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Winning $50,000 to help LGBT kids

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By Adam Bink

Many of you remember how Courage Campaign Institute entered the Pepsi: Refresh Everything contest back in June, and we won $50,000 to support our LGBT work because so many of you voted, day-in and day-out.

Well, good news: we’ve been accepted for the contest again. More good news: this time, there are no Pepsi Power Voting codes on bottle caps or anything. No one has to buy any Pepsi at all. It’s pure people power. Even more good news: this is the last time Pepsi will be running the contest, so it’s the last time we’ll ask for help!

The basics:

1. Sign up for quick daily voting reminders HERE. You’ll get a reminder to vote for us and our other partners in this month’s Progressive Slate, which runs the slate of groups going for the money.

2. The money goes to fund Camp Courage trainings for kids. Camp Courage is our acclaimed two-day intensive training program based on Camp Obama, which we’ve used in California and in New Hampshire to fight attempts to repeal the state’s marriage equality law. We’ve trained over 1,700 people to organize their communities. For this project, the money will fund leadership and empowerment training for LGBT youth. An example of a Camp Courage we’ve done:

3. You can vote up to three times daily in the month of December: once with a Pepsi voting account, once with your Facebook account, and once by texting our voting code (110852) to the phone number (73774). If we’re in the top ten in our $50,000 category at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, we win!

4. There are no strings attached vis a vis Pepsi. We don’t have to sell you Pepsi. You don’t have to buy any. Neither of us has to drink any (unless you want to). No Power Voting Codes. Just good money for a good cause.

So please, sign up for a quick daily reminder to vote in the month of December. No obligations, commitments, or anything after that. And remember to vote and share! Let’s do this!

77 Comments

  • 1. DaveP  |  December 2, 2011 at 8:14 am

    "Vote early and often!" : )

    Oh yeah, and only one more week until the Prop 8 trial resumes! See y'all there!

  • 2. Fluffyskunk  |  December 2, 2011 at 8:21 am

    I don't use Facebook, but I will be voting with my refresheverything.com account. Is the phone number toll-free?

  • 3. Adam Bink  |  December 2, 2011 at 9:21 am

    It is, and it doesn't sign you up for anything without permission. They send a reply message acknowledging that. Thanks!

  • 4. Ronnie  |  December 2, 2011 at 8:42 am

    Subscribing & sharing…… <3…Ronnie:

    LGBT Latinos Break Their Silence: Video: http://www.shewired.com/lifestyle/2011/11/30/lgbt
    [youtube yQzL2Z0Guwo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQzL2Z0Guwo youtube]

  • 5. Paul  |  December 2, 2011 at 9:19 am

    Shared on Twitter and facebook!

  • 6. Pat  |  December 2, 2011 at 10:47 am

    If all the money and effort to try and change the hearts and minds of millions were invested in research in how to prevent children from embracing their same-sex attraction and teaching them the extreme fulfillment that one can have in life from being like the vast majority of the rest of the world, from putting their sexual attraction aside in exchange for equally loving relationships with people of the opposite sex, from joining with a partner to create new human life and raising those persons whom you created, we'd end up with truly happier people in a healthier, more rewarding lifestyle.

    It's hard to believe that what seems to be an innate part of yourself is just another characteristic that was formed through one's upbringing and environment, but same-sex attraction is just that. And frankly, sexual attraction becomes a minor characteristic after one is in a true loving relationship and has children. So much effort wasted on sex and sexuality. We have the ability to identify and prevent this characteristic, I personally know that one can overcome it and learn to be attracted to people of the opposite sex. Never looked back.

  • 7. Ronnie  |  December 2, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Interesting, you were banned. Homophobic FACIST HACKER TROLL is a homophobic FACIST HACKER TROLL.

    You CANNOT overcome your natural attraction to a human being of the same gender. It is not a choice. It is not a "lifestyle". Goth is a "lifestyle". Bohemian is a "lifestyle". Biker is a "lifestyle". Country is a "lifestyle". Preppy, jock, techno, hip-hop, vegetarian are ALL "lifestyles".

    LGBT relationships ARE equally loving relationships. They join with their partner and create a LEGALLY recognized family either through surrogacy or adoption and raise them to be perfectly beneficial to society.

    GO AWAY FACIST HACKER TROLL…… > I …..Ronnie

  • 8. Sheryl_Carver  |  December 2, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Ronnie,

    Please don't lower yourself by calling names. We all know you are quite capable of making excellent points in rebuttal without doing that, as you demonstrated in the middle paragraphs above.

    However much we disagree with people like Pat, and how emotional this topic is to those who have & continue to suffer because of discrimination, we need to adhere to this site's guidelines & NOT attack or denigrate other commenters.

    With respect to you, Ronnie,
    Sheryl

  • 9. Kate  |  December 2, 2011 at 11:57 am

    I'm with Sheryl. Ronnie, you really are MUCH better than that. I enjoy your well-thought-out and expressed opinions greatly. But when it comes to the personal rants; well, I basically skip them. And I don't like skipping over your posts!

