Thursday, July 30, 2009

Honored as Bridge Builders

Hello again everyone! We had a great time last week and thank you all for your good wishes and encouraging words. I know I need to get busy blogging again.

When I logged in the other day I discovered that Wendy from Burning Or Building Bridges In The Community? had chosen to award me with her Bridge Builder Award that is for "a blogger or web writer who, in their connections with others, really has a heart for building bridges between all different types of people. Someone who leaves you with a little more hope, humor, humility, happiness.

She also let me know there are two rules for this award: The first rule is to write 3 ways you build bridges between yourself and others. The second is to nominate 3 of your favorite blogs/writers for this award. The nominating part is easy of course, I read three writers that do the above four things very well:

SisterFriends Together SisterFriends Together is an outreach ministry of Grace Unfolding Ministries, and was created to provide a safe and welcoming online faith community for lesbian, bisexual, questioning and transgender women. It’s a place where women can share fears and ask questions in their journey to reconcile and integrate their sexuality and faith.

Jude, (geekgirl) our inexhaustible ally from LGBT Latest Science and who also has the LGBT Lessons for Straight People Category at Jaysays. She is also responsible for turning our allies blue on Twitter!

And Hugh, another straight ally from Meet Adam and Steve, because we should all be as enthusiastic about our full equal rights as he is!

I guess two of the ways I try to offer hope and reach out to build bridges between different types of people is of course this blog and the Blogging For Truth site.

While we tend to talk about many different things on T & L After 40, it's main mission is to share the coming out process later in life, how you must be sure you can handle things, that you must be ready, that it is scary, and that yes, friends will be lost, that your family relations will be strained.

When first coming out, most sites made it sound like if you just follow some formula everything will be OK, here are the steps now go for it, but it isn't easy at all. It is scary, We know it because it was scary for us too, still is sometimes, but as scary as it can be, it is really so much better to no longer live the lie. I think it would have been nice if someone had been there to tell me how really hard it is, though it wouldn't have stopped me. I would have just been better prepared. We try to be as honest about it as possible to help others be better prepared as well. The private network Late In Life Lesbians is an offshoot of this blog to further help each other in our daily lives.

Blogging for Truth's mission is to get as many facts out to counter the lies that the Anti-Gay Industry has spent the last 30-40 years spreading to the general public. Lies that have seeped into every aspect of our lives, from books, news, movies and even into our own subconscious. Through that site I hope to fight not only public perception, but our own internalized belief system that is not based on truth. Since becoming an activist for our rights, I sometimes wonder who it is harder to convince that we are not freaks, but simply human beings in every sense of that word, the public at large, or our own community.

The third way is something I have tried to do most of my life, though not so much online but in everyday interactions with people. That has been my lifelong fight against bigotry in all forms, especially between ethnic groups. My grandmother, Louise Shaw, was biracial who hid her African American heritage all her life. (Yes, I do see the irony in the way I hid my sexuality.) She lived a very hard lie though she was one of the most amazing women ever to have graced this earth, the self hatred based on lies and fear, never allowed her to fully enjoy her truly amazing life because she always feared discovery. One of the greatest accomplishments of genetic research in my opinion has been the realization at last, that there is no such thing as different races, only different shades of skin color. We as human beings are 99% the same, the other 1% accounts for our individuality and the diseases we may have, the more we learn the truth of what this means, maybe someday, hate based on lies anyway, will disappear from the earth.

Thank you Wendy for this award, and thank you for always building bridges yourself.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Together again!

I know we have been bad about blogging this past week or more, but as you can see, when it gets close to the time when we are to be together, we get one track minds, LOL. Anyway, look at it as our summer vacation and we will be back to blogging sometime next week.
Take care everyone! Enjoy your own vacation!!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

ONE DAY!!!!!!!

I just have to make it through this one day of work, come home and get everything that I need (which isn't much!) packed, try to get a few hours of sleep (because I won't get much the rest of the week!), get myself to the airport early in the morning and a little over ONE DAY from now I will be landing in Reno in Rebecca's arms!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Continuing Saga...over 2000 phone calls and counting

Lorrie and I met and have maintained a long distance relationship for nearly three years now, this is our story. It wasn't supposed to be this long, but just like our relationship, you can't always foresee what the future will bring! You may catch up with 3000 emails - 2000 phone calls by clicking on Part I, Part II, Part III and Part IV

It was a long plane ride home. My head was swirling and my heart was crying. The first thing I did when I got in my van at the airport in Philly was call Rebecca. I told her what an amazing time I had; I wanted to tell her that she had touched a part of me that had never been touched before. I made some stupid comment about "finding a place to put her"...but I knew there was no way I could put her away; I just wanted her besides me...always!

