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Let Nobody Put Asunder

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2012

John R Selig

John Selig is an activist for equality and justice. He and his husband — Rodolfo — life in Dallas. John produces a widely-followed and acclaimed podcast called Outspoken. You can hookup with John on Facebook or at his personal website, John Selig Outspoken.


Warning, John is on a tear! (but I have good reason to be). I am sending this to you because you really do matter to me.

Today has been an extremely difficult day, perhaps the worst I have suffered in many years. I was part of a lay-off from my job back in November and this is far worse than that.

This morning I received terrible news from Nathaniel (my son for those of you who don’t know him) who lives in Nova Scotia. The Globe and Mail, a major newspaper in Canada, was reporting that gay couples such as Rodolfo and myself who lived in a state or country that didn’t support same-sex marriage were no longer going to be considered legally married in Canada which essentially dissolved Rodolfo’s and my marriage. We will be celebrating our eighth anniversary on April 17th. [1]

To say that I was devastated is a huge understatement. I spent the day getting out paperwork focusing on my job search while I worked hard to hold back tears.

Late this afternoon, I received a much more reassuring email Major LGBT and other Organizations (including Freedom to Marry, NCLR – The National Center for Lesbian Rights, GLAD – Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Lambda Legal and The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union). [2]

Dan Savage wrote a superb column for The Stranger, a newspaper in Seattle where he serves as editor, writes his nationally acclaimed sex-advise column and records his excellent podcast. Dan’s column was picked up by the Huffington Post and it outlines his accumulation of information on this news story throughout today. Dan is an excellent writer, speaker ad podcaster and a personal hero of mine. His language is salty for those of you reading this who might be offended, be forewarned. By the way Dan and his husband Terry started the It Get’s Better Project aimed at keeping LGBT youth from killing themselves. Thousands of people have recorded messages including many celebrities, sports heroes and even President Obama have recorded messages. [3]

 Here are my takeaways from this horrible day:

