Trinity Academy, a private Christian high school in Wichita, Kansas, came under fire this week for its policy allowing the school to reserve the right to deny admission or expel students who have an LGBT family member or live in a household that promotes LGBT equality.
The school’s Statement of Understanding and Agreement for Parent and Student, initially made public on the blog Friendly Atheist, lays out some of the school’s foundational principles: the Bible is inerrant, families must be active members of a local church, students will refrain from alcohol, drugs, or premarital sex. It’s the final clause, however, that has garnered attention.
Given the debate and confusion in our society about marriage and human sexuality it is vital that Trinity families agree with and support the school’s traditional, Christian understanding of those issues. Therefore, when the atmosphere or conduct within a particular home is counter to the school’s understanding of a biblical lifestyle, including the practice or promotion of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) lifestyle or alternative gender identity, the school should have the right, in its sole discretion, to deny the admission of an applicant or discontinue enrollment of a current student.
The form requires the signature of the mother, father, and student (nontraditional families need not apply it seems).
Dustin Deckard, a former Trinity student who has since come out as gay, told local news station KSN that upon learning about the policy, “the message I received loud and clear from that is that we don’t want you here.”
Trinity officials did not respond to KSN’s requests for an on-camera interview, but emailed a statement clarifying the school’s position. “Trinity Academy holds biblical views on human sexuality and gay marriage and we want prospective families to understand that,” the statement read. “We feel that this is only fair given the disagreement and discord in our society over such issues.”
The school’s response continued by refuting a very narrow example posed by critics: whether a current or prospective student had a gay sibling. “Trinity would not and has not denied admission to a student simply because they have a sibling who is gay. Neither would we necessarily deny admission to a student with same sex attraction.”
The response doesn’t address other scenarios, such parents who are gay or who merely support LGBT equality in the home. Nor does it completely rule out denying admission or expelling a student who happens to be attracted to the same sex. While Trinity, as a private school, has some latitude to set criteria for admission, the extreme nature of this particular policy surprised even Deckard.
“This is as forward as I’ve seen them take this particular agenda,” he told KSN.
Currently, there are roughly 320 students enrolled at Trinity Academy. Earlier this year, the school announced that it plans to expand its campus, adding a school for kindergarten through eighth grade by the fall of 2017. Tuition is $10,000 a year for high school students.
On Saturday, a report began spreading online that a transgender woman was shot and killed after she followed another woman into a Colorado department store bathroom.
“The transgender woman began raising her voice and using explicit language towards [the other woman] while continuing to follow her into the restroom,” the story said. It reported that Karen Workman allegedly fired three shots from a firearm she had in her bag, killing Donna Wright.
The story, first published on a website called Associated Media Coverage (“News You Can Trust”), contained one section of bolded text, which it claimed was the language on a sign outside the bathroom at the department store:
“At Bradford’s we encourage all guests to use the restroom in which they identify with. Thank you, Sincerely, The Bradford’s Management Team.”
There is no department store in Colorado named Bradford’s. Karen Workman and Donna Wright are not real people, and Associated Media Coverage’s website is filled with fake news stories.
Fake news sites look like real news websites and write articles in a news format, but only publish fake stories. Examples include NationalReport.net, Huzlers, Empire News, and World News Daily Report, among many others.
A recent BuzzFeed News report found that they continue to drive significant engagement on Facebook, in spite of an effort by Facebook to rein them in.
The North Carolina bathroom bill, HB2, is an appealing topic for fake news sites because it splits people along ideological lines. Research shows we are more likely to believe (and share) information that aligns with our existing beliefs and worldview.
A man who shred the bathroom shooting hoax on Facebook said, “This is just what Obama was hoping for!” Facebook / Via Facebook: 1291573454189512
“As you have likely noticed, the bathroom issue has really hit a nerve with evangelicals and Conservatives making it a ripe topic for ridicule,” said Allen Montgomery, the pseudonym used by a man who who runs NationalReport.net and other fake news sites. “These topics that highlight their (perceived) persecution complex are good business for those in the hoax and/or satire industry.”
He said he’s only published three or four stories pegged on the bathroom issue, but that others are going after what he calls the “easy money” of HB2 hoaxes.
The result is that fake news sites are churning out new trans-themed stories on an almost-daily basis to capitalize on the political polarization and anti-LGBT stance at the heart of HB2.