The first thing I did when I got home was send an email to Lorrie, letting her know how amazing she was and how much I enjoyed my time with her, I meant it to be goodbye, forever. I went back to bed to try and sleep, but I couldn't, all I could do was think of Lorrie on the plane headed away from Reno and my life.

I couldn't believe it when Lorrie called me, from her van, right off the plane, I was so glad to hear her voice again. When Lorrie said she was finding a place to put me, I just wanted to tell her just don't put me away forever, but I felt like it would be best for both of us if she did. The next morning she emailed me back letting me know that she was the soccer mom and wife once more.

Two days after she left we had sent each other 13 emails trying to let go of each other but neither one of us could. Each one revealing more of what we were feeling while she was here and coming to the realization finally that it had been the same in depth and intensity for each of us.

So....I think from that point forward we have talked on the phone at least once a day and if there were days we missed, we made up for them by emailing more often or texting! It took us one month of seeing how high our phone bills were before we realized we both needed to be on the same network, LOL! We sure burned up our minutes in a hurry. Lorrie was calling me every morning on her way to work as well as sometimes on her way home and at lunch.

It took us both a couple of months to figure out in our heads and our hearts what was happening between us. They were a crazy couple of months. There were days when I expected to see Rebecca on my front door steps or to be calling me from the airport and saying "I'm here!" There were many days instead of making that right turn toward my work I really really really wanted to make the left toward the airport!

Lorrie and I would joke that I should move there. I was not tied to a job really and was divorced. There were days when I was very tempted just to move to Philadelphia, not even waiting to ask Lorrie if it was really OK. Just get the craziness over, spend more time with her and see if what we were feeling was real. The only thing that did keep me in Reno at that time were my kids.

We talked and talked and talked. We replayed every moment of our wonderful 4 nights together over and over and over. We both expressed to each other what a connection we had to one another. But that L word...that took us a while to get to. I knew I felt more in love with Rebecca than I ever had with my H; but I was married with kids, the big suburban house, a good job, busy living my very heterosexual could I tell this woman that I love her, that I am in love with her??

I knew I was in love with Lorrie, but I was afraid of saying it for fear of scaring her away. I didn't think she was in love with me, or no more than a crush, or even out of love with her husband. Talk of seeing each other again would be tempered with worries about somebody finding out, or her kids and she did not want to leave her husband and I certainly did not want her to leave her husband for me, I also felt very strongly that she should continue to do what she thought best for her kids.

During those months I made more than a few attempts to break it off. I knew it was driving Lorrie crazy and I knew I was going crazy thinking about her and I knew I could never be with her for longer than a few days every now and then at best. I saw no future for us really, though we always seemed to talk about one in each of our phone calls and emails.

I needed to see Rebecca again; I could think of nothing else! It is really amazing that I didn't get fired or at least reprimanded during that time as I was not doing a very good job of doing my job. The other amazing thing is that I told my H I wanted to go out and see Rebecca again and he agreed to it (of course he thought this was just something more that was needed to get this out of my system, lol).

I couldn't believe Lorrie really wanted to see me again so soon. At first I was to go to Philadelphia, but I couldn't get the time off from my new job, when I knew I couldn't go there, I was very relieved that Lorrie said she could fly here instead. We both agreed that this would give us a chance to see if it was just a crush, or something much more.

So....I made plans to go see Rebecca again the weekend before Thanksgiving; approximately 9 weeks after I had left her in September. Hence, the first of many countdowns began!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Shameless Vanity and The Boys I Love (other than my sons)

I was very honored that Hugh, creator of Meet Adam and Steve, and all around sweetheart, asked me yesterday if they could feature me on their blog. It is a site created to introduce the LGBT community to the rest of the world one face at a time. I really loved reading everyone's stories on there after discovering it through twitter. You should check it out, and if you wish to be featured you can contact Hugh and let him know.

While I was writing this little vanity piece, I thought that it might be nice to introduce you to some other men I follow and who also follow us back. I know Lorrie was curious as to why men were following, and maybe some of you are too. I let her know that they are also activists in one way or another and/or online friends. Besides, I don't think our issues are all that different from theirs. Most are gay, though not all, so no, they aren't here to watch, just read.

