Thursday, December 13, 2012

It's 12/13/12 and We're Still Here?

The excitement of 12/12/12 is over. Again, the end of the world has not come. We're still alive! The end of the world has come and gone countless of times and I'm starting to realize how bored people are. We want things to change. We want to feel a global shift. We want the economy to crash so we won't owe money anymore. We want to feel a huge planetary revelation because we are currently in a rut.

The big lesson I've learned from living through the start and end of a new millennium is that if I want things to change, its up to me to change them. I can't rely on the shift of planetary movements. There is no perfect astrological alignment that will beckon a time of change for me. If I want change, I need to take action now. After all,  the world can end any second.

Of course, this reminds me of a Robert Frost Poem:

You'll wait a long, long time for anything much
To happen in heaven beyond the floats of cloud
And the Northern Lights that run like tingling nerves.
The sun and moon get crossed, but they never touch,
Nor strike out fire from each other nor crash out loud.
The planets seem to interfere in their curves
But nothing ever happens, no harm is done.
We may as well go patiently on with our life,
And look elsewhere than to stars and moon and sun
For the shocks and changes we need to keep us sane.
It is true the longest drouth will end in rain,
The longest peace in China will end in strife.
Still it wouldn't reward the watcher to stay awake
In hopes of seeing the calm of heaven break
On his particular time and personal sight.
That calm seems certainly safe to last to-night.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

How I Can Tell My Real Friends From the False Ones

Lately, I’m learning who my friends really are. I guess I already knew who they were but these things 
become clearer during the hard times. Here are some awesome character traits of my real friends:

They listen: They don’t tell you that you are being negative and shut you down because they don’t want to be brought down by your problems. They simply listen with compassion, knowing that you would do the same for them. They actively care for what you need to say at the time.

They are objective: Most of the time, we need our friends when we have the hardest decisions to make in our lives. Should we end a relationship? Should we move out of town? Should we quit our jobs? While some people have forced their own opinions on me, wanting me to be like them, my friends have never pushed their own agenda on me. My false friends might tell me not to move because they want me around. They might tell me to end a relationship so they can have me more for themselves. My real friends help me weigh my options but they never inject their opinion unless they have heard me out and they are looking at the situation through my eyes.

They don’t judge: I’ve confessed things to my friends that I am not proud of. I have said this through pangs of guilt. My best friends answer back that I am human and that no one is perfect. This doesn’t excuse me of my sins but it is nice to know people who I can confide in.

They don’t encourage me down the wrong path: While my friends do not judge me, they don’t encourage me down the wrong path either. I have had friends who have tried to push me towards a path of indulgence or addiction because they thought it would be fun. Or, they were also living through their lower instincts and they wanted someone to join them there. My friends would never advise me to be less of myself. They objectively point out where I am going wrong.

There is a reason why I am calling this blog, “how to tell my real friends from the false ones” and not “how to tell your real friends form the false ones.” While I know that some bad ass friends will encourage you to help them rob the liquor store or indulge in something you want to stop doing, I’m learning that those kind of friends are no good for me at this point in my life.

I have often looked down on people who cut friends out of their life for bringing them down. I would stick to a loyal friend forever, but now I understand that if someone is always putting their selfish needs before your own, they were never a real friend to begin with.

I have also learned that you have to put yourself out there and be yourself to really know who your real friends are. I tend to have trust issues but as I open up, my real friends  have started revealing themselves showing their support.

I am truly grateful to those of you who have shared your ear and support for all of my silly faults and idiosyncrasies. Thank you. Thank you. You know who you are.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Society's Obsession with Violence and Psychopaths

I remember something that happened when I was about 7 or 8 years old.  We were at a party at a friend of the family’s house.  My brother and I were hanging out with a girl we just met, probably in her preteens or a teenager but she was large and robust and I thought she was quite cool.  Suddenly, two moms started arguing over their children.  One child was mean to the other one and they were shouting and screaming at each other about how horrible the other's child was.  Next thing I knew, a cat fight broke out.  I saw hair flying and skin scratching and a lust to destroy the other woman.  Someone tried to break up the fight unsuccessfully.  He got pulled in and each time someone tried to break the fight up, they got pulled in as well.  Next thing I know, a rumble forms.  My brother and I watched this like spectators enjoying a football game.  I even recall our new friend jumping in and beating the shit out of someone else.  It was quite a sight.  People sitting on top of other people, bashing their brains in, women getting their hair pulled, men throwing punches, kids, women, men, all using this opportunity as a way to test their fighting skills.  Finally, a large man broke up the fight, speaking loudly about how we are friends and adults and how a lot of them should be ashamed of themselves.  Just like that, the fight was over. 

