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Youngstown church welcomes gay, bisexual, lesbians to its congregation

Published: Tue, June 10, 2008 @ 10:44 a.m.

YOUNGSTOWN — First Unitarian Universalist Church, 1105 Elm St., announced this morning that its members voted overwhelmingly to be a “welcoming congregation” to bisexual, gay, lesbian and transgender people and their families.

In the Unitarian Universalist church, the “welcoming congregation” designation signifies an official statement of moral responsibility to pursue social equality.

The Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray, pastor, said 5-10 percent of the church membership of 115 are gay couples. She said First Unitarian Universalist is committed to making gay, bisexual and transgender people feel welcome, showing the community its commitment to being open and taking a stand for equal rights.

For the complete story, see Wednesday’s Vindicator and Vindy.com.


1patsheart(4 comments)posted 8 years ago

Wow, it is true. The suburbians want everything and they don't care who they hurt to get it.

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2patsheart(4 comments)posted 8 years ago

Sorry that was meant to go towards another article.

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3Anita(20 comments)posted 8 years ago

I had to laugh when I read this. The Unitarians aren't a church! The're just a collection of ultra-liberals, acamedians, tree huggers and other leftist fringe. In other words, people who have never gotten their hands dirty with honest toil. You never see a Unitarian Universalist Church
unless there's a college nearby. They can welcome whomever they want, but they really should drop the "church" from their name.

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4Cbarzak(110 comments)posted 8 years ago

I had to laugh when I read Anita's post. Ignorant people are always the first ones to say things like "The Unitarians aren't a church!" and to talk about "honest toil" as if only physical or manual labor are "honest". Yes, normally you don't see a Unitarian Church unless there is a college nearby. I guess we can be glad Youngstown got a college in place years before the "honest" work of the steel mills went overseas. Without one, this community would have even more people like Anita in it: people who think that their way is the only way.

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5valarran(1 comment)posted 8 years ago


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6lucy(135 comments)posted 8 years ago

Anita, do your research. You are truly uninformed about the Unitarian Universalist CHURCH. To which church did Thomas Jefferson belong? Look it up. And thank God the Unitarian Universalist CHURCH draws so largely from the academic community. Our country needs people who can think filling its pews.

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7bobhogue(102 comments)posted 8 years ago

Kudos to the Unitarian Universalist Church for their courageous decision.

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8Cbarzak(110 comments)posted 8 years ago

Tell it, Lucy!

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9lucy(135 comments)posted 8 years ago

Oh and Anita, The Unitarian Church began in Youngstown in 1892...before the University. Visit our website at uuyo.org for more information.

Thanks, Bob Hogue and Cbarzak!

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10tylersclark(182 comments)posted 8 years ago

Hey Tomcat, get educated: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/745...
It's nature. From where I'm sitting, you're the one who should be asking for forgiveness.

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11Mary(3 comments)posted 8 years ago

When you go to bed at night, behind closed doors, why in the world would you worry about what others are doing? Good for the Unitarians. Down with haters.

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12Dennick(160 comments)posted 8 years ago

"I'm so sick and disgusted with gays throwing there "gayness" in my face."

How does one throw THEIR gayness in your face? By going to church? By being involved in the community? By asking for equal rights? By not hiding behind closed doors? How?

Tomcat, buddy, the world is changing and you'd better just get used to it. We aren't going anywhere.

I respect the Unitarian Church for taking this step.

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13Mary(3 comments)posted 8 years ago

Hey Robert,
Remember Col. Fitts, USMC from "American Beauty"? That's TOMCAT! Look how that turned out.

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14crse(15 comments)posted 8 years ago

Anita- I had to laugh when I read your comment. Clearly, you don't know many unitarians and know even less about our local church. For our history, you can refer to Lucy's comment. Never got our hands dirty with honest toil? Perhaps you aren't familiar with the work many of our members have done with "treez please". Search the vindy site, Ralph and Frank's "church" referred to in the article would be the Unitarian church. Or maybe you haven't heard of the North-side Farmer's market, held on our grounds every summer. Google that one. My six year old son is currently growing forty eight tomato plants and will sell the fruits of his labor at the market. Granted, he is indeed guilty of "tree-hugging" (and climbing) but I assure you he is working hard and getting his hands quite dirty as he tends to his plants. I hope the other students in his class are more open-minded about his "leftist fringe" ways as he plans on donating the money back to his school's greenhouse. I could go on about the different ways local unitarians continue to engage in honest toil to better our community but instead, I encourage you to come visit us and see what we are all about before you judge. You will be most welcome.

Many thanks to the rest of the folks who voiced their support about our recent step.

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15tylersclark(182 comments)posted 8 years ago

Maybe you're not aware there's straight porn with women urinating and defecating, so what this has to do with the gay lifestyle, I'm not sure. You can argue this kind of porn is disgusting, but that has nothing to do with gay or straight; it's a fetish.

And why gays can't have parties like everyone else isn't clear either. As to "shoving it in the children's faces in the schools," again you haven't exactly cited anything that helps create a frame of reference, so this is impossible to reasonably discuss with you.

The only thing disgusting here is the holier-than-thou attitude coming from those who otherwise preach "judge not lest ye be judged".

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16clayor(281 comments)posted 8 years ago

Way to go, Tomcat!! Too bad these people have too much "gay pride" to see how others are seeing them . "Straight pride" people act normal, not like a bunch of lunatics who are trying to make people believe they are just like everyone else while they are playing dress-up and acting disgusting in front of the whole world.

