Category Archives: LGBT

52 Years And Still Going Strong!


Join us on Wednesday January 14th  at 7 pm EST on HealthCafeLive.com for an enlightening  conversation with Bob Collier and Chuck Hunziker.  What is so special about Bob and Chuck…EVERYTHING!  Bob and Chuck are both veterans, pillars in their community and they just happen to be a couple celebrating 52 years together!  Both in their 80’s, Bob and Chuck, never meant to be activists or plaintiffs in a lawsuit that would change Florida law, they just   happen to be two people who want the world to be a better place for all of us to live. This is a couple who is creating ‘Healing Ties’ all around us!

Can’t listen live on Wednesday?  NO Worries!  Healing Ties radio is available on demand on iHeartRadio/HealingTies by clicking here!

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It Would Have Been Awesome: But It Was!


“It Would Be Awesome To Get Married, Even If For One Day, Because It Would Solidify What We Already Know ” ~ Chris MacLellan November 2013

weddingringsWhen the clock struck 12:00 am on Tuesday, January 6th in the State of Florida, same-sex marriage became the law of this fine state: Hooray I said! Of course there will be people appalled by this decision to grant equal rights under the protection of marriage; bully to them! I wonder about those who ‘worry’ about granting equal rights to same-sex couples through marriage?  Do they need a ‘piece of paper’ to signify their love? We’ve heard the religious arguments, the family values arguments, heck, even heard that world might end if same-sex marriage became law. Last time I looked outside, the ground was still standing firm in this fine state of Florida.

Same sex couples have known for a zillion years that we do not need a ‘piece of paper’ to solidify our love; however that ‘piece of paper’ does solidify our equal rights.   Bigotry and hatred, unfortunately, will always be  around us, yet that ‘piece of paper’ provides clear protection  to all couples who have been together, one day, or 50+ years.  When you look closely into the laws, both federal and state, and see how laws are granted to those who are married, this ‘argument’  of  marriage equality comes into perspective.   As Americans, we do not often like to talk about death and dying, but all the rights granted by marriage are intertwined at the time of death.   Did you know that in every state of the nation that the next of kin for an adult is a spouse! Until you’ve been denied the right to be with the one that you love at the time of death, or asked, ‘Who Are You’ by medical staff, or have been told, ‘your not next of kin’ after your partner hasThe Bow Tie Guys passed away, you never fully grasp the inequality.

Yes, this day is bitter-sweet for me: I’m sure I am not alone.  Richard and I talked about getting married, and it would have been an awesome thing to do!   I can’t imagine us getting married would have deepened our love, it just would have solidified what was already known! Yet I do hope our Caregiving story, In Sickness and In Health: A Couple’s Final Journey and what happened to us along the way as an unmarried couple,  helped pave the way for this historic day in Florida.   In some small way, I am sure that it did! 

Yes, it would have been awesome to get married, but our life was awesome together, without that ‘piece of paper! It would have been awesome to gather our  family and friends together for a ceremony, but heck, they all knew that we loved each other, that we were committed to each other, without that ‘piece of paper.’  As one of my sisters said to me today, “Heck, you two were everything to each hands touchginother, but married.” She was so right, because, in the end, the only thing that matters is that love, care and commitment is the same for any two people who are committed to each other as one.  Our ‘piece of paper’ was imprinted in our hearts.

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Filed under Caregiving, In Sickness and In Health, LGBT, LGBT Caregiving, LGBT Couples, Marriage Equlity

“In Sickness and In Health:” My Response to Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi comments on same-sex marriage


“Love, care and commitment is the same for any two people” – Chris MacLellan

Friends,

I’ve taken a break from blogging  in order to adjust to life without my partner, Bernard Richard Schiffer.  Your letters, emails, phone calls of support for me over the past few months is  most appreciated!

