28 October 2010
I've officially been at Inspired Adventures 2 months today and I am now just 7 days away from leading my first journey with them! I'll be taking 16 incredible individuals who have collectively raised just over $100,000 for Cure Cancer! They've raffled iphones, they've sold chocolate bars, they've hosted quiz bowls, and they've auctioned off some amazing experiences all to raise as much money as possible for Cure Cancer. I'm totally inspired and so pumped!
We'll be cycling close to 150 miles as well as climbing to the top of Southeast Asia's highest mountain as we bike, walk, run, float, and zip line our way through Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam over the course of 15 days. This is my first trip back to Asia in over a year, so I'm pretty pumped. Can you tell? I feel like I look in this photo!
Pre-departure, things are INSANE trying to get everything caught up so I can be as present as possible while I'm away. I'll be blogging on our Inspired Adventures blog as well as re-posting here, which means you're in store for heaps of great stories about these amazing 16 people and our big adventure.
If you want to read more about what we're doing, visit the Race for a Cure website now! If you want to find your very own adventure, just go to the Inspired Adventures website. More soon!
21 October 2010
Okay, so that interview I did for the World Bank Forum is up! Naturally, they managed to cut my 15-minute session down to 12 seconds and bury it into "clip 9" at "minute 6:20."
But hey, still cool! You can watch it on the World Bank Open Forum website. Indeed, it is clip 9 and I come on at 6 minutes 20 seconds. Hahaha. What's equally great is that the commentators don't refer to any of our statements afterward. It's as if they didn't actually watch, digest, or absorb anything we said, which is fairly representative of the broader dialogue. Lots and lots of talking AT young people rather than talking TO young people. Enoy!
18 October 2010
While the last few months have been a roller coaster for the GLBTA community headed in mostly a downward spiral, the entire onslaught of hate has really galvanized the same community to push harder for change. I can even feel it 6,000 miles away! One of my amazing friends - Jaclyn Pulice - is one of those community members. She has started an AWESOME blog where straight allies can submit their stories - both written and in video form - to show the World that not everyone believes in two-tiered citizenship. The site has exploded in popularity the past few days, and I encourage all those straight allies out there to submit their show of support as well.
If you consider yourself an ally, please submit your post (video or written) to firstname.lastname@example.org or click "Declare Yourself An Ally" right here. You will be notified when your post is up on our site. Make sure to let them know if they can publish your name, age, and geographic location; just include that information if you want it to be published.
Real change - real equality - is going to take each and every one of us, so submit your story now!
P.S. Thank you Jaci P, you are a rock star.
16 October 2010
In what seems to be the issue now dominating the news and my own personal life there comes another brave man who has told his story to speak to the fears of both LGBT teens and an entire nation. Watch all 12 minutes. It's incredibly moving.
11 October 2010
Here we are again. Another day and another gay teen who has taken his own life because of hatred, fear, and homophobia. 19-year-old Ohio resident Zach Harrington committed suicide on October 10th after attending a City Coucil meeting where members of both the council and the public spent a majority of the meeting shouting anti-gay epitaphs for numerous "reasons." What did Zach do to deserve that hatred accept be himself? He was bullied and victimized most of his childhood for being gay and he took everything to heart, hearing every criticism of LGBT people as a personal attack on his character and his identity. It was.
Now, as a result of that hatred, he is dead. His sister has lost her brother. His father has lost his son. His mother has lost her baby boy. This has become a national epidemic and it's time we as a community - gay, bisexual, and straight - say enough is enough. Some say this has been happening for years and it is only just now getting "real attention," which means it's nothing new and therefore not a real event. To me, that just makes the whole situation worse. You're saying this has been going on for years at the same intensity and we're only now just paying attention to it? Where were we as community members? Where were we as fellow Americans? Where were we as human beings?
Regardless of how you feel about homosexuality, every person deserves to be protected from systematic hatred. Did you know that the GLBT community does not have legal protection under the law from hate crimes? It's not just marriage; it's employment, it's housing, and it's crimes driven by hatred based on nothing more than a person's sexual orientation. Now, this hate is killing our young people and it seems to be turning into a daily occurrence. Enough is enough.
I haven't lived in the USA full-time for several years now, and I've had the incredible opportunity to see my own nation and my own identity from the outside. There isn't a day that goes by when I'm not proud of my heritage in some way. In the last few years, however, I've felt almost lucky that I don't have to endure the day-to-day struggles of the GLBT community. Lately, I've been wondering why, in a nation built by a group of people who came over on a boat because they were being oppressed, in a nation that seems to repeat this cycle of oppression and equalization with women, African Americans, and a number other groups, in a nation that spends vast resources bringing freedom, democracy, and "our way of life" to the world, we continue to remain silent when the most vulnerable among us need us most. Enough is enough.
Imagine Zach was your brother, your son, or your grandson. Imagine you've spent your whole life watching him grow up, discover himself, and become an adult. Now imagine that your fellow citizens - neighbors, friends, and even sometimes relatives - are bullying him. Imagine they're shouting messages of hate and telling your flesh and blood that they're not okay and that they don't deserve the same rights you have. Now imagine that this hatred, anger, and unbearable pressure drive him to take his own life. What would you do?
