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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

PG & E gives $250,000 to defeat gay marriage ban Proposition 8

NO on 8-Equality California today received a significant contribution of $250,000 from Pacific Gas and Electric Company to help secure the freedom to marry for all Californians. PG&E is partnering with EQCA and the NO on 8 campaign to defeat Proposition 8, the November statewide ballot initiative that aims to treat same-gender couples differently by excluding them from marriage. PG&E's contribution is the largest corporate and only utility-made donation received by the NO on 8 campaign."

We are thrilled to partner with PG&E to ensure that the laws of our state are not used to treat people unfairly," said EQCA Executive Director Geoff Kors, a member of the NO on 8 Executive Committee. "Across California, individuals and businesses like PG&E are pledging to vote no on Proposition 8 because they know it's wrong to single out one group of people to be treated differently."

In addition to the $250,000 shareholder contribution, PG&E today announced it will become a founding member of the Equality Business Advisory Council, an organization that will challenge other businesses to join NO on 8 in supporting fairness and equality for all people."We are proud to join NO on 8 and Equality California to protect the freedom to marry for all Californians," said PG&E Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Nancy McFadden. "

For years, PG&E has advocated for equality and fairness in the workplace, and across California. In that same spirit, PG&E is honored to be a founding member of the Equality Business Advisory Council and urge our business colleagues to join us as we work to guarantee the same rights and freedoms for every Californian."

A recent Field Poll of likely voters showed that a majority of Californians oppose Proposition 8 and would vote against it in November."It's clear that Proposition 8 is wrong for California," said NO on 8 Senior Strategist Steve Smith. "

We are happy PG&E and other business leaders are joining the millions of Californians who recognize that our constitution guarantees the same freedoms and rights to everyone. Regardless of how anyone feels about marriage for same-gender couples, it's wrong to deny a person's fundamental rights and freedoms."

The NO on 8, Equality for All campaign is a large and diverse coalition of civil rights, faith, choice, labor and community of color organizations working to stop and defeat any ballot measure that would deny gay and lesbian couples the right to marry in California.

For more information and to volunteer for the campaign, visit www.equalityforall.comFounded in 1998, Equality California celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2008, commemorating a decade of building a state of equality in California. EQCA is a nonprofit, statewide advocacy organization whose mission is to achieve equality and civil rights of all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Californians.

Orginally published by Equality California

Upcoming Lesbian Events

Here is a list of upcoming Lesbian events throughout the US and Canada. If I missed any, please send me an email and I will be sure to add them.

  • Aug 5 - 10
    Michigan Womyn's Music Festival - Michigan
    Forty performances, a film festival, an artisan/craft show and a full roster of workshops, parties and dances are all slated for one glorious week in August on 650 lush green acres in Michigan. This year's line-up features Michigan's signature combination of new blood and longtime beloveds, representing every genre and generation through the sounds you hear from the stages as well as from the womyn you meet on the wooded path.
    Click here for more information.

  • Aug 14 - 17
    North Carolina Gay & Lesbian Film Festival - Durham, NC
    The 13th Annual North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (NCGLFF) is the second largest gay and lesbian film festival in the Southeast, attracting thousands of patrons yearly. Since its beginning in 1995, the Festival has featured a diverse array of shorts, documentaries and feature films. The Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau named the NCGLFF a Signature Event for Durham, the highest honor bestowed on a cultural event or attraction by the organization.

  • Aug 15-17
    Femme Collective Conference - Chicago
    Femme2008: The Architecture of Femme
    Chicago Wyndham O'Hare
    Femme Collective is committed to creating conferences by Femmes, about Femmes, and for Femmes and their allies. We understand that Femme is more complex than just being a queer person who is feminine; it is a part of how we interact with and shape our world as queer academics, activists, artists, homemakers, parents, professionals, students, teachers, etc. For more information, click here

  • Aug 22-24
    Northern California Women's Music Festival - Laytonville, CA
    Music, workshops, dancing and more.

  • Aug 27 - Sept. 1
    Peach International Tennis Championships - Altlanta
    The Peach International Tennis Championships is an international gay and lesbian tennis tournament and a traditional Labor Day holiday event in Atlanta. For more information, click here.

  • Aug 29-31st
    Lesbian Of Color Weekend - Oakland, CA
    What can you say about a town as rich with history and diversity as Oakland, CA?... The East Bay is truly a melting pot of culture, ideas and art. The home of author Jack London and the Black Panther Party, freedom of expression is ingrained in Oakland's daily life.So let's take a trip to the annual meeting place of expression and life, the Art & Soul festival.Local? Meet us and make some new friends. Don't worry about not knowing anyone, the women are friendly and life is short. Don't miss it! For more information, click here.

  • Sept 2-7
    Womenfest - Keywest, FL
    Great Music, Comedy Shows, Hot Women, Pool Parties and much more. Womenfest offers an all-round good time for women of all ages, creeds and persuasions. With an array of different events to choose from, this week-long event in the Key West sun should be a memorable one. Click here for more information.

  • Sept 28
    Folsom Street Fair - San Francisco, CA
    Leave your inhibitions at the hotel for the Folsom Street Fair. The politicians roll up for photocalls with a dominatrix; non-gays join in the leather-bondage parades and the atmosphere is friendly and inclusive at the world's biggest leather event. Click here for more information.

  • Oct. 5
    Castro Street Fair - Sanfrancisco, CA
    The Castro Street Fair is a community street celebration that was founded by Harvey Milk in 1974. Hundreds of local artists, vendors, craftspeople, and organizations line the streets and celebrate the diversity of the neighborhood. Stages with live entertainment and dance pavilions can be found throughout the fairgrounds. Click here for more information.

  • Oct. 13-19
    Women's Week in Provincetown - Provincetown
    Exceptional Entertainment, Spectacular Scenery, Wonderful Women, Extraordinary Experiences! For more information visit or

  • Oct. 23-26
    Cambria Women's Weekend - Cambria, CA
    Women On A Roll is launching the new, spectacular annual weekend destination in the Central Coast of California! Join hundreds of women as they take over the entire Cambria Pines Lodge! Don't miss the first annual Cambria Women's Weekend offering exciting parties, great music, fabulous comedy, fine wine and incredible excursions situated in beautiful surroundings with lots of fun and friendly women. For more information click here.

  • Oct 24 - 26
    Womynspirit Festival - Orangeville, Canada
    "Women of all ages, cultures and experiences are invited to join together in celebration of women's culture through a weekend of sharing ideas, inventions, magic, songs, firelight, stories, dances, wisdom, healing, laughter, knowledge, creativity, tears, rituals and love. There will also be a time for spontaneous performances, workshops and drumming." For more information, click here.

  • Oct 25
    Exotic Erotic Ball
    It's part Mardi Gras, part burlesque, and part rock concert, yet totally unique. The Exotic Erotic Ball is a celebration of human sexuality and freedom of expression. It's a lingerie, fetish, masquerade affair. For more information, click here.

  • Oct. 25
    The Houston Women's Festival - Houston, TX
    The Athena Art Project produces the annual Houston Women's Festival in the fall. The festival is a celebration of music, art, culture and community that has been held annually since 1995.” This is one of the most important events in the local lesbian calendar. Click here for more more information.

  • Oct. 31 - Nov. 2
    Los Angeles Center Court Championships - LA, CA
    Labor Day weekend in LA plays host to one of the biggest gay and lesbian tennis tournaments on the West Coast. Around 200 tennis freaks bash it out at Studio City Tennis in Los Angeles and La Cienaga Tennis Center in Beverly Hills during the annual Los Angeles Center Court Championships. For more information, visit

  • Nov 21-29
    Edmonton’s Queer Arts & Culture Festival - Edmonton, Canada
    “Exposure uncovers, highlights and celebrates queer arts and culture. The festival exposes queer artists to new audiences, and exposes Edmonton audiences to new art.” For more info, visit

  • Nov 26 - Dec. 1
    Women's White Party
    This massive circuit party is the biggest AIDS fundraiser in America. Thousands of queers descend upon Miami for this event, including tons of women. The ladies have become such an integral part of this celebration that there is now a whole slew of events and parties just for the girls. Women even have their own host hotel, right next door to the men's hotel. For more information, visit

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tennessee man shot churchgoers over liberal views

By Duncan Mansfield  Associated Press Writer

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.—An out-of-work truck driver accused of opening fire at a Unitarian church, killing two people, left behind a note suggesting that he targeted the congregation out of hatred for its liberal policies, including its acceptance of gays, authorities said Monday.
A four-page letter found in Jim D. Adkisson's small SUV indicated he intentionally targeted the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church because, the police chief said, "he hated the liberal movement" and was upset with "liberals in general as well as gays."