  1. I am tired of being treated like a third-class person. Rodolfo and I deserve the same rights as all other Americans.
  2. I am tired and disgusted by the hate that continues against us. I am particularly disgusted by the hateful comments from the Republican contenders for their presidential candidacy. I am disgusted that mainstream Republicans and more liberally minded religious leaders aren’t calling them on their hate speech in the media. My father and his family fled Nazi German in 1935 as Jews as others stood by and did nothing.
  3. I am tired and disgusted by the fact that Rodolfo and I, who have been together for 10 years as of last month are denied over 1,140 federal rights that legally married heterosexual couples have. Marriage needs to be recognized on the federal level and the Defense of Marriage Act needs to be overturned. It is not a state issue. No religion will or should be forced to accept same-sex marriage but marriage is a state recognition as far as rights are concerned. Religions should have no say in anything other than whether they will accept the marriages in their faith.
  4. I am tired of having to devote so much of my life to having to be an activist to obtain the same rights as other Americans take for granted. I would much rather enjoy my time with Rodolfo, read, take photographs, do my podcast, watch TV, socialize with friends, etc. I have been a gay activist for since coming out 22 years ago. It is exhausting and I have had enough.
  5. This afternoon my son, Nathaniel, told me that I have fought hard for over two decades and that I should let others take my place, that I have done more than my fair share. I told him that I know many people whom have been in this fight for over 50 years whom have done far more than I have.
  6. Unfortunately, I cannot sit back and I cannot stop. If I do that I will be powerless and this effort requires ever hand on deck – every LGBT person, every supporting friend, every family member, every co-worker, every caring person and every voter that supports us. We cannot win this battle alone.
  7. I was devastated today by this horrifying news that blind-sided me and once again made me realize just how vulnerable Rodolfo and I are, how easily any gained ground won can be instantly eroded.
  8. I realized just how easy it is for us to lose rights that we have won and how little those in power really care about us.
  9. Think of how each of you would have felt if you found out that your marriage to your spouse whom you legally married in the U.S. or elsewhere was immediately dissolved and meaningless. At the moment Rodolfo and my marriage isn’t recognized in Texas but we are legally married in Canada and in any country or state in the U.S. that recognizes same-sex marriage. How would you be feeling right now if this happened to you?
  10. I am thankful for my wonderful husband, Rodolfo Arredondo who is the love of my life. I am thankful for my son Nathaniel (the raising of Nathaniel is the greatest achievement in my life; nothing else comes even close). I am thankful for my daughter-in-law Doris who make Nathaniel so very happy and is a world-class mom. We are thankful for our grandson, Cameron, whom I wish we could see far more often. I am thankful for my amazing friends and the many people whom I know that make my life so much richer.
  11. I know people get tired of hearing me in person or reading my emails and articles or hearing my podcast comments about LGBT rights. I get tired of talking and writing about them. I get tired of hearing me. But then I read about the latest teen suicide or another gay kid bullied or kicked out onto the street.
    1. There was another teen suicide reported in today’s Huffington Post by a 19-year old teen filmmaker who filmed a video for the It Gets Better Project just a month ago. Eric James Borges was physically, mentally, emotionally and verbally assaulted on a day-to-day basis throughout his adolescence and young-adulthood. He claimed that his mother performed an exorcism on him in an effort to “cure” her son of his homosexuality before eventually kicking him out.
    2. I hear of kids being beaten up in school and nobody does anything to help them (I have appeared in press conferences with some of these kids and watched them tell their stories with tears streaming down their faces). It isn’t just another research statistic; these are real lives being destroyed. Far too many educators and far too many parents just don’t care and just don’t do something about it until it is too late if at all.
    3. vI hear that 20%- 40% of homeless youth are LGBT kids who have been kicked out of their homes just because they are gay and nobody seems to care. It is estimated that there are between 1.6 million and 2.8 million homeless young people in the United States. Remember, between 20% to 40% of these homeless kids are gay. Estimates of the percent of gay people in the country range between 2% – 10% with 10% probably too high. The largest homeless shelter in the country is the Ali Fornay Center run by Carl Siciliano who is another personal hero of min and was a guest on my John Selig Outspoken podcast. The Ali Fornay Center has beds for 120 LGBT kids and that is the largest such center in the country. Many homeless shelters won’t take in LGBT youth or make it so uncomfortable that the kids won’t stay at many centers because religious fundamentalists run them and they make demands of people staying at their centers that are anti-gay. Carl sites a recent study that kids with deeply religious parents are 400% more likely to be thrown out onto the streets than other kids.
    4. I hear that objecting to hate speech from pulpits throughout the country is interfering with religious freedom when such comments about African Americans, Latinos, Asians, Jews, women, Roman Catholics and others from the same pulpits would not be tolerated. Of course comments against Muslims still seem to be okay (but that is another rant for another time … one that I also feel strongly about). I don’t deserve equal rights if I am not willing to stand up for those of others dealing with hate.
    5. And today I hear that my marriage to Rodolfo, the person who is my life partner, who is always there for me in the good times and the bad, who makes sacrifices for me everyday, who puts up with my sick sense of humor, who watches me make an ass of myself far too often but who still loves me anyway that our marriage no longer exists and that we don’t matter.

I am tired and perhaps I shouldn’t bother with this. The Office is on NBC right now and Project Runway All Stars will be on Lifetime in less than an hour. I am in the middle of a Robin Cooks latest medical thriller and I have another podcast episode waiting to be edited. But I cannot ignore what happened today and each of you is important enough for me to share this with you. If Rodolfo and I and many millions like us stand any chance of living a life with the same rights as other Americans we will not be able to achieve this alone we will need the help of friends and family.

Thanks for being there and thanks for putting up with me. Obviously, I am still hurting. Feel free to share this with others. Rodolfo and I can’t do it alone.

