Month: September 2011

Valiant One, by Jay E. Hughes


I wrote a blurb for another one of Jay’s books a while back. One of the reasons why I liked that particular book was because it really reminded me of people I know in real life. That doesn’t happen very often. And the way Jay hit each character spot on, without even knowing there are actually gay men like this, surprised me.

And Jay has another book out now. I haven’t read it yet, but I will. It’s titled, VALIANT ONE, and you can find it here, at Ellora’s Cave. And I’m sure it will be available on other large retail sites where e-books are sold.

Fred Karger: Openly Gay and Running for President


Until I received an e-mail from Fred Karger’s campaign, I didn’t know there was an openly gay man running for President. And he’s a Republican, too, shock of shocks.

Here’s a story from e-mail I received from him:


”I’m living in KY and I’m 20 years old. When I go to work each day, I fear 
that my employer may find out that I am gay and will fire me. In this state, 
it would be completely within his “legal right.”



Growing up knowing I was gay and living in such a socially narrow-minded 
society, I fell into deep depression and attempted suicide many times.



Since coming out in 2010, it has been a struggle to find my “place” in this 
world, but I am so blessed to have good people in my life who support me and 
build me up. I stumbled upon your page while researching candidates for the 
2011 presidential election, and I am over joyed for your running.

As Harvey Milk said, we have to elect gay people. For all the teens out there who will 
be watching the news, wondering if this world will ever except them or not…



Thanks for giving me a little more hope today!

”

– “Jonathan”

I’ve posted about the fact that there are, indeed, many gay people who aren’t liberal Democrats. I’ve just never given any solid examples…until right now.

I’m basically an independent, and truly bipartisan. When I write blog posts like this, I remain objective. And I’m curious to find out what Fred Krager has to say. I do know that all the hope and change we were promised in the last election…and I’m speaking collectively when I say we, not just about gays…didn’t work out very well so far for most Americans.

I also think it’s important to spread this information around the Interwebs about gay Presidential condidates like Fred Karger.

Here’s the link to Fred Karger’s web site.

I borrowed the article below, from here.

Welcome to the 2012 election where on the GOP side alone, we have an openly gay man, a woman and a Mormon running for President. Of course, a candidate’s sexuality, gender or religion shouldn’t matter. But it does, even in this day and age. However, I think because all these different types of people are running, it proves the country is making some progress. Win or lose, at least they ran and they’re shaking up the field.

We interviewed Fred Karger, who is the first openly gay candidate looking to take over the Oval Office. He doesn’t take himself too seriously, with a campaign that jokes, “Fred Who?!”. But he says he is serious about fixing the country and making President Obama a one-term leader. Karger knows he’s not a household name and he believes in this concept that many thought was dead and gone in Washington: bipartisanship.

Another Sad Bullying Story…

This is almost too painful to read. But being that I’ve been posting about bullying so often these days, I had to post this, too. Here’s the link.

Mitchell Wilson Suicide: Disabled Boy’s Death Raises Bullying Concerns
The Huffington Post Canada Ron Nurwisah First Posted: 9/29/11 12:47 PM ET Updated: 9/29/11 07:18 PM ET

The death of an 11-year-old boy with muscular dystrophy months after his assault by a bully has shined a spotlight on bullying in Canada’s schools.

Muscular dystrophy left Mitchell Wilson struggling to do simple things like walking around the block or climbing stairs. He also had to use a walker at school. Doctors had urged him to exercise regularly to stave off the disease’s effects, something that was growing increasingly difficult for the boy.

Wilson was mugged last November by a 12-year-old boy from his school. The assailant was after the iPhone Wilson borrowed from his dad. The bully was arrested and removed from the Pickering, Ont. school they both attended.

“He was never the same,” said Craig Wilson to the Toronto Star, the boy’s father and the one who found the boy’s body in his room with a plastic bag tied around his head earlier this month.

Things didn’t get any better for the young Mitchell as the court date loomed. And the bullying didn’t stop.

“Subsequent to the beating that he took, he just lost that spark you see in a kid’s eye. He had huge anxiety attacks about going outside and going for his walks and going to school by himself,” Craig Wilson told CTV’s Canada AM.

“At the cottage in July, he said, ‘If I have to go back to that school, I’ll kill myself,’” the boy’s grandmother, Pam Wilson, told the National Post.