Urban legends debunking site Snopes has been busy disproving the various false rumors. Up until recently, the “transgender” tag on the site had only five stories associated with it, dating from last summer to to March of this year. Since April the site has posted11 new stories related to transgender people.
Kim LaCapria, the content manager for Snopes, said the site often sees a rise in rumours and hoaxes “in the immediate wake of civil rights wins by LGBT people in general.” In this case, North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law came as a response to an ordinance passed in Charlotte that banned discrimination against LGBT people.
The common theme with these fake stories is “they validate the opinions held by folks that are just bothered by LGBT folks,” according to LaCapria.
This person shared the bathroom shooting hoax and encouraged women to get their concealed weapons license, saying “make sure you wait until the perv quits breathing before calling 911.” Facebook / Via Facebook: 10153747083606478
“Trans people all over the U.S. are really really on edge right now, and every time one of [these hoaxes] comes out lots of trans people hear them and react to them,” she said.
Keisling is concerned that hoaxes about trans people harassing other people in bathrooms will “encourage vigilantes to come out of the woodwork and hunt trans people.”
The Centers for Disease Control recently published a new brochure explaining how individuals—through a variety of insurance and medication assistance programs—can cover the cost of PrEP.
The brochure includes links to a community health center location tool, PrEP assistance programs, and co-pay programs, and gives a breakdown of the steps to take in order to pay for the medication, lab tests, and clinic visits. Download the brochure, here.
Transgender university and college students are at a significantly higher risk for suicide attempts when their campus experience includes being denied access to bathrooms and gender-appropriate campus housing, a Georgia State University study finds.
“An alarmingly high proportion of the transgender individuals participating in this study – 46.5 percent – had a history of attempted suicide,” said Kristie Seelman, assistant professor of social work in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies.
The rate of attempted suicide was even higher among those who had been denied access to bathrooms (60.5 percent) or gender-appropriate campus housing (60.6 percent), which were significant differences, she said.
This risk holds true even after controlling for other forms of victimization, Seelman said.
“Hostility, harassment, discrimination, invisibility and marginalization are common experiences for transgender students,” Seelman said. “The institutional and social supports that may contribute to their resilience, coping and academic success are often lacking. Taken altogether, these experiences often tear down their psychological well-being.”
Seelman paired data from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS), a study of more than 6,000 transgender adults, including more than 2,300 individuals who self-identified as transgender while in college, to study whether denial of access to bathrooms and gender-appropriate campus housing are related to a heightened risk for suicide attempts among transgender individuals.
Nearly a quarter of those in the NTDS who had attended college reported being denied access to bathrooms or other campus facilities due to being transgender or gender non-conforming. About a fifth of the total sample had been denied access to gender-appropriate campus housing.
Other studies have found that transgender individuals report bathroom access as one of their most pressing issues on campus. Their negative experiences include being questioned about whether they belong in the bathroom, being stared at and being denied access or told to leave.
Those targeted felt less safe and tried to avoid campus bathrooms, the study reported. Being forced to wait longer to use a bathroom led to physical health consequences, including dehydration and kidney and urinary tract infections.
The research recommends institutions of higher education put policies and a network of faculty and staff in place to address harassment and victimization, provide access to safe, gender-appropriate bathroom and housing options, and establish well-funded, competent mental health services to meet transgender students’ needs.
“We are at a crossroads in the rising public awareness of transgender identities and in examining the ways our institutions can be structured to keep these individuals safe from harm,” Seelman said. “Administrators who take steps to combat discrimination affecting transgender people and other marginalized groups are not only contributing to a safer climate, they are also communicating the institution’s commitment to inclusiveness and the development of a diverse campus population.”
The Universal College Application and the Common Application, standardized college forms used by many colleges and universities, have both decided to change their 2016-2017 applications to be more inclusive to trans students, according to Campus Pride.
Universal College Application announced on Monday that it would change its question about a prospective student’s sex and include a gender identity question — so instead of “sex,” students will see “legal sex” and the options “male” and “female.” The application also lets students opt to answer a question about gender identity, with the options, “woman,” “man,” and “self-identify.”
Later that day, Common Application also announced changes to its application. In the profile screen, the sex question will be modified to “sex assigned at birth.” Colleges that use the application will also be able to ask more questions to receive clearer data on students’ gender, and “new instructional information” will be available so that students can understand all of the options for identifying their sex and gender.
