Growing Up Hayden

 

We’ve named our blog, Growing Up Hayden because we feel it’s a testament to what it is to live in the now, in a world where the LGBT community is fighting for acceptance and equality.  Our content is focused on all aspects of what it is to live, love and thrive in what’s still a very judgmental world.  Growing Up Hayden is a live narrative that we hope will continue to illustrate positive changes and a more and more loving, open and welcoming world.

The Time I Ended it With a Guy Because He Was a Homophobe

The Time I Ended it With a Guy Because He Was a Homophobe

It wasn’t long after the local pride festival ended in this little provincial town you may or may not have heard of: London, England. I had been seeing this guy (we’ll call him John Doe) regularly on and off for a few months. After many meals shared and quite a few bottles of wine, I figured he knew enough about me. Or so I thought.

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It was an afternoon like any other in London. We were lolling about, talking, about nothing in particular when he became rather outspoke and upset about the recent pride festival.

“I don’t understand it,” he said. “Why does there have to be a festival?”

I didn’t say anything, just listened because I wasn’t sure exactly what he was asking.

“I mean, I’m straight but I don’t have to have a week-long party about it.”

“Spoken like a privileged male,” I said disappointed in yet another typical and rather unenlightened response one might suspect from a white, straight male.

Dodging my barb, he carried on, “I mean, come on. It’s just not normal,” he said.

“What’s not normal?” I asked looking at him square in the eyes.

He reiterated his point about how he thinks it’s a bit much to take over a whole city to celebrate one’s sexuality.

Again I listened and waited. But this time I listened with every bone in my body because something told me this was just a little itch of a conversation. I could already feel that when scratched, it would reveal a whole other layer to this person I had not yet seen or experienced.

For a moment, I commiserated for my fellow Londoner. Yes, the way they close off streets is disruptive. “But,” I said, “it’s really important to see thousands of people gathering together to celebrate something in order to bring awareness to it. Don’t you think?”

He scrunched up his face before I could end my sentence.

I felt myself starting to prickle. Somehow, I knew what was coming. We’ve all been in these conversations before; on Facebook, among family and sometimes even friends. Who agrees with what and their reasoning. But I’d never had this conversation with someone I was romantically involved with. I hadn’t needed to. I’d never dream of being with someone who wasn’t supportive. And until this moment, I was convinced this guy was supportive.

“I’m sorry but I just don’t think it’s normal. God created man and woman and that’s what a family is.”

He went on but I stopped listening. Suddenly I felt sick. All of my favorite people flashed past my heart; I thought about my closest friends, their families. I got up from my chair, walked to the other side of the room to physically distance myself from him, carefully calculating my next words, biting my tongue as long as I could so that I could channel the surge of red, hot anger I felt rising inside my chest.

He kept on, oblivious. “Think about it,” he said. “These people are sick.”

That’s when I lost it. Quietly, I asked him, “You think you have a choice?”

He cocked his head to one side, not quite understanding the concept.

“You think you get to choose? You think somehow you get a choice in the matter between being attracted to men or women?”

He retracted a little, softening his tone. “I just think it’s not normal.”

“Well, actually, what’s not normal is the way you think,” I said, unable to pretend not to feel hostility towards him.

He blinked. I wasn’t sure what astounded me more, his arrogance or his ignorance. His attitude against gays was something more than what he realized — it was against me. A straight, white female; the female he had a vested interest in.

Furious, I asked him, “Do you not realize that I dedicate a whole lot of my time and energy, heart and soul to eradicate mentalities just like yours?”

He opened his mouth but I spoke first.

“I’m sorry but I don’t have room for you or your mentality in my life. Not when all of my closest friends and business partners are in a community you find not normal or, ‘sick’ as you say.”

I opened the door and waited.

He looked at me in disbelief. “Are you kicking me out?”

I nodded yes. “I’m sorry but I don’t have anything else to say to you.”

“Shame,” he said then grabbed his jacket and left. I didn’t walk him out. When I heard the front door close, part of my heart fell on the floor. It was shocking. How many conversations had we had about the things I’m passionate about? Had he been pretending? Holding his opinion back? Was he trying to make an effort to open up? I had no idea but the truth is, prior to those five minutes, I actually liked the guy. He was beautiful in a lot of ways. Good to me. Generous and adoring of me. I felt sad for him more than anything. How horrible and scary it must be to be so trapped in such a dark world.

I suppose I had a choice. I could have engaged in a conversation with him. I could have tried to change his mind, let a little light in. The truth is, that kind of unenlightened, unevolved mentality only responds to consequence. And as a consequence to his antiquated dinosaur mentality, he’s losing out. On me, on all the best people in my life that he’ll never get to meet because of his own puny, sad ideas.

He walked out of my life and my world opened up again. My hope is that maybe his has too.

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The Do-Gooders

The Do-Gooders

The good news? The truth is, there’s just not enough of it. We absolutely want more. Here are a few examples of do-gooders we’ve come across lately. May this whet our appetites for more and inspire us all to do some good and spread some love.


 

Scotty’s Brewhouse

When so many business owners were ganging up against the LGBT community, Scott Wise, an employer of over 1300 people in Indianapolis wrote a loving letter of acceptance. It warms our hearts to read a story about an LGBT-friendly sports bar in the heart of Indianapolis.

Read the full story

As Gov. Mike Pence was signing SB 101, which legalized discrimination against LGBT people, Indiana businessman Scott Wise was drafting an open letter about his feelings on the subject. The devout Christian wanted the public to know that he does not agree with the sentiments behind the new law and will never discriminate against anyone because of their sexual orientation. He wrote:

I’m a business owner. I’m a role model for 4 children, many of my employees and I hope for even some in the Indiana community. I love God and Jesus and am a born again, 3 years removed, baptized Christian.

I employ over 1300 people in the state of Indiana. Several of my employees are openly gay, proud and happy which include hourly, employees, management and corporate executives. Most importantly, I consider all of them my colleagues and even more so, my friends.

I have no idea how many other people I employ are gay and I don’t really care. On the flipside, I also have no idea how many are straight. Why should I? I have no idea how many of my guests are gay, or Jewish, or Indian, or any other descriptive demographic status that is utterly unimportant in running a business, nor any of my personal business. I am trying to teach my team to simply give excellent customer service to a guest that pays our wages and allows us to have a job. The ONLY thing I would ever ask from our guest is that they treat our restaurants and our staff with the same respect, politeness, courtesy, etiquette and manners that we should all hold each other accountable to as human beings, not just restaurant employees and guests.

We want to show support for this business owner who has so proactively been out front on this issue for us.

*Source: Outsports Cyd Zeigler


Brentwood Photography

When Clint Brentwood lost a client after he changed his Facebook profile to reflect his supportive stance of same-sex marriage, he didn’t flinch.  The clients wanted their $1500 non-refundable deposit back and instead of keeping it, this guy got creative in an LGBT friendly way of paying it forward.

Read the full story

This is Clinton Brentwood Lee, a photographer from St. Petersburg, Florida. He has traveled the world for more than 15 years shooting weddings and other events for his company Brentwood Photography.

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On Friday, like many people on Facebook, Lee changed his profile picture and cover photo for his business page to show support for marriage equality in the wake of the Supreme Court’s historic ruling.

“All we see is love,” he wrote.

Lee told BuzzFeed News it was important for him to share on his business page “what we stand proudly for.”

“I think it’s important to show support for gay marriage because we are all human beings just wanting the same thing,” he said. “Someone to love us, and the same protection and rights under the law. Everyone deserves their ‘happily ever after.’”

While many people showed support for the photos, one client didn’t. The client wrote Lee and told him they would no longer be using him for their upcoming wedding because he supports same-sex marriage.

The client wrote:

Greetings Brentwood. We would just like to inform you we will NOT be using your services for out [sic] wedding. My fiancé and I support traditional marriage between a man and a woman and don’t want our money going to places that supports [sic] otherwise. Secondly I would like to inquire about how we can get our retainer back from you. Thanks.

Lee posted his killer response to the couple as well:

Wow, I’m not really sure what to say here. I would say this disappoints me, but I actually find this to be a good thing because our company now would now not like to work with you as well.

It’s not that because you have a different view from us, but it’s because, since you don’t like an support gay marriage, no one else should be able to have it. That’s like me not liking broccoli, and demanding that everyone else in the world should not have broccoli either! If you’re not in favor of gay marriage that’s fine, don’t marry a woman.

Personally, I was taught not to judge others and to love everyone else. So I will try not to judge you here and say anything more as to my opinion of you.

At Brentwood Photography we see love in all forms. Now as far as your retainer goes, I hope you’ll read the first article in the contract you signed stating that this retainer is nonrefundable.

But don’t you worry, I’m not going to keep it!

Because of this conversation, I have decided to donate your $1500 to GLAD [sic] [the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation], a group created to help and support gay rights.

So let me be the first to say [redacted], thank you very much for your donation and support for this great cause!

I couldn’t have done it without your money.

Sincerely and with Love,

Brentwood Photography

The post has since been liked more than 26,000 times, with some people praising Lee for taking a stand for his beliefs.

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But some people have sent him hate mail. Lee said he is sure he will lose clients for his post, but he doesn’t care.

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Lee said the messages have been mostly positive, and he knows he did the right thing.

“I think it’s truly beautiful the amount of positive messages and words of encouragement I have received; it has been about 90% positive and 10% gut-wrenching, sad personal attacks,” he said. “The hate that comes out of these people’s mouths make me want to cry, but the 90% give me the strength to stay strong and not doubt what I did.”

He added that he wants to make it clear the client signed a contract stating that the deposit was nonrefundable.

“I had a few people call me a crook, and say that I should give the money back, but they don’t seem to understand that the retainer is paid for and there to protect us,” he said.

The original client also sent him a message back, saying posting their exchange on Facebook was “annoying and distasteful.” Lee wrote he is “Sorry/not sorry.”

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He also shared with BuzzFeed News the client’s original response to his message.

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The amount of people the post has reached has been overwhelming, he said.