“He was very afraid, very fearful that he was going to run into this kid again,” Mitchell’s father told the CBC.

Wilson’s death has raised fears that justice will not be served. The Crown initially feared that their case would have to be dropped because Wilson was unable to testify against his accused. But now the Crown has sought to delay a case while they prepare a written affidavit of a statement the boy made before his death. The case is now set for Nov. 21.

The alleged assailant cannot be identified due to his age but the Wilson family hopes that the alleged bully can atone for his crimes.

“He’s a lost kid. He hasn’t been loved, hasn’t been cared for. We don’t want to be a lynch squad. We want him to do community work with disabled people. All we are trying to do is help this kid understand that his life is going to be zip if he keeps on the road he is on,” Mitchell’s grandmother told the National Post.

Wilson’s father hopes that his son’s death can save some lives in the long run. “I can’t do anything for my child anymore,” he said to the Toronto Sun. “So let’s hopefully save some other people’s children so they don’t have to go through this mess.”

Are you in crisis? Need help? Find links and numbers to 24-hour suicide crisis lines in your province here.

In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or visit stopbullying.gov.

Something Scary About Facebook…

At least I think this is scary, especially the part about who I’ve “friended” and “unfriended.” Although, come to think of it, I don’t think I have anything to be ashamed of. I’d probably “unfriend” the same people in person, and politely explain why I did it. It’s almost always been because they posted too much about either politics or religion. In one case, and one case alone, it’s because another author dissed me on a comment thread. (I’d be happy to tell her to her face, too 🙂

I’ve seen a lot of people getting excited about facebook changes. And don’t get me wrong, because I do enjoy social media, I can’t complain too much. I’m usually right there in the middle of it. But I also think social media leaves a lot to be desired. You. Can’t. Be. Too. Careful.

And it’s why I’m always telling people to watch out what they put on facebook…and all social media…because once it’s out there on the interwebs it’s there forever!! When you read the part below about private messages and chats, you’ll see what I mean. Once again, I’ve always been careful in this regard. I turned off private chats years ago, and I’d be happy to show my personal messages to the Pope. I know the power of the written word and I know the meaning of the word privacy.

I just wonder if everyone understands the magnitude of this. I’ve seen a few things on social networks I wouldn’t have put out there in public.

A List of Creepy Things Facebook Will Remember Forever

Delete all you want, but Facebook never forgets. At least when it comes to your defriendings, pokes, and RSVPS, it doesn’t. And it also has a keen memory for what computers you’ve used, and who you were sharing those computers with. Your Facebook dossier can easily run to hundreds of pages, as some European citizens have learned.
Across the pond, where regulators have teeth and where corporations don’t get to rewrite the legal definition of “privacy,” citizens can force Facebook to send them a dossier of everything it knows about them. Two anonymous Europeans have shared their database dumps publicly, Forbes reports. One of them ran to 880 pages.

For a user who joined the site in 2007, dubbed “LB” by Forbes, Facebook’s data included the following:

Records of all friend requests LB rejected.
Records of the 12+ friends LB has unfriended over the years.
A list of devices from which LB logged in to Facebook, plus a list of other users on those machines. Meaning Facebook knows who spent the night at your place last night.
Records of more than 50 incoming “pokes” since 2008, including most often by a friend named “T.V.”
Some 75 event invites, along with 38 RSVPs.
A history of messages and chats.
Facebook really does have us all by the nuts. Which is why it’s comforting that the company routinely acts in the best interest of its users and their privacy, even when it means sacrificing revenue. Yay Facebook!

AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania

While we’re still waiting to see what Lady Gaga is going to do about bullying and talking to the President, I figured I’d post about the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania again. I’ve posted about them before, here. And I’ve worked closely with them first hand while helping a good friend with HIV/AIDS fight to have his long term disability reinstated.

I’ve learned that in order to get something done you have to be aggressive and proactive. And organizations like this are very helpful when it comes to getting things done. I honestly can’t praise them enough.

Below is what I’ve taken from their homepage. Here’s the link for more information.

About the AIDS Law Project
of Pennsylvania
People with HIV and AIDS may need a lawyer as much as a doctor. In fact, they sometimes need a lawyer just to get a doctor. More than three decades after the onset of the HIV epidemic, stigma, bureaucracy and ignorance still cause serious legal problems for people with HIV/AIDS. But most people with HIV/AIDS can’t afford a lawyer.