Campus Pride has also proposed that the Common Application add a question about sexual orientation so universities can better track data and identify students who could apply for scholarships for LGBT students, for example. In 2011, the Common Application rejected the idea of including gender identity and sexual orientation. The Universal College Application also leaves out sexual orientation.
The reason for including gender identity but not sexual orientation may have to do with concerns around Title IX compliance, said Shane Windmeyer, the executive director of Campus Pride. In the spring of 2014, the U.S. Department of Education announced that Title IX also bars discrimination on the basis of gender identity. The department’s report on Title IX and sexual violence reads, “Title IX’s sex discrimination prohibition extends to claims of discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity and OCR accepts such complaints for investigation.”
Trans rights have advanced very quickly at colleges in recent years. More Greek organizations are making it clear that they accept trans students, and universities have released guidelines and primers for being respectful about students’ gender identities. There are more gender-neutral bathrooms on campuses and women’s colleges that previously only accepted cisgender women are opening their doors to trans women. Universities are also showing more of an interest in data collection on trans students, as well as non-binary gender identities.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t continuing challenges with implementing these new policies well, or that universities and Greek organizations don’t have miles to go in their understanding of how to treat trans students fairly. But this is one more step in the right direction.
When trying to define the ultimate gay summer holiday, one place often springs to mind: the world-known destination of Mykonos!
Even though civil partnerships for same-sex couples has only recently become legal in Greece, this small Mediterranean country and friendly, vibrant and fabulous Cycladic gem is proud to be one of the global landmarks of gay travel.
But why is Mykonos so popular with gay travelers? Over the past decades, Mykonos has developed a distinctive gay-friendly attitude, that cannot be compared with any other destination.
The island manages to preserve many of its traditional elements, however the culture of local people has grown to become naturally friendly to any kind of diversity — and of course, to gay and lesbian travelers from all over the world, who choose Mykonos for their summer holidays.
In Mykonos, you will not come across ‘ghettos’ or ‘clichés’; you will not meet gay people only in the local gay bars and clubs; and, above all, you will not feel unsafe at any time or place. In Mykonos, gay travelers enjoy every single spot of the island, feeling free to flirt, meet and mess around with the other hot men visiting the island.
The gay bars of Mykonos
The gay bars of Mykonos are widely-known as the hottest places to have fun and meet people from all over the world. Nightlife is concentrated in the center of Mykonos Town (the so-called ‘Chora’), where you can find numerous stylish bars, clubs, pubs and bistros with live music. The most popular gay bars of the island are also found here, with the most famous being the fabulous Jackie O’.
What makes the bars so different than other destinations, is the fact that they manage to preserve their unique Cycladic character, giving to your nights a strong local identity and experience. And so does Jackie O’, located just a breath from the sea, reminding you of the fact that you are spending your holidays in the most popular island of Greece.
Right next to Jackie O’, Babylon bar offers another choice for a drink. Stroll around the narrow pedestrian streets of the Chora, to find one of the oldest gay bars of Mykonos, Porta, as well as the sophisticated Lola Bar. It might sound funny, however these are, in fact, most of your choices for gay nightlife in Mykonos. And if you simply can’t understand why this small island with such limited choices is considered one of the gay paradises, then all you have to do is visit it!
1 Begin your evenings with an early, post-dinner drink at one of the numerous bars of Mykonos Chora — and try not to stick to the gay ones.
2 The best time to come to Jackie O’ is around 12 at midnight, when it gets really crowded.
3 Very close to Jackie O’ and Babylon, the area around the Church of Panagia Paraportiani, (and especially on the rocks), is known to be a cruising area. Be as careful as possible and always play safe!
Your dream gay summer holidays could not be perfect without spending your days lying on a sandy beach, sunbathing and swimming in crystal clear sea waters. And of course, a beach is always better with handsome gay men lying around you, enjoying the hot Greek sun in their swimsuits — or out of them.
There is an interesting fact about most beaches in Mykonos: often, the right side of the beach is more ‘gay’, allowing you to discover as many beaches as possible, even the least popular ones, and still find yourself surrounded by hot men.
However, if what you are after is the most popular gay beaches of the island, then your choices are two: Elia Beach and Jackie O’ Beach at Super Paradise.
