An Open Letter to Heather Barwick

A young woman named Heather Barwick recently posted an article on the Federalist website ( In it, she explains that she was raised by her mother and her mother’s partner after her parents divorced. Her father apparently vanished from her life at that point. Her mother and her mother’s partner raised her, but she said that when she became a parent, she realized that marriage equality would be harmful to children. She says that children being raised the gay community are hurting because they lack either a mother or father figure.
It bothers me enough that narrow minded conservatives claim they know what my childhood was like; this woman is worse. She acts like she speaks for the majority of children raised by gay parents, and implies that her experience is universal.
I don’t know what community she was raised in, but she makes it sound like there were absolutely no men around when she was growing up. She assumes that there’s only one type of family dynamic in the gay community and that (somehow) all children with gay parents are traumatized.
What struck me was that it doesn’t seem like her issue is really with her mother or her mother’s partner. Her issue is with her deadbeat father.
Her childhood was NOTHING like mine. Her childhood was nothing like the many young adults I know who also have gay parents. I posted her open letter to them and asked for their responses. None of them agreed with her and we each come from different family dynamics. My mother and her partner were together for several years before I was born due to AI, one young woman grew up in a similar situation as Ms. Barwick (mother and father separate, mother finds a partner), one was adopted as an infant by a single gay man, one is the product of AI and her sister is adopted (they have a mother and two father figures).
I won’t lie and say that my childhood was perfect. No one has a perfect childhood. Were there hard things in my childhood? Sure, but again, that’s the case with everyone. The one thing we had in common being raised in the gay community is that we weren’t raised in a vacuum. We were raised by a group of parents we affectionately call “The Tribe”. We had an entire community of people that we knew without doubt loved and accepted us. We learned that even though we’re all different, we can love each other and others.
I wouldn’t change my past and none of them would either.
The young man I consider my younger brother had an interesting comment about her letter.
“One night, I wished for a mommy. Then I realized I have Lindi (my mother), Sabrina, Shelia, Andrea, Kris and Marty. I also wanted brothers and sisters. But then again, I realized I had many. Gabe, Ethan, Nathan, Nick, Abbey, Jerica, Jordan, Sara, Ashley and Amanda. I never needed a mom, but I’m incredibly grateful for the amazing women who helped me, who watched over me, and who loved me as I grew up. This is my family. I grew up around amazing gay men and women and honestly couldn’t imagine my life any differently.”
We had same sex parents, but they weren’t our ONLY parents. It takes a village to raise a child.
One young woman spoke of her young son having lesbian grandparents.
“Aiden doesn’t even really notice my mom’s and Andrea’s ‘gay relationship’. He just sees his grandparents in a loving relationship”.
That’s what matters to your kids. They want to see you in a happy, healthy relationship. The gender of the person doesn’t matter. Do kids need parent figures? Of course. Does having gay parents mean you lack a parental role model? It didn’t for any of us.
Ms. Barwick, of course, is welcome to her personal feelings. I’m not trying to invalidate them or belittle how she feels. I don’t claim to know what her childhood was like or what should have been different. She’s entitled to her feelings and opinions, but she is NOT entitled to speak for all of us.
The large group of young adults that I grew up with in the gay community have all become wonderful adults that understand that their family (immediate, extended, and family of choice) loves them and will always be there for them. How could that be a bad thing? How could having a loving group of adults around you that you know without one iota of doubt that they love you a bad thing?
Some of the first kids I met in the gay community as a child were two young girls who were only a couple of years old. They’ve both become amazing young women. One of them had this to say:
“I feel like there’s an issue in her life that’s entirely irrelevant to gay parents raising children and I have an issue with her deciding she is the voice of all children raised by gay parents. I do feel she’s entitled to her opinion, I just also feel like she shouldn’t say that her opinion mirrors that of all children with gay parents.”
I can’t know what Ms. Barwick feels and I won’t say her pain is imaginary or irrelevant. What I want to get across is that her pain is not universal to children with gay parents. She’s certainly welcome to express her feelings, but she should realize that there are a lot of children with gay parents that don’t feel that way.
Ms. Barwick, I am the product of the gay community. So are the young adults quoted above. No one’s childhood is perfect, but don’t put words in our mouths about how we were raised and what we felt then and what we feel now.
End Rant.

Thank you to Evan, Jordan, Ashley, and Amanda for their quotes and perspectives.