One of the first LGBT news blogs I followed after starting this one was Nelson's NGblog, he is from NY and posts commentary and headlines about our community. He is not afraid to speak out and updates quite frequently.

There is also Goombah, from Goombah's Rainbow, which stands for Gay Old Obstinate Man Bitching and Hoping, LOL. He posts commentary with a dash of cynicism thrown it. He also runs The Rap Pack, an online forum dedicated to LGBT issues and Richard Simmons (LOL, not really about Richard Simmons, Goombah does not like Richard Simmons I have learned) Besides, I always have had a soft spot for the crumudgeons of the world.

Texas Cowboy has a blog called America For Purchase and his articles are always rational, reasoned and well researched, this man knows his three r's. He comes from a progressive point of view and his topics are on the full range of political subjects.

John Abuzz has a blog called John abuzz and it is just that, abuzz with enthusiasm with personal ramblings, issues he cares about and his daily life. He is also a passionate amateur photographer.

Gunnar is from Germany but lives in Sicily and his blog, Travel and Enjoy Sicily is dedicated to that beautiful island. He is a photographer and scuba diving instructor. I would love to scuba dive with Lorrie some day. I met Gunnar on Blog Catalog.

I met Shayan Arshad on Blog Catalog and Bloggers Unite, he sells discount eyewear on his site, Eyewear4eye, and I wear glasses.

I don't know who Shoki is. He dosen't have a blog link...........But hey, welcome!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Haven't forgetten about our story......

I am cleaning up the last of my past life, and it is taking a lot out of me for some reason. No big deal, it's just when I came out, I came out without forethought, and some things were not taken care of at the time, finally getting to it after 3+ years.
Will be back to it soon, we promise!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Forgiving Those Around Us

When we come out, or are coming out, we often need to work through becoming a whole person. Part of what we need to do to become the person we were created to be is not to just forgive ourselves for our own past mistakes, but we need to learn how to forgive others as well. Sometimes, a lot of others. Accepting that we must do this and learning how will serve us well the rest of our out and proud lives. When we don't forgive we are simply re-living the pain and anger daily.

Forgiveness is an essential ingredient to releasing and letting go of the past and eliminating the need to re-create pain in our life, which is reflected in our relationships with others.
Forgiveness does not mean ‘letting another person off the hook’. It means 'regaining' ourselves and being free to create the life we want, which includes love, success and happiness. When we don’t forgive, we make someone else’s behavior "about us". We carry their dysfunctions and make them our own. We also take a great deal of this person’s negative karma for them. - Melanie Evans

Forgiveness is, as G. de Purucker says, “one of the steps to divine love. True forgiveness is the refusing to bear resentment, nourish a grudge, cultivate hatred; and forgiveness means also to cleanse your heart of these degrading impulses.” Forgiveness is then an active condition, one we choose to do. It might be easier to forgive if, when wronged, we take a step back from our own anger and hurt, and ask: What is going on in their lives and past experiences that could have made them act that way? We don't do this to excuse their behavior but to try to understand it. It seems when we can try to understand others, it becomes easier for us to truly forgive.

Love, when it comes to forgiveness is about the love of others and love of self necessary to bring true acceptance, repentance and forgiveness for wrong doings and also leads to freeing ourselves to be the person we were meant to be. Self love battles victimization and can lead a person from shame or pity to forgive themselves as well as others.

The following seven stages were swiped right out of The Feeling Soul: A Roadmap to Healing and Living:

Stage 1- Admit You Are Angry!

Many of us will echo the thoughts “What? I’m not supposed to get angry! I’ve done all this healing work!” I’ve learned that it is harmful to get angry but it is more harmful to be angry and not admit it! The way to check if you are angry is to observe your inner dialogue about how you are relating to yourself and others. Are you finding yourself being negative, critical or frustrated? Do you find yourself being impatient with people and critical of how things are done? Are you constantly blaming others for your troubles, wishing that others would change? If so, then it is likely you are angry. Try to recognize what you are angry about. It may not be the little things, but something that happened months ago. Look back in time to what might have triggered your anger and where your expression has been blocked. Bitterness is anger with no outlet to be heard or feeling that you can not change anything. It is a form of helplessness. Try to discover what you are bitter about. Make a list of resentments. Don’t hold back or edit your thoughts. Being honest with yourself is the first step in healing anger.