Adkisson, a 58-year-old truck driver on the verge of losing his food stamps, had 76 rounds with him when he entered the church and pulled a shotgun from a guitar case during a children's performance of the musical "Annie."

Adkisson's ex-wife once belonged to the church but hadn't attended in years, said Ted Jones, the congregation's president. Police investigators described Adkisson as a "stranger" to the congregation, and police spokesman Darrell DeBusk declined to comment on whether investigators think the ex-wife's link was a factor in the attack.

Adkisson remained jailed Monday on $1 million bond after being charged with one count of murder. More charges are expected. Four victims were hospitalized in critical condition.

The attack Sunday morning lasted only minutes. But the anger behind it may have been building for months, if not years.

"It appears that what brought him to this horrible event was his lack of being able to obtain a job, his frustration over that, and his stated hatred for the liberal movement," Police Chief Sterling Owen said.

Adkisson was a loner who hates "blacks, gays and anyone different from him," longtime acquaintance Carol Smallwood of Alice, Texas, told the Knoxville News Sentinel.

Authorities said Adkisson's criminal record consisted of only two drunken driving citations. But court records reviewed by The Associated Press show that his former wife obtained an order of protection in March 2000 while the two were still married and living in the Knoxville suburb of Powell.

The couple had been married for almost 10 years when Liza Alexander wrote in requesting the order that Adkisson threatened "to blow my brains out and then blow his own brains out." She told a judge that she was "in fear for my life and what he might do."

Calls to Alexander's home were not answered Monday, and the voice mailbox was full.

In Adkisson's letter, which police have not released, "he indicated ... that he expected to be in there (the church) shooting people until the police arrived and that he fully expected to be killed by the responding police," Owen said. "He certainly intended to take a lot of casualties."

Witnesses said the attack was cut short after some church members tackled the gunman and held him until police arrived.

The Unitarian-Universalist church advocates for women's rights and gay rights and has provided sanctuary for political refugees. It also has fed the homeless and founded a chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, according to its Web site.

Owen said authorities believe the suspect had gone to the Unitarian church because of "some publicity in the recent past regarding its liberal stance on things."

Owen did not identify the publicity, but the Rev. Chris Buice, the church's pastor, is a frequent contributor to the Knoxville newspaper.

"In the midst of political and religious controversy, I choose to love my neighbors as myself," Buice wrote in an op-ed piece published in March. "Ultimately, I believe that tolerance, compassion and respect are the qualities we need to keep Knoxville and East Tennessee beautiful."

A police affidavit used to get a search warrant for Adkisson's home said the suspect admitted to the shooting.

Adkisson "stated that he had targeted the church because of its liberal teachings and his belief that all liberals should be killed because they were ruining the country, and that he felt that the Democrats had tied his country's hands in the war on terror and they had ruined every institution in America with the aid of the major media outlets," Investigator Steve Still wrote.

Adkisson told authorities he had no next of kin or family. He lived about a 20-minute drive from the Unitarian church—one of three in the Knoxville area. The church is in an established neighborhood of older, upscale homes and several other houses of worship near the University of Tennessee.

The police chief said the suspect bought the shotgun at a pawn shop about a month ago, and he wrote the letter in the last week or so. A .38-caliber handgun was found in his home.

About 200 people from throughout the community were watching 25 children performing "Annie" when the suspect entered the church, pulled out a semiautomatic shotgun and fired three fatal blasts.

Church member Barbara Kemper said the gunman shouted "hateful words" before he opened fire, but police investigators said other witnesses didn't recall him saying anything.

A burly usher, 60-year-old Greg McKendry, was hailed as a hero for shielding others from gunfire as other church members rushed to wrestle the gunman to the ground. Police arrived at 10:21 a.m., three minutes after getting the 911 call and arrested Adkisson.

No children were hurt, but eight people were shot, including the two who died—McKendry and Linda Kraeger, 61.

When the first shot rang out at the rear of the sanctuary, many church members thought it might be part of the play or a glitch in the public address system. Some laughed before turning around to see the shooter and his first victims covered in blood.

Jamie Parkey crawled under the pews with his daughter and mother when the second and third shots were fired. He saw several men rush the suspect.

"I jumped up to join them," he told AP Television News. "When I got there, they were already wrestling with him. The gun was in the air. Somebody grabbed the gun and we just kind of dog-piled him to the floor. I knew a police suppression hold, and I sat on him until police came."

Parkey's wife, Amy Broyles, was visiting the church to see her daughter in the play. She said Adkisson "was a man who was hurt in the world and feeling that nothing was going his way," she said. "He turned the gun on people who were mostly likely to treat him lovingly and compassionately and be the ones to help someone in that situation."

Investigators were reviewing several video recordings of the performance by parents and church members. Owen said police would not release the videos or Adkisson's letter until they have been analyzed for evidence.

Adkisson, who faces his next court hearing Aug. 5, was on active duty with the Army beginning in 1974. Army records show he was a helicopter repairman, rising from a private to specialist and then returning to private before being discharged in late 1977.

Biblical Clarification Regarding Homosexuality

I found this article on a blog called which is a blog for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning inter-sexed and their allies, providing religious news with a leftest slant.

There is no word in biblical Greek or Hebrew that is equivalent to the English word homosexual. The 1946 Revised Standard Version (RSV) New Testament was the first translation to use the word homosexual.

There is no word in biblical Greek or Hebrew for “sodomy” or “sodomite.” A Sodomite would have been simply an inhabitant of Sodom, just as a Moabite would have been an inhabitant of Moab, though the word sodomite does not show up in biblical Greek or Hebrew. Any translation of the Bible making use of the words sodomy or sodomite are clear interpretations and not faithful translations.

The Bible really does not fully address the topic of homosexuality. Jesus never talked about it. The prophets never talked about it. In Sodom homosexual activity is mentioned within the context of rape (raping angels nonetheless), and in Romans 1:24-27 we find it mentioned within the context of idolatry (Baal worship) involving lust and dishonorable passions. 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10 talk about homosexual activity in the context of prostitution and possibly pederasty. Nowhere does the Bible condemn a loving and committed homosexual relationship. To use the Bible to condemn such a relationship, as we see, involves a projection of ones own bias and a stretching of the Biblical text beyond that of which the scriptures speak. Historically, however, the Bible has been taken out of context and twisted to oppress almost every minority one could imagine including women, African Americans, children, slaves, Jews, and the list goes on. Do we truly understand the greatest commandments? “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.” (RSV Mat. 22:36-40)

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Lyrics by Marie Digby

What I can remember
Is a lot like water
Trickling down a page
Of the most beautiful colors
I can't quite put my finger
Down on the moment
That I became like this...

You see I am the bravest girl
You will ever come to meet
Yet I shrink down to nothing
At the thought of someone
Really seeing me
I think my heart is wrapped around
And tangled up in winding weeds

But I don't wanna go on living
Being so afraid of showing
Someone else my imperfections
And even though my feet
Are trembling
And every word I say I'm stumbling
I will bare it all... watch me unfold

These hands that I hold
Behind my back are
Bound and broken
By my own doing
And I can't feel
Anything anymore
I need a touch to remind me
I'm still real

But I don't wanna go on living
Being so afraid of showing
Someone else my imperfections
And even though my feet
Are trembling
And every word I say I'm stumbling
I will bare it all... watch me unfold

My soul
It's dying to be freed
You see... I can't live the rest of my life
So guarded
It's dying to be free
It's up to me to choose...
What kind of life I lead

Cuz I don't wanna go on living
Being so afraid of showing
Someone else my imperfections
And even though my feet
Are trembling
And every word I say I'm stumbling
I will bare it all... watch me unfold

I will allow someone to love me
I will allow someone to love me.

