Something’s changed

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Monday June 18th, 2012 Visalia City Hall

If anyone had told me, oh, say back when I was in high school, or even for a decade or two after that, that I would end up as some kind of “community leader”, standing at the public’s podium at the City Hall, and accepting a proclamation for that community, I’d have thought they were simply nuts.

Something’s changed.

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LGBT Life Online Panel a great experience

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Sunday was the LGBT Life Online panel held at the PFLAG (Parents, Family & Friends of Lesbians and Gays) meeting here in Visalia.  The Tulare-Kings PFLAG invited this group to speak on blogging and online activities of the LGBT community in the central valley.  From left to right, Andrew, web manager for Tulare-Kings PFLAG‘s website and Facebook pages, Melissa of GayPorterville.com, Brooke of GayVisalia.com and GayCentralValley.com, Justin of My LGBT Plus, myself representing QueerLandia.com and the soon to be discontinued QueerVisalia.com, and Ted of My LGBT Plus sat on the panel.  Each gave an overview of the history and objectives of their respective organizations.  A question and answer period allowed the audience a chance to ask about the various groups and how they operate.

This is the first time I’ve been on such a panel, and it was not too long ago that you’d never have gotten me up in front of a crowd like this.  I was amazed that I was completely calm, and was looking forward to the event before hand, and enjoyed being before the group.  The past few years have seen quite the change in my personal growth, even if I do say so myself, in that I’m much more relaxed and confident.  That’s a big change for me, and I think much of it has to do with deciding to be an out gay man.

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When I Should Have Known

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That’s me, back in 1969 or so.  Twelve years old.  One important thing in my life happened right about then, and a second important thing didn’t.  I wrote about the first thing in a blog posted to Tulare County Atheists some time ago.  This blog is about the second thing, the one that didn’t happen.  At least not for another 25 years.

I had a “girlfriend” when I was 5 years old.  We attended the same kindergarten class in Tacoma.  I remember calling her my girlfriend, and I think she called me her boyfriend, but I’m not sure either of us really thought much of the designation.  For me, it might have been more something my father suggested.  She and I only interacted in school, since we didn’t live close to each other.  We didn’t really play that much together, and other than the status of “girlfriend”, I really don’t recall much about her.  I think her name was the same as my sister’s, Sherry, but I could be mis-remembering that.  We moved after the end of the school year, and I never saw her again.  I don’t recall being upset about that.  Maybe that was the first clue?

That was it for girlfriends up until my senior year in high school.  Second clue?  Perhaps.

I should have figured out the second thing right about the same time I figured out the first.  But there was a big difference between being OK about being an atheist, and being OK about being gay.

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