Tag Archives: Pride

The world keeps spinning…World Aids Day 2017

Every year at this time I do a post about World Aids Day. Why? Because I feel like it’s important to remind people that this epidemic hasn’t gone away and even though things are getting better, there’s still a lot of fighting left to do.

I remember becoming aware of HIV and Aids a long time ago, watching on the news as it became apparent that this new disease so many people were calling “gay cancer” was something that could…and would affect everyone. And I was horrified by the fact that so many governments seemed so unconcerned about doing something to help stop it.

I haven’t always been an advocate of equality. When I was younger I was so caught up in my own life, so sure in my immortality back then, that most of the time, the goings on in the world around me barely registered with me.

But as I got older, I grew to understand that the people I shared the world with did have an effect on me and my life and that by at least trying to make things better for them, I was making the world a better place for me.

So, I could spout statistics here, tell you about the millions of people around the world who are still contracting HIV and dying from its effects. I could tell you about the treatments that are helping people live better lives, treatments that when followed properly will leave someone HIV virtually undetectable. I could tell you about all the amazing people in so many different countries who are working together to hopefully and finally find a cure for this virus that has taken so many lives. I could tell you that there are drugs you can take that will help protect you from becoming HIV positive.

But I won’t. If you’re interested, you will look that information up for yourselves. All the soapboxing I can do here will not make you care if you don’t already. I’ll include some links at the end of this post to help you along if you care to learn more.

What I am going to do it to continue trying my best to help where I can. I’m looking for new opportunities in 2018. I’ll be doing the AIDS Walk in Edmonton again and this year I’m hoping my daughter will join me. My kid has so much heart and spirit and it makes me proud that she is so much more aware of what’s going on in the world around her than I ever was at her age.

We will go to Pride together again in 2018, doing our best to support a community that so many people we care about belong to. We always meet the most interesting people there and it’s one of the ways we find opportunities to give back.

And I truly hope every year when I write this post, that someday I will be writing about how the cure was finally found. That is my dearest wish for the people I know who are HIV positive and for everyone who is living with, or will be living with this disease.

Here’s those links I told you about.

The link to CATIE in Canada: http://www.catie.ca/en/world-aids-day

World Health Organization information: http://www.who.int/entity/campaigns/aids-day/en/

Canadian Aids Society: http://www.cdnaids.ca/

United Nations: http://www.un.org/en/events/aidsday/index.shtml

Please take the time to investigate the options in your own country, where you want to help, or you need help.

2015-11-25-Infographic-HIV-AIDS-in-Canada-EN---WEB

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under AIDS Walk Edmonton, Monday Raves, Pride, World Aids Day

My heart hurts but I have hope…remembering Pulse one year later.

I remember waking up a year ago and turning on the news and it wasn’t long until I started to cry. I just couldn’t fathom how so much pain and anguish could be visited on so many people because of who they love. Think about that for a minute. Because of who they LOVE…

How ridiculous does that sound when you say it out loud? I can’t bring myself to understand how love could ever be a reason for hate.

49 people lost their lives in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando Florida because some mentally deranged man decided walk in and start shooting. Why? No one will ever truly be able to explain it but it’s probably a combination of things. I’ve heard he wanted to make his father proud of him. I’ve heard that he may have been gay and it went against everything he and his family believed in. Self-hatred is a powerful thing, especially when everyone you surround yourself with openly hates everything you secretly know you are.

In the end though, the why of it all doesn’t change anything. Those people are still gone and their friends and family and the LGTBQ community and their allies are still mourning for them. Parents lost sons and daughters, children lost mother’s and father’s and so many lives were irreparably damaged and sometimes the scope of it overwhelms me.

The day after it happened, a gay couple I am acquainted with in town came into the store I work at and the sadness in their faces almost had me breaking into tears at the till and I wanted to walk up and hug them both so tightly. They are a couple in their 40’s who are always smiling, joking and they take the time to speak to me with kindness every time I see them so for me their pain was glaringly obvious as they caught my eye and nodded. It was heartbreaking.

I look at my daughter. She is the shining light of my life and I can’t imagine the darkness that would overtake me if she was no longer there. I’m trying to raise her to be the best person she can be and I love every single thing about her, the good and the bad. There is nothing she could ever be or do that would make me love her any less and every single parent should feel the same way.

