Posts Tagged ‘candelight vigil’

Those who attended the Sunshine Cathedral last night, Monday, held in response to the nationwide call for Vigils and Marches as an alert to the recent rash of gay suicides, no doubt found themselves this morning with a revived sense of awe, inspiration and purpose.

The speakers were nothing less than top notch. Each had a specific message, delivered with eclectic soul reaching verbal acuity, embellished with appropriate humor and containing well reasoned intellectual points, impossible for any rational person to challenge or refute.

The program was lead off by Dr. Robert Griffin, Minister for Social Justice of the Sunshine Cathedral, who set the key note for the event. His remarks were then followed by a lengthy series of speakers, each making a point as they saw it, each from their respective positions of leadership within the community or as allies of the LGBTQIA (I know, all those damn initials we use are a bit too much) community.

The follow up speakers included our Executive Director of the Pride Center at Equality Park, Paul Hyman, Chair of the Sunshine Cathedral, Anne Atwell, Presiding Elder of the MCC, Nancy Wilson, members of the Inter-Religious Leadership, Rev. Gail Tapscott of the Unitarian Universalist Church, Rabbi Noah Kitty representing the Congregation of Etz Chaim, a Florida State Senator and a Florida State representative. The closing and summation was eloquently delivered by Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins who also administered the Community Blessing to all who attended as well as extending it to all who did not.

The generally paid for musicians, donated their artistic abilities, declining any compensation, as a proof offering of their sincerity and dedication to the event. The music they provided was from a range of well selected pieces such as “Prayer of St. Frances” performed by soloist Elena Correia, “Holding You,” “This is the Day” with Katy Peterson directing portions of music which included the Sunshine Cathedral Community Choir along with members of the Gay Men’s Chorus having various portions backed up on organ, piano and drum. This was also interlaced with specially created drama “To Be or Not to Be” by the SunServe’s Youth Interactive Theater Group followed by “One Heart” musical of Kris Drumm, as director.

My personal take on all of this? It takes a lot to impress an old high milage, elder curmudgeon such as myself but I was totally impressed by it all, but once being impressed, I remain impressed. All points, all views and all tastes were well represented and fairly presented.

I can not help but further point out the genuine warmth of the Greeters and volunteers of the church. The dedication and sincerity of their purpose was clearly evident, as well as was the overall warmth the church membership and others attending. Coming from background religious mixture of a lapsed Lutheran and shunned Amish, this was all new to me; inspirational, ennobling, humanizing and stimulating.

We also had a good showing of the Wednesday Night Group. I didn’t take a head count, but we did more than fill an entire pew, which afforded us the opportunity for us all to hold hands, cross shoulders, and join together in the celebration of what was taking place.

Though I was unable to go, the group later retired to Peter Pan. I surmise being more attracted to a certain Argentinian waiter than food quality, but with all my sexual afflictions, peccadilloes and proclivities, I realize that I should be the last to talk about that.

So, let us all join together in continuing our crusade against hatred and oppression, now refreshed and re-inspired.


I counted 10 people from our group.


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In September, 4 Gay teenagers committed suicide. Last week at the Wednesday night group, we discussed that those teenagers didn’t committ suicide because they were Gay, but because they felt other people wouldn’t, couldn’t or didn’t accept them because of that. Many of us shared our own expereinces and fears of coming out and the reactions other people would have. The question was raised, how can we accept our HIV-status if we still can’t fully accept our homosexuality. The psychological aspects of learning to accept being both Gay and HIV Positive may take on an added dimension in people who were infected with HIV sexually.

October didn’t bring any better news. In New York, eight gang members were arrested in the torture of two teenage boys and a man in an anti-gay attack. The victims were burned, beat, tortured for hours and sodomized with baseball bats and the wooden handle of a plunger.

Some of our leaders still just don’t get it. A week AFTER those attacks, in New York, where those attacks took place, the NY Republican candidate for Governor, Carl Paladino was still making anti-Gay remarks; “I just think my children and your children would be much better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family, and I don’t want them brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option – it isn’t” His written address went even furthur “There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual” and being homosexual “is not how God created us.”

Personally, I didn’t choose to be Gay anymore than I chose my race or ancestory.

When politicians hold these beliefs is it any wonder that gang members feel it’s ok to burn, beat torture and sodomize people they feel are threats. They’re just doing physically what Carl Paladino was doing verbally. They’re marginalizing homosexuals. They’re marginalizing us, you and I. I guarantee you that if those gang members were upset with those teenager for being Gay, they would have less sympathy for us being Gay and HIV Positive. And I guarantee you that as Governor, Carl Paladino will have no sympathy.

I suspect that we will continue to hear stories like this next month and the month after that. But there is a difference today. Today is Coming out day and there is going to be a candelight vigil. The Pride Center and Sunshine Cathedral are co-sponsoring this event. Today is your opportunity to stand up in a dignified manner and denounce those gang members and the political thought that we, you and I, are not dysfunctional homosexuals. We don’t accept being marginalized and most importantly we accept and embrace ourselves, just as we are.

If you’re angry, about the suicides, about the beatings and about those political ideas, then join me and The Group at the Sunshine Cathedral on 1480 SW 9th Ave at 7:30 PM tonight.


On Monday, Paladino soften, yet reaffirmed his position. Asked about the “brainwashed” remark, he said that comment had “to do with schooling children. My feelings on homosexuality are unequivocal. I have absolutely no problem with it whatsoever. My only reservation is marriage.”

And yet he went on to say that “children should not be exposed to that at a young age. They don’t understand this. It’s a very difficult thing. And exposing them to homosexuality, especially at a Gay Pride parade, and I don’t know if you’ve ever been to one, but they wear these little Speedos and they grind against each other. It’s just a terrible thing.”

So is it just marriage you’re opposed to or the fact that homosexuals have Gay Pride parades that might expose children? Make up your mind.

“Mr. Paladino’s statement displays a stunning homophobia and a glaring disregard for basic equality,” Vlasto said in a statement. “These comments along with other views he has espoused make it clear that he is way out of the mainstream and is unfit to represent New York.”

Caputo disagreed. “The majority of New Yorkers agree with him,” he said of Paladino’s views on homosexuals and gay rights.

Polls have shown 58 percent of New Yorkers favor gay marriage, which Paladino says he opposes. Polls have also shown Cuomo expanding his lead on Paladino after the gap had closed last month to six points.

Paladino’s own personal life has been an issue in the campaign. He has raised charges about Cuomo’s sex life that he now admits are unsubstantiated, while Paladino is married but has a 10-year-old daughter from an affair with a former employee of his. He has also admitted to sending out obscene and racist e-mails.

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Florida Gay-Straight Network

Fort Lauderdale: Monday, October 11 – 7:30PM

-As participants in the Nationwide call for Vigils and Marches for LGBT Suicide Victims & Anti-Gay Bullying Initiatives, The Pride Center at Equality Park and the Sunshine Cathedral (a Metropolitan Community Church affiliated with The Center for Progressive Christianity) are collaborating to present a community-wide event scheduled for October 11, 2010 at 7:30PM to be held at the Sunshine Cathedral, 1480 SW 9th Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL. Your presence and prayers can make a powerful statement.

The Group is going to be there. Come out to support Coming Out.


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