Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Speaking Volumes, Again & Outloud...

120 days or so until the fat lady sings us into 2009 . Oh joy! Certainly by that time we will have a newly elected leader of the free world and hopefully, rocking and rolling our way into the 21st century with a glimmer of hope. Ya damn skippy, because I'm "in it to win it," no matter who cometh or challenge me as the online destination for commentary, updates, links, and just plain old stuff for the GLBTQ community and beyond! Now let's get this shigity started...

Palin, Pregnecy, Oh MY: What's that you say? Presumptive VP nominee Gov. Sarah Palin has a pregnant daughter that's not married? OMG! Wait a minute what's this all about it and why is there so much coverage of it. Ah, the outrage, the condemnation, what a skelleton, bombshell? and what silliness this amount too. This whole dilemma has been happening since I was in Junior High, and boy was that a while ago. I thought then that it was something to see a young lady in the "family way." Because, back then before the flood, my father didn't allow us to say the word "pregnant," nor was the situation discussed. I remember those ill fated attempts to inform me about sex by telling me I should talk to the local pharmacist. Why you ask? I don't have the foggiest. Let's just say that his morality playbook was certainly skewed to say the least. But little did he know that I would shred that playbook into tiny pieces. Furthermore, I persevered to update that kind of thinking into the persona I am today, where even though I believe that teen pregnancy is problematic, it's not the scourge of the earth. God rest my father. I loved him and believe it or not, despite some of his antics, he was my hero. Consequently through it all, he became one of my biggest supporters. I wish everyone could have had the support that he later demonstrated, as I found my way to maturity while living my life out loud. Meanwhile, according to statistics from the National Center for Health Statistics, "out of wedlock" births have been on the rise since the 1990's resulting in 4 out of 10 babies being born to unwed mothers. Most glaring of a recently published report was U.S. teen births are among the highest of all industrialized countries. Cmon people, this is a reality check-in on life. After all, I don't think the sky fell when Dick's Daughter, Mary Cheny and partner decided to have a child or Halle Berry, or the young lady and her at least 17 year old boyfriend that I saw yesterday in the checkout line trying to figure out how to use their WIC coupons. It's a sign of the times. Now let's get on with the real issues, leave the kids out of the mix and elect a President.

Can you hear me now: Hey! I know you are out their as well as reading my daily post of what's really going on Central City and the mid-south. However, I would like to hear from any of you! This is an interactive medium and your pariticaption is very welcomed. I'm searching for editorial comments from activist, feedback from scholars, or gab from personalities with a perspective. Got something to say, then say it here first! Are you ready to state your opinion on matters, then get those fingers tapping their way to COP:24/7! Cat got your tongues? I don't think so. Click the comment link and share what's on you mind. What you waitin for, Do it today! Below is a repost from our sister site on Myspace, posted by local activist and Executive Director of CAR ( Center for Artistic Revolution).

The Real Family Values Story
I am a lesbian raising my 16 year old granddaughter. My daughter has a chronic illness that has meant that I have raised her child for most of her life. Nowhere in the Constitution is sexual orientation cited as cause for the denial of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of personal happiness.

Nowhere on my tax forms is there a box for me to check for a reduced tax rate based on the lack of access to full rights and responsibilities. And despite being a taxpayer, I am consistently denied the full rights and responsibilities that are my birthright as an American citizen. I contribute financially to the state of Arkansas through my work. I generate funds from outside the state through grant writing that are then expended in the state.

I love my child and her child with all of my heart. This means that I've spent my fair share of time holding sweaty heads while they were sick, cleaning up dirty diapers and throw up, struggling through homework, having enough to pay the bills, will the car start every morning, will the checkbook balance, going to their school plays, worrying about financial access to college, plastering my refrigerator with their artwork, encouraging them to grow and learn even when they felt defeat, buying a new coat for one of them while mine was long past the time to be replaced, holding them while they cried when they were hurt or disappointed, loving them enough to keep working to resolve our differences and challenges no matter how hard they may be, teaching them ethics, respect and care for all living things, etc. In other words, all of the things that "straight people" are supposedly doing for their kids.

But wait, aren't the vast majority of the children in foster care, the juvenile justice system, and mental health facilities the product of heterosexual families? If this is really about the welfare of children then perhaps the initiated act should be about restricting heterosexual people from reproducing willy-nilly just because they can. Perhaps instead of vilifying LGBTQ families and homes there would be an investment in support for ALL of Arkansas' families that include; family counseling during difficult times, living wage jobs, access to equitable education, affordable healthcare, childcare, housing, food, fuel, etc.

This initiated act not only would ban unmarried LGBTQ and heterosexual couples from adopting or providing foster care it will also help these rightwing, Christian conservatives to further define by their religious beliefs regarding just WHO CAN BE A FAMILY in Arkansas. This means ALL Arkansans regardless of their sexual orientation.

Despite being my granddaughter's blood relative, this act would ban me from adopting her in the event (a real possibility) that my daughter was to pass away and I was in a cohabitating, sexual relationship with a partner. So, I am forced to choose between residing with a partner in a loving relationship or living alone with my granddaughter so that I can adopt her if that becomes the need. My daughter, granddaughter and me want me to adopt her if the unthinkable were to happen. So, for now I continue to live without a partner.

And why is it again that in Arkansas I'm a viable and valued parent as long as I don't cohabitate with a partner, but just let me set up a two parent same-sex household and now I'm not good enough? This act does in fact permit single lesbians, gays or heterosexuals to adopt and provide foster care.

NO Arkansas family should be told that they cannot leave their children to the guardians of their choice be they a lesbian, gay or straight, unmarried cohabitating couple. And just who determines if we cohabitate and have a sexual relationship? Who is going to be the bedroom police and how will these charges be applied? There will almost certainly be sexual orientation and marriage status profiling.

There simply are not enough homes for the children of Arkansas who require a safe and loving home. Why is it that the Family Council has not been able to generate enough homes through their church networks? If every family that signed that petition to put this act on the ballot had taken on a child or group of siblings, there'd be a surplus of homes. But they didn't and they won't. Many of the children in need of homes have been so damaged by their heterosexual parents that they require an exceptional amount of patience, fortitude, love and heartbreak to care for them.

This summer four children died while in foster care and two of the deaths have allegations of abuse cited. Outside the foster care system DHS has investigated the deaths of 11 children in Arkansas, all of who died from abuse. Again, the parents were ostensibly straight.

A safe, secure and loving home is not dictated by the sexual orientation or gender identity of its parent(s). Strong families and good homes are based in love. Love dictates the investment, responsibility and the commitment to keep a child safe, healthy, educated and above all, loved, loved, loved!

All of Arkansas' families are better served by supporting ALL families and ending the witch hunts against families who don't fit one group's religious perspective of what constitutes a family. Investigate all homes and potential parents who present themselves regardless of marital status or sexual orientation and if the home and parents are suitable, place the child or children. Continue with the appropriate prescribed monitoring of the homes. And above all, don't deny any child a safe and loving home based on religious bigotry.

If we are really about the children of Arkansas we will not allow a blanket ban that will exclude a significant pool of loving and competent couples from providing foster care or adopting.

Vote NO this fall against organized bigotry disguised as concern for children. Jerry Cox has said it himself, they are doing this to thawart that "gay agenda". And yes, we do have an agenda! My gay agenda is all about equality and making sure that my family is protected and that all children who need good, safe and loving homes have access to them!

Feel free to repost this, talk to your friends, family, and coworkers about this issue and urge them to vote NO!

Randi M. Romo
August 29, 2008

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