The urge to hide her away to protect her is so strong but I know I can’t. So, I let her go, she’s 16 and starting to make strides toward her independent life and all I can do is hope that she finds her happiness.

On Saturday, Meg went to Pride without me for the first time with the GSA she attends and it was so hard. Letting her go to the city alone is difficult at the best of times and something like Pride could be an attraction to people who could be looking to hurt the LGTBQ community. But she is determined to show her support and she loves going to Pride so much. Like me, she finds that the joy of all the people celebrating Pride is contagious and as she has a lot of friends who are a part of the community, it is her honor (and mine) to go out and show her support for them.

Her and I have a deal. She gets to do things as long as she has her phone on her and always answers it when I call. Most of the time she does. Once in a while, she misses the call and it always makes my heart stutter in my chest until I hear back from her.

One of the stories that had me sobbing was of rescue workers and police, who in the aftermath of the murders, had to try to sort through the scene while listening to the never-ending ringing cellphones of people who were never going to answer them again. Loved ones, having heard about the shootings, desperately trying to get a hold of someone they knew could be there, hoping and praying for an answer that would never come.

So yes, today my heart hurts so very much. I will spend the day thinking about the Pulse victims and the friends and family who are still mourning for them.

But I will also be thinking about my daughter and her friends in the GSA. Kids who are being raised to help make the world a better place for everyone. I will think about all the people I’m seeing on the news who are remembering and paying tribute to those who were lost and know that are trying so very hard to help the community heal.

I know this post rambles on a little. My head and my heart are all over today but I felt the need to remember out loud. I don’t claim to be a part of the LGTBQ community and I can never truly understand everything they have been through, but I’m an ally, and I stand with them whenever I can. And I’m hoping for a better tomorrow for us all.

DCHoC3nUAAAbM3Z

Leave a comment

Filed under Pride, This is important.

So, you have a few questions about AIDS Walk 2016…

I know what you’re thinking. She just blogged, like a couple of days ago? What could she possibly have to say already? It’s usually month between blogs posts, unlike real life, where I never shut the hell up!

But, I just announced the other day that for the first time I’m participating in the 25th Annual AIDS Walk and Superhero run in Edmonton and I’d like to talk a little bit about that.

Every year I do a post on December 1st for World AIDS Day and I always try to explain why it’s so important to me to bring awareness to those around me. I probably do a terrible job at putting into words why I feel so strongly about it, but my feelings about the whole situation grow stronger every year and I’m finding myself looking for other ways to show my support for people who are HIV positive. I had no idea that Edmonton did such an amazing event every year, let alone for the last 25 years!

I get a lot of questions these days. Why do I write books where the two main characters are both men? Why do I attend Pride (and take my kid with me)? Why do you worry about things that have nothing to do with you? Why are you being so weird? Are you gay? Are you HIV positive?

You wouldn’t believe the things people feel free to ask you when they are hiding behind a computer keyboard and have no fear of any consequences (or any manners either) and while I’m under absolutely no obligation to answer any of them (as far as I’m concerned anyway) I’m willing to answer some.

Why do I write m/m romance books? Because it makes me happy. It lets me show my support for the LGBTQ community in a unique way that also lets me express myself creatively. I’m insanely proud of being published and I will never regret finally giving in and submitting my first manuscript to my publisher.

Why do I attend Pride? Once again, it lets me show my support for a community that has shown me nothing but kindness and understanding and I truly believe equality is everyone’s right and going to Pride lets me see how it could be in a world where discrimination and bigotry wasn’t tolerated. Why take my kid? Because I want her to grow up in a better world. Someone once said “be the change you want to see in the world.”and so taking my daughter and educating her is one of the ways that I’m doing that.

Plus, Pride is a whole lot of fun. Being surrounded by people celebrating who they are is one sure way to find a bunch of joy for yourself.

Am I gay? Nope, definitely not. However, I don’t have to be gay to know that there are terrible things happening to people for no logical reason what-so-ever and be outraged by it.

Am I HIV positive? Also no, but I’ve never had cancer or diabetes or MS either and still managed to find a way to support the people who are living with those diseases and the people who love them.