Vegans Don’t Answer Questions

I’ve asked a question to several vegan Facebook groups and Twitter users, and I’ve yet to receive any sort of answer. Here’s the question:
Going on the premise that you’re a vegan because you want to save animal lives, how do you justify the fact that your diet choice actually causes MORE animal deaths than someone who eats meat three meals a day?
I’ll explain. The vast majority of food crops in the US are harvested with combine harvesting machines (or other similar equipment). If you’re unfamiliar with these machines, go to YouTube and look up a video on how they work. I’ll wait. Did you find one? Okay, good. Let’s continue.
Now, let’s say that I gave you two choices on how you’re going to die. You can either choose to have an experienced person shoot you with a bolt gun in the head, causing you to die in less than a quarter of a second, or you can be run through a machine and be torn to shreds by spinning blades and belts. Which would you pick?
Billions upon billions of reptiles, rodents and birds are killed every month in harvesting machines, and that doesn’t even include the HUGE number of insects killed in the same machines. Do vegans not realize this or do they not care? Hell, I even asked PETA about this in an email and the answer I got was that animals raised by the livestock industry live such horrible lives in comparison to wildlife, it was more important to stop that process than worry about wildlife being killed in harvesting machines. What bugs me is that the people who make this argument know nothing about the livestock industry they hate so much.
Before I go into this, a few things. The livestock industry is not perfect, by any means, and I would never say it was. Personally, I think de-beaking machines should be blown into scrap metal and that farrowing crates should be outlawed at a federal level, but, for the most part, how you care for and house your animals affects your bottom line. If you mistreat your steers by starving them, torturing them, and keeping them in a constant state of stress, they won’t produce as much meat, it won’t taste good at all, and it will be of horrible quality. When you’re dealing with livestock, nothing is done for no reason. There is no valid reason to cut ears off of lambs, for example, so no shepherd in their right mind does this.
I blame the “cute and cuddly factor” for vegan diets. Calves, piglets and chicks are cuter than baby snakes or mice, so we should save them. Wildlife is scary and creepy, so they don’t care about that. That is the definition of hypocrisy in my book. Just because a snake is “creepy” doesn’t mean that it has any less of a right to live.
Unless you plant, grow and harvest EVERYTHING you eat yourself, by hand, you’re not saving animals lives. If your diet is composed entirely of commercial produce, you’re responsible for far more deaths than someone who eats an omnivorous diet.
If you don’t eat meat, eggs, or dairy because you don’t like them or because of a medical condition, you don’t fall into this category. I’m talking to the preachy, hipster vegans who think their diet makes them morally superior to people who eat meat. I honestly want to know why no one seems to have an answer for this. Are you just ashamed to admit that you didn’t know or do you just not care about “creepy” wildlife?
I would love, LOVE someone to explain this to me because right now, it just makes me want to smash my head against my keyboard at the illogic of it all.

You Get What You Pay For

Body modification has been a big part of my life since I was old enough to understand the concept. I’ve always loved the thought of being able to change yourself. Adding, removing, and decorating your body to suit your tastes appeals to a lot of people for a lot of different reasons.

A lot of people who don’t know anything about body modification don’t understand the appeal or why anyone would want to do that. They think that it’s because you enjoy shocking people or you enjoy the pain. Personally, I hate pain and I hate being the center of attention.

During my teenage years, I developed an almost pathological issue about loosing things and people. Luckily, it hasn’t developed into a hoarding issue. For years, I carried around an underlying anxiety that I couldn’t explain. It sounds cliché, but getting my first tattoo lessened that a bit. I thought about it a lot and finally realized that I had something that I could never lose or have taken away from me.

It probably makes me sound neurotic, but it’s comforting to know that I could end up living in a box on the street, with nothing; everyone could walk away from me and disown me, but they can never take my tattoos from me.

I don’t get a tattoo unless it means something to me. They’re memorials for family members, lessons I need to remember or a way for me to carry a memory forever. As such, I’m particular on who tattoos me and what I get.

If you’re going to pay someone to etch something onto your body or poke a hole in you and put a piece of metal in that hole, you should be concerned about the quality of the work, how clean the environment is and what it means to you.

There is one simple rule to avoiding shitty tattoos: if someone is tattooing you while someone in another room is cooking drugs, you’re not getting a good tattoo.

99% of the horrible tattoos I’ve seen have one thing in common; the person doing them was your friend’s cousin’s brother in law’s home boy and he promised you a good deal. There is a short list of people I would let tattoo me in a home setting and it’s because I know how they work. The work they would do at home is the same quality as the work they would do at a shop.

When it comes to body modification, you get what you pay for. If you pay 20 bucks for a tattoo, it’s going to look like crap. You’re paying someone to do what is basically a medical procedure on you, price should be your last concern.

If you want work done, save your money, find a good shop, find a good artist who knows what the hell they’re doing. Spend good money on it, it’s something you’re going to have for the rest of your life. It’s one of the very, very few things you can take with you when you die; it shouldn’t look like shit.

End Rant.

