Randy, Oral Roberts’ Gay Grandson, Says: ‘#ItGetsBetter…and It’s Complicated.’


Close-Up – by A. R. Ammons

Are all these stones


I said

and the mountain



but reluctant to

admit my praise could move it much


shook a little

and rained a windrow ring of stones

to show

that it was so


Stone felled I got

up addled with dust


and shook


without much consequence


Obviously I said it doesn’t pay

to get too

close up to



and the mountain friendless wept

and said

it couldn’t help


Re-Imagining Religion: “Falling In Love Will Not Send You to Hell.”

                          – Randy Roberts Potts

“All students are required to sign a pledge stating they will live according to the university’s honor code. Prohibited activities include lying, cursing, smoking, drinking, and a range of sexual acts including homosexual behavior and sex outside marriage.”

                                                                   – Excerpt, ORU Student Codes , Oral Roberts University

Wouldn’t you know it: every time the “gay agenda” is reexamined, the “master plan” appears to become more and more normal on the face of it. Because it is.

“The gay agenda” is “the human agenda:” we all want love. Hope. Home. Family. We all desire the same things.

Back in 2010, Oral Roberts’ out, gay grandson Randy Roberts Potts read a letter to his closeted gay Uncle Ronnie (Oral Roberts’ eldest son) and recorded a viral video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYa0wi4XzeI) to honor Ronnie’s life, as unfortunately, his uncle had already passed away when Randy was just a kid (in June of 1982).

Randy’s irrepressible spirit remains to alchemize life’s tests and turn them into life’s testimonies.

In the video, after 2:38 minutes of silence (during which time we see the handwritten letter for his uncle), Potts reads a revelatory poem entitled “Close-Up” written by A. R. Ammons. Then, Randy moves into his own compelling testimony about the strange magic behind growing up with a gay uncle (around whom Randy’s mom was most captivated), and how it affected Potts himself.

We witness Potts as he entreats Ronnie’s spirit (for healing? For explanations?), “When my mother spoke of you, a look of awe lit up her face. You were the one voice in her life that could inhabit multiple worlds at once…. You stood for everything she was afraid I would become: gay, intellectual, and godless. And yet nothing caused my mother’s face to light up like your memory. I was jealous, and I always hoped to be you.”

Randy recounts following in his uncle’s footsteps simply by following his heart, and reminisces about the tragedy of losing a loved one who took his own life because he felt he had no options. No hope. Because he felt that life would not and could not get better.

“I’ve seen pain and loss and sorrow,” Potts continues. “I would have held you in my arms had I been a man at the time…. but there’s no one holding you, because you’re holding on to no one. And now I’m here sharing the same destiny…. your path and mine are crossed. They intersect…in some ridiculous dance.”

With a tonality not unlike Dylan Thomas’ “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Goodnight,” Potts brings us into present day. Yes, he is angry, but we can somehow see the light at the end of the tunnel, the burning hot flames of passion for living forever aglow in Randy’s heart. We somehow feel his uncle lives in some kind of virtual second life, through Randy.

Another “Gay Agenda,” Another Pleasant Valley Sunday.

Oral Roberts was the first and one of the biggest of the televangelists. He brought the Pentecostal faith to mainstream America, he started a self-named university, and of course lived a rich life through his relentless please for money from his followers. His grandson Randy Roberts Potts grew up with him…steeped in that really sheltered, Far Right Christian world. Now he’s following a calling like his grandfather, but with an unexpected message.”

Reporter Page Hopkins for MSNBC

In sharing his story with MSNBC, Potts did indeed reveal he’d felt suicidal too—coming out was unthinkable to him. Having married a woman and raising three children with her, Potts’ coming out narrative is a common one that always feels mysterious and new during the discovery process. He told Hopkins, “Honestly, I thought I was just a really good christian that I just didn’t sexualize women.”

Though Potts’ closeted gay uncle passed away when Randy was just a boy, as he unfolded the discoveries about Ronnie’s life, they paralleled discoveries of his own.

It is now Randy’s life mission to reach back across the table and minister tolerance and inclusiveness to evangelicals themselves. Potts informed Page Hopkins that he’s doing so non-publicly, holding confidential meetings with religious leaders and consulting with them regarding family cohesion, suicide prevention and myriad other positive effects of practicing religious tolerance.

In one of the most romantic and courageous activism campaigns out there, Potts and his partner are now conducting what they call an ongoing “performance project designed for conservative towns with visuals of domestic gay life.” Potts is setting up storefronts from town to town , choosing to put his normal day-in day-out familial relationships on display, in a performance art piece called—what else…

“…The Gay Agenda.