  • 10. Ronnie  |  December 2, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Furthermore, I AM like the ENTIRETY of the rest of the world. I am a human being. I eat & drink, I breathe, I sleep, I get sick & I get better, I bleed red, I smell, I see, I create, I purchase, I sell, I get dressed one leg & one arm at a time, I travel, I kiss, I hug, I hold hands, I cry, I yell, I get angry, I get upset, I argue, I get sad & happy. I grieve, I sing, I dance, I walk, I run, I sit, I stand, I play, I think, I learn, I study, I listen & hear, I worship my own higher power & practice my own spiritual beliefs, I work, I pay my taxes, I do for others who have not what I have, I love, I have family/friends/community who love & accept me 100% unconditionally AS I AM as an openly Gay man, I WILL get married to the man I love & choose to spend the rest of my life with, we will start a family, we will provide a safe & caring home for our children, we will provide them with all of the basic necessities to survive life such as food/clothing/shelter/healthcare/etc until they are capable of providing it for themselves, we will help them go to college & share the rest of their life experiences like marriage/family/holidays/birthdays/graduations/games/shows/etc until we are gone from this world, I was born, I lived the earlier part of my life, I am living my life, I will live the rest of my life, I will die, I love (all types of love). I AM like the ENTIRETY of the rest of the world…………. > I …Ronnie

  • 11. Kate  |  December 2, 2011 at 11:27 am

    I'm glad you're back, Pat. While we certainly do not agree on this "issue," I feel that you have an absolute right to post here within our boundaries and will fight to defend that right for you. Besides, unlike so many right-wingers, you can actually spell and have decent grammar! And I definitely empathize with the conflict about your sexuality that you are fighting. It must be extremely difficult.

  • 12. Pat  |  December 2, 2011 at 11:51 am

    HI Kate –

    I want to clarify, real quickly, that my comment about Judge Walker in the previous string was misinterpreted as suggesting that the fact that Walker is homosexual made him a nobody. I meant that he was nobody because he was mere trial level judge and just another guy with an opinion. That he is homosexual with a partner made his decision in favor of homosexuals with partners predictable on that basis alone. But I don't want to get into a discussion about that here.

    I don't have a conflict with my sexuality. I struggled with it once and I admittedly look back on it with wonder sometimes. I'm more akin to an ex-smoker who is long past the quitting stage, the cravings are gone but I'm amazed that people still smoke. Not a well-thought out analogy there, but you get my drift.

  • 13. Kate  |  December 2, 2011 at 11:55 am

    I do get your drift, and I understand your analogy. And I'm happy that you are happy. I wish you could feel the same way about those of us who are happy with our partners, too.

    By the way, could you post if you are a man or a woman? It's so difficult always having to type s/he when the names are generic. Thanks!

  • 14. Pat  |  December 2, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    Kate –

    If you're happy, you're happy; I don't expect that my opinion changes that. I really do have gay friends and I'm happy that the two who are in a partnership are happy. And if I didn't think that "normalizing" homosexuality has negative consequences for society, especially children, and that those negative consequences far outweigh the benefits that normalizing homosexuality would have on a very small percentage of the population, I wouldn't be posting.

  • 15. Ronnie  |  December 2, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Being LGBT is normal & has no negative consequences on society, especially children. Homophobia, however, does…… > I …Ronnie

  • 16. Ronnie  |  December 2, 2011 at 11:58 am

    The "analogy" is uneducated & incorrect. Nobody "craves" being gay. Either they are or they are not. PERIOD…… > I …….Ronnie

  • 17. DaveP  |  December 2, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Pat, I have to call BS on this last post from you about your 'clarification' regarding your comments about Judge Walker. Your comments clearly had nothing to do with the fact that he was a trial judge as opposed to some other type of judge. You made it very clear what you meant. You said "He is a NOTHING. A HOMOSEXUAL" You equated his being gay with him being "nothing".

    if you understand that what you said was wrong, own it and apologize. Don't act like some sleazy politician trying to weasle out of it by playing with words and outright lying. That's never the way to earn any respect from anyone.

  • 18. Pat  |  December 2, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    Dave – the comment was, or very close to, "He's a nobody; a homosexual with a partner who found in favor of homosexuals with partners. Brilliant."

    I think your perception is biased because you are in such disagreement with my opinions; I can see why you would read my comment in the most unfavorable way possible (and look how your memory distorted what I said!), but that's not what I intended. Do I need to talk about how semicolons are used to replace the word "and"? Can't take ownership for that which isn't mine. And why would I have brought it up if I didn't think I was being judged unfairly? You're being overly sensitive.

  • 19. DaveP  |  December 2, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    No way, Pat. You're still caught in your lie. Your statement doesn't say anything about him being 'nobody' because he's a trial judge and not some other type of judge. It says he's 'nobody' because he's a homosexual with a partner. You insulted him because he's gay, and you insulted him by insinuating that gay judges are incapable of ruling without bias. It was clearly an anti-gay swipe then, and it still is now. Knock it off.

    I've been more than civil with you in this thread. If you don't want to admit your error and apologize, that's your choice. But dont' bother trying to perpetuate the lie, and don't even think of using this as an opportunity to try to make this about me.

  • 20. Pat  |  December 2, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    Dave – Yeah, and if you rearrange the letters in my original comment it spells "I am a homophobic bigot."

    You know what Dave, believe what you want to believe if that makes you happy. This is just a silly discussion at this point.

