Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Women's March on Washington

It was one of the best days of my life.

But it happened because of some of the worst days of my life.  On November 8, I was gut-punched and betrayed by 46% of the voting population.  They had elected a compulsive liar, megalomaniac, and admitted sexual predator... and that doesn't even cover the horrifying things he promised to do to people, from Muslims to women in crisis pregnancies to people who had entered this country as small children without the proper paperwork.  How could I have had such high opinions of my fellow Americans? How could I have had faith that they wouldn't throw other people under the bus, when it served their own interests? I was devastated. I cried on and off (whenever people couldn't see me--cuz I believe in trying to be a reassuring presence....
"Does this mean we will have a nuclear war?" sez my 12-yr-old on Wednesday morning.
"Oh no, dear," sez I smiling but red-eyed. "People say a lot of things during a campaign. They don't mean anything.  He will do some things we disagree with, but there won't be anything like that.") for days.

Several days later, a friend and I were talking about how badly we felt about the election.  Even though we took comfort in the fact that he had lost the popular vote, we were still terribly disheartened by the number of people who had voted for him, in spite of his promises to harm the lives of so many.  How could so many of my fellow Americans be so awful?
"I just don't know what to do," sez I.
"Well, there's the Million Woman March on Washington," sez Debra. "They're marching the day after the inauguration. It's on Facebook."
"That's a start," sez I.

When I got home that night, I was feeling happy... as though there might be a way forward for hope after all.
"They're having a women's march in Washington the day after the inauguration," I told my husband.
"They're stupid," he responded.
"I'm going," I sez.  (But I didn't invite him.)

By the time I RSVPed, the Million Woman March was being called the Women's March on Washington, and several groups had joined together to help make it happen.  They were working hard to make the march diverse and inclusive and not just a negative march about protesting a person.  They wanted the march to promote human rights of all sorts (through the lens of women).  I was impressed (See their Unity Principles:

When I told my mother I was marching, she was thrilled. She had been horrified by the election results too.  And she was so happy to see people standing up for human rights.
"And everyone will be marching together, at last!" she sighed... remembering some of the infighting between civil rights groups from the past.
"Yup," I sez.... deciding that there was no need to mention some of the painful and occasionally counter-productive debates that had been swirling about during the planning of the march.  We're humans... we're going to squabble.  But the center was holding... and this march was going to happen.

Three of my kids decided to make the trip... my two daughters and my middle son. My youngest son considered going... but I discouraged him. He is only twelve, and I was fairly certain (knowing him) that he would be bored and tired and hungry pretty quickly.  Probably that was the right choice.

I discovered that my oldest daughter's high school (Olney Friends' School) was sending a contingent of kids, and that Sidwell Friends' School was letting them sleep in their gym Friday night, so I hopped into their caravan.  Turns out we are only about 5-6 hours drive from D.C.  By midnight Friday January 20th, we were all sleeping on gym mats in our nation's capital. By 8am Saturday, we were walking the three blocks to the Metro station for our ride downtown.

It turns out that women, and the men who care about them, are really wonderful human beings.  At the Metro station, a nice woman gave us all "Pussy Power" buttons, which we wore with pride all day.  There was laughing and joking and joy in the underground... even while we were waiting to buy the extra two Metro passes we needed.  Folks had come from all over, and we all chatted like old friends.  The trains were packed. If there was a word that meant "beyond packed," I would use that word.
"Sorry about your butt, Debra," I sez. "That's me."
"That's OK," she sez.  (Her pussy hat, by the way, was probably the most beautiful and elegant one there.  It had a flower in one ear.)

