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Finally!!! The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act has passed the Senate and is one signature away from becoming law. Read more about it at The Task Force.  






"I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant."

                                                     Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, after the attack on Pearl Harbor

A Sleeping Giant

By: Karen J. Allen
Co-Publisher, On the Gay Horizon

  When you think about the story of your life, what sort of ending does it have? Happy? Sad? Successful? Full of regrets? Kind of depends on when you’re telling it, doesn’t it?

 Perspective is a powerful tool. Given the opportunity to step back and see a picture in its entirety rather than in bits and pieces can often make all the difference.

 Do you remember the raid on that bar in New York City? No, not Stonewall. The one right before. Of course you don’t remember, none of us do. But if someone had written our story that night and drawn conclusions from that moment in history, it would have been a sad, seemingly hopeless tale. And how depressing would our story be had it had been penned right after Anita Bryant was successful in her campaign to repeal anti-gay discrimination in Dade County back in 1977. I can’t even bear to imagine the last chapter had it been written the night Matthew Shepard was tied to that fence.

 But stories go on. Often the next chapter reveals that what seemed to be our darkest moments have proven to be catalysts that propelled us farther and faster than we would have ever managed on our own. Everything I just mentioned --- the Stonewall raid, Anita Bryant's crusade, the horror and cruelty of Matthew's death --- all served to unite our community and create an unstoppable momentum.

 The “sleeping giant” quote attributed to Admiral Yamamoto has never been substantiated but no one doubts the accuracy of the sentiment. Attacking Pearl Harbor turned out to be a fatal decision for Japan. Similarly, as heartbreaking and discouraging as California’s Proposition 8 was, it now appears that another sleeping giant is stirring.

 I’ve been reading the reports of the Equality March that took place recently in Washington. I’d originally intended to be there but when I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to, I discovered that I was only a little disappointed. I thought that was odd since I’d been pretty excited about it when it was first announced. Now, I think I understand. It wasn’t my march. Yes, it was for GLBT rights and I fully support it even though there were those who thought it was bad timing. But this demonstration was about a new generation of activism, a generation with the potential of a sleeping giant.

It seems that the younger members of the GLBT community experienced an abrupt and painful awakening when gay marriage rights were taken away last November in California. For us, it was a bitter and hurtful experience but not entirely unexpected. For the youngsters, the 20 and 30 year-olds, it was a shock. If you step back and take advantage of the perspective thing again, that’s really a very good sign. But it certainly didn’t feel that way to them! They grew up watching “Will and Grace”, assuming that civil equality for gays was a sure thing. That it was inevitable.

Maybe they’re right. I’d like to think so and some days I do. But I also have the benefit of a perspective that includes a large chunk of my life when the mere possibility of leading an open, let alone equal, life simply did not exist. So, I tend not to take any of this for granted. I think it’s kind of a good thing that younger members of the community have been jolted out of that rather dangerous comfort zone. I’ve never been resentful that they were coming along on the coattails of those who have worked so hard but I do believe that it’s time for them to step up. Perhaps we're not quite ready to pass the baton, but it certainly would be nice to at least share it for a few laps.

I’ve also been listening to the controversy that’s been playing out --- those “putting pressure on the grass” of the DC mall versus those listening to President Obama’s speech at HRC’s 13th Annual National Dinner. Maybe a little controversy within the family isn’t such a bad thing. Feels like growing pains to me.

There are arguments from both camps that, I suppose, deserve to be addressed but I’m pretty tired of the bickering. In the end, our differences are insignificant compared to what we share. They need our experience and sense of history, and we need their energy and new-found passion.

If we could actually get it together, together, equality just might be inevitable.    



LGBT Legal Planner


First and last, the mission here at On the Gay Horizon is to connect gay baby boomers with the information and resources that address the issues we face as we move into the next stage of our journey. The National Center for Lesbian Rights has published an excellent planning guide. It is free and in pdf format, so you will be able to download and save it to your computer or print it out. 


