Monday, August 1, 2016

Hold Tight and Breathe #LGBT #Pride

Fuck me, this has been a traumatic Pride season! 

Sorry. Is it too early in the post to swear? Okay then. Holy buckets, it's crazy out there!

I usually take the summer off to enjoy Pride, think about how far we've come, and regroup but this year there hasn't been time. There's too much happening and most of it has left chunks of the US Rainbow Community jumpy and scared. 

I know how you guys feel, though I'm experiencing things a little differently. I lost my patience with fear a long time ago. What I have these days is a temper on a low boil. I go from okay to volcanic in the space of a single ignorant sentence, and they all seem to be coming from the same direction lately. Funny that.

This post isn't aimed at the coldhearted and self-absorbed because I see little point in talking to that bunch. This goes out to my Rainbow peeps who saw the name Pence attached to the Republican ticket and had a panic attack that hasn't quite dissipated yet. (Don't recognize him? Google "Indiana Governor religious freedom law" and read a few posts. I'm sure it will come back to you.) Pair that nightmare with the Republican platform that places religious pandering over equality and I don't blame people for thinking our Rainbow bus is about to run off a cliff.

With so many political experts predicting a win for the wrong side, the fragile hope keeping much of our community afloat is deflating. We all know how dangerous it is when our most vulnerable lose faith. Addiction goes up. Self-harm goes up. Suicide goes up.

I'd like to offer a bit of solid reassurance to counter some of that uncertainty.

Even if the worst happens and the wrong guy wins, this is not the end of the LGBTQQIA2SGnc movement. Activists all over North America are gearing up for battle, and we will be ready to duke this out. I know because I am one of them. 

Combined, we have decades of experience, thousands of donor members, and hundreds of our own lobbyists. It's too late for anyone to shut us down (regardless of how big their ego is) and no political magic wand can force us back in the closet. We won't go. It's that simple. 

Personally, I can't imagine any scenario where someone could successfully convince HRC to sit down and shut up. Or Amnesty International. Or Lambda Legal. Or The ACLU. Or PFLAG. Or GLSEN. Or the flock of celebrities and YouTubers standing behind Trevor Project. Trust me. We're ready for this! It might not be easy but when has this fight ever been easy?

To those who are still trapped in the shadows of oppression and feel brokenhearted because you think you're watching your chance to finally come out of the closet evaporate: don't panic. Hold tight and breathe. We're still coming to help you! 

After all, you're why we're fighting in the first place.

Monday, July 11, 2016

This Isn't the End. It's a Rerun. #StopTheHate #Orlando #Dallas

It's been a crazy Pride Season, hasn't it? Some days, it feels like things are coming apart and we're on the verge of catastrophe. People are angry. Others are depressed. Deep down it's the same emotion: fear. With most of our politicians demonstrating a distinct lack of leadership abilities, it's hard not to be afraid. 

The brightest spot in the blizzard of ignorance is that this isn't new territory. We've been here before. Every generation has to learn anew that violence doesn't accomplish anything other than making us all victims. It's our turn.

If you were around to see the late 1960s/early 1970s you know what I'm talking about. The US was full of the same violence and civil unrest we see now --  with the added complication of vigilante groups setting off car bombs in random neighborhoods. Remember the Black Panthers, Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), Irish Republican Army (IRA) back then? Remember the explosions in random places and how walking across a grocery store parking lot felt like taking your life in your hands?

I'm not as familiar with the climate in the UK 50 years ago, but I doubt it was all 'beer and skittles,' as they say. Over here, the States looked a lot like Baghdad and everyone was sure we would come to ruin. We didn't. Instead, people got sick of the hatred and violence and started pushing for peace.

It's time to push that direction again. We need to follow the example of past leaders who led their communities back to sanity by cranking up the compassion and tolerance in their corners of influence until those corners met in the middle. Racism and bigotry aren't really the heart of society in the UK or North America. Those are dearly held convictions of a minority with very big mouths! What we really have are countries full of kind, generous people with a scattering of nitwits. We'll prove that again in the end.

