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Liveblogging Day 4: Part V Dr. Meyer continues

Community/Meta Liveblogging

By Rick Jacobs

[Dr. Ilan Meyer, Associate Professor of Clinical Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health is continuing his testimony.]

Why Concealing Who You are because society tells you you must is “a living hell.”

Dusseault (plaintiff’s attorney) reads Paul Katami’s (plaintiff) testimony about having rocks thrown at them in a gay bar.

M: Don’t mean to tell plaintiff it’s not a big deal, but it’s not unique. Laughter. That refers to the registration that I must get used to being gay and treated this way.

M: (Looks at testimony of Stier about forms. Same point.)

2. Expectations of rejection and discrimination.

This occurs in a segment of society in which people who know that they are going to be discriminated against, first they have to guard their safety. A gay couple has to monitor their behavior, such as holding hands, because someone can throw something at them even on a safe street. You have to have a third eye monitoring the environment. It’s stressful.

M: Nothing really has to happen. The persons involved in that environment may not hold any negative attitudes. The expectation is not that this particular person may harm you, but that my behavior may trigger something with someone. Being in a job interview you have to monitor what you are saying. It’s not what they think, it’s that you expect them to think something. It’s the same here.

M: Many times people avoid situations, or swallow those situations of slurs and just move on because they don’t want to get into a fight, but the anticipation causes stress.

[Judge Walker is really interested in this. He’s just watching, with his index finger on his cheek, focused, not impatient as he got with the statistics and that style of questioning.]

M: Prop. 8 achieved the literal aims of not allowing gay people to marry, but it sends a message via the constitution that it encourages prejudicial attitudes.

3. Concealing the stigmatizing identity.

M: The concept of coping is part of the stress process. If you are in the US military, by law you have to conceal your homosexuality. You conceal so that if you are gay and in the military, you don’t get fired. They may conceal because of personal safety such as hate crimes fears, they don’t want people to recognize them as gay, may not want to go to place recognized as gay because they don’t want people to hurt them physicialloy or otherwise. Many ways this kind of concealment are stressful. All of the stress outcome is from mainstream psychological ways that this concealment may be stress.

M: Concealment may be stressful because you have to work hard on it. If you are lying, you have to work to keep lying. It’s very hard. The example of the military: you talk with your comrades about their girlfriends and boyfriends. Gay people may refer to their girlfriend when they mean boyfriend. You have to coordinate with what you said last week. It’s been described as a “living hell.”

[I have never been in the military, but how many stories about this for myself do I have? It screws you up for life.]

M: Hiding something which as a core thing about who you are is very stressful. That’s not all gay people are, but it’s a big part and they have to hide it. There’s a concept of authenticity as well.

D: Does concealment impact a gay man or lesbian’s ability to gain social support?

M: Yes. The ability people have to cope with stress is often through social support. There are also things that happen that lead to affiliation with the gay community. You get benefits from a gay pride or community center, but if you are concealing, you won’t do those things. Many health services are provided to gay and lesbian populations and welcoming environments, but people who conceal can’t benefit from that.

[UPDATE] 3:08 M: Prop. 8 sends a message that it’s very highly valued by our constitution to reject gay people.

D: Introduces testimony from Kris Perry (plaintiff). “I have to decide every day if I want to come out everywhere I go and take the chance that somebody will have a hostile reaction to my sexuality r just go there and buy the microwave… (It’s) exhausting.”

M: Yes, that’s what I was saying. The word that most jumped at me here is the word “exhausting.” Exhausting has a special meaning in stress research done by Hans Selya who studied this in animals. Animals even die from this.

4. Internalized homophobia.

M: This is a term that has been discussed a lot. A very central aspect of treating people who are troubled by whatever symptom that brought them to therapy is internalized homophobia. That means taking in the negative notions that exist in society that they have learned through socialization. It’s not just gay men and lesbians; they are prevalent attitudes. If they read the book by Ruben (Everything you always wanted to know.), then the person realizes later “I am gay.” Then the person would realize that they are that person that Ruben said they’d be. (BOY OH BOY. Did he read my past??? I’ve never talked about that part of my growing up and here it in federal court!)

M: It’s something that is akin to racism or sexism.

M: Possible self is a psychological concept that relates to something very interesting. Whoever we are is also influenced by who we might become. It helps people chart goals and life goals. It’s not super articulate life plan, but maybe just that I’ll be a mother. It’s related to what people feel right now. Having a more optimistic notion of the future makes you feel better. The opposite brings about negative feelings.

M: Internalized homophobia speaks directly to the possible self. Internalized homophobia is informed by social stigma. If you internalize that, you say this is who I will be. It’s not as simple as that, but it’s a factor. Young gay people can have very negative self-views and they can’t imagine a future at all because they have to grapple with “how I will be?” Is it true that homosexuals will be unhappy?

You have to relearn better attitudes about yourself, which is work.

[Reads Kris Perry testimony]:

“Well, I have never really let myself want it (marriage) until now. Growing up as a lesbian, you don’t let yourself want it, because everyone tells you are never going to have it.”

M: Yes, it’s the point.

[And this is what Egan sort of said before about the stats. You can’t measure what’s not possible.]

4. Health Impact on gays and lesbians.

M: Purpose of my work has been to study health outcomes. For gay men and lesbians and also bisexuals, there is a correlation between stressors and anxiety, mood and substance disorders. General distress, such as feeling “blue” or “sad.” Variety of outcomes has been studied. On the other side, we see excess smoking or drinking (for general stress as well as for gay and lesbian populations). So there is excess risk for lesbians and gays because they have the general stressors but also the ones added by being gay or lesbian and disapproved. Also, excess in suicide attempts, particularly in youth.

D: Does stigma yield higher incidence in gay and lesbian population?

M: Yes. Pretty consistent findings show excess disorder in gay and lesbian population than in general population. Not at all saying that being gay or lesbian is a disorder; saying that society’s approach to gays and lesbians, generates excess risk of disorders. Never expected that everyone who is exposed to a risk is somehow diseased. Even in areas of extreme stress such as war everyone does not get PTSD. Wanted to see if this population has more of this risk and disease.

D: Are you saying all gays and lesbians suffer from adverse consequences?

M: No. Analogy to smoking and lung cancer. People who smoke have more probability of lung cancer, but not all get it. Not all gays and lesbians are disordered, but the incidence is higher in gays and lesbians?

D: Would the disorder be less if society changed?
M: Yes. People who have more exposure to this attitude of society have more disorder. People who were not exposed as much to the stressors have less disease so less stressors would have less disease.

D: Are you familiar with two thousand ten?

M: Yes. We refer to it as healthy people twenty ten. [LOT OF LAUGHTER]

D: I stand corrected.

M: Plan for the health of the nation for the decade that ends now.

D: Section from Healthy People 2010 deals with sexual orientation. This book is a huge study and plan for how to make the country healthier. (HHS document.)

http://healthypeople.gov

“The issues surrounding personal, family, and social acceptance of sexual orientation can place a significant burden on mental health and personal safety.”

D: [Chart “A Causal Model: Social Structure and Health” that shows stress and coping resources are not randomly ascribed to people, but are due to social status/stigma.]

[Chart summarizes everything he has been saying. Everyone experiences general stress, but stigma and social status add to the stress. Look for how process affects health outcomes.]

D: Do you have a view if mental health outcomes for gay and lesbian in CA would improve if Prop. 8 were not law?

M: Yes. Consistent with my work and findings that show that when people are exposed to more stress than less stress they are more likely to get sick, consistent with a law that says to gay people you are not welcome here, your relationships are not valued vs. the opposite has significant power. Clearly it’s not the only thing that determines prejudice and discrimination, but it’s a major factor.

Judge: Let’s go a bit past 4:30 today to get back on schedule.

3:00PM –Ten minute break

Tags: ,

259 Comments

  • 1. JC  |  January 14, 2010 at 7:40 am

    Now THIS is what I wish could be televised. I am a very "out" person but I still manage the use of my pronouns….

  • 2. Michael  |  January 14, 2010 at 7:41 am

    sounds like we're getting to the real meat and potatoes of our case here… glad the Judge is listening intently!

    Not as emotional as day 2, but definitely just as identifiable, if not more.

  • 3. Barb  |  January 14, 2010 at 7:41 am

    I am very 'out' to my family and friends, but neighbors, co-workers, the checker at Safeway, I conceal.

    This I do wish for everyone to hear. This IS how so many of us live.

  • 4. Michael  |  January 14, 2010 at 7:42 am

    same here. recently i referred to my husband as "friend" in a class, immediately i wanted to kick myself and correct what i had said, but thought i would sound even more crazy restating myself.

  • 5. Rob  |  January 14, 2010 at 7:45 am

    This guy is right on target with this. I venture to say that every gay person has dealt with this in some form or fashion. Feels like the story of my life…*sigh*

  • 6. David Kimble  |  January 14, 2010 at 7:45 am

    Yes, I agree completely. I am very open and live in a very small red-neck town in California, yet I am guarded about what I say, as well and to whom I speak it too. Some of us, like me, all I have to do is open my mouth and most people have me pegged immediately.

  • 7. mp  |  January 14, 2010 at 7:47 am

    At first I thought Prop 8 was trying to hide their lies and homophobic arguments, but now I think it was maybe THIS they were trying to hide. It takes a narrow narrow mind to hear this and not feel the least bit of empathy.

  • 8. Christopher  |  January 14, 2010 at 7:49 am

    'M: Concealment may be stressful because you have to work hard on it. If you are lying, you have to work to keep lying. It’s very hard. The example of the military: you talk with your comrades about their girlfriends and boyfriends. Gay people may refer to their girlfriend when they mean boyfriend. You have to coordinate with what you said last week. It’s been described as a “living hell.”'

    I was in the military briefly and I have to agree that having to constantly lie about who you are is a "living hell." I started to develop insomnia because I was worried that people would find out that I was gay. Eventually it got to the point where I didn't like who I was becoming and came out while in the military. I was fortunate. I received an Honorable Discharge.

  • 9. Thomás  |  January 14, 2010 at 7:49 am

    It would be great if other people had access to this. It's the way most of us live our lives, and it is not a life of general acceptance. This needs to be said.

  • 10. Mark 'RikerBear  |  January 14, 2010 at 7:50 am

    I too 'conceal' now and again, but less so the older I get.
    I wear a wedding ring on my right ring finger…and am asked almost daily by patient's why my wedding ring is on the wrong finger….I responde in most cases with ' As soon as I am legally allowed to marry I will move it to where it belongs'. Oh the looks I get :-)

  • 11. Matt  |  January 14, 2010 at 7:50 am

    Something that many non-LGBTs simply could never understand is that "coming out" doesn't just happen once. Being "out" means coming out again and again and again to friends, family, co-workers, strangers… Every single time it happens can be extremely stressful, especially if there's more at stake than the person's simple approval.

  • 12. Tom  |  January 14, 2010 at 7:52 am

    I hope two big things. #1 – that the live blogging is not squashed by the other side. The line of questioning earlier today could be their path. #2 – even though this wasn't televised, there will be many articles written on it with lots of quotes that will help expand visibility of the issues worldwide. Cameras aren't the only way to get the word out. I'm sharing a lot of this stuff on FB/Twitter as well so hopefully more and more people will start reading this on a regular basis.

  • 13. Max  |  January 14, 2010 at 7:52 am

    Honorable indeed. Good on you, mate.

  • 14. Alan E.  |  January 14, 2010 at 7:54 am

    Many times I conceal because I don't want people to have prejudiced thoughts about me. Ironically, I want them to like me for my personality, but being gay is part of my personality. In classes I want people to know my thoughts about the pertinent information at hand, and I feel that if they knew I was gay, that every thought or idea I share would solely be because I am gay, not because I truly feel that way.

  • 15. Kelly  |  January 14, 2010 at 7:54 am

    Excellent, excellent point. Each time we meet someone new we have to "come out" and by doing so we relieve the original horror and stress of that first time, every time.

  • 16. Tom  |  January 14, 2010 at 7:55 am

    Well done. I love that response. I have also become much more "Take it or leave it" as I get older but the need to lie hits me from time to time depending on the safety of the situation. Happens rarely but when it does, my stomach twists into knots as I know I am not being 100% truthful. What a shitty way to live.

  • 17. Warren  |  January 14, 2010 at 7:55 am

    Exactly! This is the most important aspect of the trial and the other side knows it. These are the stories we should have made the campaign about too. If we had we might not even need this stupid trial.

  • 18. Nettl  |  January 14, 2010 at 7:55 am

    I've come out so many times I can't count them. I'm the ex-wife of a Southern Baptist minister and I'm living in Oklahoma with my partner of 10 years now. I'm very out, but I often encounter people with whom I went to college (I went to Oklahoma Baptist Univeristy), on Facebook who don't know. It's always stressful when someone from my past "friends" me on Facebook. I don't know how they're going to respond when they see my profile and realize that I'm living as an out lesbian in a committed partnership. Very difficult indeed.

  • 19. Jan  |  January 14, 2010 at 7:55 am

    I think you're right.

    Will they cross-examine Meyer? I can't see how you can go on to defend yourself after this amazing and mind-opening testimony…unless you are truly that cold-hearted and cruel.

  • 20. Jon  |  January 14, 2010 at 7:57 am

    I am so glad you are live blogging this case. I am a straight man but believe in every humans right to pursue happiness. This testimony is really eye opening to someone who has never walked in these shoes.

    I am so surprised that the judges did not allow the masses to hear this testimony for themselves. No one with a compassionate bone in their body could ignore this.

  • 21. JC  |  January 14, 2010 at 7:57 am

    Excellent point. I was reading these comments to my wife and she got very worked up. She took our car in for servicing the other day and it is registered under my name (not jointly as we used to do but only in mine because of potential FEDERAL GIFT TAX ramifications!!! Sorry I digress…). The mechanic, a very nice fellow, calls out my name. She got flummoxed about coming out to the mechanic and the entire waiting room (which is unusual for her) so she said, "No, I'm Lisa. I just take care of the car." Doh! This happens over and over and over. My favorite, though, was when she saw a new ob/gyn last week. The dr. had a very hetero-centric intake form. So Lisa put down under the birth control section, "Lesbianism." There's your chuckle for the day….

  • 22. ChadA  |  January 14, 2010 at 7:57 am

    Amen! "News Flash: Gay people are actual people with real feelings!"

    Don't want that to be too widespread on the YouTubes.

  • 23. K  |  January 14, 2010 at 7:58 am

    Having children born within the confines of my "domestic partnership" with my now wife (we are one of the 18,000 legally wed in CA), parenthood is also a daily coming out. When you have pictures on your desk of your wife and children, your coworkers ask who is the other woman in the picture with the kids, their aunt? Their cousin? I usually use partner, but mostly because no matter what I say they won't agree she is my wife. I only use wife with people I am super comfortable with, and at work, those are few. And I spend 9 hours a day here. Then there's the coming out to daycare providers, t-ball coaches, etc… and worrying…Stress indeed.

  • 24. JC  |  January 14, 2010 at 7:58 am

    Thank you. And please share with your friends and families!

  • 25. Rachael  |  January 14, 2010 at 7:59 am

    Hell, I'm not gay and I feel like I've done this. Obviously not to the same extent, but I've definitely concealed parts of my life (religious beliefs, relationship status, finances, education, political beliefs, etc) to protect myself from prejudices. I couldn't imagine hiding such a large part of myself in order to protect my job, family or life.