Friday, July 25, 2008

How to Get Over a Break Up: A Short Guide to Help Get You Up, Out, and Over This Relationship

By Lisa Marie Dalian

So it’s over. Now what do you do? At a time when things feel helpless, like you won’t ever stop crying or second guessing yourself, what you really need is a guide on how to get over your relationship. Stick with me and we can get you over this hump in a jiffy… or at least make you feel like you can get out of bed today. We have all been there in our live at one point or another. We feel like there is no possible way that you will ever feel whole again. And no, I am not trying to make anyone sound desperate or pathetic. However, when you give your heart to someone, and it doesn’t work out, there is always a period of second-guessing and being upset (sometimes even to the point of isolating oneself, possibly falling into a rut). I am in no way a doctor or professional… but I’ve been there.

Here is a short guide to help get you up, out, and over this relationship crater.

  • How can I stop crying?
    Well, I hate to say this, but it is therapeutic to cry. Crying will release a lot of the tension and stress the ended relationship puts on you. It is a loss, almost as if someone has died. You need to grieve for your loss. There is nothing wrong with sitting with a few friends of family members and just let it out. You may just feel better (what, with all of them telling you how great you are and how you deserve better). Expelling all of that emotion through liquid means may lead to a faster recovery. Bottom line, don’t be ashamed to cry.
  • What should I NOT do after a break up?
    For starters, please please please do not try to be her friend right away. Make a clean break. It is definitely easier said than done, but when you continue contacting or seeing your ex after the break up, you are headed for heart break all over again. It is virtually impossible to feel good about yourself when your feelings are not reciprocated. Many dumpees feel that if they spend time with the dumper, she will realize their true feelings and they will get back together. This rarely happens. Why put yourself through that? Explaining to your ex that the pain is too great right now to be friend is your best option. Maybe in the future the two of you can learn to be friends again, but now is NOT the time to learn your lesson twice. I would recommend deleting your ex’s number out of your phone and blocking her from your buddy lists or e-mail accounts. This way, if/when you have a bad night, you won’t be tempted to contact your ex. I would also avoid self-medicating with drugs or alcohol. This coincides with the cell phone number deleting I mentioned earlier. There is nothing worse than waking up hung over and realizing that you drunk dialed her the night before, rambling/crying/blathering on. Like I said… I’ve been there.

Tips to make the best of it The following are a few tips on how to wipe away your relationship blues:

  • Change your environment up a bit.
    Now I don’t mean join Greenpeace (well… that is still an option I guess), I mean make some changes to your apartment or room. Paint you room a new exotic color. Buy some higher thread count sheets. Box up all mementos and pictures that remind you of your ex. You don’t need to torch them just yet, but get them out of view for a while.
  • Spend some time and money on YOU.
    Going along with number one, for the next few weeks, do everything within your power (and bank account) to make you feel better.
  • Keep yourself busy.
    Join something that you never thought you would have had time to do before. Go on a trip. Do little projects around the house. Volunteer (yeah Greenpeace!). The more distractions, them more you will eventually realize that you are doing these things for yourself and not just as an attempt to divert attention away you from thinking about your ex. And, by paying more attention to you and what you need, you may re-discover something that you loved doing or find out more about yourself. In the end you will be happier having been a little self-indulgent during this time.
  • Bond with other singles.
    Everyone has two groups of friends, the singles and the couples. Spending time with the couples right now may be hard, so don’t be afraid to look up some of your single friends. Even if you may not have spoken to some of them in a while, take this opportunity to go out with some of them on the weekends. You may even renew an old friendship, or get introduced to someone really great through those friends.
  • Write in a journal.
    As 8th grade as it sounds, it really helps get the frustrations out and gets you to verbalize how you feel and where the relationship went wrong. After a few weeks or months, go back and re-read what you had written. You’ll be surprised how far you have come since then.
  • To rebound or not to rebound… Should you rebound?
    Well many swear by the phrase, “You can’t get over a someone until you get under another.” Some believe that a harmless fling is the best way to get over an ex. While having another be attracted to you may feel good, it is only superficial. I am no prude, but I tend to believe that after a one night stand, you will feel lonelier than ever after. This of course is just my opinion, however, dating (or having sex) before you are ready can possibly set you back further. Take this time to focus on you and your needs. But is you do decide to date right away, make sure you go easy on the next person you meet. Do not continue unfinished business with this new gal. Projecting your open and unresolved issues to the new person will only lead you down a destructive path. Ergo, don’t date until you have gotten past your last relationship and its issues.
  • How do I know if I am over my ex?
    That is the $64,000 question. A good gauge is when you no longer want to get back together with the person. That, and when the thought of your ex having a relationship (and, gasp, sex) with someone else doesn’t turn your stomach. You may not have to necessarily be “happy” for her, but when you are over your ex, you won’t care either way. Now go out there and heal!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Massachusetts lawmakers OK Medicaid for gay couples

The Massachusetts state Senate on Wednesday passed a bill granting married same-sex couples equal Medicaid benefits, gay rights group MassEquality reported.

Gov. Deval Patrick is expected to sign the bill, which was passed by the state House on July 15.
The lawmakers' actions defy the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which bans legally wed same-sex couples from receiving federally provided benefits such as Medicaid, the "safety-net" health care program administered by the states.

Supporters say Massachusetts can circumvent federal law by using only state dollars to pay for gay couples' benefits.

Under current law, if a same-sex couple owns a house together and one partner has to go into a nursing home, the other could lose the home once all the medical bills are paid, MassEquality said.

Changing the law offers significant progress in helping LGBT seniors in crisis, said Lisa Krinksy, director of the LGBT Aging Project, which worked with MassEquality, in a written statement.
"By passing this bill, the Massachusetts Legislature is not only codifying the 2003 Goodridge decision extending legal marriage and its 'protections, benefits and obligations' to same-sex married couples in our state," Krinksy said. "It's also helping protect LGBT seniors from the potential impoverishment and homelessness they faced under current Medicaid laws."

-The Advocate

Letting Go Takes Love

To let go does not mean to stop caring,
it means I can't do it for someone else.

To let go is not to cut myself off,
it's the realization that I can't control another.

To let go is to admit powerlessness,
which means the outcome is not in my hands.

To let go is not to try to change or blame another,
it's to make the most of myself.

To let go is not to care for,
but to care about.

To let go is not to fix,
but to be supportive.

To let go is not to judge,
but to allow another to be a human being.

To let go is not to be in the middle, arranging all the outcomes,
but to allow others to affect their own destinies.

To let go is not to deny,
but to accept.

To let go is not to nag, scold, or argue,
but instead to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.

To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires,
but to take each day as it comes and cherish myself in it.

To let go is not to regret the past,
but to grow and live for the future.

To let go is to fear less and to love more.

-Unknown Author

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Personal Relationship Values

Another great article from Dr. Phil:

In relationships, just as in every other aspect of life, the spirit and attitude with which you do things is at least as important as your actual actions. Embrace and incorporate these powerful values, and you will start living with more integrity, honesty, compassion and enthusiasm. This, in turn, will breathe new life into your relationship.

Own your own relationship.
You are fully accountable for your relationship. You can never again believe you're a martyr suffering in your relationship because of an unworthy partner. Only when you stop seeing yourself as a victim will you start to see yourself as a fully competent and potent force in your relationship.

Accept the risk of vulnerability.
Do not let fear paralyze your life. Wanting, reaching out and letting yourself hope makes you vulnerable. At least by putting yourself on the line, you have the chance of getting what you want, as opposed to hurting with no chance of getting what you want. Not to venture is to lose yourself.

