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Got My Feelings Hurt...Again

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

On November 4th, the citizens of Maine seemingly voted to return gays and lesbians to second class citizenship status. It hurt my feelings when they did it in California last year and it hurt them all over again this time.

I’ve always believed that I handle situations like this well. When something or someone tramples on my feelings, my immediate reaction is to curl up in the corner and do some serious wound licking. My internal dialogue usually starts with “who needs them anyway?” and progresses to something really mature like paraphrasing everyone’s favorite role model “you won’t have me to kick around anymore because, straight world, this is my last time caring what you think”. 

So, okay, I pout. Maybe I’m not all that proud of it, but I’m getting way too old to go fiddling with my coping mechanisms. It works for me. And it’s not like I get to stay there. I’ll have just worked up a good snit and some email will arrive in my inbox from HRC or The Task Force, meant to rally the troops to keep fighting the good fight --- use the defeats to fuel commitment to the cause --- lots of talk about the progress that’s been made and that setbacks are inevitable.  Yeah, yeah, yeah. Heard it all before. I’m still miffed.

Then I get an email from a friend. Charleston has never had a Pride celebration and she’s decided to change that. Now. She’s applied for the permits and needs help. Help? Good grief! Does she have any idea what she’s taking on? Actually, I’m sure she does. But my friend is from New York and it has been my experience that when a New York woman makes up her mind to do something, you have two choices --- either you get in line to help or you get out of the way! 

So, I’ll be attending my first Pride Charleston meeting in a couple weeks. I’m sure there will be more than enough “chiefs” to head the committees and be in charge of things. I have vigorously avoided leadership roles my entire life. I got a peek into a past life once where I was in charge and managed to get my entire village wiped out. No, thank you! I will happily be a little worker bee type --- there are never enough of those to go around.

Anyway, as I allowed myself to reengage, my hurt feelings started to dissipate, and I found myself thinking about this struggle that we’re in. Many of the leaders of our community are reexamining strategies and considering whether we’ve been going about this in the best way.

One of the main issues, I believe, is something I alluded to in the very beginning --- “citizens of Maine seemingly voted”. The citizens of Maine didn’t vote. Polls indicated that the majority favored letting marriage equality stand. What actually happened --- what happens over and over all over the country --- is that the radical fringe is motivated to show up and vote and the fair-minded folks stay home.

Why is that? Why is something so significant to a segment of fellow Americans not important enough to their neighbors to do something as simple as vote?

Beats me. I’ve been asking myself this same question for years. I still have my doubts that people I know --- friends and family, people who I know love me and unconditionally supported my relationship with my partner --- would actually go vote. Would they take an hour off of work? Or miss one of their kid’s school or sport events? I’d like to think they would but…..

So, where do we go from here? Do we keep racing from state to state, trying to outspend the defense of marriage crusaders? It doesn’t seem to be working --- even though most of the people in this country say they believe we deserve equal rights. Do we pressure a supportive, but extremely beleaguered, president to engage in a battle that, in all likelihood, he can not win? Not yet, anyway.

It’s really easy to be swept away by the blatant injustice. Our rights should not be subjected to a popular vote. Our president made a lot of promises during the campaign. We’re very tired of waiting.

All true. But I think it’s important that we keep our eye on the ball. Do we want to be right or do we want to finally secure our rights?

Gay marriage is like waving a red flag in front of a bull. Just like abortion, there will always be those who will go to any lengths to defeat it. It is a waste of time, energy and resources to try to change the minds of the anti-gay crowd. It simply isn’t going to happen. And, let’s face it; even our friends are dragging their feet. They claim to be supportive, and I believe they want to be, but when they pull that curtain and reach for the lever, I think they’re still struggling. That is, if they go to the polls.

So, enough already. I think it’s time we give them the word “marriage” and take our civil rights in the form of domestic partnership and go on about our lives. It’s an incredibly flawed institution with an appalling failure rate anyway. Let the churches romanticize it as being blessed by whatever deity they are chartered under and let the government administer the business of legal equality.   

If it were all up to me, I’d do away with the whole thing. There are reasons why the divorce rate is so high and that doesn’t even take into account all the really miserable people who stay married. Allowing the state and the church to bind you to another person has never made sense to me. There is contract law to take care of all the property issues and, of course, there should be liability for children. But why would you want your relationship with another to be governed by anything but your feelings? Totally beyond my poor powers of comprehension. Fortunately, no one is ever going to put me in charge, so I guess it’s a moot point.

As for those hurt feelings I started off with. When it comes to genuine equality --- the kind that really counts --- no referendum, legislative body, court, church, synagogue, mosque or less than fully supportive friend has any effect whatsoever on equality. Everyone being up to speed has never been a prerequisite for truth.


Protecting Our "Children"

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

More often than not, when one of us mentions our “children”, we are talking about the four-legged members of our household. We may not know what to expect from the world when we venture out, but we can always count on totally unconditional love when we get home. Well, unless we have cats. With cats, there are conditions. But, they do love us. I’m pretty sure they do…..

In return for all they give us, we try to keep them healthy and happy. Sometimes, though, things we do that we believe are making them happy are actually putting them at risk. We all know that we really shouldn’t be feeding our pets anything other than what comes off the shelf at PetsMart but sometimes we give in and toss them a little treat. How bad can a couple nuts be? Or one little M&M? Surely a nice healthy grape couldn’t hurt and they’re so cute chasing it across the floor.

Well, those nuts can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hypothermia. That M&M comes with a list of warnings longer than I want to type and includes death. And if they eat that grape after playing with it, that little one that comes alive when you walk in the door can end up with kidney failure.

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Maybe that’s true. But I’d like to think that I’m not too old to learn. My track record with regard to this is pretty awful. Fortunately, there’s a lot of helpful information out there that we can take advantage of. If you would like a good list of things to avoid giving to “the children”, here’s a great link for the ASPCA. And while you’re there, I can’t think of anything more worthy of a donation.

ASPCA - People Food to Avoid Feeding Your Pet





Remember "The World's Tastiest Brussel Sprouts" ? Here's another healthy recipe from Ann-Marie that actually sounds good --- and pretty easy. I had to Google "sugar pumpkins" cause I didn't have a clue there was more than the regular Halloween kind but you all are probably way ahead of me. If you try this, email us at admin@horizonupdates.com and let us know what you think.         Karen


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

For me, cooler weather means it's time for roasting.  Especially veggies.  Having the oven on warms the house like a hearth and slips a fantastic aroma into your world.

Oven-Roasted Sugar Pumpkin

1 small sugar pumpkin

Peel the sugar pumpkin with a potato peeler.  Quarter it.  Put it on an oiled or buttered pan.  Sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon and even less sugar.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes.  Eat with a spoon.



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