My parents were inside the whole time.  They missed everything.  The party went on as usual and people talked about it.  We saw the girl we were hanging out with and remarked at how brutal she was in the fight.  She seemed pretty proud of herself. My father asked us if we joined in and we said no, we just watched and he said, “good.  Stay out of trouble.”

I remember imagining being in that mob and wondering if I would be a fighter or if I would get my ass kicked.  I was amazed at how many people joined in.  I lived in Sydney at the time.  Kids liked to play rough and it was fun.  Fighting was part of playing and rugby and bullrush were a huge part of the playground games.  Adults didn't regulate how rough kids played.  No one saw the fight as weird or shameful.  It started and ended.  No one tried to sue anyone else. 

We have in us the genes of hunters.  We are territorial and we start battles and wars over turf and country. Some of us have romantic notions of violence and it perpetuates our media, our movies, and our stories.  This is what I think of when I look back on that memory.  I recall that the adults were being just as violent and aggressive as the kids.

As writers, we make choices. Vampire writers have a plethora of themes to explore, seeing how the vampire is such a great symbol of the human dark side. Violence is praised in art and the media. Audiences love a great psychopath, except in real life when he is killing and raping our loved ones. It is society’s obsession with a good bad guy that has caught my attention lately. This theme is a highly explored subject in literature today. The scary part is that many teenagers are embracing this theme and I almost feel obliged to warn them not to fall into the romantic notion of a mysterious bad guy who’s really a vampire vegan deep down inside. He wants to eat you, but he won’t because he loves you. My experience with sociopaths has taught me otherwise.

In my vampire novella, people either love or hate my protagonist, Linda. I’ve seen her adored and bashed by reviewers. One lady even said that she couldn’t read on because she hated her so much. I suppose I wanted to portray evil as it really was. Just because someone appears sympathetic, it doesn’t mean that they won’t seduce you, then eat you in cold blood. I also see audience members fall in love with Linda and her lack of shame for being the killer she is.

I think there is a part of many of us who wish that we could act like a sociopath. We want to punch our boss in the mouth for acting condescending. Or we want to kill that guy who tried to steal our girlfriend, but we don’t. We know there are consequences. However, on TV people do it all the time. They follow through on the actions we wish we could do ourselves and that’s why violence is so entertaining. The other possibility is that we really believe that fighting and killing will solve all our problems and reading and watching stories that involve these things make life more worthwhile. If that's the truth, then we are pretty screwed. Maybe we write about violence because we simply see it everywhere. We want to make sense of it somehow. I have nothing against books that have sympathetic vampire characters. Truly, we all have a little bit of good and evil in us. We’ve all done something bad and we all deserve forgiveness. The human condition (and the vampire condition) is such a complex subject and can be explored for ages.

One thing I know for sure is, we are too obsessed with the notion of violence being the answer to anything. Violence usually leads to more violence and destruction. It's unhealthy, yet for some reason people thirst for it. I suppose that we are starting to realize that violence isn't something that will perpetuate our race. However, violence seems to be inherent in nature and in evolution. Recently, I took a vacation at the Sequoia redwood forest, home of the world's largest trees. These trees survive on destruction. Forest fires help them procreate and it destroys their competition. They're immunity and reliance on the destructive fires enable them to survive for hundreds of years. From the destruction of others, they find life. We eat life so we can survive. We kill plants and animals. We crush bugs and kill bacteria with our lotions and antibiotics. We are violent by nature. It seems to be an unavoidable phenomenon, whether or not we are aware of it. Now I'm rambling. My mind can go on and on regarding this subject but I think I'll stop here.

