09 February, 2016

Uniqueness in the Queer Community Losing Out to Cookie-Cutter Uniformity

Earlier today I received this e-mail response from a Hillary Clinton supporter who was in my contacts, listed as a media contact, in response to trying to promote one of my articles.

It's disheartening that members of my LGBTQ community would respond in such a way, especially with respect to an issue I firmly believe is of great importance to the queer community. We cannot—and should not—allow anyone, for any purpose, to distort our history.

This sort of response worries me a great deal. Certain members of our community are completely deaf to dissenting voices, afraid of damaging some fragile balance that must be maintained at all costs. The attitude that we all must fall in line, lock, step, and barrell, is more than troublesome. Our community used to celebrate our differences and value each other's uniqueness.

When did we shift from celebrating our diversity to enshrining who we, the queer community, are in such a cookie-cutter definition? Further, when did we, as a democratic society, become unable to deal with differing viewpoints, where anything other than the gospel of what one person dictates becomes an attack? When did we lose the ability to compare and contrast differences, facts, views, and ideas?

The conversation below is unedited, although I did remove the footers from the e-mails as they took up quite a bit of room, and I redacted the person's contact information. I'm including the original e-mail I sent out to my media contacts in the hopes of promoting the article I wrote, as well as the entire exchange that took place with this person.

I don't have an e-mail list, and I haven't sent out e-mails promoting Bernie. I do send out e-mails to folks when it's something I believe affects the queer community that folks should know about. Unfortunately, this actually is one of the more polite responses I received:

GmailPeter C. Equality Frank

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:Clinton Campaign Contorts LGBTQ History to Attack Sanders's Record

Peter C. Equality Frank 8 February 2016 at 08:39


In response to Chris Johnson's piece in The Washington Blade slamming Bernie Sanders for signing a proclamation in 1982 in support of "We Believe in Marriage Week," I've analyzed the arguments presented and posted the result to my blog, which can be viewed at http://petercfrank.blogspot.com/2016/02/clinton-campaign-contorts-lgbtq-history.html or http://petercfrank.blogspot.com/.

Please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have. I can best be reached via social media or e-mail, or by phone/text at 914-417-9579.

Kindest regards,
-Peter

Tw: @NiteStar

***

--
PCF
+1-914-417-9579 (home/mobile)
http://bit.ly/pcfrank

A smile is the shortest distance between two people. ~Victor Borge (
1909-2000, Danish-born U.S. comedic Musician)

GmailPeter C. Equality Frank

remove me immediately
5 messages

[redacted contact information]8 February 2016 at 09:41
To: "Peter C. Equality Frank" 






[redacted contact information]



Take me off your fucking Bernie Sanders list.

We are for Hillary.  How did you get my information?  Another data breach of the Democratic Party?

[redacted]


[redacted contact information]
Owner/Executive Editor
[redacted contact information]
Cell    [redacted contact information]
Office (Florida) [redacted contact information]
Fax     [redacted contact information]

Peter C. Equality Frank 8 February 2016 at 10:24
To: [redacted contact information]

This isn't a Bernie Sanders list. It's a contact list I have of media contacts for LGBTQ issues. We've had contact before.

Nice language, by the way. How professional of you.

Please let me know if you have any other questions. I'm sorry that you don't find news about LGBTQ issues relevant.

Have a nice day.

Cheers,
-Peter
[Quoted text hidden]
--
[redacted contact information]8 February 2016 at 10:28
To: "Peter C. Equality Frank" 

I don’t appreciate the unsolicited Bernie trolling and information meant to garner support for his socialist campaign.

Professional?  Trolling really isn’t professional at all.  It’s just like a moron to blame the victim of unsolicited spamming.

You’ve been reported both to the DNC and I’ve publicized your letter in a variety of closed Hillary Clinton websites meant to share info.

Suggesting I don’t find news about LGBTQ issues relevant is preposterous.  What I DO find relevant is your continued harassment of this email AFTER I HAVE ASKED YOU TO UNSUBSCRIBE ME.

That’ll be a separate complaint.