Until then, remember to exercise a little self-care. Do things that make you happy. Spend time with family and friends. Watch a funny movie. Look for the good that happens around us every day. Can't find it? Start a little good of your own. Donate to a food bank. Bake some goodwill cookies for a neighbor. Take some 'thank you' donuts to your local fire station. Hand out flowers at a transit station for no reason. Collect signatures on a 'thank you' card for your local police precinct. Whatever comes to mind.

We'll get through this. We've done it before. We can do it again.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Get 50% off at #Smashwords! #Sale #MM

Smashwords' annual Summer/Winter Sale is here!

This is the perfect time to stock up on summer reads. Now through July 31st you can get any titles from my Saving Liam and Blue Series at half price!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

It still hurts -- and that's okay. #OrlandoUnited #LGBT #suicide

It's been an equally inspiring and heartbreaking week and a half since Orlando. So many people have stepped forward to mourn with us. Some have already stepped away again, ready to shift the conversation to something else.

The problem is, many LGBTs aren't ready to trade the real topic for one that's loosely related and easier for other people to comprehend. This isn't about them. It's about us.

I think this is one of those moments that marks the distinction between allies and the Rainbow Community. I don't like the term 'outsiders' because it implies they aren't part of our world and haven't been walking with us for years. At the same time, Orlando and its ripples are things that can only be understood by those who have experienced this kind of hatred before and have the scars to prove it. Some allies know what I mean. Some can only stand on the sidelines and watch, not comprehending how the death of strangers can hobble so many people.

Personally, I'm still at the phase where my frustration tolerance is exceptionally low, and I break into tears at random moments for no particular reason. I know I'm not the only one. Past hurts are oozing to the surface for a lot of people, unearthed by the horrific act that mimicked that past in too many ways to ignore.

The hateful (and predictable) rhetoric the pro-LGBT press reports with such glee doesn't help. We don't need reminders that certain factions wish us dead with every breath, pray for it, dream of it, and celebrate the violence when someone dares to bring that fantasy to life. That's not news. We know they exist and can list half their names. But clicks outweigh compassion, so we get misleading headlines designed to inspire outrage, and reports of every dickweed with a video camera, puking hatred all over the internet.

If you've been dodging the news and haven't seen them, you're not missing anything. It's not even worth a link. The inevitable whining by the offenders, claiming to be the true victims in this scenario when someone offers to shove their microphone up their ass won't be either. I think we all know the routine by now.

The point of this post isn't to rant. (If it were, I've done a piss poor job of it!) The point is if you're still upset and emotionally raw you're not alone. Don't assume you have to hide what you feel because others who don't understand your pain say it's time to move on. 

It's okay to hurt. Mourning flows at its own pace, and there's little you can do to rush it. Whether it's the loss of a friend at Pulse, the nagging fear that you're not as safe as you thought, the demonstration of what so much free-floating anti-LGBT rhetoric can do, or some part of your past seeping out of the lockbox where you keep it, it's okay.

You're allowed to cry. You're allowed to hurt. You're allowed to be a little out of your head sometimes, as long as it stops there. 

Tragedy begets tragedy in our community and I'm not prepared to see this get worse. A lot of people are taking Orlando personally, and it's getting to them. If you need help understanding why you feel what you feel or finding a semblance of hope in your personal tar pit, please reach out to someone. Call an LGBT crisis hotline. Call a friend. Show up at Pride and burst into tears. I guarantee an instant group hug because we're all still a little messed up. We'll cry right along with you. 

(for all ages)

(for those 24 years and under)

(for all ages)

(for all ages)

Monday, June 13, 2016

Orlando Proves One Thing #OrlandoShooting #LGBT

This isn't the way Pride Season was supposed to start.

Like most of you, I've spent the last two days reading articles and comments about the callous massacre perpetrated by a man with an established history of violence. I'm not printing his name because this isn't about him. It's about us.

There are many ways to look at the senseless loss of life. In the beginning, I felt the same way everyone else did: horrified, heartbroken, angry. Sunday night, that changed.

I didn't think to bring my camera, but luckily others did!
I'm a speck in the crowd somewhere.