  • 21. Bob  |  December 2, 2011 at 11:28 am

    good to see you back, trying to make your point again Pat,,,,, and adding the qualification,,, that you have succeeded at suppressing your same sex attraction,, and are admitting this saying you never looked back,,,,,
    Please,, clarify,, your religious affiliation?? it's important,,,

    And here's a link,,, http://www.godmademegay.com please find the "letter to Louise" and read,,, for further discussion,,,,,

  • 22. Pat  |  December 2, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Bob, I'm Catholic. I didn't read the letter to Louise (yet) because it looks like a biblical thing and I'm not a bible thumper. I don't think I said I suppressed my SSA; I think I just learned to not have it anymore. I'm gonna try that ex-smoker analogy again here; I'm not suppressing any urge to smoke, I'm just don't have the urge anymore.

    My problem with SSA is secular based. Contrary to popular belief, homosexuality isn't mentioned in Catholic churches, at least not in mine. They don't teach that homosexuality is bad in catechism. I think a lot of that teaching went away when the priesthood became populated with homosexuals.

  • 23. Ronnie  |  December 2, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Nobody has an "urge" to be gay, Either you are or you aren't. PERIOD….. > I …Ronnie

  • 24. Kate  |  December 2, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    I was raised Catholic, too; I chose to give up religion many decades ago. The best thing about the Catholic church was the teaching of the supremacy of personal conscience. If a person's conscience tells them one thing, even if it is not in the church's teaching (the example always given being divorce or birth control), that person MUST honor his/her conscience.

    Homosexuality and pedophila are not the same thing, incidentally.

  • 25. Pat  |  December 2, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    I don't analyze my religion; I just follow it, and I'm not particularly attentive at that either.

    Homosexuality is not the same thing as pedophilia, ok (?).

  • 26. Bob  |  December 2, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    sneeking in here Kate,,, cause Pat pretty much sums it up in her comment below,,,, *I don't analyze my religion; I just follow it, and not particularily attentive at that either" Pat you just defined a typical NOMBIE,,,,, This is the danger of people following blindly, you have no personal investment or struggle in the outcome of the harm this type of blind following inflicts on others,,, you are being used by the pope to serve his ends…. as uncomortable as this is, it requires each of us to become engaged , and challenge what is being programmed into our heads,,,,, the fear is finding out you've been lied too… that's what stopos you from reading "letter to Louise"

  • 27. Kate  |  December 2, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Yes indeed, Bob; you said it just right. What s/he said has been rumbling around in my mind since I read it. A person who doesn't question or examine his/her life and beliefs is afraid of the possible answers. Very sad.

  • 28. Bob  |  December 2, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    eerie how that statement mirrors the actions by the people during Hitler's regime,,, they didn't ask questions, they just followed orders,,,, the result being the same today as then, people are being killed, pushed aside,, beaten,,, it's a matter of survival,,, distancing oneself from your part in the annielation,,,, NOM counts on people like Pat, to behave this way…….that's there success

    equally as daunting is those of us who don't analyze the religion we left behind,,, we don't go back an confront them,,,, we too are responsible,,,,,, for holding religion accountable…..

  • 29. Kate  |  December 2, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    And it made me think a lot about Jim Jones in Guyana, the Heaven's Gate suicides, and so many more blind followers of religion ………..

  • 30. Pat  |  December 2, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    Well, I didn't drink the "I was born this way" Kool-Aid, did I?

  • 31. Sheryl_Carver  |  December 2, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    Unfortunately for us, you drank the "society must pass laws that support my sincerely held beliefs even though they discriminate against others who don't think the way I want them to think" Kool-Aid.

  • 32. Pat  |  December 2, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    Yes, Bob, I'm just like Hitler (drink – sorry Ronnie, had to do that).

    What do you believe, Bob? You have some secret decoder that has all the answers to the great questions of the universe?

    I can tell you this; my faith has never let me down; I've been blessed with riches far beyond what I ever imagined. Some in my faith might believe that it's because I gave up homosexuality that God has blessed me. No one knows for sure.

  • 33. Pat  |  December 2, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    Oh, I examine my life, Kate. And I have faith; faith requires no proof, no examination. That's for biblical historians, not for the faithful. Not needing proof is what faith is all about.

    So what's that have to do with my beliefs about homosexuality?

  • 34. Bob  |  December 2, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    okay Pat take a deep breath,,,,, I didn't say you were like Hitler,,, I referred to you as an enabler, by taking a stand against LGBT'S to fit into a faith community preaching misguided interpretations of scripture, that go virutally unchallenged,,,, by you ,,,, you may not have drunk cool aide but your mind is being controlled…

    I believe you mean well,, but lack courage,, let's call it FAITH!!! which you claim an abundance of…. put that faith to work Pat,,, lets forget this little dust up of differences,,, with faith you can accomplish anything,,,, hold onto your faith, whild you tell your family and friends about your personal experience with homosexuality,,, and have faith when you share with family members who are LGBT how you feel,, hang onto this faith while you take this conversation into a personal rhelm at home,,,, and have the faith to read "a letter to Louise" faith doesn't change,, your perceptions and understandings change,, faith gets stronger…..

