks ago?

Rick: Ky has put his career on an indefinite sabbatical, since we wanted to raise Genevieve the old-school way, with a stay-at-home parent sending her off to school and there when she got home. Once she’s sleeping through the night, he’ll start taking one to two clients a day while I watch her. But Ky’s priority is her, while I take care of securing our family’s financial needs. Even though I’m not up at night feeding her and changing her diapers, I’m still exhausted from not sleeping and worrying about Ky being a sleepless zombie. Sleepless, but happy.

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Teenagers http://lgbtweekly.com/2011/02/03/raising-alek-2/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2011/02/03/raising-alek-2/#respond Thu, 03 Feb 2011 02:27:12 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/archives/1765

It is important to me that Straight Talk about Gay Parenting be as diverse as possible. I hope my readers enjoy my point of view on things, but I do realize that it’s a very small slice of the gay parenting pie. Unlike our heterosexual counterparts, the way in which we have children is as diverse as the community itself. For that reason, I’m going to really concentrate on “passing the torch” in the coming weeks, and focus on different parents telling their stories from a very different angle than my personal story.

For that reason, it’s incredibly impor-tant that I hear from people out there that are reading this article. I want to keep the important topic of Gay Parenting fresh and inspiring and that means that if you’re reading this and you are a parent, this is your platform—it is your voice and your subcommunity. If you are a gay parent, you have a very unique and inspiring story and I want to hear it. So please log on to www.raisingalek.com today, register with us, then send me your thoughts or your story. I get an email for every person who comments and I will contact you promptly.

In the meantime, it was an extreme pleasure to sit down and talk with some people who I have been friends with for so long they are more like family to me than friends. Ted and Terry have a beautiful daughter, who I have had the pleasure of knowing since birth. Unlike some of the recent families in the Meet the Parents series, Terry’s daughter is a teenager. Being a parent of a four and a half year old, I have no idea what to expect when Alek is a teenager, so hearing about parenting from the point of view of gay parents with a teenager is one that’s particularly interesting to me.

Sam: Terry, I’m always interested to hear about how gay people have children and would like for our readers to hear from the top about how you and your husband Ted became parents.

Terry: We had been going to parenting classes with SD County adoptions for several months. As we were finishing up our classes, we decided to see if going through an attorney might be worthwhile. We met with an attorney that was referred to us exactly three months before (our daughter) was born. We discussed our current life situa-tion and what we expected and wanted. He took notes over our two hour meeting. We never spoke with him again (he didn’t ask for a retainer check) until the day before our daughter was born.

Sam: With Eliza-beth now 16 years old, have the issues of being the gay parent of a baby or toddler changed with time as you are now the parent of a teenager?

Terry: The issues of being a gay parent to a newborn are the same as the issues of being any parent of a newborn—feed, burp, change, sleep and repeat. However, as the child begins to socialize outside the home (school, sports) new challenges arise for both the parents and the child. The child could have issues in telling friends, classmates or teammates that she has two dads. To date, our daughter hasn’t expressed any hesitation in telling people (as they ask or where it is appropriate to mention) that she has two dads. Since she was a kid we’ve discussed with her some of the things other kids might say or tease her about, especially during middle school. She was well prepared when a kid says: “You don’t have a mom?” (Answer: “How could I have been born if I didn’t have a mom?”) “Having gay parents makes you gay.” (Answer: “You’re an idiot.”) Or “Being gay is against the teachings of the Bible.” (Answer: “So is being an annoying prick.”).

Sam: Actually, I think the Bible has a lot more to say about annoying pricks than it does about homosexuality, but that’s a different interview altogether. In 16 years, laws have changed and politics have changed. For a brief time, it was legal for gay people to get married (in California), which I know you and your partner took advantage of. Besides the obvious, being a legal and married family, how have politics changed your parenting and your family in the years since the day you first became a dad?

Terry: Our politics haven’t really changed, but we became stronger in our political convictions and beliefs. We realize now more than 10-12 years ago how important it is to become involved in making positive political changes for all gay families. And we are in a better place now financially to help that cause.