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17lucy(135 comments)posted 8 years ago

Tomcat, What, exactly is the "vice versa" of two men kissing each other? Two men kissing each other? It's hard to take you seriously when you have, well let's just call it a less than firm grasp on the English language.

I am glad that my children are finally seeing positive images of LGBTQ people in the media. It's about time. My daughters make no distinction between our gay, lesbian, bisexual, or heterosexual friends. It's unfortunate that my husband and I have also had to teach them about homophobia. People like you have made those teachings necessary. You're tired of "gayness?" I'm tired of hatred.

Not that it matters, but you seem to have assumed that because Tyler is advocating for LGBTQ rights that he must be gay. He's not. Neither am I. Nor are others who have posted here, standing beside our LGBTQ friends. In other words, you and those who think as narrowly as you do are more and more alone in your views every day.

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18ohio01(1 comment)posted 8 years ago

hmm, well lets see Tomcat, maybe you should block that channel or possibly even stop paying for it. It's funny how you know all about the gay life, parties, channels, porn, etc...And what Tv shows are you watching or Newspapers are you reading that you see 2 men kissing? kinda makes me go hmmmmmmm

As for myself I applaud the church in doing so and I may even attend. Wait, if I attend does that mean I'm gay? Actually Tomcat, if I'm straight or gay doesn't really matter because I've learned that everyone is different and I, unlike you, accept that and respect people regardless of what they think or who they are, even you. So watch PBS and read the Bible, you should be safe in your little world.

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19MinisterD(25 comments)posted 8 years ago

I am not familiar with the doctrine of the Unitarian Universalist Church, but as a Christian and a clergyman, I am familiar with ours. Christian Churches should, and are morally bound to admit gays. But those who join a Christian Church have to understand Christianity's position on homosexuality. The Bible says quite plainly in both the Old and New Testament that homosexuality is an abomination, and a sin. No matter what anyone says to me, they cannot circumvent God’s Word. I think homosexual tendencies are a cross to bear, and He will not put more on you than you can bear. In a nutshell, homosexuality angers God.

Does that mean that we are to condemn, chastise, ostracize, and ridicule gays? God Forbid. It means that in the eyes of God, no matter which way you try to spin it, it is against God's Law. However, saying that a lifestyle is a sin is not spewing hate. It becomes hate, when people let their own fears, or their own religious zeal get in the way of what God wants. God does not want us to beat them, but to love them. Even we in the clergy do not sit on such a high horse, that we have the right to judge others. I am not at all homophobic. I can work and joke with a gay person just as easily as a straight person. Does it mean that I approve of your lifestyle? No. Does it mean that I am goign to let your lifestyle get influence how I treat you? No. We are ALL God's children, and we are required to love each other accordingly.

Everyone has their own issues to deal with, and no one is without sin. Just because a sin is accepted in some societies, and growing in popularity in others, it doesn't mean that it is not sin. However, God is love, and love is kind, and unconditional. There are examples in the Bible of when Jesus intervenes on the behalf of a sinner who has been verbally (or even physically) attacked by a group "believers".

All sin is sin, regardless of the perceived magnitude of the sin. All sin will keep you out of heaven. Not just homosexuality. To have the audacity to look down on someone for their lifestyle is laughable, when we have SO many of our own flaws. "Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye." Matthew 7:5

To make my point plain, God loves the sinner, but not the sin. We should do the same.

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20lucy(135 comments)posted 8 years ago

Minister D, while I applaud your message of acceptance of all people, the repeated use of the word "lifestyle" in reference to homosexuality implies that sexual orientation and gender identity are choices--akin to choosing a neighborhood or a hairstyle. Sexuality and spirituality are interconnected. A church that ignores a person's sexual orientation/gender identity under the premise of being accepting is contributing to a culture of homophobia.

As for the Bible, while your interpretation is certainly the most common and the most simplistic, the passages most often cited as evidence that homosexuality is a sin are debatable and have been debated. I'm sure you know that. Still, it's refreshing to hear a Christian minister focusing on Christ's message of love.

If you need to learn more about the Unitarian Universalist principles, visit uua.org.

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21lucy(135 comments)posted 8 years ago

Tomcat, We use the apostrophe with an s to make words possessive, not plural. The word days in the phrase "these days" does not require an apostrophe. You might also want to review how to correctly use pronouns. Your points, if you actually have any, are undermined by your inability to use standard English past a fourth or fifth grade level.

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22Dennick(160 comments)posted 8 years ago

Tomcat knows an awful lot about gay culture. Methinks, perhaps, too much. I wonder how many late late nights he "accidentally" watches LOGO for an extended period of time. I'd love to check out his browser history and see just how many times he has checked out the "specticals" he describes...and misspells.

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23Dennick(160 comments)posted 8 years ago

And Clayor...have you ever played "dress-up"? It's super fun. Come on girlfriend, grab some glitter...let's go dancing!

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24Recentcollegegrad(3 comments)posted 8 years ago

First of all, not all LGBT people shove it down the throats of others. LOGO is a station for LGBT people and encompasses many of our various characteristics and interests. For someone who claims to have gay acquaintances, you apparently aren't very tolerant at all. I wonder, Tomcat, if you speak this way to your LGBT "friends." You apparently don't respect anyone unless they share your close-minded belief system.

