With a little help from my Facebook friends

Writer’s block. It happens to all of us, and it happened to me this week while deciding on what subject to tackle in this column. So I asked my Facebook friends for their suggestions. Here are my short takes on some of their topics.

Hate speech vs. free speech: My concern is who is the moral equivalent of a high school principal, university president or person of authority who gets to call out what hate speech is, and when does that person’s opinion of hate speech become censorship and stamp out all dialogue? 

Dealing with grief during the holidays: Grief is a universal feeling most of us have experienced at some point in our lives. Therefore, when it occurs in your life, reach out to others around you who’ve been there already. Alternatively, you could find a way to celebrate their lives with friends and family.   

Are gayborhoods less gay these days?: I don’t think so since most gayborhoods now have community centers, health clinics, business organizations and even youth centers. Plus, many new LGBTQ+ business of all sorts are opening. We’ve grown to be more than bars and clubs as a definition of gayborhood. Just look at the enormity of art projects and theater professionals in our community. It’s overwhelming.  

On a similar note, why are there no lesbian bars? I would like to believe that we have come to a point when all members of the community can socialize under one roof. Does that make it a “queer bar”?  Could this be a larger conversation about changing terminology?

LGBTQ+ portrayals in media: Let’s give a shout out to LGBTQ+ ally Norman Lear who just passed on Dec. 5. Back in the 1970s, he changed network TV sitcoms to include LGBTQ+ subject matter for the first time with shows such as “All in the Family.” Today, we are visible in all forms of media. It’s been a long road but when you turn on the TV or watch a film, be assured that LGBTQ+ people are on camera or behind it in some form. Fighting for visibility has been my life’s work, and it still makes me emotional when I’m watching a TV show and there’s an openly LGBTQ+ character. These are the role models for today’s LGBTQ+ youth.

Gays and their mothers: OK, that brings a smile to my face and I don’t believe it needs an answer.

Seniors and homelessness in our community: It’s a serious concern, since most LGBTQ+ seniors today — part of what I call the first OUT generation — are housing insecure. We’re beginning to address that issue by building LGBTQ+ affordable housing for seniors, but the need is greater than the current units available. It’s a work in progress.  

Has gay culture grown toxic?: It seems that almost any subject being discussed these days can become toxic, but what is the definition of “toxic.” Is it just people disagreeing and refusing to compromise? Everything is not simply black or white. Most issues have gray areas. Take a stand. Stand by your position but agree to debate, with respect.  

There were so many great topics suggested and if we didn’t deal with it here, not to worry. 2024 gives me 52 more columns to write.

Newsletter Sign-up