Accept your partner.
If your partner experiences in you the spirit of acceptance, then it is most likely that he/she will find you approachable. Two partners who are moving toward each other, rather than both trying to seek safety from pain, have a dramatically improved chance of reconciliation.

Focus on friendship.
You have to take a step back from the problems and pain of your intimate interactions, and focus on your partner's positive qualities. Turn back the clock and recall what it was that started the friendship that matured into an intimate relationship.

Promote your partner's self-esteem.
You must bring the spirit of acceptance into affirmative, interactive action. Find the courage and creativity to promote and protect your partner's self-esteem, even when you feel compelled to be critical. By using the value of self-esteem, you provide a much more nurturing atmosphere, one your partner will not want to abandon.

Aim your frustrations in the right direction.
Work at sorting out the causes of your frustration, and resist the impulsive temptation to pick at your partner. Once you start seeing that the negative things you perceive in your partner are often things you see in yourself, you will literally alter the nature of your interactions with your partner.

Be up front and forthright.
Nothing can be more frustrating than what is referred to as an incongruent communication, where an individual says one thing yet indicates something dramatically different with his or her nonverbal conduct. Strive to express your feelings in a mature and responsible way. By being honest about your emotions, you base your relationship upon integrity rather than lies and deception.

Make yourself happy instead of right.
Start evaluating the things you do in your relationship based on whether those thoughts, feelings and actions are working. For example, you don't have to prove over and over that you know what you're talking about more than your partner. Instead, choose a different emotion such as tolerance, understanding or compassion that does not escalate hostility in your relationship. By deciding to be happy rather than right, you will be receptive to your partner's attempts to de-escalate hostility and return to civil interactions.

Allow your relationship to transcend turmoil.
Rough times and arguments happen, and one way or another, they are going to impact the relationship. You must vow to no longer use threats as a lever to manipulate and control your partner. By doing so, you are setting a clear limit on the places a spirited discussion with your partner will not go.

Put motion into your emotion.
You must turn the concept of love into a proactive behavior. Don't be so consumed with negative messages that your expectations are low. You must require yourself and your relationship to truly be better.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Dr. Phils Ten Relationship Myths

You will never see things through your partner's eyes because you are two entirely different people. You are genetically, physiologically, psychologically and historically different.
You will not solve your relationship problems by becoming more alike in your thinking. Attempting to blur your fundamentally different viewpoints is unnatural and even dangerous.

Recognize that a relationship is far more enjoyable when you're with someone who enriches your life, not simply reflects it. Appreciate your differences.

Yes, your life with your partner should include plenty of romance. But don't kid yourself and expect an unrealistic Hollywood fairytale. The truth is that in the real world, being in love is not like falling in love.

Falling in love is only the first stage of love. It's impossible to remain in that stage. A mature relationship will shift from dizzying infatuation to a deeper, more secure love.

Don't make the common mistake of thinking that when the initial wild passion fades you aren't in love anymore. The answer is not to start a new relationship so you can recapture that emotional high with someone else. The answer is to learn how to move on to the next stages of love for a different but richer experience.

Don't fall into the trap of believing that you and your partner can't be happy if you can't resolve your serious disagreements. Ninety percent of problems in a relationship are not solvable.
There are things that you and your partner disagree about and will continue to disagree about. Why can't you once and for all resolve these issues? Because in order to do so, one of you would have to sacrifice your values and beliefs.

You can simply agree to disagree and reach "emotional closure" even though you haven't reached closure on the issue.

There is nothing wrong with your relationship if you don't share common interests and activities.
If you and your partner are forcing yourselves to engage in common activities but the results are stress, tension and conflict, don't do it!

Don't be afraid to argue because you think it's a sign of weakness or relationship breakdown. Even the healthiest couples argue.

If approached properly, arguing can actually help the relationship by (a) releasing tension and (b) instilling the sense of peace and trust that comes from knowing you can release feelings without being abandoned or humiliated.

Instead of worrying about how many times you argue, worry about how you argue.

Here are some guidelines:

  • Don't abandon the issue and attack the worth of your partner during an argument.
  • Don't seek conflict because it's stimulating.
  • Don't pursue a take-no-prisoners approach in your arguments.
  • Don't avoid achieving emotional closure at the end of an argument.

Getting things off your chest might feel good, but when you blurt something out in the heat of the moment, you risk damaging your relationship permanently. Many relationships are destroyed when one partner can't forgive something that was said during uncensored venting.
Before you say something you might regret, bite your tongue and give yourself a moment to consider how you really feel. The things we say while we're letting loose often don't represent how we really feel and shouldn't be communicated — especially if they are potentially destructive.

The belief that sex is not important is a dangerous and intimacy-eroding myth. Sex provides an important time-out from the pressures of our daily lives and allows us to experience a quality level of closeness, vulnerability and sharing with our partners.

Sex might not be everything but it registers higher (90 percent) on the "importance scale" if it's a source of frustration in your relationship. If your sex life is unfulfilled, it becomes a gigantic issue. On the other hand, couples that have satisfying sex lives rate sex at only 10 percent on the "importance scale."

Don't restrict your thinking by considering sex to be something that only consists of the actual physical act. Touching, caressing, holding hands and any means by which you provide physical comfort to your partner can all be viewed as part of a fulfilling sex life.

Nobody's perfect. As long as your partner's quirks are non-abusive and non-destructive, you can learn to live with them.

Instead of focusing on your partner's shortcomings, remember the qualities that attracted you in the first place. Perhaps some of these idiosyncrasies were part of the attraction? Just because a behavior isn't mainstream, doesn't mean that it's toxic to the relationship.

Be careful to distinguish the difference between a partner with quirks and one with a serious problem. Serious problems that are destructive and abusive include substance abuse and mental/physical abuse. Unlike idiosyncrasies, these are not behaviors you should learn to live with.


Nothing could be further from the truth. There is no definitive "right way" to be a good spouse, good parent, or to handle any relationship challenge that life throws you.

Do what works for you rather than following some standards you might have read in a book or heard from a well-meaning friend. If what you and your partner are doing is generating the results you want, stick with it. If both of you are comfortable with the principles that work, you can write your own rules.

Remember not to be rigid about the way in which you accept your partner's expressions of love. There is no "right way" for someone to love you. The fact that your partner expresses feelings differently doesn't make those feelings less genuine or of less value.

Don't fall into the trap of believing that if you could change your partner, your relationship would be better. You are, at the very least, jointly accountable for the relationship.

Let go of the childlike notion that falling in love means finding someone who will be responsible for your happiness. You need to take responsibility for your own happiness.

If your relationship is distressed, the most important person for you to change might be yourself. Once you identify the payoffs you are subconsciously seeking with destructive behavior, you can choose to remove them from your life.

Know that you will get hurt if you're in a relationship. There is no perfect person without flaws. Even a well-intended person is going to hurt her partner. She's going to hurt your feelings. She's going to say things that you don't want her to say. She's going to do things you wish she wouldn't do and not do things you wish she would do. A relationship is an imperfect union between two willing spirits who say, ''I'd rather be in a relationship and share my life, share my joys, share my fun, share my activities, share my life than do it alone." If you want to be in a relationship, know that getting hurt comes with the territory. You just have to decide that you are durable enough, that you have enough confidence in yourself that you can handle it.

For more of Dr. Phils tips on relationships, visit his website at:

Monday, July 21, 2008

Coping with Loss

This Article comes from the Relationship Institute

Of all of life's multifaceted teachings, the experience of loss is among our most powerful vehicles for awakening. As much as we resist its sting, loss is omnipresent in the universe. The poet Yeats reminded us that no matter how solid anything appears, ultimately ''...things fall apart.'' In a similar vein, modern physics' Law of Entropy proves that over time, everything loses coherence and tends toward disorder. In all forms of relationship, at some point in the future we will have to say good-bye to the physical form of everyone we now know.

