The next few minutes are a mystery to me. I remember being pushed and knocked about, considerable snorting behind my head and in my ears, and an over-all sensation of being caught up in an irresistible pink hurricane. Coming to, I found myself standing with my palms against the wall in one of the stalls of the bathroom, my skirt scrunched up at my waist and my panties (also pink) down around my ankles. I got my hindquarters cleaned up (and why did I use that word?) then went out the door.
As I walked back to my seat, I noticed the room had developed a sort of fogginess which seemed to be afflicting only myself. I slid into the booth – leaving a wet streak on the wooden bench. I looked over at Sassy Pants, who gave me a sly, indulgent smile and observed, “Yes, ever since he was a colt, no one could get Victor to put away his toys.” I looked at her out of a place of perfect serenity and replied, “Sassy… there is only one way to describe it: I feel like I was ‘ridden hard and put away wet.’ Sassy looked at me with affectionate, sisterly envy, then took another sip of her beer.
I was not in any condition to do any talking, so Sassy Pants took the floor. “As Victor pointed out,” she began, “we unicorns joined ourselves to you LGBT-folk some years ago. And when we did, it was shortly thereafter that gays and lesbians began to ‘come out’ into the light.”
“Being allied with us, they soon saw that refusing to live a lie – courageously revealing the truth of their love to the world – had the most wonderful effect. Where they had expected to receive only rejection and condemnation, they often found sympathy and acceptance. Thus, we unicorns had a hand in dismantling that ‘closet’ of shame and denial in which you were imprisoned.”
“Now, today, when we observe the status of Catholic Doctrine, we see yet another noxious ‘Cloud of Deception’ – and many more members of that church who suffer for it. Every priest is compelled to swear a ‘Vow of Celibacy’ by which he is cast in the role of ‘Penitent’ in a drama (written, produced and directed by the Church) according to which he is encouraged to spend his life seeking ‘Earthly Glory’ by pretending that his love for God is so strong – and his faith so all-consuming – that all of his procreative urges have been burnt up in the fire of his devotion.”
“But we know this is seldom what happens. In fact, his ‘animal urges’ are not so easily waved away in this dramatic fantasy. Sometimes, he will have (in secret) a common-law wife or lover; sometimes, he will have (again in secret) gay lovers, or sometimes, he will secretly molest young boys. These are nothing less than facts.”
“And do not think the Church is unaware of these facts. Nevertheless, the Pope and his cardinals have decided that no corrective action is warranted. They seem to believe that the value of this “Toxic Cloud of Counterfeit Celibacy” is worth whatever ill effects result. But let us remind ourselves of who suffers for it.”
“Here I will surprise you by skipping over those many young boys who are molested by those stealthy ‘pedophile priests.’ I will discuss another group of victims – one equally blameless, and no less deserving of protection.”
“Did you know there are several tens of thousands of elderly nuns who have already retired, or who are about to do so? These are women who gave their lives to the Church; taking the same Vow of Poverty and Vow of Celibacy as the priests (but earning thereby no similar place of honor in His Church). These are women who spent their entire adult lives teaching school and caring for the sick and cooking, cleaning and mending their few possessions. Women whose love for God is no less pure than any male priest.”
“But did you know… these nuns are now retiring into deepest poverty. The Church offers them no nursing homes where they might spend their declining years. No retirement funds are available to provide them with medical care, shelter or a dignified place where they might pass away. No. In just the past two years, the Church in this country paid-out $153 million in damages to victims of those priests who molest little boys. That money is gone, and with it any hope of comfort for those innocent nuns in their old age.”
“You see, Holly,” Sassy mournfully observed, “it is always the women and children who pay the price… when men seek out an “Earthly Glory” in some self-centered game of ‘Let’s Pretend.’”
Sassy Pants finished her oration, then looked around the room for confirmation that her speech had had its desired effect. Indeed, I saw expressions of anger on the faces of the other patrons, they having been equally moved to righteous indignation by her words. Then, from out of the crowd there emerged a most amazing sight!
It was another pink unicorn! This one was larger than Sassy Pants, and showed himself a prime example of rugged masculinity (thereby proving that it is indeed possible to be both “virile” and “pink” at the same time). His face reflected a most appealing combination of “square jaw” and “commanding profile” joined together with “dreamy blue eyes.” He walked up to us and spoke.
“Hello, Sassy… who’s your cute friend?” (My heart skipped a beat!) “This is Miss Holly,” she responded, then turning to me she completed the introduction, “Holly, this is my cousin, Victor.” “Delighted to meet you,” he offered (and once more some part of me melted). Sassy Pants continued, “I have been telling Holly about my campaign, but I have not yet told her what purpose “Unicorns” serve in this world. Perhaps you could do the honor?”
