Welcome to the train station! A starting place? A waypoint? Perhaps a new direction.
The train station is a place to inform, question, challenge and begin to move. Each edition may have information, an interview or personal story, a challenge or exercise, and listings of MKP and local events that serve to develop and infuse intercultural awareness and skills in our community.
I have often heard comments to the effect of, "More letters? When will this end? How PC do we need to be??" As a straight man, here's what I learned...
It took the gay (and extending) community decades of cultural shift, dialogue and exchange to arrive at this umbrella term.
The move to normalize the LGBTQIA acronym began really began in the 1940's and 50's when the term "gay" started to be used as slang for men and women who were attracted to members of the same sex. Women also began to use the term "lesbian" more commonly in the 1970's to differentiate themselves. In the 1980's and 1990's other gender and sexual identities became publicly acknowledged and entered the discourse. The new millennium brought the first legal same-sex marriage and an expansion into non-binary consideration of gender and sexuality.
Still, homophobic fear-based discrimination, oppression and hate-crimes continue. Internalized oppression drives shame and hiding.
By recognizing, speaking and celebrating who we are, we begin to acknowledge each other's personal and cultural history, create a safer space for genuine curiosity and start the journey to deeper connection. As your Multicultural Co-chair, it is a privilege and responsibility for me to do this work.
We mention Harvey Milk three times during the NWTA in sharing Context with the initiates. We refer to him as a man with "a vision beyond himself." How much do you know about this ordinary man who stepped into his fear, pursued his vision and made a profound difference in our world?
The Mayor of Castro Street is the story of the man whose personal life, public career, and tragic assassination mirrored the dramatic and unprecedented emergence of the gay community in America.
Learn more by reading Randy Shilts' 1982 book. Available on Amazon.
I learned early in life that being different was both a curse and a blessing. Even in elementary school, I felt like an alien, a queer from a far off planet. This feeling lived with me throughout my youth and can still touch me today.
I am grateful for the lessons my mama taught me, especially about sharing and being compassionate and caring for others. Even when they did not extend the same to me. I learned in a little white church founded in 1848 to turn the other cheek and to forgive and to forgive again. At times that has been incredibly difficult, especially when I have been on the receiving end of hate speech and threats. And, I believe setting boundaries, leading by example, and expressing love and compassion can be done fiercely as well as softly.
When I was an early teenager, I knew I'd never get married or father children. I knew I was different. And I experienced the forces of darkness, judgment and hate that raised their ugly heads to demonize those of us that are different. And still do.
My NWTA in the spring of 2003 launched me on a trajectory, a ship of sorts, within MKP which I continue to navigate. I am thankful that MKP strives to create a culture that welcomes and supports men of all backgrounds and groups. I am surprised and amazed by the strides our nation has taken toward equality for gay people like me. The wheels of change and growth turn slowly, but they do turn. I am thankful that MKP is commited to driving that change.
I have learned that it is incumbent upon me to "come out" each and every weekend that I staff. I must lead by example; to show others that they are welcome and supported in our circles. It is not enough for me to say to my brothers "All of you is welcome here." I choose to put my words into action, and stand up again and again, not only for GBTQ men on the weekend, but for all minorities in my community, state, and nation.
Each day is an opportunity for me to lead by example. I choose to live my life in freedom and with joy. I truly believe that when I live my mission, I am creating a better world, a safe world for you and me.
I encourage you to step out and step up and lead by example. Together, we do change the world one man at a time.
With love and gratitude,
Fierce Dark Dragon
May, 2003 Camp Betsy Jeff - Penn , Reidsville, NC
"I create a safe world by trusting myself and sharing from my heart."
Learn more... The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle- Dive into Lillian Faderman's fascinating telling of the struggle for gay and lesbian rights, with incredible personal interviews and stories of the heart-breaking defeats and history-making victories in the LGBT civil rights movement.
Rainbow Warrior Gathering 2018 - Bedford, IN - 8/9 - 8/12. A great opportunity for initiated GBTQ men to gather in Lover Energy--tightening the bonds of GBTQ community within MKP. There will be an opportunity to do light carpet work, cock talk, get a massage if you so choose, attend one or more of several workshops, enjoy an afternoon by the pool, sing/act/recite/dance in the no-talent show, let yourself go on the dance floor, and care for yourself. Registration coming soon.
GBTQ Gateway NWTA - New Hope, PA - 9/27 - 9/30. This is a great learning opportunity for both GBTQ men and those wanting to learn more about being an ally. Apply to staff here.