Reach out to Randy @randyrpotts and connect with ORU Out, ORU LGBTQ alumni and ombudsmen) at http://oru-out.tumblr.com.

To watch Potts’ It Gets Better video in its entirety, please click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYa0wi4XzeI

Have you got time to sit and pray a while? Check out Randy Roberts Potts – Re-Imagining Religion Series at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uYWf2WfPH8. During his ministerial speech in this video, Potts reveals that his brother is also gay and his family still ostracizes them both.


And for more information about suicide prevention and LGBTQIA resources and support, please visit the It Gets Better Project at http://www.itgetsbetter.org.






Picture this Romance: Gorgeous Lesbian Indian Wedding Photos

Apart from Love, everything passes away.

The way to Heaven is in your heart.

Open and lift the wings of Love!

When Love’s wings are strong, you need no ladder.

– Rumi

“We are a typical couple, at least to us. We are an interracial couple of Indian and American descent who found love at first sight. Well, let’s make that Shannon found love at first sight. The day I met Seema, I was teaching one of my boot camp classes and I turned to another instructor and said ‘I’m going to marry her.’ Of course, Seema fell in love shortly after, and six years later it became true.”

Shannon and Seema, to Buzzfeed

With Love, From Shannon and Seema

Bringing with it all the vibrant, colorful imagery of Deepa Mehta’s “Fire,” this story, these images—it’s the stuff of modern myth—but what a beautiful surprise—this is in fact the real deal.

Huffington Post Gay Voices recently profiled photographer Steph Grant and her dear friends, newly-wedded couple Shannon and Seema, complemented with gorgeous, romantic and exquisitely rich images of two women who are deeply in love.

Put A Ring On It And Take A Picture, Please

“I have photographed Indian weddings before and I have photographed gay and lesbian weddings before, but never have I ever shot an Indian lesbian wedding,” photographer Steph Grant wrote about her recent (and lovely) wedding photography assignment.

While it is decidedly challenging to be out and proud in India (most especially for women) as well as in Indian diasporic culture, this recent news item is a hopeful reminder that change is possible. The wedding itself took place in Los Angeles, though the ceremony incorporated Indian wedding traditions and attire.

Continuing the story on her blog, Grant enthused, “I have been anticipating this wedding for years now! Shannon and Seema are special to me and I am honored that they chose me to be their wedding photographer. I flew into Los Angeles a few hours before the wedding festivities began. I was greeted by a house full of friends, family and a lot of laughter. It was going to be an exciting day.”

“Beautiful Indian culture, stunning brides & style for miles!” she continued. “Couldn’t ask for more. WOW. My heart! There was so much love that consumed the SmogShoppe that evening. Friends and family came pouring in with smiles, hugs and tears… these two are clearly loved and in love. I am writing this blog a month after the wedding and I am proud to say that so much progress has been made in our country with the Supreme Court striking down DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) and Prop 8 in California! Love wins. ALWAYS. Congrats Shannon & Seema. Love you guys!”

To check out the rest of the exclusive photos from this auspicious occasion, visit Steph Grant’s blog here: http://www.stephgrantphotography.com/blog/shannon-seema-indian-lesbian-wedding-los-angeles-ca

Have you ever seen such fabulous wedding photographs? And do you think you’ll ever get hitched? If you do, will you go “flossy-flossy” fancy, or do you think you’ll elope instead? Share your thoughts, Darl’s.


LZ Granderson: The Myth of The Gay Agenda

“…I have taught myself to sew, cook, fix plumbing, build furniture – I can even pat myself on the back when necessary…. There’s nothing I need from anyone except for love and respect. And anyone who can’t give me those two things has no place in my life.”

– Arnold from “Torch Song Trilogy.”

Visit Bing or Yahoo. Google or Duck Duck Go.

(Don’t worry, we’ll wait.)

Now: search for the words “Gay Agenda.”

(We’ll be right here, so be sure to come back. Better yet, open up another window or tab. There you go.)

Here’s what you’ll find: you’ll discover and learn more about us here at GayAgenda.com (please do that!).

You’ll also see many, many other “interesting” finds. Most notably, you’ll encounter a lot of people who have coined the hateful term and idea of the “gay agenda,” words we happily reclaim.

Among the search results you’ll find will be CNN reporter-journalist LZ Granderson’s world renowned, fact-filled, heartwarming and humorous TED Talk, “The Myth of the Gay Agenda.”