Victor drew closer to me and began his explanation. “You see, Holly, we unicorns occupy a most unusual place in the world. It is often said of us that we symbolize ‘purity’ and ‘innocence’ and ‘virtue.’ But that is only partly true. By which I mean, though we may be said to ‘symbolize’ these things, our greater task is to strive at all times to practice those virtues. ‘Symbolism’ is a poor substitute for ‘the real thing,’ and we learned long ago that honest ‘striving for virtue’ is at all times preferable to any game of ‘Let’s Pretend.’”
“Thus, committed as we are to honest virtue, you can easily understand that it is only with great difficulty that we control our anger when we see the ‘deceit, denial and deception’ which are so often met with in the world. We have no patience for such things! We see all too many innocent souls led astray by such deceptive schemes, and thus we have made it our mission to shield the weak, the confused and the easily misled from such malevolence.”
“This is the reason we have joined with you (gladly numbering ourselves among your community); adding our ‘U’ to your “LGBT’ in tribute to your bravery – and proudly raising the banner ‘LGBTU!’ So you see why it is that Sassy has taken on this quest to be elected Pope: That thereby the source of so much falsehood in the world might be reformed.”
“Let me give you an example,” he helpfully expressed, turning a charming and affectionate smile in my direction. “You know that in the Catholic Church, gay men and women are not permitted to attend Mass or receive the Sacraments. So, if you are a gay man, you will be turned away at the door. But, did you know that if you – a gay man – were to go up to the priest before the Mass and give him your heartfelt assurance that you have never, ever had intimate relations with another man, that priest will make an exception! Yes! He will offer you the Sacraments.”
“That priest will make an exception for you, because – although you describe yourself as ‘gay’ – nevertheless you have shown yourself willing to play a game of ‘Let’s Pretend’ (to the priest, to yourself, or to both) that you have never committed that infamous ‘gay sin.’ Now, there are those who see this ‘exception’ as something desirable; reflecting some ‘flexibility’ on the part of Church Doctrine. But that is not the case.”
“Suppose I were to say to you, ‘I’m an expert skydiver.’ You would conclude that I have, on multiple occasions, strapped on a parachute and boldly stepped out of an airplane. But then I correct you, ‘No, I’ve never done that…not even once.’”
“You would immediately recognize my statement for what it is: A sad and transparent example of hypocrisy; a bit of empty play-acting that fools no one. And in the Catholic Church, we observe, the title ‘expert skydiver’ is easily replaced with ‘Righteous,’ ‘Saved’ and ‘Sins Forgiven’ if we but play a game of ‘Let’s Pretend.’”
I decided I would get up and go to the Ladies Room, but as I brushed past Victor I could not resist temptation: I reached out with my hand and tenderly stroked his powerful ivory horn, then impulsively bent over and planted a kiss behind his ear! As I walked toward the back, I noticed I was being followed… Then, when I got to the Men’s Room I turned in there, and in seconds I realized I was not alone! (To be continued)
I waited for Sassy Pants to return from the Ladies Room, but as the moments ticked by, I become concerned. So I got up and walked toward the restrooms in the back. But when I passed the door to the Men’s Room, I heard loud, even thunderous noises coming from inside. There was clearly a violent altercation taking place! I could feel the vibration of heavy bodies throwing themselves against the door and walls inside. There were wild cries and whinnies… as if, imaging a large and powerful racehorse being locked up in a stall, someone had thrown a cobra in at his feet!
Then… in a few moments the door opened and a muscular, jet-black Arabian stallion emerged, his coat glistening with perspiration and his breath coming thick and fast. Following him out the door was Sassy Pants (!) her eyes wide and glassy. She tottered on her hooves unsteadily, and she repeatedly looked around to her tail, which she flicked sharply in the air, as if trying to disentangle some sticky, messy knot she recently developed.
I followed her back to the booth, and we resumed our conversation. I asked her, “Perhaps you could tell me the theme of your campaign?” She responded, “Certainly. My ‘theme’ is that I promise to end the ‘Conspiracy of Silence’ which so oppresses the Church and its believers. You know, of course, that in order to be ordained a priest, a man must make a Vow of Celibacy – and he must strictly keep that vow throughout his life.”
“It is most amazing, when you think about it, that the Church requires this vow. You would think – our sexuality being a gift from God bestowed upon us at our birth – that this refusal cannot help but reflect some… ‘ingratitude’ if not outright ‘disrespect’ for a man (seeking to show his obedience to his Maker) to publicly declare that he will never, ever take that Gift out of its box and put it to use.”