    I agree that this would be a great aspect of this trial to be televised! All of the discussions have been very interesting. I would love to be able to watch or even just hear this trial.

  • 26. Jan  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:00 am

    This testimony is really opening my eyes to a lot. I've always felt, as a bisexual woman, I don't share as much of the psychological burden as, say, a homosexual male, but I do have plenty more then I may have realized myself. I have constant stress over admitting sexuality to certain family members, new people who come into my life, etc., and never really realized I do.

    I still remember the first time I kissed a gf out in public…4am, dark, and no one in sight, and I was *still* paranoid and nervous someone would come out of the dark and harass us.

    This is really an amazing testimony, and hopefully opening up many, many minds today.

  • 27. DGleason  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:00 am

    I wear a ring on my finger for my partner, and I'm asked often if I'm married. I don't lie, but get quizzical looks when I say I'm not legally allowed to. Can lead to a long (and occaisonally awkward) conversation.

  • 28. Balu  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:00 am

    This blog post made me cry at work :) Thank you so much

  • 29. Warren  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:01 am

    Thanks Jon. This is life for almost every gay person. We sometimes forget how different it is for others because we get so used to it ourselves. People like you are our only hope though. Please share this with as many of your non gay and especially non accepting friends or family as you can. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of protecting the status quo, we have got to get the stories out!

  • 30. Calvin  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:01 am

    Thanks for the support Jon!!!

  • 31. Wayne  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:01 am

    Since immigrating to Canada in order to remain with my boyfriend, who is a French citizen, I have often remarked on the difference in attitude here and have never before realized what it is that made me feel so different (having come from the Northeast of the US and a very liberal town – I thought other than not having federal marriage recognition, I didn't have to cope with discrimination on a daily basis), but I realize Dr Meyer has nailed it. The little things, like being asked if we are married when we go together to fill out our taxes or health forms, and the complete lack of having to hide our lives with the expectation that harm will come from disclosing.
    In fact I have experienced the reverse. After completing a French course for immigrants, the prof thanked me for sharing about my life and expressed gratitude that the immigrants from Eastern Europe and Latin America could see that in Canada, being gay has no stigma. When the US Constitution provides equal protection and equal rights for all people, I imagine this will change in the US as well. I am very optimistic.

  • 32. Brad  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:01 am

    The point about holding hands is so dead on. My partner and I often will not hold hands for reasons of personal safety.

    We are always on guard for physical attack; more so since my partner was beaten up (and kicked in the face and eyes) in 2009 in Los Angeles by a group of young men who yelled anti-gay epithets.

    Thankfully, there was no permanent physical damage. But that incident heightened our sensitivity to our surroundings: Prop 8 essentially defined gays and lesbians as second class citizens, and that gave anti-gay thugs further impetus to attack people like my partner.

  • 33. Alan E.  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:01 am

    A major parallel to being out as gay is being out as an atheist/agnostic. Being openly religious is the norm in our society, and many atheists meet the same knee-jerk reactions as gay people. Now it's a double-whammy for gaythiests.

  • 34. Ray  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:02 am

    I was in the Air Force for eight years, long before DADT, and I could NEVER breath a word to ANYONE about being gay. It was DREADFUL, humiliating. When Leonard Matlovich came out of the closet I was standing in the Wing Commander's office when he got the news. The Armed Forces has an ENTIRE PLAN in how they were going to respond to the truly sympathetic Time Magazine article on Matlovich. But, oh God it makes the tear flood my eyes, you would not beliieve the horrible things that were said about gays and Matlovich at that time. I had to just stay COMPLETELY quite and out of the consersation. God. You just have to bury the hurt inside. It still makes me furious with myself today. I know I'd have be kicked out for speaking up and outing myself. I wanted my fucking job. So I had to just eat the hurt.

  • 35. Melissa  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:03 am

    I would kind of disagree with you. I'm also bisexual, and even though the psychological burden we may feel is different then that of a homosexual male, it can be just as stressful. I don't know how many people have accused me of just "being greedy" or "being kinda slutty" just because I happen to be attracted to both men and women. And this is a prejudice I've experienced in both the straight and gay community.

  • 36. Vaati  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:03 am

    Sharing this on facebook as well. Ought to post this in poker or on farmville, more people seem to be paying attention to that. Need to get the word out about the trial in whatever ways you can!

  • 37. Anna  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:04 am

    Wonderful response on the intake form for Lisa's ob/gyn.

  • 38. jsteven  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:05 am

    I can see the cross write now "does an alcoholic have simalar stressors? Answer only yes or no"

    This will get to the nature or nurture debate.

  • 39. fiona64  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:05 am

    I dated a guy who was closeted; he was trying very hard to be straight. When he finally came out to me, he was terrified that I would not be his friend anymore. I was offended that he would think that. Over time, our friendship drifted as sometimes happens. I was engaged to someone who is now a transwoman; he couldn't tell me why he was ending our engagement. I found out by accident 9 years after the fact; of *course* I understood. he was afraid I wouldn't.

    I brought up Stuart Matis in the context of the way that some churches treat LGBT people, specifically because the Church of LDS tells its gay and lesbian members *not* to seek out support groups. The person to whom I mentioned it said "Well, the church was his support group." They didn't get the irony at all, since it was the church's policies that led to Matis' suicide.

    I cannot help thinking how much nicer the world would be if people *could* feel safe to be "out" and who they really are. I am fully aware that this belief is naive on my part, but that doesn't stop me having it.

    I am a staunch ally for equality. Thank you for all of the hard work you are doing in blogging this trial. When funds are available, I'll be sending a little something.

  • 40. Eddie  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:07 am

    Reading this stuff about concealment is eye opening, indeed. I'm a straight guy and most of my best friends are gay. But I work in a very conservative environment and I find myself concealing my friendships (or aspects of them) on a regular basis during routine, mundane water-cooler conversations. At times, I find myself struggling for the 'correct' pronouns or phrases so as to not put myself in a position where I might become an object of office prejudice. I am by no means comparing experiences but I never considered that, by extension, I was concealing as well. This gives me a new appreciation of the strength and will of my gay friends and others out there that deal with these issues daily and on an exponentially greater level. I hope all of this can be turned around one day.

  • 41. Rachael  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:07 am

    You are absolutely right… I had never really thought about that as a non-LGBT. I guess the view of "coming out" seems like ripping off a bandaid- That once you just do it, you're done. But it's not. And I'm sure that I still can't fully comprehend the feelings because I don't and probably never will feel them for myself.

    I think after the last four days of testimony, that becomes more clear… Especially after reading this much of Dr. Meyer's testimony (and he's not even done yet!).

  • 42. Jan  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:08 am

    Oh, absolutely. And I've also dealt with the same things. I worded it kind of weird; just meant that Meyer's testimony is opening up my eyes that I am unnecessarily stricken with burden.

    It shouldn't be about who has more burden, or who isn't burdened, etc., the fact is that it is all unnecessary and we shouldn't have to conceal any part of our lives (sexual orientation or otherwise) out of fear, especially in a so-called free country with equality promised in our constitution.

  • 43. Vaati  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:08 am

    That's horrible and I'm sorry you went through that. In just a few short years I really hope that people don't have to worry about this kind of treatment to such a degree anymore. The hurt of that memory might be there to stay, but I wish you many happy ones to offset it.

  • 44. fiona64  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:08 am

    PS re: DADT — I was a DoD newspaper editor for several years. Two of my journalists were gay. One was closeted and didn't come out until after he left the service. The other came out in 1995 and was drummed out of the service — despite having won numerous awards and being held up by our boss as an example of "what all soldiers should be." The day after my soldier came out, the boss was ranting about what a jerk the kid was. When I asked what happened to 'what all soldiers should be," our boss said a bunch of homophobic things about how gay men couldn't be soldiers.

    I asked if he'd ever heard of Hannibal or Alexander … and then I walked out of the room before I said something I'd *really* regret.

  • 45. Matty  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:08 am

    I'm really thankful for the testimony regarding DADT.

    When I was 16, I had a congressional appointment to the USAF academy. This was in the years prior to DADT where recruits were both pre-screened for homosexuality and kicked out of the service whether or not they "told."

    It was also during the years that being gay was just cause for denying someone a security clearance (because the stigmatization of being gay was considered to make one vulnerable to blackmail). Chicken and egg, much?

    Even though my dad and my grandfather had both been military pilots, and my dream since age 12 had been to follow in their footsteps, I didn't go the the USAF Academy because I put being truthful ahead of pursuing a career path I'd always desired.

    Things turned out OK for me… I went to a commercial flight school and became a pilot on my own… but I still feel cheated by having to choose between being moral (and getting a lesser education) or being a liar to pursue the path I wanted to take.

    Since then, the "gays can't have security clearances" nonsense has been dropped, but DADT is still as objectionable and wrong as the "no gays" policy that preceded it.

    I hope I live long enough to see all of these injustices fixed.

  • 46. Frank  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:09 am

    My partner & I consider ourselves totally out, yet we are always on guard. We don't hold hands in public and cautiously about when we show affection with friends. Often we find ourselves "toning down" the natural intimacy that comes from a relationship.

  • 47. Pam  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:09 am

    DMV Name Change after getting married.
    Me: Can I get the form to change my name?
    DMV clerk: Sure. Did you get married?
    Me: Yes
    DMV clerk: Lucky guy.
    Me: Uhh… thanks.
    Stuff like that… everyday. All the time.

  • 48. nightshayde  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:10 am

    Straight, very-strongly pro-equal rights woman here — with tears running down my cheeks. Intellectually, I know it must be incredibly hard to come out to people if you have no idea whether they'll accept you or now (even more so if you have to deal with people you know will disapprove – or worse), yet I think it would be even harder to conceal. I can not even begin to imagine on a more emotional level what either must feel like.

    All of you who have to deal with this crap on a day-by-day basis have my undying respect.

  • 49. Gary A  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:13 am

    As a gay parent of two wonderful daughters, my husband and I are constantly coming out to everyone, we just stick out in the crowd I guess. It is very stressful but we can never shy down, we have to show our daughters that their family is valued.

  • 50. Jason  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:15 am

    This really hits home, I went with my partner a few weeks ago for a medical stress test and walked into the exam room with him and the technician asked what relation I was. I looked at him and all the previous responses to that very same question for the past 20 years ran through my head – cousin, roommate, friend, brother –

    I looked right at him and said " what are we exactly honey?"

    The technician laughed awkwardly and of course let me stay, but I still felt like crap just like all the other times I felt compelled to lie. Like when we rented a house together. The property management company wouldn't rent to 2 unrelated men and made no excuses or apologies for their policy.

  • 51. Ronnie  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:15 am

    When I was in high school I tried to kill myself 3 times because of being made fun of and told on a daily basis that I am gay. One kid even said "If you look at me you fucking faggot I'll kill you. He got expelled, that was 7 years ago and now he works at a gas station, hehehe.

    I had girlfriends in high school but always found myself staring at the guys. The captain of the track team my junior year was the guy I had a crush on since my first day of high school. He took an interest in my athletic talents and with every practice I got gayer and gayer.lol

    I came out freshmen year of college. After that I was connected to everybody in my family, I no longer felt alone and I had friends who loved me for me. But as I looked back I realized that if I had succeeded in committing suicide I would have missed a lot and now I see what that did to my family and friends.

    I don't people realize that it is not just the gay kid that hurts from these words and violence, but it is every single person that is close to them that has deal with it as well.

    My family is a highly christian one and not one believes I am going to hell and not one says SSM should be illegal.

    My cousin is a retired marine and supports me and even said he would give me away,lol

  • 52. Nettl  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:15 am

    I'm sitting here trying to keep the tears from rolling down my cheeks as I read the comments and stories that we're all sharing. And not 15 minutes ago, my boss referred to my partner as "your buddy".

    God, I feel like I've been kicked in the gut.

  • 53. Warren  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:17 am

    Get the word out please! The silence of both gay and straight people is what passed Prop 8 in the first place!

  • 54. SherylC  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:22 am

    I was also in the Air Force for a short time. Didn't realize until after I enlisted that I could fall in love with a woman. She was also in the military, so being assigned to different posts was inevitable. My stress at being separated was compounded not only by having to conceal the situation, but knowing that there was no way we could get married & thus qualify for "Join Spouse" – a program which tried to help military spouses be assigned to the same base. I finally requested a discharge, & got out with an Honorable one.

  • 55. Ray  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:22 am

    Pam, I totally get you on that one. But here's a good version. I got married on June 17, 2008 along with lots of gay people from the Palm Springs area.

    Geeze. I can't even type about it without tears flooding my eyes. It was sooooooooooooooooo wonderful. Our daughter gave us in marriage and our grandson was the ring bearer. Next to my daughter's wedding I'd say it was the happiest day of my life and the "glow" is still there. We were partners for 25 years before that great day and I'd never considered changing my name. But let me tell you what a wedding can do to that thinking.

    I wanted to BELONG to him. I wanted to wear HIS name so I'd HAVE TO tell people I was married. I by-God grabbed me marriage license and STORMED every fucking place I could to make my marriage known. Social Security was first, then DMV and, oh God, I can't think of all the place. I even went to the VA Hospital and got my name and i.D. card changed, then all my credit cards.

    You know something? Several of the people who helped me sat there and cried right along with me when I told them my story. They knew about the big day from the news reports but they hadn't met anyone who was changing their name. It was OH SO satifying to do it.

  • 56. James Macy-Simpson  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:23 am

    Wow. All the things I've never been able to articulate where someone not me could understand. Dr. Meyer's testimony reads like sections of my life. I wish the rest of the country were seeing this.

  • 57. nightshayde  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:24 am

    Oh, I do get the word out — pretty much to anyone who will stand still long enough to hear me. I still have the "Vote No on Prop 8" sign up on my cubicle wall & won't take it down until ss marriage is legal & the DOMA is repealed.

  • 58. David Kimble  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:25 am

    Thank you for sharing this story, Brad. I sometimes wonder, if America is truly the land of the free! Was happy to read there was no permanent damage, but as the testimony of this afternoon has shown – it does cause us to react differently and be more secretative in relationships.

  • 59. Ray  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:26 am

    Ronnie, I'm SO GLAD you made it through! Geeze. You story hits me hard. I remember the dispair, the thing about being rejected by my family, my friends and not have ONE single person to turn to.

    Keep hanging in there my friend. You aren't alone any more.

  • 60. nightshayde  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:30 am

    Back during the campaign, a message-board acquaintance asked me why I, as a straight woman, gave a rat's behind about whether ss couples could marry or not. I explained that I have a beautiful young daughter (she was 3 1/2 at the time), that I likely won't know for quite some time whether she happens to be gay or straight, and that I want to know she'll be able to legally marry her soul-mate when she grows up no matter what sort of "plumbing" her soul-mate might have.

    I know that I made at least that one person re-think her position on the issue that day & hope I got a few others to do the same even if they didn't say anything to me.

  • 61. Laura  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:31 am

    Goodness, I had never thought about this before. And I'm a bicurious Agnostic. =/ I'm pretty comfortable with my religious views but no one really knows about my sexuality. Granted, I don't really know about it either. But I'm afraid people will think I'm a skank or something along those lines if I come out.

