Monday, May 31, 2010

There's No Glue...

I've had countless conversations with gay men about the length of our relationships.  Why are they short lived?  The obvious, we don't have enough reasons to fight for our relationships.  Too few of us "partner" in home purchases, even fewer graduate to marriage (commitment ceremonies), or raise children together.  Simply put, there's no glue to keep us together; there's nothing binding. 

About a year ago, my mom called me to tell me my nephew and his wife were considering a divorce because they couldn't get back on track.  I was speechless because they had been married less than two years.  Every few phone calls my mom had a new update for me.  She even said on one occasion that she could tell my "niece in law" wanted to talk about it, but my mom decided she would stay out of it because she and my nephew (her grandson) never discussed what was going on in his marriage.

On one of our phone calls, I said to my mom, "Why are you calling me to tell me?  You should be talking to them.  Not to mention, you were at their wedding.  You witnessed it.  You're responsibility, along with all the other guests, is to hold them accountable for the vows they pledged that day.  You're suppose to step in and speak up when they can't hear each other."  That's the purpose of having a wedding and why the guests should be those closest to the couple; at least in theory.    

Before I knew it, I was on a plane to Maryland.  I wanted to sit with my nephew and his wife separately to get to the root of their issues.  More importantly, I wanted them to know someone cared and wasn't willing to stand by and watch their marriage crumble without just cause.  I told them "...people want long-term relationships, but run at the first sign of trouble for fear of looking like a fool to those around.  The only way to reach ten, twenty or forty years of love is to go through the ups and the downs.  We mistakenly believe that those who enjoy lengthy relationships are near perfect because they've lasted, but that isn't the case. They simply chose to roll up their sleeves to make it work."

Sadly, it's a rarity for gay people to have family or friends who rally in support of our relationships.  It's a luxury we don't always enjoy especially if our families have no clue we're gay or if they don't accept us as gay, thus, we're left to sort out our troubles alone.  Consequently, without mediation or some voice of reason we walk away before we even get started. 

I asked myself two questions as I wrote this, "Who comes to our rescue when our relationships suffer?" and "What holds us together when love doesn't seem to be enough?"

Glue anyone? 

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Boomerang Effect...

My first stop after arriving from Washington, D.C. was to have dinner and drinks with friends.  The topic of discussion, aspirations.  The conversation reminded me of the decisions I had to make in my twenties that would prepare and establish me in my thirties.  The twenties aren't just for fun.  It's also the period in our lives to get focused and start putting a plan in motion. 

One of my struggles early on was trying to figure out how to "make things happen" when the reality is that wasn't my job.  My only only concern should have been focusing on my craft, my gift: writing. 

As long as you're pouring into the universe,  it has no option but to respond to your efforts with rewards.  Every email, phone call, or conversation centered around your goal propels you forward.  It's like an investment.  What you put in, you get back. 

I spent a great deal of energy imagining and trying to figure out "how" I would meet an investor or promoter to tour "A Day in the Life" the stage play.  I tried to connect the dots instead of surrendering the dream to God. He knows what we need before we know we'll need it.  Now, I realize my only concern should be "writing" because my gift (your gift) will make room for you.  Just do what you do.  It's already done.

Whatever we throw out, comes back.  Life would be unfair if it didn't...


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Self Realization...

As chance would have it, I ran into a guy I knew from Atlanta while I was in D.C.  I met him many years ago while he was a student at Morehouse college. We never dated, but we chatted on the phone a handful of times, under the pretense of dating, and we attended a church service together once. He said he moved to Washington, D.C. four months ago because his life in Atlanta was out of control, unhealthy, unstable, unpredictable and spiraling out of control.

He mentioned constant "partying" which is code for drugging, and frequenting after hour spots (that lend themselves to destructive behavior) until eleven or twelve o'clock the next afternoon was leading him down a road to nowhere. He said he realized he needed to make a mature decision for once and take himself out of that environment, thus, moving to the district.

I couldn't help but wonder about those that never self identify because they fail to slow down long enough to take an honest look at themselves.

One of the best parts of life is when we can admit the truth to ourselves about ourselves....

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Gay Malawi Couple Released, Pardoned

The President of Malawi ordered the release of the gay coupled sentenced to fourteen years.  This could be the beginning of change in that country.  Take a look at this story...

