Friday, September 28, 2012

BSEP - Introducing the Broward Stonewall Education Project

The best resource for information on LGBTQ issues whether it be history, culture, literature or art in the nation is right here in Broward County, the Stonewall National Museum and Archives ( which includes the Stonewall library, the largest LGBTQ lending library in the world. The library contains over 21,000 volumes and the museum has over 20 exhibits that have traveled to businesses, organizations, universities, and many other educational venues all over the U.S. as well as artifacts such as the gavel that was used to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell and Martina Navritalova's tennis racket.

What other institution would be better suited as the resource for educating youth on LGBTQ issues, preventing bullying and teen suicides? That is why the Stonewall has partnered with the Broward County Schools in the Broward Stonewall Education Project to take advantage of a national resource and educate our youth. 

The Broward Stonewall Education Project or BSEP's mission statement is:

"to courageously transform community through inclusive collaborations that result in comprehensive LGBTQ educational experiences. We envision a safe community in which all human beings are and feel accepted for who  they are, honored for their uniqueness and appreciated and valued for their contributions."

The problem has been staring us in the face for since the beginning of recorded human history. This is a unique effort that is not just local but national in scope. It is about time we did something about it,, coming soon.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

War and the Wimps Who Wage It

Glory, patriotism, honor, valor, courage, and heroism, all adjectives with positive connotations referring to war. How is it possible to continue to use any of these words to describe any aspect of the process of war, men killing other men? The more proper nouns for these associated adjectives are brutality, injury, maiming, raping innocent victims, killing, slaying, and slaughter only to mention a few that more accurately describe the process of war. It is the barbaric destruction of the human dignity of both the attacker and the victim. Where do find the hubris to use any other words to describe it?

I can the remember the morning I sat in front of my television set watching with shock and horror the destruction of the Twin Towers, and the confusion that followed within myself with no desire for reprisal or revenge, only thoughts of how to stop the animals that would perpetrate further atrocities on American soil. Who did it? Al Queda did it so what the f***k were we doing invading Iraq, thought I, when the perpetrators were in Afghanistan? We had inexplicably supported Saddam Hussein in his dictatorship of abuse of human rights only years before. I was to learn much later the despicable motive of Bush, personal "glory", power, personal gain, and simple reprehensible, inexcusable vanity of wanting to be a "war president". I remember the passage of the The Patriot Act, and the power it gave this despot to snoop into people's private lives, example, vindictively dangerously exposing Valerie Plane because her husband did not agree with his slaughter of innocents for personal gain. How can he among others complain about Wikileaks if he believes so strongly that what he did was right?

All of these words, valor, honor, courage, patriotism were as in the previous history of war, see Tostoy's comments in War and Peace, to be used again as camouflage for what is really going on, senseless killing out of a leader's vanity that the American public without question supported.
We had a president who from the day he took office was secretly looking for a reason to invade Iraq. For what purposes? Primarily, ego, power, pride, and personal gain, his family being in the oil business and the Vice President being in oil and the business of waging war professionally with mercinaries. The American public is guilty, because it supported him. None of these efforts directed at Saddam Hussein had anything to to do with the defense of this county. Only the search for Ossama Ben Laden had anything to do with the prevention of future attacks.

It is no wonder Muslim countries in the Middle East hate us when we have exploited and destroyed the lives of their peoples for superfluous reasons when they have done nothing against us.We now have the blood of many thousands of people in the Middle East on our hands as well as destroying many of their lives by destroying everything they own when they have done nothing against us. That blood is on our hands, and yet we protect George Bush and do not arrest him and Dick Chesney or turn them over to face charges for their war crimes. We do not even immediately stop operations against countries we have no business bombing, poor third world countries we invade solely at the whim of out current president and against the law, Barack Obama. He continues to involve us in the private struggles of other countries.

There is nothing valorous, honorable, heroic, or courageous about invading third world countries to soothe the ego of our current president. Turn Bush and Chesney over for their war crimes and stop Obama from killing innocent people in an undeclared war at tax payer expense. These wars are reprehensible, abominable, cruel, base, cowardly, disgraceful, ignoble, deploreableable, wicked and evil affronts to the human dignity discounting any belief we might have in the value of life.

War has an insane quality about it that has been recognized for centuries. Can not a little reason prevail over our egos?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Imaginary Numbers

Imaginary Numbers

by Grover Lawlis, MD

Imaginary numbers, what are those?

Sounds like the result of blow in your nose.

Not really, not at all true.

Out of them grew

How to explain the link between

the Cosmos and the String.

They could maybe explain

Why water swirls down a drain,

Karma is how touching one thing we suspect

another far away in time it will effect.

Like a pebble dropped in our emotional pond,

ripples through the whole of the soul.

What can a shooting star be?

A beautiful firework for you and me?

Or might it collide with our orb of protection,

And take us all out in sudden extinction?