No, YOU have a nice day and good luck with the socialist messaging.
[Quoted text hidden]

Peter C. Equality Frank 8 February 2016 at 10:44
[redacted contact information]

Dear [redacted contact information]

I'm very sorry you feel that I've trolled you--I haven't, really. You're a media organization. I sent my article about a campaign distorting LGBTQ history in order for the sole purpose of launching a political attack.I feel that anyone who distorts LGBTQ history for the purpose of attacking someone is of great concern and importance to the LGBTQ community. I thought that the LGBTQ community was a community, who stuck together when under attack. I consider the distortion of our history to be an attack. I'm sorry that you do not.

You're not on a list to be unsubscribed from. As I said, we've had previous contact and you've published articles I've written that were of importance to the LGBTQ in the past. You're merely in my contacts list, but I'll be happy to remove you from my contacts. In return, I respectfully request that you remove my e-mail address from any and all databases in your organization. I will no longer support nor promote your events or your articles or any of your online or offline properties.

Thank you for sharing my letter, with a link to my article, to whatever venues you deemed appropriate. I hope that LGBTQ community and our supporters will rally around this attack and misuse of a distorted version of our history.

I find it enlightening that you consider a polite response to your request to explain why you were sent an e-mail about a serious issue of concern to the LGBTQ community as harassment. It's even more interesting that the only response you have is to use ad hominem attacks.

I do hope you have a pleasant rest of your day, and enjoy the coming week.

Kindest regards,
-Peter
[Quoted text hidden]

[redacted contact information]8 February 2016 at 10:55
To: "Peter C. Equality Frank"

In fact, I am Media and i find it atrocious that you CONTINUE to email me AFTER I’ve asked you to cease and desist.

You are no hero to the LGBTQ community; you are a divider.  Not everyone appreciates your nasty attitude and your incessant responses after being asked to be removed from your Bernie Slanders political emails that were unsolicited, and quite frankly, very damaging to the LGBTQ community.  Any division in a fragile community is bad.  You are an example of this.

Unlike your unprofessionalism, we have opt out systems.  Should you be on any of our emails or publications, you can officially OPT OUT of any future contact.  We make it easy and drama free.

How dare you suggest we haven’t or don’t have the best intentions for enhancing progress within the LGBTQ community because I am against Bernie Sanders and Socialism in favor of Hillary Clinton.  I’d suggest you recognize the support she has recently garnered from the HRC…..the worlds largest LGBTQ support network.  

Let me make this very clear:  LOSE MY EMAIL ADDRESS AND DO NOT EVER CONTACT ME AGAIN.  Continued harassment will be reported to the authorities, and I will go even beyond my already mentioned reporting to expose you as to what you really are:  a troll.
[Quoted text hidden]

07 February, 2016

Clinton Campaign Contorts LGBTQ History to Attack Sanders's Record

In an article penned by Chris Johnson of The Washington Blade, Clinton surrogates NYS Senator Brad Hoylman (through his chief of staff, Peter Ajemian), former NYC Speaker Christine Quinn, and former conservative GOProud founder-turned-Clinton-lover Jimmy LaSalvia accuse Bernie Sanders of being against marriage equality because he signed a resolution in 1982 supporting "We Believe in Marriage Week":

Resolution of the Board of Alderman of Burlington, Vermont signed February 8, 1982 
by Bernie Sanders, Mayor and [indecipherable] Wagner, City Clerk
The attack was initiated when Jonathan Allen, who first "reported" this "story," uncovered the resolution Sanders signed as mayor of Burlington, VT in 1982. Allen is a political lapdog of the Democratic Party establishment. He worked for DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, who was a co-chair of Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign and co-authored Hillary's biography, HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton.

However, Allen's assertion has a fatal flaw. Nothing could be further from the truth than the theory he offers as proof positive that Bernie supported marriage as only between a man and a woman. A look at the facts in their historical context determines the (in)significance of this potentially slanderous accusation by the Clinton camp, which Williamson L. Henderson, V, Chairman of the STONEWALL Rebellion Veterans' Association (SVA), called "a complete distortion of the reality of the time."

Fact #1: This is a resolution of the Board of Aldermen (which essentially is their city council) of Burlington, Vermont. A resolution is a statement supported by at least a majority of a governing body.

Fact #2: A mayor routinely signs proclamations and resolutions proffered by legislative bodies on a wide number of topics and subjects. Such proclamations are not bills and do not become law. Rather, they are an official statement supported by majority of a governing body.