Planning With Purpose - Legal Basics for LGBT Seniors






  It's Legs Against the Wall


Fit in a Year - Week 28


By: Ann-Marie Giglio
Co-Publisher, On the Gay Horizon


Here's a great stretch for everyone.  It's known by a few names--Leg Drains is one.  In Yoga, it's called Viparita Karani--a restorative inversion.  But not on your head!


I call it Legs Against the Wall.


Here's how you get into it:  find a wall and hard floor.  Don't do this on the bed!  Put down a mat, if you like, perpendicular to the wall.  Lie down on your side, and by hugging both your knees into your chest, get your butt as close to the wall as possible.  With the bottoms of your feet facing the wall, roll onto your back.  Then extend your legs upward, against the wall.  You are looking to be as butt-close to the wall as possible.  If you land with a distance between the wall and your butt, scrunch closer until you touch.  Extend your legs fully, against the wall.  You can bring your arms to your sides, or stretch them behind you (close to your head) on the floor, palms up.

Now, if your back hurts, come down.  Get a soft pillow or a folded blanket and place it beneath your butt and try again.  That new angle should take away the strain. 

You're going to stay in this position for at least 5 minutes.  Ten is better.  Close your eyes.  Flex your feet a bit if you like, and feel a stretch in your calves, Achilles tendon, maybe your hamstrings.

Why do you do this?  To reverse blood-flow in your legs, first of all.  This feeds those capillaries that have been cheated all day in your vertical position.  Maybe you went for a long walk today, or a run.  It also drains any lactic acid built up during the day. 

When you reverse this blood flow, it also pools blood in your abdomen.  This refreshes the organs in your reproductive and digestive systems.  (Note, if you are menstruating, use the pillow or blanket to elevate your hips.)
You are also stretching your hamstrings without any joint action or gravity.  Do this pose often, and your hamstrings will let go of your lower back!

Take the opportunity here to meditate and you will increase your benefits ten-fold.  Empty your mind and listen to your breath as you inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.  Enjoy the sensation of your moving ribs.  Imagine your lungs inflating and deflating.  Feel the relaxation flood your body. 

When you're done, bring your knees to your chest, roll to your side, push yourself up, and you're ready to go!

Let me know your results!



[ Editor's Note: Ann-Marie Giglio, besides being a professional writer and the co-publisher of On the Gay Horizon, is the owner of a fitness studio focused on improving quality of life through the mind/body connection. She is a certified ChiRunning and ChiWalking instructor, AFAA certified Personal Trainer and Group Fitness instructor and SCW certified Pilates reformer instructor. ]



...and One More Thing


Speaking of that speech that Obama made at the HRC dinner --- did you hear it? It was certainly worth listening to! Besides all the other complaining that seems to fill every talk show, column and blog, probably what annoys me the most is the criticism that President Obama is all talk and that he hasn’t moved fast enough on anything.  


I get the impression that people think he should just wave his magic president’s wand --- you know, the one they issue right after the inauguration --- and make everything perfect for the gay community. Does anyone think about what they say anymore? Do we really want our presidents to have that kind of power? Sure, it would be nice to wake up tomorrow and have full civil rights, equal protection for our selves and our families and the right to serve openly for our country. We should have all of that. But then what happens the next time some bible-thumping ultra-conservative on a mission from God gets elected? What do you suppose his first order of wand-waving will be? 


The wisdom of this country’s founding fathers constantly amazes me. There’s a reason for separation of powers and the process that change must go through. I don’t like to wait anymore than anyone else. But I like the alternative far less. 


We didn’t get a cowboy this time. It was never going to be that he would ride into town and start issuing “dead or alive” kinds of statements. That’s not who we elected. We chose the smart guy. The one who doesn’t get all rattled and reactionary. The one who does things in a way that gives them a chance for lasting success.  


This is the best friend we’ve ever had, sitting right there in the Oval Office. How about we see what we can do to calm some of the rhetoric and help him help us. And take a few minutes and listen to what he had to say……President Obama addresses HRC National Dinner.




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