Two people sentenced to 14 years in prison for engaging in what the government considered a same-sex wedding ceremony have been pardoned by Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika, who has ordered their immediate release.  Steven Monjeza, 26, and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20, were jailed in December and then convicted and sentenced last week on charges of gross indecency and unnatural acts.

“These boys committed a crime against our culture, our religion, and our laws,” Mutharika said after meeting with UN chief Ban Ki-Moon, who was in Malawi to lobby for the men’s release. “However, as the head of state I hereby pardon them and therefore ask for their immediate release with no conditions."  According to several reports and activists in South Africa, Chimbalanga identifies as a transgender woman and the couple consider themselves a male-female couple.

Upon hearing of the pardon, the White House released the following statement: "The White House is pleased to learn of President Bingu wa Mutharika's pardon of Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza. These individuals were not criminals and their struggle is not unique. We must all recommit ourselves to ending the persecution and criminalization of sexual orientation and gender identity. We hope that President Mutharika's pardon marks the beginning of a new dialogue which reflects the country's history of tolerance and a new day for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights in Malawi and around the globe."

Source: Advocate.com

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Random Thought, The Obamas

I've been in Washington, DC for the past two days and I remembered,  as we passed the White House, why I was so awestruck with the Obamas.  From the beginning of the campaign I was in support of Barack Obama because of his ability and the way in which he expressed his ideas for this country and its people.  When I considered the impact he, Michelle and their family would have on this country and the world I was even more eager to see him as President of the United States.

For the first time we have, on the national stage, a classic example of a healthy traditional black family that will undoubtedly leave an indelible mark on black families with respect to how we function in our relationships through their example as parents and as a couple.  They could single handedly change black love for the better because black men and women now have a model for how to love, show affection and raise children.

Not only have they changed our perception as a community, but the world's view of black love, families, fathers, mothers, women, and our men...

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Partnership

I had an interesting conversation this morning that forced me to consider some hard facts centered around domestic partnership rights. Those rights and the laws pertaining to them aren't central to many of us within the black gay community because we haven't "partnered" in the truest sense of the word. So few of us have bought homes together, adopted children with a partner or had to plan funeral arrangements for a partner, thus, we aren't stirred to action for those causes.  Nevertheless, these causes are indeed applicable to us for the day may come that we will need to rely on the benefits of these rights.

Many years ago, a friend of mine told me his longtime partner died as a result of a kidney disease.  Naturally, they had acquired furniture, other valuables and debt.  Not only was he unable to voice his concerns for funeral arrangements, he was left with none of the memorabilia; only debt.  His partner's family came into their home and took everything they wanted.

We have to shift our consciousness with our priorities.  The purpose of Black gay pride should be politicking and fighting for rights.  Instead, we're focused on partying, wardrobe and the next best hook up.  In addition, because we're so closeted and fearful of being seen on the local news by friends, family and co-workers we remain silent.

Now is the time to mobilize and get things done.  Future generations of gay people shouldn't suffer or lack because we lived.  If we live with true purpose, they should benefit...

What's our legacy?

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Friday, May 28, 2010

The Lazarus Effect


Incredible video showing the effects of HIV anti-viral medicine..

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House Votes to End Ban on Gays in Military

It appears the ban on gays in the military will be repealed prior to study that would determine the effects of gays in the military.

(Washington) Congress has taken two big steps toward ending the “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military.  In quick succession Thursday, the Senate Armed Services Committee and the full House approved measures to repeal the 1993 law that allows gay people to serve in the armed services only if they hide their sexual orientation. The votes were a victory for President Barack Obama, who has actively supported ending the policy, and for gay rights groups who have made repealing the ban their top legislative priority this year.
“Lawmakers today stood on the right side of history,” said Joe Solmonese, president of Human Rights Campaign, a major gay rights organization.

With passage, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said, “We honor the values of our nation and we close the door on a fundamental unfairness.”  The drive to end the ban still has a long way to go. The 234-194 House vote was an amendment to a defense spending bill that comes up for a final vote Friday. While the spending bill, which approves more than $700 billion in funds for military operations, enjoys wide support, some lawmakers vowed to vote against it if the “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal was included.  “It jeopardizes passage of the entire bill,” said Rep. Gene Taylor of Mississippi, a conservative Democrat who opposed it.