So we walked out of the underground and into the crowds. And there were more and more and More as we walked.  And we were all talking and smiling and laughing and happy.  We tried to get close to the stage and the Jumbotrons, but there were so many people that we didn't have a chance.  There were blocks of people in front of us, pressed so tightly that you couldn't see the ground in front of you.
"Let's see if we can get to that tree," I sez, as we joined a conga line of folks snaking slowly into the crowd.  We did. It didn't help.
"Let's see if we can get to that other tree," my daughter sez. We laugh. We gave up on the stage, and joined a conga line headed outwards.  Occasionally, a roar rolled through the crowd.  We could hear it build somewhere a long way off, then travel towards us, then wash over us as we lifted our voices to meet it and carry it onward. Once, the woman I was following in a conga line winced and waved her hands in the air as the roar overtook us, as though she were a liberal Friend "clapping" during a Quaker event.
"I'll bet you're a Quaker," I shout.  She turned with her eyes amazed.
"How did you know?!?!" she sez.
"Quaker hands," I laugh, and demonstrate.  "Ohio Yearly Meeting. Stillwater."  She smiled so broadly.
"Mphsmwk meeting," she sez.... but it's too late to hear her clearly, as our conga line gets broken and we lose each other in the crowd.

It went like that all day.  We met people and chatted and took pictures and talked and stood in line for coffee and sandwiches and ate and joined smallish marches that were happening spontaneously along the streets.  The National Guards smiled at us; many wore daisies in their lapels.  Debra had brought Maalox, just in case, for pepper spray.  She gets to save it for next time.

When the "real" march began, we were so many that we could barely move.  We ended up taking over what I think was three parallel streets, all headed for the White House lawn.  We held our signs high.  We laughed.  We roared.  We chanted.....  "Welcome to your first day!  We will not go away!" and "We want a leader, not a creepy tweeter!" and call and response....  "When Black lives matter... All lives matter!"......
"My Body, my choice!" sang out the women.
"Your body, your choice!" sang out the men.
"That's wrong," sez I, to no one in particular.  "Men have a body and men have a choice too."
"Yep," sez one young man walking next to me. "That's why I do the 'my body, my choice' part, too."
A man closer to my age stops dead in the street.
"That's... that's... I just had a paradigm shift,"  he sez, looking stunned but happy.
We walk on.  I have to admit to myself that the high voices of women calling and the low voices of men responding gives that call and response a beautiful musical quality, even if I think it is a little misleading.

It was a glorious day. We surrounded each other with friendship and support.  We showed each other that we were not alone.  That the world is full of folks who agree with us about what is important.  We did it with style and grace and irreverence and joy and hope and defiance.  I didn't cry once all day.  Not even "wedding tears."  Too much awe and wonder for that.

On the way back to the Metro, a mummer's parade passes by, complete with brass band and people on stilts.

It was foggy and misty driving home, and I was exhausted.  So we stopped about an hour outside of D.C. for the night.  At the Burger King, an older black man smiled at me.
"I woke up this morning, and turned on the tv," he sez.  "What I saw gave me hope."
He had been at the Million Man March in 1995.
"And you know, all those congressmen, they left town," he sez.  "They were afraid of what we'd do. It was a beautiful march."
We chatted about the Million Man March a bit, and then I told him that I hadn't seen any pictures of the Women's March yet.
"You'll feel good," he sez.  "You'll feel really good.  I felt so much better watching it."
I blinked back a few wedding tears there.... so that was what we had done.  We had borne witness for hope.  Not just for ourselves, but for one kind elderly black man.

We watched CNN until one in the morning.  I was amazed and happy.  And then, CNN brought on a guest.  A woman who had voted for Trump and who had attended the march.  There she was in her sparkly red, white, and blue, with ribbons in her hair, and some "Fuck Off" caution tape tied to her wrist (a bunch of teenagers had rolls of the stuff at the march... wrapped all over).  The moment I saw that "Fuck Off" flapping at her wrist, I knew I would like her.  And I did.  She was kind and joyous and friendly.  She talked about how important human rights and women's rights were.  She talked about how kind-hearted the new president was and how we would all see that it would be ok.  And I felt the kind of sad that you feel when a friend has gotten into a relationship that will only break their heart.  She restored my faith in Trump voters.  America is Great.  We do have better angels inside us.  We are kind and generous and accepting.  We can get through this.  Together.  Cuz sometimes good people make bad choices, but never forever.