  • 35. Bob  |  December 4, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    I just have to come back to this comment by Kate,,, which is perhaps the most important point for any one of us who come from a religious background,, and thank Pat again for struggling with it here , so we all can learn,,,

    And thank Kate for explaining a healthy way to deprogram oneself from religious mind control,, which for many goes unnoticed,, and for many like Pat blind unquestioning followers, doing NOM's work,,,

    It's up to each individual confronted by this challenge,,(and I note many are not and have never had their spirits destroyed by religion) I consider those people inspired and free,,, for the rest of us,,, question your religion,, your churches, and don't stop,,, till you arrive at the place Kate explains,,,

    I wouldn't agree that the Catholic church "teaches" supremacy of personal conscience,, but it is hidden their to be discovered , uncovered, and claimed,,, that is the key, which opens and frees us from blind following,,,, no church can deny this SUPREMACY OF PERSONAL CONSCIENCE,,,

    that would be the end of NOM

  • 36. DaveP  |  December 2, 2011 at 11:44 am

    hi Pat, IF a person WANTS to suppress their inate sexual desires and refrain from the type of expressions of sexuality and love that they truly desire, well, that person is welcome to do that. But you are making HUGE assumptions here. Most people are perfectly happy to stay true to themselves and find no reason or benefit for doing what you suggest. In fact, for msot people it would make them miserable for no reason.

    For example, you have said that you personally chose to deny your same sex attraction because you wanted to raise children and, at the time, you felt that thsi could only be done in an opposite-sex relationship. But others do not feel any need to do what you decided to do. LOTS of gay people who want to raise a family are doing so in loving, healthy, thriving same sex relationships.

    So please understand – you made a personal decision for how to achieve what you wanted, but that was YOUR PERSONAL CHOICE and there is absolutely NO reason for you assume that anyone else has any reason at all to do the same thing.

  • 37. Bob  |  December 2, 2011 at 11:33 am

    Pat,, what you propose,, spending money on preventing children from embracing their uniqueness,,, has and is being done,,,, with dismal failure and the cost of many lives,,,,, these programs have been outlawed,,, as dangerous and life threatening…… what you propose is criminal……

  • 38. Pat  |  December 2, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Bob –

    I think it's criminal that kids who are faced with confusion about their sexuality are being taught that homosexuality and heterosexuality are equally good choices in life. I think it's a crime that many kids who have a momentary feeling of SSA label themselves as gay. It's like that scene in Seinfeld where George felt "it" move when he was getting a massage by a guy and he worried that he was gay. Funny on its face, but these are the things we are doing not only to children but to confused adolescents and experimenting young adults.

    I'm not in favor of criminalizing homosexuality, though I think it's important for kids to know that the world is filled with heterosexual people (or, if you prefer, people who are acting heterosexually but are on some continuum of bisexuality), and being heterosexual offers a lot of advantages in life over being homosexual, not just because a large part of society dislikes homosexuality, but because life is easier when you are not different from what most people are and what most people thus believe is normal (because everybody thinks that what they are is normal).

  • 39. Joe  |  December 2, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    I never found anything funny about Seinfeld, with or without George's neurosis. And as far as choices go, you are comparing apples to elephants. Being homosexual or heterosexual was not a choice I was ever given. I would surely have picked the easier one if it was.
    I have never had an ego big enough to think that whatever works for me will work for someone else. Generally speaking, mostly I have thought the opposite.
    Have you ever considered that which works for you, works only for you?

  • 40. Pat  |  December 2, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    Joe, I'm not trying to change you. But you do have a choice to live life as a heterosexual; you might not want to do that, and I respect that, but many people have become so wrapped up in the "movement" that they don't even consider that as a possibility, or worse, they declare that it is impossible or shameful or damaging to change.

    So, don't change, but I don't think it's fair to discourage others from thinking about change or about not even considering acting on their same-sex attraction.

  • 41. Ronnie  |  December 2, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    I don't have a "choice" to live as a heterosexual because I was not born a heterosexual & I am not bisexual. It is not a possibility, it never was a possibility & it never will be a possibility. Only heterosexuals are heterosexual. PERIOD…… > I …Ronnie

  • 42. Joe  |  December 2, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    never wrestle with pigs. they like it and you just get muddy.
    I am not sure which of us is the pig, but its irrelevant, the outcome is the same.

  • 43. Pat  |  December 2, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    You can probably learn a lot about pigs if you wrestle them, even if you only learn about how to better wrestle them.

  • 44. Sheryl_Carver  |  December 2, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    No, Pat, people who are truly homosexual can no more have a satisfying "life as a heterosexual" than someone who is truly heterosexual could trying to live life as a homosexual. From what you have stated here, whether you admit it to yourself or not, if you truly find having heterosexual sex good & satisfying, YOU ARE BISEXUAL. Not everyone is. That is a big part of what you don't seem to understand.

    The other big part is that equal civil rights and kids "being taught that homosexuality and heterosexuality are equally good choices in life" doesn't harm anyone. Homophobia is the problem. If our society didn't disparage LGBTs, there would be NO downside for "kids who are faced with confusion about their sexuality." Most kids know at a young age what gender they are attracted to, but in a society without bigotry, if a heterosexual kid did decide to have a sexual encounter with a same-sex partner, if he or she were truly heterosexual, it would be unsatisfying. That's all. Same result if a truly homosexual kid had sex with an opposite-sex partner. In each case, the kids learn more about who they are. And some kids will learn that they are bisexual, like you & I are. (Just to make it completely clear, I'm talking about consensual sex between teenagers who ARE going to have sex, whether or not adults think they should.)

    So please think, Pat. Humans are not going extinct any time soon. At least, not because there are too few of them. So it's not like we all have some sort of duty to have heterosexual sex so we can increase the world's population.

