Beaupedia

Human Under Construction

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The System Is Broken, But How Do We Fix It?

So, it’s been a while since I’ve posted here but something happened tonight that is just the kind of thing that gets me to blog.  I recently met a guy named Alex and tonight when we were talking I found out his story.  He’s 27, has lived in Colorado for 3 years and is from Peru.  He’s gay and is out here but is not at a point where he feels he can tell his family or anyone back home.  He’s living here illegally; he overstayed a work visa.

I used to be a right-wing crazy who would go nuts over this kind of stuff, then I became a very conflicted and confused “moderate” who didn’t know quite what to do about these things but still strongly felt “they” should all go back and do it legally.  Now I’m a bleeding heart liberal who wants us to throw open our arms and our borders and actually live by “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” 

Why does Alex want to live in America so badly?  He wants to fall in love and be able to live openly and without fear in a same sex relationship.  As we spoke tonight he sadly told me about a close friend of his that was arrested for his immigration status almost 3 months ago.  His friend is from Morocco and is desperate to stay here because he can be jailed for his sexuality if he is sent back home.  He applied for amnesty based on his sexual orientation and was denied.  He appealed and was in the middle of the detailed and exhaustive process when he was was picked up and taken to jail for his illegal status.  He was shipped to a jail near Colorado Springs and remains there almost three months later.

I know we must have immigration laws; I understand that reality, but this is not the answer.  This man is in jail and will likely be sent back to a very unfriendly country where he may be imprisoned for who he is and we don’t consider that important enough for him to stay.

This system is broken, but how do we fix it?

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A Very Sad Anniversary

On this day one year ago 15 year old Lawrence “Larry” King was shot and killed as he sat in his 8th grade classroom.  He was murdered for having the courage Lawrence Kingto  openly be who he had known he was for years.  Larry came out when he was just 10 years old.  It took me until I was 20 years old and living 1,200 miles from my family before I would take that step.  Larry had courage beyond my understanding and despite the awful, turbulent home life he was experiencing he had the conviction to be himself.

 

Larry’s 16th Birthday would have been 1 month ago and my heart is broken that he wasn’t here for it.  Any death at that age is nearly impossible for me to understand, but for someone like Larry to have lived and survived through a very rough childhood to only then to have his life cut short simply for being something other than heterosexual, is almost too much to take.

Lawrence KingI have read accounts of Larry’s last few weeks and from what I gather Lawrence had started to self-identify as female, going by the name Letitia King.  Whether Larry was a gay boy or Letitia, self-identifying as female makes no difference.  Whether Larry or Letitia, this young life should be remembered an honored for the courage that was shown by just being true to what was inside.

So Larry…Letitia, I honor and remember you today.  Your death broke many hearts, but through that pain many more hearts were changed from fear and anger to reconciliation and love.  Rest in peace.

 

Lawrence “Larry” “Letitia” King
January 13, 1993 – February 12, 2008

Rest In Peace

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Please Don’t Divorce My Friends


http://www.couragecampaign.org/divorce

Ken Starr, who led the campaign to impeach President Bill Clinton, filed a legal brief last month — on behalf of the “Yes on 8” campaign — that would forcibly divorce 18,000 same-sex couples that were married in California last year before the passage of Prop 8.

Watch “Fidelity” and sign our letter to the state Supreme Court. Tell the Supreme Court to invalidate Prop 8, reject Ken Starr’s case, and let loving, committed couples marry. DEADLINE: Valentine’s Day.

76,283 people have signed the letter (as of Sunday, February 8). Will you add your name now?:

http://www.couragecampaign.org/divorce

“Fidelity” used with permission from Regina Spektor and EMI Records.

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Protesting H8, Denver Style

This past Saturday, November 15th, people from across the nation nation came together at over 300 rallies to protest Proposition 8 in California, Florida’s Amendment 2, a similar ballot initiative in Arizona and the anti adoption amendment in Arkansas.

I was one of the Marshals for the event and it was an amazing time.  The Marshals arrived about an hour and a half before the rally and people started showing up not long after we did.  There were over 1,500 in attendance at the rally and about 1,200 of them marched with us down 16th street mall.

As a Marshal my responsibilities were primarily crowd control.  As the crowd grew at the rally, we ran out of space and people were starting to move into the street in front of the Denver City & County Building.  The street was still open to traffic, so we had to do out part to avoid accidents.

Once we started marching, we kept the group as together as we could.  The line was too long to be seen in its entirety, much to my surprise and excitement.  The Marshals would leapfrog and hold the traffic at the different intersections.  Understandably, there were a few pissed off commuters, but we had a permit to be there and I personally find my rights being denied to me a bit more inconvenient then being stuck at an intersection for a few minutes.

As Marshals, we also kept the crowd chanting.  I would walk up and down as much of the march as I could and lead them in chants.  I started losing my voice about halfway through and recruit fellow marchers to help me out:

“What do we want?”  “Equal rights!” “When do we want them?”  “Now!”

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“Gay, straight, black, white – marriage is a civil right!”

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“Love, Not Hate! Love, Not Hate! Love, Not Hate!

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About three fourths of the way through the march, people were getting tired and my voice was all but gone, but we pushed forward and I reminded the marchers that as tired as we were, the opposition was far from tired of denying us our rights.

Most encouraging to me were the straight couples with their children who came out to support us.  They were scattered all over our rally and just as passionate about equality as the gay community.  I was also encouraged by the employees and customers of the different stores along 16th Street Mall that came out on to the sidewalk to cheer us on, some even joining us in our march.

We finally made it back to Civic Center Park, but the group did not disperse as I had expected.  People picked up and led their own chants, others just smiled with tear filled eyes amazed at the spectacle they were witnessing.  I finally climbed to the top of the nearby stairs and thanked everyone for coming, implored them not to let their passion and their work end here, to contact their elected officials and hold them accountable, vote in the future and stay involved in the movement.  A cheer went up, a group of High School students resumed their cheers, and we Marshals were surrounded by grateful marchers who hugged and thanked us for our work.

It was an inspirational experience that I don’t anticipate matching anytime soon.  After 4 months on the Obama campaign I was apprehensive and very slow to sign up to work this event, but I am thrilled that I ultimately did.

Equality will come, that much I know.

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