I decided, watching her, that my model for the next four years would be Y2K.  For years before the year 2000, programmers and IT folks and others worked feverishly to make sure that our computer systems wouldn't collapse on January 1, 2000.  January 1 came, and only a few minor tiny glitches showed up.  "HaHa," folks laughed.  "See? There was nothing to be afraid of." And the programmers et. al. heaved an exhausted sigh, knowing that the only reason it all worked out was because they had worked tirelessly to make it so.  We can work to keep the next four years survivable.  We can do this.  And if it means that a precious kind bubbly woman doesn't get her heart broke, so much the better.

When I got home, I called my mom to tell her all about the march, how I felt so much better, seeing us all there.  How I felt that we could do anything. How we were going to get through these years OK, and we were going to be stronger and better and fiercer and kinder and braver, all at once.
"Write it down," She sez.  "Write it down."
So I did.

Get active to survive what I believe to be an existential threat to our country and to our government:

The Women's March has resources:  (100 Days, 10 Actions)

FCNL is a great resource as well:

Get active.  We are beautiful, and we are strong.  We can do this.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Long long ago, in a galaxy far far away, I was a professional technical writer and editor.  Then I had kids, and Kevin and I started our beekeeping business, and we moved out of Silicon Valley, and we had many adventures together.  Writing occupied a minor role in my life for fifteen years.

Thanks to the internet, that’s about to change.  Ebook technology has made publishing inexpensive.  The internet has made audiences accessible.  This is a magical time to be a writer, and to be a publisher.  In What Would Google Do? (a book I highly recommend), Jeff Jarvis points out that in 1947, there were 357 publishing houses.  In 2004, there were over 85,000.  Six huge publishing conglomerates control the lion’s share of the book market—the mass-market appeal books and the blockbusters—but that leaves the rest of the market to the remaining 84, 994 publishers.  Oops.  Make that 84,995 publishers.  Kevin and I have gone back to our roots, and are embarking on yet another adventure… as publishers.

We will be re-printing public domain Quaker books, starting with Margaret Fell’s Women’s Speaking Justified.  Beyond that, who knows?  Kevin has a novel he has been working on, and I have several non-fiction pieces in the works, including one about our homebirth experiences.  All our publications will be ebooks, although I am currently looking into a print-on-demand service, for folks who still prefer to kill trees for their reading experience.

I keep thinking, “Gosh, this is so cool! Why didn’t I do this fifteen years ago?”  And the answer comes back to me:  Because you couldn’t.  Oh yeah.  Little details like it was impossible to be a small home-based epublisher back then.  This is so cool.  Did the futuristic science fiction stories of our childhood (those of you who are old like me) even do this present-future justice?  I don’t think so.  But that’s another blog post.

I have started a new blog dedicated to our publishing venture:, and Kevin is working out the details for the website....  and I will be sure to tell everyone when Margaret Fell is available.....
This is so cool....I love the internet.... but that is another post....

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Now All I Need is an Obama Bumper Sticker