“Why, exactly, does the Church believe that our Maker would be pleased with this result? And why, exactly, should we (outsiders to the faith) see anything ‘uplifting’ or ‘laudatory’ in all of those priests refusing to seek out loving relationships with others (of whatever gender they may be)?”
“We see the Church surrounded by a ‘Wall of Silence’ by which all priests and members of the Church are participants in a great game of ‘Let’s Pretend.’ Everyone acts as if those priests no longer have any sexual feelings (or behaviors), and the Pope feels entitled to insist that his priests are neither straight nor gay. But behind that wall of silence, there are hidden many sins.”
“Those of us who have never been inducted into that game of ‘Let’s Pretend’ cannot help but conclude that priests – in their private hours – feel those same urges that every man feels. Even today, if that man (a priest) is a gay man, he will live within a world of ‘Double Secret Pretend.’ He will have to keep his sexuality entirely secret, and he will have to pretend that his Vow of Celibacy cancels out any sexual feelings he might have.”
“Frankly, Holly,” she went on, “here is what puzzles me: You know, of course, how common it is that a man will hide a few select articles of pornography in his sock drawer. And, from time-to-time, in his private hours, he will take them out and gaze upon them while he pleasures himself. As we all know, this is only too common among members of the male gender. And if he has a wife, she will soon catch on to his deception, which will cause him either to give up (temporarily) his treasures – or find another hiding place.”
“So I wonder, what do priests have in their sock drawer? Would we see pictures of women – or men? And – having been denied a wife – is there anyone there to search his sock drawer and take away his guilty treasure… the only mercy and indulgence he has ever received in return for the vow he made so long ago?”
Sassy Pants drew herself up to her full height (which – had she not been so very, very pink – would have rendered her an imposing sight, indeed) and shaking her mane out behind her in righteous indignation, issued this challenge: “Let the Pope show us HIS sock drawer!”
Then looking around the room to acknowledge those patrons who had been eavesdropping upon her speech, she raised her voice and shouted out this threat: “If the Pope wants the world to go on playing ‘Let’s Pretend,’ then let him show us what has been gained by making all those priests live such a lonely, barren, sterile life.” (To be continued)
This past Saturday I visited my favorite gay bar, where I went in and headed to my favorite booth in the back. Unfortunately, I saw the booth was already occupied, but despite this unforeseen setback, I had a most rewarding experience, which I will tell you about.
Already ensconced in the booth was a fluorescent pink unicorn! Somewhat smaller than a proper “horse,” but larger than a mere pony, the animal was as colorful as she was exotic. (Yes, I looked around quickly and verified it was a filly.)
She was, as I say, bright pink in color, and she had a long and lovely jet-black mane and tail. The irises of her eyes were a vivid green, and her lashes were lush and coquettish. And I must not forget the single ivory-colored horn that graced her forehead, an embellishment which I soon learned contributed materially to her frequent, compulsive efforts to seek out others of her kind who are likewise blessed with an urgent and irresistible urge to propagate the species (the species, in this case, being “Unicornicus slutti”).
I walked up to the booth and prepared to introduce myself, but I was momentarily distracted by the half-dozen or so posters tacked up on the wall around the booth. Each showed a flattering head-and-forelegs photo of the very unicorn who stood before me, and each poster bore the words “VOTE FOR SASSY PANTS!” Thus, I ventured to introduce myself, “Hi, my name is Holly. You must be Sassy Pants.”
We were soon deep in conversation, and though I will not be able to repeat everything we discussed, I can tell you we quickly got to know one another quite well. I found her to be cheerful, pleasant and engaging, and in only a short time I began to think of her as a friend. Then being prompted by the posters which surrounded us, I asked her to explain. Here is what she said:
“Oh, I will be happy to tell you about my campaign!” she enthused. “As you can see… I’m running for Pope!” (I must have looked shocked, because she rushed to elaborate.) “The fact is, the current Pope is 79 years old, and – without being too ghoulish about it – we cannot expect him to go on being Pope for too awfully much longer. At some point they will need to elect a new Pope, and I have decided to throw my hat in the ring! And by starting my campaign early, I hope to get everyone used to the idea of me – a big pink unicorn – serving as Pope!”
“Here in this country, black people have for many years been an important voting group in the Democratic Party, so finally, a representative of that minority was chosen as the party’s Presidential candidate – and he won! The same thing applies to me: If they are only going to choose the new Pope from the same small group of rigid, ultra-conservative old men, they will just keep getting the same sort of Pope they always get. Whereas if I – a unicorn – run for that office, we unicorns will (before long, I hope) be considered fully-qualified to serve, and at some point in the future a unicorn will be elected Pope!”