Fact #3: This particular resolution supports "We Believe in Marriage Week," a nation-wide attempt to stem the rising tide of divorce sweeping the nation, which other boards of aldermen supported via similar resolutions declaring the week from February 14-20, 1982 as such.

Fact #4: The rising divorce rate and increase in the number of out-of-wedlock children being born were of particular unilateral, bipartisan concern, according to Henderson. Assistant Secretary of Labor Daniel Patrick Moynihan (whom Clinton replaced when she ran for Senator in New York in 2000) issued a report in 1965 essentially decrying a condemnation into poverty, particularly of minority families, who were being broken apart due to divorce and single-parent households.

Fact #5: The terms "family values" and "traditional marriage" did not have the anti-LGBTQ meaning in 1982 that they do today. They were, instead, concerns over the family unit falling apart due to the increase in divorce and out-of-wedlock childbirth.

Henderson further stated, "It is completely hypocritical to attack someone who has made it crystal clear that he is 100% for LGBTQ rights and marriage equality by digging up something that took place over 30 years ago, twisting the truth to use in a political attack."

In 1982, nobody in the LGBTQ community was fighting for the right to marry. "In an interview in the 1970s, when asked about the prospects for gay marriage, Frank Kameny laughed and dismissed the notion. He said it was something gay men would never ask for," recalled David Wallace, an LGBTQ activist, historian, and videographer.

Neither was it seriously on the agenda more than a decade later. In 1999, the first openly-lesbian elected official in New York State, NYS Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick (D-NY) held a debate on the issue of marriage equality with William K. Schmidt, the first openly gay Republican from Peekskill, NY who was running for the Peekskill City Council: "She was vehemently opposed to marriage equality, calling it a bourgeois institution," Schmidt, the first elected official in NY to sign a statewide petition for marriage equality, recalled.

As I have previously written about, the LGBTQ community is losing its history, as well as its core values. If younger members of our community were more connected with our elders, this sort of political attack never would have been allowed. "In 1982, the community was just beginning to coalesce around what then was called GRID (which we now know to be AIDS)," Wallace interjected.

In fact, at the time this resolution was passed, there were no legal protections for LGBTQ individuals anywhere in the USA! One month later, Wisconsin became the first state to ban discrimination on the basis of sexuality. When Sanders passed a city ordinance banning discrimination against gays and lesbians a year later, he was at he forefront of the LGBTQ rights movement.

What is deeply troubling to me is that Speaker Quinn (whom I heartily endorsed when she ran for Mayor of NYC in 2013), Senator Hoylman, and Mr. LaSalvia are all old enough to know better. They lived through the culture of the time in 1982, when police were conducting raids and mass arrests of gay and lesbian individuals, often facing up to 20 or more years in prison for the "crime" of being gay.

To be afraid is to behave as if the truth were not true. ~Bayard Rustin
"It clearly is an utterly pathetic and preposterous act of desperation that insults people's intelligence. To quote Shakespeare, it's much ado about nothing, and it's not going to work," Schmidt, who now identifies as Libertarian, stated.

"This is no surprise, coming from a woman who supported her husband's signing into law the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) over a decade later and who herself did not support marriage equality until 2013. Neither she nor any of her surrogates have ever supported the SVA or our members," Henderson scoffed.

As an LGBTQ rights activist, I am deeply offended by the Clinton campaign's attempt to use a vile distortion of the struggle in our movement for equality, as a political attack. The campaign, and The Washington Blade, owe Sanders an apology.

UPDATE #1: This story was updated at 7:35 a.m. to include information about Jonathan Allen.


Disclosure: I am an active supporter of the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders.


Clinton Campaign Contorts LGBTQ History to Attack Sanders's Record: http://ow.ly/Y2rPz

05 February, 2016

Did Sanders Smear Clinton or Is This A Bait-and-Switch Ploy?