Why am I being so weird? Honestly, I guess weird depends on your point of view. I think I’m perfectly normal and you wanna know a secret? A big one?

I’m kind of selfish because in finally letting myself express my feelings about so many things I’ve always believed in but been too scared to say makes me feel better about myself.

Being good and kind and doing the right thing makes me feel good about myself, even if every once in a while, someone manages to push a button or two resulting in a long rant on my blog about why I do what I do.

And for the last question…why do I worry about things that have nothing to do with me? Because I believe we are all stuck living on this great big world of ours and I think it’s everyone’s responsibility to be the best human beings they possibly can. And I think too many people don’t realise they aren’t as unaffected by what goes on around them as they think they are.

So, there you go. It’s just me trying to be a better person and make the world a better place for my kid in the ways that I can.

So, that being said, if you wanna support me then click here on the clicky thing and take a look: “clicky thing”

BTW, a little side note to my handsome and wonderful nephew. I know the walk is on your birthday and I promise to make it up to you with the dinner and dessert of your choice whenever you want it. I hope knowing that your Aunty is doing something to help people will help you forgive me for missing your big day.

AIDSWALK LOGO1

1 Comment

Filed under AIDS Walk Edmonton, I'm so excited!, Pride, This is important., World Aids Day

Heading off to Pride…and a book rec.

So, here we are again. It’s June (almost) and that means Pride celebrations will be happening all over the place, including Edmonton, where I will be heading on Saturday with my daughter and some young friends from work who’ve never been to a Pride celebration but always wanted to.

First of all, for those people who’ve been asking Pride is celebrated in June as a tribute to the Stonewall Riots that took place on June 28, 1969 and started at the Stonewall Pub in New York. I could write a lot of things about Stonewall and the brave people there who took a stand, but I’m just going to leave you the link and let you all read it for yourself.

Ever since there, people have come together to celebrate and support the LGTBQ community in June. And that’s where I’m taking my daughter.

She’s been before, a couple of years ago.. I went the year before myself and even though I was alone, I enjoyed myself so much and couldn’t wait to take her the next year.

Why did I go? Because I wanted to show my support for a community that is often discriminated against for no good reason. Loving someone is not something that should even be used against you to cause you pain or suffering and for these people it so often is.

I also went to show support for the people I write about. I have met some of the most amazing and wonderful people since I started writing m/m novels and I want to express my love and adoration for those people who have been so kind to me. Plus, it was a lot of fun being around people who are so happy to be able to be themselves. That kind of joy is contagious and something that everyone should be able to feel.

Why did I take my daughter? Because I want her to live in a better world and it’s children like her who will make it better. I want to live in a world where my grandchildren will say “Really Nan? There was really a time when gay people couldn’t get married? That’s so weird!”

It’s already different for you. When I took her, I wrote a blog post about how it felt to watch her experience Pride for the first time. I kept waiting for that “aha” moment, when she looked around and realized that this was how things SHOULD be all the time. I was disappointed for a while when she just took it all in stride and then I had a little epiphany of my own. To her, this was how it was and there was no surprise for her, because this how I raised her.

To Meg, the parade was fun, because you know, they always are, and it was awesome walking around, exploring the booths and meeting new people, but for her. there was nothing out of the ordinary because I raised her to  live in the world I wanted it to be, not in world that still is in so many places.

She thinks discrimination of any kind is just stupid and she doesn’t understand why anyone would look down on anyone else because of race, religion or sexual orientation. She’s always saying “there’s so many real things in the world to worry about. Why do people care who other people love?”

I’m pretty damn proud of her.

So this year, I’m taking more people with me. A girl I work with has always wanted to go but was reluctant to go alone. I get that. For a lot of people, roaming around a bunch of strangers is a scary experience and when I told her she could go with us, she was thrilled to get the chance. Then her boyfriend asked to come and I said why not? The more the merrier, right?

I can’t wait. I think we are going to have a lot of fun. Hopefully we will meet new friends and run into some old ones. My kid will come home decked out in rainbows, tired and happy with lots of stories to tell and hopefully so will our friends.

And you never know what kind of interesting things can happen when you set out on an adventure. The parade has been moved to one of my favorite parts of town so there will be lots to explore, we will spend some time walking around the University of Alberta as well, and it’s a pretty cool place too.