There is a Zach in each and every one of our lives and it's now our responsibility to make sure he grows up to enjoy the same opportunities, beauties, and wonders this incredible world has to offer. We must take a stand before another Zach out there believes that their life isn't worth living. Make no mistake, this is urgent. Do something now:
1. Call your congressperson and tell him or her to support equal rights for EVERY American.
2. Support the Trevor Project and give resources to troubled gay teens.
3. Find a local advocacy campaign and ACT.
These last few weeks have made me think a lot about my closest friends and my own life. So many of us have struggled to be who we are for fear of "what might happen." I could have been Zach. Many of my friends could have been Zach. Today, for the first time in a long time, I do wish I was home. So that I could march. I could campaign. I could show other LGBT teens that they're not alone and America doesn't hate them.
The time for action is now.
Enough is enough.
03 October 2010
Yeah! Three-day weekend! Why? I honestly have no idea. Apparently it's some sort of holiday here in Oz. A quick google search returned the result: "Today Is Labour Day." I couldn't find a single Australian who could tell me what we were specifically honoring as a nation, much less WHY we were honoring it.
I find this to be a very real trend all over the World. In the western world these random "off" days are schedule far in advance and we all look forward to them. Memorial Day BBQ in the USA and Labour Day back to school. Boxing Day and another two hundred public or bank holidays in the UK means you almost don't work more than you do work (Also, boxing day has NOTHING to do with the sport of boxing). We're "honoring" things but all we're really honoring is a chance to not go into the office. Why even name the holidays anymore? Do most people even take notice?
In the non-western world (my goodness, when you right it that way it sounds really judgmental) holidays just seem to pop up last minute, but everyone knows EXACTLY WHY they're celebrating. Every October and February they would call a week-long holiday in China 3 or 4 days before the week-long holiday would begin. Chaos would ensue, but they all knew they were honoring New Year on one week and communism on the other. In Thailand, following the death of a member of the Royal Family, the government called for 100 days of mourning where everyone - EVERYONE - had to wear all black all the time BY LAW. By day 72 it was hard to remember why everyone was still doing what they were doing.
So alas, here I am in a new land with new holidays and because they're fresh for me, I'm taking the time to figure out exactly what they're for and spreading the news like wildfire. It's amazing how we suddenly care/invest/engage with people, places, and ideas when they're either not our own or very new to us. Makes me want to sort out our American holidays too! At least it's a day off...
Pic from here: http://www.freewebs.com/fergieboy10/HappyCow.jpg
01 October 2010
Monday is exciting because you just don't know what the week may bring. Tuesday is intriguing because you're becoming more aware of where the week is headed. Wednesday is happy because it's hump day. Thursday is exhausting because of Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Friday is joyous because it's the weekend!
Having been studying then traveling then job hunting for the majority of the last two years, the Monday-Friday 9-5 thing just hasn't been the norm for me. Long-term, I can't imagine it really facilitating my middle-of-night creative bursts, weekend work fests, and need for a fairly regular 15-minute nap at 3pm. Still, for now it's what I've got and I'm glad to experience it so I can better appreciate whatever situation I end up in down the road.
To be honest, I couldn't imagine a better 9-5 gig. I work for an awesome small company that is growing by leaps and bounds. I get to travel all over the world on "business" and am surrounded by awesome, interesting, inspiring people all day long. It's utterly divine! Still, I am so freaking happy on Friday. It all starts with wearing any shoes except my black dress shoes. Why? Because it's Friday! Funday! This decision is followed by an inspired walk to work, grooving to some Kylie Minogue or Kelly Clarkson. I arrive at the office to find my similarly enthused coworkers. My iPod is always on everybody's must-play list for Friday. Why? Because Friday is Funday and if my iPod is anything, it's FUN.
The day is spent movin' and shakin' to the best of the 80's, 90's, and today. There is most definitely some toe-tapping involved. Lunch arrives before you know it and I treat myself to the most delicious sandwich I've ever had, courtesy of the Monkey Coffee shop below my office. By now the Friday afternoon inertia is pulling everyone into fun space. The music gets turned up a tad. Shirts are untucked. Clock strikes 4 and the gang are all finishing up whatever they're working on. We get to bounce at 4:30pm on Fridays. Why? Because Friday is Funday!
4:28pm. Time to start the computer shutdown process. Close programs. Log out. Sign off. Sleep my little iMac. Sleep. The office is bustling and people are pumped. What is everyone doing tonight? This weekend? Who is who seeing? Where is who eating? drinking? dancing? Windows locked, blinds drawn, coats on, bags slung over the shoulder and we're out the door. Smiles stretch from ear to ear. I throw in a little heel click for good measure. It's the freakin' weekend baby and I'm about to have me some fun. Why? Because Friday is Funday.
How these little pleasures become big moments I have yet to sort out. In the meantime, 4:28pm on a Friday may be my favorite minute of the week. Take that, normalcy!