Hillary Clinton called Senator Bernie Sanders's suggestion that Wall Street's contributions to her campaign could influence her an "artful smear" against her and proclaimed her innocence, "Wall Street is NOT supporting me now!" Watch the fiery exchange that took place during the February 4, 2016 democratic presidential debate in Durham, NH:


But is she the one doing the actual smearing, by accusing the Senator of smearing her and violating his pledge not to run a negative campaign, when in fact Sanders is merely stating the facts? In order to come to a resolution, it's best that we take a look at those facts:

First, what exactly did Bernie say? Let's take a look and listen to the words coming out of his own mouth. As nearly everyone agrees, Bernie is pretty consistent in what he says. So in this one interview that perhaps was the latest time he spoke directly about the issue at hand, Bernie talks with CNN's Wolf Blizter (apparently CNN's embedding code they provide doesn't work very well, so please click on the link to get to the video):
Let's look at Sanders's claims then. The Washington Post recently performed an analysis of Clinton's campaign contributions for this race, as reported by the progressive blog Common Dreams:

"Through the end of December, donors at hedge funds, banks, insurance companies and other financial-services firms had given at least $21.4 million to support Clinton’s 2016 presidential run — more than one of every 10 dollars of the $157.8 million contributed to back her bid, according to an analysis of Federal Election Commission filings by The Washington Post. 
[...] 
Nearly half of the financial-sector donations made to support Hillary Clinton’s current presidential run have come from just two wealthy financiers: billionaire investor George Soros, who gave $7 million last year to the pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities USA Action; and hedge-fund manager S. Donald Sussman, who gave the group $2.5 million. 
On top of funding her campaign, "she personally earned more than $3.7 million for delivering paid speeches to banks and other financial-services firms since leaving the State Department in 2013..." the Post reports."
As of the end of 2015, more than 1/10th, or 13.5%, of Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign contributions have come from Wall Street. This does not include contributions made prior to 2015. In other words, they're only counting contributions to her for this particular presidential campaign run.

Additionally, exactly one week before the New Hampshire debate, or a mere four days before the Iowa caucus, Hillary Clinton held a fundraiser at the Philadelphia offices of Wall Street investment fund management firm Franklin Square Capital Partners. As reported on MSNBC's Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough was blown away by the sheer audacity of her doing this:


Finally, the Associated Press, in an article that examines "that take shortcuts with the facts" called out Clinton for her claim that Wall Street is against her:

THE FACTS: Wall Street is not the anti-Clinton monolith she implied. People in the securities and investment industry gave more than $17 million last year to super political action committees supporting her presidential run and nearly $3 million directly to her campaign, according to OpenSecrets.org, a campaign-finance watchdog. Wall Street is the top industry donating to her effort, ahead of the legal profession, non-profit institutions and others.

Moreover, the top two contributors from this hefty Wall Street support are a billionaire and a hedge fund manager — the two groups of individuals Clinton specifically called out as being against her candidacy for president.

These are facts, and there just is no getting around it. So now that we have the facts, let's move on to the next question, and that is Hillary's accusation against Bernie:

Has Senator Sanders smeared Secretary Clinton by presenting facts about Wall Street money being a substantial part of her campaign and that the corrupt campaign finance system we now have in this nation allows for such contributions to influence candidates? Let us take some direction in our quest for an answer from an expert on this subject who has refrained from jumping into the campaign in support of either side, Senator Elizabeth Warren.

In a 2004 interview, Bill Moyers discusses Hillary Clinton's dramatic shift in policy regarding Bankruptcy reform with Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren. Essentially, Professor Warren met with First Lady Hilary Clinton in 1999 to discuss a bankruptcy reform bill. As a result of that meeting, the First lady felt so strongly about the issue that she convinced President Bill Clinton to change his own position and vetoed the legislation. In 2001, one of the first votes Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) had to vote on was that very same bankruptcy legislation, and she voted for it.

Listen to what Warren had to say about why she believes Clinton changed her views and, ultimately, her vote:


Keep in mind, Elizabeth Warren was speaking in 2004, as a professor of law at Harvard University, long before she had given thought to running for political office. I don't know if Clinton had her sights set on the White House, either — at least publicly.

And this is not merely a single instance. In fact, a blogger over at The Daily Kos uncovered a plethora of times when Hillary Clinton went to bat for Wall Street — once even in opposition to the average American she professes to care so much about! As the article states, "not only did she not battle for the American people against Wall Street, or even follow those who were fighting for the citizens, she actually fought on Wall Street’s behalf."