An Answer to the Family Research Counsil

The Family Research Council says that their vision is “a culture in which human life is valued, families flourish, and religious liberty thrives”.  I recently stumbled upon an article on their website titled “Ten Arguments From Social Science Against Same Sex Marriage”. Whoever wrote this article has obviously never met a same sex couple with or without children.   I can also say with 100% certainty that the author of the article and the researchers who complied the studies the author quotes DID NOT grow up in a same sex household.  I can personally refute every single point they make with events from my own life.  I’ll retype the gist of their points, but here’s a link to the actual article if you want to read the whole thing (

1) Children hunger for their biological parents.

This in in no way 100% true.  The only things I know for sure about the sperm donor my mother’s doctor used is that he was a medical student at the University of Texas, he looked similar to my mother and had a clean family medical history.  I’ve had several opportunities to find out more, and I’ve turned each one down.  I’ve never had a deep urge to seek him out.  I’m happy with my family and don’t feel the need to add to it.  He did his part and provided my parents with the chance to have a child.

Their initial complaint is that same sex couples would be producing a “generation of children living apart from their parent”.  Umm, aren’t there a lot of straight couples who have done the same thing?  The number of children from broken homes and parents who don’t live together would be a staggering number.  Where is your objection to that?

What they don’t understand is that growing up in a house with same sex parents is nothing like being the child of an unwed mother or a child from a broken home.  The child of a single mother knows that they live in a house with one parent while their friends don’t.  That leads to the hard to answer questions like “Where’s my daddy?” and “Didn’t he love me?”.  A child of  divorce goes from living in a house with two parents that is then disturbed by one of them leaving.

I grew up in a house with two parents.  I remember asking my grandmother once why my friends had a mommy and a daddy when I had two mommies.  The answer I got was “You know how some people have black hair or red hair or blonde hair?  Some people have a mommy and a daddy, some people have two mommies and some people have two daddies”.  To me, at the time, it made sense.  People have different colors of hair and eyes, so why not different parents? 

In the long run, growing up the way I did made me less judgmental.  I learned at an early age that not everyone is the same and not everyone comes from the same situation I did.  It didn’t mean they were in any way lesser than me.

Growing up assuming that everyone is just like you will cause a huge culture shock the first time you have to deal with the real world.  These people seem to assume that children are raised in a vacuum.  I was raised not just by my parents but by a whole group of adults.  I had five father figures, and each one had a different and positive impact on my life.

2) Children need fathers.

I will agree the the basic premise of this point, but I don’t think children necessarily need their biological father around.  There are an awful lot of biological fathers who would be horrible role models for their children.  They’re abusive, criminals or neglectful.  You can’t tell me that having a person like that in a child’s life is a good thing.  Genetics don’t make you a good parent, love does.

If these people genuinely believe that 100% of children are better off with both biological parents, they should be lobbying for a bill that outlaws separation or divorce for married couples with children and a law that makes being a single parent illegal.

I agree that strong male role models reduce criminal behavior and risky sexual behavior in girls, but nothing says that it has to be a biological role model.  I wasn’t a criminal or promiscuous.  I had more father figures than my friends who grew up in a house with two parents.  Again, children are not raised in a vacuum. 

3) Children need mothers.

Again, somewhat true, but again a child needs a loving role model, not just a donor of biological tissue.  My younger brother (not genetically, he’s my mother’s godson) was adopted before he was a week old by a single gay man my family knew from a parenting support group at our church.  Evan (my brother) spent a good deal of time at our house and even though he’s 18 now, he still has an amazingly close relationship with both me and my mother.  Any time he had a question, there were always a lot of people around to answer him.  He grew up, just as I did, knowing that he was loved and accepted no matter who he was.

He’s had a lot of female role models just like I had a lot of different male role models.

4) Evidence on parenting by same sex couples is inadequate.

I would agree with this, but I think that if you would make an effort to talk to people who were raised in a same sex household, you would find that they are no different than children raised by the American nuclear family.

Was my childhood perfect?  No, but nobody has a perfect childhood.  The only negative things in my upbringing came from groups like the FRC and the religious conservatives.  From within the gay community and my family, there was nothing but support and acceptance. 

Frankly, it was beneficial to me to be raised in a household where I never worried about wether or not my family was going to cast me out because of who I was.

5) Evidence suggests that children raised by homosexuals are more likely to experience gender and sexual disorders.

They quote a same sex marriage advocate who says that children raised in same sex households are more likely to have homosexual relationships.  The APA removed homosexuality from the DSM (the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual) more than 20 years ago.  The FRC doesn’t list any other “disorders” in this entry.  All they say is that these children are more likely to be gay/bisexual and that girls raised by lesbians tend to be more masculine and boys raised by gay men tend to be less masculine.