  • 45. Pat  |  December 2, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    I might have been bisexual at one point in my life. No longer. And that's my point; we can actually modify our sexual attraction.

    I think parents should have a say as to whether their kids should be taught about homosexuality as a good choice. It's a complicated world out there and you can't whittle it down to merely being who you are and doing what seems natural. Having kids is a big thing and choosing not to do that, de facto, by choosing homosexuality is a big deal. Moreover, with respect to male homosexuality, there are high risks of HIV/AIDS and other STDs, risks far exceeding those in the heterosexual population. Growing up as a minority segment of the population has huge psychological implications, regardless of how that minority segment is perceived by the public. And while many people believe that homosexuals should be left alone, most people still believe it is a little strange, and that perception isn't going to change any time soon.

  • 46. Ronnie  |  December 2, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    No we cannot "modify" our sexual orientation. Only bisexuals can choose what gender they decide to settle down with. Being gay is NOT a "choice". PERIOD. You need to choose home school or a private school then because the public schools are not going to be allowed to demean & disrespect LGBT children or children who have LGBT parents anymore. NO MORE. I didn't choose to be gay, FACT, & I didn't choose to not have children. I WILL have children & you will deal with it, & you will NOT be allowed to disrespect my family without dealing with the consequences. Nope, growing up as a minority segment of a population does have psychological implications but it is not because they are a minority it is because of selfish, bigoted, arrogant, hateful, homophobic dross like you with deleterious, inhuman, soulless, heartless "aryan" wannabe superiority & control complexes & a desire to force everybody to be your "ideal" that creates the problems because you refuse to MIND YOUR OWN F-ING BUSINESS. I'm ignoring the rest of your hate speech & demonizing of gay men. GO AWAY!!!!!!…. OTIO…… > I ….Ronnie

  • 47. Xandoz  |  December 2, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    I say bravo to those of us who seek authenticity in our lives and thrive, not letting our "minority" status get us down. Certainly not running back into the closet so we can have a "simpler," more "homogenous" (pun intended) life. We are the overcomers!!!!

  • 48. Sheryl_Carver  |  December 2, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    Sexual orientation is NOT something you can change. Respected medical professionals are in agreement on this. So, yes, you ARE bisexual, Pat, regardless of whether or not you choose to admit it to yourself or anyone else.

    You are a perfect example of why homophobia is the real problem, not that LGBTs are a minority part of the population. So are left-handed people (who used to be considered evil, or at best, not normal). So are certain ethnicities. So are exceptionally smart people. I could go on, but hopefully you get the idea. The psychological damage of trying to be something you are not is worse than the damage of just being in the minority. And in the opinion of many LGBTs, even the very real possibility of injury &/or death is not as bad as living a lie.

    And as Ronnie & others have pointed out, you don't need to have heterosexual sex to become a parent.

    For someone who claims to have "overcome" your attraction to others of the same sex, you are spending an amazing amount of time trying to prove it to a group of people you don't even know, and who will never believe you. Methinks the lady or the gentleman protests too much.

    It's late & I'm tired, so I don't know if what I just wrote expresses what I am trying to say.

  • 49. DaveP  |  December 3, 2011 at 12:19 am

    I think you covered it quite well.

  • 50. Deeelaaach  |  December 3, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    Pat,
    The vast majority of people cannot "modify" their sexual orientation any more than they can modify their gender, their natural hair color, skin or eye color, their blood type or the fact that most of them have eight fingers and two thumbs unless they cut one off. That you were able to do it has you convinced that because you could do it, everyone else must be able to do it also. You conflate your experiences with your sexual attraction to the experiences and potentials of everyone else. However, just because you were able to do it *does not* mean that everyone else can do it. Human sexuality is probably on a spectrum of some type, or rather several of them or something else entirely, where some have the ability you speak of but others do not. I don't have that ability and most others do not also.

    We tend not to listen to each other because we view others in our own image. Those who can change (essentially) tell others they must be delusional, or vice versa. Well, most of us have tried it, over and over and over and over and over. Some of us have prayed mightily for it, over and over and over and over. And for those people who cannot change, guess what? The change never comes, and it never will.

    I accept the fact that you were able to change, and I think it's fine and dandy that you were able to do so. But your ability to change does not mean that the rest of us have that ability. I did not, and I never will have it. Rather than conflate your experiences with ours since you can see from your viewpoint only as most humans do, maybe listening to ours will help for once.

    I'll speak of an experience I had. A former church friend of mine who I had not seen in some time since I came out decided that he wanted to "get to know who I am" better. He came over to meet me and started peppering me with questions. I gave him honest and sincere answers and told him of my experiences. But he kept telling me that my experiences weren't right (my word) and kept rephrasing his questions trying to evince some particular answer. I couldn't answer his questions – at least not the way he wanted me to – because my experiences didn't reflect what he was looking for. I told him that I thought he was looking for something, but he denied this. His questions told a different story, and I believe that he was looking for something in particular, but he was not aware of this fact. We concluded and I sent home my personal copy of a book and asked him to read it to see if it would help him form a basis for his further questions. He returned it to me perhaps a month or so later, told me he'd skimmed most of it and read only small parts here and there. Then I could only smile and say nothing when he handed the book back to me and told me that he "did not find what [he] was looking for." It was a telling answer, and he did not request to meet again, nor did he even want to ask more questions that day. I guess he had really come over to see if he could convince me that my biology was wrong.