Stage 2- Acknowledge the Loss and Consequences

In order to fully forgive, you need to look at the consequences of the event. By consequences, I do not mean just emotional pain. Look at the past and the present, and honestly note any changes. Were you physically injured? Were you emotionally hurt? Did you suffer financial loss? What other types of losses occurred? Was there harm to other relationships? To achieve lasting forgiveness it is important to acknowledge all the losses, otherwise forgiveness will have to be revisited. When listing the losses and consequences, try to look objectively at the incident without investing in the emotions around the losses at this time.

Stage 3 - Submit to a Feeling of Vulnerability

The next stage in forgiveness is to open your self up to change and dissonance. You can not spread butter when it is hard and cold. Forgiveness does not come easily when your ideas, thoughts of revenge or justice are hardened. You must retreat and re-examine your approach. Just like a pound of butter, if you want to forgive and heal, you need to let your ideas thaw and be molded into a new perspective, combined with other ideas and views. You need to admit that to harbor anger and resentments violates the laws of kindness and compassion both for yourself and other people. You must realize that in not forgiving, you are now betraying the person at whom you are angry. This is not an easy step. It can be painful to realize that it is you who needs to change, and that it is you who has the poison of anger and resentment. It is easy to build up a wall of justification around your thoughts, actions and feelings regarding the harm done to you. In order to heal and forgive, you need to break through the wall and tear it down completely!

This stage of forgiveness also requires you look at whether there was any responsibility on your part. In some cases there was none, in some cases, you may have taken action which contributed to the decision. In this case, it may be hard for you to admit that you caused part of your own suffering as it is easier to blame others than to take any responsibility. This stage requires an honest, fearless, kind and moral inventory of your own actions and behavior. Sometimes you may not like what you find, but facing your shadow can be one of the most powerful healing experiences. See if you can find some common ground.

Stage 4 – Stop Punishing

One of the common behaviors of people is to try to punish those who have harmed us. Most studies have shown that punishment rarely teaches anything other than to resent the person doing the punishing! Some of the ways you may punish are by withholding companionship, giving someone the silent treatment, or even giving compliments but then taking it back with an insult. You may try to go further with legal action, or you may try to damage things that the other person prizes. Another method of punishment is gossiping about the other person. In order to truly forgive, you need to give up the expectation that the other person will be punished. You can ask that the other person make amends for their harm, but if they refuse or are unable to make amends, then releasing them from the idea of punishment frees you from lingering resentment.

There is great wisdom in the following Buddhist teaching – “Should one person ignorantly do wrong, and another ignorantly becomes angry with him, who would be at fault? And who would be without fault?” It is far better to try to forgive, and reintegrate your friends back into community than to ostracize and alienate them through punishment. Try to practice compassion, work at developing a deeper understanding of how and why people behave. It seems that we prefer a simple explanation of things, yet you need to understand that human beings and the relationships between each other are complex. Understanding the ways of the world and the people in the world requires wisdom and self control. Use the opportunity to forgive as a means of growth!

Stage 5 – Identify Some Good in the Other Person

This step, finding some good in the other person is probably the most crucial step in bringing about lasting forgiveness. It can also be the hardest depending on the severity of the event you are trying to forgive.

According to Francis Bacon, the key to forgiveness is in “not expecting the other to change, to give love, to be kind and develop the ability to see that in everyone else’s eyes and heart there is some good.” In forgiving, you try not to think of yourself as being good and the other person bad. You can find it easier to forgive if you can understand that the other person has difficulties too, or was harmed in the past.

If you do not practice this step, then forgiveness will be futile because it will be done with a sense of contempt for the other person. If you can not find good in the other person, then at least pray for them. A wonderful technique for developing your vision of good in another is to imagine a seed of goodness in their heart, and in prayer imagine that both you and God are watering it to make it grow stronger. Better yet is to image that each person already has this great flower of goodness in them already. Admit that it has been obscured from your view because of your anger, resentment and justifications. Learn to look for the good. At first, like developing any skill, it is challenging. You will become better at it with practice!

Stage 6 – Develop Genuine Neutrality

Hopefully in the process of forgiveness you will come to resolve any negative emotions and thoughts about yourself and the other person or organization. To do so requires that you do not expect or demand any payment or restitution after forgiveness. You must assume that there is no debt owed to you. Mother Theresa once said “it is between God and myself, it was never between me and them anyway.” This must be practiced daily. It is easy to slip into anger and resentment if you do not cultivate a practice of neutrality. Depending on the severity of the event, you may choose to not have any further contact with the person, but if you meet them by chance, you want to have a sense of neutrality and a sense of calmness instead of avoidance.

