The Gold Wheelchair

550_kylie_jenner_interview_120115 So, apparently, wheelchairs are all the rage at the moment..

As someone who uses a  wheelchair everyday, I see it as my permanent accessory which I refer to as “my throne on wheels.” But a lot of people are really pissed that Kylie Jenner literally used a wheelchair as an accessory during a photoshoot for Interview.

Many with disabilities are offended. Arguing that a wheelchair is not a prop, but something used for mobility, and should not be made light of.

My response to that — Get over yourselves.

I get it. A wheelchair is not something people go into, say, Tom Ford, to buy for the season. But seeing the wheelchair as more than a chair is giving an inanimate object the power to define an individual.

Seeing an able-bodied person sit in a wheelchair is at most, distasteful, but in no way does it take anything away from me, or any other wheelchair-bound individual. It was done to make a statement. and it has succeeded.

Was it unnecessary? Completely. But we live in a world full of things which are unnecessary.

Sure, there's an argument that there is a lack of representation of the “disabled” population in the media.

I completely agree.

Wheelchairs, and the people in them, are decidedly unsexy in the eyes of society, and it would have been great if Kylie used this moment as a platform to make a statement about representation in the media. But in a way, she has. The backlash has drawn attention to the lack of representation of  actual wheelchair-bound individuals in the media; maybe this will end that trend.

Diesel was way ahead of the curve with their amazing Spring 2014 campaign featuring Jillian Mercado.

So, take a seat and let the gold wheelchair — which I’m kind of envious of — be the statement it was meant to be.

 

Live and Let Live

Marriage equality is back in the news, and the world is changing. Per the HRC Blog:

 In a surprise move, the nine justices of the Supreme Court have declined to hear any of the cases pending before them challenging state bans on marriage for same-sex couples.  This allows the circuit court decisions striking down the bans to stand, meaning same-sex couples in Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Wisconsin and Indiana will soon be able to legally marry.  In addition, it leaves in place the circuit court rulings from the Fourth, Seventh and Tenth Circuits, meaning couples in West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming will soon be able to marry as well.

While there has been a small setback in Idaho, this is still a huge step in the equal rights movement. — Marriage Equality is a cause I am tremendously passionate about, and for the first time, I am starting to get excited. It feels like public opinion is slowly starting to shift.

I think people are finally starting to get it. The Equal Rights Movement for the LGBTQA community isn’t about redefining an individual's values or morals; it is simply a matter of, “live and let live.”

Whether you’re gay, straight or anything in-between, everyone values the intimate relationships we share with a special someone. And it isn’t about sex. In fact, I think our society over-sexualizes relationships. Intimate relationships are about all of the small moments; like being able to order someone’s complicated Starbucks order without having to ask them what they want... or being able to have a heated debate over which pop princess truly qualifies as a diva, and still loving them at the end of it.

We all have those moments. We all share those moments. And,  I think… American’s are slowly starting to realize that people have the right to enjoy those moments regardless of whom they enjoy them with.

We have a long way to go, but progress is progress.

Equality

It is the 27th of March 2013, and the fight for marriage equality is back in the headlines. If you dig through the archives of this blog, you will see a number of posts that talk about same-sex marriage and equality, I’ve made it clear throughout the years that I feel no one should have to fight to be considered equal. I hesitated to write this post for days. I was afraid it would appear as though this issue is the only one that matters to me and that could not be further from the reality.

Yes, I am gay. But the truth is, I am far more than just a gay man. I am a son. I am a brother. I am friend. I am a college student who is trying to earn a degree; an intern who makes mistakes every day but is learning along the way. I am just a guy who is trying to find his way in the world; but that is exactly why I decided to write this.

As much as it saddens me, there is still a need for me to express my voice. It may or may not make a difference, but saying nothing just feels wrong.

I wake up every day with my only goal being to make it through that day and hope I have something to show for it. I’m just trying to live my life.