Remember that “Gay Agenda” search engine quest from before? LZ really, really went there too—in fact, he went into some extended search action…!

The results he found included a wealth of hate-monger speech and ignorance-laden articles and updates about the “dangerous gay lifestyle,” and the “dangerous gay agenda.”

On thumbing through result after result of anti-gay propaganda, Granderson reflects: “If I’m gay and I’m doing something that’s going to destroy civilization, I need to figure out what this stuff is. And, I need to stop doing it right now!” [The audience laughs.]

“I took a look at my life—a hard look at my life,” he goes on, “And I saw some things very disturbing. And I want to begin sharing these ‘evil’ things that I’ve been doing with you, starting with my mornings.

[The audience continues laughing along with LZ.] He continues the in-joke: “I drink coffee. Not only do I drink coffee. I know other people who drink coffee.”

Granderson directs us to the first slide of a PowerPoint presentation with the laughable title, “The Super Duper Evil Gay Lifestyle,” emblazoned with the rainbow flag.

He walks us through his happily partnered life and the daily goings on of being a busy parent. He then goes on to masterfully, ironically illustrate his points. “Run for your heterosexual lives, people!” Granderson humorously “threatens” during the conference, dismantling the hateful rhetoric that anti-gay bigots just so happen to throw around.

At the end of the day, LZ Granderson’s presentation fights for, in his own words, “Love and respect….trying to find your place in the world.” It seems so simple—the real “agenda” has to do with those who seek to complicate it. To destroy rights that have already been granted, and to prevent acquisition of others.

Finding and enjoying “love and respect:” in essence, this is everyone’s “agenda.” Granderson brilliantly brings these and other heartening ideas to the fore.

When he talks about love, his family, adoption and marriage equality, your eyes will get misty, your lips will quiver, you’ll be reminded of your own humanity. His talk is quite lovely and forever relevant.

LZ Granderson, who writes a weekly column for CNN.com, was named journalist of the year by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. He is a senior writer and columnist for ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com. He spoke at TEDx Grand Rapids in May 2012. TED is a nonprofit organization dedicated to “Ideas worth spreading” which it makes available through talks posted on its website. (http://www.tedxhappyvalley.com/lz-granderson-the-myth-of-the-gay-agenda/)

You can tweet your reactions and support to LZ  @Locs_n_Laughs.

Click here to watch the video—with choreographed light saber moves and all the belly laughs you can stand included. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CstD6O95L-o)

So what did you think of LZ Granderson’s TED Talk ?

Keep It Together: Resources and Support for LGBTQ Families

It’s All in the Family

“Keep it together in the family

They’re a reminder of your history

Brothers and sisters they hold the key

To your heart and your soul

Don’t forget that your family is gold.”

– Madonna, from “Keep It Together”

For those who may oppose or who may not understand LGBTQIA culture (which often includes ourselves, those in-community), it can be easy to forget we are individuals who come from families. Who make up families. Who make up families of choice.

As we seek out kin, allies, a tribe, BFFs, support, resources and fellowship, because it is so common for LGBTQIA persons to experience marginalization even for supporting queer culture (as well as of course for being in it), we forget about our extended family. We don’t realize the broad spectrum of resources made available to us for finding connections, assistance, and even family-focused entertainment or advantages (such as social, educational financial or medical help).

We may then perhaps lose hope for reconciliation with our birth family, and/or don’t seek alternatives for creating new and more empowering familial networks.

Partying, playing and freedom of sexual expression is all well and good: it’s a blessing to have an opportunity to fully express all sides of ourselves (and fight for our rights in places where this is not yet a reality).

When it’s time to come down, gather together, find home and hearth, your family/family of choice is your go-to place to touch down, reboot, chillax. Find peace of mind.

But what happens if you don’t have a family, your community doesn’t support your family, or you don’t have a stable family?

Here are a few helpful resources, for finding family support and structure, below:


Get Help, Find Fam, Keep It Together

PFLAG / Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays – http://www.pflag.org

In addition to education, outreach and public speaking, PFLAG provides regionally-based support groups for queer and questioning persons (including youth), as well as for people who are trying to understand their LGBTQ family members, or people who do not have family support.

Family Equality Council – http://www.familyequality.org/get_involved/programs

Per their website, “The Family Equality Council is a community of parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren who for 30 years have raised our children and raised our voices toward fairness for all families.” While they do quite a bit of advocacy work, they also sponsor Family Equality Pride events and regionally-based family outreach programs (such as support groups and activities for queer parents and the community).