“When that happens – and if I am the one elected – you can be sure that all members of the LGBTU community will finally be granted full equality in the Catholic Church. It just seems…the way things are going now, a unicorn will be elected Pope before an ordinary “woman” is even allowed to serve as a priest. Why this is I cannot understand, but then there are a lot of things about the Catholic Church that my poor little unicorn-brain cannot figure out.”
“For example, we know every new Pope is elected from that small group of Cardinals – every one of them male, and every one of whom is supposed to be both “straight” and “celibate.” But who really checks on this? The current Pope even said there is a large and influential minority of church officials who are gay. So when you think about it, it wouldn’t be impossible for one of those gay Cardinals to be elected Pope. (Maybe they already had one, but we just don’t know.)”
“So how is it that a gay man – who Church Doctrine says is not allowed to receive Communion, or become a priest, or celebrate Mass – could be elected Pope (!) while all those people who were born with a uterus (“women”) cannot hold any sort of office in the Church – no matter how loving and forgiving they may be?”
At that, Sassy Pants indicated she needed to go to the Ladies Room and so rushed off in that direction. (To be continued)
If you stop to think about it, you will realize that unicorns are not often seen these days. They are rare – so rare that we will sometimes call someone a “unicorn” if that person exhibits traits which are seldom found in the general population.
And being so rare, most people are completely uninformed about the genuine characteristics of unicorns. People often think they have magical properties or exhibit a higher, more-evolved consciousness. Which is a joke, really, because – as anyone who has ever met a unicorn will tell you – they (1) have a wicked sense of humor, (2) do not suffer fools gladly, and (3) will fuck anything or anyone who stands still long enough for them to climb on top (and as to (3), I am speaking about male unicorns; as to female unicorns, I blush to describe their behavior, and you will just have to use your imagination). But I digress.
My point is this: That inasmuch as we do not come into contact with unicorns in our daily life, we are certain to be ill-informed about their habits and proclivities. People are led to speculate wildly about their tendencies, and great falsehoods about them are shared freely in society, as if such falsehoods told the “truth” of unicorns. What is worse, many malicious lies are told about them, and there are only a few of us (familiar with unicorns) who are in a position to set the record straight.
Now going off on a tangent, and on a personal note, I want to tell you that I recently attended my 45th college reunion. Prior to the reunion, an online survey was conducted, and out of the 301 classmates who responded, 4 revealed themselves to be transgender! (One trans-man and the others – including myself – trans-women.) So I – Holly – went to my reunion and “re-united” with my classmates, who only knew my former, male self. And I am happy to report, I was welcomed with much kindness. There was universal acceptance, support and affirmation of my new gender identity.
Now, if you “do the math,” you will see that 1.3% of my class (who responded) is transgender. Which I am sure is a larger percentage than anyone would have predicted. But then, after I got home, I read about a recently-released scientific study which revealed that the true percentage of transgender people in the U.S. is about 0.6% (rather than 0.3% as previously believed). So there are roughly twice as many of the “T” (in “LGBT”) as we used to think.
So, in terms of absolute numbers, this means there are about 1.4 million transgender people in our country. Not a small number, but “number” is only part of the story, as I will explain.
We transgender men and women – when we live our lives “out” in society – cannot help but be visible. Only a minority of us can “pass” as our authentic gender, so as we go about our daily lives we are quickly recognized for who we are. But then I asked myself, “How might we measure – scientifically – this visibility?”
Well, here is what I came up with. (And bear with me as I explain my thinking.) The scientific definition of “1 horsepower” is “550 foot pounds per second.” Meaning “550 foot pounds” of energy expended over “1 second” of time. It is a (defined) measure of force acting over a (defined) measure of time. You have to measure both the “force” and the “time,” since either can vary, depending on the circumstances.
In our common, every-day world, we know we are able to measure (if we wish) both (1) the number of local trannies who are visibly “out,” and (2) how many days (during any given period) those trannies can be seen on their way to the grocery store, the drug store, the hair salon, and gay bars in the neighborhood. Thus, we can measure “visibility” for transgender men and women based on (1) “number of trannies” and (2) “days out in public.”
So… I propose that we adopt as our “Standard Unit of Transgender Visibility” the “PPU” (“Pretty, Proud Unicorn”); which we define as “1 proud transgender man or woman living ‘out’ in society for 1 full day.” As an example, when I went to my reunion (which was held over a three-day weekend), I represented “3 PPUs” of visibility in the cause of making LGBT people visible in society. And if we do a little more math, we see those 1.4 million transgender men and women represent 511 million (!) PPUs of annual LGBT visibility! (1.4 million x 365 days)
Why, that’s nothing less than a Stampede of Unicorns! I would advise our country’s bigots and Bible-thumpers to stay indoors, lest they be trampled under-hoof!