I’ll let you all know if something interesting happens.

Ok, so for all you asking, I’m still working on Love Aggression. I have some edits in the works and then I will decide what to do with it, whether it means submitting to another publisher or self-publishing, I still love this book, so I’m determined that it will see the light of day.

I’ve also got a couple WIP’s on the go, so I’m keeping busy.

Now for my fic rec. I have two actually. The first one is Floodgates by Mary Calmes. It’s from Dreamspinner Press and I have to say, this author never lets me down. I always go into a Mary Calmes story knowing I’m going to finish it with a smile on my face.

Tracy is an amazing man who made me smile on the first page of the story. Smart, sexy and stubborn he stole my heart from the get-go. He loves fiercely, whether the person is  a friend, family or a lover and there’s nothing he won’t do for someone he cares about.

And Cord stole Tracy’s heart. He’s a big, gruff man who has love Tracy for a long time, but never gives in to his heart until Tracy lets him know that it’s all right to do it.

Check it out here at DSP. You won’t be sorry.

My second book is Otter Chaos by P. D. Singer. Lon and Corey are two of the most adorable characters I’ve ever read and ottershifter Lon is to cute for words. When the author gets inside Lon’s head when he’s an otter, I was absolutely entranced.

If you’re looking for a book that’s has a little sad, but then a whole lot of happy, this is the story for you. Find it here at Amazon.

Also, Dreamspinner has given their site an amazing update so go and check it out as well. You can find me here and I hope you like what you find.

Of course, I’m also on Amazon so look me up.

canada-pride-stickflags

Leave a comment

Filed under I'm so excited!, Pride, Writing and thinking.

The post in which I get myself in trouble again. Discrimination…What the hell?

So, life has been challenging as of late and blogging has fallen off my radar, but recent goings on in the good old US of A have my blood boiling.

You know, every time I think “wow, things are changing so much for the LGBT community and equality seems to be making its way forward around the world” something happens to remind me how far there still is to go.

So, the thing that’s getting to me is this religious discrimination law in Indiana. And this is where I get myself into trouble. I have people whom I love dearly whose faith in God is the thing that gets them through life’s trials. I sometimes envy them that faith because it helps them when times are tough but as much as I’ve tried, I just can’t go along with their way of thinking. I don’t judge them for it, or look down on them for it and I’m more than happy to agree to disagree on the subject because in the end, the thing I do believe in is treating people the way I want to be treated. I think the world would be a much better place if everyone could just get that through their head.

But of course, there’s always those people who don’t have room in their minds and their hearts for a live-and-let-live attitude and it’s something that just pisses me off to no end.

I have so much to say, but getting it organized in my head isn’t always easy so I’m going to start here:

It strikes me as funny that these people who are so determined to have these laws to protect religious freedom don’t seem to understand that theirs isn’t the only religion. These people wanted the right to refuse service to the LGBT community based on their religious beliefs and now they have it. (I’m a little curious about how these businesses are going to tell if someone is gay or not? Will there be a lie detector at the door?)

Can you imagine, however, the outcry if a business owner refused to serve a woman because their religion states that women shouldn’t be out in public uncovered and unaccompanied by a man? Or if someone refused to serve a customer because their god is the only true god so they can in good conscience serve a someone who’s Jewish, or Muslim, Christian or Buddist?

Or how about this scenario?

CB67vrXUIAEayj9

Bet a bunch of you are laughing…that could never happen you say. You’re being ridiculous Cindy!

But it’s something that’s in realm of possibility with these laws in place. I admit that I don’t know all the details of the law, or how it’s to be enforced. I don’t know which business situations they will be relevant to, but it doesn’t really matter. The fact that it is on the books in any way shape or form is offensive and deeply troubling.

I don’t understand the need to discriminate against anyone and while I’m not sure exactly where I stand on God as a whole, I do know that to me, the religion that is preached rarely seems to be the religion that’s practiced. If there truly is a God and we are to believe that he’s a good, kind and merciful God who just wants us to be good to one another, then how can you ever believe that this kind of behavior is anything that he would want?