So it's quite clear that campaign contributions can influence elected officials. And it's particularly clear that money from Wall Street has gotten Hillary Clinton to change her vote in the past.

A review of these facts shows, without a doubt, that Secretary Clinton has lied with respect to at least two subjects: she lied about Wall Street donations being a substantial part of her campaign, and she lied about having ever changed her vote as a result of such donations from Wall Street.

So we're sorry Secretary Clinton, but you are dead wrong on this and dead wrong for accusing Senator Sanders of smearing you. We believe that this is, indeed, a bait-and-switch that Secretary Clinton tried to pull on Senator Bernie Sanders. For that, she owes him an apology.

By the way, the influence of unlimited campaign contributions is one of the reasons why Bernie Sanders believes in and is fighting so hard to overturn the disastrous Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC and why he knows that nothing will change in Congress until elections are publicly-financed, a position he has been supporting for decades.

You may also be interested in: Clinton Campaign Contorts LGBTQ History to Attack Sanders's Record

Resources:

Clinton accuses Bernie Sanders of running smear campaign but is she the one doing the smearing? https://youtu.be/riGfVgZa940

Bernie Sanders: Hillary Clinton 'funded by Wall Street' http://goo.gl/Zqf6lX

Elizabeth Warren talks with Bill Moyer about Hillary Clinton and the influence of Wall Street's money: https://youtu.be/hbWzE4JhQJY

Did Sanders Smear Clinton or Is This A Bait-and-Switch? http://ow.ly/XYL0B 

31 January, 2016

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27 January, 2016

Tell the DNC to sanction the Feb. 4th Debate in New Hampshire!

The New Hampshire Union Leader, the leading newspaper in the state, has heeded a call from its readers who want to learn more about the Democratic candidates who are running for President this year.

They announced that they will uphold a longstanding tradition and host a debate on February 4th, five days before voters in the Granite State are to go to the polls in the nation's second primary election, and have invited the three remaining Democratic candidates to participate in the debate.

The New Hampshire Union Leader has selected MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow and Meet the Press host Chuck Todd to moderate the debate.

The Union Leader advises that Martin O'Malley and Hillary Clinton have agreed to appear in the debate. Bernie Sanders, however, held off on agreeing to participate pending action by the DNC to sanction it. According to DNC rules this election cycle, any candidate participating in a non-sanctioned debate (of which there are only six--a cause of much consternation among some of the candidates and their supporters in the Democratic base) will be barred from participating in all future DNC-sanctioned debates.

DWS stated that she's open to reviewing the debate schedule with the campaigns after the first two primary elections. Sanders stated that he will participate in the Feb. 4th debate if the DNC sanctions it.

On January 26th, the DNC issued a statement after learning of the Union Leader's intent to hold the debate, stating that there will be only six debates and that they have no plans to sanction any additional debates.

Thus, we call on Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee, to sanction the February 4th debate and allow all candidates to participate in it without any reprisals. The debate, unlike the ones the DNC has scheduled, will occur during the prime time viewing hour and not in competition with any other major events.

Call Debbie Wasserman Schultz at 202-225-7931 and 202-863-8000 to demand that she & the DNC sanction the New Hampshire Union Leader debate on February 4th!

19 January, 2016

Geeks Do It Best!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, intellectual geeks do it best! ;)

Take your hand off of me, you unctuous platitudinizing eunuch. 
~Martin Ellingham, MD 

#quote #DocMartin #QOTD #realinsults #wordporn

07 January, 2016

In Response to "The 7 Types of People You Should Unfriend on Facebook" (by Lindsay Holmes)

Huffington Post's Healthy Living editor Lindsay Holmes recently published an article advocating unfriending seven types of people from one's social media circles. The premise of the article is that getting rid of the seven types of people she describes will create a healthier life.

I disagree.

First and foremost, unfriending someone is, in most cases a hostile act. Hostile acts such as unfriending someone require negative energy. This is the exact opposite effect Ms. Holmes purports to achieve in her suggestion of unfriending the types of people she suggests. There are less hostile and non-hostile ways of disengaging with individuals one may consider to be irritating.

As I set forth below, I believe that the vast majority of "types of friends" Ms. Holmes suggests unfriending are those one may very well wish to keep in their circles, as such friendships -- whether "in real life" or "through social media" have real value in our lives.

