COH’s Jo Hudson on Osama bin Laden’s death: ‘Does violence ever create less violence?’

The Rev. Jo Hudson

“While I believe that the death of bin Laden may offer us the feeling that justice has been done and the hope that we may be seeing the end of the ‘War on Terror,’ I also ponder what it means to ‘celebrate’ the death of another person, even if that person has created untold violence and death. As I watched the celebrations in the streets of our country I couldn’t help wonder, ‘Does violence ever create less violence?’

“So, is there a way we can be patriotic without being nationalistic; a way to understand the consequences bin Laden experienced for inciting violence without reveling in his killing? In our anger and hurt we often believe revenge is the best response. Perhaps that is because it helps us to feel safer or makes us feel like our country is superior. However, Jesus was clear when he said, ‘You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies …’ And while it may make you uncomfortable to think about loving someone like bin Laden or forgiving him, that is exactly what Jesus did. He made people uncomfortable by proclaiming a different way, a way of unconditional forgiveness and radical love, even forgiving those who executed him.”

— The Rev. Jo Hudson, senior pastor at the Cathedral of Hope, in a Pastoral Reflection sent to members this morning. Read the article in its entirety here.

—  John Wright

Puppy in need of adoption — save me from myself!

My name is Gulliver. Help me find a home.

Every week in the print edition, we profile the Pet of the Week; this is not that. This is an act of self-preservation.

Some very evil lesbians, who know what a soft touch I am with needy puppies, have tried to get me to adopt a fourth dog. I once had four dogs at once, but none were puppies and none over 30 lbs.; I currently have a 40+ lb. 9-month-old Lab named Gulliver who is as much work as two dogs alone. (Here’s more proof they are evil: They stole the name Gulliver for their new dog less than a month after I did.)

So why does all this matter? Because these women have another rescue they are taking care of named Buddy, and they can’t keep him. If they don’t adopt him out soon, they will trick me into taking him and we can’t have that. So one of you needs to step up.

Here’s the deal: Buddy is about 10 months old, probably a Chow- or hound-and-Shar Pei mix who was discovered in a neighbor’s front yard suffering from dehydration, starvation and injuries from a fight with a larger dog. He’s something of a miracle baby. His recovery is progressing: He’s already added 6 lbs. to his skinny frame. He’s probably as big as he’s gonna get. And by Monday, he’s have all his vaccinations and lose his testicles. In other words, the perfect boyfriend.

If you can adopt him — and please, somebody, do it! I can’t take another pet! My cat will commit suicide! — contact e-mail Gyrlchef@yahoo.com.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

What’s Brewing: Gay couple burned out of home; trans discrimination study; marriage updates

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. A gay couple in Clayton, N.C., was burned out of their home (above) in a possible hate crime on Friday after suffering anti-gay harassment repeatedly over the last year. A neighbor says the couple had their tires slashed, had a gay slur written on their home in marker and received a note with a gay slur in their mailbox telling them to move. Police, however, still aren’t convinced it was a hate crime. Watch a video report here.

2. The largest study ever on discrimination against transgender people showed that 41 percent have attempted suicide, compared to 1.6 percent of the general population. The study, by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality, also showed that trans people are four times more likely to live in extreme poverty, and that 26 percent said they’d lost a job because of their gender identity/expression. Read more here, or download the full study here.

3. Same-sex marriage updates from Maryland, Rhode Island and Indiana.

—  John Wright

Why am I not celebrating more?

Although the swearing in of the first trans trial judge is cause for celebration, there is still a long, hard fight ahead

WREN A. WYNN  |  Special Contributor

We have recently seen America’s first transgender trial judge sworn in. So why am I not celebrating more?

Are you kidding? I read the news to my husband and son, and we all cheered and breathed a sigh of great relief and deep gratitude. This momentous ceremony brought us all one step closer to lawful and societal equality and a much safer pursuit of that very happiness our Constitution grants to us all.

But this is where I — as an American, a woman and the wife of an amazing transgender man — must restrain my celebration. The full celebration will commence the day society’s labels fade away.

Humans always try to define things we do not understand. Our lack of understanding leads to fear. Labels are incessantly cast onto anything we need defined for us.

