Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia

2013 2FEAR

Where does hate come from? For the most part hate comes from not understanding or from fear. But there are several kinds of hate, there is hate of things that make you uncomfortable, like the taste of certain foods, or the hate of some kinds of weather if you are unprepared for it. I live in Colorado, I don’t understand folks who live here and hate snow. If you hate snow, don’t live in Colorado, sorry but go back to California or Florida, Texas or wherever you can that you don’t normally have snow. In my mind that’s the easiest way to deal with something you personally hate. I hate traffic. I now opt to live as far away from it as possible, and only go into town when I have to. It keeps my stress down.

Hates born of fear can be difficult to deal with. When fear is involved, rational beings often act in irrational ways. A lot of people have irrational fears, some of these are actually genetically coded into us for survival. It’s totally normal for primates to have a fear of birds of prey, we used to be smaller and they used to be larger. There are a number of fossil records that show prehistoric birds of prey used to hunt proto humans. But a lot of us overcome this irrational fear as we should all of our fears. Bugs aren’t going to hurt you. In my mind, homophobia is also an irrational fear. Gays aren’t going to hurt you, and they’ll only do your hair if you ask and they have the skilled. Trust me, nobody, not even the cat wants me to do their hair.

In a lot of people, the things they don’t know or understand cause fears. Fear of the unknown is one of the big reasons that we have so few explorers today. Folks are comfortable being feed the information that they are told and don’t care to embrace change. When they are faced with something that they don’t understand the immediate response is to be afraid and depending on the extent of that fear, it can turn to hate. Many people have a deep fear of the dark, because in the dark, you have no idea what’s waiting for you. Being prepared to deal with things you don’t understand is one of the best ways to deal with the fear of the unknown.

So what is the best way to deal with hate? It depends on where the hate comes from. If it originates from not understanding something, then the best thing is to educate people. Show them what they are not understanding and how it is harmless. Too many people in our world today dwell deep in their uneducated states on many things and want to stay there. These people can be the hardest to break out of their closed mental cages. You have to take a slow careful approach with them to pull them out of their confinement; the hardest part is getting them to take the first steps out. Once you have them moving mentally forward, you can fill their minds with positive information and wash their fears away with knowledge and understanding.

In our world right now, we are dealing with minority hate. It is something that has been around since we first swung down out of the trees. In recent history, we’ve dealt with racial hate, religious hate, and the big one right now is sexuality hate. As humans, this hate of difference is natural, but we need to tackle it and push it back. Find a common ground to stand on with the haters. They hate having anything in common with the object of their hate. Often, they have much more in common with the object of their hate than they believe. During the racial hate that scarred this country less than half a century ago, whites didn’t believe they had anything in common with blacks, when in reality, the only difference was the color of their skin. They still had the same types of families, still did the same kind of work, even defecated the same way. The religious hate is harder to fight, because there is nothing physical to fight, the fight is all about ideas. Ideas are more powerful than any material weapon ever created by man. Across the globe we still see most major conflicts can be narrowed down to either physical greed or religious idealism. When we get to the nuts and bolts of the last vestiges of homophobia it’s based on religious ideas. Science explains that sexual attraction is something that is hard wired. The only real choice a person has is the choice to be happy or not. If you choose to be happy, you choose a partner that you’re attracted to. If you choose to follow the outdated religious dogma, you choose to pair off like they say. Be warned, the odds are that you and your partner will be miserable when you choose to go against yourself. You may be hiding from the hate, but you are also hiding from who you are.

Fight the hate. Educate those around you. Help open their minds. Some days it will be easier than others. But be yourself. You best weapons are knowledge, and your own good will. Open minds, and eventually the plague of homophobia will go away.

Please visit other great bloggers participating in this hop you can either click on the picture above or here.

If you would like to be eligible for a free ebook copy of “Blood Moon, Yellow Sky” the first book in the Yellow Sky series, please leave a comment with your email address below. For additional entries, please follow me on Twitter and Facebook. The drawing will be held May 28th.

 

Autumn’s Harvest

Autumn is here and I am so happy. Living in the mountains of Colorado makes fall even more spectacular. I always welcome the coming cold season with open arms, this year even more so. We had a long hot and dangerous summer around here, with several fires interrupting our daily lives and impacting many friends and neighbors around us. Fall is bringing us much needed rains to hopefully break the drought that has gripped so much of the country. But even outside of the added relief that fall is bringing, I just enjoy it.