1. The Political Ranter

At the top of her list is "the political ranter," as she calls them. She likens them to having "the proverbial drunk uncle at the Thanksgiving table" except they're now part of your life every day. Her advice is that while people are free to share their opinions, that doesn't mean you have to listen to them, so we should ditch them -- as if to imply that doing so were as simple as one would change the channel.

How very callous an attitude, and how very uninformed. It appears to be the uninformed perpetuating a lack of information, and I take umbrage with that. More often than not, "the political ranter" is that person (or those people) in our life who is trying to raise awareness about the issues we face in today's society. In a media landscape nearly devoid of true journalists, it is the political ranter who often delivers the real news of the day.

The "political ranter" serves an additional purpose of providing a safe space in which we, as a society, can debate the issues we face. The "political ranter" offers a variety of differing viewpoints, and some who thoroughly enjoy the debate will even play the devil's advocate. It's a way of maintaining one's wits and sharpening one's mind. Maintaining a sharp mind is an asset no matter one's profession.

A gaggle of "political ranter" type friends ensure that we, as a democratic society, maintain participation in our democratic system and are able to formulate opinions and make choices come election time -- of which there is a dearth in our zeitgeist (especially in the USA). Participating in our democratic system requires an educated electorate. It is the "political ranter" who serves the very thankless task of educating our society.

Unfortunately, the "political ranter" is a scorned member of today's society -- one whom others do not wish to be bothered with and for whom they have no time. And it is because of this very sad fact that we in the USA are left with a mere 11.1% of eligible voters choosing our elected officials (composed of a majority (51%) of a plurality (36.4%) of registered voters, who comprise 60% or so, on the average, of all eligible voters) -- or only one out of every nine eligible voters choosing who gets to represent us in our governments! Even when the voter turnout of 62.3% was extraordinarily high (the highest level seen since 1968), a mere 18.1% of our eligible voters are deciding who our representatives are in government.

Finally, it is the "political ranter" who is most apt to get us to fulfill the purpose of social media: to engage and interact with others. That is, to be social!

2. The Negative Nancy

Those who perennially see the glass as half-full can't comprise all of the world's views. We need a dose of reality. The pessimists in our circles keep us in check. They ensure we're not running around with our heads in the clouds all the time. Those who constantly point out the "why nots" of doing something force us to re-examine (or in many cases, examine for the first time) the "whys" of doing it. And in some instances, the "whys" don't quite add up. Think of the "negative nancy" as learning through osmosis.

The "negative nancy" also serves another purpose: every so often, they allow themselves to see the glass as being half-full -- usually after someone (a friend) points out the flaw in their negative thinking. There's an extremely exhilarating feeling one gets when one is able to turn the pessimist's frown upside down. While pessimism can be difficult to spread, optimism often is more contagious.

3. The Ex-

There are good reasons for getting an Ex-whatever out of your life. For instance, if your Ex was abusive, the best course of action is to have as little -- if any -- contact with them, in any form or venue.

But there are also good reasons for keeping them in it, as well. For instance, if you're the sort of clingy Ex who thinks "there might still be hope" at getting back together, seeing their relationship status change from "single" to "in a relationship," "engaged," or "married" might just be that push you need to finally let go and move on. Or perhaps you're the Ex who dumped the other and feel a bit of guilt about dating again, and won't truly have peace of mind (or feel that it's safe, if your Ex is the clingy sort) until you see that THEY have moved on...

Then again, perhaps your Ex owes you something -- money, perhaps? If you see your ex taking a fancy holiday or buying an expensive new -- whatever -- then you'll have some ammunition to get them to pay up and bring your relationship to a final close.

Another -- and perhaps the most important -- reason to stay connected with your ex is that you share something with them: a child(ren). As a good parent, you'll want as many embarrassing photos of your children as you can get your hands on to use as blackmail when they grow up for posterity, and of course so you can show their kids (your grandchildren) what they were like at their age (it seems the grandkids always do seem to get a kick out of that, don't they?).

Finally, and perhaps the best reasons to not disconnect your Ex in the realm of social media, you might still be actual friends with them! Sometimes an Ex who doesn't cut it as a lover/husband/wife/girlfriend/boyfriend makes a great "just friend." Why rule out that possibility? Perhaps some real-life distance can be just what's needed to become FBBs, or Facebook Besties!

