‘Mommy I love you’

I like to think of myself as some one who is mentally tough. I’m certainly not physically tough, so long ago I needed to find some way to showcase my inner strength.

I try not go let too much get to me. I don’t complain often when things don’t go my way. And I try to suck it in when I’m feeling any type of pain.

Who knows, perhaps it’s some type of defense mechanism to shield myself from the horrors that can exist in the world.

But whatever the reason, one consequence of my desire to exude mental toughness is I don’t show a lot of emotion. And when I see or hear about something sad, my first instinct is to try to ignore it or change the subject.

Mommy I love you.jpgAgain — probably a defense mechanism. A psychologist could have a field day with me if I ever saw one.

And that’s sort of how I wanted to deal with the Orlando shooting. To stay away from it all. I’d read a few articles and listen to some news broadcasts just to keep up to date, but otherwise, I’d think about other things. It’s much easier to go about life that way than to deal with the sadness of 49 lives tragically cut short.

But there was one item that found its way to me today.

“Mommy I love you.”

Those were among the last words expressed by Eddie Justice, 30, as he texted his mom at 2:06 a.m. while he hid in a bathroom at the Pulse nightclub early Sunday morning in Orlando. He and his mother engaged in a brief conversation for a few more minutes, and then the texts stop coming.

Eddie was shot and killed.

And every time I think about it, I want to cry. Mommy I love you.

Those four words offer no more somber reminder that these were 49 people who — likeEddie Justice.jpg all of us — had a life, had friends, had a family, and had a mother. They had people that they loved and they were loved back. And now they’re gone from one senseless act of violence.

In his waning moments, all Eddie Justice wanted to do was tell his mother how much he loved her. “Call them mommy,” he texted minutes later, referring to the police. “I’m gonna die.”

If that isn’t a stark reminder of how fragile we are in this world, or how tenuous the difference is between life and death, then I don’t know what is.

But in the end, despite the horror, love was on his mind.

Mommy I love you.

I will not hide away from Orlando. As hard as I can try, I will remember every day of my life that we lost 49 good people on June 12, 2016.

In addition to Eddie Justice, here the are the names of the 48 other victims. To forget them is to shame them.

Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old

Amanda Alvear, 25 years old

Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old

Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old

Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old

Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old

Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old

Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old

Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old

Cory James Connell, 21 years old

Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old

Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old

Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old

Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old

Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old

Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old

Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old

Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old

Frank Hernandez, 27 years old

Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old

Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old

Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old

Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old

Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old

Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old

Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old

Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old

Kimberly Morris, 37 years old

Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old

Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old

Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old

Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old

Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old

Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old

Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old

Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old

Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old

Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old

Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old

Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old

Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old

Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old

Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old

Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old

Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old

Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old

Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old

Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old

Go home, North Carolina, you’re drunk

Up until about two months ago, whenever the state of North Carolina was mentioned, the first thought that popped into people’s heads was, well … nothing.

Absolutely nothing. There’s really not many more unmemorable states than North Carolina. Sure, you’ve got a couple good college basketball teams there, and it’s along the route when people want to travel southward to Myrtle Beach or Florida.

And that’s fine! There’s nothing wrong with being under the radar. It means you’re doing you’re own thing, and more importantly, you haven’t done anything stupid to bring negative attention to yourself.

Well that all changed in late March, when the state’s legislature and governor passed the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, which has been described as the most anti-LGBT legislation in the United States.

Since then, the backlash against North Carolina has been well documented.

Loretta Lynch.jpg

But it looked like this whole situation would finally come to a head when the U.S. Justice Department gave North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory a deadline to assure them that he will not enforce this law, stating that it is in direct violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

So that ended it, right? When the DOJ comes down hard on you, there’s really not much else you can do. North Carolina tried to pass a law, failed, and we move on to the next story. What else is happening in the news?

Wait, hold on a second. North Carolina did what?

Seriously? Ugh. Alright, let’s keep going.

On Monday, McCrory responded to that deadline by filing a lawsuit against the United States government, calling the Justice Department’s position a “radical interpretation” of the Voting Rights Act.

This prompted a counter suit by the DOJ, coupled with a dramatic press conference by newly appointed Attorney General Loretta Lynch — a North Carolina native — as she voiced her assurance that the Obama administration will do everything in its power to protect transgender rights.

At this point, it’s shocking how invested North Carolina is to go out of their way to inconvenience the lives of transgenders.

So what can us common folk do to stick it to North Carolina? (Other than blog about it). Well, we can go to their college basketball games and heckle their teams … when the college basketball season begins in November. Or we can drive around the state when traveling along the eastern coast, adding several hours to our commute.

Yeah, there’s not really much we can do. Boaty McBoatface2.jpg

Unless …. maybe I do have an idea.

Remember when I told you about the social media campaign to name a polar research vessel Boaty McBoatface?

Well, unfortunately it failed. Popular consensus did not prevail, and the environmental group that organized the contest will instead name the boat RRS Sir David Attenborough, all but guaranteeing that no one will ever care about this boat ever again.

How about we kill two birds with one stone?

Somebody design a massive boat (I’m talking Titanic 2.0 here), and let’s turn it into not a gay cruise ship, but a transgender cruise ship, and call it Boaty McBoatface. And where will it traverse?

The entire coast of North Carolina.

If that’s not the ultimate way to grandstand against discrimination, then I don’t know what is.