For instance, say you have two tin cans, both sealed. One is labeled “beans;” the other has no label. Which would you choose?

Unless you have an aversion to legumes, you would probably choose the labeled one. I would — I mean, what if the other can has beets?

We should be electing transgender officials. We should be electing lesbian and gay officials, female officials, African-American officials, Hispanic officials, Jewish and Muslim officials — and so on. Because, quite simply, every one of the members of our global society are human beings.

We are all born inherently equal and all hold the same worthiness as our neighbor. Our labels do not designate our worth or, believe it or not, our contents. Existence is where our worth lies. You are here. I am here. We are amazing.

The full celebration will commence when all marginalized people refuse to be yoked to such a lexicon: marginalized, victimized, worthless, wrong, immoral, dangerous. These are only a very few of the terms used by the media, the Biblical Christian right and those in seats of actual “power” when referring to “them.”

When you are marginalized, the first thing that is stripped from you is your name. It is far easier to be cruel and hateful when you are aggressively pursuing the nameless.

How many of us have found ourselves in such a place — no name, no support, no safety? I was hit in the face in seventh grade by an extraordinarily hefty repeat eighth grader because my being gay offended her. Her name was Amie. I bet you a million dollars she doesn’t remember my name.

We cannot continue to allow our names to be replaced with a vocabulary of invisibility and hate. My name is Wren.

The full celebration will commence when those seated in positions of power and authority stop being so damn afraid that they will be dethroned and overrun. If you are a just and compassionate leader, this is not a concern. So it is no wonder that so many higher-ups are constantly having to towel off their flop-sweat as they stand at their microphones and bullhorns leaking their heartlessness and fear into the world.

This decidedly ridiculous behavior, though, should come as no real surprise. Look at what the leaders worship. All religions at all moments in history, both patriarchal and matriarchal (though to a lesser extent), worship very wrathful and immature gods and goddesses. How many times has a deity cruelly destroyed all of life because another god was getting more attention or because the people weren’t pliant enough or, sometimes, just for the hell of it?

I am all for America. This is proven by the fact that I haven’t run off to Canada or Europe … yet. I truly do believe, very dearly, that America is the home of the brave. Every day I encounter transgender people (my husband included) who are changing the world and saving lives by simply being who they are.

We hear and see and know lesbian, gay and bisexual people who are not willing to let another person die because bullying gay kids and adults is seen as not so big an issue. We have seen the African-American community rise up saying, “We are not second-class citizens.” Everyday the cycle of racism slows.

In recent months, we have witnessed the courageous stance of the Muslim community in New York as they prepare a way for a mosque, even as the Koran is being threatened in Florida. With every passing moment we see and hear men and women standing up for women’s and human rights and equal passage and opportunity in the world.
What amazing and brave people we all are when we stand up for one another!

So God, Goddess, Allah, Abba, Brahman, Waheguru, Yahweh, Jesus, The Light, Almighty, Bahá, Jehova, El Cantare, Oya — all of them — bless America, Mother Earth and all of her beautiful creations. We live in truly amazing times. May we be awake and willing, enthusiastic, even, to stand with one another in our various fires.

This is not a case of “If you’re not with us, you’re against us.” This is about celebrating life and Victoria Kolakowski, America’s first sworn-in transgender trial judge. You go girl!

Wren Wynn is a local writer and artist and the author of Chrysalis, a collection of poetry and artworks. She is also a commissioned artist and her paintings have been chosen to hang in the Visual Arts Center of Dallas galleries. Wynn is currently working on a collection of personal essays and a second poetry collection. Go online to Open.Salon.com/blog/wrenaw to read a sample of her work.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Jan. 21, 2011.

—  John Wright

Lee Park Fest: The Unsung Fun of Pride

“Thunder is good, thunder is impressive,” said Twain, “but it’s lightning that does all the work.” The same is true with Dallas Pride: Everyone talks about the parade, but it’s the festival in Lee Park, with food, concerts and booths, that provides the best views  of gay life in town. Dallas Voice will have a booth as always, handing out goodie bags and such, but we know focus will probably center on our neighbor, Advanced Skin Fitness, who this year tapped trainer and bodybuilding champ Tony DaVinci, pictured, to man (and we mean man) its kiosk, signing autographs and passing out flyers. We’re over here, guys! Thanks for noticing.