Fangs — March 2, 2012

Posted: Monday, January 9th, 2012

 

Dreamspinner Press announced today that my next book — Fangs Over America — will be available on March 2, 2012.

FANGS is book four of the Vamp Camp series. It is a gay romance novel, adult oriented, but it is less explicit than some of my other fiction titles. It is my longest and funniest novel.

Fangs Over America

Brokeback Perry

Posted: Sunday, January 1st, 2012

Brokeback Perry
By Wynn Wagner

Kudos to the Dallas Voice for the best photo caption in a long time: Brokeback Perry.

Tammye Nash is the editor of this Dallas LGBT newspaper. She’s done good with it.

Civil Unions is a half-measure

Posted: Saturday, December 31st, 2011

Photo is from Diane’s Muse

By Wynn Wagner

Several states now allow what they call civil unions.

I’m happy that my gay brothers and lesbian sisters can approach equality with those born heterosexual. It’s a step, but it isn’t equality.

This isn’t a gay issue. It is a matter of religion.

My church — the Old Catholic Church — teaches that sexual orientation is not a barrier to marriage. Gay men and lesbian women can marry in the Old Catholic Church. Most priests don’t blink an eye or hyperventilate when they’re asked to perform a gay wedding. In fact, one of the oldest marriage rites we have is for two men from what we call the Orthodox Church.

The Roman Catholic Church thinks it differently. Rome’s church was established in the year 1054, regardless of their marketing attempts to claim it is the “original” Christian sect. Rome says that so-called traditional marriage is always between one man and one woman. Balderdash.

The Roman emperor Charlemagne (742-814) is considered one of the great Christian emperors. He led the Rome back when there was one Christian denomination. He was the leader of Rome when the Old Catholic Church was formed in Holland, by the way.

But here’s the thing: Charlemagne had eighteen children over the course of his life with eight of his ten known wives or concubines. He had multiple wives at the same time, and he never apologized for that. He was a Christian with a stronger claim to “traditional marriage” than anything Rome can put forward.

It’s find for a religion to define marriage however they like. If the Romists and Baptists want one-man-one-woman as their prototype, they’ll never get an argument from me. The argument comes when they try to inflict their dogma onto my reality map.

I’m not Roman Catholic. I’m not Baptist. Yet, they try to control my church.

The Bill of Rights in America says that government isn’t supposed to pass laws that restrict the free exercise of religion, but they do pass those laws. They have judges who claim to be reasonable but restrict my religion every day.

What needs to happen is this: the US government needs to get out of the religion business. My church heralds love in a diverse array. Marriage is a glorious gift.

I shouldn’t have a law that promotes rules of some johnny-come-lately churches like the Roman Catholics and the Baptists.

Bravo for civil unions! Now, can y’all stay the heck out of dogma?

Photo is from Diane’s Muse.

I’m a godless heathen, and I approve this ad

Posted: Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Gov Deep ThroatRick Perry is the guy who barely pulled off a C average at Texas A&M University and battles “Ma” Ferguson as the worst governor of Texas. He brags about how stupid he is, and he does this were others can see. The is happy to tell you he hates at least 10% of the population of the state he’s supposed to be leading. The same brain that can’t remember things he’s said, now thinks it’s a dandy idea to run for President of the United States.

The folks at Second City TV think otherwise. They have a spoof of one Rick Perry TV advertisement that’s been running in Iowa. Perry’s ad supposedly stirs up evangelicals to hate LGBTs. Perry thinks nervous natives will somehow translate into votes. I pray that Perry is wrong. Somebody who can’t even pull off a C report card in a fairly simple college program isn’t to be trusted with nuclear bombs.

Second City is hilarious and spot-on:

World AIDS Day

Posted: Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

HIV / AIDS

All I want for Christmas
is the cure
and all my friends back.

 

Mixed up Christmas

Posted: Wednesday, November 30th, 2011
Religion Professor: We need to get back to the original meaning of Christmas.
Me: Mithras?
Religion Professor: (hits me)

The airplane wins this contest 87% of the time.There was a little confusion reported in the whole concept behind a store window display in China a few years ago. I’m sure they meant well. The store celebrated Christmas by putting Santa Claus on a cross.