Here’s an idea, maybe these aren’t disorders.  Maybe those children (and the adults they grow into) feel accepted and allowed to be who/whatever they want to be.  I can’t tell you how many adults I know personally who felt pressured by their family and community to fit some ideal mold.  They felt like they had to be a man’s man or a delicate wilting flower.

Children raised by same sex couples aren’t raised under this kind of pressure.  I was told my entire life that I would always be loved and accepted regardless of what/who I was.  Surprise, surprise, I was allowed to learn how to think for myself rather than just parroting what my parents said.  I feel sorry for people who grew up afraid to be honest with their family.

How is it better to feel like you have to choose between being who you are and your family?  I know so many people who got married because they were told it was what you had to do.  They thought everyone felt the way they did.  This leads to a person living a lie, pretending to be someone they’re not, a person who comes to the difficult decision that they have to be honest with their family and accpet the fact that they could be disowned or shunned by the people who are supposed to love them.

“Experts” have occasionally pointed to the fact that there is a higher than normal rate of drug and alcohol abuse within the gay community and say this is proof that homosexuality is an unnatural state of being.  Imagine if you had to live your life as something you’re not.  Could you imagine having to find a way to cope with that?  Do you have any idea how painful it would be have your family cast you aside like a peice of trash because you were honest with them?  Now try to figure out how you feel if you not only had to deal with that pain, but it’s now compounded by the fact that until a few years ago, it was almost unheard of for someone to be prosecuted for beating someone because they were gay.  In the south, it was almost a sport to go gay bashing.  Is it any surprise then that there is a higher incident of drug and alcohol abuse?

6) Same sex “marriage” would undercut the norm of sexual fidelity within marriage.

Basically, they think that same sex couples are more likely to seek sexual partners outside their marriage.  If you’re truly concerned about this, why aren’t you also protesting and speaking out against heterosexuals who have open marriage or who are swingers?  Hell, why not go all the way and make audultery punishable by death like it was in the Bible?

They site a statistic that 79% of same sex couples surveyed in Vermont say that they have no problem with extramarital sex.  How many heterosexual marriages are ruined by infedelity?  According to the state department, it’s more than 50%.

If you’re going to use infedelity as a reason to prevent same sex marriage from being legal, maybe you should look into correcting the same issue in heterosexual couples first.

7) Same sex “marriage” would further isolate marriage from its procreative purpose

So, your arguement here is that marriage should exist for procreation, right?  Do you adovocate that heterosexual couples should only be allowed to marry if they’re both able and willing to have children?  Do you think single women who get pregnant outside of marriage either marry the father of their child or be forced to have an abortion?  Both assertations make just as much sense.

If you’re going to argue that marriage’s primary purpose is procreation, then straight couples who can’t/don’t want to have children shouldn’t be allowed to get married either.  I think most people would argue that forcing couples to undergo medical testing and require them to sign a legal document to ensure they have children makes no goddamn sense.

8) Same sex “marriage” would further deminish the exception of pateranl commitment.

Their argument here is that the avalibility of contraception and the sexual revolution have made it easier for men to abandon their children.  They say that if same sex couples were allowed to be legally married, heterosexual men would justify abandoning their children since it’s become the social norm that children don’t need fathers.

You can’t make a sleazy person unsleazy by restricting the rights of an unrelated group.  There have been and always will be dead beat dads and neglectful mothers.  These people don’t give a damn about their own kids, why would they give a damn about what two men or two women they don’t know do?

Again, if this is your main complaint, where are your protests saying that a man and woman who have a child have to get married or abort the pregnancy?  It follows the same logic.

9) Marriages thrive when spouses specialize in gender typical roles.

Oh, boy, here we go.  They actually say that women are hapiest when their husband is the bred winner and they focus on child raising and house work.  I’m glad they still live in the “Leave It to Beaver” universe, but the rest of society does not. 

This statement not only offends me as a marriage equality advocate, but as a modern woman as well.  This statement makes all of the work done by those in the past who fought for gender equality seem pointless.  It’s a slap in the face to everyone who fought for equal rigts for any group.  Every couple, regardless of gender, should be free to structure their relationship any way that works for them.  This is possibly one of the most mysoginistic, sexist, and bigoted statements I’ve ever read in my life.

10) Women and marriage domesticate men.

So, married me live longer, earn more money, drink less, etc.  Why on earth does it matter if the man lives with a woman or a man?  I know just as many gay men who have settled down as I do straight men.

Being in a commited relationship is what domesticates a person, not what genetalia your partner has.

This artilce offends so many people and is riddled with inaccurate statements and half truths. I think one of the most telling things about this site is the fact that you can’t leave comments on this.

This author pressumes to know how I was raised and what my childhood was like. They have no idea.  I was raised in a family where I was allowed to be myself.  Am I a tomboy?  Yes, but I was NEVER pressured to be that way.  I know quite a few teens and young adults who were raised in same sex households and their personalities and interests cover all points of the spectrum. 