With intimate relationships, we see loss everywhere around us in every possible form: passionate, seemingly transcendent romances suddenly crashing to the ground; old, distant, lifeless relationships finally acknowledging what has been obvious for a long time; unfulfilled lovers paralyzed by fear, unable to break through to deeper levels of intimacy; fragile new budding relationships that don't survive even the first disagreement; and friendships ending when one person never returns the call. And when a relationship ends, there are losses on many levels. We lose contact with the person, of course and all the gratification, real or imagined, that they brought to our lives. But even more painfully, we lose the vision of what this relationship has meant to us in the past and present and the hope of what it might mean for us in the future. We lose the story and the myth that embodied the relationship and for many of us this is the most difficult loss of all.

How do we react in the face of impending loss? We have several choices. If we are attached to a particular form of this relationship, by virtue of a belief we have about what should or must be rather than what is, we can hold on tightly, hoping to control a process that we intuitively know is out of our control. Holding on tightly usually only hastens our journey to aloneness by scaring off our partner with our rigid, suffocating energy.

We can also choose to prematurely let go, to check out, to disengage emotionally, preparing for the loss before it even happens, protecting our soft underbelly from the pain that lies ahead, numbing or distracting ourselves from the uncomfortable sensations surging through our hearts and minds through work, addictions or a new warm body. We can also retreat to victimhood, reassuring ourselves that this other person wasn't so great to begin with, that ''we can do better'' and that we have been treated poorly or unfairly, through no fault of our own.

But there is another path, the path of consciously being with and embracing our loss, responsibly, without judgment toward ourselves or our partner, being fully present with our feelings of sadness, despair, loneliness, grief, anger or whatever else comes up. There may be profound sadness that something beautiful or hopeful has died or was never even given a chance to live. There may be anger that we didn't try harder or that they didn't either. There may be fear that we will always be alone or despair that it seems too hard to connect with others. Regardless of what comes up, we can choose to be present with all of our feelings, lying in the rubble of our shattered dreams, perhaps confused and not sure what to do next. There is nothing we have to ''do'' other than allow our feelings to move within and through us at their own pace and time.

We can honor the process by not needing to change or distract or distort or numb what is happening within us. And if we can stay with this process mindfully, eventually we will get to a place of acceptance and even understanding, where we can look back with gratitude at what was once a beautiful thing. We can honor the connection that allowed our spirit to soar and our loving presence to expand. We can review what we have learned from this journey and make notes about how we will do it differently the next time around.

Although we may initially be horrified at our losses, they aren't going to go away, ever. Nor would we want them to. Regular losses are essential throughout our life spans for all growth to occur. Every loss creates a space for something new to be born: a new hope, a new beginning, a new vision, a new opening to loving ourselves and others more deeply. It is only when we fully embrace a loss, that we can truly gain.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Cherry Bomb: "The Ex Factor"

Most of you are probably familiar with Logo's website, After Ellen, which is a great Lesbian entertainment website. However, some of you may not be familiar with their weekly lesbian talk show series, Cherry Bomb, featuring four women (Gloria, Dalila, Tatum, and Nikki talking about different issues every week.

This week they are talking about their relationships with their exes. Do you stay friends after the relationship is over? Do you want them to be happy or miserable without you? Do you come back for support, movie dates, or sex?

I found their video quite entertaining, not to mention a bit illuminating. I would love to hear your opinions as well.

Same Sex Marriage Citizenship Questions & Answers

I received a blog comment today asking me about Same Sex marriage citizenship laws. I did a little searching and this is what I was able to find:

If you marry a Canadian, can you get Canadian citizenship?
If you marry a Canadian, your spouse may sponsor you for permanent residency in Canada. You can apply for citizenship after becoming a permanent resident and meeting additional requirements including living in Canada for three out of four years and passing a citizenship test.

If you get married in Canada, can you sponsor my same-sex spouse for U.S. citizenship?
No. There's a law that says the federal government will not recognize same-sex marriage, and that includes the Immigration and Naturalization Service (now known as Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services). While this policy may be challenged in court, you could be putting your non-national partner at risk of deportation by attempting to sponsor him or her until the courts have struck this policy down or Congress has repealed it. To tell Congress to change this discriminatory policy, click here.

Married same-sex Canadian couples who wish to move to the U.S. should expect similar treatment from the Bureau. A same-sex Canadian spouse who gets permanent residency in the U.S. will not be able to sponsor his or her spouse for residency here.

I hope this helps.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Massachusetts Bill to OK non-resident same-sex Marriage

By Eric Moskowitz , Boston Globe

The state Senate voted swiftly and unanimously yesterday to strike down a 95-year-old law that blocks gay and lesbian couples from most other states from being married in Massachusetts, drawing condemnation from Catholic Church leaders but delivering a victory for advocates who have fought for the repeal and who say that same-sex marriage has become an accepted part of the state's culture.

The atmosphere during Senate deliberations lacked most of the drama of previous Beacon Hill debates over gay marriage. There were no chanting protesters outside, and not a voice on the Senate floor was raised against the repeal.

Advocates of same-sex marriage rights are hopeful the repeal will pass the House and be signed by Governor Deval Patrick before the end of the month. If that happens, the last obstacle to same-sex marriage in Massachusetts for nonresidents would be removed, making the state the second to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry regardless of their place of residence.

Sponsors said the relative quiet surrounding the State House debate was evidence that same-sex marriage has become much less divisive in Massachusetts since it was first permitted in May 2004, following a 2003 decision by the state's Supreme Judicial Court.

"People have become resigned to the fact that all the chaos that was predicted in 2004 - the sky was going to fall, it would be catastrophic - it never happened. And so it has become, as we expected it would, as much a part of the reality of life in Massachusetts as anything else," Senator Dianne Wilkerson, a Roxbury Democrat who has championed the repeal bill, said of yesterday's vote.

Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston joined with the state's three other Catholic bishops in appealing to lawmakers to keep the 1913 law on the books for constitutional, religious, and cultural reasons. They said eliminating the law would infringe on the rights of other states to set their own marriage laws, and they emphasized their commitment to the traditional definition of marriage.

"Today, we reiterate our belief that marriage is a faithful, exclusive, lifelong union of a man and a woman joined in an intimate community of love and life," the bishops said in a joint statement. "Across times, cultures, and many different religious beliefs, marriage between a man and a woman is the foundation of the family and society. Marriage is a personal relationship with public significance."

The 1913 law has racist roots. It grew out of the national backlash over the interracial marriage of heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson," Wilkerson said. At the time, 30 of 48 states banned interracial marriage, and many other states, including Massachusetts, enacted provisions that would keep interracial couples from crossing borders to marry in their jurisdiction.

"This is a very simple law, contrived in shame, and it exists in shame, and we ought to wipe it off the books," state Senator Mark C. Montigny said.

The law remained on the books but fell into obscurity until gay marriage became legalized in Massachusetts, and Governor Mitt Romney cited the law as a means to prevent Massachusetts from becoming what he called "the Las Vegas of gay marriage."

It was not immediately clear yesterday when the House will consider the bill. Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi supports repealing the law by the end of this session, which closes formally July 31, a DiMasi spokesman said yesterday. The repeal bill can go directly to the House floor without first needing review by a House committee, spokesman David Guarino said in an e-mail.

Arline Isaacson, cochairwoman of the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus, predicted that the House would pass the measure but that some lawmakers would vote against it there.

Kris Mineau, who has lobbied against the repeal as president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, said he hopes the House will deliberate at greater length on the bill and consider the "legal quagmire" that could result for other states if their residents flock to Massachusetts to marry.

After the Senate vote, Mineau vowed to keep working against the repeal and to try to limit marriage to heterosexual couples.

"We're going to be here until the cows go home," he said. "We're going to continue to advocate what we believe is right and what is in the best interest of our society and our children, and when the time comes that this Legislature starts waking up to reality, our voice will be there."

Advocates of unrestricted same-sex marriage have described the possible economic benefits for the state. A recent study commissioned by the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development predicted that Massachusetts would receive $111 million in wedding and travel spending and $5 million in taxes and marriage-license fees in the first three years.