    My point is that he may have been asking questions based on his own experiences, but saw a mismatch between my answers and his experiences. He had no frame of reference for what I was telling him, so he likely did not understand what I was telling him. Every time he told me that my answer wasn't right, he basically told me that I had not experienced what I had experienced, but I don't think he realized that. He kept telling me that what had happened to me must somehow be wrong, but he did not realize that his experiences and personal history did not invalidate my history and experiences. He seemed to think that there was only one way to experience things, and that they must all follow his frame of reference. He was wrong. But my experiences don't invalidate his experiences; funny, the other way round was not the same because his did invalidate mine, but only in his eyes and not in reality.

  • 51. Deeelaaach  |  December 3, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    And that is what we are trying to tell you. Just because you could change does not mean we can too. If you think we can, that is merely your opinion and your opinion does not reflect reality. You are entitled to your opinion Pat, but you are not entitled to facts to back up that opinion because the facts simply are not there and they don't back up your opinion. I challenge you to prove otherwise – and I mean scientific evidence that is not only peer reviewed but has been replicated many times. And yes, we know which "scientists" have had their method and data debunked repeatedly, so you'll have to do some real research, and not just quote the names and studies that have been bandied about in anti-SSM circles.

    I'll tell you one thing right now – if you do your own research and look into reputable scientists and publications, you won't find the facts you are looking for. You'll find the ones we have been talking about for some time now. A good place to start would be the transcripts of the P8 trial. Google the names of the "scientists" listed on the anti SSM sites, but if you read about them on those same sites, you'll only be part of the choir. Step outside the church or religion – step out of those sites to find what others say about them, because if you only listen to the pastor/father, you'll never learn any other way. Why don't you try it – find out what others outside the choir think of these people and their discredited and debunked research? I guess I’m asking you to not only research outside of your comfort zone, but I’m also asking you to do reputation checks within your comfort zone. Will you take my challenge?

  • 52. Ronnie  |  December 2, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    They are not "choices" and the are equally good. They are not being taught anything. Being born heterosexual does not offer anything in life other then one was born heterosexual. Life is not easy, PERIOD. If people would learn to mind their own f-ing business, then life would be a lot easier. But dross like you have the selfish desire to force your repugnant superiority complex on people who are not exactly like you. People like you are the reason why there are thousands of LGBT youth living on the streets forced to eat out of garbage cans or sell drugs or even themselves just so they can but a piece of bread. People like you are the ones enabling neanderthals who burn down the houses & burns of LGBT people, who attach nooses & burned rainbow flags to LGBT community centers, who violently attack a gay couple walking through a PUBLIC park holding hands, who put forth bills & laws that make it legal to mass murder LGBT people. You do not have to says the words "kill", "attack", "bash" to perpetuate and enable it. All you need to do is provide the dehumanizing & demonizing rhetoric. That is a fact.

    I'm not in favor of you standing in my way of marrying the man I love & disrespecting my future family. The difference is that what I am not in favor of has to do with MY life & you minding your own business. I'm not in favor of the government that MY hard earned tax dollars pay for treating my as less then to you unless I "change" to live my life how you demand. I am not in favor of people demanding that I bow to their version of "God", religion, holy book, house of worship & its definitions & beliefs. I am not in favor of you defining MY life for me…… > I …Ronnie

  • 53. Joe  |  December 2, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Thank you Ronnie. THANK YOU VERY VERY MUCH.

  • 54. DaveP  |  December 2, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    …he's back on track…. and batting 1000. Thanks Ronnie.

  • 55. Sheryl_Carver  |  December 2, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Right on, Ronnie!

  • 56. Kate  |  December 2, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Now, THAT'S our Ronnie!

  • 57. Adam Bink  |  December 2, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    Let me use this opportunity to make a point. Lately we have had a lot of comments being reported.

    Prop8TrialTracker staff do not ban or moderate the comments of people simply for expressing a different point of view on the Prop 8 trial, the nature of sexual orientation, and the like. Period.

    What Kate posted above is exactly right:

    "While we certainly do not agree on this "issue," I feel that you have an absolute right to post here within our boundaries and will fight to defend that right for you."

    Pat has a a difference of opinion and expressed it rather mildly. You can do one of two things: (a) take Pat up in reasonable dialogue, as Kate, Bob and DaveP have done above (b) ignore the comment and not spend time on it.

    What you cannot do is help this community become a vitriolic place by calling names. You can report the comment if you want, but you would need to make a serious case above and beyond saying "troll!" in order for someone to be moderated and/or banned. Minds can be changed on many issues through continued dialogue. People have a right to disagree without being disagreeable on this site. When they become disagreeable, they get moderated and/or banned (and that goes for both sides of an issue). Not before.

    I'll tell you why this is generally the policy. Many may consider this just an internet forum, but we at Courage consider it a place where real people commune. If you were canvassing on a marriage ballot measure in Maine and a voter at the door told you she has gay neighbors who are nice enough, but she believes gays can change their sexual orientation, and you shouted things in her face and slammed the door, that person is more likely to tell all her friends not only what she believes, but boy, how nasty those gays can be. If you disagree at a voter's door, talk about it with the voter. Or walk away. Same goes here.

