Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Don't Infiltrate Your Agenda Onto My Beloved Cartoon Characters!

Anti-LGBT Rights Groups See Tony the Tiger Destroying Traditional Family Values
But It Started Earlier

In a definitely more innocent time of late 1950’s, I would sit cross-legged in my flannel pajamas anticipating Mighty Mouse with his cape to come swooping into our living room.  Every Saturday a.m., I would wait with bated breath to watch the brave little mouse beat the bad guys.
I even remember part of the show’s theme:

            Mr. Trouble never hangs around
When he hears this Mighty sound
            Here I come to save the day!
            That means that Mighty Mouse is on the way!
            Yes, sir, when there is a wrong to right,
            Mighty Mouse will join the fight.

Mighty Mouse Resurrected in Late 80’s-90’s

I was excited to see that Mighty Mouse, like a prodigal son, returned to television briefly so my children could experience the same Saturday morning pleasure. However, now television didn’t seem so innocent.

On June 6, 1988, two weeks after my daughter was born, Donald Wildmon, head of American Family Association (AFA), the right-wing traditional family organization, decided that Mighty Mouse in The Littlest Tramp was sniffing cocaine out of a crushed flower.  Honestly! 

Also, two male mice who were showering together were thought to be homosexual. And I thought Mitzi Mouse was Mighty’s girlfriend all these years! After a brief rerun on Fox Kids in November 1992, Mighty Mouse disappeared from kids’ lives.

AFA Criticizes Bert and Ernie Too!

What could be cuter than Bert and Ernie snuggling on their couch as they watch on their television the SCOTUS decision when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Prop 8 and Section 3 of DOMA, defining marriage for only heterosexual couples?  This home-spun sweet scene was depicted on the cover of the New Yorker (July 8 and 15, 2013) by Jack Hunter.

Despite the fact that Bert and Ernie were considered a secretly gay couple over the years, although Sesame Street denied the rumor, and 10,000 in 2011 signed an online petition urging the couple to get married, once again the AFA took to the airwaves to rant. See my blog on the topic ('s-a-Punch-and-Judy-Show/.

Bert and Ernie were criticized by Bryan Fischer, a Christian radio host of “Focal Point” and Director of Issues Analysis for American Family Association, who insisted that the magazine cover “Moment of Joy” promoted child abuse and child endangerment and that the couple were depicted in a “homosexual clinch.”

AFA Working Itself Into a Lather Over Tony the Tiger Now!

More recently, Kellogg, a very LGBT-friendly company, was criticized by guess who?  Kellogg’s sponsorship of Atlanta’s Gay Pride March and support of LGBT community has the AFA incensed once again.  The Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index gave Kellogg a perfect score for diversity and inclusion in their hiring practices and policies.

Yet, AFA is “bent out of shape” about Kellogg’s ad that features Tony the Tiger, which said “wear your stripes with pride.”  “At Kellogg, the ad says, “ we’re an evolving culture that respects and accepts employees’ sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression so that all employees can be authentic and fully engaged.” Kellogg is not the only well-known company to pitch pro-LGBT ads.  (Burger King, Honeymaid, Starbucks, to name a few).

“The Child Is The Father of The Man”

Truth is children don’t have a problem with same-sex marriage.  Adults do.  “You have to be taught to hate.”
Would it be a better world if groups like the American Family Association stopped assigning their agenda to fictional characters?  In the words of Tony the Tiger, it would be G-R-R-R-E-A-T!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Chief of Apple Takes Bite Out of LGBT Stigmatism

Tim Cook Says He’s Gay

Although Tim Cook was out to his friends, on October 30, he made a bold move by announcing that he was gay in a Business Week essay.  According to The New York Times of the next day, “no business executive of Mr. Cook’s stature has ever done something like this before.”

Tim works in a creative environment at Apple in a state with liberal laws against sexual discrimination and gender identity.  He is really rich and is protected by anti-discrimination laws; he is not about to be fired for his confession despite the fact that Silicon Valley has few prominent executives who are openly gay. While it may be “cool” to be out if you’re a celebrity, this new trend of self-realization via the airwaves is not necessarily carried over to most businesses.