Sam: Would you say that being a parent has made you an activist for gay rights?

Terry: Perhaps on a small scale…starting with your extended family, co-workers, etc. We find there isn’t enough time to be an activist on a larger scale.

Our politics haven’t really changed, but we became stronger in our political convictions and beliefs. We realize now more than 10-12 years ago how important it is to become involved in making positive political changes for all gay families.

Sam: What message do you believe is the most important message that the gay community needs to know about parenting?

Terry: Easy. It is possible if you want it bad enough. And, being a parent (gay or straight) is the hardest but most fulfilling challenge one can take.

Sam: If you had to do it all over again, is there anything you would do differently?

Terry: Get a prescription for Xanax. No, actually the only real thing I’d do differently is try to chill, relax and enjoy each stage of your child’s life – instead of sweating the small stuff. Oh, and pick your battles.

Sam: That’s actually excellent advice on life…not just on parenting. From someone that has known you a long (long, long, long, long) time, I have to say that parenting has changed you for the better. Kind of the Galinda effect on Elphaba in the 2nd act of Wicked. Would you agree?

Terry: I am different now. I’m less selfish, more patient, less impulsive, more caring, less lazy, more empathetic, less ambivalent, more fulfilled, less self-centered…and…more gray hair.

Sam: If there’s one single trait or piece of knowledge or self-discovery that has impacted your life in a profound way that you have gained from being a parent, what would it be?

Terry: How truly remarkable it is to ‘create’ a child – childbirth is mind-blowing.

Sam: Do you think that the process of being a gay parent has taught you lessons in life that you might not have learned had you been a straight parent?

Terry: I am more tolerant and accepting of people different than myself than (the way I perceive) straight parents.

Wow…tolerance and acceptance. Kids teach us some pretty incredible lessons if we have the heart to listen to them, that is. Imagine if we as a country could learn those lessons right now. President Obama’s inspiring speech in Tucson the other night brought this topic to heart. I don’t have the years of experience that Terry has of being a parent and I don’t know if being a parent has changed me for the better, but because I’ve done this, I have been changed for good. Thank you Terry for your wise words.

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The kids are not all right http://lgbtweekly.com/2011/02/03/raising-alek/ http://lgbtweekly.com/2011/02/03/raising-alek/#respond Thu, 03 Feb 2011 00:52:27 +0000 http://lgbtweekly.com/archives/1726

I wrote an article last September about the recent gay teen suicides that I have hesitated to publish for many reasons. One of them is that its subject is far more about politics than it is about parenting tips. The other reason is that it’s not exactly the most “cheery” of subjects. It’s downright disturbing. It’s depressing. This story doesn’t have a happy ending and there’s little that is positive about it. It also comes from a fearful place in me… something that there seems to be a lot of in the world these days due to politics, the economy and in my own life, of simply being a parent. Being a parent, in a way, gives you a whole new list of things to lose sleep over.

I decided to publish the article today, because as I began to write on a completely different subject, my mother called me and asked me if I’d watched the news in the past couple of hours. I said no, and immediately logged on to Msnbc.com to read of the horrible tragedy that occurred in Arizona, where Congresswoman Giffords and 18 others were shot in a senseless attack at an event where she was speaking to her constituents. This just happened as I write this column, so there is no indication of what the motives were of the disturbed individual that committed this heinous crime. I’m not about to go out on a limb and suggest that they were politically motivated, at this hour it’s just too early. We do know that it happened at an event where a Democratic Congresswoman’s district was one that Sarah Palin had targeted with cross hairs of a gun sight on her website, asking her followers to “reload.” Was Sarah Palin’s hateful and dangerous rhetoric to some degree responsible for this horrible massacre? Time will tell. But this event has reminded me of the pain that our community has known for far too long when hate incites violence. We have been asking, begging and pleading for decades that the right wing tone down their rhetoric, for it leads to violence. We don’t know if Sarah Palin’s hateful rhetoric had anything to do with setting off this nut job in Arizona, but we do know that hate rhetoric on any level creates a dangerous climate for ourselves, and for our children.