  • 62. David Kimble  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:32 am

    If anyone is interested, there is an excellent movie on the subject called, "Latter Days". I saw if first on the logo channel (gay channel on DirectTV and then bought it. I used to be gay and could related to many parts of the story.

  • 63. Ronnie  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:33 am

    Thank you Ray and same to you!…. <3

  • 64. Ray  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:35 am

    Netti, I'm an Okie by birth and I was knocked over when you mentioned the "friending" thing on Facebook. I'm the same way. It haunts me to think someone from the old days is going to try and friend me. I get stressed about it.

  • 65. Matty  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:35 am

    One bit of encouragement:

    I work as a pilot for a major airline. When I was making my way up through the ranks (flight instructor, then cargo pilot, then commuter pilot), I hid being gay. I didn't outright lie, but I was careful with my pronouns and just deflected "relationship" topics as quickly as possible.

    I finally gave up on this. Now I'm just 100% up-front about it with other crew members that ask me a question like, "are you married?" or other relationship banter.

    "Are you married?"

    "No, but my boyfriend and I have been together for eight years. We might get married if it ever becomes legal. I think I'd like that."

    *silence*

    (and here's the good part)

    90% of the time, this turns into a genuinely honest discussion. Sometimes my F/O comes out to me as soon as they hear I'm gay. More often than not, they're straight but practically gush at the opportunity to talk about the whole "gay" thing with someone that is open about it. Like they've had bottled-up questions for years, but have been afraid to ask.

    Lesson learned: I wish I'd come out and been frank and honest a heck of a lot sooner.

    Sure, some people are going to react negatively (the worst I've had so far has been silence — with no expressed animosity)..

    That said, I think it's been hugely valuable to be an open gay person in someone else's life. Especially in a setting where the person who learns this has been down the same (in this case: career) path. It changes an abstract perception of "the gays" to one of personal reference.

  • 66. fiona64  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:40 am

    Thank you for being here, Ronnie. There are lots and lots of people who care. Some of us are just pixels here on a screen, but we care anyway. :-)

  • 67. Gary A  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:41 am

    For all of us married gay Californians, stop saying you are one of the 18,000 married in CA, we are 36,000 Californians, not 18,000
    I think it is important

  • 68. Alan E.  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:42 am

    That is the best response I have ever seen for a response!

  • 69. Ray  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:43 am

    Gary, I can really relate. My partner and I raised a daughter from infancy. She's 32 years old, married and we are grandparents and boy-oh-boy, you just have to come right out since you have a kid who loves you and depends on you as an example of honesty. Yeah, it is very hard to do at time but you are right on the mark that you have to show your kid that you value your family.

  • 70. Pam  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:44 am

    Amen!

  • 71. Alan E.  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:44 am

    I have heard friends who have been told the same thing. It's even worse for women I feel because many people feel that it reinforces the "slut" persona.

  • 72. K  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:44 am

    @Gary, one of 18,000 COUPLES was the intent of my statement. More correctly, I am a partner in one of the 18,000 marriages that occurred. Are we really going to bicker over THAT?

  • 73. George  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:46 am

    As a straight person, I can only try to understand what it must be like to be gay. Nonetheless, I don't see how allowing gay people to marry is going to relieve their burden, which is not so much a function of being entitled to participate in historically heterosexual institutions as much as it is feeling different because they are different from the vast majority of the rest of the population.

    Not to mention the additional animus that will be created when currently married heteros will have to specify whether they are married to a man or a woman because of this new category of married folk. It calls to mind those handicapped parking spaces that were lobbied so hard for that are never used. Careful what you wish for.

  • 74. JC  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:49 am

    Awesome. And thank you.

  • 75. Gary A  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:50 am

    I just fell like 36,000 is the right number, people should know how many of us there are. not bickering

  • 76. David Kimble  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:51 am

    oops, I meant I am STILL gay!

  • 77. Gayle Madwin  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:52 am

    I don't think this is a really a very good parallel. I've occasionally experienced negative reactions to my being an atheist, but being an atheist is a relatively easy thing to hide. Having a spouse or partner of the same sex is an extremely difficult or even impossible thing to hide – and even if you don't currently actually have one, it is still massively stressful to anticipate having to hide such a thing in the future. Additionally, the difficulty of coping with homophobia causes LGBT people to congregate for social support or political activity to a considerably greater extent than atheists or agnostics do. The majority of LGBTpeople have been involved to some degree in either LGBT rights activism or LGBT social activities, or have at the very least read LGBT-themed books or newspapers or watched LGBT-themed movies or TV shows – all of which become additional aspects of one's life that one must constantly decide whether to conceal from each individual person in one's life. By contrast, the majority of atheists or agnostics have never been involved in equivalent atheist/agnostic political activism or social activities, and may never even have read atheist- or agnostic-themed books or newspapers or watched atheist- or agnostic-themed movies or TV shows.

  • 78. nightshayde  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:52 am

    Did you REALLY just compare "equal rights" to "handicapped parking places?"

  • 79. JC  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:52 am

    Wow. Like handicapped parking spaces that are never used? You are clearly fully abled, except I'm thinking a little bit blind. I hope you never need those parking spaces and I hope you never experience the pain of having your hopes and dreams VOTED on.

  • 80. Steffi  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:53 am

    OMG this is fucking great! there's also a dose response rate in discriminationd and adverse outcome! what a great testimony! I love that guy 😀

  • 81. Carl E.  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:55 am

    George, please read over all of this afternoon's testimony. The fact of being different is not the issue. The stigma attached to being different is the problem.

    I'm not sure in which situations the currently married heteros would have to specifiy the sex of their partner, or at least how this could happen so often as to become a burden, much less a source of animus.

  • 82. Terri  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:56 am

    The sad thing is that they are that cold-hearted and they are that cruel. Listen to a Rick Warren speach, go to a Calvary Chapel, sit in a pew on any given Sunday and you would know that they really are all that.

    Racists, bigots, christians, don't live in a world that extends past their beliefs. They are the center of their worlds and the rest of us circle around them. They sling their barbs at anyone who does not belive what they believe and they coat it in sugar when they say they are "saved" and we are the sinners.

    They cover themselves in ignorance and call it gods love. I almost feel sorry for them.

  • 83. fiona64  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:56 am

    Um, George? I am curious, as a straight married woman, what part of "equal protection under the law" is so hard to understand?

    Why should law abiding gay couples be denied access to an institution that hetero felons can take advantage of? Why should *I* have access to an institution by the accident of biology that made me straight that my gay and lesbian friends cannot enter into because that same accidental biology rendered them gay?

    The real bottom line, though, is that a slippery slope has been created in which *any* unpopular group's rights can be put up for a vote. What's next, a ballot to make it unlawful to practice Islam (I shouldn't be a bit surprised, with as much anti-Muslim rhetoric as I see in the media nowadays), or perhaps a ballot to repeal women's suffrage? The latter is much more analagous, since Prop 8 took away rights.

    I'm just curious about what you might have to say about these issues.

  • 84. M S  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:56 am

    Amen, everybody! Some of the most frustrating conversations I've ever had with well-meaning straight people, many of whom are true friends and faithful allies, have revolved around the Coming Out Conundrum.

    "Why do you have to tell everybody all the time? Why can't you just let people get to know you first, THEN come out once you're sure they like you and are comfortable with you? Why does it have to be the first thing? *I* don't have to announce my sexuality everywhere I go…"

    Some people truly don't seem to understand that making a conscious choice NOT to talk about it creates at least as many problems as it solves. Even if I vow that it won't be the FIRST thing I talk about, or even the most important, I still have to choose whether it will be the second or the eighth or the NEVER! At that point, I also have to decide how much of myself I need to purge from public view in order to avoid the giveaways and tell-tale signs– pronouns in my speech, pictures in my wallet, bumper stickers on my car, jewelry, clothing, the books and media I read or discuss, the neighborhood I live in, the places/events I admit to having visited or attended, much less enjoyed! There are so many decisions to be made or unmade, it's dizzying– and they're almost never a consideration for straight people, even in their most self-conscious moments.

    Take the car seats out of the car before I leave for work just so my coworkers won't know I have kids? Whatever! Avoid wearing green or reciting limericks so nobody will suspect me of being Irish? Ehhh!

  • 85. Steffi  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:57 am

    thing about marriage equity: no one gives a damn about who you're married to! and IF you'll be asked well be a proud Husband and tell the world that you're married to the (hopefully) most wonderful woman in the world. this'll also give straight guys some more opportunity to give their wifes compliments 😉

  • 86. Anna  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:00 am

    Why would a form ask for a spousal sex? Wouldn't it just be "married" and then people who were same-sex could check the same box, end of story?

    And as a handicapped bisexual woman who can never find a parking space when I go grocery shopping on the weekends…I'm still trying to figure out just what, exactly, you're trying to say here. If you're grumpy because you can't park as close as I can, think about this- I would rather be healthy than have to use one of those spaces. I would rather not be in pain when I walk. I am, however, so I do use one. I also get dirty looks because I'm young and handicapped. There's stigma for being handicapped, too, and yes, it sucks.

    Again, my right to function in society as a handicapped individual is an equal rights issue, not a special right, which seems is what you are a saying a close parking space when I can't walk that far happens to be.

    Gay marriage is also an equal rights issue. LGBT people deserve to be able to function as equals in this society as well. Marriage isn't a special right, it's an equal access right.

    My advice to people who don't like that they have to walk farther? Deal with it, I was made this way. My advice to people who don't like gay people being able to marry? Deal with it, I was made this way.

  • 87. Oregon  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:03 am

    George, I respectfully ask you to look at your statement and replace "gay people" with "black people" and "historically heterosexual institutions" with "historically white institutions". Get the picture now?

  • 88. Anna  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:04 am

    What some people just don't get is that straight people talk about it all the time- it's usually one of the first things they say in an introduction. "Hello, my name is __, I have a wonderful husband/wife and __ beautiful kids…." Think about how people introduce on television, in interviews, in classes, etc. Straight people do tell it all the time…all that we want is for everyone to be able to do the same thing and not experience hatred because of it.

  • 89. Steffi  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:06 am

    That's why I always express my hopes that one day gay's don't have to come out anymore. that it will be as natural as for straights. that it's just as much a natural every day part of a gay person that flows in in whatever one's doing as for a straight. that no one needs to declare his/her sexuality anymore cause it'll be evident from the pictures, the tales one tells and everything just as same for straights and gays.
    Actually I as straight wanna give a sign to how stupid it is to have to declare your sexuality. I am gonna go and come out to all family members and friends as straight. lets see how they digest it and get into vonversation with them about the topic of discrimination of gays. maybe you wanna join?

  • 90. rpx  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:06 am

    You have posted a deeply meaningful post. The wing commander, huh? And you were right there and had to stuff it. I hope you have someone special in your life now and have many many positive memories and experiences to offset the one you wrote about.

  • 91. Laura  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:08 am

    The Atheists and Agnostics I know, myself included, are all very interested in media that accommodate their beliefs. And many people in the LGBT community are not socially active because they are afraid of coming out in the first place. I'm not saying that Agnostics and Atheists face more pain and turmoil than the LGBT community, but I'm not saying the reverse either. Let's not undermine anyone here.

  • 92. Steffi  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:09 am

    good reply! thanks for sharing!

  • 93. Kevin  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:09 am

    I wonder if having to declare "troll" on websites causes stress?

  • 94. B.  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:10 am

    This testimony made me cry. In my day-to-day life, off of the internet, I'm still closeted to just about everyone regarding my bisexuality. It is exhausting, absolutely, but I know things will get better. I don't plan on being closeted forever, not at all. I just wanted to leave my mark and say this trial means a lot to me.

    I live on the other side of the country, and I don't have a girlfriend. I'm a junior in college, so still pretty young (and part of why I'm closeted. I'm very certain of my bisexuality, but I can see where someone might feel it's a phase of some kind). I feel kind of humbled, watching this going on knowing that there are couples who have been together for decades watching too.

    I've been quietly researching the trial while my family remains oblivious to it. I can't keep my eyes off it. This really should be on TV. This -really- should be on TV, and it's disappointing every time I hear the news to learn -nothing- about it. And this testimony, about concealing, hit really close to home, for me.

    Thank you so much for continuing to post these transcripts. I'm wishing everyone the best, from out here in RI. <3

  • 95. Anna  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:11 am

    I came out to my mother as bisexual and never really thought much of it, but she told me that she was too, after I told her.

    I would love to see a day when it really didn't matter what sexual orientation a person was, because it wouldn't matter- people are people, after all.

    It would be interesting to see how families reacted to people coming out as straight.

  • 96. A Mom  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:13 am

    My heart is breaking as I read the testimony and comments this afternoon. Memories of consoling & comforting my now-grown tearful son after verbal attacks in elementary school; confronting bullies and their parents after physical attacks; hoping that *someday* my dadt dtr will not have to live in a shroud of secrecy. Stress? It effects an entire family. Telling my kids to "be safe" when they leave home has an entirely different meaning.

    How loud do we have to shout? GLBT's are no different than anyone else. They are wonderful, loving, caring human beings who deserve respect, the opportunity to live their lives and enrich the lives of others, and receive the same human/civil rights of all.

    I love my kids and am so proud of the caring, intelligent, amazing people they've become. Please give them the opportunity to live their lives to the fullest without persecution and discrimination. I so look forward to one day dancing at their weddings! xo

  • 97. Jane  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:14 am

    Me too. xo

  • 98. Balu  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:15 am

    Thank you

  • 99. Anna  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Hang in there, @B. I hope you find a time soon when you feel safe about coming out.

  • 100. Gayle Madwin  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:18 am

    George, you're clearly not trying hard enough to understand.

    I'm different from the majority of the population in being an atheist, too, but having people look disapprovingly at me is nothing compared to having my wedding called off by Prop 8.

    Additional animus because those poor suffering married heteros might have to make the huge effort of checking an extra box? Bring it on.

  • 101. Brad  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:18 am

    That's good, Oregon. Here's what the statement would say:

    As a white person, I can only try to understand what it must be like to be black. Nonetheless, I don’t see how allowing black people to marry white people is going to relieve their burden, which is not so much a function of being entitled to participate in historically white institutions as much as it is feeling different because they are different from the vast majority of the rest of the population.

    Not to mention the additional animus that will be created when currently married whites will have to specify whether they are married to a white person or a black person because of this new category of married folk. It calls to mind those handicapped parking spaces that were lobbied so hard for that are never used. Careful what you wish for.

  • 102. A Mom  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:19 am

    Hi Steffi — I'm a middle-aged straight woman, how they hell are ya? Maybe I'll start wearing a name-tag! Do you think they'd lock me up?

  • 103. Alexa  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:19 am

    Years ago, in the mid-1990s, I found myself falling into a relationship with what had been a close female friend. She was a single mother, comfortable in her sexuality, with a wonderful young son. I was not out to my family for the not-ungrounded fear of being excluded, and not out to my workplace because it was an unfriendly environment for anyone who wasn't heterosexual.

    We loved each other, but when she would visit my work she was just 'my friend'. When we were out in public we never engaged in any contact aside from an occasional touch on the arm.

    It had been difficult for me, as a woman, to get the job I had… one where I was being paid well, and if I'd had a spouse they would have gotten health benefits and so on.