The same nonprofit institute that prepared that estimate calculated that California, as a result of a May court decision legalizing gay marriage there regardless of residency, would reap nearly $700 million in same-sex wedding travel and tourism.

Along those lines, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger invited same-sex couples two months ago to visit California and bolster its tourism economy.

Many New York couples have been planning trips to California to get married, now that Governor David Paterson has directed all state agencies to recognize same-sex marriages granted in other states, said Alan Van Capelle, executive director of Empire State Pride Agenda, a statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender advocacy organization in New York.

But those trips could be rerouted if lawmakers in Massachusetts repeal the 1913 law, he said. "There will be a lot of JetBlue cancellations and a lot more people deciding to fill up their tank and drive to Massachusetts."

Monday, July 14, 2008

Relationship Stages Part II-Growth Through Negotiation

by Toni Coleman, LCSW

This is a very challenging and growing time in all relationship building. Reality comes into play as the couple settles into the comfort and predictability of their togetherness. Little issues can become blown-up into large conflicts. The individuals begin to compete for their share of control and their place in this growing union. Differences can become highlighted instead of minimized.

This is often the period when couples experience their first fight. Hurt feelings can occur as that once loving and completely accepting other person airs a criticism or voices annoyance or concern. Often, the individuals believe it is the other person who needs to change.

This is where the need for (or lack of) communication, problem-solving and negotiating skills becomes apparent. For without an adequate measure of these, disagreements can break down into screaming matches where insults and recriminations are fired like missiles.

If the individuals can listen, be supportive of each other's feelings, compromise and not lay blame, they have a good chance of working through this stage and achieving a true intimacy. This does not mean they will share all the same beliefs and opinions or that they will necessarily even like the other's view. However, having and showing respect is a cornerstone of a healthy relationship.

Not only will relationships fail without these relationship-building strengths, they can also abruptly end if one of the partners decides that they don't feel the same way about this person in their less than idealized state. The reality may not be to their liking or just something they are not ready for in general. Either way, they will pull back, present differently or disappear without warning. How they handle their changing feelings is further information about their level of relationship readiness and maturity in general.


Intimacy is the reward that is gained when a couple has successfully worked through the difficult last stage of negotiation. It is almost like a new coming together with much greater self (and other) awareness. This new information can work to solidify the union or give one of both individuals enough new information about the other to require a reassessment of their desire to remain together.

Each person looks at the other in their (naked) state and asks; "is this the person I want to be with"? Here their individual differences are highlighted. The early romantic haze has cleared. What they have to offer to each other and to a future life together comes into play.

This is a time when couples often begin to contemplate each other's attributes in a more practical way. They look at the other's strengths and weaknesses. They evaluate each other's potential as a future spouse, parent, provider, caregiver, partner, etc.

Relationships can be tested more during this time. Infidelity is one dysfunctional way that some individuals do this. Often, this leads to the end of the relationship.

When differences can be seen, aired and accepted, the couple has a good chance of moving on together from this place. Essentially, they have decided they want to be with the other, warts and all.

When the behavior of one or both partners change, it is generally because they have made a conscious or unconscious decision regarding the wrongness of the other for them or for the type of relationship they seek.


This is the final stage of relationship building. Once individuals have reached this place, they are ready to cement their bond. While much growth and work will lay ahead in a future life together, they are ready to begin this life soon.

New challenges arise during each stage, and will happen here as well. However, if the couple has successfully worked through the previous stages, they should have many of the tools they need.

The external problems and pressures that come with life will test their resolve and commitment over the years. They may need to reassess, re-negotiate and renew their feelings and commitment. Fortunately, they will be in possession of the basic tools required.

If they choose well to begin with, they should be successful.

As you evaluate your failed relationship, note the stage you were in when the change occurred. Chances are that the necessary level of readiness and maturity was not present in one or both of you. Perhaps one of you decided that this is not the kind of partner or relationship I am seeking.

This new information and insight should help you to choose a future partner who is better suited to you and desirous of the same kind of relationship that you are.

If you haven't read Relationship Stages Part I, check it out.

Toni Coleman LCSW is a psychotherapist and relationship coach who specializes in working with singles wanting intimate lasting relationships.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Relationship Stages-Part I

by Toni Coleman, LCSW

Relationships have stages. We have all read articles and books by authors who have come up with their own unique number or names for these. I will try to take a very basic approach to this and keep it simple and as universal as possible.


This is the first stage. It is physical, intellectual and emotional - on a very surface level. Girl sees boy and vice versa. They flirt, talk and get a very basic sense of the other. They are usually responding to a physical pull. She is cute, funny, charming, interesting to talk to, etc.

Without attraction, first dates wouldn't happen. It can therefore be assumed that the other person finds us attractive if we have gotten to a first date.

In a way, this is the easy one. We are unknowns to each other. Things progress from this point or they do not. Hurt feelings are minimal. We usually chalk up rejection to; "I'm not his type". There is no need to analyze or wonder what went wrong.

If both people feel a strong enough level of attraction continues to exist after a few dates, they usually move along to stage two. However, if one finds the other has unattractive characteristics or behaviors, this can lead to an abrupt change in the relationship.

Remember, these behaviors or characteristics would be ones that would manifest in the very early stage of dating.

Some examples: frequently late, never offers to pay, dresses or grooms sloppily, rude to waitress, etc.

Romantic Relating

In this second stage, couples begin to test out the idea of themselves as a unit. Dating is no longer brand new. It is more comfortable and predictable. Sharing romantic dinners and exciting special interests are typical dates during this new and fun time in a growing relationship.

During this stage, flowers are given for no special reason and loving cards are slipped back and forth with words like "thinking of you". It's a happy carefree time, when lovers tend to idealize, romanticize and overlook that which can be right in front of them. The relationship seems effortless and spontaneous. Affection is shared openly and frequently. One's partner seems perfect. There is rarely conflict during this period. The partners often share the unrealistic belief that their relationship is so special and unique that it will always stay this way.

This stage can last from three or four months up to more than a year. It is actually the shortest stage that any long-term relationship goes through. It is also the one we wish we could hold on to forever and long for when it is gone. This is the stage that love poems speak about. It is also believed (falsely) by many that this is what long-term committed love will always be like.

Many relationships begin to stumble at the end of this period. For that is when reality begins to set in. As partners begin to experience some disagreement, conflict and/or shared challenges- the relationship shifts as do the dynamics between the partners.

Though many relationships move past this stage, a number do not. Why? There are many reasons. These can include:

  • lack of readiness for the challenges of the next stage
  • issues with commitment and fidelity
  • immature beliefs about what relationships should be
  • being stuck on an idealized, romanticized notion of love
If one of the partners is not ready for a less than perfect and more demanding stage of love, they will exhibit this in their behavior, language and overall level of openness and availability towards the other.

This is when the couple begins to think more seriously of a future with each other. The focus tends to be; how well do we get along, do we share similar interests and do I want to date this person exclusively?

To be continued...

Look for "Relationship Stages Part II-Growth Through Negotiation" tomorrow.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Tips For Bringing Out the Best in Your Relationship

by Kali Munro, M.Ed., Psychotherapist

Note: Ideally, these guidelines work best when both partners follow them; however, a change in one partner's way of responding often encourages a change in the other partner.

Relationships bring out the best and the worst in us. Here are some ways to bring out the best in yours:

1. Focus on yourself.

Do things to increase your self-awareness, like how you behave in relationships. It can help to stay aware of patterns, reactions, feelings, beliefs, and triggers (from your childhood and previous relationships) that arise in your relationship. It is often true that how you feel may have little to do with your partner, and is more about you and your past experiences.

2. Take responsibility for your own feelings, thoughts, needs, and behavior.
  • Use "I" statements ("I feel..." vs. "You make me feel...")
  • Check out assumptions, interpretations, and fears.
  • State your feelings and thoughts clearly and without blame.
  • Make requests. Ask for what you need. She/he may not know what you need.
  • Know that you may not get exactly what you need.
  • Find ways to meet your own needs.
3. Take care of yourself.

Treat yourself as you would a good friend.