COLAGE – http://www.colage.org

For people with an LGBTQ parent: focused mostly on kids and teenagers, COLAGE unites peer-based networks and helps youth find support. Their specialty, in their own words is to help: “nurture and empower each other to be skilled, self-confident, and just leaders in our collective communities.”

Transforming Family http://transformingfamily.org/about-us

Championed by Chaz Bono. With a trans* focused outreach in its purview, Transforming Family is a Los Angeles based family support group creating a positive environment for children, adolescents and their families to explore issues of gender identity.

Our Family Coalition http://www.ourfamily.org/programs

This is a community of leaders who provide family-based policy and advocacy for change as well as sponsoring various family functions and social events.

Gay Parent Magazine –http://www.gayparentmag.com

A leader in gay parenting resources – founded in 1998.

API Family Pride http://www.apifamilypride.org

The mission of Asian and Pacific Islander Family Pride is to end the isolation of Asian and Pacific Islander families with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members through support, education, and dialogue.

Soffa Support – http://soffasupport.tumblr.com

An online zine that helps to connect people with support and advice for significant others, family, friends, and allies of the trans* community.

National Clearinghouse on Families & Youth http://ncfy.acf.hhs.gov

The National Clearinghouse on Families & Youth is an information resource of the Family and Youth Services Bureau within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. They help to provide various resources of support for many, including LGBTQIA-specific assistance, referrals and education.

Intersex Society of North America

Support Groups and FAQ (For FAQ, Click FAQ Link on this page) http://www.isna.org/support

The Intersex Society of North America (ISNA) was founded in 1993 in an effort to advocate for patients and families who felt they had been harmed by their experiences with the health care system. From these scrappy, brave, and confrontational beginnings, ISNA evolved into an important resource for clinicians, parents, and affected individuals who require basic information about disorders of sex development (DSDs) and for how to improve the health care and overall well-being of people with DSDs.

R Family Vacations – http://www.rfamilyvacations.com

R Family Vacations is an LGBT vacation entertainment company that provides luxury cruise ship trips with a focus on inclusive activities for children and services including same-sex marriage ceremonies.

National Resource Center on LGBT Aging –http://www.lgbtagingcenter.org

Resources include – Caregiving services, Aging in Place Providers, LGBT Organizations, referrals, help for LGBT older adults or caregivers.

JQY / JQYouth – http://www.jqyouth.org

JQY is a nonprofit organization supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Jews and their families in the Orthodox community.


A Word About Finding Local Resources

If you find these suggestions aren’t close to you, don’t be afraid to shout them out on social media, email or call them, and ask for help finding resources that are local for you. Should they be unable to, they’ll be able to provide other alternatives for you. Never give up.

There are many more resources where these came from. Have you got a good recommendation? Please let us know.

When times get tough or you’re looking for support, who do you call your “family?”


Why LGBTQ or GLBT? Why Trans* or Trans? A Look at Queering the Acronym

We communicate, therefore we abbreviate.

Social media may be viral, but without the words we say and the language we speak, it would have no foundation from which to travel and spread ideas.

Culturally, words are important to LGBTQIA folks. Not only for communicating concepts, but for fighting for our rights, for inclusivity, for assisting in diversity training, and of course, for us to find and to connect with each other among many other helpful purposes.

For instance, writing the word trans* with an asterisk at the end has its own special meaning. In short, the addition of the asterisk is more inclusive. Please click here to learn more about that in a full context.

Also, there are many people who find the word “transman” or “transwoman” to be dehumanizing or offensive, and who feel you should insert a space between each word for that reason.

But then of course, language is complex and contradictory. For example, the organization Black Transmen articulates the experience of trans* men by writing “transmen” as one word in their official parlance.

This brings to mind similar linguistic differences reminiscent of calling oneself “gay” versus calling oneself “same gender loving” or SGL. (“SGL” was a term created in generally African American circles, initiated to take one’s focus away from sex and place it on relationships, but SGL automatically excludes many trans* persons).

Or, there’s articulating queer culture as being “gay” rather than the more inclusive “LGBT” “GLBT,” that’s another example. Too, people can be attached to the order of the letters, favoring starting with “G” or “L.”). Next, there is “LGBTQ.” However, writing or saying “queer” can be an issue to some, as if there is something so-called “wrong” with being gay or having another sexual or gender orientation, rather than the intended meaning of reclaiming the insult as a word of empowerment (“We’re here, we’re queer. Get used to it.”).

Also, many acronyms and terms exist to behoove inclusivity-focused communication (e.g. LGBTQIAU for “lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, queer, intersex persons, allies and undeclared), and the lists go on and on.

Here are a few others:

SOFFA – Significant Other, Friends, Families and Allies – Generally used in trans* culture.

GAY – (This word didn’t begin as an acronym, but it has become one. Aside from literally meaning “homosexual,” “happy” or as shorthand for “LGBTQ”) – Gifted and Young, Good As You, Gay. Are You?

IMRU – I’m Queer/Gay. Are You?

LGBTQ / TBLG / LGBTQQIAAS / GLB / LGBTQIAP Any combination or order of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, ally, straight, pansexual and so forth. When letters are excluded, this might have to do with, for instance, trans* activists who are exploring ideas of inclusivity when it comes to trans* culture. They might say, “We deserve to have a voice at this convention where the majority of the speakers are LGB-only.”

LGBTIH Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersexed and “hijira” (third gender).

TS Two-Spirit.

FABGLITTER Shorthand for Fetish and BDSM community, Allies or Polyamorous.

QUILTBAG Queer/Questioning, Undecided, Intersex, Lesbian, Transgender/Transsexual, Bisexual, Allied/Asexual, Gay/Genderqueer.

Social critics and in-community critics tend to think of all of these acronyms as “over-corrected political correctness,” too focused on sexuality, not separating sexual and gender expression properly, or too exclusive in nature.

Generally, living in queer culture involves many elements of culture, lifestyle, privilege, preference, sexual expression, race, class, gender identity, social and hierarchical challenges, religious and moral backgrounds, geographical diversity, preferences not to be labeled, and so much more that is exceedingly difficult to encapsulate or summarize.

If anything, the acronyms can become a code, a way of transacting in the world, a way to find and befriend allies, a way to encourage others to think differently or more broadly, or a way to regain respect and grounding among others in our environment who would seek to derail or exclude others.

As a communicator and mediator myself, this can make communication, sharing information and reportage seem somewhat challenging, but not impossibly so. Prosaically, I do tend to use many different terms interchangeably as well as alternating them—so it’s likely that will offend some or many without having an intention to do so.

Personally, I tend to go by the M.O. of: “I’ll address you respectfully and earnestly in the way you prefer to be addressed. I’ll do my best to honor y/our culture going on what I know, today, and using the breadth of terminology that’s available to us, so that we can all connect.”

Which acronym, term or shorthand do you prefer? (“None” counts, too.)

Tired of the Grind? Some New Gay Apps Less About Sexytimes

In the world of apps, there seem to be more every day vying for downloads. There are some classics that we all keep because everyone has them, but some newer apps out on the market might have you getting some fancy upgrades for your smartphone.

A Little Swankier Online Dating

Revamped and relaunched, the gay dating app Mister <http://www.misterapp.com/> is remarketing itself as a dating website with codes of ethics. Looking to replace other apps that focus more on quick turnarounds and less on faces, the app is designed to be more about the members and their relationships.

Carl Sandler, CEO of Mister, said that his app is what a “grown up version of Grindr” would look like. The app’s code of conduct <http://www.misterapp.com/mister/about> requires all users to agree to six basic values: maturity, integrity, safety, truth, enjoyment, and respect. The idea for the app is to change how the gay community is using mobile apps and to make them more about treating each other well and to get them out dating. Sandler adds that, “We wanted to create a place that’s different and feels different… We built Mister with the goal of getting people off the app and meeting in the real world.”

The newest feature of the app is called “Mr. Right,” to expand the options available to members. Sanders explains that this feature “provides users new introductions daily based on the types of men they normally interact with… Mr. Right works in the background as a personal wingman, always on the lookout for new, compatible men.” With other apps that just give you a jumble of single pictures filtered by location, it might be nice to be able to find guys with options more than just body type.

While titan Grindr reports having over 6 million users, Mister recently gained over 1 million registered users, with more growing each day. If you’re tired of your dating options thus far and you’re looking for something more, Mister might be exactly what you need. The newest version is only available currently on iPhone, with the Android version coming out in Fall 2013.

Historically Speaking

Whether you have already found your Mr. Right or you just need a little bit more queerness in your life, there’s a new history app that’s sure to keep you overflowing with knowledge and lgbtq pride.

Mobile app Quist  is available worldwide, providing daily posts that catalogue historical events and summarize them for you. If you want to take a deeper look into any of the events, the app lets you do that, and allows you to also search by state, region of the world, or by issue. The app’s ultimate goal is to allow you to learn more about “how far the LGBTQ community has come over time—how we have been treated, how we have reacted, how our allies have supported us.”

The app was created by Sarah Prager and designed by the Baltimore-based firm Natural Fusion. Even though lgbtq history is available in a host of different mediums, Prager wanted to make everything more accessible and to make it current, instantly available all over the world.

Prager cites statistics of teen suicide as one of her motivations for the app and works to show teens that they are not alone and that they share a history with many past and current. The app makes a “conscious effort to keep the drag queens and leather daddies in,” to show the flamboyant and rebellious beginnings, but also includes contributions of queer people of color, bisexuality, and the transgender rights movement.

Quist is available for free on iPhones and Androids, and makes sure that no day will pass without updating you on your important history and happenings.

Discover Who It Is That Follows You

I am currently reading a book by DLuis Meyer entitled, “Coming Out in New York City.”  As I was chugging along through the book, I came to a chapter where DLuis’ main character talks about the feeling of being followed and how he would turn around and there would be no one there.  He eventually comes to the conclusion that it was HE that was following him; his own persona was in pursuit.

As I continued to read, I had to put the book down and reflect upon this statement that DLuis made.  A light went on inside of my head and I realized that maybe I was supposed to read this book now, at this point in time, because it truly meshes with what I am currently experiencing at the moment, in this journey of self-discovery and enlightenment that I am on.  I have had the book for literally a couple years now, but never read it.  One day, I picked it up from a pile of unread books, from the bottom of the pile in fact, and began reading it.  I have been enmeshed with the many messages of personal growth and self-discovery that DLuis’ main character experiences in his journey of coming out.

This book and my interest in the character’s personal reflections certainly segues into what I have been experiencing of late.  I have had an intense compulsion within my gut to broaden my self-reflection and discovery to a more intense level, through meditation and reparative healing (a.k.a. past life regression).  I have enlisted the guidance of two well know community leaders that specialize in each of these areas and will soon begin this new journey to discover who it is that follows me.  I believe it is the many manifestations of my very soul that have manifested in human form through the ages that are still with me in some form or fashion that guide my decisions; whether for good or bad, they are still with me.

Why this interest in discovering who follows me?  What purpose will it serve in this current form to know who my soul has been in the past?  I have always had a desire to delve within through meditation but never really gave any serious thought to reparative healing and how it would help to answer many questions I have or explain why I do what I do or have the feelings I have.  It is the pursuit of more enlightened thinking and an awakening of my consciousness that leads me to this next level of self-discovery and reflection and hopefully to connect things together, not necessarily to change how I am but to more fully understand how I am and what I do.

I firmly believe our souls are in a perpetual cycle of growth and evolution. It manifests repeatedly in order to fulfill a mission that may have been unfulfilled. To learn a lesson that was unlearned, or to impact someone’s life that was not impacted. For whatever reason, our lives are not our own. They are not a happenstance occurrence in the universe.  However, while we are living the current manifestation, some of the issues we experience can create undue confusion and concern, until the day we awaken and realize that it was all part of a grand scheme of existence and overcoming challenges that transcend many of our human existences.

In order to more fully explain what I am talking about, I shall provide some examples, some of which I have never told to anyone, not even my closest confidants but I feel it necessary to now divulge some of these issues I have faced in my life because I now realize that much of what I was doing was clearly the residual remnants of lives gone by.

First, I have always had an intense sexual drive, even in my youngest days before I knew what sex was all about.  Things would stir in me that I could not explain.  Sex and all its consequences have been a very big part of my life,and still is, and it has created situations that could have seriously jeopardized my reputation in my budding career and  with other people and how they looked upon me.  It was at one point in my life an addiction where I could not control what I was doing and the only thing on my mind was getting off wherever and however the method would be.  It caused me to not focus on things I should have been focusing on and created such a meandering, helpless feeling within, that it almost destroyed me.

I always thought this was directly related to my being gay and repressing my true identity for so long, that it created unhealthy sexual practices that could have seriously impacted my life.  But looking back on those days now, I can see it was much more than that.  I firmly believe that one of my past manifestations was a very sexually aggressive person and their sexual drive has carried over to this current form.  Maybe they were also a very homophobic persona who is now learning what it was actually like to be queer and what trauma they created in other people’s lives.  Who knows.

Another example I can pinpoint is that how the natural environment and its power has a draw upon me that settles my mind and and relaxes me, and I spiritually connect with being in the woods, listening to a stream, the birds, watching deer romp and all that comes along with it.  Could I have been at one time a Wiccan prince or princess?  A witch maybe?  Who knows.

A third example is my writing.  I love to write, and I seem to draw upon a power that brings forth words and thoughts from my head to the computer or paper upon which I am writing.  I myself, sometimes am in awe of what comes forth from my brain and say, “that certainly is not me that is writing this.”  Could I have been a writer in a past life, who wishes to continue that practice in this life?  Who knows.

These questions, along with some others, have gnawed at me for years and years, and created such anxiety and blissful peace within me simultaneously.  I believe we all need to heal and repair ourselves and reconcile the many components of our past lives that are carried forward into this current form.  My goal in doing this more intense self-reflection is not necessarily to change what I do or what I am, as I have learned to live and deal with much of what I have been challenged with, but it is more to understand it all and tie it together in order to move forward with what I need to do with the rest of the years I have.

We all must reach into our past, the past that we cannot see or comprehend, in order to discover who it is that follows us, impacting our lives, and that which has to be overcome in order to move forward in this current manifestation of our existence.

I would encourage you to delve deeper into your psyche and try to understand what it is that makes you tick.  Awaken yourselves to the possibilities and keep an open mind.  Yes it might be scary.  I certainly have some apprehension in doing what I am about to do, but I feel it is a necessary and logical step in my progression forward to becoming the best person I can be, and to be the person I was born to be to its fullest.

Gay Marriage in French Prison Is Actually Anti-Gay Marriage

As the saying goes, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Trying to beat them by joining them is one of the newest anti-gay marriage protests in France.

Last week, news outlets were buzzing as two male inmates, both serving long sentences for murder, were married in a civil ceremony.

Germain Gaiffe and Alfredo Stranieri had their “wedding ceremony” in a high-security prison at Poissy, near Paris. Gaiffe received a 30-yar sentence for beheading and chopping up a shopkeeper into pieces, and Stranieri gained the nickname the “small ads killer,” since he targeted his victims through classified advertisements, and was given a life sentence for killing four people and burying them in his garden. Both were sentenced in 2003.

As if the story needed more momentum, the two witnesses for the couple had a sort of celebrity status as well, in as distasteful of a light as those wed. Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, a controversial comedian who is vocally anti-gay marriage and anti-Semitic, and Iich Ramírez Sánchez, internationally known terrorist and better known as “Carlos the Jackal,” was transferred to the prison for the ceremony. He is serving two life sentences for a raid in Vienna on the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) headquarters in 1975, killing three people (though by his count he’s killed many more), and multiple bomb plots in Paris in the 1980s.

Does it all seem a bit too over-the-top? Others have thought so as well. The penitentiary union UFAP-Unsa Justice at the prison said that the wedding came from “just a desire to make some buzz,” and was altogether a “non-event.”

To discredit the couple further of supporting same-sex marriage in general, in 2011 they claimed to have fathered the child of a former French Politician, Rachida Dati, and courts added three months to each inmate’s time because of the defaming nature of the comments on Dati.

After same-sex marriage was legalized back in May there have been several protests by those in favor of “traditional” marriage and who have spoken out against lgbt rights.

Because of those in attendance, and the altogether high-profile nature of the ceremony, some are seeing past the shocking headlines and are realizing the absurdity of the situation. While anti-lgbt activists will likely use this prison wedding as ammunition against queer rights movements, possibly worldwide, more are coming to see it as less reality and more farce.

New Studies Give Support to Same-Sex Parenting

While many see that one of the next big things for the lgbt movement to tackle will be adoption rights, they might not have to worry about dissenters commenting on same-sex parents and their ability to raise children.

Two recent studies, one in Australia and one in the U.S., point to children raised by same-sex parents not differing from, though perhaps even doing better than, children raised by opposite-sex families.

Melbourne University conducted the “Australian Study of Child Health in Same-Sex Families,” which is touted as the world’s largest study to date looking at the impact of gay and lesbian parents on their children. The study collected data on 500 children around Australia up to the age of 17, and interviewed 315 gay, lesbian, and bisexual parents by having them complete the world recognized “Child Health Questionnaire.”

Preliminary results in the study indicate no differences between children raised in same-sex and opposite-sex families in terms of physical and mental health, as well as in their social interactions among peers and adults.

A major difference though was that researchers found a higher degree of family cohesion and general health and happiness in children raised in same-sex families. A drawback to this is that children are more likely to experience discrimination because of their parents’ sexual orientation, which, lead researcher of the study, Dr. Simon Crouch, does think matters. “One of our hypotheses is that this experience of discrimination does have an impact on child health and well-being.”