October 9, 2012

Dear President Obama,

I registered to vote today.  I decided you could use the help.
I haven’t voted since I helped to re-elect Bill Clinton, a fact which I am still ambivalent about.  Since then, I have tended to stay away from elections.  And the country seems to muddle through pretty well without my input.  Of course, I supported you in the last election, although I wasn’t registered.  I wore your campaign button, and I cried on election night, because I was just so proud of my country.
You lost me for a little while after you ordered the assassination of Osama Bin Laden (yes, I know there are other official words for what you ordered… but that’s what it was).  It hurt to see you giving in so blatantly to an end-justifies-the-means mentality.
But you won me back when you finally came out of your closet, and declared your support of same-sex marriage.  That was the single bravest thing I have ever seen a politician do, because you had nothing significant to win and everything to lose.  You didn’t have to say anything at all.  And yet you did.  That made me cry too, this time because I was so proud of you.
You’ve worked hard for this country, and helped it get back on its feet.  Things are looking better today than they did four years ago…  it’s not the Great Rock Candy Mountain just yet… but it’s looking up.  It has been a tough time to be president, but you have worked for us through it all, not just with short-term solutions, but by also working to help us find good long-term goals to work towards—like renewable energy, for example.
Which brings me to the camel that finally made me decide it was time to cast my vote:  the so-called “War on Coal.”  You don’t live in southeastern Ohio, so you haven’t seen the signs:  “Stop the War on Coal: Fire Obama.”  No doubt someone has told you about them.  The biggest problem with the War on Coal, so far as I can tell, is that it is a lie.  Coal production in Ohio is up since you took office, and coal industry employment is up as well.  Our local big coal mining company, Murray Energy Corporation, just built itself a new three-story office building… as I drove by it on my way to register to vote, the landscapers were installing the trees around the pond out front (you drive up to the building across a stone bridge over the pond… it will look beautiful when the landscaping fills out).  The industry hardly looks embattled to me.
Yes, you support renewable energy, and you have spoken about our need to begin to move away from coal eventually… but that’s good.  As one miner who supports you told me recently, “I may be a coal miner, but I ain’t just a coal miner.  I like clean air and clean water.  I think they’re a good idea.”  And it’s inevitable anyway.  Someday, the coal will run out.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have that be a seamless and transparent transition?
But more than simply misunderstanding your hopes for the long-term, Romney and the Republicans, and Murray Energy Corporation, have resorted to lies to try to influence the people of this area.  Romney claims to care about the welfare of coal miners, and yet when he had his photo-op coal mine rally, the mine was closed for the day, and the miners lost a day’s wages, so he could be photographed talking about the plight of coal mining, in front of a coal mine.  That didn’t seem like the sort of thing a man who cared about the welfare of working people would do.  And then I discovered that Murray had made it mandatory for his Murray Energy Corporation employees to attend.  So he padded the event with employees who had to be there, but who weren’t getting paid.  Was that the sort of thing that someone who cares about the welfare of workers would consent to?
But today, I discovered that apparently Murray had also lied about mine closings and layoffs….  At the rally, you were blamed for the closure of a mine and for the layoffs of mine workers.  But according to a miner with Murray, the mine had been closed because the ground wasn’t stable… “Nothing more than gravel holding hands”.  Unless your policies destroyed the integrity of the soil, that mine closure had nothing at all to do with you.  Nor did the layoffs.  My source told me today that Murray lays off miners at that particular plant every summer when the demand for coal goes down.  Murray likes to lay them off, I am told, because it’s a union shop and apparently he hates unions.  So you were a convenient political scapegoat that Murray and Romney and the Republicans blamed, knowing you had nothing to do with the reasons behind the closure or the layoffs.  …And maybe a lot to do with an improved economic climate that enables energy corporations to build fancy new office buildings.
And that was that.  I decided that I wasn’t swallowing that camel. 
To the best of my knowledge, you have always been honest with the American people.  Your honesty and integrity, in fact, has placed you head and shoulders above most politicians in this country (except for that little slip with Osama Bin Laden, where you descended to business-as-usual politics).  You care about the welfare of the United States and its people, and about liberty and justice for all… not just for the already powerful and wealthy.  You are running against a business-as-usual dishonest politician, with nothing to offer but short-term solutions, that are only designed to make his wealthy dishonest friends wealthier.
You deserve to win.  The country will be better if you win.
So, today, after I registered, I cast my ballot.  You’re +1 in Ohio.
Thank you for your continued service to your country.  I hope you win.

