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Pride in New York City, and Around the World!

This year’s NYC Pride March was a wonderful celebration, which for the moment at least, made me proud to be human. It was a reminder that our brothers and sisters, and all of us in between, can be beautiful, both inside and out. I was especially moved when I juxtaposed the level of hate that has been directed at the LGBTQ community, with the amount of love, humor, boldness, and compassion that everyone shared during the day’s festivities. Solidarity and love were all around, along with rainbow confetti, and it truly felt like one giant party (even a few police officers were laughing and taking selfies). I have never had so much fun at a march, and it made me wonder about the possibilities for future events. Two million strong showed up in NYC (with millions more across the globe), to not only provide their love and support, but to also have a damn good time too! 🙂

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The LQBTQ community is under attack. I was a school teacher for many years and I can tell you that what kids need the most who are questioning their sexual orientation & identity, is support, empathy, and love. In other words, a safe hug, and the opposite of what so many lunatics in power are proposing. It is that simple. The ACLU is currently tracking 491 anti-LGBTQ bills across the country. It is pure insanity, and criminal (and a way to distract Americans from real issues like ongoing illegal wars, the climate crisis, animal and human rights, and a lack of universal healthcare). Did you know that LGBTQ youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their peers, as nearly 50% of LGBTQ kids have considered suicide in the past year alone? WTF? All children are our children, and the last thing they need is to be the target of hate. Incidentally, studies show that a disproportionate number of people who are homophobic, are also gay. Please keep that in mind the next time you hear anyone disparage the LGBTQ community, especially dangerous and backwards thinking politicians like Governors Abbott & DeSantis, and Senator Rubio (just to name a few), whose monstrous actions are unforgivable.
Click here to learn more from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Click here to learn more about the unprecedented rise in suicidal behavior for US teen girls. 

Click here for the study “Homophobes Might Be Hidden Homosexuals.”

I frequently circle back to the commonsensical words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., for guidance. His quote, “Injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere”, helps me simplify things, and remain on the right side of history (despite the loss of friends, and invitations to parties). Sounds plain enough, right? Why is it so easy then, for people to hate, or knowingly cause harm, and for others to look the other way and not care? And how is it possible for so many to be compassionate, and perhaps even brilliant in one way (e.g., many vegans, and peace & climate activists), and yet so disconnected and dangerously ignorant in others?

Milton Mills, MD, is a lifestyle medicine doctor who advocates for a healthy plant-based diet as a means to prevent, and often reverse, chronic illnesses, and other health issues (although he has a blind spot for democrats, Milton Mills is a trusted source, who does excellent work). 

As per Dr. Mills: “I DO NOT believe that people who claim to be vegan AND “conservative” are really “vegan” — certainly not the “ethical” variety! Because “ethical” veganism is fundamentally about compassion, and rejecting cruelty and abuse of any living being. So it is oxymoronic, cognitively dissonant and morally/ethically incongruent to claim you care about the mistreatment of “animals,” but you don’t care about the same kinds of abuse being visited on other humans — or worse, that you are actually racist or bigoted against certain classes of humans. I think what these people are “really” doing is USING “animals” to animate and prosecute their racism, bigotry and racist ideology! They are in effect saying “these animals are more important” than those Black, Brown, Muslim or LGBT people. I truly believe that IF whatever group of humans they hate and despise could magically be removed from the Earth overnight, these same so-called conservatives would either find another class or group of humans to hate and denigrate or they would begin making “differences” amongst the “animals” as to which ones were more “worthy” and deserving of help and compassion. Because “character is consistent”! If you are TRULY against cruelty and abuse, then that would extend to ALL LIVING BEINGS. Period.”
Click here to learn more from Dr. Milton Mills on why humans are not designed to eat meat.
Click here for the website for Dr. Milton Mills.

Regarding the hateful lunacy of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Texas Governor Gregory Abbot, and the complicity of Americans who choose to look the other way:

“First they came for the gypsies, and I did not speak out, because I was not a gypsy.
Then they came for the homosexuals, and I did not speak out, because I was not a homosexual.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.”
– German Pastor Martin Niemöller (there are many variations of this text)

And speaking of Florida, just how broken is it? I lived in Florida over 20 years ago, but I had to leave due to its toxic, and racist culture (too many confederate flags, and gun-toting pickup trucks). Kudos to the NAACP for issuing a travel advisory for Florida! Here is an excerpt from the NAACP travel notice: “Florida is openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals. Before traveling to Florida, please understand that the state of Florida devalues and marginalizes the contributions of, and the challenges faced by African Americans and other communities of color.” Is this 1923 or 2023? Again, WTF? I hope that our brothers and sisters in Florida will rise up and remove their dangerously repulsive governor, Ron DeSantis, from office. People are dying because of his bigoted madness.
Click here for the NAACP travel notice.