As a parent, the recent eruption of gay teen suicides in this country hits a nerve that goes into a “parent’s worst nightmare” place. When 18 year old Tyler Clementi leapt to his death from the George Washing-ton Bridge in New York City on September 22, it was the fifth gay teen suicide in three weeks. We can only pray that the sadness felt around the country might be a wakeup call to the reality that the climate of hate, judgment and intolerance created by right wing politicians and “religious” leaders in this country is literally killing our nations’ children.

The sadness of these events has prompted an outpouring of calls for active compassion from around the world. Now others are saying what the LGBT community has been saying all along. All of our marches, protests, talk shows, books written, and pleas made to the “religious” and radical right, couldn’t change the right wing from making hate a nationally embraced platform for the Republican Party this last election (please Google Sharon Angle, Christine O’Donnell, Joe Miller or Kelly Ayotte on their positions for a deeper understanding of this statement). Sharon Angle thankfully did not make it to the Senate seat that she lusted after in Washington D.C., but people are dead now as a result of her and others like her who got on the bandwagon this election season, releasing a toxic cloud of hate and ignorance into our political climate. The acid rain now falling is killing our children and that’s something that I as a parent have to call out and demand that the political and “religious” right own up to the result of their rhetoric. It is hopeful to see the outpouring of concern in other communities besides just the LGBT community over these senseless deaths, and yet it’s hard to forgive these ignorant people for the mess they’ve created.

So now some on the right are beginning to understand that maybe Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was a part of the toxic environment that our right wing politicians and “religious” leaders have been vomiting upon us for years. Let’s hope that they might start to get it. Let’s hope that the death of Tyler Clementi will be remembered as a turning point in this country. Matthew Shepard’s death in 1998 brought to light how HATE kills. The Matthew Shepard Foundation has been significant in helping to bring about change through education and awareness for over 10 years now. Let’s hope that these unnecessary deaths might inspire the same.

Many of you have probably already seen the amazing new public service message video that’s gone viral on YouTube that features Cindy McCain and a celebrity cast of spokespeople passionately speaking out about the dangers of spreading hate for political gain. If you haven’t, just search for NOHATE in YouTube and you’ll find it quickly. It’s a terrific video that leaves you thinking “it’s about time” that someone gets this important message out. Something that is astounding to me is when Cindy McCain, the wife of the hypocritical Senator that has spent the last couple years of his political career doing everything possible to keep the DADT policy in place, says “Our political and religious leaders tell LGBT youth that they have no future. They can’t serve our country openly. Our government treats the LGBT community like second-class citizens – why shouldn’t they (bullies)?” It’s kind of like – wow… hell just froze over! The wife of one of the most H8ful people in this country just split with her husband’s ignorant, flip-flopping and hypocritical position. Is this really happening? Well don’t get too excited. Just a few hours after the release of the public service announcement, Cindy Tweeted: “I fully support the NOHATE campaign and all it stands for and am proud to be a part of it. But I stand by my husband’s stance on DADT.” Only in politics can someone say something and then basically 12 hours later say “I didn’t say that.” Clearly Cindy McCain wants it both ways, as her tweet contradicts her position that quite effectively connected the dots between society’s attitudes towards the treatment of LGBT people with the climate that makes it safe for violent individuals to taunt, bully and in some cases beat or kill us.

You can’t do a public service announcement bringing to light the fact that political leaders are creating a dangerous climate for the people they are supposed to be serving, when you are married to, and then claim you support, the most vocal lawmaker in the country that is fighting against equality for gays and lesbians. At least you can’t do this without being called a hypocrite.

One thing that I do believe is that we as a community cannot fight hate with hate. If simply hating the haters was the solution, it would be easy. As a parent the fear button is always going to be pressed for one reason or another… that is part of the natural setup that keeps our kids safe. As a community we can envision a day when we are not discriminated against, hated and killed because of who we are. These series of recent events are a wakeup call that shows we have a lot of work to do. The repeal of DADT was a great accomplishment. I think it’s important to keep those accomplishments and the inspiration of activist organizations, such as the Matthew Shepard organization, at the heart of the goals that we can and will achieve as a community.

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