Saturday, October 26, 2013

Drive women drive!

Today is the day.

With a lot of nervousness mixed in with fear and even joy, women across Saudi Arabia are going to do something that has always been illegal. Something that they have the dishonor of being the only country in the world where they are not allowed to do. Something that after years of trying to change, might just be closer than ever.

They are going to drive!

I have been thrilled listening to all of the reports about today and hearing the excitement in women's voices as they talk about driving today. I'm even more excited as I hear the voices of their husbands and fathers who are enthusiastically supporting them.

Women in Saudi Arabia have tried this before. It has never felt as possible as it feels right now. Perhaps soon, women in Saudi Arabia will be able to ditch their drivers and drive legally.

Makes me want to honk my horn. Several times.

Women rights around the world are hugely important to me. Each battle that is won brings us closer to a better life for women everywhere. It's difficult sometimes to realize how terrible of lives many women have throughout the world, and even more difficult to grasp what one can do to support them.

A couple of simple things we can do to support the women of Saudi Arabia:

Post this quote on Facebook:

“It is astonishing that in the 21st century the Saudi Arabian authorities continue to deny women the right to legally drive a car,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme.

On Twitter, use the hash tag #October26driving

I write often about being a voice for the voiceless. Let's do it!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, October 21, 2013


Although you television or radio is not filled political commercials, for many of our readers it is time to vote. Elections, especially local elections, are happening throughout the country. Even though issues may seem small, in most cases they aren't. A perfect opportunity for all of us to express our voice, or let a small group of people decide important issues.

In Virginia there is an intense governor's race. There seems to be a lot of distaste for both candidates. For us there is a clear choice as Cuccinelli is a proud bigot and would only bring more harm to equality and to women in a state I love so much.

There are wonderful people running for city council offices throughout the country. Check them out and let them know what you think.

Most importantly, and with very little fanfare, are the very important school board races. In Colorado this is a huge deal, since we have the infamous Douglas County School Board which has done a good job at wrecking public schools, creating an environment where too many good teachers and administrators are leaving and have placed personal politics over student education. This is a huge lesson in how important it is for us to pay attention to school board races.

We live in Jefferson County and there are three seats open. We'll be voting for Tonya Aultman-Bettridge, Jeff Lamontagne and Gordon "Spud" Van de Water.

We will also vote yes on Amendment 66 which is a tax increase bringing very much needed revenue to Colorado schools, especially those not usually looked at because the school districts are not wealthy. We don't have children but we totally get the deal that our public schools have got to rock and roll. We also do not buy the idea that teacher's unions are the problem. Our schools are hugely underfunded, and Amendment 66 would help with this.

I write a lot about being a voice, not only for the voiceless but for ourselves and our community. Please use your voice wherever you live and vote.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Marriage equality in New Jersey!

Two states were in the news this week with marriage equality.

As I wrote in a post last week, a federal judge in Michigan was going to consider Michigan's ban on gay marriage. As is common in many cases around equality, he punted, saying he would hear arguments in February. Seriously. February.

Yet on Friday of this week the New Jersey State Supreme Court did not punt and let a lower court judge's ruling that marriages could begin while the issue of marriage equality was in the courts. Marriages can begin this Monday!

Here at home in Colorado marriage for Mike and I is still not a reality, and most likely won't be for some time. Many people say to us, "I just don't get why it is not legal". We definitely feel the same way. Yet when we look around and still see those who support equality not expressing themselves at the voting booth while the religious extremists and bigots do, then it makes sense.

We have to be a voice for equality. We cannot let the religious extremists in this country have say over which Americans should have rights and which shouldn't. It's bad enough that they have so much power in Congress. We need to take their power away.

Whew, from Michigan to New Jersey to Congress all in a few paragraphs.

We are sending loads of love to our brothers and sisters in Jersey who very soon will have legal marriage!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The ugliness of hate

It was October of 1998 when I saw hate close to my community. It wasn't the first or last time, but was intense and horrifying. A couple of months after moving from Norfolk, VA to Denver, a young, gay college student named Matthew Shepard was beaten to death in Laramie, WY, a 2 1/2 hour drive from my cozy, safe apartment within a gay-friendly neighborhood in Denver.