One word of advice, though: staying friends with an ex usually is easier after a "cooling off" period where you have no contact. That doesn't necessarily mean unfriending them on Facebook, although you might want to unfollow them for a while or use Facebook's "Take A Break" feature so you won't see as much of them online as you would have in the past.

4. The "Best Life" Acquaintance

Ms. Holmes suggests taking the hostile action of unfriending a grade-school classmate whose engagement photos may have popped into your stream but otherwise really don't have much to do with. Rather than take such hostile and negative action, turn this into an opportunity. Reach out to your classmate, congratulate them on their nuptials, and see if you can reignite a long-lost friendship -- or create a new one.

We've all had classmates we were closer to than others. In my personal experience, I've found that I'm now much closer to some of my classmates with whom I barely interacted, and have mostly lost touch with many of those I then considered to be my best mates. My "new" old friendships are the results of engaging with old classmates through social media.

If someone is showing their joy in a social setting, I believe a more appropriate response to be sharing in that joy, and radiating the positive energy that this happy person obviously wishes to send into the Universe. I would not, as Ms. Holmes suggests, use it as an excuse to send negative energy into the Universe by taking the hostile action of unfriending them. That's what haters do, isn't it?

5. The Attention-Seeker

There are a number of supportive, positive reactions one could have in response to a friend's "Today was the worst day in my life...but I don't want to talk about it" status update:

1) Ask them what they do wish to talk about,
2) Express sympathy for their having gone through such a bad day,
3) Let them know that you're there for them if they ever do want to talk about it,
4) Simply Like the status update, or
5) merely ignore it.

None of these five reactions uses negative energy and the first four show support for what your friend is going through.

Moreover, consider that the attention seeker is in reality sending out a plea for help, perhaps in the only way they know how. An article by Billi Gordon Ph.D in Psychology Today asserts that: "Excessive attention seeking is not a character flaw. It is a brain wiring response to early developmental trauma caused by neglect."

The Guardian's Oliver Burkeman offers this insight on the attention-seeker:
We think of "attention-seeking" as a character flaw. Start to see it instead as a universal need – met in healthy or unhealthy ways – and all sorts of things fall into place: celebrity meltdowns and internet trolling, but also many of your partner's or your colleagues' otherwise inexplicable quirks. (Or your own.) Life is an open-mic night, and we're all just trying to get noticed.
In today's world of "Likes" it could take all of a split-second to appease your friend. And then, maybe you can get to the root of what's causing them to engage in what many perceive to be annoying behavior and either help them see what they're doing or help them find the help they need to engage with others in more constructive ways. Isn't that something that's worth doing?

6. The Braggart

There isn't much of a difference for me between the Braggart and the Best Life Acquaintance. For someone who had a really awesome holiday, why not enjoy the photos they've shared and learn what you can through their experience? Be happy that they are in a position in their life where they've been able to do this and share their experiences with others.


For the person who posts their daily gym or workout achievements -- or achievements of any kind (I baked cookies today, this is what I made for dinner, this is what I ate for lunch, etc.), we often don't know about the many struggles people face in today's world. If something was important enough for someone to create a status update about it in social media then rejoice in that achievement with them.

We should use these seemingly minor, daily achievements to support our friends, not distance ourselves from them.

7. Anyone who makes you feel crappy about yourself

This is too overly broad for my tastes. Rather than take the hostile action and put negative energy out into the Universe by someone who makes you feel bad about yourself, I'd first ask why that person makes you feel bad about yourself. If the answer is not that they're being abusive or attacking you (or others you care about), then perhaps you can find something of value in maintaining them as a friend -- at least through social media. Self-exploration and inner reflection is only one such valuable reason that has the additional benefit of potentially uncovering the truth behind why what they post makes you feel badly about yourself.

8. Overall

There's a theme in Ms. Holme's suggestions that's too simplistic: If it's perceived to be negative, it should simply be dismissed and done away with, as if it were a consumer product in our throw-away society. Have we really reached the point of devolution where our friendships -- our social connections -- have become something so easily disposable?