“La-La Land” Not The Real World

In twenty-nine U.S. states, your LGBT son or daughter could get fired because of their sexual orientation.  There is presently no federal law protecting workers against discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or identity.  Some states and cities have their own protections, but the Employment Non-Discrimination Act which would protect all LGBT Americans working for employers with at least fifteen employees, hasn’t passed. It’s been ten years since it was introduced in 1994.

Being fired, contracting HIV, verbal daily harassments, assaults, these are all issues that many straight parents fear for their LGBT children.  Does their child have to stay closeted amid rumors about his/her private life?  If word gets out, will their child stay at the lowest rung of the corporate ladder?

Although our country is more progressive with thirty-two states boasting marriage equality, the concerns delineated by the former CEO of Ford, Allan Gilmour, still hold true in many offices today.  Gilmour, who congratulated Cook for outing himself, said as a “gay man, he kept his own sexual orientation a closely guarded secret, but there were rumors...” He was twice passed over for the top job. Retired at age 60 in 1995, two years before Ellen de Generes outed herself in Time magazine, Gilmour waited until after his retirement to announce he was gay. Said he, “my life had a new, and wonderful dimension. I didn’t have to dissemble, lie, exaggerate change the subject, etc. I was what I was.”

Some  LGBT children find it hard to compartmentalize their life: office vs. personal.  It’s a constant balancing act that dances around the issues: Do I appear too gay for the office?  Do I have to hide whom I spent the weekend with?  Do I not bring my significant other to the office Christmas party?  How many excuses do I have to make up to get out of being fixed up with a cohort’s friend?

Cook As Role Model – “Proud To be Gay”

Tim Cook’s motives for outing himself in a Bloomberg publication appear to be altruistic. He certainly doesn’t need the attention or fame.  As quoted from the essay, “hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with whom he or she is or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy.” According to Bloomberg’s Senior Executive Editor Josh Tyrangiel, Cook had sought and received the approval of Apple’s Board before making the announcement.

Even Cook Gets Criticized

Generally, Cook’s proclamation has been praised.  However, in his boyhood Bible Belt state of Alabama, one of the twenty-nine states without protections, Cook has criticized Alabama for not being quick enough to protect the rights of LGBT people.  For his activism, he has been maligned.

Recently, Putin’s Russia, concerned with the “gay agenda” removed the statue of Cook’s predecessor Steve Jobs.( Sixty percent of Apple’s sales are outside the United States in countries where homosexuality is considered punishable.) But back in the good ole’ U.S., at least, it’s started a dialogue, and who knows, maybe a movement.

Friday, October 24, 2014

National Forgiveness Day=October 25,2014

Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged

This year, National Forgiveness Day is celebrated on October 25.  It’s a day to forgive and be forgiven.  It’s a chance to set things right, to put aside old differences, move beyond grievances and hurts.

Human nature is quick to criticize others, find fault to make us feel superior and to emphasize whatever inadequacies we perceive as the truth. Whether Christian or Agnostic, it is often easier to hold “a grudge” than to admit to ourselves that we are wrong.

What's Sinful?
As a parent, we often lash out at a child who disappoints, who doesn’t lead his/her life as we expect them to do.  A parent who envisions grandchildren produced by a heterosexual marriage is going to be nonplussed when his child announces that he/she is gay.  The life-long dream is now dashed by the words “Mom, Dad, I’m gay.”

When it comes to homosexuality within their family, many liberals, who think it’s fine for others, react viscerally to their kid’s “coming out.”  Suddenly, the news is not fit for their backyard.  Common responses include: “you’re too young to know,” “you can’t be, you’re so masculine,”  “you’ll change, I know!”, “what have I done to you?”, “Are you sure?”,   “You’ll go to Hell.”

Many blurt out those inappropriate remarks because they have not adjusted to the news and its meaning to the entire family.  They have split-seconds to react, and surveys have reported that it’s usually not in a loving manner.

What comes across in those angry exchanges is I don’t love you unless you change.  A straight parent of the religious-right will most likely regard his child’s sexual orientation as sinful. However, in reality, there is nothing sinful about being gay.  It’s not a choice, a lifestyle, but an integral factor in their being.
Because there is nothing sinful, there is nothing to forgive.

 However, your child, who desperately wants unconditional love and support, may have a tough time forgiving you. What he/she wanted to hear is “I love you, no matter what.” Remember  this is the same child you’ve always loved for his humor, kindness, and intelligence.