I was shocked as the details of the beating of Matthew became public. Then a couple of days later he died in a hospital in Fort Collins.

To be fair, there is a new book about Matthew's murder that has just been published. I haven't read it. Apparently it's about Matthew's beating and murder not being about his sexuality.

From everything I had heard and read before I will find that difficult to believe. I'll let you know if I end up reading the book.

A year before I moved to Denver an African immigrant named Oumar Dia from Senegal had left the Hyatt (which is where I worked when arriving in Denver) and was waiting for a bus home. This was right across the street from the hotel. He was shot to death by a white supremacist who said to him "Are you ready to die for being a nigger?".

I had personally experienced hate and hate-inspired violence before. Oh, and hate speech. Fag, faggot, fucking faggot, fairy were words that had been yelled at to me in my past. Once I was out of the closet I was out. No more going back in regardless of how uncomfortable that made people feel.

One is not born with hate. One is taught hate. Whether it's hatred towards gay folk, women, people of color, immigrants... the list could go on and on.

I believe that hatred and hate-filled acts happen because someone did not say something. No one spoke up to say hey, your way of thinking is messed up. Someone laughed at a joke that wasn't funny. Someone used a disparaging word just to feel comfortable with others or to look "cool".

Hate is present in every community. You don't have to accept it or allow it.

Each of us has the power to stop it.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Restaurant review - JIll's at the St. Julien Hotel & Spa

Ever since enjoying my entire time at Jill's I have been so excited to share my experience there with you.

Please note that I dined at Jill's for their Friday vegan lunch buffet. I have not dined there for other meals or on other days, so I'm not sure what the vegan options are outside of the Friday lunch buffet. Having met the general manager and the executive chef I can only imagine that they would make sure you were well fed!

Walking into Jill's on a Friday for lunch is like being catapulted to a vegan paradise. Every food item I saw within the multiple buffet areas was vegan. Everything looked so delicious. I honestly couldn't believe it as I looked at the scrumptious desserts all lined up in a gorgeous display.

I started with the salads. Apparently items are different every Friday so please keep that in mind. The kale salad was delish, and I love kale. If you don't love kale like I do there were half a dozen other options for salad. There were also two soups, including the butternut squash soup which I devoured. It was more like dessert for me, incredible flavor with a hint of sweetness.

Although there was pizza on the buffet and stuffed shells, I decided to go for the "make your own pasta dish" bar. When the chef told me that Alfredo sauce was one of my options for the pasta, I knew I had made the right decision. Over a dozen choices of veggies for the pasta, you fill your bowl and then hand it to the chef. He then adds pasta (my choices were penne and linguine) and the sauce (aside from Alfredo there was also marinara) and into the skillet all of that goes. A minute later I was handed a steaming dish of vegan deliciousness.

And dessert! This photo says it all. Three different dessert choices. I tried two of them and was ecstatic. I also ordered a cup of coffee which passed my coffee snob test.

The service was perfect. Friendly, hospitable, helpful, kind.

My reviews are always 50/50 based on delish vegan food and friendly service. Jill's rocks it. I highly recommend you check this out if you are in Colorado. And when visiting Denver, Jill's is only 45 minutes away in Boulder.

I'd also like you to know that there was wait when I left. Although disappointing for some, I love when there is a wait at a non-vegan restaurant knowing that it is for vegan food. This being said, you might want to call ahead and make a reservation if you cannot arrive right at 11:30am.

Jill's is an amazing treat. Go! I'll see you there!

Jil's is inside the St. Julien Hotel & Spa at 900 Walnut Street in downtown Boulder. Their phone number is 720.406.7399.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Legal marriage in Michigan this week?

I grew up in Michigan.

I don't talk a lot about that. Since I left Michigan six days after graduating from high school I don't even mention it when I talk about where I am from. I usually mention Norfolk.

Most of my memories around growing up in Michigan are about my high school years, years which the word difficult would be an understatement in describing. High school for me felt more like a prison sentence, a long, tortuous prison sentence. Much of this was because I knew I was gay and also knew that I couldn't tell anyone. Holding secrets is no fun.

I can even remember back to junior high school and my first crushes. No, I had no interest in going to the dance with her. I wanted to go with him.