Elia Beach is the most popular gay beach of Mykonos. Preserving the tradition, the right half of the beach gathers mostly gay men, while the beach ends on a rocky hill; a gay cruising spot all around the day. You will meet sexy men lying on Elia any time of the day, while there is also a nice beach bar, though it is located on the other side of the beach.
Jackie O’ Beach is definitely one of the best gay beach bars in the world, having as its strongest competitive advantage the crystal clear waters of Super Paradise beach. Jackie O’ offers everything you might need, from refreshing cocktails to light snacks and lunch menu, while the view from the pool is simply amazing!
1 If you want to be right in front of the water, make a reservation for a sunbed, especially during the busiest months of July and August. The beaches can become really crowded and many times it’s hard to find a nice spot to sit.
2 If you are going to Elia Beach, try the sea way: take a water taxi from Ornos or Platys Gyalos. The water taxis are traditional fishing boats that will take you anywhere you want — definitely a perfect Myconian experience!
3 Plan your whole day at Jackie O’ Beach, since this amazing beach bar offers a must-hear live experience (including some exciting and fun drag shows) that lasts all day.
4 Stay at Greco Philia, one of the most luxurious accommodations on Elia Beach.
Mykonos for gay honeymooners!
When thinking about the perfect destination for a honeymoon, one might think of a more romantic, quiet and peaceful place. Such people might think a popular destination for gay travelers like Mykonos out of the question.
But that would be wrong: Mykonos, as one of the most ‘gay’ islands in the world, is also widely popular to gay honeymooners, characterized as it is by a completely relaxed and friendly mentality within impressive natural scenery with intense luxury and exclusive touches.
What would be better than walking with your new husband in the picturesque alleys of Mykonos Town, holding hands, having drinks in small and undiscovered bars or lying on an amazing beach expressing your love without getting any curious ‘looks’?
For your accommodation, the fabulous gay-friendly hotels in Mykonos will surely host your love in a stunning suite, overlooking the endless blue of the Aegean Sea.
1 Choose a really nice hotel! Mykonos is the home of some of the best hotels in the world, so spend a little bit more for your love!
2 Take a private cruise with your boyfriend — an experience you will never forget.
3 Find a gourmet restaurant and enjoy a romantic dinner with your loved one. After all, Mykonos is the gourmet Queen of the Cyclades!
The lesser known, more calm and quiet side of Mykonos makes the island an ideal place for gay families. In combination with the general gay-friendly attitude of the island, Mykonos is definitely a great choice for gay families who want to enjoy their summer holidays with their children. Mykonos is equipped with family facilities, guaranteeing that your kids will also have the time of their life.
1 Choose a family hotel for your stay in Mykonos. And don’t worry; family hotels in Mykonos are as stylish as the rest on the island!
2 Organize a horse riding tour. Your kids will adore it.
3 Enjoy your meals in traditional taverns and restaurants. The healthy Greek food is something that your children must definitely eat during your holidays in Mykonos.
4 A great choice for gay families is the unique and well known to gay travelers in the island, the Mykonos Theoxenia Hotel, located just in the center of Mykonos Town.
The widely popular XLSIOR festival, takes place every August in Mykonos, attracting thousands of gay travelers from across the globe. August is the busiest month for Mykonos, and XLSIOR makes it even hotter! Gathering some of the best international DJs, XLSIOR hosts numerous parties through its seven-day duration.
The festival is known for attracting some of the hottest men with incredible bodies and professional tanning — they’re so handsome you might think they are models!
Elysium gay hotel in Mykonos Town
Elysium is the only gay hotel in Greece and one of the best in the world. Built on the top of the hill above Mykonos Town, Elysium is by far the best accommodation choice for gay travelers looking for a more ‘spicy’ experience.
Keeping a really high-quality service, Elysium has much more to offer than a usual hotel: every day at sunset, Elysium becomes the hottest gay hot spot, with its popular, crowded and vivid gay sunset parties! The parties around the pool are boosted with great music, delicious cocktails and some of the best drag shows you’ll ever see!
Destsetters is a client of Gay Star News; visit their official website here.
North Coast Rep. Mike Thompson proposed a series of federal tax breaks Monday for the U.S. wine industry, including a proposal to slash a tax on sparkling wine that has lingered since the aftermath of Prohibition.
The St. Helena Democrat, who owns a vineyard in Lake County, teamed up with Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., to propose a sweeping overhaul of the laws that brought in $1.07 billion in federal excise taxes from the U.S. wine industry during the last fiscal year.