Although I live in Cleveland, I take a deep and personal interest in what goes on in Chicago. (Two of my children live there.) So it was shocking to me to see that over the July 4th weekend in Chicago, there were (depending on how you keep score) 82 people shot, of whom 14 died. These are distressingly large numbers, but as big as they are, they are only part of the yearly total, which (as I write) is 2,223 shot and 356 killed.
The more I pondered these numbers, the more it seemed to me that we are witnessing a sort of “slow-motion” riot. Granted, we do not see mobs of people in the streets looting stores or burning cars, but honestly, except for that, how does “Summer 2016 in Chicago” differ from a riot? There is frequent gunfire, law-abiding residents are afraid to go out on their porches, and lawless young men are running wild committing crimes.
Then I thought about the riot we all saw last year in Baltimore, the one that followed the death of Freddie Gray. Now, there was a riot! They had looters in the streets, hooligans throwing rocks at police, and general mayhem.
And I remembered… at one point, the Mayor of Baltimore gave orders to her police that they should refrain from attempting to arrest looters. The Mayor made an “Executive Decision” that – considering the large number of rioters in the streets – if her police were to try to arrest them, there would inevitability be a considerable loss-of-life. So she decided: A looted, burned out storefront is a “bad thing,” but a dozen dead people is worse.
She took a lot of criticism for her decision, but most residents agreed that – considering the alternatives – it was better to rebuild a few blocks of distressed real estate than to have a dozen more Freddie Grays.
So, while there is still time to rescue “Summer 2016 in Chicago,” I want to suggest to the Mayor of Chicago that he, too, should make an “Executive Decision.” He should issue a Mayoral Proclamation by which he officially “Declares a Riot.” He should go before the microphones and declare that Chicago is “besieged by rioters,” and – as Chief Executive of the City – he has decided to take decisive action, as follows:
First, he should describe the nature of the “riot.” Which is: That certain drug dealers are running around the city lawlessly “looting” the territories, profits and customers of other drug dealers, and although these rioters are (thoughtfully) ignoring Chicago’s convenience stores, liquor stores and nail salons, the violence they commit against other drug dealers is both appalling and unacceptable.
The Mayor should then inform all Chicagoans that he has given orders to the police that – during the pendency of the “riot” – they are to refrain from attempting to arrest or detain any residents by reason of their possession, use or sale of marijuana, in any quantities. (The Mayor might also suggest that if any residents want to set up storefronts to sell the stuff, the police will not disrupt those businesses.) His reasoning in this instance is clear.
When there is a riot going on, you (if you are the Mayor) cannot trouble yourself with petty crimes, nor can you unnecessarily burden your city’s already exhausted police by trying to enforce a law which is only making things worse.
Here is how the Mayor’s policy would help. No more petty harassment of young black men for no compelling reason. No more “pretext” traffic stops (you know, “Failure to Signal a Lane Change”) designed to fish for a quick bust over a simple joint. No more endlessly sending young black men back to jail on drug warrants or parole violations. No more residents carrying a 9mm to defend their “turf.”
Just eighty years ago, the people of Chicago (and the rest of the country) got tired of all the violence, murders and corruption caused by Prohibition (by the “black market” in alcohol which Prohibition created), and they put an end to it. Now, when we look around our city, we see Chicago is suffering the very same sort of harm, all of which is attributable – directly or indirectly – to an almost-identical “black market” in a relatively harmless weed.
Ask yourself this: If you were the Mayor of Chicago, how would you balance the “harm” to society caused by the current “slow-motion riot” we see around us, compared to the “harm” that we would witness, were many of the residents of the South Side to be found (peacefully and legally) sitting out on their front porches, smoking a little weed?
All we need is that one, wise “Executive Decision” by our Mayor.
I am a member of the LGBT community, and considering the long, sad history of confrontations between LGBT folks and the police, I feel I must speak up. Now, seeing all that has happened recently involving police shootings, I want to make two specific proposals to reduce the carnage. (One today; the other next issue.)
Why are we (and by “we” I mean black men) in so much danger today from police? Here is what I see: Young men are trained as policemen; then they are given a service weapon and sent out into the street to “enforce the law.” Now… police work is boring – 98% of the time – but there is that other 2% – which is a frenzy of fear, panic and life-or-death battle for survival. When that 2% comes upon him, that young officer finds that his judgment (and what little training he received) is drowned in a sea of testosterone, telling him “Kill the aggressor! Or you will die!”