Like it’s once said to have done,

And it caused an Ice Age, all life gone.

Yet, we seem so safe in our air balloon cocoon.

To what do we attribute this great boon?

Imaginary numbers, much is defined

by this attribute, this agility ability of our Mind.

copyright 2011 Grover Lawlis

Saturday, February 5, 2011

About Being Gay and Religious Community

I found this blog through my partner, Nate Klarfeld and it so expresses feelings I have had that I decided it was worth posting:
"One Thing
by Ely Winkler
In a recent interview that can be found HERE, I was asked two very difficult questions that I will go into this post and the next post. Shout out to the awesome YU Beacon and my interviewer for letting me share this."

I was asked if there was one thing I could tell the Orthodox community, for all to know, what would it be. Coming to the answer to this question took some time. There is so much I want the Orthodox community to know- that I want to have a “normal” life like the rest of them, that just because I’m gay doesn’t mean I’m any different from them, that I plan on living an Orthodox lifestyle to the best of my ability, that being gay was not planned, expected, or asked for- but none of these were really just one thing for me to tell the community, so here’s what I went with:

'That being gay is not a choice. It’s not something I ever wished for, and not something I strive to push on anyone who is uncomfortable with it.'

I did not choose to be gay or ask for it or beg for my life to be more difficult. I wished and cried for the opposite. I simply tried to live a “normal” modern Orthodox life, like all my friends, but found myself attracted to the same sex instead of the opposite. After too much pain and struggle, I realized that just because I was gay, I was not going to allow that to stop me from living the “normal” modern Orthodox life; I just hope to do it with a man instead of a woman. Being gay, for almost all individuals struggling is not a choice- if it were, why would we choose the other path? Why would we want to go against the Torah? Why would we beg and plead for communities to accept us for who we are?"

This is something the Orthodox community needs to recognize, because too often people are cast aside or hurt and not accepted. Why? Because it's viewed as something that is more or less in our control, and it's not. Just like a heterosexual's attraction towards women is not in their control, so too for the homosexual, the attraction is not in their control. For all these reasons I had to use this one thing to tell the Orthodox community- being gay is almost always not a choice. Just some food for thought."
When will we all learn to live and love in peace?
Hugs to all of my readers and thanks to Ely Winkler for these expressive paragraphs,
Grover Lawlis

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Debbie Friedman and the Tragedy of the Closet

Debbie Friedman and the Tragedy of the Closet
I once attended a Debbie Friedman concert at a synagogue near where I live and heard she was lesbian. I was told that the woman with her was her partner and always wondered who this person was. I want to publicly state that whoever she is I am with her in her loss and sorrow and wish everyone could have known both Debbie and her partner.
She was much loved and will live on in the beautiful music she produced that became a part of our Jewish life. At a time when we see so much anger in our country against those who are different or who differ it is a particularly poignant moment, a moment when at the same time a Jewish democratic congresswoman's life is in such peril. I abhor the violence that has taken place and the discrimination in America that made Debbie feel her relationship was in some way less than. We are indeed a backward undeveloped country with many in our country who are naive enough to think we are still a world leader. We lead others solely in military might which is not leadership. I also pray for the backward thinking American public that they may truly come into the light to address their shortcomings.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

From Christmas to Hannukah

In 2004 I converted to Judaism because of an evolution in my belief system that made it more compatible with my emotional life than Christianity which has been distorted beyond recognition by some provincial conservative elements in this country from a spirituality based on love and acceptance of our humanity to a hate-filled radical racist extremism based on religious dogma. More specifically, I came to believe in the Jewish philosophy of Kabballah. The origins of the Hannukah story come from the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after it was retaken from the Syrian ruler Antiochas IV in the second century B.C.E. That history, some of which is verifiable, some of which is not, is not what is relevant to me. It has also been called The Festival of Lights, and candles are lit every evening of the eight evenings with prayers praising G-d. I light them with Nate, the love of my life.

Light as revered in the Eternal Flame worshiped in Judaism is a symbol of life eternal, and I mean by that the infinite energy of the Universe with which we are one. It is the same life providing force recognized universally among religions East and West. The Tao Te Ching wu wei and pu echo the recognition of energy, energy potentials, and the infinity of energy, space, and time. What becomes important about this energy is not its knowability or even its usefulness to us, but rather the acknowledgement of its presence or existence. Its unknowability, its ineffability becomes the significant feature.

What I cannot know is infinite. What I can know is only what I believe about a very few things. I believe that my happiness depends a great deal on my ability to accept, to love, to accept love, to seek peace, and to do what I can to make the world better, no matter how small my contribution may seem to be. I believe that gratitude contributes to my happiness, so I continually must remind myself of that.

So, during The Festival of Lights, I celebrate the light and what it means to me. I celebrate Life and the Force that allows me to experience it.