As for Univeral Unitarians, way to go! Perhaps I'll stop by sometime. And also good work with Treez Please in the community, it's wonderful community institustions like you that have always invested in our urban communities and have continued to increase the quality of life within them.

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25lucy(135 comments)posted 8 years ago

Tomcat, It's your, not you're and closets not closet's.

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26lucy(135 comments)posted 8 years ago

Oh, and I wasn't being sarcastic. I was being truthful. Your writing, Tomcat, is at a fourth or fifth grade level at best. I hope you enjoy all of the money you make; clearly, it's done nothing to improve your quality of life or you wouldn't feel the need to write so hatefully about a group of people in whom you claim not to have any interest.

You began your rant by accusing gay people of "throwing their gayness" in your face, and yet, the article to which you've responded is only about a church making sure LGBTQ people feel welcome. What that news has to do with gay porn, excrement, the LOGO channel, or your deep and meaningful friendships with appropriately closeted gay people is unclear.

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27crse(15 comments)posted 8 years ago

Ive been quietly reading the comments and generally don't see any point in correcting those who are ignorant of biblical context, my own religion, and/or concepts of acceptance because experience has taught me that minds that are closed generally don't respond to reason. Still, it is out of compassion that I feel the need to intervene into Tomcat's diatribe. Sir, with all due respect, I am becoming embarrassed for you. You do write on a fifth grade level at best. Your "arguments" are completely devoid of logic and tell the common reader way more about yourself than you probably want them to know. Please, before you continue to make a spectacle of yourself, take a moment and reflect upon how you are presenting yourself. I mean this in the kindest way possible sir. You are coming across as a brain damaged sociopath. I am hoping the impression you are creating is the result of lack of judgment and self-awareness as opposed to the reflection of a truly disturbed individual. I will warn you up front, I do not intend to engage in any personal attack wars but hope you take this in the spirit that it's meant. For the record, I am a (heterosexual) married mother of two small children and I find viewpoints like yours to be much more harmful to them than anything Ive ever encountered on TV or in person in regards to those who happen to be LBGTQ. From this point forward, I will not be reading comments posted by you, and recommend that others engaged in this dialogue not encourage you any further either. Please stop talking sir and seek professional help.

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28Dennick(160 comments)posted 8 years ago

As for LOGO...I find it to be pretty tame. They bleep naughty words and pixelate nudity. You can find much worse on Cinemax, HBO, Showtime, MTV, BET, VH1, and even Lifetime and Bravo.

I still don't understand exactly what constitutes "throwing gayness" in someone's face. Tell us Tom...other than having a TV channel that no one can force you to watch and congregating at a church that you don't have to associate with...how is the gay community "flaunting" their "horrific porn" in your face?

I get the idea from reading your posts that you expect homosexuals to either change, or remain silent and out of sight. Understand this. We will go to church. We will get married. We will have children. We will become productive members of society. Many of us already do and are. As I said before, the world is changing. People are becoming educated and giving up the fear/hate doctrines of old. It is only a matter of time. Closets...are for gowns.

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29Cbarzak(110 comments)posted 8 years ago

You have a right to your feelings. Everyone else has a right to tell you that you are wrong, insane, and make up whatever you want to believe instead of facing reality (for example, your above post saying that you are the only straight person here, when others have clearly identified themselves as heterosexuals, not to mention your obvious ignorance to the fact that many LGBTQ men and women serve in our armed services and have throughout history--unfortunately they go unacknowledged because of this society's ignorance and hypocrisy.) You also seem offended because others have put you down and called you names. Well then, perhaps you can now understand how it feels to a LGBTQ person when you call them the names you have in this thread, and put them down as you have done here. May God forgive you for your own sins.

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30lucy(135 comments)posted 8 years ago

Well, as much fun as this has been, I'm starting to find Tomcat's (Tomcat: note the correctly used apostrophe) contributions more disturbing than amusing.

Thanks to all who spoke up in support of the Unitarian Universalist church. We welcome you...even the heteros ;)

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31clayor(281 comments)posted 8 years ago

Well, well, well..our dear Lucy is now an English teacher, Robert wants to play dress-up with me, Cbar speaks in tongue ( I use the term loosely) and poor Tomcat is getting harrassed because he has an apostrophe problem. What's wrong with this picture? The issue here is homosexuality, period. What you do in your own little closet is your business, and your problem if you do it improperly, but I don't want to see you do it. When you force it upon others blatantly for shock value, it does become an issue. When children see it, it becomes a bigger issue. When all these fag/drag queens start parading their stuff and antics in public for kids to see, that IS a problem. They can find their own sexuality as they grow, they do NOT need to have outside stimulation from people who still don't know where they are coming from. (pardon the pun)..I am neither condoning or criticizing your lifestyle, merely saying act responsibly, look around you and see who sees you and how they perceive you, and occasionally look UP to see who is looking down on you and think how HE reacts to your actions.

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32clayor(281 comments)posted 8 years ago

Hey Lucy! This one's for you. '''''''''''''''''''''''

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33clayor(281 comments)posted 8 years ago

Tomcat, I will personally apologize for these people's actions. I am sure they are speaking out defensively and don't mean for you to take this personally. Sometime people need to place their attitudes on others to cover for their imperfections, that is human nature. You must lighten up and accept their unusual behavior, that's what they do. I personally am gonna get my fishnets on and hook up with John/Jane.

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34clayor(281 comments)posted 8 years ago

Those were supposed to be apostrophes, Lucy, didn't show up that way, but you get my drift. Have fun with them!