To read more about why people love vampires, check out this blog:

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

It's Not the World You're Mad At

There is a great line in the classic play, Cyrano De Bergerac. It is after Cyrano turns away a publisher. He starts to brag about how he would never bow down to anyone, just for the glory or a bribe. He says that he would rather be alone. His friend, Le Bret, asks him how he came to the idea that he must make enemies everywhere he goes. Cyrano answers, “By watching you make friends.” Cyrano is very eloquent and persuasive, but in the end, Le Bret seems to have one over on him when he says, “Tell this to the world—but not to me—to me, your friend, whisper softly that she loves you not.”

And there lies the rub… I was just thinking about how we take all the little things that bother us and project it onto the world. A lover rejects us. A publisher rejects us. We get a bad review. We don’t land the job. Our boss yells at us. Suddenly, the world sucks. People suck. You might go on the internet and start an argument with someone on their blog. Maybe you yell at someone who isn’t driving as fast as they should or who parked by your space all crooked. You take all your frustrations out on the customer service representative of photobucket. God does life suck! All it takes is for someone to ask you what is really bothering you and you realize that one little thing has turned into the whole universe turning against you.

I’ve come up with a new line that I use when a stranger snaps at me. I say, “I’m not the one you’re really mad at.” It does piss them off more, but you know it will at least make them realize that they are projecting.

Someone told me that, according to a business seminar they went to, it takes ten positive phrases of praise to make up for one negative one. We are so devastated by criticism. I also heard that successful people have an uncanny ability to ignore the negative stuff and only hear the positive stuff. Or at least, they don’t take it too personally.

I don’t know why I’m writing this. It’s just that… well… I guess I’d like to have a friend like Le Brett, someone who can tell when I’m just in a funk. Someone who will say, okay, what is really bothering you? So, really, if you hear me cursing the human race, know that I don’t really mean it. I’m just in a crappy mood.

I guess I’m pretty sensitive underneath this tough exterior. I’d cry on someone’s shoulder if I could but I wouldn’t know where to start.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Entitlement vs. Responsibility

So I've been really into TEDtalks lately.  I guess I like them because I can listen to them while I clean or cook and I know I will always get a quality talk.  With so much crap on the media today, it's nice to have a place to go to where I can get some quality talks from quality people at any time.  It is like getting free college lectures without the tuition or the stress of test taking.

So an African scholar did a speech about how to teach our leaders to lead.  He was talking about the atrocities he witnessed in his country due to unethical or cruel leaders.  He realized that there was a ruling class, an elite group of people and he went to the colleges and the universities where they studied and noticed that many are taught, "entitlement over responsibility."

Those two words really stuck with me, entitlement and responsibility.

I think about when the word entitlement is used the most.  Heck I've even used it when I say "everyone is entitled to their own opinion."  I usually say it when two people disagree and usually, we say that there is no right or wrong but everyone has their own perception.  Is this true?  I asked myself this and I had to admit that it isn't true.  It is just our way of dealing with difficult people.  Often these people have limited or prejudice opinions and I'm often hurt when others have opinions about hurting another and think it is okay.  Those with the most hurtful opinions are the most aggressive to those who oppose them.  They are usually the ones who say they are entitled to their opinions the most.

Is someone who believes that it is his right to neglect his children or pets entitled to his opinion?  Maybe.  Is someone who believes that someone of another race, creed, gender or religion is inferior or less human than him entitled to his own opinion?  Is someone who believes in hate crimes entitled?  I have heard people who believe in these things say they are entitled.  I've heard many more say that they are entitled to litter, to scour the environment and to destroy the habitat of other animals.

Yes we have rights but we don't have the right to hurt another.  But, you can't not hurt anyone. People are sensitive.  The slightest word can hurt one type of person or another.  I am guilty of this.  Everyone is but what if you replace the word ENTITLED with RESPONSIBLE.

I am responsible for my human rights.  I am responsible for my opinion.
We are responsible for our happiness.  Wow, it makes a huge difference.  A crooked law official might say that he is entitled to beat the citizens because he was given the power to do so but if he started saying he is responsible for beating the citizens, it takes on a whole new meaning.

