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When I was a grad student at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, in the early 1980s, I was a member and volunteer for a social services organization for LGBTI people the met in a church basement across the street from the campus. (Note, at the time, the "queer" designation was considered a vile insult, and people were not taking that on as a trendy appellation to indicate they liked various gender affectations. Intersex people were, and continue to be, persecuted and forgotten by most LGBTQ activists).
We were there to support, educate, and empower LGBTI people, and make them feel less alone, afraid, sick, perverse, and isolated. Occasionally, local ministers and other people would crash the meetings and programs, to spew their hatred. There were often hate mail letters to the PO Box, and some members became known, and received telephone threats. Most members were so underground, that their families and friends did not know. The only places that they had to make contact with others, was in dangerous public parks and similar areas. Because of that, the police conducted raids and entrapment schemes, then arrested the men affected, and published their names in the local newspaper. Those people were fired from their jobs and ostracized by their families.
This was during the time when the AIDS epidemic was spreading like wildfire. We had members with AIDS, and the group gave them what help they could. There was no treatment, and they died fairly quickly and very horribly, often rejected by family and friends.
Some members would drive to Indianapolis or Chicago to find others like them, connect, and have sexual encounters. That was also dangerous, because of the long drive. In the early 90s, there was also a serial killer in Indianapolis who murdered gay men, Herb Baumeister. There were 11 bodies found, and at least 9 others suspected to be his victims.
In a speech, the university president, Steven Beering, reassured families of Purdue students, that there were no gay students at Purdue.
Ironically, I learned about the group because the man who I was dating was the minister for that Methodist church, although I broke it off when him when he told me he was married. Still, I needed money to live on, so I worked there as custodian and landscaper through most of my graduate school life.
The group was also part of the organizing of the first ever gay pride event in Indiana. We were on TV, which made me nervous but I was there anyway.
As much as possible, many members got out of Indiana as soon as possible, most leaving for the West Coast, as I did even though I had never set foot in Oregon and never heard of Corvallis before I took the post doc there.
I had put on programs about LGBTI people, especially pioneers in various fields, such as Steven Turing and a number of others, and I did outreach to local ministers to expose them to real life gay people, offer the group as support for local members, and find other resources, such as psychologists and doctors, as far as which ones were not prejudiced.
Recently, I have again befriended a member of the group from that time, and she commented that at her first visit, I had introduced myself by my full name, and she was a bit stunned by that openness. I don't even remember doing that, but is in character.
After I moved to Corvallis, I again attempted to take part in a support group, but it was just a social group. I moved to Portland, and most of the gay men who I met had AIDS, and died within a couple of years, at which time I basically became a hermit for several years.
Kathy, I wonder if they know the stories of those who have been harassed, tortured and murdered in the U.S. because the victim was gay?
I wonder if your grandson and his husband know the struggles to get such crimes listed as "Hate" crimes?
The Southern Povery Law Center was an important part of our team in Spokane when charges were ready to be filed and argued in court.
I read their newsletters and here is one that your and your grandson and his partner need to know and understand.
ALLIANCE DEFENDING FREEDOM
"Founded by some 30 leaders of the Christian Right, the Alliance Defending Freedom is a legal advocacy and training group that specializes in supporting the recriminalization of homosexuality abroad, ending same-sex marriage, and generally making life as difficult as possible for LGBT communities in the U.S. and internationally. "
Andrew, I LOVE your bumperstickers!
Iyour bumper stickers!
Daniel, Sadly, I can't understand the audio in "muslim gay marriage in UK".
It is extremely difficult for so many of us to break away from toxic families, religions, attitudes, traditions, and values. We fail to see that we are part of a magnificent universe and we receive so many very valuable senses as part of our makeup. Each element of our being contains the energy to open up into a fully functioning human being, just as a rose opens up to be a fully functioning flower. Families and religions too often get in the way of human development. They try to mold others to be something different.
I hereby declare by the authority vested in me by the universe, this is
I declare this day, __________, as a turning point in my life and a celebration of discovering who I am, what I feel, what I want, and what I need to make me productive, healthy and happy. I feel like a parade and party marking this day as the first day of the rest of MY life!
About all I can stack being gay and religious up to, Daniel, is a combination of indoctrination, cultural pressure, and ignorance of their holy books. When I look at the vehemence with which some fundamentalists go after the LGBTQ community, I can't imagine supporting ANY branch of religion, no matter how liberal they might be.
For the life of me, I can't understand why gay people stay with their religions, when it's clear that they are picking and choosing what their gods like, even with the knowledge that their gods most like to see them reviled, tortured, and killed. However, if their visibility and continued community in their religions, bring about more acceptance, then I suppose it's a good thing.
Kathy, I agree with you about the gift that prior generations of LGBT people have given to future generations. Unfortunately, ageism is as present in LGBT populations, as it is in the straight world. Not universal, but common.
Trying again on video regarding a muslim gay marriage in UK.
We can though in some Hindu - Lutheran influence at a wedding in California.
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