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35Cbarzak(110 comments)posted 8 years ago

"Sometime people need to place their attitudes on others to cover for their imperfections, that is human nature."

Funny how this can be applied to everything Clayor and Tomcat have said much more than what anything anyone else here has.

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36lucy(135 comments)posted 8 years ago

Clayor, the issue covered in this news story was NOT homosexuality. The original story was about the Unitarian Universalist Church's vote to become a welcoming congregation. Nowhere in the story was there any discussion of drag shows or gay porn.

As for Tomcat and his apostrophes (and your own incomprehensible "sentences," for that matter), using language and punctuation properly is a matter of intelligence and education. We should be suspect of the opinion of anyone who lacks these basic communication skills.

You were, however, right about a few things. I am an English teacher. Robert does like to play dress up, and he's very, very good at it. Cbarzak, while he doesn't necessarily speak in tongues, is a successful and award-winning novelist.

Thanks for the apostophes. I'll use them properly!

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37lucy(135 comments)posted 8 years ago

I appreciate the acceptance-of-all-viewpoints stance, but I beg to differ. When participants on a comment thread use language like "fag" and "queer" and refer to people as "deviants" and "perverts," their inability to use language appropriately, respectfully, and yes, correctly is germaine. While multiple viewpoints can be equally valid, the language of hatred is not a valid viewpoint. It is the often-chosen weapon oppression.

Of course a person's ability to communicate clearly (i.e. proper grammar and punctuation) is relevant to his or her argument. Clarity of communication is one of the hallmarks of logic. Where clarity is lacking, logic is also usually lacking. To point out obviously substandard English skills isn't a "personal attack;" it's an observation that the commentor leaves himself or herself open to when he or she chooses to publicize his or her viewpoints.

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38Dennick(160 comments)posted 8 years ago

"Sodom and Gomorrah"...seriously? Just because a church welcomes gay people? Our crime rate isn't a problem...but watch out for those homos!

Lucy, darling, we should do lunch. I just read the full article about the Unitarian Church and I am even more impressed than I was when I read this blurb.

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39lucy(135 comments)posted 8 years ago

Robert, I'd love to do lunch! The Unitarian Church is a truly welcoming place and was long before we earned the designation. A few of the members, me, Crse, fitzkelly, have posted here. As you can see, we're an outspoken group, and even more important, we're not afraid to disagree with each other.

While I'm on the topic, I feel the need to say that my views are my own, and I do not claim to represent the church. Some other members may be more tolerant of, let's just call them "voices in the conversation" than I am.

I don't believe that inarticulate rage, like that expressed by Tomcat and Claylor, constitutes "dialogue." When a person is incapable of making a point without resorting to hate speech or exaggeration, that person is not engaging in "dialogue;" he or she is using a comment thread as a venue for oppression.

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40matt_s(5 comments)posted 8 years ago

I've been following this thread for a while and was up until yesterday really encouraged by the way the Unitarians were standing up to all the hate masking as "opinion" and "dialog". It made me want to start going back to church.

However, as a gay man, the comment from the person in the church who felt the need to apologize to people spewing malice towards myself personally made me sick to my stomach. Are the unitarians really serious about advocating because what I heard in fitzkelly's comment sounded like just more lip service. When will hetero people understand that no real dialog can occur when ignorant people are encouraged to express close minded biased and uninformed opinions without being shut down? If apologies and invitations to express this kind of crap to me personally is part of your idea of a dialog, I'm letting you know, it makes me feel very unwelcome and not even sure if Im safe at a church like that.

In my world, advocacy means standing up to those who call us perverts and tell us we are going to hell, not rolling over and apologizing because what you refer to as personal attacks looks like advocacy to me.

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41Dennick(160 comments)posted 8 years ago

Hmmmm...a right wing hate monger is losing an argument so he brings up terrorism. Who does THAT remind you of?

Tomcat...do you realize that terrorism is fueled by intolerance, fear, and ignorance? After reading your last two posts I can see exactly what the problem is. You are completely ignorant when it comes to LGBTQ people. Your opinions are obviously based on some bizarre fear that gay people are out to get you...your random army shower comment clearly exhibits that.

Gay people do not want to hurt you...or recruit you...or swoop down from the sky and snatch your babies. All we want is to enjoy the same liberties as straight people.

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42Dennick(160 comments)posted 8 years ago

Matt...did you get a chance to read the full article? I was most impressed by this quote:

[ Ms. Frederick-Gray said she has officiated at 10 same-sex weddings. “We don’t believe it’s a sin,” she said. “It’s a celebration of love between two consenting adults. ]

Many other area churches welcome homosexuals, but they do so under a "hate the sin, not the sinner" policy. Gays are welcome to attend church service just like liars, thieves, and adulterers...the idea being that homosexuality is a sin, just not a MAJOR sin. The hope is that the sinner will eventually see the light and repent.

It was very refreshing for me to read the words "We don't believe it's a sin" because I don't believe it is either.

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43lucy(135 comments)posted 8 years ago

Robert, thank you for making two much needed and lucid points. As a Unitarian, I appreciate that you understand what we stand for... and what we stand against.

Matt, Robert makes a good point when he says that many other churches haven't been forthright in their dealings with homosexual people.

However, I will say again that the UUYO is a truly welcoming church and that you will be celebrated. I've long considered myself an advocate and an ally, and the guidance I've gotten through the church has further strengthened and clarified my commitment to the pursuit of true equality for LGBTQ people.