Here in the mountains, fall brings a riotous burst of color as the aspen trees go from their spring and summer green to their vibrant yellows, golds and reds. Even now as I write this, I can look out at the aspen at the end of the driveway that is a gorgeous flame red. When I drive into town, I can look up on the sides of Pike’s Peak and see the rivers of gold washing down them as the aspens turn and their color stands out against the normal green of the pines there.

Also in autumn, we start seeing more critters around here. The birds are migrating and an influx of hawks and falcons replace the humming birds that we have all summer. Soon the eagles will be back in a nearby canyon where they winter, giving lots of photo opportunities. The elk are coming down from the higher, cooler areas where they spend the winter. Sometimes in the mornings, you can hear them bugling in the distance and it’s not uncommon to see herds of several hundred moving through heading toward lower ground. The mule deer are gathering their herds together and the bucks are sporting their massive racks. We’ve even got moose coming through this year, I haven’t seen any yet, but it’s giving me an excuse to skimp on my writing and drive around trying to spot them. We are weary of the bears that are frantically trying to get enough to eat before going into hibernation, but they are still fun to see, just at a safe distance.

Autumn also means indoor fires. Until I lived on wood heat, I never understood why the warmth of an indoor fire felt so good. It’s a comforting smell and feel. It also gives all my clothes a perpetual campfire smell and my friends love getting hugs just to smell my clothes. And speaking of clothes, got to love flannels and heavier clothes, like the warm fire, there’s just something comforting and enjoyable about heavier clothes.

And then there’s the first snow of the year. Here it can show up anytime now. I don’t think it’s going to arrive before the aspens have finished dropping their leaves, but when it does, it creates a beautiful contrast between the white and the color. But even if it’s too late for the trees, the first snow of the year has a special cleanness and glamour all its own. It gives an energy and liveliness to everything around. The critters, both domestic and wild all seem to come alive with the first snow. My horses have a bit more spunk to them. My dogs play in it. It’s fun watching this year’s fawns frolic as the first snowflakes fall from the sky. Later in winter very few enjoy snow as much as the first snowfall in autumn.

Get out and enjoy the beauty and grandeur of autumn. Smell the wood burning fireplaces. See the colors all around you. Watch as the animals scurry about getting ready for winter. But most of all, just feel the seasons changing. Find the wonder in this glorious season. I love it, and think that others should too.

I hope everyone enjoys the Autumn Harvest blog hop lots of other blogs to visit. Leave a comment, with your email, for a chance to win an e-copy  “Hearts Blood Fusion”. If you follow the blog, twitter, and like my facebook page you’ll get an extra entry for each like and follow you make. Winner will be drawn at random on 11/13/12. A side note here, I don’t use raffle copter, just keep track of everything via spreadsheet.

Be sure to stop by other blogs to have an opportunity for some of these great prizes.

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet

2nd Grand Prize: A $50 Amazon or B&N Gift Card

3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains 10+ paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more!


Blog Hop winner

Just to let everyone know, the winner of the free ebooks for the Hop Against Homophobia is Yvette. She will get ebooks of “Perfect Love” and “Perfect Trouble.” I’m working through the final edits on “Perfect Trouble” and it will be out next month.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the hop. It was a lot of fun and hopefully we got a positive message out to everyone about how wrong homophobia is. Keep up the good work everyone.

Acceptance

Today I’m taking part in the Hop against Homophobia. As we try and bring about more understanding in the world please share links with your friends and family to this blog and others on the hop. Help get the word out. Help us open more minds. Follow the link in the image below to the complete list of blogs participating in the hop.

Acceptance can be one of the hardest things to find, either in ourselves and or other people. I suppose I’m one of the lucky ones as most people I’ve known have accepted me warts, glitter and all. This is not to say that I haven’t faced my share of homophobia, but it’s not something that I face on a daily basis. As a very masculine man with a nice butch husband, most people don’t realize that I’m gay, unless I say something, or until I tell them. I like it that way.

Years ago, when I was just coming to terms with being gay, I had a very good friend who helped me through my self-acceptance and helped shape me into the well rounded person I am today. For several years, she was like a second mother to me. She explained something that she called the green monkey syndrome, which today I can think of other more appropriate terms for it, but we’ll stick with her terms. The green monkey syndrome is this. Monkeys will kill any of their own kind that they deem as different than themselves, but the catch is, monkeys are color blind. So, until a monkey comes out and says they’re a green monkey, all the monkeys will think everyone is brown. Unfortunately once the green monkey makes their presence known, the other monkeys jump on him and kill him.