    This is all rather difficult for me to type up, so I apologize if it's a little unfocused. Anyway, in the end it was emotionally difficult for her to constantly go unacknowledged as the love in my life. She felt this kind of furtive relationship was a bad example for her son, that he needed to see that when two people loved each other, and were committed to each other, that they should never be ashamed of it. And she was right.

    But like a fool, I still didn't want to come out because I was afraid I would never be able to support them with a lesser job–or so I rationalized to myself. I lost my love because I was too much of a coward to face my family and workplace and the public.

    It is years later and I still think about her, and how stupid I was to treat her like a shameful secret rather than the beautiful, vibrant and wonderful woman and mother she is. I miss her and I miss the boy who should have been my son.

    I will take this regret with me to the grave.

  • 104. fiona64  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:23 am

    (((Alexa)))

    This is the kind of story that makes me wish that everyone felt safe to be out. Just think how much heartbreak could be avoided?

  • 105. Jane  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:28 am

    Totally! All of this is so refreshing to read; I'm not alone. It just feels that way sometimes.

  • 106. Anna  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:29 am

    If I could hug you right now, I would.

    *HUG*

  • 107. Rachel  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:29 am

    We should have someone copy all this testimony and blog comments in one large document so that we can still have this information should they try to hide this as well?

    Asking about destroying the tapes has me worried… Why would they want that? This is a legal proceeding on somethings constitutionality!

  • 108. Mark 'RikerBear  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:30 am

    I am glad you failed in your attempts Ronnie! I too tried that twice while in my teens….I didn;t want to grow up to be one of those funny talking funny walking chi9ld molesters Hollywood, the media, and society at large said I would grow up to be.
    I am thrilled to have survived and to have proven everyone wrong….as I know you are too
    Big hugs my friend

  • 109. Deb  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:33 am

    As a very, very closeted person living in a rural, heavily religious area in Arizona, I could truly relate to this line of testimony.

    In the lead-up to the California, Arizona and Florida ballot initiatives, you wouldn't believe the hateful rhetoric in the newspapers and in public places, like grocery stores. Business associates and friends were very busy spreading around their "anti-gay" ballot and those who suspected my orientation had the nerve to ask me to help campaign.

    One supposed friend, who knows my orientation, told me about holding a Prop 102 sign in front of her post office box and about the audacity of a gay man for telling her she was hateful. She told him, "I have a gay friend [referring to me], so I don't hate." In her world, I am fine as long as I am very closeted and never, ever have a relationship. But knowing me as a "friend" / novelty item is also an excuse to say "I don't hate gays." This is supposedly "God's special challenge" for us.

    I thought about committing suicide many, many times during 2008 because of being such a "piece of sh__" excuse for a human being. Even writing this brings a crushing feeling to my chest and tears to my eyes.

    People who trounce their religion to justify discrimination have no idea what it is doing to us. If the creator of the entire universe hates us so, how are we to "love one another as ourselves" as the bible command? Discrimination is one thing; discrimination from a religious point of view that makes you question your very soul and reason for being is another.

    The most compassionate, reasonable people that I have met are atheists, agnostics and the "spiritual but not religious crowd." I'm sure there's compassionate religion out there, but it has not been a part of my experience.

  • 110. Steffi  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:34 am

    to all people posting comments here on this great site: just wanted to say you're awesome guys. we have been a growing familiy here since the first day of trial and we consist of a great great variety of persons straight and gay young and old US citizen or other, black and wite and even some "conservatives" and most of you guys are contributing so great comments!
    so having given a lot of praise to the bloggers now I wanna thank you all! for great new think peaces, for sharing your stories and for providing valid backround information! you're great! love you for it!

  • 111. Terrie  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:35 am

    As the mom of a gay son these stories break my heart. No one wants their child to endure these anxieties and fears. When I am out with my son and his husband I feel afraid for them. I hear people say, "Check out those fags", "Hey Queers, go back to Hillcrest", etc. They will just be walking down the street. I cannot imagine how it feels to be the constant recipient of hateful barbs. Prop 8 institutionalized bigotry – we make no mistake about that.

  • 112. Ronnie  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:35 am

    If anybody wants proof that homosexuality in genetic and/or hereditary they should look at my family.

    Me – Gay (25)
    Sister – Bisexual (31)
    3 Male Cousins – Gay (28, 27, 19)
    1 Female Cousin – Bisexual (18)
    1 Aunt – Lesbian (54) ex heterosexual marriage with 2 children 1 being a Gay son.
    1 Uncle – Gay (HIV Positive) Died in 1992

    My family has been in this country for 7 generations since just one year after the Declaration of Independence was signed we have had 4 generations with known homosexuals.

    If that is not proof then I don't know what it………LMAO!

  • 113. Steffi  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:36 am

    same here, feel virtually hugged!

  • 114. Terrie  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Deb, my heart goes out to you. Sadly, I concur with your observations. Makes me want to scream.

  • 115. Steffi  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:39 am

    oh of course you were all being recruited 😉 (since this what gays do to reproduce) (kidding of course)

  • 116. Jane  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:42 am

    I love it Ray!

  • 117. Jane  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Thank you.

  • 118. fiona64  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Hi, Deb. I am so sorry for what you went through.

    I walked away from Christianity for many years, because the church I attended told me that I could not love my best friend because he was a gay man. (Okay, it was just one of the reasons … but it was at the top of the list.)

    I went to a "No on Prop 8" rally in 2008, and met an amazing man who helped me come back to church. He is the pastor of our local Metropolitan Community Church congregation. His remarks were so kind and loving that I told him he almost got me to come back to church — and he asked me where he fell short. He invited me to attend MCC, where *everyone* is welcome, LGBT, questioning, straight … whatever.

    Please see if there is a local MCC for you; http://www.mccchurch.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=…. I don't evangelize, generally speaking, but it just seemed like some information you could use. I have made some true friends in the congregation, who have been there for me in times of darkest need. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

  • 119. truthspew  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:44 am

    All my friends and family know I'm gay. And to them it's not a big deal.

    But Meyer brings up some very good points. I actually enjoy reading his testimony because he puts it so well. And the fact that the judge seems to enjoy it too kind of indicates that we might have a winner here.

  • 120. B.  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:45 am

    That's awful. No one deserves treatment like that from their "friends", no matter what their orientation is. :(

    I'm happy you've hung in there thus far. Hold on, Deb. I hope people who understand you come your way.

  • 121. Jane  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:47 am

    Ditto fiona64. I may just be bunch of pixels but I support and care about Ronnie! Live long and laugh often.

  • 122. Alexa  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:47 am

    Thank you, everyone, and I mean that sincerely.

    I will make another confession: After I destroyed this relationship with the woman I could have happily spent my life with… grown old with… I never cried about it. I just pulled myself together and moved on. I even had two relationships after this, both with men, I guess trying to feel 'normal'. They didn't work out.

    After I typed up my story, however, I sat back and cried so hard I was dizzy for several minutes after the tears subsided. Just thinking about the life I gave up, the wonderful life I could have had with my own little family, the pain cuts to my very soul.

    But having unburdened this, I actually feel a lot better, and more hopeful. Thank you for letting me share this.

  • 123. fiona64  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:49 am

    Should add that MCC is commonly thought of as a "gay church." I actually asked if it was okay for me, as a straight person, to attend. That's when I was informed that *everyone* was welcome. I'm so glad I went that first time.

  • 124. Ronnie  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:51 am

    Awe you guys……. Big http://WWW…..XOXO…. To think I would have missed out on Bride Wars….lol

  • 125. Jane  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:52 am

    Very well stated! Thanks!

  • 126. michael  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:53 am

    For those that are not aware:

    The United States Air Force Academy is located in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

    Know what else is there?

    James Dobson and Focus on the Family.

    Ted Haggard and New Life Church (though Ted is starting up a new one now that he was booted out for using a male prostitute and meth; but for some reason he hasn't felt the need to apologize to the gay community – and the straights are following him like the Pied Piper).

    And dozens upon dozens of other evangelical churches are located in Colorado Springs.

    So not going to the AF Academy, you probably saved yourself a ton of stress.

  • 127. Ron  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:56 am

    The same thought occurred to me.

  • 128. Jane  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:56 am

    It's so sad, I'm sitting here crying… I can absolutely see how that could happen. Hugs and love.

  • 129. Brad  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:56 am

    Interesting that you mentioned MCC. I'm not a member, but I'm on an MCC email list. Yesterday, MCC's Los Angeles church sent an email.

    Now, MCC performed many gay and lesbian marriages in 2008, and there is, well, a big Prop 8 trial underway :-)

    So what was the subject of MCC's email yesterday? Here's the header: "Metropolitan Community Churches Calls for Emergency Action to Support People of Haiti."

    Interesting to compare MCC's "agenda" to some other major churches' "agenda."

  • 130. Anna  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:58 am

    Experiences like yours are the reason that I want to smack any and every person who tells me that they love the sinner and hate the sin regarding LGBT folks. They just don't get how hurtful it is when they call something that is core to our being a sin. That's like saying being green eyed is a sin. We can love you, but not the fact that you have green eyes. We can love you, but not the fact that you're not straight. Makes me want to run over and smack the folks who say that and ask them what part of loving each other that Jesus talks about is so hard to understand.

    Hang in there. No matter what anyone tells you to the contrary, you are valuable, you are amazing, and you are worth something to somebody out there, including every one of us here- I know you don't see us in your everyday face-to-face life, but we're here and we all support each other because that's what a community does. We actually get this loving one another concept.

    I agree with you that the most compassionate folks I know are the deists, the non-theists, and the folks who think that there's something out there, but they don't need to know what- oh, and my pagan friends. They rock, too. I think that organised religion really is used more for the detriment than for the good- I wish someone could prove me otherwise, but with all the people who use LGBT folks as their token gay friend to prove that they can't be haters, I just haven't seen it any other way.

  • 131. George  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Funny, I was going to use the Black/White example myself. Blacks have come a long way to being accepted in white society, but giving them marital rights wasn't what made them accepted.

    By the same token, I think gays are on the road to acceptance, but any perception that "poof, now we can get married so everything will be better" is going to result in a lot of disappointed gay people. It's one thing to be different by color, it's another to be different in what is perceived to be an abnormal attraction. Straight people view gay marriage with a wink; unfortunate, but true.

  • 132. Anna  |  January 14, 2010 at 10:00 am

    I have never heard of MCC churches. Looking at their list, the closest one is an hour away. Bummer.

  • 133. George  |  January 14, 2010 at 10:04 am

    I understand the arguments, and I'm not saying I disagree. I'm just saying that gays getting married is not going to solve their stress problems because the issue is the lack of acceptance of gays, and marriage will not bring acceptance. That's all.

  • 134. Ronnie  |  January 14, 2010 at 10:06 am

    That is not a link people…..lol it means Big world wide web xoxo………hehe

  • 135. Brad  |  January 14, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Thanks for your posts, George. It's good to see posts from everyone–straight, gay–and to see a provocative, engaging, challenging discussion.

  • 136. michael  |  January 14, 2010 at 10:26 am

    The POINT, I believe, is that the sex of your spouse should NOT matter.

    So why does anyone feel the need to ask?

    Isn't that what equality is all about?

  • 137. Tigger  |  January 14, 2010 at 10:45 am

    I am out to everyone including my family. Just today, before I read this, I was having lunch with a former boss and a colleague (both Libreral Berkeley grads) and my knee jerk reaction was to refer to the boyfriend that I lived with as my buddy..and then I proceeded on with my story. And this is after my former boss and I had already discussed our support for gay marriage in 2005. Crazy!

  • 138. Steffi  |  January 14, 2010 at 11:03 am

    @A Mom (if you ever gonna read this since we are on a new part) I am 24 and I think they would not lock you up but ask you about it and thus you could come into a conversation with them and maybe raise awareness. like with wearing the white knot

  • 139. Another Ray  |  January 14, 2010 at 11:05 am

    A voice from MA … been able to be married for 5 years, now 30 years together

    … "this", all of you and the trial, is an absolutely amazing event!

    In 2004, I never thought I see the day I could get married, and now, in 2010, I am seeing something else that I never thought I'd see … all of America* finally being told what it's like to be 'closeted'.

    *as in ALL AMERICANS! … Straight & GLBT! …they are telling us things we didn't even realize about ourselves!

    AMAZING!!!!

  • 140. Tori  |  January 14, 2010 at 11:16 am

    Sometimes you just have to lie, even if it is stressful. My father still doesn't know… I'm honestly afraid that if I do tell him that he would beat the crap out of me. I haven't told my extended family either for fear of their reactions. I grew up in a relatively small rural area and being gay in Kentucky is like being black at a kkk meeting… the term run always pops into your head. I've always had to lie, for fear of violence. I've even seen a gay girl pushed down stairs for standing up for herself.

  • 141. Jo  |  January 14, 2010 at 11:19 am

    I just want to say that all your comments are outstanding. And I have been truly touched reading them all. I live in Massachusetts, where marriage is legal. But that doesn't help when you go to another state. I am hoping that this case being at a federal level will actually get us somewhere.
    I can identify with a lot of your 'constantly coming out'. Just recently I have been friended by people I went to school with and, as much as I say I don't care who knows, I hesitated every time before accepting their request.

  • 142. Alexandra  |  January 14, 2010 at 11:21 am

    I was thinking the same thing. This testimony and all the comments (as well as all the other testimony/comments on other organizations' and individuals' websites/blogs) need to be quickly gathered and saved both on a secure site AND printed out. The printouts should be bound on acid-free, archival material and placed in numerous LGBT archives around the United States. Historians, social scientists and legal scholars will look to these materials one day when studying this moment in our nation's history. This is bigger than just LGBT history.

    – Lesbian who would like to legally (Federally) marry her partner of 10 years (married in 2004 in a Reform Jewish religious ceremony).

  • 143. Leslie  |  January 14, 2010 at 11:43 am

    I'm another of the 18k, but we live in Delaware where our marriage in CA is actually a criminal offense here. Nevertheless I have started to use "spouse." it was hard at first — from my fears of what people would say — but now, even in this conservative area, I just SAY IT. It's very freeing. I hear you on the kid thing, too. My Spouse and I are raising our 3yo granddaughter full time, and while I'm not the biological grandparent, I'm basically her primary parent — and, ironically, the one who looks more like her than anyone else, including her mom. I have honestly found that the more matter-of-fact I am — not "in your face" nor apologetic or uncertain, just simply as mater of fact as any straight person would be mentioning her husband — the less issues I face.

  • 144. Jeff  |  January 14, 2010 at 11:46 am

    Sadly, my partner and I never learned to be affectionate in public, and we're not – except one or two days a year (Pink Saturday in the Castro, Pride).

  • 145. Leslie  |  January 14, 2010 at 11:50 am

    I'm blown away by the references to "Everything you always wanted to know about sex." I was 12 when I read that book (taken from my mother's night stand) and it seriously scarred me. I wish I had an original edition to check because my memory (from 1971) is that it said that first of all, Lesbians don't really exist but those few that do are most likely to end up being prostitutes. Ohhhhhhkay. Literally from that MOMENT forward, for the next ten years I was terrified — to the point of serious anxiety attacks — to be without a boyfriend, because if I didn't have a boyfriend, someone would find out my secret. And in order to keep this front, with barely a few day's gap, I had to accept as "boyfriend" anyone male who was willing to be with me, which resulted of course with my being with guys who abused me verbally, emotionally, sexually, and physically. I chose to be sexually assaulted by a "boyfriend" who didn't understand that no meant no over risking being seen as gay. I often wonder how my path might have varied had I not read that book.