The full Senate is expected to take up the defense bill next month, and Republicans are threatening a filibuster if the change in policy toward gays remains in the legislation.  “I think it’s really going to be very harmful to the morale and effectiveness of our military,” said Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee and a leading opponent of the repeal.  In a statement after the House vote, Obama hailed Thursday’s congressional action as “important bipartisan steps toward repeal.”  “This legislation will help make our armed forces even stronger and more inclusive by allowing gay and lesbian soldiers to serve honestly and with integrity,” Obama said.

The Armed Services vote on the measure was 16-12, with one Republican, Susan Collins of Maine, voting for it and one Democrat, Jim Webb of Virginia, opposing it.  In the House, Republicans, who voted overwhelmingly against the amendment, cited the letters of four military service chiefs urging Congress to hold off on legislation until the military gains a full assessment of the effects the repeal might have on military life and readiness.  Defense Secretary Robert Gates, while voicing support for the repeal, also has said he would prefer that Congress wait until the Pentagon conducts a study, due to be finished in December, on the impact of the policy change.  The House and Senate amendments stipulate that the repeal would not become law until after the study is completed and until the president, the defense secretary and the Joint Chiefs of Staff certify that it will not have negative effects on the military’s fighting ability.

Several Republicans voiced strong opposition to any change in current policy. “It is very clear that homosexuality is incompatible with military service,” Rep. Steve Buyer, R-Ind., said.  The chief sponsor of the amendment, Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Pa., who served in the Iraq war, said that when he was in Baghdad, “my teams did not care whether a fellow soldier was straight or gay if they could fire their assault rifle or run a convoy down ambush alley and do their job so everyone would come home safely.”  House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said that of the 13,500 who have been discharged under “don’t ask, don’t tell,” more than 1,000 filled critical occupations, such as engineers and interpreters.

Source: The Associated Press

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Rhythm...

Every good relationship has a rhythm; a pulse.  It's like a dance.  Every now and then we take missteps.  We may even step on our partner's toes, but you don't stop dancing.  You continue until you can almost predict which way he or she will move.

There's something about seeing another couple function together. The best medicine or support for a relationship is spending time with another couple that has a strong, healthy partnership because it re-confirms for you & your partner why you're together.  It allows you to see how they handle disputes and/or disagreements.  It isn't for the purpose of comparing or trying to "out do".  It can serve as a reflection a mirror of your relationship.


Love is a dance.  Find your rhythm...

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Better Days Radio

I experienced a full circle moment this week.  The first time I geared up to produce "A Day in the Life", Adrian Daniel was a producer for The Joyce Littell show on V-103, thus, I made my first radio debut on the "Love & Relationships" segment.  As a result of that interview, the play debuted to a sold out crowd in Atlanta.

Now, Adrian is calling the shots, along with his spunky co-host Drama Dupree, on their very own online radio show "Better Days Radio".

Along for the ride that day was fellow blogger Darian of loldarian.com.

Take a listen to the interview: http://www.betterdaysradio.com/


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Screen on the Green...


Get your picnic basket and blanket; pack some snacks, wine, cheese and fruit because screen on the green is back, and it's at Piedmont Park.  Tonight is the first movie night and the feature film is "National Treasure" starring Nicolas Cage and Jon Voight...

Movie time is at sunset...

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Sex and the City 2

I attended the Sex and the City screening at the Woodruff Arts Center sponsored by Moet Chandon.  If you could imagine "The Color Purple" without the mailbox--you would have Sex and the City 2.  The mailbox was Celie's connection, her lifeline to her roots, her sister Netty as New York was Carrie's inspiration for her column, the backdrop to their friendship and the backbone of the show.  New York City was missing. The majority of the movie was set in Abu Dhabi (Middle East).

There was no thread throughout the movie that connected the story.  What we loved about the series was the truth, honesty and wit found in the writing.  It was stellar, unmatched.  There were no "lines" in this movie.  Aside from the glitz, glam, and fashion it was flat.

No sex, no city...

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

HBO Documentary...

Director Spike Jonze brings to light the sad realities of AIDS in Africa in a new documentary on HBO.  Here's a look at the trailor...