If you feel the need to look down on someone for any reason…skin color, sexual orientation, looks, financial status or any of the many reasons that cause people to become bigots…maybe you should stop looking at a book written so long ago and look at yourself and figure out what it is about YOU that makes you need to hurt someone to feel better about yourself.

As you all know, I’m a writer who’s main characters are all members of the LGBT community and a bunch of authors I know are putting together a fundraiser in response to the one that’s popped up for the pizza joint in Indiana that stated they wouldn’t serve gays and lesbians. A ton of money is being raised so these people can continue to discriminate against those who don’t deserve it so surely we can raise a bunch of cash to help people who are being discriminated against!

It will be simple, make a donation to a LGBT charity and you have a chance to win something! Tons of authors are offering up prizes, including me and it will be posted on April 18th. I will post the link then and I hope you all will participate. Do something good to help people and get a chance to win a prize!

Anyway, I’m stepping down off my soapbox now. I know I’m probably gonna get some shit for this but to be honest I just don’t care. I’m tired of watching people being treated like crap because of who they love. It really makes no sense to me.

Be good to each other. Strain your brain to look outside the box and see if you can find a way to see things from a different point of view. It’s something I struggle to do every day and I’m hoping it makes me a better person.

2 Comments

Filed under Monday Rants, Things that bug me., This is important.

Pride history, NHTD and all the news that is the news and a fic rec.

So, I’m trying to get better at blogging more so here I go.

First things first. South of me, in the US it’s National HIV Testing Day. It’s one of many ideas put into place to encourage everyone to know their status. I would like to point out that this is something that everyone should be aware of, not just the members of the gay community.

I know too many straight men and women who still think after 30 years of horror and education that they can’t get infected because they aren’t gay. It’s a stupid and arrogant way of thinking and it terrifies me that my daughter is growing up in a world where this kind of thinking still exists.

If you’re sexually active, it’s your responsibility to make sure you know your status and seriously people, it takes so little time to find out. There is a wealth of information out there on the internet about where to get checked and where to find help if the worst outcome is revealed. Show yourself and the people you care about some respect.

A couple more things while I’m on my soapbox. 45 years ago, on June 28, 1969, the Stonewall Riots broke out in NYC. People pushed too far finally pushed back and it was the very violent beginning of a whole community of people finally standing up for themselves. Today Pride is a time for celebrating how far we’ve come with equal rights, remembering those people who have fought for the rights of the LGTBQ community in the past and thinking about how far there still is to go. This weekend there are huge Pride events going on in NYC as well as many other cities across the country. In Toronto they are celebrating with World Pride and I wish I was there! If you’ve never been to Pride, go and check it out for yourself. It’s an amazing journey and if you let yourself see all the joy and love there, it will make you a different person. You can check out more on the Stonewall Riots here: http://www.thestonewallinnnyc.com/StonewallInnNYC/HISTORY.html

And if you’re still wondering why the issue of equality is important to me, I’d like to draw your attention to another, darker anniversary this week. On June 24th 1973, 32 members of the gay community lost their lives in the Upstairs Lounge in New Orleans. While the best suspect was a patron who’d been thrown out earlier in the night, no one was ever charged and authorities made it perfectly clear that no one was really interested in solving the case. After all, no one important died. Yes, that was the attitude. It’s horrific and I’d like to think that it would be so different today but there is places where it wouldn’t be. Check out this article here for more information: http://www.back2stonewall.com/2014/06/june-24th-1973-orleans-upstairs-lounge-arson-attack-kills-32-people.html

So,I’m done with my soapbox now. If you’re still reading then here’s some more news that’s just all about me!

On July 1st my novel, All the Things I Didn’t See is being released in Italian by Dreamspinner Press. I am so excited about this! It’s already out in Spanish and I love that this is opening up my story to a whole new audience. I’m getting some amazing feedback already and I’m in a little bit of shock over the whole thing. If you’re interested, you can pre-order it here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5234 I love the translated title Tutto quello che non vedevo. I wanna hear someone say it in Italian….

Other than that, my shifter story is coming along and I’m very happy about it. My inspiration seems to have found me again and I can’t wait to get this finished.