  • 146. Bill  |  January 14, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Indeed he did.

    Indeed.

    He. Did.

    Um.

    Wow.

  • 147. Bill  |  January 14, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    Yooz fokz be wurshuppin' the debil.

    The debil, I tell ya!

  • 148. Bill  |  January 14, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Tori,

    You are probably young and scared. So many of us have been there. You aren't alone at all.

    More importantly, it won't always be this way. You can live a life where you don't have to lie. You can. It may take leaving Kentucky and moving to a more accepting place, but if you want to live freely, there are places you can live that will allow you to be who you are. I can't believe I just said those words about the country I live in, but reality is reality, ain't it?

    Hang in there. If you truly don't feel safe where you live, you should consider leaving if you can. It is scary, but i did it. I moved from a very, very small town to New York City for a decade. Now I've been in Los Angeles for nearly 2 decades. Mostly I feel old, but was completely able to live lie-free in both cities. Trust me, it's way better. The lying will eventually eat away at your soul until you break. These days, there are supporrt systems available to you so that you don't have to break.

    Good luck. Remember you aren't alone. Be safe.

  • 149. Tori  |  January 14, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    I'm very glad I never read that book or I'd probably still be afraid.

  • 150. Ronnie  |  January 14, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    I don't know if that comment was to me, but if it was I will reply.

    My family doesn't believe in the devil, not one person. Not even those who are strict Christians, We believe that being gay is all apart of nature same as heterosexuals who cannot reproduce. You cannot worship a fictional boogie man if you don't believe he existed/exists. Nice try though!

  • 151. Greg Howell  |  January 14, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    So many comments beautifully stated here today, there is little I can write to embellish. I have been most struck by the mass acknowledgment of the pain and difficulty of hiding one's true self, and the process of coming out never truly ends. I am a completely out man, but daily, i must face the possibility that somehow, somewhere, someone new will come into my life. Maybe in business, maybe through family and friends, and each time I am face to face with them, a part of me wonders "do they know, will they care, will they think untrue, hurtful thoughts about me." And from that discomfort, small white lies are released, to my own surprise.

  • 152. Janet  |  January 14, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    @Michael, #3.
    Since my wife and I got married for the second time last year (the first time was 18 years ago) I refer to her as "spouse." I didn't like "partner" and I never did use "lover," since we did marry each other. It's so much easier to say spouse in mixed company (straight folks and gay). In those cases I do make sure I use the pronoun "she" somewhere in the conversation.

    In lgbt groups I just say "wife." Oh, and my wife doesn't like that term so much, but she's getting used to it.

  • 153. bbock  |  January 14, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    I know what you mean. I always feel like a little of me dies when I say "friend". My husband and I were married during the brief time it was legal and I had to practice (literally!) saying "my husband" so that I could talk about him appropriately.

    But I still feel guarded with strangers. I had workmen in our house a few weeks ago and I found myself talking about my "spouse" a word nobody uses in that way. It felt wrong.

    Even now that I've become comfortable, I find that I repeatedly have to correct people, family members who refer to him as my _friend_ in that way that people say "friend" when they mean gay lover. I just smile and say "He's my husband. We're married."

  • 154. Lain  |  January 14, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    I agree that the burden is different, but also stressful; as a queer (bisexual) woman currently dating a woman, I think it's easier to express certain kinds of affection with her in public – i.e. holding hands, hugging, kissing on the cheek – without censure. But I also feel the impact of different kinds of harassment – usually straight men imagining my sexuality is on display for them, refusing to leave my girlfriend and me alone even when it's clear that we're on a date, et cetera. Basically, assuming we're sexually promiscuous AND available to them. We've been harassed in public to the point of my fearing for our safety, as soon as people find out we're together, and physically we're both pretty defenseless. Not good. Also not uncommon.

  • 155. Janet  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Deb,

    Gotta comment to you. I know it is hard to think about leaving your home. But I would like you to think about it. Life was given to you by Creator to live, not to wither up, or to be consumed with fear, and certainly not to end it because you are surrounded by haters.

    In time, you may learn to feel some compassion for those that feel no compassion for you. My observation, after living 57 years on this planet, and after being out for 32 of them, is that haters hate themselves the most. They want to focus on somebody/anybody so they don't have to feel the hate, the loathing, the disgust they have for themselves.

    Knowing this, it's not hard for me to feel compassion. But that doesn't stop me from responding to haters with sharp corrective criticism. And aggressiveness, when it's called for. Not with hate, however.

    How do I know this? I come from a very conservative family, African American, lots of Republicans and Baptists. My mother became a Catholic, coincidentally (?) around the time I came out. I refused to leave my home town of San Francisco just because my family didn't want to accept this aspect of me. I challenged every ridiculous remark. I refused to pretend I was straight. I forced them to accept me. But I would be lying if I said it wasn't hard. It drove me crazy to feel like the pariah in my own family.

    Mostly I continued to love them, even when I had to cut them off from knowing about my life. Since no positive comments were forthcoming from them, I did not give them the benefit of commenting. I have a wonderful family now, but my blood relations are not my first family. My chosen family is.

    It has eased over the years. I live across the Bay in Oakland. My very old parents, still living in the same place I grew up, are too tired to protest too much. And since my wife and I were legally married last year, my mother has become much more affirming. I think she's getting herself ready to go to heaven…

    My digression comes back to you, Deb. There are places you can go where you can live your true self.

    I'm just sayin' things change eventually, and there are places and communities that you can grow and thrive in. Even Phoenix has out lesbians. Lots of lesbos in Albuquerque, NM.

    Also, check out the Church of Religious Science, or the Unity church (not the same as Unitarian, but related). Check out the website for Agape International Center for Truth in Southern California. You can stream their services in through your computer on Sunday.

    Haters don't own the relationship to the Divine. They have nothing to do with it, actually.

  • 156. Rob  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    Dr. Meyer’s testimony of prejudice events, such as filling out administrative forms was spot on. I was confronted with a prejudice event just this evening while updating my online bio.

    Facebook forces members to choose from one of the following to identify the member’s relationship status:
    (blank), single, in a relationship, engaged, married, it’s complicated, in an open relationship, or widowed.

    It speaks volumes when one of the most popular mainstream social networking sites doesn’t offer the relationship status choice of domestic partner.

    It’s yet another example of how the non-LBGT public views domestic partnerships as inferior to marriage and not worth mentioning. To them, it’s nothing more than being “in a relationship.”

  • 157. Roger  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    How moving to hear all these life-journey stories. As a Moody Bible Institute graduate/survivor who discovered that fundamentalism is an indication of cognitive limitation that exhibits itself in bigotry and bullying I'm genuinely hopeful that we will win our rights to marry soon. Let's pray that it'll be with this legal effort.
    To Deb, I say, "Don't give up!" You are made in God's image and She's proud of you, no matter what the religious nutcases like Dobson and Robertson say. My partner and I live in AZ too — pretty benighted! After 19 years together, marriage would be a life-long dream fulfilled. We've come a long way since I marched in that first Stonewall parade back in 1970; WE WILL OVERCOME some day! !

  • 158. Nick  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    A Mom – I hope your children's weddings are filled with as much joy as you have in your heart. I hope to be as strong of a parent as you are.

  • 159. Nick  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    *hug*

  • 160. michael  |  January 14, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    This may be off topic but I have a great idea for the next commercial that we need to make.

    Empty green field covered with flowers..

    Someone steps out and says "I Am"

    Someone else "I am"

    Someone else "I am"

    and on and on and on until the field is full of people,
    Kids, youths, adults, Black, White, Asian, Hispanics etc.

    Then they all say "I am Proud of my Gay Parents. And we are all part of a Family. Help us to Stay that way."

    No actors just real life representation of our real lives.

    And at the bottom of the screen….

    "No Actors were Necessary to Raise real Awareness!"

  • 161. michael  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    We are in Texas. Together 15 years raising our 16 year old son. Mine biologically by my ex-wife when I was hiding who I really was, Ours by the love and commitment we share together. (She isn't involved anymore, her choice not ours) We moved into a small town for work and then had to move because of the harassment our son was given when the news broke that we were "the gays". Started out great ended sadly for him. He made friends who just shunned him when their parents found out how his parents were. He would come home crying everyday. He was guilty by association. I saw my childhood being repeated by him and he isn't even Gay! So we relocated closer to Houston, for him to have a chance of a fresh start. Learned from our mistakes. I like another poster am not able to hide my Gayness because of my mannerisms. So for his sake I don't do the whole PTA bit anymore. I let my partner do the school meetings, practices, the visual stuff because I never want him to have to deal with that again. He is in high school now. His close friends know but we don't advertise. I am ashamed and angry that I have to still hide all over again, But for him I would do anything, even hide, to protect him. He is our child and we do what we must to keep him safe. I am not proud of it but I am not stupid either. We are in the South and it is different here. I have been reading these comments crying my eyes out. Please don't judge me for not being more open but I am not willing to have our son damaged again. I judge myself harshly enough. I stand with you in Silence for the safety of our son.

  • 162. Mary  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    I'm wondering when (if?) we are going to actually hear from these children we keep discussing. This post really hit home to me – I was raised by lesbian parents in the 90s/early 2000s and the biggest cause of stress in my young life – more than school even – was the idea that someone might find out and I would become a social outcast. I constructed elaborate lies about my mom's "friend" who lived with us and who would pick me up from school and come to my track meets. When people found out my parents were divorced I had to evasively answer questions like "Is your dad remarried?" "Yes." "Is your mom remarried" "Well, no…" "Do you think she ever will?" "Probably not" (ironically she is now one of the 36000 legally married here). A huge source of conflict in my relationship with my mother was her not understanding my need to conceal her relationship for my own well being. And if she had been married to her partner I can definitely say that though not all of that would have been fixed, it would have certainly made it easier for 10-year-old me to explain who my mother's partner was.

  • 163. michael  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    I watched that TV special, a hundred years ago, with Jim Carey called "Doing Time on Maple Drive" It didn't help me to deal with my sexuality, but I wasn't totally alone anymore. Took me 6 years and a marriage to a woman to please my family to come out to myself.

  • 164. Mary  |  January 14, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    And to conclude that – my point is that I am incredibly proud of my mom, and as I look back, grateful for that experience growing up because it made me into the progressive I am today. None of my problems growing up were caused by the fact that my mom was a lesbian – if anything, it made me a better, stronger person. All of the problems I had were because of society's prejudice toward my mom and my family.

  • 165. michael  |  January 14, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    I'm glad that you made it Ronnie. I cry for the lost and I see that some pretty sad people are responsible for all of the shame and pain that ended so many innocent lives. And they will never ever see what they have done to us all is wrong.

  • 166. michael  |  January 14, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    I hear you on that.

  • 167. Bailey  |  January 14, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    Laura – Don't let other people decide what will make you happy.

  • 168. michael  |  January 14, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    A Mom,
    I wish you were my Mom…..

  • 169. michael  |  January 14, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    Tori,

    I know exactly what you mean. Keep on keeping on. This is going to change everyone one of US.. Hopefully them, but everyone of US.

  • 170. Bailey  |  January 14, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    I went through the same thing. I was so worried that my feelings would be dismissed as a "phase" that I put off coming out far longer than I should have. In the end, I think that hurt the people close to me more than anything. They were upset that I felt that I had to hide it from them. It helped that when I did come out, the idea of it being a phase faded quickly because I was almost a year into a long term relationship, but I don't recommend what I did to anybody. Any doubt they may have to begin with will fall away. Next year, they won't even remember how it was to think of you as "straight".

    Much love and best wishes from CA.

  • 171. michael  |  January 14, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    Honey I know what you mean. I am raising a child 16 right now and we have to hide who we are. He was shunned completely when the news broke. We had to move for him to be able to have a chance because he was guilty by association. I can see your prospective completely. We need to get "Our" grown children and even those kids that are free to be out along side us represented!

  • 172. michael  |  January 14, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    LOL…I meant Perceptive…sorry for the typo!

  • 173. Rikaishi  |  January 14, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    The only openly gay person I've known was a young man in High school who was bullied mercilessly until he dropped out.

    I can never read these stories without remembering that boy and wishing I'd had the maturity to stand up for him.

  • 174. Chris  |  January 14, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    I'm right there with you Jon. A lot of this information, I had assumed. But, the lifelong process of coming out just hit me hard. I too have been openly sharing this on FB but(I'm sorry to say) I haven't brought myself to share with my family. I can only imagine how difficult this is for everyone living this life. I'll continue spreading the word on behalf of everyone here and my friend Tim. Thanks all.

  • 175. Our wonderful Trial Track&hellip  |  January 14, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    […] the readers tonight have time for only one thing, I urge you to read the comments Rick’s liveblog post. I dare you not to get […]

  • 176. Steffi  |  January 14, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    @Terry: I know it's long after you posted this comment, yet I wanted to answer anyway in case you ever gonna read it. cause it hurt.
    I am a Christian and I am a very very strong supporter of gay rights and TOTAL equtiy!! But you might see me walking in the streets wearing my cross-necklace and you'd think "there goes another cold-hearted, cruel christian who doesn't see past her own ignorance" but you might also see me with my "I support Love/White knot for equality shirt" [http://www.zazzle.de/whiteknot_tshirt_art-235288910296238356 – don't go buy it! it's awefull quality! look for a better or rather print one yourself] and think "wow there's another supporter. but what if you saw me wearing both? I know you didn't mean bad but pls. rethink it. I am a loving christian and having studied the case of christianity a lot I found NO contradiction in Christianity and my believes for the equality case (If I had I'd have imediately given up my religion! I was nearly doing it cause of the seemingly owerwhelming evidence that the Bible and Jesus disagree with Homosexuality. but digging deeper I could contradict EVERY passage they were using as being against gays as mostly a bad translation from the original text or as a bad interpretation of the sayings. check wouldjesusdiscriminate.org on that)

  • 177. Steffi  |  January 14, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    as an aside: I would have given up my religion even though it would not have contradicted my life style since I am straight. but I am still a christian and not a bigot nor cruel or cold hearted

  • 178. Steffi  |  January 14, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    I answer though it's quite some time since this has been written
    @Michael: No one would ever judge you for protecting your son! Sad thing is that the pro-8 side uses such examples as the base for the argument that children with ss-parentage would have a most difficult life that we can't possibly allow to have. that we would need to protect children from these kinds of family environment. OF COURSE on the way they are completely ignoring that it is they themselves who create that unhealthy environments for them. that it is their hatred and bigotry and their teaching their kids that it's wrong being gay that make children of ss-couples suffer so much!
    I dearly pray (and work towards it) that one day this inequality will have gone away! no matter how long it takes it will be gone for certain!

