I'm a day late, sorry this was in my message box this morning, thought it would fit in with the latest theme :smile: Dear Friends: The following is a message I have sent out to two listserves of which I am a member. Please feel free to pass it on. Wayne Hate is not a Christian value. Encouraging fear is not a traditional value. Dear friends: Quoting a political hero of mine, the late Rosemary Brown, "Until we all have made it, none of us have made it." Today, Saturday, May 17th is the International Day Against Homophobia and it is important for us. While life for LGBT folk has improved, it becomes too easy to say that since things aren't so bad anymore, let's just lighten up and look for the next party, the next night at the bars or the next gathering or run of like-minded members of our community. The truth is that homophobia is still a serious problem. In Canada and the United States, for example, right wing religious groups are still doing all they can to block passage by school boards of any anti-bullying policy that includes mention of sexual orientation and sexual identity. Why? Many believe protecting LGBT students, teachers, parents and others in school communities "encourages homosexuality". Others oppose protecting human and safety rights for LGBT folk, declaring we do not deserve rights or protection. As a teacher, I know too well there are both LGBT and straight youth in schools who are bullied either because they are Gay or because others think they are Gay. LGBT teachers are also not immune from discrimination, harassment and bullying. And let us not forget that social and religious conservatives are mounting a very sophisticated campaign to reverse the recent California supreme court ruling recognizing equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. Yet, compared to life in other parts of the world, life in North America is good for LGBT people. As a member of Amnesty International, I get appeals on behalf of transgendered persons in central America who are threatened by death squads and lack protection from legal and police officials. I get appeals from the Metropolitan Community Church on behalf of Queer folk in Jamaica, who are victims of violence inspired by murder music, or in Eastern Europe, who want to hold pride rallies but cannot get permits or protection from government officials at the same time anti-LGBT groups are protected and encouraged. In Nigeria, there are legal penalties for supporting LGBT persons and groups. In Saudi Arabia, prison and severe lashings are the consequence for being convicted of "homosexual acts". In Iran, Gay youth have been hanged. Yes! Celebrate our gains and who we are by attending parties, bars, runs and gatherings, but, in the best traditions of our community, remember those who are victims of homophobic harassment, bullying and violence and work for change. For example, if you know a young person in high school or just out of high school, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, who has concerns about a homophobic climate at her/his school, refer him/her to the school climate survey on the Egale Canada website <Egale Canada>. Encourage our brothers and sisters in California who are fighting to prevent passage of a state constitutional amendment to restore the ban on marriage equality for same-sex couples. The ruling of the California Supreme Court this week can be nullified if the religious right is successful in getting a constitutional amendment passed by voters. Whatever you do, make sure one message is clear: We have a right to be who we are! In this way, we will end homophobia. Blessings!