Stage 7 – Stay in the Present

“Bury the hatchet” is a phrase you may have heard many times. There is wisdom to this phrase if you understand its original meaning. The phrase comes from spiritual traditions of North American Indians who would put all weapons out of site while smoking a peace pipe. For your own forgiveness work, you must keep the original wound out of sight, or out of present mind. It is necessary to acknowledge what happened, to not forget it, but also not drag it up again as a fresh wound. Resurrecting the event and bringing it up again with the person who harmed you will cause you to feel the associated feelings again. Balance your memory of the event with your memory of the forgiveness work you have done. Practice loving those you don’t feel warmth towards.

All of your forgiveness work can be undone, and the resentment rekindled if you begin to dwell on the event again. If you begin to rerun your mind’s movie of the harm, then you may find yourself in an angry and hurt state again. It is the nature of your mind to ruminate, and therefore you must develop self-discipline and remind yourself that you have completed forgiveness work around this issue. Thank your mind for the intrusive thought, and send it off into the far reaches of the universe! Refuse to bring the past into the present again, as it will re-trigger you back into hurt and anger. Continually rise above the injury! Practice compassion and unconditional love towards all people!

And lastly, remember what forgiveness is not:
  • Letting wrongdoers off the hook,
  • Failing to hold people accountable for their actions,
  • Forgetting, denying, ignoring, or overlooking the wrongs that have occurred,
  • Repressing genuine feelings of hurt, anger, or hate.
  • Condoning, excusing, or justifying bad behavior, unkindness, or abuse or becoming complicit in continuing it,
  • Denying, minimizing, or excusing your hurt or your feelings,
  • Condemning the offender, demonstrating they deserve to know they are wrong, or that you are morally superior.
  • Contingent on seeking justice or compensation. It is not a bi-lateral transaction; it is a unilateral act of generosity.
  • Placation or simply calming down. While equanimity is valuable, forgiveness requires more than a superficial tranquility.
  • Insincere, thoughtless, casual, often easy, or a sign of weakness.
  • Equivalent to trust. Forgiveness can be given, but trust must be earned.
  • Contingent on religious beliefs.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

More Than 2000 Phone Calls.........

UPDATE: I want to apologize to our readers, I posted this without an explanation for our newer followers, I am very sorry, here is the story so far: Lorrie and I met and have maintained a long distance relationship for nearly three years now, this is our story. You may catch up with 3000 emails - 2000 phone calls by clicking on Part I, Part II and Part III

OK, Rebecca has "ordered" me to add to this blog, lol...I love it when she orders me around!!! (LOL like I could ever make you do anything...)

Believe it or not, I did go to my training class on Tuesday with very little sleep. Luck was it that we all had our own computers hooked up to the internet, so every chance I got I logged on to see if Rebecca had sent me any emails. And she had! I called her as soon as I got back to my room at the hotel and we made plans to get together Tuesday night too. It was another wonderful night in many many ways. Wow..this woman...I couldn't get enough of her..I couldn't wait to see her again!

On the morning of the third day, Lorrie mentioned that her co-worker might want to go to Tahoe that evening, and would I like to come along? Yes, I would, I said, Tahoe is beautiful and it might be fun. When Lorrie called me after her training, she let me know to come over to the hotel and we would take the rental car to Tahoe. When I got there, it seems that the gambling bug had really hit that guy, so we would be all alone again that evening. Oh Damn, LOL!

So, in my best trying not to seem like some sex crazed fiend by blurting out "Yipeee!" I asked her if she still wanted to go to Tahoe? Lorrie said, I don't know, do you? I said, well, everyone should see Tahoe and she was so we started to drive up there, no hurry because Tahoe is only 45 minutes away......

We held hands all the way up there and chatted, talking to Lorrie is so easy and we could even then talk about anything. Eventually we made it to South Shore where all the shops and Casinos are. We parked the car near the shops first, because Lorrie wanted to get her kids some souvenirs.

We looked around, found a shop that looked interesting, lots of local art and stuff, went in and were out in about 10 minutes. Lorrie looked at me and said what do you want to do now? I said I don't know, what do you want to do? Do you want to find a restaurant?........Lorrie said, I want to go back to Reno, is that OK? I was hoping she would say that!

We got in the car and down the mountain we went. That was the longest ride ever! LMAO. I couldn't believe how long it was taking us to get back and Lorrie was speeding the whole way!I was sure grinning from ear to ear. And every time I looke at Lorrie, she was too!