While I also found fitzkelly's apology to Tomcat a little confusing, I can tell you that he is a really, really good person and a strong social activist. I serve on a couple of committees with fitzkelly, and his dedication to the mission of our church and to the community is unwavering.

I hope you'll give us a chance. You will be both welcome and safe. Feel free to contact me individually if you want to talk more.

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44lucy(135 comments)posted 8 years ago

fitzkelly, drawing attention to a person's inability to communicate in the standard English we should expect from an adult is not "petty." Use of language and argument are inextricably linked; someone who cannot frame a civil, cohesive, and logical argument shouldn't be invited to continue.

I insulted Tomcat's ignorance...all of it...including his inability to write in what I'm guessing is his native language. I don't apologize for calling attention to Tomcat's linguistic inadequacies, and I certainly don't need you to apologize on my behalf.

Comparing grammatically and mechanically flawed English to speaking with an accent is illogical in ways that I have neither the time nor energy to enumerate.

Yes, I pointed out a few, but certainly not nearly all, of Tomcat's writing errors. If you look at my comments, you'll see that I didn't call Tomcat a single name; I said that his writing was at a "fifth grade level at best," and that his inability to write correctly undermined his points. All of these things are true and basic.

The first UU principle is the inherent worth and dignity of all people, but it is NOT that their opinions are inherently worthy or dignified. Tell me, were the "gay panic" views of Matthew Shepard's murderers worthy and dignified? Or is calling them murderers too insulting?

I will call attention to the ignorance, both in content and in correctness, in the commentary of every Tomcat in these conversations, and I will do so without apology. There is no room for wishy-washiness in advocacy.

We disagree on the way to make a point, that's clear, but I find it interesting that I called you, "a really, really good person," and "a strong social activist" and you called me "petty." Perhaps we need to dialogue some more about OUR varying degrees of privilege.

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45matt_s(5 comments)posted 8 years ago

Robert- I did read the article and was really hopeful.
Fitzkelly- What exactly about those homophobic and vicious opinions led you to believe these people wanted a dialog? Have you ever lived your life in the shadow of oppressive bullies? . To compare ill-thought illogical vicious scrawl to someone's accent does not make sense to me at all. What the people from your church were doing didn't sound petty to me. In fact, I was impressed with the way those identified with your church kept everything about the points of view and DIDNT call names like racist bigot or homophobe. While all these things seem true, it seemed kind of professional that they didn't go too far.
Lucy- Thanks so much for the reassurance. Im guessing he is also a really really great hetero guy who just doesn't get it.

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46lucy(135 comments)posted 8 years ago

I guess I'm not done.

fitzkelly, where were the apologies for Robert, Cbarzak, and Tyler for having been on the receiving end of Tomcat's diatribe? Where were their invitations to the conversation? Where were their reassurances that their views are valid and welcome? Aren't they also inherently worthy and dignified? Why so much pandering to the bigot in the thread?

Reread Tomcat's comments. Matt is right. In what way did Tomcat present himself as a person who can be engaged effectively? Why, fitzkelly, you chose to focus your comments on my "petty insults" and dismiss as the result of mere "influences" Tomcat's hateful, violent, and dangerous rhetoric completely escapes me.

I'm especially offended because, as you well know, my advocacy record extends far beyond words. As I recall, there were two adult members of our church who traveled to Columbus (paying our own way) with Equality Ohio to advocate for gay rights/the passage of HB 305. I was one of them, and my sister-in-law was the other. This is not an easy feat for working mothers of small children, and we did it anyway because it was important.

But I guess, because I don't feel the need to please and appease the hateful while completely overlooking the far more valid and meaningful contributions of others, I'm "petty."

Tell me, fitzkelly, did you read any of my comments when I provided information about Unitarian Universalism or when I tried to bring the conversation away from the discussion of gay porn and back to the matter at hand? Were these comments not worthy of acknowledgment? Thank you for making sure everyone was fully focused on my "pettiness." Now I don't need to make the t-shirt.

And yes, Tomcat, I called you a bigot. You are a bigot, but I do believe in your inherent worth. If you were a member of an oppressed group, I would also fight for your social justice; perhaps you are, and perhaps I already am.

Matt, Thank you. I appreciated both your "offstage" and "onstage" encouragement. I'm looking forward to meeting you soon.

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47Dennick(160 comments)posted 8 years ago

What do Islamic terrorists have to do with this message board ???

Just for the record...I've raised tens of thousands of dollars for local charities "playing dress up." I have performed IN DRAG at benefits for Angels for Animals, Toys for Tots, Violet's Cupboard, The Oakland Center for The Arts, PFLAG, The Mahoning Valley Rescue Mission, The Salvation Army, MDA, and even the Ursuline Motherhouse. There is no shame in what I do.

And why does it bother you that Lucy is a teacher? Does it scare you that she might teach your children to be open minded, and to make educated decisions for themselves? Or does it bother you that she might influence them to love unconditionally?

"Unholy" and "perverted" according to whom? To God? Or to you? I've read the Bible. And I am not talking about the Jimmy Swaggert Reference Bible or any of the other helpful translations that toss in the word "homosexual" every other paragraph. I don't think God has a problem with me being gay. I think He (or She) made me this way...and I think they did it on purpose.

If Jesus Christ were alive today, I would invite him to a drag show. I bet he'd have a great time.