How dare they pressume to know anything about me?  They have no background or expertise that qualifies them to make these statements.  They are all bigots who seek to force everyone else to be like them.

End Rant.

How Can You Honestly Be Surprised? (Part 1)

While there are a lot of things I can rant about, there are also things that are so unsurprising they make my brain shut down for a second.  I’ll probably do another few more of these, but this is the first one.

I’ve been hearing a lot about a documentary produced by CNN for the past few days called “Blackfish”.  All I knew about it was that it focused on an Orca whale that has killed three people since 1991 (two trainers and an idiot).  He’s 22.5 feet long and weighs about 12,000 pounds.  The first trainer killed was in British Columbia at facility called Sealand of the Pacific.  The trainer slipped and one of her feet splashed into the water.  Tilikum (the whale) immediately grabbed her leg and pulled her under.  Witnesses say that they know for sure it was him (instead of the other 2 females) because he was much larger and the only one of the three whose dorsal fin was folded over.  Over and over, he would release the trainer and allow her to surface but would then drag her back down.  Her official cause of death was drowning, but the spectators all say they clearly saw him mauling her.  Shortly after that, he was sold to Sea World in Orlando.

The second death (the idiot) was a guy who hid in the park and somehow avoided security and got into the tank.  Staff found the guy the following morning being pushed around the tank, completely nude and with a ton of lacerations.  Again, COD was drowning.

The most recent death was in 2010.  He grabbed the head trainer by the arm and pulled her into the water.  The paramedics said when they arrived shortly after she’d gone underwater that they saw the whale swallow her arm and scalp her.  There wasn’t any blood, so they realized she was already dead.  They had to herd him into a smaller tank because he refused to let go of her body.

Tilikum was captured off the coast of Iceland in 1984.  People in speed boats aided by helicopters, tossed explosives into the water to move the pod into a cove.  This pod had been through this before so the adults without calves went east while the mothers and calves went north.  The speed boats went east until the plane reported where the calves were.  Fishing nets were strung to block the cove.  The 3 calves were roped and pulled out of the water by a crane.  Once they had them out, they opened the nets.  The adults could have fled, but they stayed there, panicking and calling to their calves. 

He has since spent his life in parks and exhibits and along the way has suffered abuse.  Researchers say that they believe he’s basically had a psychotic break. 

Honestly, why is anyone surprised when these animals kill/seriously injure someone?  Not only are they wild animals (even if they’ve been born in captivity) they weigh several tons, have 48 very sharp teeth and are considered one of the ultimate apex predators of the ocean.  It’s been documented several times that will kill their own calves strictly to play with the body.  They wave it around and hit other whales then leave it.  They’re called killer whales for a reason. 

These animals are designed to live in large family groups and swim hundreds of miles a day.  When you put them in tank with only one or two other whales (who aren’t related) you set yourself up for disaster.  Animals are capable of going insane and that’s a good way to make an Orca’s mind snap.

Saying you’re “surprised” when Orcas kill someone is like saying you’re shocked that a grizzly bear would kill a person who was poking it with a stick. 

Quit being surprised people.


I was shopping at the local mega store the other day when I was accosted by Boy Scouts in the parking lot.   They were raising money for something and while I didn’t have any cash on me at the time, I had made a note to root through the black hole that is my purse while I was wandering aimlessly in the store and see if I could find any change that may have escaped my notice.

Until I passed their leaders by the door.  That plan went right out the damn window.

They didn’t say anything directly to me, and indeed I doubt they noticed me at all.  But I noticed them, and their insanely bigoted comment.

I heard one say to the other, “I can’t believe they’re letting queer boys in the Scouts.”

The liberal activist in me thinks I should have stopped and said something, but I was so pissed off I couldn’t think.  I just barreled past them and continued my search for cat litter and dog food.  Part of it was that there were just too many things I COULD have said.

Gay people in the Scouts is not a new thing.  The only new thing is that now these kids don’t have to hide who they are anymore.  Or at least that’s the idea.  I’m sure with leaders like that, they’ll continue to keep things to themselves.  Your son has always had the chance to share a tent with a gay kid, you just might not have noticed.

Now, I understand that the Boy Scouts are a private organization and don’t receive money from the government.  They’re free to exclude who they want for any reason.  That’s one of the nice things about being a private group.  But I don’t want to hear people whining that they’re suffering a huge drop in funding.

How strong are your convictions?

I would have gladly given those boys the change I had, but not after hearing what their leaders said.  Beyond the fact that I don’t want to support idiots like that, I think that’s a comment that under any circumstances shouldn’t be said when you’re in public trying to raise money for your kids.  If you have that big of an issue with it, you need to bring it up with the organizations leaders.  A fundraiser outside a store isn’t the place for that.