  • 179. Nettl  |  January 14, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    Ray, most of my experiences have been positive, a few very negative, and the rest just (I assume), "hid" me so that they didn't have to see my posts. Occasionally I get a request from someone that I know I don't want to "reconnect" with and I ignore the request, hoping that they'll get the message and go away. Often I look to see if we have friends in common. I have a LOT of friends from OBU who came out after we graduated so I check to see if any of them are on their friends lists and if they are, I figure I'm safe. The kicker was when I was prowling around on one of my kid's FB pages and they had their dad on their friend's list. I clicked on his profile to find that he had joined a FB group for people whose spouses had left them for a gay "lifestyle". That was interesting to say the least. (Thankfully my kids are ALL very supportive and love my partner as their own parent.)

  • 180. Steffi  |  January 14, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    funny how it is completely the other way round here in germany. you get quite weird looks if you admit that you're religious. And I even catch myself "hiding" or relativizing it 😀

  • 181. Steffi  |  January 14, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    this gives an example to how prop8 also effects straights. namely not allowing marriage equality impacts the lifes (and marriages) of straights negatively. a completely random example: you invite people to a party saying you'd invited a bunch of married couples. that would as it is now exclude every non-legally married couple or civil unioned partner. so you'd have to come up with a different term refering to all or with two seperate terms and a lot of explanations. I know it's a silly example and not the least a GREAT impact on a straight marriage but still as a straight married couple with gay couples as friends you have to do your own (small) amount of explaining/coming out/ hiding to do. very small but existing

  • 182. Tiffany  |  January 14, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    I was very close to entering the Air Force as an officer. I have a B.S. and an M.A. and thought it would be great to use my Religion degree as a Chaplain. The more I thought it over though, the more I thought about having to lie about my wife (we are not married, but after 9 years we should be). She wouldn't likely be allowed to live in military housing, I would constantly have to refer to her as my friend or sister, etc. It's the military's loss really. Not to toot my own horn, but I am multi-lingual, a black belt in several martial arts, and a firm believer in religious equality and diversity.

    Anyways, I just thought I would put in a comment. I have been reading, but not participating. I wasn't sure how to start, I guess.

  • 183. Steffi  |  January 14, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    @nightshayde: doing the same down here in Germany 😀 telling everyone who'd stand still long enough and provocing conversations about it by wearing the white knot for equality and I-support-love shirts! and when talking to someone about it, I talk loud enough for surrounding interested people to understand what I say if they bother to listen ;D
    actually in the students representation (which I have been president of for quite some time now) gay-rights has become a quite frequent topic of conversation whenever we meet in private (before that it has never been a topic) I really like it. we talk about it frequently and naturally like it should be (most of them don't even know that since recently we even have a gay member in the execution bord. He's open but the conversation never yet touched any aspect of him relating to sexuality so I think he didn't yet mention it before the others :D)

  • 184. Tiffany  |  January 14, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    I never really concealed before I moved to Tennessee. My wife and I are originally from Michigan and we moved here so I could get my Ph.D. After I decided to wait on school, we ended up stuck here. We are trying to get out and back to Michigan (or to a more accepting state).

    I do not feel safe being out at work or around my city. Although my company provides benefits for "domestic partners" and does not discriminate on the basis of sexuality, my co-workers do not follow the same rules. Here, I hear the phrase "that's so gay" and diatribes on homosexuals and hate speech at every turn. I object and tell them that I have family and friends who are LGBT, and generally they do not talk about it around me, but that attitude makes me scared to be open. My wife works for the same company and in the same store, but she is definitely not open. It's so hard to go from being out and feeling comfortable in my own skin, to fearing for my safety if I am myself. I cry about it at least a couple times per month.

  • 185. fiona6  |  January 14, 2010 at 11:18 pm

    George wrote: Straight people view gay marriage with a wink; unfortunate, but true.

    Really? I'm straight, and I do no such thing.

    "White people view black marriage with a wink; unfortunate, but true."

    "Black people view Asian marriage with a wink; unfortunate, but true."

    "Asian people view Irish marriage with a wink; unfortunate, but true."

    Do you see the absurdity of your statement?

    I suggest that you not try to speak for anyone but yourself, George.

  • 186. fiona6  |  January 14, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    For Anna and others who may be interested; my local MCC Congregation has its sermons on YouTube. You can find the link at http://www.mccsj.org, along with writings by members of the congregation, activities, etc.

  • 187. Tiffany  |  January 14, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    My wife feels the same way. She is bisexual, not a lesbian and will very openly tell you so. It stresses her everyday, because she feels like she is not only discriminated against by some of the straight community, but also by many LG individuals. Many in our community would label her a lesbian, because she has been with me for so long. However, she is attracted to both men and women, so she is bisexual. We are in love regardless of the categories. She loves me for me. We want to marry and have children. I can't think of anyone else with whom I would like to spend the rest of my days. We will have been together for 9 years in July. I can't wait for the next 9.

  • 188. Steve P  |  January 14, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    I continually find myself saying "spouse" believing that it's on the same level as "husband"; however, after reading your view on these words, I'm going to make a conscious effort to start saying "husband" b/c it has so much more meaning behind it.

    Even though we never were "officially" married under law in a state that recognizes same sex marriage, we had a ceremony that one of the pastor's from our church performed for us… we live in MI and are anticipating the day it becomes legal…which is a disgrace to think that it's not legal! I believe the US is a great country, but it definitely saddens me to think about all the hypocrites that exist in this world and unfortunately are leaders in our country.

  • 189. Tiffany  |  January 14, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    I like the term "gaytheists." I haven't heard it before and will have to share it with my gay and atheist friends. Thanks Alan E!

  • 190. Tiffany  |  January 14, 2010 at 11:36 pm

    Oh my gods! I am tearing up right now, because I would likely do the same thing. Thank you for this, Ray. I can't wait to get married…really.

  • 191. Steffi  |  January 14, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    I love people for they compassion, for their love and their way to see the world. I love people when they make me feel good when I am around them. I love people for their believes and actions and because they can accept me and like me despite or even because of my sometimes nerving attiude. I love them despite and because of their flaws. I love them for being able to be open to other peoples views and to sometimes change their views when they came across some convincing arguments. I love them for rational arguments that manage to change my own perceptions of some things. I love people for who and how they are. I came across straights I didn't like and I came across gays I didn't like. I came across straights I started to love almost instantly and I came across gays I started to love almost the instant I got to know them. there are people I instantly connected with, some to whom connection took longer and some I could never connect to. race, gender, sexuality or such things was never a determinant. character certainly was! I try to love my neighbours and even my foes, I do not succeed everytime but I try and that is what jesus wanted when he told us that this would be the one trade where one could recognize his disciples.

  • 192. Tiffany  |  January 14, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    I met my wife when I was a junior in college. That is when I ended up coming out. You will find your opportunity, trust me. When it happens, it will be beautiful and liberating.

  • 193. Jack  |  January 14, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    Just wanted to say that I am soo pleased that this site is available and can read and share some feelings with those posting. I am not a resident of CA, but was equally as disappointed with the Prop 8 decisions. I truly hope that this court–and Supreme Court–with these witnesses and obvious legal precidence will finally stand true to our American values: Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness as well as Justice for all.

    Keep fighting! You have my 100% full support from over here on the east coast :)

  • 194. Kyle  |  January 14, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    I choked up a bit when I read this. I went through the exact thing 6 years ago, I got my appointment in Georgia and my Dad flipped when I told him that after all of my hard work, that I decided to not go to the USAF Academy.

    They were giving me everything, as I was to be a fighter pilot. It was my dream job, and is still something I regret to this day. I knew I wouldn't be strong enough to deal with the constant need for lying while being in the service.

  • 195. Frank  |  January 15, 2010 at 12:01 am

    2 years ago I had a colonoscopy here in San Francisco. I'll repeat that for emphasis: San Francisco. 2008. On the out-patient admitting forms at Cal-Pacific Med Center, they ask for emergency contact/Next-of kin. I wrote my partners name and in the relation box wrote 'partner'. The clerk took a pig red pen, crossed out partner and wrtoe "NONE".

  • 196. Steve J  |  January 15, 2010 at 12:07 am

    I was surprised how affected I was by reading this. The little things that I do everyday that I don't even think about. My sister has always teased me about my "phone voice". My voice automatically drops several octaves and becomes very montone when I answer the phone,then depending who is on the other end, my normal higher pitched sing song voice kicks in. The route I walk to work, everytime I buy myself a Barbie Doll at the toy store and have to answer, "I don't have a daughter, no I don't have nieces" All of this has affected me without even being aware of it. This Liveblogging is very important. Thank You for doing it

  • 197. Tiffany  |  January 15, 2010 at 12:12 am

    Reading some of the stories about families and marriages here has led me to share a story about myself with you. I am 30 and wish to marry my wife (I already call her this, because we have been together for almost 9 years and should be legal). I came out for her when I was a junior in college (note: I came out at 11 to my mother, but she said it was just a phase and that my hormones hadn't kicked in yet). I was so scared that my family was going to dis-own me, because my parents were of the attitude that gay people were okay, so long as they were not their children. When I came out, my parents took a long time to accept it and my mother treated my wife and our relationship very poorly.

    We eventually handfasted, a tradition within my spirituality, as I am a Neo-Pagan high priestess. Although it was not legal, it was important for us to express our love and intention of marrying to each other. My family was not there, nor were they invited or notified.

    Over the years, they came to accept us and our love for each other. My siblings love my wife and she is a very important part of my family now. I didn't realize just how important until I was preparing to visit them in July.

    My sister called me and asked if we would like to get married when we came home. They live in Michigan, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman back in 2004. She and my mother had already been looking at wedding invitations, dresses, my mother became ordained by the Universal Life Church and also looked at the option of other pastors or pagan ministers, they were looking at locations, etc. I told her no and that we wanted to do it legally and plan it out first, but thank you. It was then that she started crying. She had gotten married two summers ago and we were both in the wedding in some capacity (I as a bridesmaid and my wife as my sister's assistant). She told me that everyday I can't get married, it breaks her heart. She said that she thinks that we should be allowed to get married and be allowed to love each other and that our love was just as good and deep as any straight couple. She pointed out that we had been together twice as long as she and her husband, and that our love should be recognized.

    Since that day and that trip home, my mother, father, sister, and my brother have all put bumperstickers on their cars that voice their support of same sex marriage (a difficult thing to do, since they live in a very conservative area of Michigan). My mother, an ER nurse, is there for all people, but takes a special interest in assisting same sex couples that come into her hospital. She wears a rainbow pin on her name-badge and corrects anyone who speaks ill about our community. My sister, a physician assistant does the same thing. I love them very deeply and am so glad to know that when it is legal, I will have a support system in place.

    I never thought that my family would accept me. I grew up afraid of my sexuality, ashamed of not being attracted to men, and thinking there was something wrong with me. I feared everyday that I would be discovered and that my family would shun me. The anxiety I experienced everyday hurt me so much and has left lasting effects on me. Looking into my wife's eyes though, I know that it was all worth it and our time will come very soon.

    I love her so much and I plan to announce our marriage to the world when it is legal.

  • 198. Beth  |  January 15, 2010 at 12:15 am

    Oh lordy, that's so true! At every new job, how long does it take before you know which people are married, which are engaged, who just broke up with someone, how many are single, how many have dated someone in the office, and of course, how many kids everyone has.

    It's a constant calculation of, "Well this very nice, but clearly conservative person is sharing something sociable and trying to be friendly. Do I make her /him uncomfortable right off the bat at this, our first introduction?"

    I think most people make this calculation out of respect for other people's sensibilities as well as our own. For me, being very out and quite comfortable with my gayness and happily married, I'm less concerned about my "safety," but my relationship with coworkers.

  • 199. Jenny  |  January 15, 2010 at 12:18 am

    How about hearing from the children and grandchildren?
    My mother and father divorced in the late 70's when my dad first came out. I was about 8, my sister was 6. I suppose I was "exposed" to the gay lifestyle, if that means my dad and his partner having family dinners with us, taking us to the park, ice skating, and just being parents to us. I was always proud of my dad for making the tough decision to live his life true to himself. I didn't hide the fact from my friends/classmates, I figured if they had a problem with it, I didn't care to be their friend anyway. Anyway, now I am 39 years old, in a hetero marriage for 10 years with 2 kids. My son who is 5 years old loves his grandpas (my dad and his partner) very much. Out of the blue he told them one day "I am sorry that you can't get married. I hope that law will change so you can."
    Anyway, I'm sure there are similar stories as mine, so it angers me when Dr Tam and his cohorts talk about protecting the children.
    I also am grateful for everyone hear who posted about concealment in their own lives. It makes me understand even more what my dad has to deal with on a daily basis.

  • 200. Mykelb  |  January 15, 2010 at 12:21 am

    Not only narrow minds, but narrow hearts (think of the Grinch).

  • 201. Chris  |  January 15, 2010 at 12:25 am

    I've always been drawn to the definition of compassion:
    "a feeling of distress and pity for the suffering or misfortune of another, often including the desire to alleviate it"
    Sometimes I just don't understand. Although I grew up in redneck SE Texas and hated anyone different form me, yet called myself a good pentecostal, I still don't understand how the mind closes itself off like it does. i wish so badly that I knew that "clicking" point that made me realize.

  • 202. Mykelb  |  January 15, 2010 at 12:27 am

    It's kind of like ripping off a bandaid, to a deep cut that never really heals. Then one must face the constant homobigtory and get salt rubbed into it every day.

  • 203. Terri  |  January 15, 2010 at 12:39 am

    Steffi,

    I am straight, I am an ex-born again calvary chapel attending christian. I don't lightly say that christians are cold-hearted and cruel. I am agnostic now. The christian friends I had are no longer friends with me – their choice because 1. I was in a domestic partnership and not a marriage and they considered that a sin (maybe someone should ask during this trial if domestic partnership is a sin – comes under sex and not married) and 2. Because I no longer believe in jesus as savior.

  • 204. David Kimble  |  January 15, 2010 at 12:44 am

    Yes, thank you Jon!

  • 205. marciekr  |  January 15, 2010 at 12:46 am

    About 20 years ago I had two close co-workers. For many reasons, my friend and I figured our other friend was gay. It was no big deal to us other than we wished she felt comfortable enough to tell us. One day we were sitting around and all of a sudden she just started shaking and looked totally terrified. We asked what was wrong and she told us she was a lesbian. She was afraid that we were going to reject her if we knew. Her entire family refused to have anything to do with her after she came out to them so even though she knew we were totally "gay friendly", she was still afraid. She broke my heart that day. I can't imagine living with that kind of fear every single day.

  • 206. Tiffany  |  January 15, 2010 at 12:51 am

    I still feel that kind of anxiety when I come out to friends. I have had a few people reject me and move out of my life due to my sexuality. It hurts so bad every time. Thankfully though, the ones who are the closest friends love me for me. They don't care who I love, they just care about me.

  • 207. Alan E.  |  January 15, 2010 at 12:52 am

    I tend to park in the furthest spots because I know that I am capable and it will do me good.

  • 208. millennialdad  |  January 15, 2010 at 12:57 am

    Fantastic testimony.

    I am a married, straight man and this (and these comments) are necessary reading for absolutely everyone.

    In a trial like this, I feel that sometimes we forget that this issue is about REAL people. GLBT, straight, it doesnt matter. It affects our neighbors, our friends, our co-workers, and our families. This is about the lifeblood of America. This is about the right to marry the person we love.

    I commend all of your for your COURAGE.