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Miami, Memorial Day Weekend...

It's no secret that it's an annual tradition for the "kids" to flock to Miami for Memorial Day weekend.  Once upon a time, D.C. was the place to go for Memorial Day weekend, then the grown and sexy started flocking to San Juan, Puerto Rico to escape the "teeny boppers".  In the weeks leading up to said weekend, the gyms and shopping malls are flooded with "the kids" who are gearing up to take over the city.  It never fails, those going assume everyone is going especially if you're caught in the gym days before the festivities: "Oh, you tryna pull it together for Miami?" or "What day you going down?"

There comes a time we all must let that go!  At 34, I'm just not interested anymore...Goodnight!

Enjoy and be good...if you can't be good be SAFE!

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Chely Wright on Oprah...

I prayed this same prayer as did so many.  This isn't just a struggle men have, but women too.  I can pray everyday for the rest of my life,...what is, is and will always be.  There's so much truth and honesty in every pice of this video.  This clip is powerful...



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President Obama: Don't Ask, Don't Tell...

President Obama was giving a speech at a fundraiser explaining Congress is working on repealing the ban on gays in the military when he was interrupted, but he kept his cool and kept it moving. Listen here.  The full story follows...





San Francisco, California (CNN) -- An unidentified heckler interrupted President Obama's fundraising speech Tuesday night by calling for the administration to move faster on repealing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that bars openly gay and lesbian soldiers from military service.  The unidentified man shouted during Obama's speech, causing the president to pause and chide him.  "Maybe he didn't read the newspapers, because we're working with Congress as we speak to roll back 'don't ask, don't tell,' " Obama said at the event for Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California.

An agreement worked out with congressional leaders and the military would have legislators pass a measure calling for repeal of the controversial policy to kick in once the Pentagon completes a review of the matter and Obama and military leaders sign off on how to make the transition work.  Initial congressional votes on the issue could take place as soon as Thursday.  "C'mon, man, I'm dealing with Congress here," Obama said to laughter. "It takes a little bit of time."

Source: CNN Wire Staff

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Teedra Moses...

With Teedra Moses in Atlanta.

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Just $.40 a day...

Director Spike Jonze has an HBO documentary on AIDS in Africa.  Forty cents a day for anti-viral medication will make all the difference in a life.  Check it out and spread the word...


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The Straight & Narrow...

 
I heard someone say many years ago that he didn't feel comfortable at events or clubs with mostly "straight" people.  I didn't understand it then, and certainly not now.  I attended a private event that was incredible because of the ingenuity. It was called "Eat & Tweet" hosted by chef Bren Herrera.

She prepared traditional Cuban dishes for the evening: Saffron couscous with sauteed mushroom and Picadillo (a ground beef dish complete with olives and raisins).


The concept was one I had never considered.  It was a wine and chocolate pairing.  All of the wines were Montaluce (Merlot, Cabernet, Chardonnay, and Risata) of northern Georgia with an assortment of Cholive chocolates; Key Lime, Raspberry and Orange to name a few.   


Bren explained that we should sip the wine, allow it to coat our tongue, taste the chocolate, then sip the wine again as the chocolate melted in our mouths.  Delicious!  

As we mingled, we "tweeted" pictures as well as our opinions of the wines and chocolates we enjoyed.  Most importantly, we networked.  There was a celebrity journalist, photographer, songwriter/producer, chef (Bren), among others present.


Once the wine relaxed everyone the conversation shifted to dating, relationships and marriage.  It occurred to me, yet again, we all want and worry about the same thing-companionship. 


We discussed the complexities of dating in this era and in this city.  Surprisingly, their concerns are the same as our concerns: hook ups, text dating, and the many layers one has to peel through in order to get to the real person. 

One guy asked if it was appropriate to walk up to a group of women, introduce himself with the sole purpose of connecting with one of them.  One of the females pondered why she's single, has been single, and has no prospects of a relationship.  I couldn't help but notice the obvious parallels in straight and gay relationships.  I've heard so many gay people say, "It would be easier if I was straight."  Not so.  The reality is it's hard finding someone that's found themselves, straight or gay.  That's life.  Moreover, the gay people that think dating or relationships would be easier if they were straight are typically the ones that don't have a balance of straight and gay friends.  Those of us that have that balance see our issues are their issues.

