Originally posted on CBS Chicago:
(CBS) — Pride Fest is this weekend in Chicago and for some older Chicago-area residents, it’s a reminder of how much things have changed and continue to change for the gay community, reports WBBM’s Terry Keshner.
A group of LGBT seniors gathers for lunch every Friday in west suburban Forest Park and welcome anyone to join them.
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It’s mostly a time to eat and socialize, but it’s also an opportunity to reflect and send a message to the younger generation.
“We’ve made it easier, the path for them [younger gay people] to travel, going through the persecutions. There are a lot of people I know in our age group who have gone through electric shock treatments, had to go into mental institutions, because they were declared ill because they were gay,” said…
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Two weeks ago, Jamaican, Nicole Dennis married wife Emma Ben at a seaside ceremony in Trelawny. The coupe admitted that it was an historical moment for Jamaica and the LGBT community. It was a beautiful ceremony on the north coast of the island. The couple admitted that there were some reservations, but were determined to go through with it. Dennis, who left Jamaica as a teenager, revealed that she found a new sense of love for Jamaica, that she had not felt for years. I hop other will see this for what it is and not for what’s it’s not. This is a milestone for Jamaica! I hope that this will lead to more steps in the right direction for my homeland. It is not about LGBT rights, but human rights. Congratulations to the lovely couple!!
Originally posted on Jamaican Journal:
The power of music to unify and inspire is undisputed and a group of at-risk youth from inner-city Kingston neighbourhoods is learning this firsthand. As one told the Gleaner recently: “It has helped me in numerous ways. The orchestra is a community of different instruments, I have to literally try and live in harmony with the persons playing the music. It gives a symbolism of what the real world is like. We have to live in harmony with everybody.”
Fellow Cuso volunteer Karen is currently working with the National Youth Orchestra of Jamaica, the group in which this youth plays. The NYOJ is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that identifies at-risk youth to participate in practices and concerts and become a member of the band. The NYOJ is affiliated with the Edna Manley College of Art as many of the music teachers come from there.
Like many NGOs here, the NYOJ…
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This gay Jamaican would like to wish all the Mothers a Happy Mother’s Day. All the men and women who are both mommy and daddy. The single mothers working two jobs to take care of their children. The women who understand and does what it takes to take care of their children. To my own mother: Women like you are a rare breed. I’m so appreciative of everything you did, and will do for me. I Love you and Happy Mother’s Day.
How could you let this happen? Those are the words that I heard when I came out to another one of my friends. I couldn’t believe it. What!!! Being a lesbian is not what I chose to be. It is who I am and there is nothing I can do about it; even if I wanted to. It took a lot for me not to go off on her. But I still had to realize that the news was a shocker for her. We have been friends for a very long time. In the moment, I wanted to say “Fuck You!”, but I had to give her some time to come to terms with me being gay. I think I made the right decision to just give her some space and time and hopefully one day she can accept me for me. I really would hate to lose her as a friend, but that I would have to accept it.
I have had a crush on an absolutely amazing woman for some time now. Physically, she is not necessarily my type, but she has a beautiful soul; and that is what draws me to her. We do not communicate as often, but that does not keep her off of my mind. No matter how many different women I date, she always seems to find her way to the forefront of my thoughts. I am currently seeing a young lady at the present time, nothing official yet. When we’re together I talk about “Angie” all the time. I talk about her so much that my girlfriend wants to meet her. She thinks that there is something going on between us. I wish! Now that she mentioned it, I think I love her, Angie that is. Seeing that I can’t have her, I’m trying not to let my feelings for her ruin what I have now; but I love someone else! Now I don’t know if I should say anything to my girlfriend about my true feelings. What to do, what to do!
I recently reconnected with an old friend of mine that I’ve known for some years now. For purposes of this blog, let’s call her Jane. As we were catching up, my phone rang. At the end of my conversation, I said “I can’t wait to see you too”. After my conversation ended, she smiled and asked “Who was that”? Without thought or hesitation, I turned said “Oh that’s Ashley, it’s not official yet”. Jane started to ask more questions like are we dating, but it was not until after the second question that I realized that she didn’t know that I was gay. I told her that I am gay and she paused. She wasn’t saying anything, so I didn’t say anything. I couldn’t tell how she was taking the news. She sat silent for at least 2 minutes. Finally I asked “What are you thinking”? All she said was “so you’re gay”? I said yes and I guess she didn’t hear me the first time because she kept asking over and over as if she expected my answer to change. There was another long pause. I told her if she was uncomfortable with it to just let me know, and that I wouldn’t take it personally. Once I put that out on the table she said she “this” was too much for her to handle. I said I understand, there were no hard feelings and I meant that. I expected her to be caught off guard, but not to the point where she would want to end our friendship of over 11 years. I didn’t know that being straight was a friendship requirement. For the folks that chose not to continue their relationship with me on the sole fact that I am a lesbian, I don’t care. I don’t care what you have to say about it. At the end of the day, it’s my happiness!
Last night one of my friends came out to me. I have not known her for long, but we get along really well. It was obviously an uncomfortable conversation for her to have. I let her say what she had to say. When she finished, I laughed and said “I know”. I wasn’t laughing at her, I was laughing at the situation. She knows I’m gay, so it was just surprising that she thought I wouldn’t pick up on her. She kept asking “How did you know”? I told her “It’s called ‘gaydar‘ sweetie”. We had a good laugh about it. I thought it was hilarious!
At my lowest time when I felt as if I was alone and there was no one to talk to about how I felt, I started drinking a lot. Every day I would leave work, go home and drink until I broke down and started crying. Most of the time, I had no idea why I was crying, I just did. When the liquor stopped masking the pain, I turned to a friend who suggested I see a therapist. Of course I resisted, because that’s not something the typical Jamaican did. We don’t go to psychologists and bare our souls. She flat out told me to get over it! After more resistance, I caved in and went. I’ve never told anyone else this, but I went to my first session, sat in the parking lot and cried. To this day, I am still unsure why I was crying. Needless to say, I was terrified. I walked in, sat on the couch, and that that moment I realized that I was making the right decision. I think that was the first time I ever said the word ‘lesbian’ out loud. Let me say, that I walked out of that first session feeling as if the world was lifted from my shoulders. I spent over a year in therapy and it was worth every minute of it. It played such a pivotal role in the person I am now. That experience taught me to accept me for who I am, and not worry about what other may say. Best decision I have made to date, and I’m so thankful I did. For those of you that feel as if you need to carry this burden around, you don’t. You may not feel comfortable taking to someone close to you or someone you know personally. If that’s the case, talking to a therapist is a great idea. It worked for me, and I’m confident that it will do the same for you. To the person that forced me to go to therapy, if you are reading this; “Big ups mi boss!”