Festival in Lee Park at Turtle Creek Blvd.
11 a.m. DallasVoice.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 17, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

TENNESSEE: Lesbian Couple’s Home Torched, Homophobic Neighbor Suspected

A lesbian couple in rural Tennessee returned from a trip to Nashville to find their home burned to the ground and the word “QUEERS” spray-painted on their garage.

The couple feels they’re victims of a hate crime, and were targeted because they’re gay. They’ve been together for more than 15 years. Carol Stutte has an adult daughter from a previous relationship who also lived with them. At the time of the fire, they were in Nashville celebrating their fifth anniversary in Tennessee. “My daughter was supposed to be here. She was sick,” Carol Stutte said. “I was grateful my baby girl didn’t get killed in this fire. She would have been trapped in the basement.” The couple moved to Vonore from Oklahoma. Carol Stutte says her partner is too afraid to come back to the property since the fire. She says they’ve been harassed all five years they’ve lived there by one neighbor. She also says recently the neighbor threatened to kill them and burn down their house,” Stutte said. “I knew we had been threatened, but we never thought anything would be followed through.”

The local police and the state arson squad are investigating the fire as a possible hate crime. PFLAG has sent out a call for donations of cash and household items for the women. The Tennessee Valley Unitarian Church is also taking donations.

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright

‘The God that I know and the God that I love will love me and love my children no matter what’

From left, Tracy, Olivia and Jill Harrison on CNN’s Headline News.

CNN is the latest to report on the case of a Bedford lesbian couple whose daughter was denied admission to a local Anglican elementary school because her parents are, well, both women. (The couple told us they did an interview with CNN’s Headline News on Monday night, but we haven’t seen the video posted anywhere yet.)

Interestingly, the dean of the school questions why the couple, Jill and Tracy Harrison, would want to enroll their child in a school that “undercuts [their] personal values at home.” And Jill Harrison confirms that, “I absolutely would not want her to partake in a school where they did not believe or condone the relationship that we have together,” she said.

On why she initially sought to enroll 4-year-old Olivia at St. Vincent’s (which CNN refers to as St. Vincent’s Cathedral School, not St. Vincent’s Episcopal School), Tracy Harrison explains that the couple wanted their daughter to learn basic biblical teachings such as the Golden Rule, the Ten Commandments and “be kind to your neighbor.”

“The God that I know and the God that I love will love me and love my children no matter what,” Tracy Harrison said.

Amen. And we will, of course, have more on all this in Friday’s Voice.

—  John Wright

Ailing woman seeks home for cats

When a member of the community calls and asks for help, we like to respond. Rita Smith has had some health problems and is having to move from her house. She asked if we could help place some of her cats.

Abby

Abby is a black and white, 3-year-old neutered male. She found him when he was two weeks old wedged between milk cartons in the garage.

Tiger won’t come out of the closet.

Rita thinks Tiger needs to be an only cat. He’s a 7-pound tabby and he’s camera shy. He followed her around the yard as a kitten until she brought him in the house. Now he hides in the closet because the other cats picked on him.

Jojo, Slate and Heather are siblings. All are solid gray and just 1 year old. She said they could go together or separately. A neighbor dumped them on her doorstep when they were two weeks old. All three are spayed/neutered.

If you can give any of her pets a home, call Rita at 214-363-1087.

Jojo
Slate

—  David Taffet

Query • 07.09.10

If you were counterprotesting the Phelps clan visit, what would your sign say?

………………….

Karen McCrocklin — “Do unto others.”

Elizabeth Lopez — “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Glenn Brown — “I’m with stupid.”

Heather Lueth — “I have a sign!”

Mandy Love — “I’d rather go to hell for love than heaven for hate.”

Jerry Glazner — “Thus saith the Lord: Shut the F Up!”

Karen Lee Flint — “Dear Fred — I wish you instant karma!”

Elissa Bell-Bassett — “Heaven isn’t a gated community.”

Brian Steen — “We Love You.”
………………..

Have a suggestion for a question you’d like us to ask?
E-mail it to nash@dallasvoice.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 9, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens