Saturday, August 28, 2010

Target can become a Change Agent

It has been a confusing and upsetting few weeks following the exposure of Target’s contribution to an anti-gay candidate. It was gut wrenching for us to read the articles about a company that we believe is a model for other companies as an inclusive workplace environment for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender team members. It didn’t sound like the Target we know. It was also disheartening to read that devoted customers have boycotted Target over this issue. I have, however, learned over the years that it is not a good idea to overreact to a situation without some time to sort through the facts.

Paul and I know several team members at Target which of course includes our son, Brad. We have had the pleasure of being engaged with Target through their GLBT Business Council and other activities they have supported over the years. The Target we know is on a constant path toward a full inclusive environment for their team members and their customers. Are they perfect? It is our opinion that they are better than most but none of us is perfect in every situation all the time.

Remember the old saying, “Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water?” It is a perfect phrase to capture our thinking at this time. We still love Target, we will shop at Target, and we will work with Target when requested to continue to grow their understanding of what an inclusive environment looks like. This has turned out to be an opportunity for Target to get better. Based on the strong reactions from the public, it is obvious that customers and employees of Target want the value of inclusiveness in the workplace and in the Target stores. Gregg Steinhafel, Target CEO, wants to meet with other corporations to work together on an inclusive environment for employees and customers. That is a huge statement and has the opportunity for a much broader impact than just Target. Target has shown their vulnerability but not their inability to grow and change.

There is a reason that our son is so happy at Target and has been for 13 years. If gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders weren’t treated well and fairly, he would not love this company and the people who work there. That is our proof. Secondly, we have been to PRIDE Twin Cities and watched how Target team members create a family environment for the attendees and how they respect each person who visits their area. Target received the Pride award this year for their work for an inclusive environment. They have received an HRC score of 100% the last two years. A Target employee was recognized this year by Quorum, the local LGBT Chamber of Commerce, for their work on an inclusive environment. This is a company whose work has been recognized by organizations who analyze Target’s policies and procedures and feel they are on the right path. They have proven their intention for an inclusive environment. They have given their money and time to GLBT initiatives that exceed the $150,000 they gave to Minnesota Forward.

Target will come out of this a better company. In the meantime Paul and I will watch with interest as they bring their words to action. This is an important time for them and we know they are up to the task.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Christian Gays: Philips Many Thoughts Blogspot

We met a lot of people at Pride this year as we sat at the booth of PFLAG Twin Cities. As a result we have a few recommendations to pass along. The author of Philips Many Thoughts Blogspot is devoted to writing about Christian gays and shares a perspective to consider. The blog address is Many people have been taught that you can't believe in the Bible and accept our gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender men and women. There are a lot of publications and opinions written about this topic which we have studied over the years. This blogspot might be a good start if you are interested in hearing more on this particular issue. Another great resource is the BlueBook which can be found at It is published by the First Presbyterian Church of Mt. Kisco, NY. You may read it online ( order a hard copy ( This publication answers a lot of questions about being gay and includes a section on Bible verses and their context. Good luck on your personal journey of understanding about how God and Jesus view our gay and lesbian sons and daughters through the written word and actions found in the Bible. Let us know if you want other resources on this topic because we have quite a list!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Stranger Among Friends by David Mixner

I just finished reading "A Stranger Among Friends" with tears in my eyes and a grateful heart. I was humbled by his work on behalf of all our gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders and those who love them. David was a political activist during the Viet Nam war and eventually became known as a leading gay activist. I am so proud of David Mixner and others who have given so much of themselves to help others. David has lived a selfless life so others can have the rights and acceptance that some of us enjoy without a thought. I wrote to David on Facebook and he was kind enough to respond. I love Facebook for those kind of opportunities.

My next read is Former WI Representative Steve Gunderson's book entitled House and Home. That is going to be my Las Vegas book while Ziggy, our granddog, and I keep each other company while Jaysen and Andrew vacation in Wisconsin! I also ordered a book recommended by an Eau Claire resident entitled Love Is an Orientation: Elevating the Conversation With the Gay Community. I'll give you an update on those two titles when I'm done.

2010 Pride Twin Cities Everyday Hero Award

We were nominated and accepted for the 2010 Pride Twin Cities Everyday Hero Award which is designed for unsung heroes. There have been five other winners of this award in past years. We were one of four awards this year from Pride Twin Cities: their Grand Marshal was given to Dr. Stan Hill, Artistic Director for Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus, Target received their Cooperate Achievement Award and PFUND Foundation received their Community Award.

The awards were given at a reception in Minneapolis. They had a display of original artwork for viewing with winners announced that evening. They also had a silent auction - I tried to win but was outbid several times on several items! All four of the award winners were introduced, given their award, and were given a few minutes to share a few thoughts with the attendees.

The second honor bestowed on us from Pride Twin Cities was to ride in the Pride Parade in Minneapolis. Brad and Jay drove us in their convertible and took many photos along the way. They estimate 150,000 people attended the parade with up to 1/2 million attending the various events throughout the weekend. It is the 3rd largest PRIDE parade in the United States and the largest in the Midwest. It was a special moment for us and it reminded us once again that our work is appreciated. You can see photos of the parade on our Ready or Not Facebook Fan Page.

Throughout the weekend we promoted PFLAG Twin Cities at Loring Park. PFLAG was marketing their new webpage and the ground-breaking discussion forum. Paul and I are monitoring the Parent Discussion Group and are members of several other groups. Imagehaus designed some clever cards in the form of a ticket to help get people engaged in the website - 2,000 were distributed throughout the weekend. The good people from PFLAG were on hand to discuss PFLAG, the website, and talk with others about their individual questions or concerns. We were happy to be a part of the PFLAG family. We contributed a portion of our book sales to PFLAG.

It was a PRIDEFUL weekend!

Press Release of PRIDE Award Winners:

Lavender Magazine Pride Award 2010

June is PRIDE month and is designated as a time to honor our gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender men and women. As a parent of two gay sons and advocate, we take every opportunity to do so, especially this month. Lavender Magazine has been incredibly generous to us over the past year and once again showed their ongoing commitment to their mission by issuing their annual Pride Awards. We were in the company of some incredible people and organizations who also shared the Awards stage: Comcast Corporate Award, Bruce Meyers and Gordon Severson for their feature length documentary - It Doesn't Define Us, MN Red Ribbon Ride, Park Tavern for their welcoming business, The Whelihan Experience for artistic expression, and us for our book and the work we do. That evening was especially special because we were in a room with over 200 people with one of our favorites, Bradley Traynor - better known as Wanda, introducing us. The crowd was definitely in its celebration mode but it quieted down for our short speech of acceptance. We talked to several people after the ceremony and went away convinced yet again that our book and our work is important. We were a symbol for some in the room of the support they yearn for in their families, workplace, church and society at large. It is for all of those people and others we have never met that we continue our message of love and acceptance.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Cambrige Who's Who Acknowledges Us

We are pleased to announce the inclusion of our name in Cambridge Who's Who. We have included the link for the press release:

Thoughts about the Interview on 720 AM

I have taken a few days to reflect on the interview Paul and I had on Monday of this week with Heidi Harris. Heidi covered the traditional questions of why we wrote the book, did you know your son was gay before he told you, how did he tell you, etc. The end of our time together was spent on Tolerance vs Acceptance. We talked about the continuum from intolerant to advocate and how we hoped people could move along in their thinking by studying this issue like a debater studies both sides of an issue before a debate. It is through education that we become clearer on why we believe what we do instead of just accepting certain things just because our parents, church, or others tell us that is the way it is. Heidi defended her position of being "tolerant of gays" because that is what she believes. The other guest, who was gay, said he thinks tolerant is an okay word for the gays and doesn't mind it. Paul and I hope Heidi and others will move ahead a bit in their thinking and become the "debater". Here is why we have hope. We met a man at Book Expo America last May who said he used to be homophobic and now is an advocate. I asked him how he made such a huge turnaround. His response was that he looked in the mirror and asked himself if this is how he wanted to be defined (homophobic). His strategy was to befriend a gay man and learn about him and his life. He said that over time all the things he believed about gays melted away. What a wonderful testament. We wish others could have that look in the mirror and ask themselves that same question. We wouldn't have anything to talk about in this blog if that were the case.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Lesbian Couple Denied Admission to Catholic School

Here is another recent news article that bears discussion. We have the quoted article from the following webpage (

Denver, Colo., Mar 8, 2010 / 06:36 pm (CNA).- After local media reported that the child of a lesbian couple was refused enrollment at an elementary school in Boulder, the Archdiocese of Denver told CNA that opposition to its decision comes from those “who disagree with the Church’s position on homosexuality in general” and want an “excuse” to voice their opinion.

Local channel 9NEWS reported on Friday that the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Boulder, Colorado recently held a meeting to discuss the situation of a pre-school student whose parents are lesbians. School staff members were told early last week that the child would not be allowed to re-enroll. According to the station, certain anonymous staff members reacted negatively and were “disgusted” by the archdiocese's decision.

In response to this claim, Jeanette DeMelo, spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Denver, told CNA that “So far any school staff feedback hasn’t been expressed to the Catholic schools office. We have heard from some Catholic school parents from SHJ but the number is not high.”

“We are hearing mostly from people who disagree with the Church’s position on homosexuality in general and this decision is an excuse to voice that opposition to Church teaching,” she added.

In a statement on Friday, the archdiocese explained its decision by saying that the “principal reason parents place their children in Archdiocese of Denver Schools is to reinforce the Catholic beliefs and values that the family seeks to live at home.”

“Parents living in open discord with Catholic teaching in areas of faith and morals unfortunately choose by their actions to disqualify their children from enrollment,” the Friday statement said.

So what do you say to this? It is a private school so they have the right to state their admission policies. I don't think the family has any recourse on this.

Coming up - KDWN AM 720 Radio Interview with Heidi Harris

We were listening to AM 720 on Friday, March 12, when we heard a discussion about Constance McMillen's request to invite her girlfriend and wear a tux to the high school prom. Here is the AP story from We also have the link to the CBS interview with Constance:
(AP) A school in Mississippi has called off the annual senior dance after a lesbian student demanded she be allowed to bring her girlfriend.

The American Civil Liberties Union had demanded that the Itawamba County school district allow 18-year-old Constance McMillen to attend the prom with her date.

A school board statement Wednesday announced the district wouldn't host the April 2 prom at Itawamba County Agricultural High School.

McMillen wanted to escort her girlfriend, who is also a student. McMillen also was denied permission to wear a tuxedo.

A school district policy requires that dates be of the opposite sex.

The district's statement never mentioned McMillen's request. But officials said the change was made due to recent distractions. District officials say they hope private citizens will host a prom.
We were upset by the discussion on the radio station regarding this issue so we waited on the phone for 30 minutes to talk to the radio announcer, Heidi Harris. When their time expired for the show, we wrote an email with our thoughts on the issue. Within 7 minutes we received a call from the producer. He asked if we could come to their studio Monday morning for an on-air interview. Of course we said yes.

Heidi Harris is very radio host. She is interesting and freely shares her opinion on a variety of issues. Here is how she is described on her website. "In 2004, 2005 and 2006, Heidi was honored by Talker’s Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential Talk Hosts in America. She left KXNT in October 2006 and returned to KDWN, where she’s heard weekdays 5:00-9am. She appears as a commentator frequently on MSNBC and the Fox News Channel, and is a columnist for Liberty Watch Magazine."

We look forward to our time with her and the radio listeners of Las Vegas. Tune in to Las Vegas KDWN AM 720 on Monday morning from 8:00 - 9:00 am.