On Friday, May 30th I was alerted to the news that Florida’s Attorney General submitted a court document stating  that “same-sex marriages impose significant public harm.”  On Tuesday, June 3rd, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial page wrote, “State wrong in its fight against same-sex marriage” and referenced Richard and I, and our Caregiving story, “In Sickness and in Health A Couples Final Journey”.   In Wednesday’s Sun-Sentinel, Attorney General Pam Bondi responded to Tuesday’s editorial.

Upon reflection of these events, it is important for me to share a letter with you that I have mailed to Florida’s Attorney General, Pam Bondi in regards to her comments on same-sex marriage.

June 3, 2014

 The Honorable Pam Bondi

Attorney General of Florida

The Capitol PL-01

Tallahassee, FL 32399-1050

Dear Madam Attorney General:

I write this letter in the hopes of sharing a position contra to that identified in your recent court documents that recognizing same-sex marriages “would impose significant public harm.”

Maybe you heard about our story in the Sun-Sentinel a few weeks ago?  I’m told over 400,000 people have read our story, “In Sickness and Health A Couple’s Final Journey.”  As Diane Lade eloquently wrote, “being an older gay couple not recognized by law, navigating a system they feared could rob them of their ability to care for each other in sickness and in health.  After all, legal rights regarding death are intricately entwined with the privileges granted when people marry.”

We never intended that the love that my partner Bernard Richard Schiffer and I shared could become politicized, until I read your recent comments about how same-sex marriage “would impose significant public harm.’

I am fair-minded enough to know that each side has a right to argue your position in this fair state of Florida.  However to deny, ignore, wish away, pretend, assume and say that there are negative consequences in granting basic equal rights, indicates a fundamental disrespect  to gay rights and human dignity.  The arguments you use are the same for those who argued that ‘separate was equal’ and advocated for anti-miscegenation laws.    Like many before you who debated, and denied equality in our society, your current position on this critical issue will be sealed on the wrong side of history.

​I invite you to read our story in the Sun-Sentinel. In fact, I will even share the link with you: http://interactive.sun-sentinel.com/lgbt-dying-couple/.  You might also be interested in some of the readers’ comments that were posted on-line, too.  After reading our story, looking at the pictures and viewing the video, please tell me, the people in this great state of Florida, and everyone in the country,  how the love that Richard and I shared “would impose significant public harm?”

The late Maya Angelou said it right, “Love recognizes no barriers, it jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” Once someone understands that love, care and commitment is the same for any two people who are joined together as one, then it becomes obvious why marriage equality is such an important issue in our society.

My prayer for you is that you will see that love is universal and not unique or limited to heterosexuals.

Respectfully,

Christopher J. MacLellan

Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

 

 

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Filed under advocacy, Intergenerational, Legal, LGBT, LGBT Couples, LGBT Seniors

LGBT Grandparents- Day


BHC_fbThe impetus for a National Grandparents Day originated with Marian McQuade, a housewife in Fayette County, West Virginia. Her primary motivation was to champion the cause of lonely elderly in nursing homes. She also hoped to persuade grandchildren to tap the wisdom and heritage their grandparents could provide. President Jimmy Carter, in 1978, proclaimed that National Grandparents Day would be celebrated every year on the first Sunday after Labor Day. This year Grandparents day falls on Sunday September 8th. Being the youngest of six, and an ‘oops baby at that,’ I did not have the opportunity to meet 3 of my 4 grandparents, yet I was able to learn about them through stories from my parents and siblings. It is a part of my heritage that I have always wondered about and sadly missed.

While I am the F.U. a.k.a. Favorite Uncle (that line always gets a laugh) to 26 nieces and nephews, I have been able to vicariously find a way learn about grandparents, and what is means to be a grandparent, through a new group which was started in Fort Lauderdale, FL., The LGBT Grandparents group. The LGBT Grandparents group is one born of a partnership between Sun Serve, Women in Network, SAGE, Women with Pride and The Pride Center. It serves as a gathering place for LGBT grandparents to share stories, network and find support in a relaxed, non-structured setting. On of the great joys I have experience since I have been on staff at Sun Serve Social Services has been to be apart of the planning committee for LGBT Grandparents group which started in early 2013.