    I understand that when someone says kids can change their sexual orientation, or there's no such thing as gay, etc., if can be very offensive to people. Rest assured we have a fairly low tolerance level for such a thing. Calling someone a faggot, saying gays are going to hell, and the like has not and will not permitted. What is permitted is reasonable dialogue with people who show themselves to be reasonable, within boundaries, on issues of importance.

    I am working on a longer series of community "rules" — that is on me to be clear on what is acceptable and what is not, and I have put it off, and that is my fault. Expect these posted by end of the day Monday.

    Thanks as always for feedback and reasonable co-existence with your fellow commenters.

  • 58. DaveP  |  December 2, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    Thanks very much Adam. I do not envy these parts of your job, but I am very grateful that you and the P8TTstaff do them, and do them well. The maturity and responsibility shown in the way things are run here makes P8TT a site and a community that we can all be very proud of.

  • 59. Pat  |  December 2, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    Hey Adam –

    Thanks for your comment. I'm not sure why I'm posting here, but I suppose I'm looking for an answer of some sort to reconcile the fact that I have gay friends, gay family members, and have had homosexual encounters, but I believe that normalizing homosexuality can have damaging effects on society. I'm sympathetic on an emotional level; I'm concerned on a practical level. Redefining marriage is my primary concern, but I also believe that sex as a recreational activity is the source of a lot of our society's problems and that homosexuality, always being non-procreative, promotes promiscuity. I know I said a lot there, but I just want people to know that I'm open minded, or at least am trying to be.

  • 60. Ronnie  |  December 2, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Being LGBT is normal & legally protected & recognized by the Federal government. It has NO damaging effects on society. Homophobia does. NOBODY is "redefining" marriage. Sex is, has always been, & will always be a recreational activity but that is irrelevant, the ability to have sex nor the desire to have sex is NOT a legal requirement to obtain a CIVIL marriage license. Being LGBT does NOT promote promiscuity. Heterosexuals who cannot or choose not to have children are non-procreative relationships, so that is a moot point. You are not open minded & you certainly are not trying to be because repeating yourself over & over & over & over again is beating a soundless drum….. > I …Ronnie

  • 61. Bob  |  December 2, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Pat, I would change the phrase "normalizing homosexuality" to :"accepting homosexuality",,,, we can't make it anything other than what it is ,,,,, another form of sexual expresssion,,,,, we can change the fact that it has been wrongfullly demonized, in distructive damaging ways,,,, humanity is simply evolving on the understanding of it,,,

    I do agree with making the distinciton between homosexuality and promiscuity,, and disagree that accepting must lead to promiscuity,,,, many would argue that the opposite is true,, and society would be more healthy with more committed marriages period……

  • 62. Xandoz  |  December 2, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    I have to scratch my head when you say non-procreative sex promotes promiscuity. People have been having sex without trying to procreate for always. I count it as a positive that two men or two women having sex *cannot* create unintentional pregnancies. Unwanted children is socially irresponsible and studies have indicated that it can lead to higher crime rates.

  • 63. Steve  |  December 2, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    Typical religious crap. The Catholic background is clearly showing

  • 64. Ronnie  |  December 2, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    This is the hateful, dangerous, & violent America NOM et al is creating & perpetuating……

    Gay Couple Told To 'Move Or Die' In Northeast Columbus: http://www.10tv.com/content/stories/2011/12/02/co

    "COLUMBUS, Ohio – A northeast side couple said that they woke up to find hateful language spray painted in yellow on their home on Friday. The pair woke up to find "Move or Die" followed by a gay slur spray painted on their Blue Cloud Lane home, 10TV News reported. Investigators also found the word "Die" followed by a gay slur. "

    (me) I'm sorry, but how many heterosexual couples in America have been told to "move or die" just because they are heterosexual? What's that? Zero? hmmmmmm….. > I …Ronnie

  • 65. Pat  |  December 2, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Ronnie! We agree on something! Hateful, dangerous, violent and unacceptable behavior.

  • 66. Ronnie  |  December 2, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    No we don't agree, at least not the way you "think" we "agree". When I said "et al" that includes you.This is the hateful dangerous, violent, & unacceptable behavior people like you enable & perpetuate……The same offensive, demeaning, dehumanizing & yes hateful rhetoric you have posted here & in the past are the same arguments made by the people who threatened to kill this couple if they don't move. The same arguments made by a mother &/or father to their LGBorT son or daughter right before he/she/they say "You disgust me. Get out & never come back. I never want to see you again. You're dead to me. You are not my child," forcing that kid to either couch surf or live on the streets eating out of garbage cans or selling drugs or worse themselves just so they can afford a piece of bread or save up enough for a cheap sleazy dirty motel room for the winter with one bed & 10 other homeless kids who chipped in. The fact that you can't comprehend that, says a lot. There are two major types of homophobes. The 1st is the one who is violent, destructive, like the person or people who threatened to kill that couple or does any of the other violent events I mentioned. The second is the talker, the public speaker, someone like you. You run your mouth, or in this case your fingers, about how LGBT people are not "normal" & "unnatural", making offensive comparisons & sly insults that are like catnip for the violent homophobe…. You may not advocate violence & child abandonment word for word, you may not even condone or support it, but you certainly do enable & perpetuate it….. > I …Ronnie

  • 67. DaveP  |  December 2, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    Right on. You would think that anyone reading that would be able to see the point……..