  • 209. Marlene Bomer  |  January 15, 2010 at 1:01 am

    Tiffany — The fact you're for equality alone would disqualify you for the Chaplain Service!

    The fundies have infested the chaplaincy, and have had a campaign to denounce and demean anyone not evangelical Christian for a long time now.

  • 210. Alan E.  |  January 15, 2010 at 1:03 am

    Is this my mom? I hear this from her all the time.

  • 211. truthspew  |  January 15, 2010 at 1:04 am

    Here is an observation. Take it how you wish. I have been in the I.T. field for almost 17 years now. Gay, straight or what have you always refer to their married partner as spouse.

    That's the other thing, lots of gay people in I.T.

  • 212. Peter  |  January 15, 2010 at 1:22 am

    Frank, that's awful. I'm so sorry that that person did that to you and your…i almost wrote partner. which would have been ok, i guess. but what i really mean, and what this whole ridiculous situation is about is: family.

    Peace to you both.

  • 213. David  |  January 15, 2010 at 1:30 am

    Actually George, I agree with you. Marriage will not be the magic wand that will cure all our ills, but it could help. However, the DENIAL of the right to marry will (and has) caused irreperable harm. Telling us we can't get married is telling us that we're less than human.

  • 214. Alan E.  |  January 15, 2010 at 1:30 am

    My husband has a phone voice too. Especially when he talks to his dad. At first he said he didn't notice it, but once I pointed it out, he gets what I am talking about. At work when I answer the phone, I will catch myself answering a little lower at times. I must say that it is pretty fun playing with the low "morning voice" to see how low I can go.

  • 215. M  |  January 15, 2010 at 1:37 am

    Wow, I felt like I was reading about myself with your post, B. I'm a pansexual here in the Midwest, and I stay closeted for the same reasons. It can be so difficult in the college setting when you're trying to worry about your future and 80 other things are waiting to get done.

    I too feel it's a terrible thing that this trial isn't being broadcast on TV for the entire nation to watch. This is a trial that is going to have huge ramifications for our generation and generations to follow, and they've shut us out of it.

    Big thanks the Courage Campaign Institute for keeping us updated and everyone who posts on the blog. It's so easy to feel alone in this crazy world, especially when you're different, and creating safe spaces like this remind me that we are all connected.

  • 216. Michael  |  January 15, 2010 at 1:46 am

    Love all the comments guys, I'm 18 and dealing with my own understanding of my sexuality and these comments help to make me not feel so alone… =[

    If you guys are looking for a great movie check out "prayers for Bobby" its on youtube in parts – great movie especially for non-lgbt persons

  • 217. Jill Broussard  |  January 15, 2010 at 1:55 am

    ray, your story just made me cry. i've never wanted to change my name for anybody, and reading your post, i can see the power in the decisions we make out of love. i see it for the first time… you have taught me something new. congratulations to you! and i am so proud of you.

  • 218. fiona64  |  January 15, 2010 at 2:03 am

    Hi, Michael. I agree, "Prayers for Bobby" was great. As I told my husband when it aired, "How sad that the people who *really* need to see this film are those who would never bother to watch it."

    Another one in the same category (those who should watch it won't) is the documentary "For The Bible Tells Me So." It's available on Netflix.

  • 219. A Mom  |  January 15, 2010 at 2:42 am

    Steffi – apparently I live under a small rock and had not heard of the white knot. Googled info this morning and found it. Thank you for the enlightenment. I have white ribbon and am now proudly wearing my own white knot. Such a subtle invitation for an engagement in a dialogue I welcome. Thanks again <3

  • 220. Dom  |  January 15, 2010 at 2:44 am

    Sorry I'm jumping in so late. I saw an amazing film a few months ago that goes through each and every line of the bible that supposedly condemns homosexuality and refutes it- verse by verse. Amazing film, well done, even funny in parts. Most importantly, it includes interviews from some of the most respected biblical scholars in the country (from many religions/denominations) as well as some of the heart-breaking stories from LGBT people shunned by their families, friends, and communities because of something the bible doesn't even really say. heres' the website:
    http://www.fishoutofwaterfilm.com/site.html

    saw it at outfest last year. blew my mind!! if you're religious at all, you NEED to see this film and share it with anyone you feel you can reach. those of us for progress and equality (not just for this cause but for ANY we hold dear) will not win the war by demonizing religion the way they have demonized us. instead, we have to fight their intolerance and irrational hatred with reason, logic, and truth. we don't need to turn the other cheek- we need to hit them back with something they're not expecting- LOVE.

  • 221. Cassandra  |  January 15, 2010 at 2:48 am

    "and even if you don’t currently actually have [a relationship], it is still massively stressful to anticipate having to hide such a thing in the future."

    That is a really good point. I reailze now that one of the reasons it took me so long to come out as queer to my family and friends is because I had to think a long time about whether I wanted to make the choice to hide my sexuality from everyone (ie pretend that I did not have a sexuality or that I was heterosexual) or be open about it. Either way there is a lot of pressure; until you decide you are not going to hide for anyone you labor under a double burden of:
    1. Having to do the active work of hiding it (lying and concealing through language and/or actions; making sure your story is consistent with relatives, family, etc., keeping track of who knows and who does not and who might have guessed and what "side" you think they're on)
    2. Having to do the passive work of hiding it (anticipation of having to hide and lie and conceal and guess, worrying that you will mess up in your lies and have to come out, the worry and anticipation you feel around coming out, which you know will cause even more stress, and anticipating the problems of being out, which cause even more stress!)

    I live in a pretty liberal city in a liberal area of the country and have both a fiancee (female) and a boyfriend (male), and it's still weird every single time I go out with my boyfriend and get heterosexual privilege. We both feel awkward getting it because we're both attracted to people of all genders. I feel like I should wear a sign saying "please don't assume either of us are straight!"

    I have been thinking a lot about how my life would have turned out differently had I chosen to pass up my relationship with my fiancee and instead decided to date only men. I know that when I came out my parents were like, "but, you like men too, right? Wouldn't it be easier for you to date a guy?" They couldn't understand that even though I *could like* men I wasn't going to give up the woman I was *in love* with to make my life easier! I also realized later on that even if I had met and fallen in love with a man, I would have had to still spend a lot of time repressing my attraction to people of any other genders!

    (PS my parents are getting a little better and my grandparents have been really supportive!)

  • 222. Rachael  |  January 15, 2010 at 2:57 am

    @George:

    This is not the final step toward equality, just as the legality of Black-White Marriages wasn't the final step toward equality for them.

    It's an important step, but, by no means, the last.

  • 223. A Mom  |  January 15, 2010 at 3:02 am

    @Nick – strength is inevitable … with an open heart, open mind and open arms.

    {hugs} @ Michael – give her time. If she can't understand, others do and will provide the love & support you deserve.

    @Alan — not *your* mom, but glad I could be :)

  • 224. Rachael  |  January 15, 2010 at 3:26 am

    I'm crying :) Gotta love those 5 year olds and the world as they see it!

  • 225. nightshayde  |  January 15, 2010 at 3:56 am

    I have a friend who has a 21-year old son. I figured out he was gay way back when he was about 11. A few friends and I are more and more sure every day that he's gay — but neither he nor his Mom have said a word. I'm not quite sure how to let them know that we know, and that we adore him & that he can feel safe with us.

    We're not even 100% sure that the Mom knows — but we know that she's extremely pro-equal rights & are pretty sure she knows …

    If he really is concealing (and just hasn't said anything because he figures we know already), my heart breaks for him. If he isn't concealing, we wish he'd dish with us about the cute boys!

  • 226. Tom  |  January 15, 2010 at 4:18 am

    I don't suppose this comment will be read, but I wanted to add my voice to the chorus. My partner and I had been together for 10 years when we got married in 2008, but we both (him especially), have a hard time using the H-word. It just seems like it's a way to derail any ordinary conversation. I try to be open, but even here in liberal Marin county there is plenty of hate and misunderstanding to go around. (We had "fag" scrawled in three-foot high letters on our garage door three years ago!)

    However, I think it's vital that those of us who are legally married use the terms "husband" and "wife" to as great a degree as we can. The more people know we are out here, the more human we are, and the harder it is to continue to discriminate. When we are a faceless, nameless group, it's easier to hate.

    One bright note for you all: my daughter (I was married to a woman prior to my coming out) was in a group of kids at her high school, hanging out, and she was mentioning something about what she was doing that weekend with my husband and I. (She's also been a very open person.) Later, one of the other kids found her in the hallway and took her aside and the conversation went something like this:

    Other kid: You really have two dads?

    My daughter: Yeah.

    Other kid: Oh my god, I thought I was the only one!

    He'd been keeping it a secret because he was afraid of other kids' reactions, but seeing how open my daughter was — and how accepted she was by the "cool kids" — enabled him to be more open about his living situation.

    Truth thrives in fresh air.

  • 227. Robin  |  January 15, 2010 at 4:54 am

    To be honest, I personally found it incredibly hard to come out even to people I knew would accept me. (I am probably uncommonly wussy about it, but, yeah, that's how it felt.)

  • 228. Robin  |  January 15, 2010 at 4:57 am

    My jaw literally dropped. I am so sorry you had to go through that.

  • 229. Robin  |  January 15, 2010 at 5:08 am

    "Nonetheless, I don’t see how allowing gay people to marry is going to relieve their burden, which is not so much a function of being entitled to participate in historically heterosexual institutions as much as it is feeling different because they are different from the vast majority of the rest of the population."

    Oh, thank you, straight guy, for explaining to us exactly how and why we feel oppressed. We might not have figured it out without your helpful guidance!

    You don't think letting same-sex couples marry will relieve gay people's burdens? Let me tell you, as a queer person, if I could have grown up knowing same-sex marriage was an option, my life would have been a lot easier. And I'm not even one of the people who currently wants to get married. But just knowing that marriage was a possible future for me would have made coming out to myself a much less painful and frightening process.

    You're right, you can only try to understand what it's like not to be straight. And this time you failed.

  • 230. Robin  |  January 15, 2010 at 5:15 am

    And then if you do wait a long time before coming out, some people will probably say "Oh, why didn't you tell me sooner?" You can't win, so you might as well do whatever feels right for you.

  • 231. Renee  |  January 15, 2010 at 5:16 am

    LOL (thank you)!

  • 232. Robin  |  January 15, 2010 at 5:17 am

    I agree so much. The whole concept of coming out to people is indicative of a heteronormative double standard, of being presumed "straight until proven otherwise."

  • 233. Renee  |  January 15, 2010 at 5:21 am

    Someone HAS to (please) publish the collected Prop 8 Trial Tracker posts and comments (along with transcripts of the trial) as a book. What an education it would afford everyone who would have watched the YouTubed video. This entire string is truly amazing; thank you, everyone.

  • 234. Robin  |  January 15, 2010 at 5:23 am

    Please try to hang in there. Your experiences sound awful, and I'm so sorry you go through those things, but they prove you're not a sad excuse for a human being, you're an amazing, strong human being for being able to live through all that. It's going to get better.

  • 235. Leslie  |  January 15, 2010 at 5:46 am

    In Delaware, even though Social Security will process a name change based on a legal marriage in another state, our DMV refuses same-sex couples requests to change their names on their drivers licenses and registrations without a court-ordered name change. So in one of the very few situations where even the federal government will acknowledge the marriage certificate of a same sex couple, our own state has decided that they will not.

  • 236. Ozymandias  |  January 15, 2010 at 7:16 am

    I hope this post will continue – it's hard to put into words how I feel when I read these testimonies and hear the voice in my head say 'See? You're not alone.' Damn, I'm near tears again…

    I fell in love for the first time when I was a sophomore – he was in my HIgh School, and we quickly became best friends. To this day I can remember every conversation we had, every time I went to his house to play video games (Atari 2600 fans represent!) and played sports together. I tortured myself about coming out to him – yet I didn't. We were in a very conservative private school, and I just couldn't bring myself to do it. What if he was straight? What if he recoiled? Worse – what if he told everyone else? So, I kept silent. The word 'regret' does a poor job of describing how I feel, now 20+ years later, especially since I believed (and still do) that he was also Gay… but was AFRAID to take that chance. After that year, his mother yanked him out of school (she really didn't like me being around… maybe she suspected) and I never saw him again.

    This was just the first example of what effect this fear had in my life. I didn't enlist in the Marines (and I reaaally wanted to and had the ASVAB test scores in the high range to name my career) because of that fear. I put myself through the hell of 'conversion therapy' because of that fear (and then added a generous amount of guilt because it didn't work – 'lack of faith' and all that). I dated girls, not because I was sexually attracted to them (obviously I wasn't), but because the fear drove me to 'prove' my non-existent heterosexuality and ended up hurting them because I just couldn't maintain my interest – yet I was terrified to tell them why. Yet more guilt to add to the fear.

    There have been so many opportunities lost, avenues not taken and experiences denied because of that fear – which still pervades today. Yet I've made a lot of progress in coming out and being honest with myself and those around me. This fear is evil, insidious and has spread itself to every facet of my life – the work I do to undo that fear will be a long process, but despite the risks and the pain I am happier now than at any point in my life and look forward to greater contentment and peace within..

    Thanks folks, so very much, for giving me this chance to give my testimony.

  • 237. Juliet  |  January 15, 2010 at 7:52 am

    This was the testimony that struck the deepest chord with me.

    Yes, I got past the stress (and trauma) of coming out to everyone of importance to me and crossing my fingers that this thing that I didn’t choose, but fully accept wouldn’t be sufficient reason to be rejected.

    Now it’s day to day things. Like the guy delivering our moving POD last month who stares at me and my partner (married but not legally), furrows his forehead in confusion and asks ‘if that your mother?’

    I was so insulted. We have an age gap, but not a huge one. I wanted to come up with a witty zinger to make the man think twice before opening his mouth in such a thoughtless way. Instead, I settled for a dirty look and an ‘absolutely not.’

    And for the record, the mere existence of prop 8 on the ballot was a stab to the heart for me. I was engaged to my partner, and planning my wedding. I did not want to rush such a special occasion or exclude family and friends who live abroad or on the other side of the country just to fit into that several month opportunity.

    That decision was bitter sweet. This past September we had a lovely wedding, with everyone we loved there and every aspect was planned…. just like I wanted. EXCEPT…

    When my fellow Californians got to vote on whether or not I was an equal human being (and that is what it felt like) it became harder to see the good in the world. I tried to shrug off the hurt and bitterness and not let them become a part of me, but it is very hard when a state allows its voters to determine your merit and they come back with a ‘you are not worthy to kiss my boots’ response for that not to be internalized.

    For the record, that was one of the main reasons we ordered a POD. Prop 8 took away California from us and the idea that it is a state of openness and possibility. At the start of this year we moved out of state. We were not treated like equal citizens of California and had no desire to remain there.

    This has got way longer than I intended. Thanks for reading.

  • 238. fiona64  |  January 15, 2010 at 8:11 am

    Toni, my best friend accompanied my husband and me to Lexington on a vacation a couple of years ago (I was an equestrian athlete). He's a gay guy, and everything we had read said Lexington was gay-friendly; we figured "no problem."

    Wow, were our eyes opened by what he found out from the locals. I was so embarrassed at the catcalls he heard on the street (he is conservative in appearance, so this kind of blew us away), and at how the LGBT crowd enters the backdoors of their local pubs so as not to be harassed by the police. What we found out was, in a nutshell, that Lexington is gay-friendly "for Kentucky."