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48matt_s(5 comments)posted 8 years ago

Robert-Thanks for dealing with the terrorist stuff. LOL. Have you really raised that much money? Wow.
Lucy-I feel like I'm the reason you took another hit. I'm sorry. I bet you're a great teacher. Noone's getting bullied on your watch, huh? Thanks for going to Columbus, it makes me a little embarassed that I didn't go. You're right though, fitzkelly seemed to focus only on that Tomcat guy feeling insulted about you correcting his apostrophes when everything that he said was so hateful as you pointed out. Thanks for stepping up. I liked this "Why so much pandering to the bigot in the thread?" It's a good question.

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49bobhogue(102 comments)posted 8 years ago

I said it before, and I'll say it again. Although this time I'll augment it.

Kudos to the Unitarian Universalist Church for their courageous decision. And (the new part) the same to all of you who have posted supporting comments here.

I'm not a member of the UU Church. In fact, the only time I've been there was for a wedding (man/woman, by the way). But I am very proud of their decision and of all those who have supported them in this thread.

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50lucy(135 comments)posted 8 years ago

Robert, thank you for the kind words. I teach adults, so Tomcat need not worry so much. Again, the what-about-the-children line is once again predictably and typically pulled from the hate arsenal. I leave Tomcat to you; I've grown bored with him.

I hope you don't mind me referring to you "playing dress up." I think you're amazing on stage...such a voice...truly mesmerizing. I'm equally inspired by your charitable works. I'm only sorry that the community to which you've given so much isn't yet ready to really stand up to the homophobic bullies who continue to argue for denying you both your rights and your dignity.

Matt, thank you again, but in all honesty, I don't think the "hit" has anything to do with you or even with advocacy, for that matter. I'm glad you liked the pandering question, and to tell you the truth, we liberals do far too much pandering. We're so worried about upsetting ANYONE that we end up not standing for ANYTHING. I for one am tired of watching conservatives run over us because we're too busy being nice.

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51Dennick(160 comments)posted 8 years ago

No, Lucy, I don't mind at all. Playing dress up is exactly what I do. For me and my friends, doing drag is more like clowning than it is anything else. That's why I am always perplexed when people refer to it as "sexually perverted." There is nothing sexual about it. It's acting. My drag persona is a caricature that I have created for the entertainment of others. The members of my group (over 50% of which are straight, by the way) do it exclusively for charity. I don't consider any of what we do to be "unholy, depraved, and sick." I also don't think it makes me less of a man.

To answer Tomcat's question, "Have any of you had to fight for your right to be gay?" Yes sir. Every day of my life.

Speaking of which...Lucy, if we can ever be of service to the Unitarian Church, for an event, a parade, a protest, etc...please don't hesitate to ask. You officially have a buddy card.

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52Cbarzak(110 comments)posted 8 years ago

"...and to tell you the truth, we liberals do far too much pandering. We're so worried about upsetting ANYONE that we end up not standing for ANYTHING. I for one am tired of watching conservatives run over us because we're too busy being nice."


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53lucy(135 comments)posted 8 years ago

Bob, our minister forwarded your email to me last week, and I so appreciate your repeated suport. As you can see, the process is a little painful, but well worth it.

For many of us, more and more every day, advocacy is not a hobby or something that we do to impress our liberal friends.

Anyone who has had to look in a loved one's eyes and see fear or resignation, anyone who has attended the funeral of an 18-year-old who committed suicide, anyone who has watched a brother or sister be abused with language or with fists knows how important this work is. It helps to get encouragement along the way.

Robert, Actually, I did think of you the other night, after the drag show, for an event in the fall. In the interest of safety, however, I'd prefer to keep that discussion private. The perversion characterization always puzzles me too; I've known for a long time that drag is a form of theater and to hear it spoken of in sexual terms is always a little jarring for me.

The "have you ever had to fight" question is another typical query of those who have never had to consider their own privileged positions (I won't bother to list the census info--we both know to whom I refer).

Cbarzak, you always show up just when you're needed with something simple and classy. It seems that some are still so threatened by a woman's intellect that they ridicule or question the importance of that intellect in order to keep the woman in her place. But not you; you're confident enough in both your own intelligence and your manhood to encourage and praise.

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54matt_s(5 comments)posted 8 years ago

Lucy-I was really tired when I posted last night and I forgot to make this point. Why is it that you are called "petty" but Tomcat's viciouness isn't his fault?

I mean doesn't someone at some point choose his beliefs? I'll say it again I didn't think you were petty at all. I got what you were trying to do. You represent your church well you were standing for something but people with a "view from the top" could miss that.

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55lucy(135 comments)posted 8 years ago

Matt, You're my new best friend! I truly appreciate your support, and I'm glad that you understand the need to stand up to the dominant paradigm...a process that can be painful and messy.

What I really love about the Unitarian church is that we have these kinds of conversations. We're focused on exploration rather than dogma. Although you've seen us disagree, I don't want you to feel as if you have to take sides. I said yesterday (about a zillion comments ago) that fitzkelly is a "really, really good person" and a "strong social activist" and he is both. Becoming mindful is a journey for us all.

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56Rocco(99 comments)posted 8 years ago

Somewhere I heard that Liberalism is a mental disorder. After reading some of this, I have to agree.

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57Cbarzak(110 comments)posted 8 years ago

Somewhere I heard that people like Rocco are asinine. After reading that comment, I have to agree.