Does it bother me that there are still scout leaders who think that?  Yes, it does.  But I don’t have to fund them or support them.  I would be leery of letting any child of mine participate in a group with leaders like that.

I think the most disturbing part was how casually they said that.  Obviously, this was something they had discussed before and they apparently, had no problem saying this in full view of their kids.  It makes me wonder how they talk when they’re not in public.  Queer is by no means the worst slur I’ve heard applied to gay people, but the amount of disdain and loathing in that one word was enough to bother me.

In any organization or work place, there are disputes that need to be settled behind closed doors with the administration or leaders of that group.  In public or in front of clients/customers is not the place.

And, your son has been around gay people before and will be again.  You can’t lock your child away and “shelter” them from people who are different than them.  Eventually, your child will go into the wide, scary world and they will HAVE to deal with people who don’t fit your cookie cutter mold.   How on earth are they going to function with that?  Are they going to run and scream every time they see a guy wearing a pink shirt or a woman wearing flannel?  Are they going to be so freaked out that they loose out on opportunities for education and promotion?

You can say what you want to about how I was raised and the community I grew up around.  Holidays were odd and my life was different in a lot of ways, but I’ve never been afraid to interact with someone strictly because they’re “different”.  I’m just as comfortable talking about the benefits of a Yorkshire pig over a Hampshire pig with a farmer as I am talking about how I think Andrew Lloyd Webber ruined American musical theater with a RENT head.  I learned at an early age that being able to talk to people and find some sort of common ground was a valuable skill.  I learned that just because someone is different doesn’t mean you can’t get along.

Some people say that my childhood was too different or that I was slighted in some way.  They feel sorry for me.  Don’t.  I feel sorry for the kids who are thrown to the wolves at eighteen with no idea how to interact with people who aren’t exactly the same as their parents and family.  I feel sorry for kids who don’t learn how to find something in common with people from a different background.  I learned how to value what others bring to the table when they have a different view point.  I learned that there are very few people that I genuinely can’t find common ground with.

How very limited their lives must be.  I’ve gotten to learn from so many people with so many different ideas and I feel sorry that your kids won’t be able to do that.

End Rant.

Designer Dogs…and other horriblly popular pets

So, I know this blog has been about my childhood and other serious, thought provoking topics, but this is something that just makes me livid.

It drives me nuts that there are still people in the world who believe the whole designer dog bullshit.  I guess it’s true that there’s a sucker born every minute and that a fool and his money are easily parted.  What possible use can there be for a Corgi/Husky mixed dog?  All you’re going to get is a dog that sheds CONSTANTLY, barks at everything and will most likely be one of the most neurotic dogs on the planet?

I have no issue with reputable, ethical breeders.  These people produce dogs because they genuinely love their breed and wish to improve it.  Their dogs have championship conformation show titles or field trail records.  They’ve been OFA certified on both their hips and elbows.  They’ve been screened for potential congenital defects and venereal disease.  These dogs are the best of the best.

These breeders have contracts for each and every puppy they produce.  They provide a health guarantee and make sure they have spay/neuter clauses for their pet quality pups.  They have a waiting list of people they’ve investigated personally and make sure they have the money to pay for vet checks on their female, any emergencies that may arise and to cover the puppies initial health checks and vaccinations.  They are a wealth of information, but they will be the first person to tell you all the negative things about their breed.  They want you to fully understand what you’re getting into and what their breed requires.

I refuse to consider people who produce mutts on purpose just to make money breeders.  Lumping them together like that is an insult to good breeders.

The ONLY time it’s okay to cross breed dogs is if the mix has the potential to produce exceptional working dogs.  Crossing a Bloodhound with a Blue Tick Hound or crossing a Husky with a Malamute.  Crossing a Chihuahua with a Dachshund not only produces mutts with no purpose, but also creates a dog that in all likelihood will drive your vet and their employees nuts because they’ll be nippy as hell.

Don’t get me wrong, I love mutts.  I love the fact that you can find a mutt in any size, color, coat texture, activity level or personality you could think of.  They can be wonderful dogs, but part of the risk you take with owning one is not knowing what health problems they’ll be prone to, how big they could potentially get and what kind of disposition you’ll have to deal with.  That’s why pure breeds exist.  They consistently produce dogs with similar personalities and attributes.  It gives you some idea of what you’re in for.

Quite frankly, anyone who falls for the gimmick of “designer dogs” is an idiot.  Why do people continue to fall for this?  Produces tell people these dogs will act a certain way and that they have “registration papers”.  Those “papers” aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on because no reputable kennel club would give a dog like that papers.  These breeders have no idea what they’re talking about, but they’ll tell you anything you want to hear as long as you’ll give them money.