To Err is Sinful, To Forgive Is Divine

To forgive is actually in your hands.  First, forgive yourself for making insensitive remarks. It’s hard to think clearly when you brain goes into denial mode.

How can you recover and readdress the situation?
First apologize.  For example, you could say, “you know you really caught me off-guard the other day when you came out. I reacted badly and should have conveyed my love and support for you.
I’m always here for you.  I hope to learn more about what it means to be gay and would be grateful if you educate me.  How long have you known?
Please feel free to bring any gay friends to my house.  They are welcome.
How have you been treated at school?  Whom would you like me to tell in the family or friends, if any?  Does your sister/brother know or any friends?

By opening up a dialogue with your gay child, you are forgiving yourself, trying to set things right.  In turn, he/she will forgive you as he will know you care enough to admit your past wrongdoings and your current willingness to have an open mind and heart.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

26 And Counting

Gay Marriage Gains Momentum in U.S.

October 17th Is a Groundbreaking Day

This week, Attorney General Eric Holder said in a video message last Friday that the U.S. government would recognize marriages for federal benefits in seven new states: Colorado, Indiana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Utah. Also, on Friday, a federal judge struck down Arizona’s ban on gay marriage and a The U.S. Supreme Court denied the state of Alaska’s request to put a stop to gay marriages pending an appeal.  Earlier, U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess ruled earlier that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

What does this mean for parents?  Susie and Johnny may not be marrying the opposite sex, but brides and brides as well as grooms and grooms may now walk down the aisle in twenty-six states.  You’re not losing a daughter, but gaining one.

I'm O.K., You're O.K.

One of the biggest blows to straight parents of gay and lesbian children is the fact that their daughter or son won’t get married and produce grandchildren.  However, the American Family is being redefined every day, maybe not what you, the straight parent, originally envisioned, but for the majority of Americans, same-sex marriage is o.k., particularly for the under-30 age group. Parents needn’t worry about their child being relegated to a life of loneliness; it is possible for their child to get married in the majority of states now. 

What Me Worry?

As same-sex marriage is a new concept, parents may worry about its lasting effects. However, Michael Callahan, writer for Men’s Health, September 30, 2014,, reports that the landmark 2008 study, published in the journal Developmental Psychology, followed gay couples for three years, and found that “by nearly every metric, they reported higher-quality relationships and felt more satisfied than straight married couples did.”

What About Children

For parents who worry about the effects that a non-traditional marriage has on their children, consider this:
While adoption is not automatic in many states and is complicated by the fact that the spouse often has to adopt the child of the other spouse, an Australian study (ACHESS), the first of its kind to consider the health and well-being of children with same-sex parents, found that children from same-sex families scored about 6% higher on general , health, and family cohesion. On most health measures, including emotional behavior and physical functioning, the 500 children of 315 same-sex parents in Australia showed no difference compared with children from the general population. 

With more states performing gay marriage and studies pointing to the success of gay relationships, your children’s decision to marry and have children will not be considered “less than” or inferior to your traditional marriage defined as between man and woman.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

National Coming Out Day:Opportunity to Increase Your Support

Advice Applies for Other 364 Days A Year

Last week, I wrote about the meaning of National Coming Out Day, October 11th and gave tips on what parents should say if their child does come out.

Today,  I’ll suggest tactics that show you care as your child’s greatest supporter.

Ways to Be A Straight Ally
  • ·      You can participate in a local event.  Perhaps your child’s school is having a Gay-Straight Alliance event.
  • ·      Post a Facebook status.  Include the Human Rights Campaign logo.
  • ·      Wear a classic gay pride symbol.  A lapel pin with a rainbow flag or a peace pin in rainbow colors are appropriate.
  • ·      Volunteer at a LGBT organization such as PFLAG (Parents for Lesbians and Gays) or The Trevor Project, a Suicide Prevention Hotline.
  • ·      Human Rights Campaign’s National Coming Out Project (NCOP) provides a free National Coming Out Day Kit which includes information, resources, and ideas.  See
  • ·      HRC also has a downloadable guide on its site “Coming Out as a Straight Supporter.”
  • ·      Above all, be a good listener and show your love.

