Posts Tagged With: Civil Rights

Viva Colombia

I am often asked why I like Colombia, South America so much.  My response is, “Colombia and I share something – we are both misunderstood and quite often misrepresented!”  I am quite happy when people realize that in spite of my progressive politics, unique views about religion, and gay activism – I am still quite a nice guy.  The same is true of Colombia – in spite of the exaggerations of Colombian life portrayed in Hollywood movies, Colombia is quite a nice country!  Seeing beyond stereotypes opens the mind to so many new possibilities!  Also please notice… the country Colombia is spelled with an “o” not an “u” (Columbia).

Like me, Colombia is much more progressive than many realize – sorry, I mean Colombia is more progressive… anyone that reads my blog already knows I am Progressive!    Colombia’s government is a Republic with Democratic elections and three branches of government including Executive, Legislative and Judicial (that should sound familiar to Americans).  The FARC have basically been neutered and the days of drug cartels controlling the country are now mythology.  The drug lords, guerrillas, and kidnappings are great for the movies, but not a part of the typical Colombians daily life.  

I have lived in both of Colombia’s largest cities, Bogota and Medellin.  My opinion is that Bogota is more of a

Medellin, Colombia, South America

metropolitan lifestyle similar to living in New York or San Francisco and Medellin a little more like living in Los Angeles with San Diego weather.  Bogota has the larger population with just over 8 million to Medellin’s 3.75 million.  Medellin’s climate is more ideal with a very pleasant 65 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit (18 – 27 Celsius)  year round, compared to the cooler climate of Bogota ranging from 50-75 Fahrenheit (10 – 24 Celsius).  I have great friends in both cities but I feel the weather in Medellin is more conducive for Multiple Sclerosis, so now Medellin is home!

Colombia’s tourism campaign is: “Colombia, the only risk is wanting to stay”.  This proved to be very true for me!  With an American Passport, 60 day tourist visits and there are other options for longer stays.  I wanted to stay longer and found the way for me to get a resident visa called a pensionado visa ( basically a retiree’s visa to encourage people to retire in Colombia) .  I do have to renew my visa annually, but that is ok with me.  Colombia could be an option for many more, especially for the benefits of the climate for people with illnesses like Multiple Sclerosis.  I invite people outside Colombia to come experience the reality of this beautiful country with beautiful, warm, welcoming people and forget what television and movies portray about Colombia!  This is a country you should experience for yourself!

*** I will be posting weekly (maybe more) about life in Colombia – follow this blog and let’s share the experiences of this wonderful culture!

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Categories: Bogota, Colombia, Life, Medellin, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sometimes We Need To HELP The Ones That NEED The Help!!!

I just finished watching the movie “The Help”.  It gives me hope that one day someone may watch a movie about how gay people are treated in these days and be appalled.  Just as there were stories in the movie of people that were strong, did good and helped change society; there were more stories of how hate made life for many more difficult, tense and in some cases intolerable.  Even as a gay person, I do not feel my road to equality is as treacherous as that of racial minorities, but none the less… I have hope for us all to see each other for what we are worth as human beings and let the hate stop ruining lives.

People of color, whether black, brown, yellow, tan, red, mulatto or even white have never had to defend HOW they became that way.  But for many gays, their stories are riddled with heartache about having to DEFEND who they are to their own families, losing friends, bullying, and even at times – sadly – violence, beatings, death or suicide.  I relish in the stories of gays that have had supportive families and friends, because although they may be more frequent… they are far from the norm.

More gays than not have tremendous baggage by the time they become adults, while some have DEEP scars.  In my case…. I carry a lot of baggage from deep scars!  I have a lot of people I care about, but less than a handful that I truly trust.  I feel undeserving of friendship, feeling I can never be as good a friend to others as I feel they are to me.  These insecurities tend to only make me suspect of people that are willing to be my friend.

The demon I wrestle with most is accountability.  I was molested as a child by someone in my neighborhood and my resentment grows stronger with age as I know this man has never really been held accountable for what he did to me.  I am told, “Thomas, you must forgive him to grow past this.”  But with no accountability…. I just can’t get past how it has so negatively affected my life.  A family member months ago berated me, called me selfish for trying to protect my mother saying, “Thomas, it is not all about YOU!”  Since when did looking out for my mother make anything about “me”?  But other family members forgive her for how she treated me, but she has not been held accountable for how she was allowed to treat me, so I just can’t get past it.

If there were a way to make these racist in “The Help” accountable for their actions, if bigots were held accountable their hatred toward gays (when someone being gay has no impact on them), if disrespect is not challenged – the world we all live in moves backwards instead of progressing.  Do you know someone that needs to be held air actions?  What is the more brave thing to do…. forgive and let the victim work it out alone OR to help hold people accountable for their injustice to others?  Our society has become too forgiving and too complacent.  I feel forgiveness without accountability is a coward’s way out.

It’s Too LATE to HELP Jamey – He Comitted Suicide because NO ONE held bullies accountable….

Jonah reached out….

John Encourages Jonah!!!

This happened November 2011…. MORE needs to be done!
http://kdaf.vid.trb.com/player/PaperVideoTest.swf

WHAT ARE YOU DOING to HELP?

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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