Life, as the good Captain implies, is not always easy. It can take work--lots of it! And often, as Lt. Cmdr. Data discovers, it takes a new way of tackling a problem to achieve success, or using or gaining a new perspective of looking at a certain situation to see the beauty and value in it.

Rather than cull your circle of friends to a homogenized group of individuals who mirror your own life, I implore you to delve head-first into the cornucopia of relations that can be found in the land of social media, which is an agent of the egalitarian society. Social media allows the abjectly impoverished the same chance, ability, and access to engage with the Hollywood Glamour Stars, the elected representatives of our governments, the spiritual leaders of our world, the grandmothers, the sisters, the cousins, the brothers, the fathers, the grandfathers, aunts, uncles, mothers, and the countless others who exist in social media today.

Social media provides everyone who participates in it an ability to travel the world, all without ever taking a physical step. It opens doors, windows, roads, waterways, and airways that enable us to connect with others without regard to physical obstacles such as spatial coordinates. It gives us access to a diversity so rich with choice and variation that no human could possible fully know all it encompasses.

A mere generation ago, we placed value on diversity, on new experiences, and on broadening our horizons. Now, the emphasis is on being just like everybody else. Diversity of thought, of debating one another's opinions, and of expressions of individuality have all but disappeared from the social, political, educational, artistic, and even economical (in terms of moving toward a society of a few haves and vast supermajority of have-nots) facets of today's society.

The myriad benefits of diversity empower us to grow both individually and as a people. It affords us the chance to open our minds, eyes, ears, and hearts. It presents an immense opportunity to rejoice and share in the positive energy flowing throughout our Universe.

Seek out the diversity that exists in social media. Use it to expand knowledge of the self and knowledge outside the self. Most importantly, engage and interact with those who are not part of your homogenized lives. The purpose of social media is to engage and interact with others; without doing so, one does not reap the benefits of this amazing, friend-enabling technology.

05 January, 2016

QOTD

Estelle Getty, playing Sophia Petrillo on The Golden Girls
Boy, ya forget something
new every day, don't ya?
~Sophia Petrillo

01 January, 2016

The end to a chapter

I choose to be unstoppable. I am bigger than my concerns and worries.
The strength of others inspires me daily. I focus on my goals.
I trust my intuition and live a courageous life!
As of today, 1 January 2016, I no longer am associated with the Bronx LGBTQ Center and have severed all ties to the organization. I shared this news with some of my closest friends about two weeks ago.

I am the last of the co-founders to leave the Center, 3.5 years after it started -- which is fitting in a way as I was perhaps the first to organize the new organization.

Having served as the Board Secretary since the Center's incorporation on 19 September 2012, my decision not to run for re-election and continue my tenure as an officer on the board of directors was announced at the annual membership meeting on 14 December 2015. This decision did not come lightly but leaves me time to work on projects that are bringing positive energy into my life.

Of all the accomplishments during my tenure, I am most proud of Bronx LGBTQ Pride. As chair of the Pride committee, we accomplished in The Bronx what no other group had been able to do in the history of the borough's LGBTQ activism: Hold a successful Pride dinner (and yes, it was in The Bronx). Nearly 200 people attended a wonderful event, which also celebrated some amazing Bronxites who have spent most of their life or careers working for and on behalf of the Bronx LGBTQ communities.

For 200 folks from all walks of life to come out in support of the very first LGBTQ Pride dinner in The Bronx—ever—was quite a coup and, perhaps, one of the highlights of my work. That the evening is still being talked about half a year later, is a testament to its great success.

I am so very, very grateful for the numerous opportunities I have had to have worked with some amazingly wonderful and beautiful people—many of whom I now consider close and dear friends. Forging these friendships has made all of the hardships and obstacles I encountered in this difficult work more than worth it! Their task has been—and continues to be—gargantuan, and they need all the support they can get. The Bronx LGBTQ community must step up and provide these leaders this essential support.

I wish the Center well in its future endeavors. My hope is that it will stay true to its mission and remain independent—especially from political influence, as all 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations should.

For those who have asked me how I feel about what took place, here is my response:


I appreciate your concern but this was my decision, which I announced before nominations for the election or re-election of board members was called. The sentiment expressed in the graphic at the beginning of this post best expresses my decision. I know I can count on all of you to continue supporting me in my future endeavors, and I am ever so grateful for your love and support!