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LGBT Grandparents Groups 9/7/2013

Attending the gatherings has been a wonderful experience because I get to listen to so many beautiful and heart wrenching stories about families, about relationships, about love, about joy, and about sorrow. As I sit and listen attentively to these stories, I can relate the stories that my siblings tell through their experience with their kids and grandkids. You see, no matter what side of the fence you are on, relationships are human; their complicated, their stressful, and they are beautiful in their own right. But the one thing that I have learned while participating in this group is that grandchildren are often the glue that keeps families together, while keeping hope alive. It reminds me of that line…”If I had known grandchildren would be so much fun, I would have had them first!”

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Bill & Bob: Together 30 years and have 5 grandchildren

Sure, LGBT grandparents face different struggles as it relates to their relationship with their kids, with their (ex) spouses, especially when it comes to the revelation of coming out of the closet later in life. But don’t all couples face different and difficult issues in a relationship…It’s about being human! Being a part of the LGBT grandparents has proven to be remarkable because I get to watch in person, the similarity between people and their relationships. There are no orientation boundaries. The love that each member has for their grandchildren is truly remarkable. When people have to opportunity to share their story with others, it immediately provides a sense of security and an understanding that ‘I’m not alone!‘ Sharing photos of grandchildren is a universal practice!

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Denise & June: Together 20 years 7 Grandchildren with 1 on the way!

While societal norms are changing, we have to remember that today’s LGBT seniors grew up, and worked out of a system in the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s etc., that was not as accepting as it is today. Have a group like our LGBT Grandparents group, allows people to come together, to in a sense, come out of the closet again to find comfort, to find joy, to find similarity in a world that has not always been accepting to them. On this Grandparents day, reach out to your grandparents and tell them that you love them. And if your Grandparents happen to be Gay or Lesbian, give them an extra hug and thank them for being brave. It’s never too late to reach out and be a part of someone’s life!

Never to late

Chris MacLellan is the Coordinator of Senior Services at Sun Serve Social Services and the host of ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ on Blog Talk Radio

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Filed under Be A Healthy Caregiver, LGBT, LGBT Caregiving, LGBT Couples, LGBT Seniors, The Bow Tie Guy

DOMA: What It Means To You!


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Join us on Tuesday August 6th on ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ at 1:00 pm (EST) as  we welcome Board Certified Elder Law Attorney, Stephanie Schneider and Certified Financial Planner David Treece to our show.  To listen to this episode live,  simply click here! 

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This is a historic time in America for the LGBT Community, but is the community prepared? On today’s show, Stephanie will discuss federal rights and benefits such as Social Security, Veterans, and Medicaid rights and David will discuss the implications pertaining to financial planning and pension planning for LGBT Couples and their families.

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David Treece

Through our conversation on Tuesday, Stephanie and David will help guide us on the right path, while helping us all Be A Healthy Caregiver!’ 

To visit Stephanie Schneider online, simply click here! 

To visit David Treece online, simply click here! 

Cannot listen live…NO Worries!  All our episodes of ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ are archived for your listening convenience by clicking here! 

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Tuesday on ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’: LGBT Housing


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On Tuesday, May 14th at 1:00 pm (est) we welcome Hilary Meyer, Director of the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging and Tom Duffy from Secret Gardens to our ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ show on Blog Talk Radio  You can access the show live by simply clicking here

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While trends in our society are shifting in a positive direction for equality, LGBT Seniors are still struggling with issues relating to affordable housing and how to safely aging in place.  As the Director of the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, Hilary Meyer has a keen understanding of these issues facing LGBT Seniors.  And Tom Duffy from Secret Gardens, has just opened an LGBT focused independent living center in Wilton Manors, Florida  were LGBT seniors can feel safe in their surroundings.

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Through our conversation today on issues facing LGBT Seniors, Hiliary and Tom will help us all learn how to  ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver!’

To listen live, simply click here! 

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Can’t listen to our show live…NO Worries!!!  All our episodes of ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver are archived for your listening convenience by clicking here! 