If you want a mixed breed dog, get one from a shelter or rescue.  You can find them if you look for them.  Getting one from a “breeder” is lazy as well as unethical.

The other thing that bugs me to no end is the fact that pigs have become hugely popular lately.  I’ve had farm hogs and potbellied pigs since 1998 and absolutely love them.

That being said, a pig of any size can be destructive and dangerous.  Even small pigs can easily kill a full grown adult.  They will scream and bite when scared or angry and they’re illegal in most city limits.  They’re intelligent animals that will DESTROY your house if they get bored and you keep them inside.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, unethical producers have convinced people that they can produce pigs that only weigh 30 pounds when they’re fully grown.  There is no such thing as a micro-pig.  These are either runts, a producer willing to say anything to get your money or animals that are the result of over breeding with an unhealthy emphasis on size alone.

A properly fed, healthy potbellied pig can easily weigh over 100 pounds.  At that weight, they are stronger than a grown man and can be impossible to control.

They act nothing like dogs and people need to understand that.  Disciplining a pig the way you would a dog is a great way to catch a bite.  They’re social animals, but they don’t show affection the way a dog or cat does.  They don’t want to cuddle with you, they don’t want to sleep in bed with you.  They want to be allowed to be pigs.  They want to root, they need to root.  They want to dig mud holes and find tasty snacks in the ground.

It’s damn near impossible to find good medical care for them, as well.  Most livestock vets won’t treat them because they don’t have small enough equipment and most companion animal vets won’t see them because their staff isn’t trained to handle them.  Their diet has to be carefully monitored because a pig who is over fed will end up massively overweight.  Potbellied pigs have horribly weak backs and hind legs that can break a lot easier than people think and adding weight to an animal like that just sets them up for disaster.

I know, with 100% certainty that the number of pigs in shelters or rescues is about to jump astronomically.  These are not good pets for 99.9% of the population, and once people realize how much work they require, they just dump them.

People need to do their research before getting any animal.  You need to be familiar with the breed or species before you make the long term commitment involved with owning one.  I hear the same complaints every day that could have been avoided if the person had done ANY research.

If you keep pigs long enough, eventually you’ll be a bite and something of yours will be destroyed.

Dachshunds were developed to go underground, find a badger and drag them back to their handler.  Badgers are hands down one of the most ill tempered animals on the face of the earth.  If you’re a dog that’s barely a foot tall at the shoulder, you’re gonna need balls of brass to go into a badger’s turf, catch them and not get yourself killed in the process.  So, yes, they’re hard to train and will think nothing of starting a fight with a dog that outweighs them by over a hundred pounds.

Beagles bark, almost constantly.  They’re coursing dogs meaning they were developed to chase foxes (or other game animals) in large packs and bark loudly so the hunters can follow them.  If you don’t like having a dog that barks all the time, don’t get a Beagle.

A Great Pyrenees does not want to be a family pet.  They don’t want your attention and they have no interest in playing with your kids.  They’re livestock guard dogs and have been for hundreds (or thousands) of years.  It’s hard wired into them to not crave human interaction.  A dog that always wants to be around people won’t do damn thing to keep your sheep safe so it’s been bred out of them.  If you keep one as a house dog, without something to guard, they will literally start eating your house.

I’ve noticed a lot of people who claim to be “experts” say that it doesn’t matter what a breed was developed to do because they haven’t been used for that in years.  This is utter and complete bullshit.  You can’t undo hundreds of years of breeding and refinement in twenty years.  Huskies want to pull things, hounds want to hunt, Newfoundlands want to pull people out of the water.  It’s their nature and preventing them from doing those things produces a neurotic dog with behavior issues and an owner who ends up despising the dog.

So, in closing, get off your ass and do some research.  Save yourself the headaches and frustration.  If you want a pet, it’s your job to figure out everything you can before you actually get one and you need to have a serious discussion with yourself and your family to make sure you’re willing to put forth the effort of having animals in your life.

End Rant.





Honesty, Impact and Faith

I have asked this question so many times it’s ridiculous.  How, specifically, does legalizing same sex marriage impact your life or your marriage?  So far, no one has answered.  Heterosexual marriage has no impact on same sex marriage and the opposite is also true.  Bill and Dave loving each other has no impact on the integrity of your marriage, so why do you care so damn much?

I would respect you more if you were just flat out honest and said that the thought of two men having sex grosses you out.  At least then you’re being honest.  You’re childish, but you’re honest.  Using your faith so you don’t have to honestly say why it bothers you is a cop out.