    I write all of this to tell you how sorry I am that this is happening to you, and that I hope you are able to find a way to move to someplace where you can be "out" and feel supported.

    Big hugs from a straight ally.

  • 239. Michelle  |  January 15, 2010 at 9:23 am

    This stuff is incredible. I'm out to my family and some of my friends, but not to my friends that I used to work with while working as a nurse. The other day I had lunch with a nurse practitioner that I used to work with and felt that I needed to hide my car in the parking lot because my license plate says "HRZNHRZ" (hers N hers). I'm not out to this woman and wouldn't feel comfortable doing so. During our lunch conversation, she rolled her eyes and proceeded to tell me in a very disapproving tone how a "gay and lesbian group" come to her place of work to familiarize them with the terminology that gay and lesbian teens use. I should have said something, but I couldn't bring myself to out myself to her. You just feel shit on and less than by people in our society. I'm flabbergasted at the number of health care workers who are ignorant to gay and lesbian issues and who pass judgment so readily. I'm sickened that the 5 conservative Supreme Court Justices allowed their personal views to cloud there legal responsibilities. This should have been a televised trial, if for no other reason than historical preservation of the facts.

  • 240. Bradley  |  January 16, 2010 at 3:45 am

    This was such a hard testimony to read through all my tears. It really states the things I know and feel and try to deal with daily. Sometimes I feel as though there is a hetero-agenda that is to make our lives so stressful that we'll just die off sooner.

    Has anybody mentioned that trying to remain optimistic when faced with all of these built in societal obstacles is utterly exhausting and stressful as well?

  • 241. DebraCJ  |  January 18, 2010 at 5:17 am

    Michael, this is a much later post, but I agree with Steffi. I can't imagine what you and your family are going through. My heart goes out to you.

  • 242. Tif  |  January 19, 2010 at 4:07 am

    This is overwhelming to read.

    Did we ask if we could broadcast our own witnesses?

    They can't argue our own witnesses would be prejudiced or afraid.

    But then we'd all have to go testify. At least we're doing it here.

    I went back into the closet last year at 45 years of age because i went to a masters of law program in human rights in South Africa. I arrived and mentioned my boyfriend in passing to the first guy I met and he sweetly said "its fine you told me but you shouldn't tell anyone else". I followed his advice, went into the closet – avoiding my personal life, my history, myself as I met a group of 30 lawyers who have ultimately become family. They awarded me the Ubuntu Prize that year, I had come out about 3 months into the program. Crying, surrounded by a few friends there, feeling forced to say it because it had become a lie of omission, and there seemed to be a little gay bating in some of the debates – though very subtle. I recently helped that first friend buy cows for his marriage payment to the wife's family. I can't undo taking his advice, but I'll never know how that may have played out if I had come out before they got to know me. What a horrible choice.

    Love to all, Tif

  • 243. Tif  |  January 19, 2010 at 4:35 am

    talk to this boy – we can not put this responsibility on our children – it is ours – talk to him – only then is he really not alone.

  • 244. Dani  |  January 19, 2010 at 4:47 am

    It's not just in the military that we are forced to hide. Working as a social worker I have chosen to conceal from co-workers who use hate-speech for TBLGs all the time.

    A co-worker I used to respect looked at a lesbian while out to lunch and smirked: "What is that thing? Is that a man or a woman?"

    And that's American SOCIAL WORKERS!! The crunchiest of the crunchy. . . or so I thought. . .

    I'm out in the field busting my butt all day to help people, and living in Michigan I can still be legally fired or evicted based on who I love.

    If things don't shape up, I'm moving to Canada. . . or a dozen other civilized countries where all people have a basic right to safety and respect. Countries where we don't have to vote for equality, where it is a right not a privilege for the elite.

  • 245. Spencer Wulwick  |  January 19, 2010 at 5:30 am

    Holding Hands has been "cited" many times but I'm not sure this very important fact has been mentioned. I think it's better to have been mentioned more than once than not at all so here it is: Tolerating discrimination against gay people AFFECTS STRAIGHT PEOPLE AS WELL, and puts EVERYONE in danger.

    I believe it was just within the past couple of months that two men were beaten and one was killed simply because they were walking down the street. BUT THEY WERE NOT GAY – They were only PERCEIVED to be Gay. They were actually two brothers who were simply walking close together and holding hands, because they were TRYING TO KEEP WARM!!!!!

    There is no room in any civilized society for hatred and it is more shameful that a country, such as ours, with a PROMISE of equality, allows any form of discrimination. Equal rights – as promised in our Constitution is long past due – and it is beyond my comprehension that we are still being forced to discuss it!

  • 246. Larry K Little  |  January 19, 2010 at 7:22 am

    We are all the latest products of evolution and those of us who are men and women all have sexual baggage that mates up with somebody somewhere, even in the Vatican. Religion is unquestionably the worst source for determining how my hormones should behave. All the tetra pods (four footed animals with a spinal cord) don’t receive any instructions from the church and they reproduce and get along just fine. Evolution has been making these decisions for millions of years and there is no need for a set of instructions for all these animals that never have worry about Pat Robertson or the Pope sending them to Hell for having sex without being married.
    The church says all sexual behavior, even persons being influenced by raging hormones in their early teens must be ignored until you are married. That is totally unrealistic. Being a homosexual or lesbian is a biological consequence and individual hormonal influence, not the work of Satan. If Tam says it is, have him produce his witness.
    The church must not be permitted to use their marriage monopoly to discriminate and promote hatred against gay and lesbian citizenry or to other persons who don’t want to be contaminated with religion’s need for extreme punitive measures against people for being who they are. Equality means I get just as much consideration for my needs as you do.

  • 247. Donna Davis  |  January 19, 2010 at 8:38 am

    I've been loosely keeping up with the trial and have supported the movement from the start.

    My son Doug is gay; he and his partner are some of the finest people I know. I could write a book ….. They have gone through so many of the feelings and situations mentioned here; it hurts so very much to witness my child's pain.

    I was a Mormon all my life, generations of us, but when the local Bishop called me into his office to discuss my distressing and open attitude towards gays – that was it.

    I had disagreed with the hatred towards blacks, but then they were given membership in 1976 when I was young. As I've pondered the attitude of Mormons towards blacks, the insidious polygamy, and worst of all the unwavering persecution of LBGT there is clearly nothing left in the religion which I could support.

    The LDS church is the frontrunner in funding and activism of the anti-gay movement and I will not tolerate this. I have removed my name from membership as have my sons. I'm very political and the church does not appreciate my endeavors.

    It is sad that we have to fight so hard against such bigotry on the part of so-called Christians. This attitude has made me question God in any sense. I wonder, if Christians started acting like Christ, would I want to return to God and church?

    Doubtful. Forgiveness is 'divine' and these people are not.

  • 248. Dorothy  |  January 19, 2010 at 9:40 am

    I''m a straight-questioning ally, and thank you Courage Campaign for spreading freedom and upholding the idea that all people are equal on this Earth.

    What makes people think its "okay" to deny people their civil rights due to a factor beyond their control? And all of the arguments that I've come across for denying same-sex marriage has come from religion. Even though this country supposedly has "separation of church and state." However, I'm not blaming all religion. I think the truth behind their arguments is hatred and they are using religion to cover it up and make it look like they are still moral people.

    Still, banning same-sex marriage based on religious arguments would not only deny people civil rights that ALL people should have, its also, (in my mind at least), favoring one religious belief set over another (namely certain sects of Christianity).

    Banning same-sex marriage tells the belief groups that support same-sex marriage that their belief system is inferior, and that we are going to be passing laws based on this other one.

    My perspetive on the religion aspect may be a little off, seeing as I am an atheist from a atheist/agnostic background. Most of what I've noticed about religion came about later in life for me than for most people. That's just what the whole situation with the church and same-sex marriage seems like to me.

  • 249. ac  |  January 19, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    Thanks for blogging. At first, I hadn't understood why it would be important (yes, I don't like it when trials become decided by "the media" circus), but now I've got your point.

    I currently live in Egypt, a country that's officiallly semi-acceptant of homosexuality and in real life *very* little. What keeps touching me, though, are the–heterosexual–same-sex friends (incl. men!) who sometimes walk the streets or sit in cafés holding hands or another's arm. It's part of the culture here, and they do it so naturally… it makes me dream every time of the day when gays and bisexuals will walk the streets with the same ease and air of accepted normality…

  • 250. ac  |  January 19, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Spencer, I hadn't read your comment before I posted myself about holding hands and coming physically close in Egypt (4 comments down, not counting any replies). Not to mention many African cultures…

    I think your point shows beautifully how anti-gay feelings are often totally interwoven with other cultural norms about what constitutes unacceptable behavior. And *that*, at a larger scale, is to me exactly what the equality movement(s) are eventually about: Liberating people from norms of "must" and "must not" to norms of "can or leave be."

    I believe that this tolerant mindset–being free to choose and free to live who you are, with the confidence that people won't frown upon you for it–is indeed something that is equally desirable for everyone, gay, asexual, straight, Black, White, Brown, able-bodied, male, MTF, cross-dressing, non-immigrant, etc.

  • 251. kenneth  |  January 20, 2010 at 8:56 am

    I had beer bottles thrown at my car as a teenage in Oklahoma for appearing gay by people I had never met or seen before, I left at 17 for California for a better life, a refugee from bigotry. Then was passed over for promotions time and time again, after glowing reviews for my work. Had 3 relationships of 10 years each, then after being disabled at work, and later hospitalized, my partner walked out after 10 years of helping him with his business and making him successful, I walked away with nothing, we couldn't marry. The stress of being disabled and not having any security tore at me, and damaged our relationship, and has left scars which still have not healed… If we could have married, we could have weathered the storm, and be together now, as I am fine and am prospering… uncertainty and no support from society make it harded to keep even a long term relationship together.

  • 252. blood boiling : The House&hellip  |  January 21, 2010 at 2:45 am

    […] “I get that” way. Such as the testimony and then blog comments from readers on day 4. One that sits with me […]

  • 253. Linda  |  January 21, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    I cried myself to sleep last night after reading these posts. This morning I knew I had to make a comment. I made a beautiful picture of our family this Christmas to hang over the fireplace. I also made four 5×7 copies. One for myself, my partner of 10 years, my son and my daughter. I have mine in my office. The children have theirs in their dorm rooms at college. My partner has hers hidden in a drawer somewhere. "I can't take it to work. I don't want to out myself. I don't want people to see it and treat me differently" Nuff said.

    I need to make one other point. Not everyone who voted for prop 8 is a hater. They discriminate against us, they are prejudiced against us, and they persecute us; but they do not necessarily hate us. Let's not bring ourselves down to the level of those that truly are haters and place all who voted for prop 8 in that category.

    I have a very close friend who is a devout Catholic. She loves me and my family, and I love her family. She had a gay brother who she gently nursed until his passing of AIDS in the late 1980s. She thinks the civil injustices against us are unfair but will never support gay marriage. She has no clue the hurt she causes. She has no clue that every time I see her, my insides are in a knot and I wonder why I maintain this friendship. She has no clue that in reality, she is saying to me that my family has less value than hers. I have tried to talk about it with her, but her religious convictions run too deep.

    Maybe I am wrong to maintain this friendship, I don’t know. But I do know, that if I end it, I will never have the chance to change her views.

    For my part, when a man and woman in this country can get married by a Justice of the Peace or in a Satanic temple, and they are considered married by law, I don’t see how marriage is not a civil institution first and foremost.

    If some religions want to view marriage as a sacrament before God and believe homosexuality is a sin, I am ok with it as long as it is only a tenet of their faith. I would ask that they teach their views as a tenet of their faith and also teach that not all religions believe this and that is ok. I don’t really want to be viewed as a sinner in anyone’s eyes, but I would rather that than suffer the daily humiliation of being treated as a second-class citizen.

    I am a Christian but happily belong to a church that is accepting of gays. My point is we can’t go trashing the deeply held religious convictions of others. Our fight is two fold; first against those that truly do have animus against us and second against religious persecution.

    Sorry this is so long, but one last thing. My partner and I plan to get married in DC in March as soon as it is legal. Please write the President, your Congressmen and Senators to not interfere with the DC marriage law.

  • 254. jack  |  January 22, 2010 at 11:12 am

    I understand exactly, Alan. I'm a lesbian, with the compounded issue of being a transman…. I found I couldn't speak out honestly about certain issues brought up in classes without letting people know that the guy sitting next to them used to be a woman… I was pursuing a degree in counseling to work with gay and transgendered youth, and actually had to drop out of school because I couldn't deal with it.

  • 255. kenneth  |  January 22, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    BOY THE LAST POSTS REALLY SAYS SOMETHING RATHER TELLING… A couple can be married in a Satanic Church and be considered married, but not a same-sex couple… where is the outrage that Satanic Churchs even exist let alone can marry people with the same rights as with in traditional churchs…

  • 256. Jeffry Burr  |  January 23, 2010 at 11:05 am

    My husband and I were finally married legally in NH on Jan 1. Just 3 weeks later we were testifying in the NH State Legislature against a repeal and constitutional amendment bill to reverse our legal, equal marriage. NH does not have a referendum in it's Constitution.. The majority should NEVER be able to decide the civil rights and liberties of a minority group. We are actively fighting an aggressive effort by out-of-state anti-gay organizations who are mobilizing in NH. If these efforts prevail in NH, it would be the first time in history that NH has reversed rights and freedoms for it's citizens. Live Free or Die?
    Jeffry & Neil
    Franconia, NH

  • 257. Larry Kenneth Little  |  January 23, 2010 at 11:24 am

    I have read hundreds of statements of pain suffered by the gay community and if you connect the dots, it all leads to religion…….primarily a Christian product………the Mormons, the Catholics and the Evangelicals by the thousands contributed 43 millions dollars to legislate their hatred in California. That came from the love thy neighbor crowd. If the Proposition 8 proponents insist that Satan is playing a role here (like Pat Robertson said he recently visited Haiti) then he needs to appear on the witness stand so we can ask him if he knows Dr. William Tam.

  • 258. Prop 8 on trial: Justice &hellip  |  January 23, 2010 at 11:57 am

    […] was in limbo. Now, our live blog is sparking a powerful public catharsis across the nation, with readers offering their own testimony to the personal consequences of being denied the right and resp…. Just as the plaintiffs’ stories are opening hearts and minds, thousands of people are coming […]

  • 259. Denise  |  January 24, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    My Mom would not watch "Prayers for Bobby" …I knew it was deliberate, because she watches "lifetime" all the time, and yes, she is someone who NEEDS to watch this film. I watched it twice, and sobbed deeply all the way through. I shared "For The Bible Tells Me So" with the rest of my family and they are very accepting and supportive. I do elder care for my Mom, she doesn't drive any more.( and she decided she would not live with my brother and sis-in-law…) my Mother has displayed fits of Homophobia so dispicable my neice won't call or come around, and my partner is not welcome by my Mom (I live in a basement apartment and take care of My Mom who lives upstairs) it makes life sad and useless. My Mom throws the same old tired Bible versus at me for over 30 years now. She raised us by herself and I can't turn my back on her, it is very painful.

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