Unlike racial differences, for the most part being gay is an invisible minority that is only noticed when we draw attention to ourselves. I use this to my advantage. Folks can’t spot me as gay either by my appearance or my actions. I mean things such as, I don’t like to do auto repair , but can get my hands greasy when I have to. But I make it work. Most folks get to know me before they find out that I’m gay. And by getting to know me they love me. I make a point to be the best person I can be. I avoid being stereotyped in any way. Although some of my friends like teasing me about “every so often the gay just shines through” This is fine.

As a writer, I like to carry this mentality over to the characters I write. I’ve had some “formula” writers tell me there’s not enough drama in my gay couples, that real people have more personal conflict than I portray. My reply there is that I’m trying to give a good example of what gay couples can be. I want to show stable, loving couples. I’ve received several reviews thanking me for showing men who are obviously gay, but not going overboard in the drama or sexuality, giving them a read closer to their own lives. That’s the point of my writing, and my life, quiet acceptance, one friend, or reader at a time. Slow quiet acceptance in the end gets better results than massive change forced on people. Spend more time showing people how you are the same as they are as opposed to how you are different. Build relationships on understanding and likeness, then your differences simply add spice to life and you’ll be surprised how people react. Over time, I’ve only lost a couple of so called friends when they found out I was gay. Because in the end they know me for who I am, and what I am doesn’t matter. Some people are surprised that my lover’s father, a hardcore cowboy/mountain man accepts us, but he knows who I am, and loves me like his own son. We’ve often discussed how if I were a stereotype flaming gay, that wouldn’t be the case. Blending in can be very important to finding acceptance. Don’t stand around screaming about how you’re different, join in and show how you are the same, and you’ll be surprised how quickly people’s minds change. Fight for acceptance one person at a time. If we all do this, pretty soon homophobia will a thing of the past. I hope everyone enjoys the blog hop and does their part to help bring about acceptance.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a set of the E.S. Peters Investigation E books. “Perfect Love” is out and “Perfect Trouble” will be out in June.

 

Zipity Do Da, Zipity Yeah

My oh my what a wonderful day.

Today is one of those awesome springtime days here in the beautiful mountains of central Colorado. I had planned on writing something really cool for my final blog post in the A to Z blog challenge and today is just so pretty I can’t bring myself to stay inside another minute. So I encourage everyone, if the weather’s nice, get out and enjoy the day. The wildflowers here are beginning to bloom, if they’re doing it here then she should be doing it other places too. Get outside folks. Enjoy the nice weather, and smell the flowers.

Have fun and happy blogging. We’ll do a review of the challenge in a few days. Now its time to rest the tired brain and enjoy the great outdoors.

 

V is for Versatility

When someone says versatility what do you think of? Do you think about an all-in-one tool? Do you think of someone who can adapt to almost any situation? Do you think of sex? Versatility can be all of these.

By our very nature, humans should be versatile in all things. We live in a very dynamic environment. We never know if things are going to be the same from day to day, even though we try very hard to make things consistent from day to day. People get into their grooves and don’t like to change. They like to keep to the same patterns, eat the same things, drive the same way to work, watch the same things on TV and generally never change anything they don’t have to. But when you change things up a bit it’s amazing how much extra energy you can find and how much more interesting life becomes.

People should become more versatile, it helps keep stress down. If you’re not afraid to get off the beaten path…well your beaten path, it helps you relax. If you’re afraid to try new routes and say there’s an accident on your way to work, you’re stuck in traffic and might be late for work. If you can be versatile and try a different route several things occur, one you might find something new and unexpected, you don’t have to sit there waiting for things to clear and you can avoid the stress of not being in control of the situation. Take control and be versatile.

Life gets better when you can more easily adapt to a situation and when you adapt without stress, it shows a certain level of versatility. Stop and look at things and ask yourself how you can do something a little different each day. Be like our world, be dynamic and versatile.

Mustangs

How many people see visions of herds of feral horses running wild through vast vistas when the west is mentioned? After the cowboy, one of the enduring images of the old west is wild horses or mustangs. Ironically, the last true wild horses in North America died out at the end of the last ice age some 10,000 – 12,000 years ago. What we call wild horses now are actually feral horses that escaped from the Spanish when they began exploring the continent. Very quickly, the Native Americans took to these horses. Soon they became the main form of transportation for most of the tribes. Some of the tribes took to horse breeding and over time, one of the first of the true American breeds was established, the Appaloosa.

At the height of their expansion, the mustang herds were estimated to have over two million horses stretching from Canada down into Mexico and from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean. Now, the herds are centered in the states of Wyoming, Montana, Utah, Nevada and Colorado with isolated herds, which may or may not be of Spanish decent, roaming other western states. Over time the Spanish blooded horses have been replaced with more common ranch breeds such as quarter horses. Sometimes, this replacing has been accidental with ranch stock escaping and joining wild herds. Other times, ranchers have purposely removed the herd stallions and replaced them with “better” bred horses. There are tales of people trying to introduce draft horses into mustang herds with often strange looking results.

