Thursday, February 26, 2015

A is for Alien

I wish I was writing about ET but I'm not.

I recently attended the Creating Change conference and sat in several sessions about federal detention centers that are packed with people who are undocumented. I was learning about the how transgender folks are treated, but learned so much.

I left each session horrified. And angry.

Regardless of how you feel about immigration, how we treat human beings in the federal detention centers is abhorrent.

First, when one is brought in they are given a nine-digit number. The number begins with an A, which is for Alien.


Alien 987654321 has a visitor.

Alien 123456789 is not breathing.

I also learned that on any given day there are 75 transgender folks in a federal detention center. Their gender identity is not honored and they are put with what to them are members of the opposite sex. Imagine a trans woman being put with men.

Yes, violence happens. And so does death.

I guess now is a good time to remind you that we are talking about human beings here. Just a few weeks before this conference I was telling readers about a Saudi blogger in jail and being beaten. Now I am asking you to consider what is happening right here.

I still have so much to learn.

I'll share what I learn with you. I hope you find this as interesting as I do and I hope it makes you as angry as it has made me. Then we can make change and be a voice for these voiceless brothers and sisters.

Thank you for reading.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Speaking out

I have used my blog many times to urge people to vote and to become politically active.

So much is going on in our world, in our communities. So many battles going on to support causes we believe in or to fight against issues we believe are wrong.

I believe we have a better chance of being listened to when we get to know those who represent us. Whether it's our local city council member or school board member or those who represent us at our state capitol, we should get to know them.

It starts with a simple email.

"I live in your district and would like you to know that I think ______ ."

Or "I live in your district and would like you to vote yes on this bill."

You get the idea. I send notes to our state rep and state senator when our annual session begins in January. And I keep in touch with them throughout the session.

We can be a much stronger voice for the voiceless when those in political power know who we are.

Now it doesn't always help. Some of you live in areas where your representation is totally against most of what you believe in. I still say to connect with them and let them know how you feel.

Speak out to those in power.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, February 16, 2015

The killing of trans women of color

Note: I woke up this morning to the news that yet another trans woman has been murdered, this time in Ohio.

Last week I was one of about 4,000 LGBTQ activists gathered in Denver for the annual Creating Change conference.

I love this conference. This year I presented a session on fundraising and went hoping to meet activists outside of my circle who I could learn from.

Boy did I. I spent most of time in sessions learning about trans women of color in federal detention centers because they are undocumented as well as learning about the epidemic of violence against trans women in this country, focusing on violence against trans women of color.

I met many trans women and I listened to their stories. I spent a lot of time chatting with a group of trans Latina women and by the end of the conference had made a promise that I would help them and support them in any way I could. I promised to do all I could to make the world safer for them.

First things first. Taking a look at my own communities and making sure trans women are safe in the gay, vegan, animal rights, human rights, fitness and homeless communities.

Part of that is educating folks. I found this article and want to share it with all of you. It is a great account of what is happening in  our country and how dangerous it can be for trans women of color. Please read it. I would be grateful if you shared it:

Five transgender women murdered in past five weeks

One of the groups I have committed to supporting, and have already donated to is the Trans Latina Coalition. Here is a link to their website if you would like to learn more and/or donate:

Trans Latina Coalition

Thank you for reading and for the taking the time to learn about this tragic issue.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

What's in our fridge!

One of the many things I love about this blog is that every week I get to meet people who have decided to go vegan. It's wonderful being in touch with them and being able to support them and be a resource for them.

One of things that I have realized that seems to be common with people going vegan is that they are not used to buying a lot of vegetables. When I tell them what we typically buy they tend to be a little surprised.

So I decided to write this post and let you know what we typically have in our fridge. You will notice some items that tend to be considered healthy. I definitely do not consider myself an expert in nutrition but I do have links to nutrition experts on the main page.

Here we go:

Rice milk
Orange juice
Swiss Chard
Red peppers
Tofurky slices
Daiya shredded cheese
Vtopian cheese
Some vegan empanadas from Maria Empanada
Earth balance spread and sticks
Treeline cheese

We also have a lot of the compliments, too many to list.

I hope this is helpful to those of you who are new to being vegan, or even those who are looking for new food ideas. We really try to eat more fruits and veggies and less processed foods. We don't always succeed, but I definitely think we are on the right track.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Make someone's day today!

I am celebrating my 49th birthday today!

I am honestly filled with an intense amount of love and gratitude.

I am thinking of so many who played a huge part in helping me become the man I am who are no longer here physically.

I am thinking of all of those who rock my life who are here. Those who love me, teach me, hold me dear, and support me.

I am thinking of the world I live in and the commitment I make daily to make it a safer, more loving place for all living beings.

Will you help me celebrate my 49th birthday today by making someone's day?

It doesn't matter how. And I don't need to leave a list of suggestions. You know what you can do. And I'm sure by the time you read this post you will have thought of several people whose day you could make.

Thank you!

And thanks for reading.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Start with one action.

I am currently attending Creating Change, an annual conference held by the National LGBT Task Force. Creating Change is the largest LGBTQ conference in the country, with 3,000+ activists coming from all over to collaborate, meet each other, learn from each other, love on each other and become stronger together.

It has been great seeing old friends and making new ones. The sessions here are incredible, and my head is filled with ideas of how to be a better activist. My head is also filled with blog post ideas.

Before I start writing about all of those ideas, I wanted to share something that I think is critical in creating change and being an activist.

Do something today.

Just one thing.

Take one action.

Don't get overwhelmed with everything that is going on in the world.

Take a deep breathe and act!

It could be as simple as posting an idea on Facebook.

As simple as donating to an organization that is rocking it for a cause you support.

Or making a call to a political person who represents you.

It could be volunteering, reaching out or reading up on an issue that concerns you.

Just one action.

I'd love to know what you did!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Vegan guide for Creating Change activists coming to Denver!

Creating Change is an annual conference of LGBTQ activists sponsored by The National Gay and lesbian Task Force. This year it is in Denver and brings 3,000+ activists from all over.

I am super excited to be going, and to be presenting a session on fundraising.

I wanted to offer a list of places to eat vegan near the host hotel for activists attending.

The host hotel is at the Sheraton, on the east side of downtown Denver.

Right in the hotel is the Yard House, which uses Gardein chicken for any of their dishes. Just make sure the rest of the dish is vegan!

Two blocks up 16th Street Mall, in the Denver Pavilions, is Native Foods. All vegan and one of our favorites. They serve lunch and dinner. By the way, I have a stack of $5.00 coupons if you'd like one. That takes care of half of most entrees and I'd be thrilled to give you one.

Right across from the Pavilions at 16th and Welton is Appaloosa Grill. They have an awesome tofu Philly with a bunch of other vegan options. Also a bar.

Within walking distance (a longer walk) are City, O' City (vegetarian) and WaterCourse Foods (all vegan). Part of the Denver food scene for over 15 year WaterCourse recently went all vegan. They also have a delivery service and you can get their food, and vegan milkshakes, brought right to your room (for a cost of course!).

Wanna try some creative and delicious vegan sushi, check out Blue Sushi Sake Grill. Love their sushi. Just hop on the 16th Street Mall shuttle and get off at Wazee. Blue is between Wazee and Wynkoop on the south side of 16th Street.

If you want an incredible dining experience and would like to check out our favorite restaurant in town, go to Linger. Probably an $8.00 cab ride but you can also take the 16th Street Mall Shuttle all the way west and then walk. It would be a great adventure through downtown Denver. Make sure you make a reservation. Not a vegan place, but amazing vegan food!

About 1 1/2 miles south on Broadway is Sweet Action ice cream. They always have two vegan flavors. And then around the corner from them is Nooch Vegan Market!


Native Foods

City O' City

WaterCourse Foods

Blue Sushi Sake Grill


Sweet Action Ice Cream

Nooch Vegan Market

Sunday, February 1, 2015

One step against animal cruelty

I recently had a conversation with someone who found our blog while looking for information on becoming vegan.

I was super stoked to welcome them. As I typically do, I mentioned that I try to keep a good list of links of informative websites that might be of help.

It can be overwhelming when coming to the conclusion that one no longer wants to support animal cruelty that is inherent in a meat/ animal by-product meal.

Rather than being overwhelmed, I like to let folks know that they can take it easy, give themselves a break in that they will not know all about veganism overnight, and just give up one item.

For instance, dairy. No milk or cheese. That automatically is a step against animal cruelty.

People tend to freak out over not eating cheese so if that is the case, then how about eggs as the first step. Or cow, or pig. Seriously, the non-plant based food plate is so chuck full of animal cruelty that taking just one item off the list will be a good step.

Of course some will jump in and go 100% plant-based right away. That's perfectly fine. I am writing this post to simply say that any step against animal cruelty in what you eat is a step in the right direction and that becoming vegan does not have to be crazy stressful.

This is a perfect place to remind you that I became vegan for the animals. I did not want to be part of the cruelty, and decided I would do all I can to do the least harm as possible to all living beings while I am on this earth.

When one puts that ahead of taste buds or convenience, the whole process becomes so much easier.

If considering veganism or are newly vegan, I invite you to check out some of the websites we have links to on the main blog page. We keep the list updated.

Thanks for reading!