4. Be present with yourself.

This is important not only for your own well-being, but also for your relationship. Being present with yourself can be achieved in different ways, such as meditation, yoga, relaxation, rest, exercise, body awareness, dance, being in nature, and prayer. Anything that helps you to be in the moment will help you to do that with your partner, as well. Many people find that being in the moment while they are with their partner is a lot harder than when they are alone or with other people. Some couples work on this together. 
You can:
  • Lie down with your partner in a spoon position (one person's front side hugs the other person's back side) and then breathe in unison for five to ten minutes. Generally it is better if the larger partner follows the breath of the smaller partner. If your mind wanders, bring your focus back to breathing together. Variations of this are standing up and breathing in unison while hugging, and sitting down facing each other, holding eye contact while breathing in unison. This can also be helpful to do when you feel upset or angry with each other.

  • Sit facing each other. At first, look down or close your eyes. Become aware of your breath. Follow the natural rhythm of your breath, and let your mind be clear of thoughts and worries. When you have done this for a while, open your eyes and look at your partner. She may not have opened her eyes yet. If not, look at your partner from this meditative place and see what you notice, while you continue to follow your breath. When your partner opens her eyes, hold eye contact, while continuing to follow your breath. If you lose your connection with your breath, take a moment by looking down or closing your eyes to reconnect, and then hold eye contact again. Just notice what you are aware of as you do this.
5. Nurture all of your relationships.

Try not to isolate yourself in your primary relationship.

6. Explore your own creativity, needs, independence, leisure activities, hobbies, career

Anything that makes you feel better about yourself, or makes you feel whole and feeds your soul is important and will have a positive effect on your relationship.

7. Take another look.

When your partner does something that bothers you,
  • Ask yourself, what does this mean to me? Why am I bothered by this? Is there anything from my past that is effecting how I am feeling or seeing this right now? Have I in any way contributed to this issue, perhaps without being aware of it? Is there anything about this issue that might reflect something I don't want to look at within me?
  • If you are feeling critical or judgmental about your partner's behavior, step back for a moment and see if you can come up with alternative explanations for that behavior—ones that are less critical.
  • If you need to say something, this is a helpful formula to use: When you...(describe behavior in neutral terms), I feel...(describe feelings without blaming), and I would like to ask that you...(make your request about a concrete behavioral change).
8. Give understanding.

Just as you deserve understanding and support, your partner does, too, and it does help to feel understood. Try to see the situation from her perspective, especially when you are in conflict.

9. Acknowledge your partner's feelings.

You don't have to agree with someone to acknowledge and understand how they feel.

10. Give your partner lots of appreciation.

Let your partner know how much you love her and why.

11. Accept your partner the way she is.

This doesn't mean that you don't ask her/him for behavioral changes, or that you accept, for example, being yelled at. It just means that you accept your partner as a person, and believe in her good intentions. Contrary to popular belief, really accepting someone brings out the best in them.

12. Don't make sweeping generalizations.

No matter how tempting, try not to make sweeping generalizations like "You never...," "You are always...," "You are such a...." Besides the fact that they are not true (no one does the same thing all the time, in every situation), they are hurtful statements that leave people feeling bad about themselves, and can feed into a lack of motivation for change. "If I never do anything right, why bother?"

13. Have complaint sessions.

Sometimes couples build up resentments that need airing. It can help to have a "complaint session." One person starts by saying all the things that are bothering her, while their partner listens and encourages them to continue by saying, "what else?" Sometimes by delving deeper, the one who is complaining realizes that there's more to the complaints than what she originally thought. The one complaining may start out angry but often will soften, and become more aware of what is really bothering her, and what she needs. The listener's job is to listen, without comment, and to try not to take it personally. What you are hearing is an indication of how frustrated or angry your partner is right now. Keep in mind that it's not all about you, even if most of the anger is being directed at you. You can switch roles when the first person is done, or at a later time.

14. Take time out.

When a conflict is not going anywhere, it can help to take some time away from your partner. Couples usually make up rules about time out, such as don't leave the house, and having a set amount of time for the time out, like 30 minutes, before checking back in with each other about whether or not they can continue the discussion. In cars, time out can just mean that no one talks for a set amount of time. Either partner can call time out, and it should mean immediate silence for an agreed-upon time. It is always better to have the amount of time set prior to an argument, or you will argue about that! Some couples don't set a specific amount of time, but remain silent for a while, and when they have calmed down enough to feel compassion, they check in with each other about their mutual readiness to continue the conversation or to let it go for now.

15. Listen carefully.

If your partner is trying to tell you something and you don't understand, listen carefully, ask clarifying questions, check out what you think they are saying, and keep trying to understand. Many arguments arise from our not really listening to each other, or assuming that we know what the other person is saying without checking it out first. It is always best to check that you understood the other person correctly.

Of course, you won't be able to follow these guidelines one hundred percent of the time, and that's okay; no one can. But if you want your relationship to be based on respect, compassion, and clear communication, it's a good idea to try to follow these guidelines or others that work for you, as much as possible.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Lesbian Relationships: Talking About Our Own Relationships

by Kali Munro, M.Ed., Psychotherapist

The Myth of the Perfect Lesbian Relationship

It sometimes feels like a risk to be honest about our relationships - as if there's an unspoken myth that all lesbian relationships are perfect and the same. If ours doesn't measure up to the ideal model, there must be something wrong with us.

Our need to proclaim and protect our love in the context of a hetero-centric society often feels like pressure to hide the struggles in our relationships for fear they'll be used against us. This need to defend our relationships and present a perfect image can lead to our minimizing and denying the problems that do exist.

We Create Our Own Relationships

In truth lesbian relationships can vary a great deal. How we construct our relationships is both a reflection of the wider heterosexual model as well as a reflection of our own creativity to create relationships within a void. With few or no models to look to, we are often freer than heterosexuals to create relationships of our own choosing rather than ones based on social conditioning and expectations.

Some lesbian relationships exist outside the mainstream heterosexual model, operating on entirely different values. They may embrace non-monogamy, be poly-amorous, live in separate homes for years, be committed to resolving their problems while staying together for "as long as we are good together" rather than "till death do us part", and relate to each other as equals and friends as well as lovers. Being in a lesbian relationship can feel like starting from scratch - we get to ask ourselves what kind of relationship we want rather than feel compelled to follow some Hollywood model.

But it's not always easy to be so inventive. We don't live in a vacuum, there are social pressures on us. For lesbians, homophobia can present an obvious pressure and strain on our relationships.

Looking for Support

Often times we look to friends for support when there are issues in our own relationship. But all too often even our own friends can be critical and unsupportive,  perhaps assuming that our relationship will never work out, or that the person we are with isn't "right" for us.   Although this reluctance on the part of friends to accept your partner often changes over time, it can still be difficult for couples to get through this period. Sometimes couples in these situations feel like they have to present their relationship and partner as perfect, because others are expecting them to fail. This is too much to expect of yourself. Finding people who support your relationship is very important, but be aware, sometimes even your closest friends may act as if they are being helpful and supportive, when in truth, their intentions are to break up your relationship, especially if your partner has taken up time that might have otherwise been spent with your friends.  Truly supportive friends will listen to your problems without judgment, but let you work through your issues with your partner, not choose sides or make decisions for you.

Dealing With Our Differences

Dealing with differences can be a real challenge for couples. As lesbians, we love that we're both women - our sameness feels good and right. We delight in each other, our bodies, doing things together, swapping clothes, sharing food, music, ideas and laughter. But, when we hit a point, or too many points, of differences, we may feel uncomfortable, scared or angry. From the less important things like when we go to bed, to more important things like not getting along with each other's friends or not enjoying the same social activities, eventually we discover that we have differences.

Our difficulty dealing with differences may be due to a discomfort with the separateness they can create, or the fact that differences challenge our assumptions about the way people or relationships "should be like". Maybe we think that feeling separate is not okay or means there is a problem when it's actually a very healthy thing and helps us to feel even closer. Maybe we're uncomfortable with our own privilege and how that gives us power in the relationship.