There are other reasons and theories too for why so many good people don’t care about ALL matters of justice and equality, including Cognitive Dissonance, and CarnismHave you ever heard of System JustificationAnat Shenker Osario had this to say on the subject when she was interviewed on the always engaging Amicus podcast, with Dahlia Lithwick.
“System Justification is a very real natural human proclivity, and there are natural evolutionary beneficial reasons for why it exists. People tend to think that things are going to be okay, there is an order to the universe, things will sort of turn out as they are meant to do. What is interesting with system justification, is that it tracks really closely with political ideology. People who are more inclined to be system justifiers are more conservative, and that can be both conservative which can be in a right wing traditional sense, but it can also mean more attached to norms, and that generally comes from people for whom those standards, norms, traditions, have been extraordinarily beneficial. So, people at the top of the societal hierarchy, of course benefit from saying, hey, you know, the system is good. So, I think the unwillingness to actually call a spade a spade, maybe it comes or is justified by that there is no actual solution. But I don’t think that that is where it emerges from, I think that it emerges from a false model that you rightly wrote about, where if we behave well, if we go high, then they’re going to come on up here and hang out with us, when in fact, as I frequently tell folks, you can keep turning the other cheek, and I promise they’ll keep slapping you…System justification is on display at all times. People need to believe that things are going to be okay…”
Click here for the full interview.
Click here for an excellent piece from Anat Shenker Osario.
Click here for a superb article from Dahlia Lithwick, and Michael Podhorzer
Click here to learn more about System Justification.
Click here to learn more from Anat Shenker Osario.

Although I think of myself as a global citizen, I am also an extremely lucky, and privileged white man, who never went to bed hungry while growing up in the wealthiest country in the world. Having said that, I have protested and marched on behalf of dozens of causes in my lifetime (Anti-War, Black Lives Matter, Palestinian Rights, Women’s Rights/MeToo, Gay Pride/LGBTQ, Animal Rights, Human Health, Farmworker Rights, Economic Justice, Argentine Human Rights, Climate Justice, etc.), and I feel as though I am still sometimes dismissed, or “cancelled”, because I am perceived as a typical white guy (once by a person I had known for many years). Anyway, I love this quote by Frederick Douglass (some people believe that Mr. Douglass would have been “cancelled” today for speaking these words).
Frederick Douglass: “We hear, since emancipation, much said by our modern colored leaders in commendation of race pride, race love, race effort, race superiority, race men, and the like… [But] I recognize and adopt no narrow basis for my thoughts, feelings, or modes of action. I would place myself, and I would place you, my young friends, upon grounds vastly higher and broader than any founded upon race or color… We should never forget that the ablest and most eloquent voices ever raised in behalf of the black man’s cause, were the voices of white men. Not for the race; not for color, but for man and manhood alone, they labored, fought and died… It is better to be a member of the great human family, than a member of any particular variety of the human family. In regard to men as in regard to things, the whole is more than a part. Away then with the nonsense that a man must be black to be true to the rights of black men. I put my foot upon the effort to draw lines between the white and the black…or to draw race lines anywhere in the domain of liberty.”

And there you have it. We are all brothers and sisters, and all children are our children. We are the caretakers. The vile, and unconscionable attacks on the LGBTQ community, are attacks on not just our “great human family”, but all sentient beings as well (again, there are 491 anti-LGBTQ bills in the US). Vitriol towards anyone is poisonous for everyone, and it also distracts us from other pressing issues, like illegal ongoing wars, animal and human rights, the climate crisis, unsustainable food systems, and a lack of universal healthcare (most Americans have wanted universal health coverage for decades). Creating distractions of “hate” is part of what motivates the rich and powerful. Did you know that the US provides weapons and military assistance to more than 85% of the nations that treat LGBTQ+ people as criminals? Should any of us be surprised to learn that the United States has more billionaires (750+), than any other country on the planet? Major investors and business elites dominate the making of US public policy. According to Northwestern University, “There can be little doubt that the wealthy exert more political influence than the less affluent do…We report the results of a pilot study of the political views and activities of the top 1% or so of US wealth-holders. We find that they are extremely active politically and that they are much more conservative than the American public as a whole with respect to important policies concerning taxation, economic regulation, and especially social welfare programs. Variation within this wealthy group suggests that the top one-tenth of 1 percent of wealth-holders (people with $40 million or more in net worth) may tend to hold still more conservative views that are even more distinct from those of the general public.” When will we learn, and hold the villains who make billions accountable? 
Click here to learn more about the illegal ongoing US wars.
Click here to learn more about the villains who make billions.
Click here to learn more about how capitalism commodifies life.
Click here to learn more from Northwestern University on how conservative billionaires control public policy. 

As Dr. King said, Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

The NYC Pride March was a ton of fun. I was honored and proud to participate, and grateful to meet so many beautiful members of our “great human family”, who truly inspire. 🙂

Until next time…

Click here to learn more about the anti-Trans legislation from Chase Strangio, and Democracy Now!.
Click here to learn more from Truthout.
Click here to learn what gay pride flag designs mean.
Click here to learn more about queer history and stories.
Click here to learn more about the NYC Pride March.
Click here to learn more about NYC Pride.
Click here to learn about Toronto’s Pride Parade.
Click here for a superb article from Matthew Hoh showing that the US provides weapons and military assistance to more than 85% of the nations that treat LGBTQ+ people as criminals.

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