Now, for a fic rec…

This time I’m reccing The Colors of Romance by Ashavan Doyon. It’s a wonderful story about a young man who’s decided that love isn’t for him…only to have his world turned upside down by a secret admirer. I loved the romance of this story and the determination of the secret admirer to make Theo happy. If you’re looking for a story that will keep you guessing and make you smile you need to check this out. It’s available here at Dreamspinner: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4670 I encourage you to buy it there if you can because we authors get the most royalties from our publishers. Of course it’s available at Amazon and ARE as well.

And of course, you can get all my books at Dreamspinner here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=55_454

They are available at Amazon and ARE as well.

And here’s a photograph taken by a friend of mine. His sunsets are amazing and they always take me to another place….
tywallpaper10

Leave a comment

Filed under Friday Ramblings, I'm so excited!, This is important.

I Took My Girl to Pride and this is what I learned….

gay-flag-canada1

So, I’m sitting here in the middle of Pride Week, at least here in Edmonton and I realized I had some things to say and if you know me at all, you know I say what’s on my mind, lol.

Saturday was the Pride parade in Edmonton and we all got up early in the morning and made our way into the city. Hubby went with my nephew to some sports thing while my daughter and I hopped on the LRT (our subway of sorts) and rode to Churchill Square, just outside City Hall.

It was a beautiful day and people were just starting to arrive and we took advantage of the lack of crowds to walk around and look at every booth. At the biggest booth selling Pride merchandise, her eyes got wide and happy and I knew I was about to spend some money. The girl ended up covered in rainbows and she was so enthusiastic and silly that all the people working loved her and I couldn’t blame them in the least.

At 13 this amazing young lady is the center of my world and her father’s. She’s not perfect and we don’t expect her to be. She’s got the teenage attitude thing going on and boys are starting to take notice and some days I want to lock her in Rapunzel’s tower to keep her safe.

But she’s fierce and independent and way smarter than I could ever hope to be and watching her on Saturday was a revelation that took my breath away.

When I went to Pride for the first time last year I was blown away by it all. The joy and feeling of freedom that everyone was sharing was almost overwhelming for me and I found myself close to tears several times at how wonderful it all was and at how much I wished it could be like that every day. I never heard one cruel word the whole time I was there and so many people stopped to talk to me and asked if I was having a good time and wish me a Happy Pride. I was alone but I’m glad of it because I met some amazing people and I think the experience would have been different if I would have had people with me.

But as I watch my girl on Saturday I kept waiting for her to show some kind of big emotion. I waited for questions that never came and at first I was concerned that she was missing something, but then as I listened to her chat with the people around us, I realized that for her, this was just how it was. Everyone was the same in her eyes, from the adorable young gay couple standing on one side of us to the mom and dad and their three kids on the other side and the grandparents who had complimented her on something a few minutes before.

In her eyes, everyone is equal because that’s what I’ve taught her.

For her, the party was great and the people were fun, but she wasn’t quite getting the big deal because for her this is how it’s supposed to be.

I grew up in a different world than she did in so many ways. Some of the things are worse now. She will never leave the house in the morning and not come home until dark in the summer without checking in because it’s not safe and that’s why she has a phone. Things are scarier now in lots of ways but there are issues that are a good kind of different too.

She knows that the LGBTQ community is still fighting for equality in so many ways but in her mind, it’s a forgone conclusion. Equality is coming and it will happen and she just doesn’t understand why it’s taking so long.

People from my generation (if they thought about it at all) hoped for a brighter future for the LGBTQ community but weren’t sure it would ever happen. When I think about how I was her age when I first started hearing about AIDS and HIV and that was probably my first introduction to the gay community. And even back then, I knew that the horrible things that I was hearing on TV weren’t right and it was then that I started to realize how much injustice had been done to a whole community of people. I’m floored at how far we’ve come…and how far there still is to go.

But watching my girl dance and smile as the parade went by, I figured out that she was the biggest and best thing I had ever done to fight against that injustice and that she is going to be one of the reasons that equality for everyone will happen.

I took her to Pride because I wanted her to see that I didn’t just say I believed in equality, but that I actually meant it and would do my part to support it. I wanted her to learn something and I suppose she did, but in the end, it turns out that I learned even more.

equality

ally

6 Comments

Filed under Things I'm Thankful For, This is important.