Our inclination can be to suppress differences that arise - worried that they mean something is wrong with the relationship. But, suppressing differences only leads to flat, stifled relationships or the opposite - lots of fighting. Unacknowledged or undervalued differences lead to resentment, can dampen sexual desires, fuel power imbalances and lead to despair, frustration and bitter arguments. Letting differences out into the light of day and not attaching any negative meaning to them goes a long way in a relationship. Noticing, talking about and appreciating differences can prevent all sorts of problems.

Dealing With Conflict

When resentments do build up, many women avoid addressing them. Many of us are never taught ways of dealing with our anger and conflict. Many women try very hard to get along and to minimize differences or feelings of anger and resentment. But, our anger doesn't go anywhere and usually builds up and comes out in indirect ways, which is usually hurtful to the other person and can result in the unnecessary ending of a relationship.

Airing resentments is really important and women often have to work at doing this. Taking time to listen to others' issues can really help. Listening to and understanding each other’s anger goes a long way. It's not about who's right or wrong, but about understanding each other’s perspectives. It is also essential to make sure that your partner knows that dealing with conflict and opening communication about resentment is not the end of your relationship. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Being able to work through issues with your partner is a huge step forward in your relationship

Sometimes the best remedy for a relationship issues is to talk to a friend who is presently and preferably happily,  in a long-term relationship.  This doesn't necessarily have to be a lesbian couple. Our struggles are not so very different from others and we can learn from hearing how others have handled their own relationship problems - something we don't get to hear enough about.

Gay boycott urged of 2 San Diego hotels

Gay rights and union advocates have begun boycotting the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego after its owner, Doug Manchester, donated $125,000 to a ballot measure that would end same-sex marriage in California, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

The hotelier's contribution to the proposed constitutional amendment on the Nov. 4 ballot struck a nerve among supporters of marriage equality.

Fred Karger, an organizer of the boycott, told the Union-Tribune, "This is someone who is giving an exorbitant amount of money to write discrimination into the Constitution for the very first time."

Activists were joined by Unite Here Local 30, which represents 4,500 San Diego-area hotel and restaurant workers.

The Manchester Grand Hyatt is not unionized, the Union-Tribune reported.

In response to the union's boycott, SignOnSanDiego reported, local "ex-gay" figure James Hartline started one of his own: He has asked Christians not to tip waiters at San Diego's unionized establishments.

Hyatt itself is considered gay-friendly. The chain earned a perfect score from the Human Rights Campaign's Equality Index and won 2006's PlanetOut Travel Award for Best Hotel Collection for LGBT Travelers. One of the first national hotel chains to advertise in LGBT media, Hyatt is also a sponsor of the GLAAD Media Awards.

Manchester told the Union-Tribune he decided to support Proposition 8 after being told that schools teaching that marriage is between a man and a woman could be sued for discrimination.

Despite referring to his Catholic belief that marriage is between a man and a woman, he told the Union-Tribune that his hotels and restaurants would welcome gay and lesbian clientele. (The Advocate)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Russian River Girl Splash Weekend at the Triple RRR

Russian River Resort July 18-20th

Friday 18th
Live Performance by Animal Prufrock
Animal Prufrock is a percussionist, singer, composer, keyboard-playin' freak. Best known for her work with her band, Bitch and Animal. She has traveled all over the U.S and Europe dazzling audiences with her fierce drumming and radical lyrics, most recently opening on tour for Ani DiFranco. on the Main Stage at 9:30 pm

Saturday 19th
Pool Party with DJ JFX 12:00pm - 5:00pm
Award winning DJ JFX began her professional career at age 14, first as a studio recording engineer and roadie, blossoming into an on-air radio personality, and eventually graduating into the professional club circuit as a DJ JFX presently continues her career as a mentor, DJ, promoter, and producer. She's dropped beats at hundreds of clubs throughout the U.S., Mexico, and the Caribbean. For more info about JFX, check out her myspace page at: and her website at

Attack of the 50 Foot Drag Kings
Fierce Drag King Show!! 9:00pm on the Main Stage. Drag King contest email if you'd like to enter the competition.

Sunday 20th
Pool Party with DJ JFX 12:00pm - 4:00pm
Nancy Vogl's CD Release Party on the Main Stage 4:30pm
Sharing the limelight is Tex Mex/1950’s groove band...POLKANOMICS

More Details:

Animal Prufrock
on the main stage- $5 cover. Country Dan’s Karaoke will begin immediately after Animal’s show.

Pool Party with DJ JFX Noon til 5pm- $5 cover.
A Buffet-style Hawaiian Luau will be available- $13/per person.

Attack of the 50 Ft. Drag Kings Drag Competition with Prizes on the Main Stage starting at 9pm- $7 cover. Email Mary at if you are interested in entering this fierce contest!

Pool Party with DJ JFX Noon til 4 pm- $5 cover.
Nancy Vogl’s CD Release Party & Polkanomics at 4:30- $7 cover This event is being held at the Russian River Resort, 16390 4th Street Guerneville, CA 95446

For reservations: Call (707)869-0691 or Toll-free: (800)417-3767 or on the web: $25 Weekend Entertainment-only passes are available online at

Monday, July 7, 2008

In Canada Retailers Say Same Sex Marriage Makes Cents

As Vancouver marks its fifth year as a same sex union province, local retailers say legalizing "I dos" among the gay population is good for business.

"Same sex couples are among our best customers," says Gino Giragosian, owner of Absolute Star Design, a high-end jewelry store located in West Vancouver. "They have definitely contributed to the economy of wedding-related businesses."

Absolute Star Design saw a revenue increase of $100,000 last year, a large part of which came from same sex couples. The store, which specializes in one-of-a-kind custom designs and rare diamonds like the Eighty-eight cut, appeals to the affluent gay population.

"It's not the traditional wedding market," notes Bruce McDonald, director of the Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. "Many gay and lesbian couples have been together for 20-40 years. They're established. They'll fly all their friends over for the wedding and pick up the bill."

McDonald says 50 percent of same sex marriages in Canada are couples wedding from outside the country, contributing an estimated $1B to the Canadian economy over the past three years.

For further information: Gino Giragosian, Absolute Star Design,, (604) 925-5167

CNW Group

Equality For All - North Bay Community Meeting

North Bay Community Meeting
“What happens after happily ever after?”

Tuesday, July 15, 2008 - 6:30 p.m.
The Glaser Center, 547 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa, CA

Please join Kate Kendell, Esq., Executive Director of Equality for All, Evan Wolfson, author of Why Marriage Matters, Maya Harris, Executive Director of ACLU of Northern California, and local members of the Equality for All campaign for this important event. Hear inspiring stories, and find out all the latest information about the anti-marriage ballot initiative. Learn more about the coalition that is working together to protect equality in November, and different ways to be involved.

RSVP requested but not required—415.457.1115 ext. 209 or

This event includes a Free Screening of the inspiring and award winning Documentary film, Pursuit of Equality.  


Want to make your voice heard? Can you give time to help make sure the Constitution of California protects the rights of everyone? Return to the Glaser Center on July 28th at 7:00 for a “Kickoff to Action” meeting. There are ways to get involved for everyone, now matter how busy you may be! Hosted by the Vote No on 8 Coalition of Sonoma County. Event Sponsors (partial listing): ACLU of Northern California; DLK Law Group, LLC; Equality California; Marriage Equality USA, Marin Chapter; Marriage Equality USA, Sonoma County, National Center for Lesbian Rights; Spectrum LGBT Center of the North Bay, Vote No on 8 Coalition of Sonoma County, Advocates for Social Justice of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Santa Rosa.

Event Sponsors (partial listing): ACLU of Northern California; DLK Law Group, LLC; Equality California; Marriage Equality USA, Marin Chapter; Marriage Equality USA, Sonoma County, National Center for Lesbian Rights; Spectrum LGBT Center of the North Bay, Vote No on 8 Coalition of Sonoma County, Advocates for Social Justice of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Santa Rosa.


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