Here's to living a balanced life. Cheers!

For more information on Bren the host & culinary genius: http://brenherrera.com/
Photography by: Chieu Lee

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sex and the City's Cynthia Nixon...

Cynthia Nixon gives advice to a parent whose son is being teased for being gay.  Take a listen..




Get the Latest on Gay Marriage and Other News
 
Source: 365gay.com
 
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Sex and the City 2 Movie Screening...

Want to attend a screening of the new Sex and the City Movie?  Take a look at the flyer.  Seats are limited, but still available so hurry!  Visit: theeventmogul.com


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Tami Reed's 42nd Birthday Bash, Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta

Last night, I attended popular blogger Tami Reed's Birthday Bash at the Atlanta Four Seasons Hotel, hosted by magazine editor and celebrity journalist Isoul Harris.  Pink is Tami's favorite color:  She was chauffeured to the hotel in a stretch pink Hummer and she asked everyone to wear a splash of pink...


Tami Reed with Isoul Harris

Celebrity stylist Kim Maxwell


I'na Saulsbery, Marketing & PR maven

With Fashion Photographer Drexina Nelson & Tami Reed

Tami with Christal Jordan, Publicist to reality star Chili (formerly of TLC)

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Monday, May 24, 2010

White House Eyes a Compromise on Gays in Military

Congress may be closer to removing the ban against gays in the military, but the complete process may take years to implement.  Here's an article I found today...

(Washington) A proposal to step up the repeal of the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military but still allow the Pentagon time – perhaps even years – to implement new policies was being discussed Monday by administration officials and gay rights activists.

The White House had hoped lawmakers would delay action until Pentagon officials had completed their study so fellow Democrats would not face criticism that they moved too quickly or too far ahead of public opinion in this election year. Instead, administration officials now expect Congress to move ahead this week even though advocates on both sides say it’s not clear there are enough votes to lift the 1993 ban.  Under the proposal emerging from talks at the White House, Congress would remove the Clinton-era “don’t ask, don’t tell” law even as the Pentagon continues an ongoing review of the system. Implementation of policy for gays serving openly would still require the approval of President Barack Obama, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen. How long implementation might take was not known.

Activists met at the White House through the day with administration officials who are trying to broker a compromise. Policy aides to Democratic leaders met Monday morning to discuss the potential deal and top Democratic lawmakers planned to meet Monday evening on Capitol Hill.  Hoping to secure those votes, Democrats described a compromise that would add the repeal to the annual defense spending bill but delay its implementation until after the Pentagon completes its study.  The emerging compromise was described by officials and activists involved in the process, speaking on condition of anonymity because the meetings were ongoing and there were still details to be finalized.

Obama called for the repeal during his State of the Union address this year, and Gates and Mullen have echoed his views but have cautioned any action must be paced.  In a speech last year at the Army War College in Carlisle, Pa., Gates noted that the 1948 executive order for racial integration took five years to implement.  “I’m not saying that’s a model for this, but I’m saying that I believe this is something that needs to be done very, very carefully,” he told the audience.

The administration has argued that any repeal should start in Congress and have the backing of top military leaders. Gay rights activists criticized the administration as Obama did little to push for a repeal during his first year in office.  On Capitol Hill, the third-ranking House Republican promised unified GOP opposition to lifting the ban. “The American people don’t want the American military to be used to advance a liberal political agenda. And House Republicans will stand on that principle,” said Mike Pence, R-Ind.  Pence urged Democrats who control both chambers to wait until the Pentagon completes its review of what a repeal would take.  Congress led hearings on a repeal and heard testimony from Gates and Mullen – the top uniformed official in the country – in favor of repeal. Additionally, a Gallup poll earlier this month found 70 percent of American favor allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly.

Obama’s relationship with gay activists has been rocky since his election. Gays and lesbians objected to the invitation of evangelist Rev. Rick Warren’s to participate in Obama’s inauguration because of Warren’s support for repealing gay marriage in California. Obama responded by having Episcopalian Bishop V. Gene Robinson, the denomination’s first openly gay bishop, participate at another event.