Frankly, faith is NOT a valid basis for discrimination in this country.  The US was founded on the basic principle of freedom of religion.  You are free to practice any faith (as long as you don’t injure someone) or no faith.  You’re also free from persecution based on faith.  If we are truly going to be a spiritually free country, faith can not be used as a  basis of law.  How would you feel if I said that being a bigoted asshole offended my faith.  Would you change how you felt?  Would you act differently in public or would you continue being who you are regardless of the violence leveled against you?  Denying someone the basic right to marry who they love based upon your faith is the same thing.  In this country, you have freedom of religion as well as freedom FROM religion.  You’re free to believe what you want, but others are free to not believe anything.  If you don’t like it, you should move to a country that has a state religion you agree with.

If you want to get really technical, traditionally, marriage has two components.  There is a component of faith, meaning you make a pledge or vow to another person and your deity of choice that states that you will honor and love the other person and that you’re fulfilling what your faith describes as a Holy or sanctified union.  Then you have a legal component, where you make an agreement with another person and the government that says that you agree to share debt and income and property.  These two components can exist independently of each other.  You can legally marry with no religious component and you can “marry” someone in your faith without involving the government. 

The most common argument I hear against same sex marriage is that the Christian faith believes that marriage exists purely for procreation.  Since same sex couples can’t procreate (a subject that will taken up in a later post), they don’t fit the mold of “traditional” marriage.  By that logic, then, straight couples who can’t or don’t want to have children shouldn’t be allowed to get married either.  If you were to propose a law that said that unless a couple signs a contract stating they will have children or force them to undergo a medical exam to ensure they can have children before they get married, riots would erupt.  I think most people would agree that passing a law like that is asinine and pointless, but saying that marriage only exists to produce children means that the desire or ability to have children should be present before you can get married.

Conservatives say that it has to be proven that allowing same sex marriage won’t negatively impact children.  I grew up in the gay community, and as I’ve said in earlier posts, the only negativity came from “good Christians”.  I feel sorry for people who grew up in a family where they feared being disowned for something as trivial as who they love.  I think it’s worse to grow up wondering if you were really wanted or if you were an accident.  I never had to worry about that.  I never feared being dismissed by my family or wondered if they really wanted me.  I knew I was loved and accepted and I learned to accept people for who they are.

I think, deep down, it scares people to have to explain something as controversial as homosexuality to their children.  They have no idea how to actually talk to their kids, so they rely on society to enforce their beliefs.  Nothing was ever off limits when it came to asking my family about something.  I was given honest answers and encouraged to do my own research.  Heaven forbid you have to explain to your child why those two men are holding hands.  Yes, it’s uncomfortable, but if you truly believe it’s wrong, you should be able to explain that to your kids.  I’ll have to explain to my kids (when I have them) why some people are bigoted assholes. 

It’s your job as a parent to explain and instill your beliefs in your children, not society’s.  Yes, it will force you to really think about your beliefs and examine why you feel that way.  That’s the way it should be.  If you believe in something strongly enough to deny someone’s rights because of it, you should have no problem examining how you feel or explaining it to your kids.

No one is saying you have to jump for joy at the thought of gay marriage.  No one is saying you have to attend gay pride parades.  You don’t have to attend a church that performs same sex marriages and you don’t have to join PFLAG.  When interracial marriage was legalized, no church was forced to perform the ceremonies if they didn’t want to.  It will be the same way with same sex marriage. 

Your faith and beliefs should be strong enough to withstand someone disagreeing with you.  Part of what made this country great was the fact that you don’t have to adhere to a state sanctioned belief system.  If your faith is so flimsy that two men you don’t know and will never meet getting married weakens it, it wasn’t that strong to begin with.

America’s entire history is about leveling the playing field and promoting equality.  Equality and freedom will always win in this country and the battle over same sex marriage is no different.  Eventually, it will be legal.  History has shown that time and time again that equality will win the day.  You don’t have to like it, but you should get out of the way.  You will loose and this country will progress, regardless of how much you kick and scream. 

How does it directly impact you and your faith?  It doesn’t.  How does it affect your marriage?  It doesn’t.  Will you have to explain something to your kids you don’t want to talk about?  Yes, but that’s your job as a parent.  My faith and my belief in marriage equality doesn’t impact you directly, but your narrow minded views on marriage directly impacts every loving, committed same sex couple in this country.  That’s not freedom of religion, that’s using your faith as a club to beat others down.  You’re turning your faith into the spiritual equivalent of a southern country club.  You’re basically saying “Oh, we can’t let you join, you’re not the same as us, so you’re not good enough, so sorry”.  It’s stupid when applied to a golf course, and it’s mind bogglingly backwards when applied to something like marriage.   The right to marry isn’t some exclusive little club, it’s a basic human right.  Treating it like a yacht club does more to cheapen the institution of marriage than same sex marriage ever will.

End Rant.