Though I am sure there are plenty of racist cops out there, I do not believe this is a problem attributable primarily to racism. When that young man (a cop) hits the 2%, he naturally reaches for his service weapon – which he is trained to carry on his hip in a holster, easily available at an instant’s notice Well, more like 1.8 seconds, as the Tamir Rice killing showed us.
Then, we see his service weapon is (usually) a 9mm semi-automatic holding 14 or 15 rounds. So if that officer is pushed to start firing, he has a huge number of bullets he can fire, and every one of them is lethal. Just one round can easily kill (see Tamir). That is way too much lethal firepower to put in the hands of an easily-excitable young man hopped up on T.
Here is my proposal: Police officers should be armed with a weapon which is “non-lethal,” and that weapon should be the “Go-To” weapon he turns to first when he hits the 2%. The first weapon he reaches for should NOT be one that is lethal, or that holds 15 rounds.
(Now, I am not suggesting the officer should be sent out into the streets without his side arm – in our society, today, that would be madness. I AM suggesting that his side arm should not be the officer’s ONLY – or primary – weapon.)
What is the value of a non-lethal Go-To weapon? Well, if the officer pulls the trigger (and then regrets his action), it is much more likely the citizen will not be killed. So unnecessary deaths are avoided. Next, we see all-to-many cases where a drunk guy with a knife starts advancing on a cop, and the cop reacts by firing several 9mm rounds, killing him. Well… that drunk didn’t need to die. A Go-To weapon with a high “shock value” would have stopped him without causing death.
Right now, when a cop is confronted by an angry, threatening man, that officer can choose to use just his own strength and training to subdue the attacker (maybe using his nightstick), but that choice will often result in the two of them wrestling on the ground. At this point, the officer will rightly become fearful that the attacker will take his own service weapon away from him – and he will get shot with his own gun (a not-uncommon occurrence). So instead of getting into a wrestling match, the officer will often draw his 9mm and start firing – killing the man.
In this example, if that officer had, instead, carried a non-lethal – but painful and shocking Go-To weapon – he could have used “non-lethal force” to make the arrest, and he would have avoided both a wrestling match and a shooting.
What do I mean by a “non-lethal” weapon? We all know about rubber bullets used by police doing crowd-control at a riot. Usually these bullets are fired from an ordinary pump action shotgun, and they deliver a shock to the rioter without causing a fatal injury. However, we cannot expect a cop to routinely carry a shotgun during his shift. It would be too heavy and unwieldy.
We need to ask our firearms industry (we can ask the NRA to help) to do some serious research and product development, and come up with a weapon an ordinary cop can carry with him. One that will cause that angry man to be shocked – No, hurt! – enough that he will stop his attack, but without killing him.
If we can spend billions of dollars every year on military weapons (designed to kill) why can’t we spend a few dollars to develop non-lethal weapons? Weapons that can be used by our police to keep us safe – without (un-necessarily) killing us?
Sometimes, I am proud to be a lawyer. In May, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops revealed that during the one year period ending June 2015, the Church paid out $153,000,000 in damages to victims of clergy sex abuse. During that same year, an additional 384 new victims came forward with claims of sex abuse.
But this is trivial. Between 1950 and 2015, the Church in the U.S. paid out a total of $3.5 Billion (!) in damages for clergy sex abuse. A staggering amount, and due entirely to the fact that lawyers for those victims filed lawsuits against the Church, for which the Church was forced to pay up.
When I read these numbers, I was shocked! How could the Church have failed to take effective action to prevent those crimes? If for no other reason than the monstrous cost! (Not to mention the monstrous sin those crimes represent, but which does not seem to have unduly troubled Church leaders).
How could such a large, bureaucratic, long-lived, world-wide organization – financially responsible for the upkeep and support of hundreds of thousands of churches, nuns and priests – have failed to stop the hemorrhaging of all that money? You might think they couldn’t see any way to prevent those crimes. But you would be wrong.
I remember reading about the famous preacher Reverend Billy Graham – and one unusual “policy” to which he scrupulously adhered. He had an office in his church, and – although he was a famous TV preacher – he still tended to his flock. And it would sometimes happen that a young (and perhaps attractive) female parishioner would come to him for counseling. But despite his fame, he would not turn such a person away.
But what he did do is this: He would never meet with such a woman in private. He would never take her into his office and close the door. Instead, he would ask his confidential secretary to join them, so there was always another person present when he ministered to one of his flock. He would never allow such a young woman to be alone with him.