At one time, about sixty years ago, the wild horse herds were seen as a resource that could be exploited with a staggering number of them being killed and sold to companies making dog food. At one point, they were hunted from trucks and even airplanes. Laws were passed to protect the wild horses. Starting in the 1970s, the Bureau of Land Management, BLM, oversees the management and protection of the herds on public lands. Today, the BLM helps keep the numbers of wild horses to a manageable level through the roundup and sales. Visit the BLM’s website to find out more about adoption opportunities. Of late, there have been numerous ideas thrown around on how to deal with the growing number of mustangs. Unfortunately, there are far more offered for sale every year than there are buyers. One of the recent ideas has been to do an extreme horse make overs, where trainers would take horses and tame them before putting them up for sale. Our economy is another factor enlarging the herds. Many horse owners are finding it difficult to keep their companions and instead of letting them go at auction, they take them out to public lands and turn them loose, hoping they’ll find a wild herd to take up with.

As a symbol of the Wild West, the mustang has even recently appeared on the state quarter for Nevada. The thundering herds are still out there, still kicking up dust as they charge across the sage flats, still instilling the essence of wild and free.

H is for Haircuts

Have you ever experienced something that profoundly changed your life, changed how you felt about yourself and how others viewed you? How many people take the simple act of getting a haircut for granted? Sure anyone can just take a pair of scissors or a knife and cut their hair. But to make it look nice, you need somebody who knows what they’re doing. Not everybody has ready access to free haircuts, and who wants a job so badly done that you look like a wild vagabond?

I never gave haircuts much thought until a few months ago when my hair reached the point where it started to irritate me. In the past, I’ve always just hopped in the car and driven to the barber shop, sat down for less than half an hour, paid the stylist/barber, got back in the car and didn’t worry about it for a month or so. Now, as a struggling author who’s been unemployed for several years, finding the money for a haircut is sometimes tricky. There are always bills to pay, critters to feed, gas to buy and not enough spare cash to get a trim.

Next comes the stage when your hair is long enough that it’s constantly in your face, but it’s not long enough to pull back and control. It’s amazing just how irritating hair blowing in your eyes can get, or how if it’s too long, it gets in the way of slipping on the Bluetooth headset while the phone’s ringing. Little irritations can really accumulate. After a while, a little bit of hair causing an irritation leads you to be more irritated by other little things, and pretty soon, you start lashing out at things that shouldn’t be that big a deal. Little things can build up to be a big thing.

So when a family member took pity on me and gave me a little extra cash with instructions to go and get a haircut, I grabbed it and went. As the hair fell away, it was like a weight lifting off my shoulders. Nearly a year’s worth of hair lay on the floor under the chair by the time the stylist was done and one irritating thing was gone from my life. Now when I look in the mirror, I see someone I haven’t seen in many months. Does he look better than he did a couple of days ago? I don’t know. Some people say yes.

But the whole thing got me thinking about the little things we miss in life when money is tight. I haven’t bought a book since Borders went out of business several months ago. An author not buying books? I buy the cheapest food for my critters because that’s what I can afford. I don’t go into town much because gas prices are so high, and my old truck swills fuel so fast I can’t keep up with it. When I do go, I carpool a friend that I meet half way so it’s cheaper. I look for ways to stretch each and every dollar I get so that everything that must be taken care of, is.

When I look at things around me, I ask myself how did things get in this mess? But, in reality are things really in that big of a mess? Well if something doesn’t give soon, YES. The old truck definitely needs a new life. The past fall, I released my hawk because I couldn’t afford to take him hunting the way he needed to be hunted and it was only fair to him. I am a falconer not a petkeeper. We live in a repurposed bus, and have for nearly two years now. Yes, things are in a mess.

How did I get here? I’m often torn between the influences of fate and self. In this case, it’s a bit of both. I could’ve fought harder to find a job in a corporate America where it got to the point that I was nauseous every time I thought about going to work. It served me well for many years, and gave me a decent standard of living and decent money. Was I happy? Not really.

Am I happy now? Yes, other than the little things, YES! I have new skills that will serve me well in the future. I have a partner who loves me and doesn’t have to have all the glitz and glamour of a false life to survive. We have friends who are very important to us, and family who love us. I have found an occupation I enjoy, writing. So we do without a few things in life for a little while. We miss a few haircuts here and there but life WILL get better. We will work hard and things will improve. I have to believe that. It helps push the little things like hair in my eyes, which is no longer happening now, away so that I can focus on more important things, like writing my next book and getting the next blog done. And remembering to tell my partner and the people around me how much I love them all.