I made a trip up to Vancouver to stand with the rest of the Rainbow Community mourning the loss. Hundreds of us gathered to light candles and cry on each other. Before the night was over, I realized something. This isn't a time for depression and fear. It's a time for hope. 

Orlando marks an official milestone in our quest for equality. 

Yes, it's heartbreaking. Thousands of lives will be forever changed by the actions of a single lunatic. The Orlando community will never be the same -- but look at the response. The world is mourning with us. President Obama ordered all flags flown at half mast. Politicians and public figures have expressed heartfelt sympathy. 

We matter.

Do you realize how amazing that is? 30+ years ago the White House sounded exactly like Pat Robertson does today: callous, cold, lacking any trace of sympathy. President Regan labeled AIDS-related deaths insignificant, the extinguished lives not worth mourning, the cure a waste of medical research funds.

43 years ago, a gay club in New Orleans was burned to the ground by an arsonist, killing 32 people. The press joked about it. Family members refused to claim the bodies. The country couldn't care less. That's not the way it looks today.

We will mourn those lost in Orlando. They deserve it. We will cry with the families and friends of those murdered. They deserve it. We will ignore the haters. They deserve it. After all, people who devote their lives to hatred and ignorance lose the ability to speak any other language. Sympathy is beyond them.

One day, when the pain eases, I hope we can look back on this week as proof of how far our fight has come. Never again will an attack against LGBT people go unnoticed, unmarked, ignored. 

We matter!


Monday, June 6, 2016

Blue Takes Home the Silver! #gayrom #award #amwriting

I'm proud to announce BLUE won the silver medal in the Benjamin Franklin Digital Awards!

Book 1 in the Blue Series

"...a remarkable book..."
Lustful  Literature

"Another great book by DP Denman..."
Foxylutely Books

"Strong, compelling, moving read."Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews

"...a heart-breaking, emotionally charged journey..."
LBM Book Blog

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Pride and Politics: Why I'm still attending Seattle Pride #LGBT

The new rainbow shoe designs are out which means it’s officially Pride season!

This year is off to an interesting start with corporate politics hogging the spotlight.  L.A. Pride is threatening to drop the LGBT and reimage their event as a music festival complete with higher ticket prices. Seattle just signed an exclusive deal with a corporate sponsor that bans all competitors from participating.

Some people are threatening to boycott the events, annoyed by the politics that have nothing to do with equality. Others saw this coming; the inevitable conclusion of parades that stopped being about equality a long time ago. They’re about product positioning, publicity, and the struggle to fund events this extravagant. 

Despite the drama over sponsors and corporate politics (Let's be honest, our community thrives on drama), I still plan to attend Pride this year. Let me explain why.

The year before last I was at Seattle Pride. (I alternate between Seattle and Vancouver). I went alone that year because you know how it is when you try to coordinate with friends sometimes. If you wait for the timing to work, you never go anywhere! Since I’m not intimidated by hordes of strangers, it isn’t a big deal for me to go stag.

Sitting on the sidewalk, waiting for the parade to begin, I met a young man. It was his first year at Pride, and he was trying to see it all on his lunch break. I invited him to sit down, and we started talking. Like most LGBTs, his path to understanding who he was and how he felt about it meandered through several stages. He suspected he’d found his real identity. That afternoon, on the sidewalk next to me, was the first time he’d ever said it aloud to anyone. 

He was a transman. 

At some point, he would have to tell his family and his girlfriend that the lesbian thing didn’t really fit. It was more than that. In the meantime, he came to Pride to mingle with others like him and find the courage to tell a stranger.  

It was a great afternoon for both of us. The haters still walked the streets with bullhorns, damning us to their imaginary hell. Corporate sponsors professed loyalty most of them don’t express any other time of year. It didn’t matter. It was an amazing day.

That’s why I go. These kids don’t know about the politics and infighting. They don’t care about the money and floats. They need what we all needed at one point: the chance to feel included and speak their truth to people they hope will understand.

That moment never stops happening. Every generation discovers it anew. For me, that’s the reason for Pride.

" beautifully written."
Readers' Favorite