Remembering Orlando

the_just_wanted_to_danceThis morning while browsing my Facebook feed I happened to stumble across a post about Sia’s newest video “The Greatest” being released as a tribute to the victims of the Orlando Massacre this past June. After watching the video I was moved to share my thoughts with y’all. Yes this was a tragedy that will forever scare our country and the community I call my family. The LGBT Community has been my adopted family since my coming out, and when I woke-up that Sunday morning to hear about the shooting, my world was turned completely upside down. That was supposed to be a morning of celebration, of triumph, since we as a community had overcome may adversities in the past few years, and were a more unified and stronger community. That was the morning of the LA LGBT Pride Parade, and our celebration was put on hold so to speak to mourn the losses of those precious souls who were taken from us just a few hours before. I along with thousands of others had to make a decision, to stay home in fear that we too could be attacked or continue with the celebration, in honor of all those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice so we could celebrate pride. As the history books will read, we as a community came together and stood strong, unified, saying we will not back down out of fear, or give in to terrorist threats. We fought long and hard for the rights we have and will celebrate our PRIDE in memory of those we have lost.

I will never forget that day, especially when I could have been a victim that morning of 12 June 2016, as the LA Pride Parade was threatened by a disturbed man in Santa Monica. Thanks to the efforts of the local authorities the terrorist was arrested and the attack prevented. Despite recommendations from the Sheriff’s Dept and local officials, we didn’t cancel the parade, we stepped up our guard and continued as planned. Many of us scared, many of us hurt, and many of us mad. I can say I was truly mad that this type of tragedy can still happen in today’s society, a society where we claim to be tolerant of one another. A society where two men can live their life in peace and not fear another threatening to harm or kill them for living the life the choose.

Recently, the people of Southern Florida were under threat once again by another disturbed man who was to face trial this afternoon however was postponed due to health problems. This man had been making threats on Social Media that he was going to carry out an attack on LGBT men & women over the Labor Day Weekend. A week after the posts the FBI was able to locate and arrest the man before he could carry out any of his threats and Facebook was able to remove the posts and close the man’s accounts.

Over the past few months since the tragedy in Orlando there had been other similar attacks on various groups in Florida, Mexico and other locations killing at least 125 Americans and injuring 269 by gun-violence. Nearly 300 victims of gun-violence in America, I can’t believe this. In a country where we are supposed to be safe of violence such as this, however we have the highest rates of gun-violence than any other country in the world. Gun Violence Archive (GVA) reports that in 2016, to-date, there has been 38,254 incidents of gun-violence, 9,820 deaths, 451 Child related incidents (0-11), 2,117 teenager related incidents (12-17), and 263 mass shootings. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my children or relatives to live in a society that will allow this to happen, and not do anything to protect us, to protect our children. I urge who ever reads this to reflect of these numbers, to remember the tragedies of this past year, and previous years and hold our politicians accountable. This is an election year after all, and many of our leaders are bidding for election and re-election. Demand that we as a society prevent our children from growing up in a world where they can be killed for loving someone, to be killed for enjoying a night our with friends, to be killed walking down the street. Write letters, make phone calls, don’t let the conversation stop, and always remember those who we have lost.

“Spread Love, Not Hate”

#ForThe49
Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old
Amanda Alvear, 25 years old
Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old
Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old
Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old
Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old
Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old
Juan Chavez Martinez, 25 years old
Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old
Cory James Connell, 21 years old
Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old
Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old
Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old
Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old
Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old
Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old
Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old
Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old
Frank Hernandez, 27 years old
Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old
Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old
Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old
Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old
Anthony Luis Laureano Disla, 25 years old
Christopher “Drew” Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old
Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old
Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old
Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old
KJ Morris, 37 years old
Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old
Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old
Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old
Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old
Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old
Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old
Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old
Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old
Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old
Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old
Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old
Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old
Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old
Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old
Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old
Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old
Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old
Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old
Luis Daniel Lestat Wilson-Leon, 37 years old
Jerald “Jerry” Arthur Wright, 31 years old

Below are the videos of tribute to those precious 49 that i found online, there are many more, but i share these with you here to help you remember…

Sia – The Greatest

“Hands” – A Song for Orlando

Stop the Hate: 49 Celebrities Honor 49 Victims of Orlando Tragedy in Ryan Murphy-Produced Tribute

Christina Aguilera – Change (Lyric Video)

Jennifer Lopez, Lin-Manuel Miranda – Love Make the World Go Round (Lyric Video)

“Forty-Nine Times” – Brandon Parsons

“PULSE” by Eli Lieb and Brandon Skeie

Rick Haze – One Pulse ft. Julian Velez

“Broadway for Orlando”: The Exclusive Music Video

Melissa Etheridge – Pulse

Adam Lambert – Outlaws of Love

Janet Jackson – Shoulda Known Better

Elton John’s Tribute to Orlando

Lady Gaga honors Orlando victims at Los Angeles vigil | LA LGBT Center

I am honored to be in the audience for this appearance by Lady Gaga.

 

Thoughts on the Metro – 10 Sept 2015

Now that I’m using the Metro again to get around I can’t help but use the time to sit in somewhat quiet, especially if I’m using my headphones, and ponder the great many questions about life.  This morning was nothing different, given I was half asleep and we got stuck in the tunnel on the East LA extension of the Gold Line.