Thompson and Reichert contend the bipartisan legislation will help spur new and innovative products by modernizing federal excise taxes on wine. While the cost of their bill has not yet been calculated, it would provide a major benefit for the North Coast wine industry, which harvested $1.1 billion in wine grapes for the 2015 vintage.
“The tax code should not be an impediment to growth and innovation,” Thompson said in a statement.
The legislation would be especially helpful to producers of sparkling wine. Thompson’s bill would reduce federal excise taxes on sparkling wine to $1.07 a gallon, the tax rate for still wine, down from $3.40 a gallon, where it has stood since 1955.
“We are being taxed at three times the rate. … The only reason is that we have bubbles in the wine,” said Gary Heck, owner of Korbel Champagne Cellars in Guerneville. “It hits your bottom line pretty hard.”
The disparity has been traced back to Congress in the aftermath of Prohibition as lawmakers looked to tax French Champagne, according to proponents of the bill. It was perceived as an imported luxury item; there was very little sparkling wine made in the United States.
But sparkling wine sales have continued to grow, especially in recent years, and represented more than 5 percent of the U.S. wine market in 2014, according to the Wine Institute, the trade group for California vintners. More than 80 U.S. vintners make sparklers, including local producers such as Iron Horse Vineyards in Sebastopol, J Vineyards and Winery in Healdsburg and Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vineyards in Sonoma.
The tax has become more anachronistic as the average sparkling wine today sells for around $10 a bottle, hardly a luxury, said Charles Jefferson, vice president of federal relations for the Wine Institute.
“It was basically created as a luxury tax at the time, as most of the sparkling wine was Champagne and tended to be fairly expensive,” Jefferson said. “You can’t say that about today.”
Even in the premium North Coast wine sector, sparkling wines have tended to range from $20 to $24 a bottle, noted industry consultant Jon Moramarco.
Sparkling wine also has gone from a drink for special occasions to one used more frequently, especially as more consumers use it in cocktails.
“It’s really become an everyday product,” said Heck, whose company has long been sensitive to its pricing. In 2014, Korbel raised its retail price for all brands by $1, the first hike in nine years.
Taxes also are not the only cost these vintners face. Sparkling producers also bear higher production costs because the wine must undergo a double fermentation process to obtain its carbonation.
In addition, many states follow the federal rate when imposing their own taxes on sparkling wines, Moramarco said. For example, Florida tags a $3.50 per gallon tax on sparklers, while Louisiana’s tax is at $2.08. California adds 30 cents per gallon for sparkling wine compared to 20 cents for still wine.
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“It’s part of the cost of doing business,” Moramarco said.
The bill also would increase the allowable carbonation level for still wines to be taxed at the lower rate. The limit would increase from 0.39 grams of carbon dioxide per 100 milliliters to 0.64 grams. That change would help winemakers who want to experiment with still wines that have more effervescence. Currently, they generally abandon such attempts because of cost considerations, Jefferson said.
“It’s one of the things that have kept a lot of products out of the marketplace,” he said.
The bill would expand the alcohol-by-volume level that is taxed at the lowest rate, from 14 percent to 16 percent. The limit was originally established to differentiate still wines from fortified wines. But it has inhibited winemakers, given the progress that has been made in viticulture in recent decades, Jefferson said.
The change would benefit certain wines whose grapes are higher in sugars such as zinfandel, which is the flagship fruit of the Dry Creek Valley.
The legislation also would change a tax credit that small wineries now receive, one which currently phases out at 250,000 gallons per year. The change would allow wineries to receive the credit regardless of size, but its value would decline as more gallons are produced.
Maureen Cottingham, executive director of the Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Alliance, said in a statement the bill “makes common-sense changes to our outdated tax code that will help advance growth and innovation in our wine community.”
The cost of the bill has not yet been calculated by the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, according to Thompson spokeswoman Megan Rabbitt.
The bill comes as other lawmakers have offered legislation to reduce taxes for alcoholic beverages. For example, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, has legislation that would lower taxes on craft beer, cider, wine and spirits.
“Policymakers have really started to view these producers as real contributors to local economies,” Jefferson said.
Thompson and Reichert serve on the powerful tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, giving both men a key role in trying to influence tax legislation.