God bless you.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Walking Unarmed in an Armed World

Jesse-Blue Forrest has been staying at my meeting’s guest house this week.  He is a Quaker Cherokee medicine man, with Buddhist training.  When he is at home in Charlottesville, N.C., he worships with the Charlottesville Friends Meeting.  He hasn’t been home since early June, however, and he doesn’t expect to be home again for at least 2 years.  Jesse-Blue is walking across the country, from Virginia to California, and back, to raise awareness of and support for a movement to pass a constitutional amendment to abolish the military draft as a form of involuntary servitude.

Jesse has first-hand experience with the involuntary servitude of the military draft.  He was drafted for the Vietnam War in 1966, when he was 18.  He told his draft board that he wouldn’t kill, but he didn’t know the correct procedure for qualifying as a conscientious objector (and he had not, at that time, even heard of Quakers).  As a result, he ended up in several military prisons.  Eventually, he was beaten so badly in prison that he ended up in a coma and spent several months in a hospital recuperating.  A nurse gave him an opportunity to escape, which he took.  After several years underground in the U.S., Jesse went to Canada and lived there for 26 years before he was able to clear his name here in the U.S. and return.
Currently, Jesse is following a leading from God to walk across the country on behalf of The People’s Campaign to Abolish the Draft.  Yes, we still have a draft in this country.  Those of us with teenage sons know this, because our boys are required by law to register for it when they turn 18.  The draft isn’t active at the moment, but it’s a proverbial sleeping giant.  The latest legislation proposed to re-activate the draft, in 2010, would have allowed the government to call up both men and women between the ages of 18 and 42.

Take a look at Jesse’s progress so far on  He has been delayed a few days here with us, because people keep asking him to come talk to various folks.  I suspect, if our community is any indication, that it will take him longer than the 2 years he is planning on, to make it across the country and back.  There is a website currently under construction at  It isn’t ready as I write this, but Jesse has high hopes that it will be up and running within the next day or two.
If you feel led to donate to the cause, you can do so on the Facebook page.  He also has a P.O. Box for old-fashioned paper donations.  Jesse-Blue is very happy and eager to talk about how we can pass a constitutional amendment to abolish the draft.  He also likes to talk about finding ways to ensure that all military personnel are guaranteed the civil rights they had as civilians.  And if you express interest, he will tell you about Native Americans, and even throw in a dollop of Thic Nhat Hanh.  He’ll talk to senators and high school students, and he’ll talk to you and your group too, if you are on his route.  And he is always grateful for hospitality.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Death is Darned Inconvenient

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”  John 12:24

It turns out that dying takes a very long time, is extremely unpleasant, and darned inconvenient.  I don’t recommend it.  Physical dying seems to be all over the place, in terms of how long it takes, and how apparently painful it is….  But psychic/emotional/spiritual deaths seem generally to take a while and to be quite painful, according to the literature.  That has been my experience too.
It has been a really nasty couple of years.   During the final acute phase late this winter, after I had articulated to myself that indeed, what it felt like was that I was dying, I tried to find comfort in the verse above.  It helped a little, because I was able to tell myself that dying would be the beginning of a new phase of change and growth and possibly even beauty and betterness.  But I had to admit to myself that probably the grain of wheat didn’t look forward to becoming a green and beautiful plant much.  Probably the grain of wheat was scared and lonely and hurting, and really truly actually liked being a grain….  All smooth and clean and brown and small…..   why change that? What is all this suffering about anyway?  What’s to like about getting torn apart?
Inexplicably (which in my opinion means God did it), I discovered and was drawn to a book about shamanism at just about that time.  In it, I discovered the traditional expectation of the experience of death/rebirth that tends to be considered a prerequisite for acceptance as a shaman in most of the shamanic cultures.  Sometimes, it was induced through various vision quests, sometimes it just happened…  but there was almost always some sort of disintegration/re-integration that was often dramatic and generally painful for the shaman experiencing it.  In a shamanic culture, Jesus’ story would have been understood as the story of a powerful Shaman.  This let me put a little perspective on my own experience…
And then, late this spring, I realized that I was Gone.  Gone.  Empty.  Ended.  “Ah, I am dead now,” I thought.  I had completed the disintegration process, but I didn't immediately begin the re-integration process.  I hesitated to start on that stage….  I didn’t want to just start out re-integtrating myself in the same way I was before, for fear that I would eventually have to go through the dying process yet again, and dying kind of sucks.  So, I have been “in the womb” for a while now, thinking about what I want to be when I am born again.
I made a rule for myself that I wouldn’t even consider any goals that began with “I should”.  This is no list of New Year’s resolutions… no “self-improvements” allowed.  These are promises I am making to myself, not tasks.  It’s a long list so far.  If I end up even half the person I have been imaging, I’ll be pretty cool.