The reason is plain. It is only “human nature” that out of 1,000 such women he might counsel, there will be that one who – after meeting alone with the Reverend – will be seen two weeks later standing in front of cameras and microphones on the courthouse steps, accompanied by Gloria Allred (famous lawyer, woman’s advocate and Handmaiden of Satan; but I repeat myself), accusing the Reverend of groping her in private. This was something neither the Reverend nor his church wanted to see happen. Hence the policy I described.
But if you think about it, you will realize that – although this policy was there to protect the Reverend and his church – it’s also true that it protected those young women. (Though I doubt they needed protection from this particular preacher.)
Having that policy in effect did not cost Reverend Graham or his church any extra expense, and at the end of the year…Surprise! Neither the Reverend nor his church had suffered any visitation from Gloria Allred, nor had his church paid out any millions of dollars to lawyers (and their clients) on account of “clergy abuse.”
Now ask yourself: If you (a slim, attractive young woman, having long and shapely legs, an impertinent tushy and an ample bosom) were to travel to Rome, and if you were to visit the Vatican and ask to see the Pope for “consultation,” do you think you would be admitted into the Pope’s “inner sanctum” where you might meet him alone in private – with the door closed? Not likely. You can bet the Pope follows the identical policy as the Reverend, and for the same reason.
So if Reverend Graham could follow this policy, and if the Pope can do the same, why can’t our local churches (and not just the Catholic ones) implement this protective policy… where children are concerned? Aren’t those 12 year-olds just as much at risk of abuse as those (irresistibly hot) young women I described?
Is it really possible that despite having paid out Billions of Dollars in damages, our churches have not yet grasped that fact that there are all-too-many priests and preachers and “youth pastors” who are not to be trusted to take a child into an office and close the door?
The time has come to institute the Reverend’s policy in churches throughout the land. We should no longer allow our children to be abused and exploited by these “men of God” who hide their lust behind a thin veneer of piety. If Reverend Graham could be faithful to this policy, certainly others who claim to do God’s work can do so, as well.
The events in Orlando have caused me to adopt an unforeseen and even shocking resolution, which I will share with you in a moment. But first, let me tell you about my daughter’s pet rabbit “Sprinkles.” Now, despite what you may be imagining (picturing a multi-colored rainbow of sparkling candy bits scattered across the top of a chocolate sundae), Sprinkles, in fact, had a coat of the purest, darkest, unbroken jet black fur you will ever see.
At the time, Sprinkles lived in our house with our family dog, Daisy, who – on that universally-recognized scale of “Fierce and Fearsome Animals” – was listed not at the top of the scale (where she imagined herself to be) at “Snarling Wolf” but, instead, was properly to be found down at the bottom, under the heading “Fluffy Bunny.”
Now, my daughter would sometimes let them play together in the back yard – under her careful supervision, of course, lest “nature take its course.”
And you know what? Sometimes, Daisy would get a little too rough with Sprinkles, and her idea of “fun” would start trending over into “pinning down her prey for the kill.” But guess what? Sprinkles would fight back! Despite Daisy being four times his weight and a “carnivorous canine” (descendent of a wolf), Sprinkles would defend himself. He would use his teeth and claws to bite and scratch and send the message “STOP!” if Daisy got too aggressive.
What I learned – what my daughter saw – was this: That every living creature will defend itself. Push that fluffy black bunny into a corner, and he will come out biting and scratching and refusing to be taken down without a fight.
Thinking about Orlando, I will quickly acknowledge that no one would have imagined or predicted what took place, and Pulse did, after all, have an armed guard out front, who was overcome by the attack. So I do not blame anyone there in any way.
But on the other hand, I do feel it is time for us LGBT folks to borrow a phrase from our Hebrew brothers and sisters: Never again. This means… we must be brave and vigilant. We must assert our own individual right and duty to defend ourselves. Are our lives of less worth than a rabbit’s?
Thinking further on the subject, can you imagine an attack such as happened in Orlando happening at… a biker bar? Not likely! What grievous moron would walk into a biker bar and think he could terrorize those patrons!
(In high school, I used to frequent a biker bar near where I lived. The parking lot after dark looked like a Harley dealership. And if you ride a Harley, you cannot leave your Smith & Wesson under the seat when you go into the bar. You have to bring it in with you. I can assure you, you will never see such polite behavior, such restrained conversation, and such kindly tolerance for your fellow citizens, as you will see in a biker bar.)