However, as Dr. Crouch points out, this may be the reason why family cohesion was greater in families of gay and lesbian parents: “Because of the situation that same-sex families find themselves in, they are more willing to communicate and approach the issues that any child may face at school, like teasing or bullying. This fosters openness and means children tend to be more resilient. That would be our hypothesis.”

The other study, published in the July/August edition of Child Development, studied 104 families all across the United States: 50 headed by heterosexual couples, 25 by lesbian parents, and 29 by gay male partners. The children were all adopted at birth or within the first few weeks of life, and at the time of the study all were around three years old.

Researchers Dr. Rachel H. Farr, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Dr. Charlotte J. Patterson, University of Virginia, found that ultimately, regardless of the gender of the parents, the children with positive child behavior lived with parents who had supportive co-parenting interactions, including greater pleasure, engagement, and communication between parents. The children with behavioral problems lived in homes with competition between the parents and dissatisfaction with divisions in child care. Dr. Farr and Dr. Patterson commented, “it was the parents who were the most satisfied with their arrangements with each other who had children with fewer behavior problems, such as acting out or showing aggressive behavior.”

The researchers noticed that gay and lesbian parents were more likely to share equally in childcare tasks, while heterosexual parents would specialize in their chores. Even with this division, researchers concluded that it didn’t matter: “It appears that while children are not affected by how parents divide childcare tasks, it definitely does matter how harmonious the parents’ relationships are with each other.”

While the number is unclear, there are reported millions of children living with same-sex parents. With these two important studies, it gives great support to advocates of same-sex parents, showing that it really is the love of the parents and a supportive atmosphere that raises the best and most well-adjusted children.

Not Separate But Not Equal? Bisexuality Explained (At Least 13 Times)

Demonized, ostracized, unrecognized, and sexualized…what gives?  Though the “bi” in “bisexual” brings to mind either/or dualities, true-to-life bi experience is entirely unique.

Every year, Bi Visibility Day is observed on September 23.  (http://september23.bi.org).  Still, when it comes to bi visibility and/or invisibility, myths and misconceptions abound.

Dr. J.R. Little has identified 13 prevailing types of bisexuality.  On the face of it, these discoveries seek to classify bi experience as seen through a control group study.  At the very least, this reveals the fluidity of sexuality in general.  Predominant bisexual traits Dr. Little found are the following:

1. Alternating:  May be with a man, then after a   relationship ends, may choose a female partner for a subsequent relationship, continuing to alternate.

2. Circumstantial:  Primarily heterosexual, but will choose same sex partners only if they have no access to other-sex partners, like in gender-segregated circumstances.

3. Concurrent Relationships:  Have primary relationship with one gender only, but other casual or secondary relationships with people of another gender concurrently.

4. Conditional:  Either straight or gay/lesbian, but switches to a relationship with another gender for a specific purpose, like young straight males who prostitute with men for money or lesbians who marry men for social acceptance,  or to have children.

5. Emotional:  Have intimate emotional relationships with men and women, but only have sexual relationships with one gender.

6. Integrated:  Have more than one primary relationship at the same time, one with a man and one with a woman.

7. Exploratory:  Either straight or gay/lesbian, but have sex with another gender just to satisfy curiosity or “see what it’s like.”  (Bi-curious.)

8. Hedonistic:  Primarily straight or gay/lesbian but will sometimes have recreational sex with a different gender purely for sex.

9. Recreational:  Primarily heterosexual, but engage in gay or lesbian sex only when under the influence of substances.  (Party-sexual.)

10. Isolated:  100% straight or gay/lesbian now but has had at one or more sexual experience with another gender in the past.

11. Latent:  Completely straight or gay lesbian in behavior, but has strong desire for sex with another gender (having never acted on it).

12. Motivational:  Example – straight women who have sex with other women to please their male partner who requests it for his own arousal.

13. Transitional:  Temporarily identify as bisexual while in the process of moving from being straight to being gay or lesbian, or going from being gay or lesbian to being heterosexual.

No matter what your orientation is, sexual discovery is a process.  Whether or not you agree with Dr. Little—or bisexuality in general—if you seek to understand bisexuality, do your best to meet bi folks where they are, without trying to marginalize them or  inflict a sense of “wrongness” on them for having their own experience.

Nirvana wrote a song saying, “Everyone is gay.”  Did they get that right, or is everybody really bi?  What does bisexual consciousness mean to you?  Let us know below.