Here’s a partial list:
I will be a child of Light, and I will walk in the Light.
I will have a garden.
I will write.
I will have wild birds in my life.
I will have my hounds.
I will walk in the Spirit, as sensitive to the ever-present Spirit world as to the visible material world.
I will understand what the trees whisper.
I will find meaningful and rejuvenating solitude.
When I’m tired, I will rest.

I will write.  And so I am here again.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Cowboys and Indians, Quaker-Style

Today after meeting, we were all standing around and talking like we usually do. One of the other mothers of young children stopped by where I was chatting, and let me know what the kids were up to outside. She looked a little bemused, and not entirely comfortable:

"They're all out there playing Indian Wars. I wonder if I ought to break it up."

I made some vaguely sympathetic comments, and she continued, with a little smile:

"The Indians are the good guys. And two of the girls are out there playing negotiator. They told me, 'We're not on either side. We're negotiating a treaty.'"

We decided to let them keep playing. Bless 'em all, and bury my heart at Wounded Knee.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Long Comment that Ought to Appear under "On the Hope Inherent in Opening One's Mouth"

*Deep Sigh* This is not a particularly well-written post. It was originally just supposed to be a comment reflecting on another person's comment in my previous blog post, but it got waaaaay too long. I apologize for the fact that it is disjointed and clunky.


Hi John Michael... I have done some research as you suggested, and I have found some information that, after reflection, I have decided should be included here for folks to see. I hope you will forgive me if I seem at all sharp in any of my comments here, it isn't my intention. I like you very much; you're among my favorite people. I think that you and I will continue to disagree about this issue, unfortunately, but I hope we can do it with mutual respect.

First, I do not care at all what form the sexual intimacy between a married couple takes, so long as that intimacy makes them both feel loved and cared for. This is merely opinion, and is no more or less valid than your opinion about the emotional nature of certain acts. We will have to disagree here, until further Light brings us more into unity one way or another.

When I say "married couple," by the way, I am not limiting my comments to legally married couples. Quakers believe that a marriage is made by God, not by state paperwork. Our Quaker forebears 350 years ago were accused of being fornicators because it was illegal for them to marry outside official church/state channels... they married each other anyway.

Second, anal sex does indeed have health risks attached to it. So does your average white-bread monogamous coitus, at least for women. Urinary tract infections, for example, are not at all unheard of as a result of monogamous heterosexual sex. Every physical thing we do carries certain risks with it...

Also, to base one's objections to homosexuality based on one sexual act seems a little misguided... I don't think that lesbians are known for participating in anal sex much. And I can think of quite a few ways for two men to be sexually intimate without engaging in anal sex. One old Talmudic interpretation of Leviticus, by the way, is that only anal sex is prohibited; no other homosexual activity is prohibited (obviously, Jewish interpretation will vary depending on the group). So being against anal sex does not equal being against homosexual sex.

