Yes, I still spend a ridiculous amount of time working, and I do still play softball in the summer and watch too doggone much TV.
But that's not all I do. I've been actively involved in politics and volunteer work for all of my adult life. Over the past few years, my political and social activities have essentially merged, as I've become a full-fledged Gay Rights activist.
As it turns out, through various activities, I've spent enough time in the company of good, honorable, thoughtful, and conscientious gay people, and done enough reading, studying, and reflection to be convinced that gay people and homosexual relationships are a natural and appropriate part of the diversity of life, and to realize that gay people suffer in unacceptably disproportionately ways from anti-gay discrimination and harassment. Through PFLAG, I have been actively involved in the reconciliation of families that were healed as they came to understand, accept, and appreciate the sexual orientation of their loved ones. I've sat with people mourning the loss of long-time partners, and tried to encourage teenagers who have received death threats because they dared to speak against harassment and discrimination. I've also spent significant time studying the Biblical passages that are reputed to speak directly about homosexuality - and have met and worked with several Christian ministers, and Rabbis, in that effort. My involvement is serious enough that I'm now the President of the Cleveland chapter of PFLAG. PFLAG is a national organization, composed largely of parents of gay people, but, as the name implies, a lot of other family members and friends (both gay and straight) are involved, as well. I won't tell PFLAG's story here, since that can be done well by the PFLAG-Cleveland web site, and the National PFLAG web site.
But I can and should take just a minute to explain why I'm doing this - especially since many people very close to me are, well, not in synch with my cause.
I learned a long time ago that the stereotypes about homosexuality that I learned as a child are not accurate. Some of the very best people I know are gay. They are among the most devoted parents, loving children, dedicated Christians, effective community workers, and passionate patriots I know. I believe that there is no right, opportunity, or privilege that I have that gay people shouldn't have - especially the opportunity to live a life free from unreasonable abuse and discrimination, and including the right to marry! (I started to say, "marry and raise children", but, of course, gay people do raise children, and do a fine job of it, despite widespread discrimination and outright antipathy from large segments of society.) Heterosexual couples can count on dozens of social benefits that help us maintain our relationships and take care of our children. All gay people can count on is that many of the very political, social, and religious institutions that are supposed to provide a social foundation are actively working to prevent them from having stable social and family lives!
Oops - I'm digressing into a manifesto rather than just explaining how I came to participate in this cause...(At the bottom of this page, you can find plenty of links to digressions into Gay Rights issues.)
By the mid 1990's I had developed a general social and political sympathy toward Gay Rights, but no active involvement or even deep understanding. Four seminal events that took place in 1995 and 1996 propelled me to get involved. They're listed here in no particular order - except the last)
Some of the organizations with which I am personally affiliated:
To read some of what I've written about homosexuality and gay rights, go to...