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“I wish I could see my client’s face as she reads how her and intolerance has kind of backfired,” he said. “I’ve had several professional photographers write me saying they are now inspired to take a stand as well.”

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*Source: BuzzFeed News Stephanie McNeal


Eireann Dolan and her Oakland A’s LGBT tribute

She might be the pitcher’s girlfriend but she’s a cheerleader for more than just her man.  When some fans expressed their discomfort with an LGBT night at the stadium and wanted to sell their tickets, this amazing gal presented herself as the perfect buyer.  She donated the tickets to the the Bay Area Youth Center’s Our Space community for LGBTQI youth.

Read the full story

The girlfriend of Oakland Athletics pitcher Sean Doolittle is being praised for her response to a forthcoming LGBT Pride Night that will be hosted by her boyfriend’s team.

Eireann Dolan, who was raised by two moms, said she was “disheartened” to see responses to the June 17 event from “people who, for whatever reason, do not support this night of inclusion and community” who were vowing to sell their tickets on social media, the San Jose Mercury News first reported.

“Everybody is entitled to their own beliefs and as long as nobody is getting hurt, I’m happy. I also can’t stop you from selling your tickets,” she wrote on her blog. “I won’t tell you that you are wrong or that you are not allowed to think or act that way.”

She continued, “So, A’s fans; if attending a baseball game on LGBT Pride Night makes you at all uncomfortable, it is probably a good idea to sell your tickets. And I have the perfect buyer. ME!”

Dolan has offered to buy tickets from fans who felt uncomfortable attending the event and donate them to the Bay Area Youth Center’s Our Space community for LGBTQI youth. She also launched an online fundraising campaign in order to buy more seats for the group, and Doolittle followed up by agreeing to match his girlfriend’s donations up to $3,000.

Dolan’s campaign, dubbed “Filling The Stands On Pride Night,” had raised over $16,000 at the time this story was first published.

Meanwhile, the Oakland A’s released a statement to the Mercury News in response to Dolan and Doolittle’s beneficence, noting, “We are hopeful that the support that has been expressed for the event in the past few days will make it an even more successful first-year event and demonstrate that the A’s organization welcomes and supports the inclusion of all fans.”

*Source: Huffington Post Curtis M. Wong


Marjorie Silva

The owner of Azucar Bakery in Denver was sued for not baking a cake for a customer.  The customer wanted the cake to read, “God Hates Gays” and Silva refused.  “We never refuse service,” she said in a Huffington Post article to My Fox Houston.  “We did feel that it was not right for us to write hateful words or pictures against human beings.”

Read the full story

The owner of a Colorado-based bakery is facing a religious discrimination complaint after she refused to bake a cake decorated with anti-gay images and phrases.

Marjorie Silva, who owns Denver’s Azucar Bakery, tells USA Today she was approached in March 2014 by a customer named Bill Jack, who requested several Bible-shaped cakes with phrases like “God hates gays” written in icing. In addition, Jack wanted an image of two men holding hands with an “X” on top of at least one of the cakes, according to the report.

We never refuse service,” Silva told My Fox Houston. “We did feel that it was not right for us to write hateful words or pictures against human beings.”

Although Silva says she offered to bake the cake and sell extra frosting to Jack so that he could write whatever he wanted, that apparently wasn’t enough. The customer responded by filing a complaint with the Civil Rights division of the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), saying he was being discriminated against because of his religious beliefs.

In a statement released to Denver’s KUSA-TV, NBC9, Jack said, “I believe I was discriminated against by the bakery based on my creed. As a result, I filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights division.”

Jack, who is identified by the news station as a founder of the “non-denominational” Christian organization Worldview Academy, then added, “Out of respect for the process, I will wait for the director to release his findings before making further comments.”

Silva responded to her supporters with an image on her bakery’s official Facebook page:

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“It’s unfair that he’s accusing me of discriminating when I think he was the one that is discriminating,” she also told KUSA-TV, NBC9.

With more U.S. states implementing same-sex marriage legislation, bakeries have become an unlikely battleground for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights in recent months. In 2014, the owner of Colorado’s Masterpiece Cakeshopvowed to stop preparing wedding cakes entirely after a local court ruled he’d discriminated against a pair of gay grooms-to-be when he refused to sell them a cake.

“I do what I do because I love doing what I do and I believe it’s what God’s designed for me to do,” Jack Phillips told Fox News’ Elisabeth Hasselbeck via Raw Story in 2013. “I don’t feel that I should participate in their wedding, and when I do a cake, I feel like I’m participating in the ceremony or the event or the celebration that the cake is for.”

In September 2014, baker Melissa Klein broke down in tears at the Values Voter Summit over the closing of the Oregon bakery she and her husband, Aaron, owned and operated. The couple, who owned Sweet Cakes by Melissa, had faced national backlash over their refusal to bake a lesbian couple’s wedding cake, and is now reportedly facing a $150,000 fine from the state of Oregon over the 2013 incident.

*Source: Huffington Post Curtis M. Wong


 

 

Heard of anyone doing something inspiring in the face of discrimination lately? We wanna hear all about it!

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