Nov 3

Wanted to share my most recent arti­cle for “10,000 Same –Sex Cou­ples eMagazine”:

Some­one You MUST Know:

Min­nesotans United for All Fam­i­lies Com­mu­nity Orga­nizer Luke Ferguson

by Heidi Mann

Luke Fer­gu­son is one of dozens of com­mu­nity orga­niz­ers work­ing with Min­nesotans United for All Fam­i­lies to oppose a mea­sure on the Novem­ber 6 bal­lot that, if passed, will limit mar­riage to one man and one woman by state con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment. Cer­tainly each per­son employed by or vol­un­teer­ing with Min­nesotans United, or sim­i­lar orga­ni­za­tions in Maine, Wash­ing­ton, and Mary­land, where sim­i­lar mea­sures will be on the bal­lot, has their own unique story. Because I got to know Luke per­son­ally a few months ago (and – full dis­clo­sure – I am also a Min­nesota res­i­dent), I invited him to be this month’s “Some­one You MUST Know” as a way to rep­re­sent and honor all who are serv­ing in such capacities.

Luke Ferguson

I asked Luke what brought him to this work. His response, in a word: bul­ly­ing. But prob­a­bly not what you’re think­ing; not the type of bul­ly­ing so many of our read­ers (and sub­jects of our arti­cles, such as last month’s “Some­one You MUST Know,” Caleb Laieski) have endured as LGBT indi­vid­u­als. Rather, Luke’s expe­ri­ence demon­strates that bul­ly­ing can go both direc­tions. In his own words:

My house­hold was actu­ally very con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­t­ian. I was raised to believe that being gay was wrong. I attended a small pri­vate Chris­t­ian [grade] school that only served to rein­force the teach­ing I got at home about gay and les­bian peo­ple. In fact, before I went to high school, I was so shel­tered I didn’t real­ize that peo­ple thought dif­fer­ently than my fam­ily did.

Then I went to high school, a huge pub­lic high school in Min­neapo­lis. It was one of the most open and accept­ing places towards LGBT stu­dents you could imag­ine. But once I expressed my view that I didn’t think it was OK to be gay, I got bul­lied. I was called ‘bigot’ and ‘homo­phobe.’ I have vivid mem­o­ries of being really con­fused. I had never heard the term ‘homo­phobe’ before and I didn’t know what it meant. I was scared of gay peo­ple. My fam­ily and church just taught me that it was wrong. … Read full article.

Oct 12

This video is amaz­ing. It’s orig­i­nally from the travel com­pany Expedia’s web­site, and I’m not show­ing it to endorse Expe­dia (nor do I not endorse Expe­dia). I’m shar­ing it here because it is such a touch­ing and hon­est rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the “evolv­ing” (yes, Pres­i­dent Obama’s word) that often must take place in a heterosexual’s process of learn­ing to accept a loved one’s homo­sex­u­al­ity. Take 3 min­utes to watch:

One of my pri­mary clients in my edit­ing and writ­ing free­lance work is 10,000 Same-Sex Cou­ples eMagazine. I’ve worked with its pub­lisher, Delena Wilk­er­son, for prac­ti­cally as long as I’ve been edit­ing full-time — since Octo­ber 2009. I came on-board with Delena as she was prepar­ing her sec­ond issue; as of this month, she has pub­lished 37!

10,000 Cou­ples can’t pay me much, but the rea­son I con­tinue with the emag and all it rep­re­sents — “the face of same-sex cou­ples around the globe,” in the words of its tagline — is summed up in this video: the joy that some human beings find in lov­ing, roman­ti­cally, sex­u­ally, some­one of their same gen­der; the fact that they are just as enti­tled to such joy as I am to the joy I expe­ri­ence in lov­ing and being com­mit­ted to my hus­band; and the capac­ity of het­ero­sex­ual fam­ily and friends to move in their under­stand­ing of and appre­ci­a­tion for all that such a rela­tion­ship — a mar­riage — means for the gay or les­bian person(s) they love.

When this dad indi­cates that see­ing the sparkle and joy return to his daughter’s eyes as a result of the love she has found in her girlfriend-turned-wife is more impor­tant to him than retain­ing his for­mer con­cept of right and wrong… well, to me, that is huge. That’s what 10,000 Cou­ples — and my sup­port of the LGBT com­mu­nity, which I can best offer through my writ­ing and edit­ing — is all about.

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