I actually do remember seeing Lake Tahoe that night...briefly while driving by at 70 mph!! I remember asking Rebecca on the way back, "Your place or mine?", LOL. She said "Whichever is closer." I replied.."Baby, you are the one that lives here, you're gonna have to tell me!" About 5 minutes later we were in my hotel room!!!

I was scheduled for the class from Monday to Thursday, to fly out Friday morning. We got together every day after class and were with each other till the wee hours of the morning...except for the one night we both thought for some reason I should get a good nights sleep for my class...that night Rebecca left around midnight...(well, I knew she was going on only about two hours of sleep a night) we have regretted that many times..but now we can just laugh about it!

Then it was the wee hours of the morning on Friday morning...we were at Rebecca's place and I knew it was time for me to head back to the hotel to get ready for my flight. I did not want to go. I knew I had to go. I knew I had to see this woman again. But how? I am married. I have a life in Pa. I need to be with this woman. OMG, I don't want to go. I have to go.

Friday morning I didn't know what to say or do, I didn't want Lorrie to go, I couldn't let her go, I knew I was in love with her, I didn't think she was with me. I couldn't ask her to stay, she had her kids, her husband, her job and all her friends, but I wanted her to stay or I wanted to come back to Pennsylvania.

I drove her back to her room so she could pack, I was telling how much I liked her and what a wonderful time I had and Lorrie was saying the same things back to me, after pulling over for one last kiss, I pulled up to the casino entrance and she got out of the car, she leaned back in for a quick kiss, turned around and walked in. I watched her until I couldn't see her any more and slowly drove away. My heart felt like it was breaking, tears were flowing down my face and I was kicking myself for having been such a fool. How could I let myself fall for someone who lived so far away, was married and who said it was to be a one time thing?

Happy Independance Day!!

Just to get the fireworks started........

Friday, July 3, 2009

LGBT Rights Added To In Nevada

When the Nevada Senate and Assembly overrode Gov. Jim Gibbons veto of the Domestic Partnership bill proponents had to make the inclusion of health benefits a voluntary action on the part of the employer and not mandatory, to avoid a fiscal provision on the bill, which would have killed it. This meant that the state was not required to offer health benefits to its employees.

Yesterday, however the Public Employees’ Benefits Program Board voted 5-3 to extend benefits to domestic partners although domestic partners will have to pay the full monthly coverage rate of $760 without any subsidy. This is because the legislature refused to approve $3.7 million in additional funds to the state budget to cover subsidies for domestic partners. Subsidies are provided to all other spouses of state employees, reducing their costs to around $200 per month.

It is a step in the right direction, and hopefully Nevada will keep fighting until we have full equal rights.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Update on PA John Eichelberger And The Exist Gate Facebook

After attempting unsuccessfully to elicit an apology from PA Senator Eichelberger for his remark that he was allowing LGBT's "to exist," The Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents have created a Facebook Group, please click the link and sign up today:

Exist-gate: Gays are allowed to exist AND have a Facebook Group

Senator John Eichelberger commented "We are allowing them to exist" during a recent interview on WHYY in Philadelphia. Eichelberger is the primary sponsor of legislation to amend the Pennsylvania constitution to "protect" marriage, and refuses to apologize for his "exist" comment. Thanks to NGBlog for the video h/t.

Maybe Senator Eichelberger should read the article "Go South, Young Homo" in this month's Philadelphia Magazine. In it, Jessica Remo points out that the area is experiencing a Renaissance and becoming economically revitalized by an influx of gay and lesbian businesses and residents moving in. And the residents and traditional business owners have started welcoming the influx with open arms.

Kevin Gillen, a Penn research fellow, explains that "This is the classic pattern, the artists and musicians are the first to take a risk in an emerging neighborhood. Then come the gay couples, who typically don't have children and so don't have the same worries about safety and school districts as young families."

What she found most amazing was the welcome they were getting from the long time locals and fellow business people. Especially the elderly residents who have lived and raised their families in South Philly all their lives. They are discovering what all our neighbors tend to find out if they give us a chance, we tend to be damn friendly, open and honest, and very good for business. One elderly lady was almost complaining that since a couple moved in next door she has had little time to read her books, as they are often over visiting with her. Another long time resident told of the pierced and tattooed young man who let another resident know she had left her change behind on the counter of the local market.

I bet the residents of South Philadelphia could teach Senator Eichelberger a thing or two about what makes a real community and what it means to be a real neighbor.
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