Saying that you are responsible rather than entitled makes you ask questions.  Are my thoughts and opinions the best ones for me and for society?  Am I using my power wisely?  You know how they say, "With great power comes great responsibility."  

Thinking responsibly puts more power into your hands.  It is what separates the real leaders from the bullies and the compassionate from the selfish.  It makes us stop asking why me?  Why isn't the world working the way it should?  It makes us start asking, what can I do to fix my situation?  What can I do to help society function in a way that better suits me?
You are entitled to be responsible.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Love? What's that?

So I'm having a hard time sleeping.  I always have a hard time sleeping when I'm hungry so I am having corn nuts as I write this.  I  might just have too much on my mind.  My brain is fried.  I played some spider solitaire.  Brain still fried so I went on youtube to see if anything on there would sooth me.  I typed the word "meaning" in the search engine and a song popped up, something about love being the meaning and answer to everything.

When I was young, I didn't believe in love.  I thought that something this perfect and wonderful couldn't possibly exist.  Thing is, I didn't know what love was.  I find that most people don't.  Truth is, if you have love in your heart that really is all you need.  People will fight and fret and seek a lot of power to fill that empty hole where there is no love.  They will blame and wave their self-righteous hands at anyone who does them wrong and wonder why they don't have anyone to love or why no one loves them.  People look and search, thinking love can only be in one place forever and ever.  Love must stand still for them. They must possess it.

Truth is, love is compassion.  Love is everywhere.  It isn't just in one person.  It's in everybody.  I don't mean that we should all sleep with each other.  I'm saying, if you do sleep with someone, it is because you share affection and not possession.  If they walk away from you the next day and never come back, you wish the best for them because you love them.  You do not wish them harm or vengeance.  That is true love, down to the deepest level and anything else is superficial.  To give love is to experience peace.  To hoard love is to experience suffering.  All you see is yourself, your ego, your emptiness.  Anger takes over and we start to identify with our anger.  Our anger makes us who we are.  It makes us special.  We are against the world and those who are not like us.   To feel love is to not expect others to feel it.  We feel it and we let them be who they are.  We don't tell people how to love.  We either do or don't.  Love accepts.  It doesn't expect.  

Once we learn to love, everything falls into place. You can love anything, your parents, your friends, your dog, your kids, the sun, the moon, the trees, the ocean. You can love them, care for them, share with them and experience the bliss of living in a world of harmony. Or you can try to control them or search the world for someone to control and call that love. Worst yet, you can compete with them or compete for someone's affection and assume that love is a game or a toss of a dice; something that only lucky people can have.

That's it. Hope you don't mind my late night babbling.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

On Fame, Solitude, and Writing

When asked about their ideal future, over sixty percent of teenagers wanted to be famousThis seems to be a recent phenomenon. Perhaps it is the result of reality TV and celebrities like Paris Hilton, who isn’t known for any particular talent. Most of the teenagers polled had no idea how to be famous or had no talent in particular. They just wanted fame.

Upon hearing this, I look back on my own childhood. I remember wanting to be a writer. I think the last thing I wanted was fame. I loved stories and words more than anything. I thought that being paid to write would be the coolest thing in the world. I foresaw a peaceful life where I sit in my own backyard with only my typewriter as my companion. I wanted success so I could be away from people and indulge in my own fantasy world. Unfortunately, fame is a horrible side effect of success. If people don’t like me, I won’t sell books. If I don’t sell books, I won’t get paid for doing what I like.

Most writers prefer solitude over accolades and adoring fans. These days, we are expected to be highly involved in marketing strategies and promotional activities. Someone once told me that it was the price of fame. I had to remind him that fame was never my ultimate goal.