  • 68. Pat  |  December 2, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    I can't take responsibility for every knucklehead out there who allows hatred to cause them to do bad things to people. What, am I responsible for the people who throw blood at the people in fur coats because I don't think animals should be killed for their fur? Am I responsible for the killings of abortion doctors because I don't believe in abortion? Am I responsible for 9-11 because I think the US needs to get out of the Middle East? Puhlease.

    Ronnie, I'm someone who has struggled with homosexuality. I speak from experience, not from hatred.

  • 69. Ronnie  |  December 2, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    WOW. The land of delusia. The dehumanizing & demeaning hate speech you posted is what perpetuates and enables violence towards LGBT human beings. FACT. You do speak from hatred 100%. You might as well have threatened them yourself. It is so easy for ignorant selfish detritus like you to step away & ignore the murderers you enable because you don't promote the violence word for word. But you are guilty of it. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR IT. FACT.

    I do not/did not/will never "struggle" with homosexuality because it is not something you struggle with. You struggle to walk up a steep hill. You struggle to remember all the words to the Three's Company theme. You Struggle to choose where to go on vacation because there are so many great places to go but you can only choose one to go to on this vacation. You struggle to make a choice between a June wedding or a December wedding when everybody really knows that June at the Plaza is the ideal but booking that time needs to happen at least a year in advance & you don't want to wait that long to say "I do". You struggle to get out of bed in the morning even though you smell the yummy coffee your beau it brewing & figure if you wait he'll bring it to you and he does so then you struggle to get out of bed because you are with the one you love and nothing in the world is more important then this moment. It is how I was born. FACT. I don't really care what your issues are/were/will be with your orientation. They have no bearing on my life. But people like you are putting your repugnant nose where it doesn't belong, imposing on both my private & public life, standing in my way of living my life to the fullest of its extent AS I AM and If people like you need to be pushed out of the way then so be it. GO AWAY!!!!!!!….. > I …Ronnie

  • 70. Bob  |  December 2, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Pat, thanks for sharing that your background is Catholic,,, and that you do not consider yourself a bilbe thumper,,,,
    I have wrestled with my religious upbringing,,, in numerous ways,, first dscarding it,,, then trying on other forms of spirituality ,,, then trying churches that are affirming, of sexual diversity,,, bottom line is I think somehow it's in my genes,,, I relate to the world as a christian,,, as much as I would like that to not be the case…. so now I find myself wrestling with all the issues the church (Lutheran) in my case has with my sexuality,,, or to put it another way,, how do I reconcile the two….. I can't just say I'm not a bible thumper,,, like it or not that influence is profound and deep,,, and so I wrestle with it in a more forthright way,, (ie dialog with others, and the church about the way they enterpret scriptures against LGBT people,),

  • 71. Bob  |  December 2, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    do you and your family attend church??? one can do that and still not consider themselves thumpers?

    I admire you for sharing your personal experience with your sexuality,,, you have found something that works for you,,,, like you say I definetly was aware of the same choice for myself,,, but chose diferently,,,

    the reason I asked about your religious background, is because I am not aware of anyone without a religious bent, having an issue with another persons sexuality,,,,, the only opposition we have to equality is religion,,, do you know of any other reason??? I am aware that many people do not understand or follow fully all the doctrines and church laws,,, they have not personally struggled with the issues,,, interesting that you have arrrived at this place without struggling with the Catholic techings,,, even to the point of not wanting to read the "letter to Louise" because of it's biblical content… facinating that you make an argument for your position without engagng in further reading…. maybe that's the key

  • 72. Bob  |  December 2, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    finally Pat, age would be an interesting factor,,, I truly get it that you find yourself in a place where you no longer suppress a same sex desire,,, I get that,, I have lived a very promiscous life,,,, I call it a sexual addiction,,, which has just left me,,, I no longer have that urge,,, so I get it on the same level as drinking or smoking,,, I no longer do those things or spend time thingking about them,,,,,,

    but on some level you are thinking a lot about ssm, or you wouldn't be on here talking about it,,, and not just talking,, but trying to sell us your way of coping with it… this is a valuable conversation,, you are the person NOM would like us all to be,,,, or that is how you are coming across,,, and you say you are successful at it,,,, are you saying you wish to not include your religious background in the discussion,,,,

  • 73. Steve  |  December 2, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    Someone's degree of bisexuality can also change over time, but not through any conscious effort. Some people get less attracted to one sex as they get older. For some it various. Which may an indication that it varies with hormonal levels

  • 74. Steve  |  December 2, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    grr typos. This really needs an edit button

  • 75. Sheryl_Carver  |  December 2, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    I have an edit button, Steve. I think to get one, you have to create an account with IntenseDebate.

  • 76. David  |  December 4, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    So what do these folks (clearly not kids, unless they all suffer from progeria) actually learn at these camps? I have been voting on RefreshEverything for you guys, but I was under the impression that the money would be spent on actual nuts-and-bolts training to help fight for marriage equality. All I saw in this video was sloganeering and speeches. Nothing wrong with that, of course, and I agree with the sentiments. But why do you need $50,000 to get a couple hundred people in a room to listen to Dan Choi and to chant "Si se puede!"? Please explain or my future votes go to help puppies in shelters.

  • 77. David  |  December 5, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    OK, no response, no more votes from me.

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