All of my family still lives in Michigan. My parents, brothers (including my brother who hasn't spoken to me since I came out in 1990) as well as a bunch of aunts, uncles and cousins. Thanks to Facebook, I am also in touch with the very few people I felt safe with during high school, and I actually love that.

So when I start hearing about this big marriage case being heard in Detroit on October 16th, I must admit that I get excited.

I honestly don't know much about the case. But when I read this, from the county where I lived and spent my high school years, I was ecstatic and almost had tears in my eyes:

"Midland County will be issuing marriage licenses as soon as the ruling comes down."

Holy cow.

Of course bigotry is everywhere and I have read about all of the groups writing notes against any type of ruling that would support marriage equality.

All of that aside, I feel like mariage equality could actually become a reality in Michigan.

And I am grinning from ear to ear.

Thanks for reading.
"Midland County will be issuing marriage license to same sex couples as soon as the ruling comes down. In addition the Michigan Department of Public Health is working on a marriage application and license that is to be ready by October 16th." - See more at:

"Midland County will be issuing marriage license to same sex couples as soon as the ruling comes down. In addition the Michigan Department of Public Health is working on a marriage application and license that is to be ready by October 16th." - See more at:

"Midland County will be issuing marriage license to same sex couples as soon as the ruling comes down. In addition the Michigan Department of Public Health is working on a marriage application and license that is to be ready by October 16th." - See more at:

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Soul mates - my sweet Moses

I don't think one has to have any type of belief to think of very special people or animals as a soul mate. I could be wrong, but even if you do not believe in a soul, I think you can still wrap your mind around what a soul mate is.

Most of the time when I hear the words soul mate it is in reference to a human, usually coming from a heterosexual woman in reference to her male partner. I seldom hear men talk about such things.

This post is about one of my soul mates, Moses, who happened to be a dog.

Moses passed away in July of 2007 at the age of 14. He had been part of my family since November of 1998 when I found him trudging along I-5 in San Clemente, California.

For me it was love at first sight.

Moses changed me. He was a dog that had been severely abused and neglected, yet the first night with me, with no shelter or vet open until the next day, he slept comfortably in my tent. When I would wake up to check on him I would hear this swooshing sound. Not sure of what it was, I soon realized that whenever I would speak to him he would wag his tail.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, this whole intense tail wagging thing would be come part of what people would think of when thinking of Moses. No matter who you were, no matter what Moses had been through and no matter what humans before us had done to him, he would wag his tail with huge effort upon seeing anyone.

Moses was part Coon hound, so combined with his amazing bark and his wagging tail, he was quite the sight.

Moses was pure love. He loved every being he came in contact with. He especially loved humans. He taught me so much about love, and forgiveness.

Sweet Moses! I still think of him all of the time, and every once in a while I look at the spot where his bed used to be, where I last saw him.

A true soul mate. A true love, filled with so many wonderful things.

Thank you for reading.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

A shut down government

After a month of writing for Vegan Mofo, I am super excited to be writing about other things now, like the government shutdown.

What does the government shutdown have to do with The Gay Vegans?


One of the issues I write about is asking people to get involved more politically. Get to know who represents you at your state capitol and find out who represents you in Washington, D.C. For those of us always trying to be a voice for the voiceless, I believe it's important to show up in politics.

Some disagree and that's cool.

So now we have another mess in DC. A lot of name calling and pointing fingers, it's like a drag show gone bad.

I believe that there are many in Congress who just don't give a shit about anyone. They want what they want and that is all they are interested in. And they have the power to shut down the government.

My entire life I have always been totally open to sitting down with people that I disagree with. It's not difficult. I can shut up long enough to listen to another's point of view and they can do the same. We will probably continue to disagree, yet have a good chance of agreeing to some things. In the end, I believe that we all have much more in common than not.

Those in Congress need to hear from us. Not just now; all of the time.

If you are an activist, a voice for the voiceless, an advocate for making the world a better place for all living beings I urge you to consider letting those who represent you at all levels know who you are and what you support and don't support.

We all deserve better than what we are getting. We can complain about what folks are not doing or we can take action.

If you need help finding out who represents you, check out this website:

Meanwhile, there are people who are suffering because of this shutdown. It's a good time for us to reach out to friends and family who might be bale to use some help, including a hug.

Thanks for reading!