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.

Aug 2

I had never been inter­viewed on the radio prior to July 12, but now I can add that unique expe­ri­ence to the list of inter­est­ing things I’ve got­ten to do as a free­lance edi­tor and writer. The pro­gram “Rain­bow Radio” inter­viewed me as a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the e-magazine “10,000 Cou­ples,” for which I serve as Asso­ciate Edi­tor, and the inter­view aired July 15. To lis­ten, click the tri­an­gle “but­ton” above.

Turns out, being inter­viewed on “Rain­bow Radio” placed me in very good com­pany: The very next episode, July 22, fea­tured for­mer Olympic gold-medal diver Greg Louga­nis! (Click the link <— at left to hear this inter­view.) Not that I got to talk with Greg, or even be on air on the same date, but still! It’s about as close as I’ve ever come to celebrity! (Well, along with inter­view­ing and copy­edit­ing a book for pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Fred Karger; and the school where one of my clients teaches being fea­tured on “60 Min­utes”; and the fact that, every month, I get to work with the amaz­ing Shelly Gold­stein on her reg­u­lar, fea­tured col­umn in “10,000 Cou­ples” — Shelly, who has writ­ten com­edy that has aired on HBO, who knows many celebri­ties per­son­ally, and who has writ­ten some of the fun­ni­est song par­o­dies I’ve ever heard to help peo­ple take a look at seri­ous issues of injustice.)

So, yeah… this copy­edit­ing, proof­read­ing, and writ­ing gig is a lot of fun!!

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Please answer one of these ques­tions in a com­ment below:

1. What’s the clos­est you’ve come to a brush with celebrity?

2. Lis­ten to either inter­view above and let us know what you thought of it.

Thanks for chim­ing in!

Aug 1

The fol­low­ing arti­cle, writ­ten by “yours truly,” is fea­tured in the August issue of “10,000 Same-Sex Cou­ples eMagazine”:

Some­one You MUST Know: Dan McLel­lan, Founder of Homoquotables

By Heidi Mann, Asso­ciate Edi­tor   Wed, Aug 01, 2012

Mile­stones have marked Dan McLellan’s life. His greet­ing cards cel­e­brate mile­stones in the life of a card-giver’s gay or les­bian friend, fam­ily mem­ber, or lover.

Someone You MUST Know: Dan McLellan, Founder of Homoquotables

Pic­tured: Dan McLel­lan (l.) and hus­band Michael Jones

With society’s grow­ing open­ness to LGBT cou­ples and mar­riage equal­ity, one might think it would be easy to find a birth­day or anniver­sary card for a gay or les­bian indi­vid­ual. But that wasn’t the case when Dan McLel­lan went card-shopping for his part­ner, Michael. So, about two years ago, Dan set about chang­ing that, and in May 2012, Homo­quota­bles was born.

Homo­quota­bles began as Dan’s “his-and-his greet­ing card” busi­ness, and has grown quickly to offer cards for les­bians as well, along with mugs, t-shirts, and more. Any of Dan’s black-and-white photo designs, sev­eral of which are pic­tured here, can be cus­tomized with a quote befit­ting a birth­day, com­mit­ment cer­e­mony, wed­ding, anniver­sary, or other mile­stone in the life of a gay friend, fam­ily mem­ber, or part­ner. … Please go here, to “10,000 Cou­ples,” to read the rest of this article.

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What I found absolutely poignant and lovely in Dan’s story was the sup­port he still has from his for­mer wife, Kay, who now even plays a cru­cial role in his busi­ness! That has got to be the ulti­mate in accep­tance of someone’s homo­sex­u­al­ity — a spouse who loves his or her wife or hus­band so much and so well that he or she chooses to let the indi­vid­ual go, at least from the mar­riage, to live into her or his full self­hood. WOW!

So, what do you think? Please leave a com­ment below about lov­ing and let­ting go in this fash­ion, and/or visit Dan’s web­site (Homo­quota­bles) and tell us here which of his greeting-card designs is your favorite.

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