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58Cbarzak(110 comments)posted 8 years ago

Am I also the only person to realize that the Vindicator has stopped listing this thread as one of the most commented/popular threads, despite it being one of the most commented on/popular threads?

We live in such a wonderfully honest world.

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59lucy(135 comments)posted 8 years ago

Cbarzak, What, you're not welcoming Rocco's voice into the conversation?

I noticed the thread thing a couple of days ago. The "vaccines" thread is number one, and there are only three commentors in that thread. I mean we've got, what, five or six people here; my comments alone should put us at number one ;) It makes you wonder.

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60bobhogue(102 comments)posted 8 years ago

Yes, I have to wonder sometimes what metrics they are using to determine the most commented items. Some of the most commented are not on the list, and some on the list seem to be stale and/or not much commented.

Well, I've now bookmarked it anyway. This is a discussion worth following.

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61clayor(281 comments)posted 8 years ago

So, This is "Lucy In The Sky, With Diamonds". Who knew! well Sweetie, I will match my degree with yours anytime. I teach children and teach them well. You teach adults , probably, ESL, and probably inflict your agenda on them. Could be a good thing, keeping the illegal population down a bit. You go girl/boy!

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62clayor(281 comments)posted 8 years ago

Just read one of your last comments, "Lucy In The Sky"..can you please tell me why this church is on an exploration mission? I thought God's word was good a long time ago. Is there a reason to question it now? Oh! Sorry, maybe to twist it to today's new gay reasoning? Sorry, I don't think He will change His mind after all this time. Try again next week.

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63clayor(281 comments)posted 8 years ago

Matt, Please do not be offended by these comments. Your sexuality is your choice and respected. Unless you are a drag queen flaunting yourself dressed up like a fluffy fairy with wings in front of children, what you do with your life is your business. Churches do NOT discriminate, but if you openly want to go there Only because you're gay, that becomes an issue. A church is a place to go to worship God, however He is in your mind. It is NOT a place to " come out" just because other members feel that way. Choose wisely. God will back you up whatever you choose.

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64clayor(281 comments)posted 8 years ago

One more thing, "Lucy in Disguise", a REAL educator would NEVER criticize a person's ability to communicate with the written word. You have trashed Tomcat.You should re-think that. You do know that typing here does create errors in spelling. Tomcat has put his heart and soul into what he has wanted to get across. This is NOT a MENSA site. Lighten up on that.

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65clayor(281 comments)posted 8 years ago

Robert! I just saw your post! I have rhinestones, they glitter....will that work?

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66Dennick(160 comments)posted 8 years ago

Absolutely...but diamonds are a girl's best friend :O)

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67Dennick(160 comments)posted 8 years ago

Chris...it doesn't surprise me one bit that the Vindicator has taken this thread off of the "most commented" list. We like our gays to be nice and quiet in Youngstown.

I couldn't get the Vindicator to even print a blurb about the drag show fundraiser at the Oakland two weeks ago, despite several emails and making sure the press releases went out nice and early. Luckily, we packed the house anyway. You'd think that an event that brings over a hundred people downtown to raise money for a non profit organization would get a mention...or at least a few lines on the community calendar.

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68lucy(135 comments)posted 8 years ago

Robert, It just annoys me how paternalistic and provincial the institutions in this town can be. It's this "we'll humor our gays so we don't get accused of intolerance" attitude, but I see very little interest in actually learning anything about the gay community. Not that Oakland + drag = gay, because as you've pointed out, 50% of the cast is straight, but the public perception is that Oakland + drag = gay.

What's worse, is that some people (and it's unfortunate, but some who I know personally and who have commented here) seem to think they have nothing left to learn, and they can't look honestly at themselves and realize that this kind of patronization, dressed up as tolerance, is also a tool of the oppressive dominant paradigm.

And by the way, now that the haters have cleared out, I feel like we're having a real dialogue.

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69lucy(135 comments)posted 8 years ago

Oh, and I must clarify that I am not a drag queen. My reference to the drag show was to Robert's/Starlett O'Hara's performance in it. I lack the talent to sing and act as memorably as Robert and the rest of the cast at the Oakland fundraiser, but I love the new nickname! Thanks!

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70matt_s(5 comments)posted 8 years ago

Lucy, Robert, Crse, Mary, Cbarzak, Bob, and sorry if I missed anyone, thank you for being true advocates here. I keep seeing my sexuality called a choice and a lifestyle and that's so wrong. I never chose. I was born gay. Lucy, it seems that "haters" are not going to "clear out" and they're going to keep defending each other and namecalling people like you who are trying to teach them. You and Robert are both right these people pretend to be nice but they place limits on me. These people are why I'm still in the closet. I'd like to stick around but I can't participate in this thread anymore it's too painful.

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71lucy(135 comments)posted 8 years ago

Matt, I'm sorry, but I understand.

Claylor, You've made quite a few assumptions about me and my church. Let me see if I have this right...I'm an ESL teaching drag queen who belongs to a Christian church that is deviating from God's word.

I'm a heterosexual woman, mother, wife, and I teach at the university level, which means that I have degrees, not degree. As far as my agenda, it is one of acceptance and love and compassion and it does no one any harm.

Also, the Unitarian Universalist church, while it has Judeo-Christian roots, is not a Christian church; it draws from multiple sources sources including Christian and Jewish traditions, Earth-Centered traditions, humanist teachings, and direct experience. This assumption, however, is quite common, and I don't fault you for it. There are many ways to worship and seek spiritual peace, both most people do define "church" as one of several Christian sects.