North Carolina was just dealt the worst form of punishment

With “religious liberty” bills popping up in states throughout the South, people are starting to get angry.

In today’s digital age, it’s become easier to put forth a uniformed approach to voice your disapproval of practically anything. In the past, protests really only made national waves if they were extremely massive. But now, when even one person, or one company, speaks out against something — it’s instant news.

Canadian Rock singer Bryan Adams, who most people know for his nostalgia of the summer of 1969, announced on Monday that he’s canceling his Mississippi tour date after the state passed a law that allows religious groups and private businesses to refuse service to gay couples.

OK, that’s fairly significant. He’s a noteworthy musician who was set to play before a 11,500-capacity crowd at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum. And if you were going to see Bryan Adams, still, 25 years after he’s really been relevant, then you are a true fan.

Bruce Springsteen USA.jpgAnd if you’re a true Bryan Adams fan, then you’re pissed at whatever it was that prevented you from seeing him. That’s 11,500 people that now hate their local government.

But that’s still doesn’t even compare to what happened two days earlier, when “The Boss” himself, Bruce Springsteen, canceled a North Carolina show in response to that state’s discriminatory law towards the LGBT community.

Now that’s making a statement. That is “The Boss” acting like a … well, a boss.

And this is someone whose proud of his country. “Born in the U.S.A.,” anybody? This guy wears American flag bandannas on stage when he performs. So what better person to speak out against a law that is so inherently un-American?

Still, though, not everyone is crazy about him. Most people like his music, but not everyone has the urge to see him live. So again, it’s just a small population of people that are truly being affected by this.

So how do you really offer a punishment that stings? That hits people where it hurts? What does everyone in North Carolina do?

Well, one website figured it out.

Xhamster, a popular porn site (… so I hear), banned North Carolina users from accessing its website as of 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday.

This is hilarious. And I strongly encourage all other pornographic websites to follow suit.North Carolina xhamster.png

All you have to do is take away their alcohol next and you’re going to have a lot of frustrated North Carolinians at about 6:30 p.m. every day, right after they come home from work. Also at right about midnight before they go to sleep.

And first thing in the morning. OK, you get the point.

The entertaining part of this will be seeing how North Carolinians actually discuss their unhappiness with this. This will piss a lot of people off, and yet, I imagine they won’t exactly be going into their office tomorrow and complain to their coworkers and boss about the porn site they’re restricted from.

It’s going to be a long, unstimulating road ahead for North Carolina residents.

That is, until their elected representatives get the memo and overturn their idiotic decision.

Until then, residents in the 49 other states can enjoy better bandwidth on Xhamster!

Hell yeah! Take that, North Carolina!

North Carolina, paving the way for discrimination

Things had been going too well for the LGBT community lately.

A few weeks ago it was the South Dakota Republican governor who vetoed legislation that would have prevented transgendered people from using the public bathroom of the gender that they align with. A similar bill in Tennessee died in committee just last week.

At the time of the South Dakota veto, I pondered what would have happened if the bill was passed into law, and what the public backlash would be? Since it never happened, it never really made it to mainstream news. Remember, it takes anger for most people to really become aroused enough to start caring about a particular topic.

Well, this week we found out what that backlash would look like.

On one hand, Georgia’s Republican Governor Nathan Deal pledged to veto a bill that would have threatened the civil rights of the LGBT community and likely would have opened the door for discrimination.

But there always has to be one state that just doesn’t get the memo. And this time, it was North Carolina. In a week that should have been headlined by the state’s predominant college basketball team making the Final Four, the nation’s focus was instead pointed towards the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature and governor, Pat McCrory.

North Carolina law.jpg

In a hastily called session that cost taxpayers $42,000, the Senate approved a bill that not only disallows transgenders from using the bathroom of the gender they align with, but which also, for good measure, overturned all local non-discrimination ordinances.

There’s so many despicable things that happened here. The first thing was the rapid, secretive method in which it was passed without public input. The state’s Democratic legislators were so against this bill that they actually walked out of the Senate chamber while it was being voted on.

But worst of all, it was done in response to a law recently passed in Charlotte that would have protected transgender rights. This new law was essentially created to undo the Charlotte one.

Oh boy. It’s been a rough few days for North Carolina since this law was passed last Thursday. Not only have major corporations and sports leagues like the NBA spoken out against it, but there was this amazing Tweet, as well as this equally amazing video North Carolina law2.jpgproduced by the comic website Funny or Die.

Finally, a coalition of individuals and organizations filed a federal lawsuit against the law, arguing that it violates the Constitution and federal anti-discrimination laws.

It just boggled my mind because, most of all, it just makes North Carolina seem like a hateful place. By virtue of one law, they’re obstructing social progress and advocating discrimination.

Supporters of the law say that women are in danger because they’ll be in the same bathroom as men (as in, people who have transgendered from man to woman).

First of all, this implies that all transgenders are sexual predators.

Second of all, sexual assault is illegal in all circumstances, regardless of what local laws there are.

Transgendered individuals are among the most vulnerable and discriminated people in our society. They deal with prejudice and inequality on a daily basis.

So yeah, North Carolina, go ahead and make their lives even worse. Good job. And Governor McCrory, good luck in your reelection this November. 

You know this is especially sad when, after spending time on this topic, I have to think about the presidential race in order to cheer myself up.

What a time we’re living in.