Founded in 1988, the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania is a nonprofit, public-interest law firm providing free legal assistance to people with HIV/AIDS and those affected by the epidemic. We also educate the public about AIDS-related legal issues, train case management professionals to become better advocates for their HIV-positive clients, and work at local, state and national levels to achieve fair laws & policies.

We serve the entire Commonwealth from our home base in Philadelphia and are committed to breaking the physical and linguistic barriers that often impede access to legal services. We make home and hospital visits to clients too ill to travel to our offices. Our bilingual staff serves our clients in the language they feel most comfortable speaking.

For almost 23 years, the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania has been fighting for the rights of Pennsylvanians living with HIV/AIDS. Please contact us if you would like more information or are in need of our services.

What About Gay Divorce in New York?

I’m finishing up a new m/m romance where there are several gay weddings and they all take place in New York.

There’s also a gay divorce in the book and I wanted to read up about how that’s being handled in New York. And being that straight divorce is handled differently from state to state…I know this because my younger brother went through a nasty divorce a year ago from his evil ex where he had to fight for 50% custody of his kids…I figured it can’t be any different for gay couples.

I found out gay couples have been getting “divorced” in NY since 2008, which is long before they were allowed to legally marry.

I also found out it gets complicated when kids are involved. And, as far as I can tell, unless there’s something I’ve missed, the courts are handling this case by case because there’s no actual law in place at this time.

So far, this is one thing I found:

(Reuters) – As New York’s same-sex couples head to the altar to celebrate their newly won right to marry, they can take comfort in the fact that, if it doesn’t work out, their right to get divorced in the state just got a lot easier as well.

State senators on Friday voted 33-29 to approve marriage equality legislation introduced by Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat in his first year of office. New York will become the sixth and most populous U.S. state to allow gay marriage.

“One of the so-called benefits to marriage is actually divorce,” said Ruthann Robson, professor of law at the City University of New York. “If same-sex marriage is recognized, same-sex divorce would be recognized too.”

In fact, same-sex divorce was first recognized in New York in 2008, when an appeals court found that a same-sex marriage performed in Canada could be legally recognized in New York for the purposes of dissolving the union.

But without a formal law on the books, same-sex divorce in the state has proceeded on a case-by-case basis, creating some degree of uncertainty for same-sex couples looking to undo their unions, said Bettina Hindin, an attorney at Raoul Felder and Partners, who has represented same-sex couples in New York divorce proceedings.

Since same-sex marriages are now legally equivalent to heterosexual unions, same-sex couples’ right to divorce will be rooted in New York’s Domestic Relations Law, rather than cobbled together out of court rulings and individual judges’ decisions, according to Hindin.

“A lot of things are going to be easier” with legalized same-sex marriage, Hindin said. “It’s still somewhat out of the ordinary; this will make things far more ordinary.”

KIDS STILL AN ISSUE

If same-sex couples married in New York leave the state, however, they may run into trouble getting a divorce, especially if they end up in one of the 30 states that do not recognize same-sex marriage, said Susan Sommer, senior counsel at Lambda Legal, which advocates for gay rights.

In some states, such as Wyoming, courts have found a right to divorce even absent the right to marry. In other jurisdictions that don’t recognize same-sex marriages, such as Texas, attempts at same-sex divorce have yielded mixed results.

In 2010, two trial courts in Austin and Dallas granted two separate gay couples’ petitions for divorce. The Austin appeals court upheld the ruling on appeal, while the Dallas appeals court did not, ruling that the courts lacked authority to issue divorces for same-sex couples. Both cases are currently pending before the Texas Supreme Court.

“It can be a real bind for people, trapped in this legal limbo,” Sommer said.

Still, same-sex relationships are no more susceptible to divorce than their heterosexual counterparts, Sommer added. According to a 2008 report from the Williams Institute at the University of California Los Angeles, annual same-sex marriage divorce rates were about 2 percent, nearly identical to the rate for opposite-sex marriage.

“People go into their marriages expecting everything to work out, and for the majority of people that’s the case,” Sommer said. “But stuff happens.”

One issue that remains unresolved by the same-sex marriage vote is child custody, where one partner is a biological parent but the other has failed to adopt the child.

“Money is easy,” Hindin said. “It’s the children, the truly emotional piece of the relationship, that will be coming to the forefront and have to be dealt with by statute.”