I will admit, I am someone who wants it all. I shoot for the stars, but secretly, I am hoping to be catapulted into the next galaxy. It’s a bad habit. -- I will also admit this; I am that guy who has dreamed about his wedding day. (There’s going to be white roses everywhere and an excessive amount of crystal.)

I want that day. I deserve that day.

I understand that not everyone agrees with, or understands the idea of homosexuality. But homosexuals are not homosexuals... We are people. We are people who experience the same joys and sorrows of life that everyone else does. We do not choose this life. The only choice we make is to embrace who we are.

My hope is that others will do the same.

New York's Marriage Equality Bill

Last night, the state of New York officially passed the Marriage Equality Bill, which makes (this will be the last time I say these words) "gay marriage" legal in the state of New York.

The bill itself is monumental accomplishment for many people, for many reasons.

 1. The bill is allowing marriage - Not civil unions or civil partnerships. While this may seem insignificant, the wording of the bill and the definition of marriage allows for truly equal rights for all.

 2. There is language in the bill which, to the best of my understanding, makes impossible for the bill to be overturned or challenged by any other piece of legislation. Basically, it's here to stay.

 3.  There is legal protection for religious institutions who have a moral opposition to equal marriage. Protecting them from any legal recourse as a result of denying a couple a marriage based on religious beliefs. - Personally, I believe this is the reason the bill passed.

We all know that I am not a New Yorker (yet), but I watched the live stream of the senate hearing from the beginning. I have to say, as someone who is interested in politics in general, I found myself getting sucked into other issues that have absolutely no effect on me, like property taxes. Which was a blessing because the Marriage Equality Bill was the last thing on the docket, and it was a long wait.

I can't recall the time, but eventually the bill was being discussed. The first order of business was to outline and pass an amendment to the bill. From there, it was time to vote on the bill itself. This is where things got interesting.

With each vote, a senator is allowed to speak for two minutes, explaining the reason for their vote. This was my introduction to Democratic Senator Rubén Díaz, who I discovered last night, is one of the most inarticulate, unprofessional, disgusting individuals on the face of the planet. Let me say up front, Dîaz voted against the bill, but that has nothing to do with my opinion of him. Remember that 2 minute explanation courtesy I just explained? Mr, Dîaz felt it did not apply to him. He rambled on for what felt like hours, explaining with zero charisma why he was against the bill. His biggest reason? Words from the New York Hispanic Clergy Organization. I'm sorry senator… perhaps you need a little refresher in U.S. Constitutional  Politics. In this country, we have something called separation of church and state. You should be ashamed of yourself, and I would like nothing more than to see you resign from your seat.

On the flip side, have Republican Senator  Mark Grisanti, who I believe summed up the entire marriage equality debate flawlessly.

I am paraphrasing here, but the following was the highlight of the speech for me:

 As a Catholic, I was raised to believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not here however, as a senator who is just Catholic. I am also here with a background as an attorney, through which I look at things and I apply reason.  -- I can not legally come up with an argument against same sex marriage. Who am I to say that someone does not have the same rights that I have with my wife, who I love, or to have the 1,300 plus rights, that I share with her.

This is a man who originally voted against the Marriage Equality Bill, yet acknowledged, with proper research, and facts, a person can be wiser than they were in the past.

The most important detail to take from Senator Grisanti's speech, is the fact that there is no reason to legally deny anyone the right to marriage. Despite the pageantry of marriage and weddings put on by society, marriage is quite simply a legal contract. Which is why (aside from religious objection) I could never see the problem with same sex marriage. Marriage is a human right. There is no reason for any law to dictate who a person can marry as there is no law that defines love. And the fact that we are voting on marriage equality at all, bothers me.

That said, this is a tremendous step in the right direction. People everywhere should be proud to see the progression of equality in the United States and I applaud the state of New York for doing the right thing. And hopefully, for also laying a path for the rest of the country to follow.