Don Don't You & Your Child Feel Pressured To Come Out ‘Though

Just because it’s National Coming Out Day doesn’t mean that your child should feel as if he/she should come out to the world.  Your child may be comfortable telling only you; he may feel scared of harassment at school, fear rejection of friends.  This may not be the right time for him to divulge his orientation. 

While some LGBT persons may feel relieved, unburdened and want to tell everyone, your child will most likely choose to share with different people at different times in his life.  Do not try to rush his maturity. 

Take Your Lead From Him/Her. You may be dying to tell your best friend.  If he/she doesn’t want you to tell Grandma, Aunt Sarah, then don’t.  It’s your child’story and life, every day of the year. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

National Coming Out Day Is October 11th

What Is National Coming Out Day?

Observed annually, this internationally observed day celebrates coming out and  raises awareness of the LGBT+ community and civil rights movement.  As part of LGBT history month, National Coming Out Day (NCOD) celebrates individuals who publicly identify as a gender or sexual minority. October 11th is the anniversary of the 1987 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.

How Is The Holiday Observed?

Many people celebrate the holiday by staging rallies, parades, setting up LGBT information tables.  You will see participants wearing pride symbols such as pink triangles and rainbow flags.

What If Your Child Decides to Come Out On October 11?

What Do You Say?
·      Thank you for sharing your story with me.  It must have been hard for you to tell me.  Give him/her a hug. (shows pride and encourages further dialogue).
·      I love you and always will. (Kids want unconditional love and acceptance. So often, they are told it’s not o.k.)
·      How long have you known? (shows interest in their journey).
·      Would you like me to discuss with others?  If so, whom?  Have you told your sister, brother, friends at school?  (shows respect for privacy – it’s his or her story).
·      Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?  Are they out?  I’d like to meet them. (shows interest in whom is important in their life and acceptance of their love interests).
·      How do you feel about being gay?  Are you accepted at school?  (opens up conversation about possible self-hatred or harassment from others).
·      Do you have support groups for your orientation?  Gay-Straight Alliance, chat rooms on-line, etc (Besides your support, your child will obtain further help from LGBT community, particularly from his/her own group).
·      I intend to find out more about gay issues now that I know you’re gay.  I hope you will educate me as well (shows open mind and ability to have your child take the lead- this is one area where the child knows more than the parent, usually!
·      I’m proud that you have the presence at your age to come out.  It shows confidence, honesty, and self-awareness.  (end on a positive note that encourages ongoing discussion).

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Principal Puts Spamalot Into His Spam

Boy, am I glad my child doesn’t attend high school in South Williamsport, Pa.!  Otherwise, he would not be allowed to watch a high school production of the Tony-award winning play Spamalot that I saw on Broadway in 2009 after its four- year run.

Amusing and clever, the parody was a painless history lesson that featured David Hyde Pierce.  The musical was based on the movie “Monty Python and The Holy Grail.”  The movie contains a subplot about Sir Lancelot, who as a gay man, ends up in a same-sex marriage.

The Brouha

Williamsport High School principal Jesse Smith, cancelled the show because of its supposed gay content.
Not everyone agrees with Smith and had staged a rally this week before the Monday’s Town Board meeting.

You see as far back as June, the principal e-mailed theatrical director Dawn Burch about his reservations regarding scenes in Spamalot.  Burch defends the musical, as do I, as suitable for all age groups.

However, Smith’s objections, quoted in The New York Times: “Pennsylvania Principal Cancels Spamalot,” September 23, 2014, stated that “he didn’t want families to be afraid of bringing small kids because of the content” or force students “to choose between their own personal beliefs and whether or not to take part in a production.”

Get Real

Golly gee, what kid today doesn’t know that there is (gasp!) such a phenomenon as gay men and gay marriage?   They watch television, hear comments from friends. No one is saying that Spamalot is endorsing gay marriage nor is it saying that the viewer must endorse it also. 

However, Williamsport High School is not the only offender.  The American Civil Liberties Union has found that some public school districts in states such as Arkansas and Pennsylvania have censored LGBT websites so students can not access legitimate information.  This web filtering program is discriminatory.

Now that your kids have been in school for over two weeks, you may want to find out what GLBT-friendly programs are in place for your child. So, you can weed out the discriminatory ones.