As educators, we disagree about the importance of accuracy and correctness in written communication; that's fine with me. However, I didn't "trash" anyone. Other people on this thread directed at Tomcat far more harsh language, for example, "insane" and "brain-damaged sociopath." I merely said that his communication skills were undermining his points. I admit to being sarcastic, but it's not as if Tomcat, or you for that matter, was taking the linguistic high road. Really, look at the names both you and Tomcat have called other posters on this thread, and yet you accuse me of "trashing" for making observations about error-ridden communication.

I could make assumptions about why you chose to focus your attentions on me, but I won't bother. It doesn't matter.

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72George412(161 comments)posted 8 years ago

I'm straight and married. These things seem to matter to some people here.

Tomcat I was hoping you were gone for good because this thread was so much better in the time that you and claylor weren't here. You aren't smart. Your opinions are ignorant. It's a fact. Accept it. The fool in this thread is you with your pretend military service. Weren't you supposed to redeploy several days ago? Why don't you let the people who actually care about gay people have a discussion here without constantly coming back with your crap. It's getting old.

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73lucy(135 comments)posted 8 years ago

Tomcat, Actually, you're right. I've been spending too much time on this thread trying to educate people about my church and about gay rights. I really don't want to fight with you or anyone else anymore. No more smart-assiness. You and I are never going to agree. George's post just reminded me that you mentioned your military service in several posts. When you go back to Iraq, I truly hope your personal higher power keeps you safe.

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74lucy(135 comments)posted 8 years ago

Mark Sweetwood from the Vindicator sent me an email explaining that the "most commented" links run out after two weeks. That's why this thread isn't there anymore. I appreciate Mark taking the time to clarify how that works. And thanks to the Vindicator for being fair and thorough in its coverage of the Unitarian church.

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75Cbarzak(110 comments)posted 8 years ago

Yes, I got the update from Mark as well. Good to know. And no worries about ole Tomcat, Lucy. He was obviously fine with talking crap about other people but not able to take it when others took him to task for his ignorant comments. Talk about someone who talks and talks and says nothing. Seems like someone's projecting.

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76bpwells(3 comments)posted 8 years ago

I would like to thank everyone for their honesty in this conversation. I know a few of you well and I am happy to call you friends and, for that, I am grateful!

Lucy--thank you for being there with us for Equality Ohio's Lobby Day. I was moved beyond words to see such support! You and your sis-in-law were able to take a stand for equality when so many others within the gay (umbrella term) community feel unable to even stand up for themselves.

We must no longer live in the shadows and be silenced by the oppressive and hate-mongering individuals in the Valley. We must live out loud and be proud of who were are and what we have accomplished in our lives!

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77lucy(135 comments)posted 8 years ago

It's me again! I really want to do the right thing by Mark Sweetwood, who has sent me a couple of really thoughtful emails. I just reread my "institutions" post, and I realize that it can seem as if I'm going all conspiracy theorist on the Vindy. I regret the inference, and I apologize.

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78Cbarzak(110 comments)posted 8 years ago

It's easy to believe in conspiracies when we're talking about a group that has been subjected to a variety of real conspiracies historically, but in this case it happens that the Vindy simply jettisons popular threads once they've made it to the ten day mark. So apologies from this direction as well, for inferring. The inference comes from a reality, though, that makes one suspicious when there are no guidelines posted for how such things work. In any case, it's good to know it's not the case here, and Mark Sweetwood was on the job to inform. Gracias.

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79Dennick(160 comments)posted 8 years ago

I've received a few emails from Mark Sweetwood myself. The Vindicator did publish the following in the "Go&Do" listing on June 14th:

"The Oakland's Next Top Drag Queen, 7-10 p.m., Oakland Center for the Arts,
220 W. Boardman St., Youngstown; (330) 746-0404."

I apologize for saying that the Vindicator did not give us a blurb. I must have missed it because it didn't go out until the day of the event.

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80Dennick(160 comments)posted 8 years ago

I agree with Chris. It can be very easy to believe in conspiracies...especially after reading some of the more hateful comments left on this thread. I do not think that vindy.com is part of some anti-gay conspiracy.

The Vindicator and Tribune are usually very good about covering Oakland events...but neither of them did an article on Fundraising is a Drag this year. It really surprised me because this was our fifth year hosting the event. As I've mentioned before, we've raised a lot of money for local charities...and this year we hosted downtown Youngstown's first drag pageant. The event sold out. It was kind of a big deal. I thought it would have received more coverage.

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81Dennick(160 comments)posted 8 years ago

Hey everybody, if this article interests you...check out my blog on valley24.com. This week's topic:

"What Would Jesus Do?: I doubt he'd call me a faggot."

Go to valley24.com and click on WORDS. Then click on BLOGS. The name of my blog is FAT CAMP. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think :O)

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82motherOF3ANGELS(3 comments)posted 7 years, 12 months ago

WOW, YOUNGSTOWN STILL HAS MANY,MANY closed minded folks, guess some things never change, i for one of many love people,all people and want my children to do the same, to try to single out some for reasons such as sexual preference,color,gender is super sick, old school, and just pure ignorance, haha i want my childern to feel free to be themselves, to be happy,hey maybe gay ,tree hugging lovely people , get into reality and join the real world, i know i may check out this church,i love all people sounds interesting ...alot of comments come from open mouth closed minded people , at least the negative ones .proud to see some stand up for what they believe in and sad at the same time

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