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The Purple Jacket Supports Spirit Day


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today is Spirit Day, the annual day in October when millions of Americans wear purple to speak out against bullying and to show their support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth

 

 

 

As many as 9 out of 10 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students have been bullied, according to the 2009 National School Climate Survey. And recent findings from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey revealed that kids who show any kind of gender non conformity reported alarming rates of harassment, physical assault and even sexual violence.

 

Bullying leaves long lasting impressions, and has no place in our society.

 

 

 

 

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Can You Be a Healthy Caregiver?


YES YOU CAN be a healthy caregiver!

Join our TWITTER  #carefit chat tonight at 8 pm ET with 

 

Denise Brown @caregiving 

       and

Chris MacLellan @thebowtieguy

Find us on Twitter TONIGHT August 20th 8:00 PM  #carefit       
 We’ll discuss how to stay healthy as you care.
 HOW TO GET FROM
 

THERE

HERE

TO

 

and maintain a healthy lifestyle  while you care !

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Obama Administration Participates in 2012 International AIDS Conference


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Good morning,

Last month, the 19th International AIDS Conference came to the U.S. for the first time since 1990 – thanks to bipartisan action by Presidents Obama and George W. Bush and the Congress to lift the ban on people living with HIV entering the United States.

While much work remains to be done, we all look forward to the day when there are no more panels to add to the quilt. Read more about the Obama Administration’s commitment to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic through the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.

Gautam Raghavan
Office of Public Engagement
The White House

Dr. Jill Biden views sections of the AIDS Memorial Quilt with Julie Rhoad, President and CEO of The NAMES Project Foundation, at The National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. July 25, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Obama Administration Participates in 2012 International AIDS Conference

Throughout the week, senior Obama Administration Officials participated in the Conference, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett, and Office of National AIDS Policy Director Grant Colfax. In addition, President Obama recorded a video message to the Conference attendees and the White House hosted a reception to honor people living with HIV and thank the men and women who have been fighting with dignity on the front lines against this disease.

Here at the White House, a section of the AIDS Quilt was displayed in the East Wing so that the hundreds of visitors that walk through the halls of the building each day can stop and remember the human toll that this disease has taken, and how far we’ve come as a country in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

And finally, a group of senior Administration officials – including Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett and OPM Director John Berry – reflected upon the impact of HIV/AIDS in their own lives.

Watch Live: Third Annual Bullying Prevention Summit

Next week, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Healthy Students will host the Third Annual Bullying Prevention Summit in Washington, D.C., in conjunction with the departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, Defense, Agriculture, the Interior, the Federal Trade Commission, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and the National Council on Disability.

The summit will focus on ensuring that anti-bullying efforts are coordinated and based on the best available research. Panels will highlight the connection between bullying and suicide, and ways to help students who bully others. Keynote speakers will include U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and the First Lady of Maryland Katie O’Malley.

Watch the entire event live, from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM EDT on Monday, August 6 and Tuesday, August 7, at http://stopbullying.gov/live.

Tweet of the Week

In Case You Missed It

 First Lady Michelle Obama is picked up by U.S. Olympic wrestler Elena Pirozhkova during a greet with Team USA Olympic athletes competing in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, at the U.S. Olympic Training Facility at the University of East London in London, England, July 27, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

July 31: President Obama Honors Early-Career Scientists and Engineers
July 31: An Issue Beyond Debate: Congress Should Act Now to Protect Women
July 30: First Lady Michelle Obama Leads Presidential Delegation to the Olympics
July 26: President Obama Pushes House of Representatives on Middle Class Tax Cuts
July 26: Marking the 22nd Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act
July 23: Remembering Sally Ride: President Obama Salutes an American Hero

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Filed under advocacy, Advocate, Bow Tie Guy, Caregiving, Gay Caregiving, Gay Seniors, Health, Intergenerational, LGBT, LGBT Caregiving, LGBT Couples, LGBT Seniors, Senior Health

Gen-Silent in Fort Lauderdale


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