House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, has not signaled support for the Thompson bill. Thompson, however, wants to set a marker so any future movement of tax bills this year will include items that would benefit the local industry, Rabbitt said in an email.
In advance of the Passover holiday, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, released today a guide to help LGBTQ Jews who are seeking to reconnect with their faith and build more inclusive communities.
Coming Home to Judaism and To Self features the personal journeys of prominent LGBTQ faith leaders, and highlights progress that many Jewish institutions have made toward becoming more welcoming and inclusive. The guide reflects a wide spectrum of personal experiences, and the variety of Jewish responses to welcoming LGBTQ families and friends in their communities.
It also provides advice and resources to help Jews in the United States looking to engage more deeply with their faith. Rather than repudiating religion, Coming Home to Judaism offers strategies for the LGBTQ faithful seeking enriching and meaningful lives in the Jewish faith.
“This guide underscores the reality that being LGBTQ and being Jewish are not mutually exclusive. Our communities of faith need to amplify voices of inclusion and love, not discrimination and hate,”said Rabbi Denise Eger, the first openly LGBT president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) and member of HRC’s Religion Council. “Passover celebrates the return of the Jewish people to their homeland. This guide reminds us that welcoming our LGBTQ families and friends home is something we need to do in every generation.”
On April 17, the HRC Foundation marked the approach of Passover by hosting at HRC headquarters the 9th Annual National Rainbow Seder, with partners GLOE and the Jewish Food Experience.
“This resource seeks to welcome LGBTQ faithful to their rightful place in the tapestry of Jewish pluralism,” said Mary Beth Maxwell, HRC’s Senior Vice President for Programs, Research and Training. “We were so honored to co-host the National Rainbow Seder here in DC this past week and were reminded of the incredible tradition of leaders like Rabbi Joshua Heschel marching with MLK Jr. in Selma and the long history of the Jewish faithful being champions for justice – including LGBTQ equality.”
Coming Home to Judaism and To Self is the fourth in a series of faith-specific “coming home” guides released by the HRC Foundation. HRC “coming home” faith guides — a Muslim, Catholic and general faith guide were released last year; a guide for LGBTQ Mormons will be issued in coming months.
Learn more about how the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Religion & Faith Program is helping to build a world in which nobody is forced to choose between who they are, who they love and what they believe at www.hrc.org/religion.
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
In his book, A Time To Live, Robert Raines wrote about aging as a time to “consciously reweave the gorgeous tear-stained threads of your colorful life into a fresh tapestry of meaning.” In one of my college decorative arts classes we studied how tapestries are made. If you turn a tapestry with a detailed design over, it is an unrecognizable jumble of gaps and loose threads…much like my chaotic life when I look back on it!
What holds the tapestry together are the strong warp threads that run from one end to the other. The warp threads of our lives are our strengths and talents and those loose threads and gaps, when viewed from the perspective of our later years, often reveal a tapestry of patterns or themes. Christian de la Huerta identified some life themes that have traditionally been common to LGBT individuals in his book Coming Out Spiritually: As outsiders, we tend to be more self-reflective. We are apt to challenge commonly accepted behaviors and norms with activism and humor, to enrich others with our creativity and sensitive to beauty, to express our compassion through service to others, to bridge differences including gender stereotypes, and to be drawn to spiritual exploration and expression. What have been the themes of your wild and wonderful life?
One of the most important strategies for reweaving our life tapestries and living our later years with greater serenity is to free ourselves of the shame and blame of resentments and regrets. Resentments can include anger at having to cope with our culture’s homophobic treatment or at specific family members, friends, partners, employers and others who have hurt us with their actions or attitudes. Regrets are usually comprised of those things we have done or not done that hurt ourselves or others. Regrets can also include our “if only’s” — those “paths not taken” and the choices we made that we now may question.
Life repair can be a painful process if not done with deep compassion for yourself. Hindsight can easily lead to guilt and shame so it is important to remember that all of our life decisions have contributed to our evolving consciousness.
In my next blog, “Anticipating Change,” we will look at how we can begin to plan for some of the unexpected challenges that can accompany aging.
Buz Hermes is co-facilitator of the Sonoma Valley LGBT Seniors Group and a former staff member of Spectrum’s Senior Outreach Program. He is currently offering 8-week “Aging Together With Pride” workshops sponsored by Adult and Aging Services for LGBT seniors. He can be reached at [email protected] or (707) 227-6935