Yet, everyone assumes it is. They tell me that with my body, I can draw slews of fans if I wore something proactive and posed for the camera. But will that sell books? Maybe it will get me more hits on twitter but will that make me feel like I’ve achieved my dream? Today, I sit here, realizing that the original dream was to be left alone with my craft. If I could get paid for writing, I could escape all the other crap. It was a na├»ve, childhood fantasy, totally void of reality. After all, why would I want to be the center of attention? Why would I want my private life on display for everyone to judge? Why would I want to hear the constant snickering of people who hate me for being loved? There is something very scary about fame. Could it be that the fear of popularity can get in the way of success? After all, once you have a devoted following, you can lose them at the turn of a coin.

I don’t know what to say to kids who want to be famous. It’s amazing that anyone would want that kind of craziness over a life of peace and love. What happened to the idea of being good at something and getting paid for it? Perhaps kids don’t get enough attention these days. They are brushed aside as we check our iphones. I don’t know. If I were to say anything to youngsters, I think it would be that I hope their path has a heart in it. I hope they aren’t selling their souls to earn the unreliable love of strangers. I know this isn’t much of a blog for youngsters. I mostly just blog about what pops up in my head because that’s what I like to do. I know I don’t do it for the fame. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

I Can See The Future

I can see the future. I time travel in my sleep.

I guess this could be considered a gothic blog because it deals with mortality. It could also be considered a science fiction blog because it deals with the future. It could also be considered a spiritual blog because it deals with the truth.

The truth is, we are all going to die, and not the way we think we will. People like to think that we are all going to kick the bucket in December 2012. Really, we’re all in denial. The truth is much sadder than that, so sad that we refuse to deal with it. We want it to all end at once because that would save us the heartache.

The truth is we are all going to die at different times. The ones who remain alive will have to deal with the loss of those who die. Then they will die as more are born. That is the truth. What more is there to say about the future?

The truth is, we all know this deep down inside. It lies in the subconscious of every relationship. We all deal with this inevitability in different ways. Some of us push everyone away, opting to die alone over having to watch someone die. Some of us put our faith in the end of the world so we can all die together. Some of us try not to love each other as much because we fear it will hurt us more if we lose them. But deep down inside we know that you can't love someone just a little bit. You have to love them completely. There is no other way. So when you obsess over the petty little things, remember this truth.

To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go. 

- Mary Oliver

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Censorship Thwarted and the Death of Paper

 Borders is closed. Now Encyclopedia Britannica is out of business. The newspapers are also going out of business. Times are changing. I can’t say it’s all bad. The ebook evolution has done wonders for independent authors and you can get news and information at the drop of a hat. I will miss paper. It’s easier on my eyes. I’m glad we’re saving trees but I wonder how much energy we use with all that electricity. I guess I can google that.  ;)

In other news, Papal reversed its censorship rule thanks to many independent bloggers and authors who spoke out against it. This victory puts me in a much better mood. There are laws that make us sick, and facebook is full of links to articles about stupid laws that the government tries to pass. It feels good to know that we do have a say on these things and that we can fight a suppressive law. They say the pen is mightier than the sword. Writers have been waging battles since the dawn of time and if we are censored, we will yell until it kills us. We have written our words on jail cell walls and have snuck books to other countries to be published. Censorship can’t stop us so there is no point in trying. We help societies evolve by introducing new ideas and new ways of thinking.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Why Same Sex Marriage is a Civil Right

The other night I was watching a movie about a man and woman living in the nineteen sixties. The man was black and the woman was white. Instead of sitting in the “negro” section of the movie theatre, they decided to sit together as they were falling in love. As a result of making this choice, the black man was hauled away, arrested and beaten so he would learn a lesson about where his place should be. We look back at the oppression colored people faced in the past and shake our heads in dismay. However, when a loving gay couple wants to get married, people try to pass a law that takes away their freedom to pursue such happiness. Years after the success of the civil rights movement, an unjust law (proposition 8) that takes away a homosexual’s right to marry is voted in. This law has been the focus of many lawsuits and is still going through an exhausting court system. How did this happen?

Proposition 8 YES adds exactly 14 words to the California State Constitution:

"Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."

For the sake of clarity, I will now refer to all who oppose prop 8 as supporters of gay marriage and all who support prop 8 as oppenents of gay marriage.