Now, HIV/AIDS is a serious disease. And the primary risk factor for getting HIV/AIDS is being a man who has sex with men. Interestingly, there are no documented cases of female-to-female HIV/AIDS, although lesbians do contract the disease in other ways. So, if I wanted to make sure of avoiding HIV/AIDS, I would be better off as a female being a lesbian than being heterosexual... in that case, being homosexual would reduce my risk of contracting HIV/AIDS.

Now, how many gay men have HIV/AIDS in the U.S.? I checked over at the CDC and found some numbers. There are roughly a million people with HIV/AIDS in the U.S. today. Of those, roughly 53% contracted it through male-to-male sex. Definitely a risk factor for the disease. But how many gay people actually have HIV/AIDS? If we assume that approximately 5% of the population is LGBT (which is the current best guess), the estimated 586,000 men who have contracted HIV/AIDS through male-to-male sex represents about 4% of the LGBT population in the U.S. This means that 96% of the LGBT population is Free of HIV/AIDS. Perhaps they do not engage in those high-risk activities that you have written about--anal sex and promiscuity? Perhaps the vast majority of LGBT folks are just like straight folk in their intimate relationships... limiting their loving to the one they love?

I looked into the "incubation" period for AIDS, by the way, and I think that your estimation of that gay couple's sexual activities was probably extremely misguided, at least based on the evidence. The median length of time between contracting HIV and becoming symptomatic is almost ten years, and can be much longer... nearly twenty. That's without any treatment. With current treatments, it can remain asymptomatic for many many years. So it is entirely possible, even likely, that the man's HIV was contracted before the couple ever became a couple. I think you owe them a mental note of apology for assuming the worst of them.

As a digression regarding stereotypes, I remember taking a psychology course in college. One of the things that I remember was a study of young women. Women with a low self-esteem (that is, women who had been told too often that they were unloved and unlovable), tended to express that self-hatred in their lives through alcohol abuse, drug abuse, promiscuity, and suicide. Just exactly the things that the LGBT community has been stereotypically associated with for many years. Perhaps they were driven to such acts through our cultural disdain, and not through their own "natural" tendencies at all?

I have looked at ex-gay information with interest. It is true that some gay people can and have been "cured" of their attraction to people of the same sex. But I do not agree that something should be cured just because it can be cured. Left-handed people used to be "cured" of being left-handed, at great cost to their psyches.

I also found the available estimated best-case statistics interesting... of people who seek counseling in order to become ex-gay, roughly one-third are "cured." Another third show some progress.. which I guess means that they are a little less likely to become romantically interested in someone of the same sex. This is from the gay population that WANTS to become ex-gay. That leaves a LOT of people out in the cold, when it comes to a cure, even for people who don't want to be attracted to people of the same sex. Becoming ex-gay is clearly not the solution for everyone.

I support a Catholic's right to believe in Catholic doctrine. I disagree with a lot of Catholic doctrine, but I think that people who think it is true should have that right. I do wish that the Catholic church would examine its practice regarding homosexuals though, because it seems to me that it is currently treading very dangerously close to hypocrisy. Look at the archdiocese of Denver, Colorado. Recently, the lesbian parents of a child were told that the child would not be allowed to re-enroll in parochial school there next year, because the parents do not "live in accord with Catholic teaching." At the same school, I have read, are children whose parents are single, divorced, and non-Catholic... none of whom can strictly be considered to be living in accord with Catholic teaching, either. The Catholic church in this case has singled out homosexuality as some sort of "special" sin, above and beyond any others. That's wrong. I hope that the church is able to figure out how to act in fairness to all people who are not living in accord with Catholic teaching, rather than hypocritically singling some out and ignoring others.

Honestly, if any of my children ever were to discover that they were LGBT, I would have the same advice that I would have for straight children: Your sexuality is a precious gift, not to be treated lightly or with disrespect. In a marriage, it will strengthen your relationship, help you learn to trust each other, and bring you both joy.

Thanks to everyone for your comments here. I've rambled on long enough, but I deeply appreciate everyone's care while replying to each other.