Obama has taken a slow and incremental approach to the politically charged issues. He has expanded some federal benefits to same-sex partners, but not health benefits or pension guarantees. He has allowed State Department employees to include their same-sex partners in certain embassy programs already available to opposite-sex spouses.  The military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was imposed by a 1993 law intended as a compromise between President Bill Clinton, who wanted to lift the ban on gays entirely, and a reluctant Congress and military that said doing so would threaten order.  Under the policy, the military can’t ask recruits their sexual orientation. In turn, service members can’t say they are gay or bisexual, engage in homosexual activity or marry a member of the same sex.  Between 1997 and 2008, the Defense Department discharged more than 10,500 service members for violating the policy.

Source: Associated Press
 
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Single Person's City...

Nine years ago, I worked for IBM in the Marietta call center. Because there were so many people it's understood that most work relationships are limited to a passing "hello", "good morning" or "good night". Such was the case with myself and a woman named Ronna.

Our first conversation would come one afternoon in the lunch room. When I walked in I noticed all of the tables were empty, littered with crumbs and marred with grease. She was wiping off one of the tables with a dry paper towel. Naturally, I walked over to the table and said, "You mind if I sit with you? All of the other tables are dirty." She smiled and said, "No, help yourself."  This was the closest we had been in proximity, so, for the first time I noticed she had the deepest dimples I had ever seen on an adult woman.  We made small talk initially.  She asked where I was from and if I was single.  I told her Maryland, and yes I was single at the time.  She then said, "I would imagine it's pretty difficult to find someone to settle down with here.  Atlanta's such a single person's city."  Those words rang in my ears and resonated in my spirit.  I agreed and quickly segued to the topic of her wedding anniversary.

Ronna's thirty second anniversary was approaching the following week.  There was a lot of buzz about it in the office in the weeks leading up to it.  I finally had the chance to understand why she was so giddy especially after so many years.  I asked her that day at the lunch table how she and her husband met.  She told me they met in college as freshmen. 

"How long did you date before you married," I asked.  She replied, "One year."  I couldn't believe she was married in her second year of college.  'Who does that?' I thought.  "How did you know it would last this long?" I asked.  Instantly, I rethought the question because she had no way of knowing it would last.  I asked, "How did you know he was ready or that he wouldn't meet someone else on campus that interested him."  She replied simply and calmly, "Because he took me home to meet his mother, and he asked me to marry him."  I could do nothing but smile.

She continued, "He isn't perfect,...but neither am I because the world in which we live isn't, so, I can't expect my marriage to be.  We do things together, but I also encourage him to take trips on his own because it's ok to have different interests."  She ended by saying, "He's funny, he's kind, he's good to people, he's brilliant, and overall he's a good man."  She was glowing while I was smiling.  I hoped I too could one day be that happy with someone. 

It's amazing how we "store" memories of things that seem insignificant when they occur only to recover them when we need them most...

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Knock Knock

Something every single mother raising a boy, and every boy without a father in his life or home should see...



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Rallies Honoring Harvey Milk Today Mark Push for Gay Rights


Today is the 80 birthday of civil rights activist & first openly gay politician Harvey Milk...

The gay-rights movement today will observe what would have been the 80th birthday of Harvey Milk -- the nation's first openly gay politician -- with rallies and other events in Chicago and 25 other cities across the country. Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. He fought to end discrimination against gays and lesbians but was killed a year later by a former supervisor, Dan White.

Activists will gather at 1 p.m. in Grant Park at Congress and will march north on Michigan, organizers say. The Milk events come as gay-rights advocates are pressuring Congress to pass a bill that ends job discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. Advocates are also lobbying Congress to include a repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell'' policy in a spending bill a House committee took up Wednesday.  Robin McGehee, co-founder of GetEQUAL, one of the groups leading the rallies, says that despite gains since Milk served, gays and lesbians still lack full equality. "Thirty-two years later, sadly, we still wait,'' she says.

The fate of the efforts remains up in the air. Drew Hammill, a spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) says she wants to pass both bills. But he would not say whether either has the votes needed to pass. Many legislators dealing with tough re-election campaigns are hesitant to back the bills, says Paul Yandura, a political consultant who works on gay-rights issues. And Bryan Fischer, director of issue analysis at the conservative American Family Association, accused gay-rights activists of trying to steamroll unpopular legislation through Congress. He said they are using Harvey Milk Day to "force acceptance of homosexual behavior.''

Source: Chicago Sun Times

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Friday, May 21, 2010

African Condom Commercial...

Take a look at this condom commercial that was broadcast in Africa.  I stumbled across this some time ago, and realized this is a must see for you....enjoy!


Malawi Couple Sentenced to 14 Years for Being Gay

Around the world, homophobia is more than stares, snickers or violent attacks.  One can be imprisoned.  Take a look at the following story...

A Malawi court on Thursday sentenced a gay couple who staged a same-sex wedding to 14 years in prison with hard labour, two days after they were convicted of violating "the order of nature".  Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza were arrested on December 28 following their symbolic wedding and have been in jail ever since. Homosexuality is illegal in Malawi and several other African countries.

"I sentence you to 14 years imprisonment with hard labour each. That's the maximum under the penal code," magistrate Nyakwawa Usiwa Usiwa told the two men in a courtroom in the capital Blantyre.  "I will give you a scaring sentence so that the public be protected from people like you so that we are not tempted to emulate this horrendous example," the judge added.  "Malawi is not ready to see its sons getting married to its sons."

The couple looked subdued when the sentence was handed down and were quickly rushed out of the packed courtroom.  As they were escorted away under heavy police guard, hundreds of curious onlookers outside the court shouted at them, with one woman yelling, "Malawi should never allow homosexuality at any cost."  The sentence could be appealed at the high court, said the judge.  "We will sit down to see if they will need me to appeal at the high court," said the men's lawyer, Mauya Msuku.

The judge Tuesday convicted both men of engaging in gay sex.  In unusually graphic language, Usiwa Usiwa convicted Monjeza of "having carnal knowledge of Tiwonge through the anus, which is against the order of nature."  Chimbalanga was found guilty of "permitting buggery", which the judge said was similarly contrary to the natural order.

While international donors have expressed concern about the trial, Protestant churches in Malawi have urged the government to uphold its ban on homosexuality, which religious leaders described as "un-Christian".  The Malawi case has highlighted a toughening stance across Africa against homosexuality.

Source: AFP Global Edition

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Just a Key...

We weren’t together, technically, but I still had a key to his condo because he wanted me to have it. In my heart of hearts, I felt he wanted me to keep his key because he wasn’t quite ready to let go--of me, us, the relationship. He knew if I returned the key I was done, so, he insisted I keep it. For me, the key could symbolize the possibility of salvaging the relationship if I held on to it or its finality should I return it.

He lived in the center of the city, midtown. My place was nestled right outside the city limits. It was a seventeen minute drive, but I decided to drop by his place unannounced one night to surprise him. In my mind, it was a gesture that suggested I was willing to make it work.

When I entered the condo, I could see the light flashing from the flat screen television mounted on the living room wall. He was asleep on the couch. I could see the lower half of his body lying on the couch. He wasn’t alone. Someone was seated beside him, with their shoes off, and feet propped on the leather cube (that I helped pick out) was someone I had never seen. The closer I got to them, the more I was filled with angst, anticipation and adrenaline. I couldn’t reach the end of the hallway quick enough. I wanted to see his visitor’s face. My thoughts raced in succession, “Was it someone I knew?”, “Had he been dealing with him while we were together?” and “Why is he here?” It was eleven o’clock at night. Again I thought, “What is he doing here?” I then asked him, “Who is this?”

“Terrance” he replied. I noticed “Terrance’s” luggage parked in the dining room indicating he was staying longer than a night. To my surprise, the man whose secrets I sheltered and protected from the world had deceived me. In that moment I considered all the horrible things I could’ve said to embarrass him, and all I could do to damage him personally and professionally. More than anything, I couldn’t understand how we had arrived at this. This was the kind of thing that happened to other people, in other relationships. He asked, “What are you doing here?” The better question was what is Terrance doing here? I said, “I need to see you in the other room.”

When we got to the bedroom I looked at him puzzled. I didn’t truly know this person. He wasn’t the person I respected. He was an impostor. Where was the person I had just taken a Caribbean cruise with two weeks prior? In fact, we took our moms along for the trip. This wasn’t how this story, our story was to play out. We had just discussed on the cruise how to get back to us. “Why is he here?!” I asked. “Why didn’t you call before you came?” he countered. “Because I have a key! Why do I need to call if I have a key?! I don't need permission with a key!" I shouted. When he refused to ask him to leave, I grabbed my overnight bag and left. I could hear the words “I’m sorry” trailing behind me.

I called my friend Jessica who lived nearby because I didn’t want to go home. Not because of the drive, rather, I didn’t want to be alone. I climbed in the bed with her and cried as I talked us to sleep.

TO BE CONTINUED…

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Random Thought, Slanted Perception

I had an epiphany some time ago that involved how I discussed my relationships with the people closest to me.  I often wondered why or how my friends' perception of my partners soured.  In some instances they liked the people I chose and in other times there was disdain. The answer was simple, but something I never considered until now.  I was only sharing with them the things I didn't enjoy about the relationship and the person I was involved with at the time.

Our friends form opinions about our partners primarily by what we tell them.  Generally, we share the highs with our friends when the relationship is new and fresh, but as it matures we focus mostly on what isn't working, what disappoints us, and what we'd change which causes our friends to dislike our companion because they're only privy to the downside of things.  If we only give our friends the negative aspects without balancing it with all the great things we enjoy about our partner, then there's no balance.

Share the good and the bad if you're going to share any at all...

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Bride to Be...


It was Friday afternoon at the Neiman Marcus CafĂ©. I met the “bride to be” for a consultation to create wedding vows for her July nuptials in Savannah. For lunch, she ordered the crab cake minis.  I started with the she crab soup followed by the chicken salad sandwich accompanied by fresh fruit.

Before we met, I explained to her the success of our meeting would depend upon how forthright she could be about past and her present relationship with her fiance.  She agreed that she could be honest about all.  She began telling me how they met.  She beamed as she talked about the man she's marrying and why.  Her tone was that of a woman that had loved and lost, but been restored.  She was emphatic as she explained why it works, and as she detailed why she waited "so long" to marry I interjected with questions about the relationship(s) prior to the one with her fiance.  She paused, laughed, then explained had she known how seemless a relationship was supposed to be she would've left her previous relationship sooner.  She even admitted that as a result of her prior relationships she anticipated drama in her current relationship until she accepted that "he" is not any of "them". 

Every relationship requires work, but they don't have to be drama filled.  We agreed that love is easy despite what we've been conditioned to believe.  It seems as if people "require" a certain level of drama in their relationship otherwise they feel something is missing and inevitably they sabotage it because it seems "too good to be true".  We pondered whether most people tolerate less (than they deserve) because they don't believe they'll be fortunate enough to get what they need or if they're simply impatient so they settle. 

As she revisited stories about her fiance I was able to gather this relationship was the complete antithesis of any she had ever participated in.  I could visibly see that she was grateful to be on the opposite side of dysfunction.

Congratulations again...

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Sunday Brunch...

This past Sunday, I had brunch with some friends at Highland Bakery.  This was my first visit there (surprisingly) because I make it a habit of finding new places to eat in the city.  I was so impressed with the brunch that I wanted to spread the word.  The Highland Bakery is tucked away in the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood at 655 Highland Ave.
The bakery has been around since the 1800s, and at one time they delivered bread to the surrounding neighborhoods by horse and buggy.
Here's a preview of some of what we had: Sweet Potato pancakes drizzled with their signature "Brown Sugar Butter"...
...and the French toast.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Isoul & Craig's "Suite Cocktail" at The Loews Hotel, Atlanta

Isoul and I decided to have an intimate cocktail party for a few friends during our stay at The Loews Atlanta. With a diverse (and crazy) mix of people, from all walks of life and industries, the night was complete fun. Not only did our guests mix and mingle, but they also shared, exchanged information, thus extending their personal networks. We feel this is important. Too often, we attend parties only to stand around and comment on clothes we like or don't, people we like or don't, or simply drink and converse with the same people we see week after week. We need to expand our thinking; open our minds and hearts; and, reach out and embrace one another. That's the only way we will all succeed.

Well, here are some snapshots from the evening...taken by our friend & photographer Anthony Moultry