I have no doubt that hatred for gays is alive in this country. I have personally witnessed prejudice against many groups including; racial minorities, women, and gays, many times in my life. This is why the law needs to be just regardless of the fact that many people are hateful to those who are different. Gays and other minorities have been victims of: bullying, murders, and lynching, which is why the law needs to be against such injustices. As my friend, Alfred Surenyan said to me, “it isn’t about tolerance. We should not tolerate hate and violence. It is about embracing other cultures and lifestyles and appreciating diversity.”

I’ve heard the main political factions that support proposition 8 say that they let their gay neighbors come over for barbeques. However, they don’t want their children seeing them married. I do not understand what the difference is. If they let their gay friends come over for barbeques, why do they not support their friend’s right to get married? What difference does it make to them if their gay friends are married or not, and how will this negatively affect their children? There are a lot of holes in this argument mainly because it isn’t based on any logic. It is based on a hidden prejudice against gays. This is like saying that you are against interracial marriage because you don’t want your kids seeing black and white couples together. However, some of your best friends are black. Being around a married gay people hurts no one, just as being around interracial couples hurts no one. If someone has a problem with who one chooses to marry, that is their problem. It should not be an excuse to pass an oppressive law. I would rather a person marry the one they love and enjoy the sanctity of living in an honest relationship, than watch a person marry someone they don’t love just to appease a law or a prejudiced society. Meanwhile, we see celebrities marry and divorce with a drop of a hat. We see people marry for money or politics yet we deny two gay people, who are in love, the sanctity of marriage.

Another argument I hear against gay marriage is that it interferes in people’s religious practices and beliefs. This is a fallacious argument because it isolates one particular belief and ignores the beliefs of others. This argument is oppressive to many religious groups and goes against our freedom of religion. I know many Christians who believe that Christ would gladly support gay rights if he were alive today. The other day, I was speaking to my friend, Alfred, about this topic. He is a Priest of the Wiccan religion. He marries people and also specializes in marrying gay couples. Now that one religion has been satisfied by not allowing gays to marry, his religion and holy practice has been affected because his right to marry gays has now been taken away. Religions had rights before this law was passed. They could marry whoever they wanted. Now they don’t have a choice. This is like saying that it is alright for one religion to pray in public but not for another. Our laws should be as fair as possible and they can only be fair if everyone has equal freedoms; freedom to pray and freedom to marry who they want to marry. If everyone has the right to do what they love and what they believe in, all will be fair. There is a difference between allowing people to believe in what they want, and changing a law that takes away a person’s right to marry who they want.

Here is a list of the many religious groups that SUPPORT gay marriage via wikipedia:

All six Episcopal diocesan bishops in California jointly issued a statement opposing Proposition 8 on September 10, 2008.[89] Southern California's largest collection of rabbis, the Board of Rabbis of Southern California, voted to oppose Proposition 8.[90] Other Jewish groups who opposed Proposition 8 include Jewish Mosaic,[91] the American Jewish Committee, Progressive Jewish Alliance, National Council of Jewish Women, and the Anti-Defamation League.[62] Los Angeles Jews were more opposed to Prop 8 than any other religious group or ethnic group in the city. Jewish Angelenos voted 78% against the measure while only 8% supported the measure; the remainder declined to respond.[92] The legislative ministry of the Unitarian Universalists opposed Proposition 8, and organized phone banks toward defeating the measure.[93] They see opposition to the proposition as a civil rights and social justice issue and their actions against it as a continuation of their previous works in civil rights.
In addition, the California Council of Churches issued a statement urging the "immediate removal of Proposition 8" – saying that it infringes on the freedom of religion for churches who wish to bless same-sex unions.[94]

As for marriage always being between a man and a woman, this link shows that marriage between two men was once sanctioned by the Catholic Church:

The religious groups who OPPOSE gay marriage say that gays will sue them if they refuse to marry them. This is a ridiculous argument. In the past, gays could go to any of the above churches and be blessed in a same sex marriage. Now they can’t go anywhere to be legally married. A slew of lawsuits came out when prop 8 was passed because it discriminated against gays. If you want gays to leave you alone, grant them their rights. If you want gays to constantly protest and demand their rights, continue to oppress them. If you stay out of their business and let them marry whoever they like, they will stay out of yours.