Sometimes it’s the little things that we take for granted that end up being big life points. Will people look at me differently with my new/old shorter hair? Will I feel different about myself? Does doing without for long enough that little things become irritating make a difference? I don’t know. Don’t take things for granted. Stop and tell those around you how much they mean to you, and no matter how bad things get, someone will always be there for you.

 

Winds of Change

Fall is coming, that what the weather man said a few minutes ago on the noon news. If you’ve been outside up here in the mountains you know that the seasons are changing. The aspen trees are turning the mountains to rivers of gold and fire, the elk are coming down and the humming birds are gone to warmer climates.

Watching the news, both corporate and real, we see that other changes are embracing our world right now. Like the changes in the seasons, we have to ask how far will these changes in our world go. I love the fact that people are finally standing up to big money. After seeing all the good that the protest have done this year over in the middle east. The people are feeling empowered. We are now seeing people here in the states start to come out and protest what they are finally seeing as the evil of the corporations. But what is their goal?

The goal is what is illusive in these protest, or at least in what I am hearing about the protesters. They want their jobs back, okay good start. They want their money back, still good. They want less of a class division here in the good old US of A, even better. But from what I have observed they don;t have a real plan on how to accomplish these goals.

With the protest over the past year in the middle east, the goals of the protesters was to change the governments there. To remove a particular leader or party from power. With that you have a concrete goal. A set target, if you will, that you can focus your energy on.

But here in the Occupy protest, they are trying to overthrow ideas of greed and corruption with no particular target in mind. On the local news last night they interviewed one of the local protestors who said that the group was trying to decide what it wanted to accomplish, but they considered this the new American Revolution. How can we have a revolution with no definitive goal? I’m pretty sure that the founding fathers of this country had a goal in mind when they first gathered to start the revolution that lead to the great country we live in today.

The other huge stumbling block facing the protestors is that many of the people they are fighting against aren’t even Americans. Today, with the push for the so called global economy, a vast majority of the people who hold sway over how we do business in this country don’t even live here, they may only come here for business or to go to Disney Land. They don’t care that people are occupying Wall Street or any other street in this country. If it starts impacting their income, then they will simply divert their funds to other places for a while until things cool down over here.

I doubt that these protestors are willing to go to the extremes needed to really cause massive change in our world, because to create the change they are wanting, they have to try and change our world. To really fight the idea of corporate greed they must be willing to stop feeding the corporate monster. People have to say “no” to Walmart, start shopping at the smaller neighborhood stores where things might be a little more expensive, but you know at least the first people whose pockets the money is going into. You have to be willing to say “no” to our disposable world that all the corporations make possible. Are the protestors ready to do this to help populate the changes they want?

We are not fighting a single foe here, or even physical ones, we are up against shadows, ideas and ways of life. The ground work for the current way of thinking goes back over fifty years. When people started having enough money, or could borrow enough money, that they could have a “better” way of life. Since that time we have spread that mentality to the entire “civilized” world. That way of thinking has helped divide families, and isolate people. As a culture we now think about “I” or “ME”. We are isolated in our very beings, and we have been programmed by some of the best add men (and women) in the business to not think about anyone but ourselves. And the kicker to this is we are also programmed to not rely on ourselves, we stand alone, but others (Corporations) must take care of us. You must have a job, don’t be self employed, you can’t get loans, or health insurance if you’re self employed. (Well you pay way to much for insurance if you do) Working for a corporation will protect you, they will help you retire wealthy. Buy from the big name, their product is better. Stay in the city, the cops will protect you. Don’t question your doctor, they know more than you do. You’re too busy to take care of your elderly, let someone else do that. The politicians have our greater good in their hearts.  The preacher will save our souls. All of these thought processes have helped lead us to the point of oblivion, and now we have people finally standing up.

But these people who are standing up appear to have no real focus as to what they truly want. They claim that they are not a political movement, and that they have no political party affiliations. Maybe they need to become a political party to affect long lasting change. Sometimes to defeat the man, you must become a man. I really think it is about time that Americans stand up and scream “NO MORE!” but we have to do more than scream. We have to have a course of action, or the winter will be long, cold and dark.

The winds of change have started, but the snow is not yet blowing. I for one am waiting to see how the seasons are changing. I for one want to see more people standing up and take responsibility for their lives, the lives of their families and friends. Go out feel the winds then let a friend or more know that you care about them. Friends and family are going to be important in the coming seasons.

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