Have you read the threats and boasts coming from certain Christian preachers, as they address the possibility of a transgender woman using the same Ladies Room as their wives or daughters? They assure their flock that the only possible reaction to such depravity is to assault that tranny. Perhaps even shoot her or beat her up. Because that is how bullies phrase their threats. Not “I will give that tranny a piece of my mind” but “I will beat her to death!”
Such preachers think they are free to make such threats because they believe we LGBT folk – in this case, transgender women – are nothing more than “Fluffy Bunnies.” These Christian-cowards have every confidence that if they confront us in the Ladies Room – and if they commence a “Biblically-approved” assault upon one of us – we won’t fight back. And, we must admit, this might have been the reaction of a gay or transgender child back when we were in elementary school. But no longer.
I live in Ohio, and our state law permits any responsible citizen (with a few exceptions) to obtain a license to “Carry a Concealed Weapon” (called “CCW”). Right now, Ohio has issued about 500,000 CCW licenses, but I promise you, next month that number will be 500,001.
Thereafter, when I go out where my LGBT brothers and sisters are gathered, I will think of myself as a sort of non-governmental – but trained, motivated and prepared – “Sky Marshall” for my fellow travelers. A person who has practiced and received training, wearing civilian clothes, and blending in with all the other trannies. But if something happens… I will remember Sprinkles, who – despite his soft and downy fur – was no “Fluffy Bunny” in a fight.
Local LGBT publications across the country are full of notices and “event calendars” telling us of Pride Parades scheduled in cities near and far. But I asked myself, “Why do we march?” Here is what I decided.
Now, there are many sorts of parades you will see in any year you choose. There are parades on Memorial Day, when we pause to honor and remember those men and women who sacrificed so much to keep us free. And for all the problems we LGBT folk may have in this country, it’s much, much worse elsewhere in the world.
Then there are those Fourth of July parades, where we celebrate our independence – purchased at the cost of a violent revolution – by which we have the power to govern ourselves. And even when our representatives decide – in their patriotic wisdom – that people like me cannot be trusted to go into a stall, close the door and attend to my business in private – still, things are better here than in many other countries.
And finally, we all know those many other parades – more like “bar crawls that got out-of-hand” – where some group or other is permitted to make a happy, uninhibited spectacle of itself in a very public place (which, we all hope, may encourage them to end the celebration at a reasonable hour, as some of us have to get up early and go to work tomorrow). The Irish have a parade like this every year, as do the Italians and – in my city – the Hungarians, the Greeks and the Croatians (but not the Germans – they are too likely to re-name their “parade” a “Blitzkrieg,” and fortify the floats with names like “Panzer”).
So if you have been to a Gay Pride Parade, you will agree that it, too, is a form of very public celebration of our LGBT community: Where we get dressed up and carry rude signs and march down the street until we get to that part of our city where most of the gay bars are located. So yes, it’s part “celebration.”
But that’s not all. Our parades have one other, very special aspect to them, which we must never forget. Which is: That every marcher will have as a part of his or her (or their) own personal biography, a memory of that day, that hour, when he stepped “out of the closet” (I’ll use that old terminology) and into the light of day. When hiding was no longer tolerable. When out of bravery or desperation or maybe some angry orneriness, that marcher decided, “This is who I am. So deal with it!”
History tells us that in the past, we LGBT folk were expected to do “whatever it is we do” in secret, so that we did not show any disrespect to God or the Bible or the Koran or God-fearing people, generally (who did not want to be reminded that we exist).
Today we are in the middle of a contentious electoral campaign – the Presidential election only a few months away – and all across the country there are politicians – and preachers – who are making speeches and proposing legislation that would grant absolute legal protection to all those pious, church-going citizens who do not want to make any accommodation for us – and would prefer to exclude us wherever they can.
They propose – for example – that henceforth all the high schools of the land be operated as if there were no gay boys or girls in attendance, and certainly no children (no matter how young – and this means you, Jazz) who refuse to live as if their genitals had the final say upon their gender.
They intend – by legislative enactment, enforced by all the power of our police and courts and prisons – to force our country’s entire citizenry to pretend that we do not exist. They expect us to go back into the closet. Back to those days when it was unthinkable – even dangerous – to speak our truth aloud.
So to me, this is the unique purpose of a Gay Pride Parade: To show the world that we refuse to live in secret. That we are here in numbers – a population too large to be ignored, and too brave and strong to be silenced. Each of us knows it is not easy to “come out” – or to “live out” – in our world, but if there is one thing we have learned in the last twenty years, it is that sometimes we must fight and sacrifice to gain those freedoms which our Constitution promises to all.
So you see. Our parade is unique. We are the only group for whom the parade – itself – is how we fight to gain our freedom. March with me, won’t you?