The largest argument I have heard against gay marriage is that children would be taught in schools that gay marriage is the norm. This argument is not based on logic but a fear of change. Some people want to go back to a time when anything different was considered an abomination. Let’s go back to the time when gays were thought of as diseased and blacks and women were considered second class citizens. The stigma against gays has already changed due to many scientific studies. There is now a large body of evidence that indicates that being gay, lesbian or bisexual is compatible with normal mental health and social adjustment.

The American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the National Association of Social Workers state:

In 1952, when the American Psychiatric Association published its first Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, homosexuality was included as a disorder. Almost immediately, however, that classification began to be subjected to critical scrutiny in research funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. That study and subsequent research consistently failed to produce any empirical or scientific basis for regarding homosexuality as a disorder or abnormality, rather than a normal and healthy sexual orientation. As results from such research accumulated, professionals in medicine, mental health, and the behavioral and social sciences reached the conclusion that it was inaccurate to classify homosexuality as a mental disorder and that the DSM classification reflected untested assumptions based on once-prevalent social norms and clinical impressions from unrepresentative samples comprising patients seeking therapy and individuals whose conduct brought them into the criminal justice system.

In recognition of the scientific evidence,[67] the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from the DSM in 1973, stating that "homosexuality per se implies no impairment in judgment, stability, reliability, or general social or vocational capabilities." After thoroughly reviewing the scientific data, the American Psychological Association adopted the same position in 1975, and urged all mental health professionals "to take the lead in removing the stigma of mental illness that has long been associated with homosexual orientations." The National Association of Social Workers has adopted a similar policy.
Thus, mental health professionals and researchers have long recognized that being homosexual poses no inherent obstacle to leading a happy, healthy, and productive life, and that the vast majority of gay and lesbian people function well in the full array of social institutions and interpersonal relationships.[2]

As you can see from the evidence above, homosexuals will not affect your child’s schooling. The stigma against gays has been removed by most public schools in order to adhere to the latest scientific evidence with or without proposition 8. Videos (such as this one: that teach children that homosexuals will turn them gay have been removed from the school system decades ago.

What is wrong with teaching children that there is nothing wrong with homosexuals? I have heard way too many cases of gays being lynched and killed. These cases are almost identical to the ones that colored people faced before the civil rights revolution. When we point out other people as being different, it will lead to fear, hatred and violence. I choose peace and understanding. During the civil rights movement, proponents of segregation said if blacks were given the right to intermingle with whites, our country would grow more violent because the two sides cannot stand one each other. Yet, fifty years later, we see blacks and whites going to school together, working together, and even marrying each other. Having just laws has made whites and blacks friends and has encouraged peace within our society. In my own experience, I have seen homophobic people become accepting towards gays simply by becoming friends with them. Sometimes, being around people who we think are different is all it takes to realize that there was never any reason to hate or fear them. When my son tells me that his school mates make remarks against gays, I tell him that there is nothing wrong with being gay. This open minded approach has taught him to respect other people’s differences and I am raising one child who is less likely to bully or lynch an innocent gay person due to his ignorant upbringing.

America is the land of equality. Our Bill of Rights defends our right to pursue happiness regardless of who we are. If we are to live in a peaceful society, we need to uphold this bill and put it into practice. What is next for gay rights? We are still fighting proposition 8 in our courts. I am a huge proponent for civil disobedience. I have seen it successfully implemented by Ghandi, who freed India from English rule and by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who ended the segregation of blacks. Civil disobedience is the act of disobeying an unjust law in order to make a point. I think gays should continue to apply for marriage licenses and to never take no for an answer.  Also, we need to get the word out and let the public know that America is not America if we continue to oppress gays which is why I am making this offer:

I will give a free paper back of my book, “Fireflies” by Lacey Reah to the best argument a person can write supporting gay marriage. Simply write your comment on my blog below. I welcome personal anecdotes. I would love to hear from you.

One who breaks an unjust law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.
Martin Luther King, Jr.