It was sooooo close, but really missed the point.

On the other hand, a little chaos can bring a spirit of fun to the holidays. One of my favorite holiday songs is “Christmas in the Ashram.” It was written and performed by Chris Rosser. Tom Prasada-Rao recorded an excellent cover. It’s a wonderful mishmash of ideas, like putting Santa onto a cross.

From the west to the east
They left their homes in search of peace
A transcendental mystic yogi
Took them in, he was kind and holy
California to Bombay

They travelled far to sing and pray
But on the last week of the year
Their songs became a little weird

Chorus:
Singing Om Alleluia – Hare Hare Krishna
In Excelsis Deo – Rama Bolo Rama Bolo
Gloria Gloria – Govinda Gopala
Om Noel – Jay Siya Ram
Christmas in the Ashram

The guru must be out of town
There’s tinsel in Vishnu’s crown
Someone hung a Christmas star
From one of Shiva’s extra arms.

There’s egg nog in the black spice tea
Lotus petals on evergreen
Incense burners green and red
Santa hats on shaven heads

(Repeat Chorus)

They sang Gospels and Upanishads
Psalms and Vedas praising God
Maybe Christ and Krishna are amused
When humans get a little bit confused

(Repeat Chorus)

Wynn at The Authors Guild

Posted: Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Wynn at The Authors GuildI am very pleased to let you know that most of my books are now listed at The Authors Guild.

The Authors Guild has been the nation’s leading advocate for writers’ interests in effective copyright protection, fair contracts and free expression since it was founded as the Authors League of America in 1912. It provides legal assistance and a broad range of web services to its members.

This is the organization that fights for fair contracts for writers. It takes on large corporations, such as Amazon and Google, to make sure an author’s copyright is honored.

Government Imprimatur of Marriage

Posted: Monday, November 28th, 2011

Government Imprimatur of Marriage

By Wynn Wagner

When I was a kid, divorce laws in Texas were so strict that it was darn near impossible to get un-hitched. Married couples once went to Nevada or Mexico for divorces because their laws were more lax. When the non-Texas divorce was final, there was never a question that it was a legal divorce. Get divorced in Mexico, and you were divorced everywhere.

That’s all different from the marriage apartheid that some right-wing religions are imposing on citizens. Southern Baptists and Roman Catholics don’t cotton to same-gender marriage. If their own gay members can’t marry, they say that no gay couples should marry.

It’s one thing for a religious cult to keep a sacrament or rite of passage from a minority group within their ranks. It’s quite another to let them dictate the canons for other religious groups.

These religions style themselves as “mainstream.” What they are doing is trying to weld themselves into secular government. These finaglers are trying to be the state religion. In Texas, they’ve succeeded beyond belief.

If cults like the Roman Catholics and Southern Baptists can’t control their own members, they shouldn’t be allowed to get the government to do their enforcers. No government should be the muscle for any religion what can’t keep its own membership to live withing its rules.

My church says that marriage is good. Old Catholicism teaches that we all need love, regardless of race or gender or any of the other accidents of birth. That isn’t good enough for Texas, of course.

My church says I’m married, but Texas thinks it knows more about theology than my church. New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Canada, Scandinavia, and the District of Columbia all say I’m married.

Couples can get divorced in Nevada but can’t get married in New York.

I don’t remember any Southern Baptist saying Texas should ignore Nevada divorces. Some said Nevada was immoral, but that’s different from the caustic effects of getting government to enforce your bigoted notions. If Nevada divorces were legal, then New York marriages should be legal.

This is gerrymandering morality laws.

The Buzz Kill of Coaching

Posted: Monday, November 28th, 2011

Note to coaches: it’s okay to be gay, but keep your pants zipped around kids. There are plenty of other gay coaches you can diddle.