With the upcoming LGBT Veteran Event I’m producing at Patriotic Hall, I have many things going on upstairs and have difficulty concentrating on anything for any extended period with out my mind drifting over to the planning and coordination of the event. If you have no clue what ever I’m referring to,  please visit http://op-dadt.aver-gla.org and educate yourself.

Any who,  between thinking about if certain political leaders have confirmed attendance and where I will be placing the many service providers,  I took a moment to enjoy the scenery. And did I ever…. There was this stocky Latino standing across from me, and this guy was a looker. I found myself studying him,  the way he was dressed,  how his head was freshly shaved, the artwork and possible meaning behind his tatts, how he carried himself,  how he walked across the platform,  how he shifted his weight when standing. OK,  I’ll admit I was starring, but I tried not to make it overtly obvious that I was.  I tried to camflauge my stares by looking down at my phone.  And, I ask you what would you be doing in my shoes?

I bring this up cause I finally came to the realization that this is the “type” of guy that gets my attention and I find the most attractive.  I know, how cliche…  Listen up,  I have dated many “types” and races, even sexes… And no not just a typical man and woman,  I’ll let that fester for a min………… When I’m asked what is my “type” I always say,  I don’t have one and that I like all kinds of guys, but at times Latin guys get my attention most of all.

So,  this morning while being stuck in the tunnel I came to realize that I truly have a infatuation, you can say with Latinos. Not just any Latinos, I like the “type” of guy that looks unapproachable, but is a giant teddy bear,  the guy with a shaved head or a very tight fade,  dark brown skin and tattoos. Tattoos and modest body jewelry make any man extra attractive in my book. For the most part, it has to be tasteful and public friendly. Sometimes the gang tatts make me wanna sit on the guy’s face…  OMG, did that just come out? Sorry Mom, I know you’re probably reading this. I’m just being candid and honest. Hell, this my personal blog, and if you’re a new reader thanks for checking me out. Consider yourself warned that there will be times were I throw caution to the wind and let you have it!

Well there you have it,  that’s what I like,  and upon  reflection has been the “type” of guy I have dated or even been with the past few years…  If you find this type to be scary or is a trouble maker, that is not always the case.  I have found that every “type” has its problems, you have to be willing to give everyone at least a chance, you never know what may be right in front of you. I will close on this thought, my “type” of man has proven to have been the best provider and caretaker, and one hell of a lover! 😜

When One Door Closes, Another Door Opens

For the past 6 months to a year, I have been taking time to concentrate on myself and get on a better path. 2014 was one hell of a year, I’m telling you the struggle was definitely real. 2014, marked 10 years since I was kicked out of the one job I truly loved. I was discharged under the former Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy for loving a man, right after being given a medal for going to war and fighting along side my brothers and sisters. Subconsciously the anniversary of getting kicked out of the Army for being gay was really hitting me hard, and for a long time I was cutting myself off and would stay in bed for weeks on end.  Not good, I know.. Trust me it was not a cute time…

I thought that 2015 would be off to a good start and it started off rough. For a few month my home life was not stable and in July I ended up becoming one of the many Homeless Veterans in LA County. Let me back track a lil… 

One great thing happened in March, I met a great guy.  For privacy let’s just call him, Pup. Pup and I had been friends for several years and on Easter went on our first date. We started dating and a month later we were out eating Tacos at La Estrella in Highland Park and he asked if I wanted to be his boyfriend. Of course I said yes.

Things with Pup were off to a fabulous start then about a month and half ago we hit a rough patch. I noticed he started spending more time with his friends and when we were spending time together we we weren’t as engaged with each other as we were.  This also happened right around the time I became homeless. One could say it was after the honeymoon stage while others would say we weren’t meant to be. I not sure what happened but I can tell you I still care deeply about Pup, hell I still love him. So, a week ago we were out having pie and I confronted him about this and was asking for a  little more attention, I wanted to feel loved. With becoming homeless and trying to figure out life in general I was feeling alone and defeated. Come to find out he claimed to be distant due to my PTSD, I was too reserved and closed off.  I have trouble with intimacy and letting anyone get to know me. I am working on it, however who ever wants to be with me has be willing to go with the ups and downs of living with a Combat Veteran. Gurrrrl, The struggle is real & the devil is a lie! I tell you it can be rough but if you work it out, it can be one of the best loving relationships you will ever have. 

Well we parted ways and it hit me really hard. I lost one of the only good things I had going for me. But you do what you can and roll with the punches. Well, a few days later my buddy the Muscle Cub and I started chatting again. Last year we had went out a few times and when my home life started to fall apart we parted ways but stayed in contact.

This weekend we both were talking and we both have lots of things we are working on and think it might be beneficial to work together and accomplish our life goals. He even asked if I’d be interested in setting down and us eventually become a married couple. I’m seriously considering it, I have been single way to long and would love to have someone to come home to after a long day at work.  It will be nice to share a bed & home with someone I care about, and cares about me. It will be nice to even live with a man that might be interested in starting a family some day, a few dogs, few fish, and even a lil clicking baby or two… You never know…

So there it is, I might be getting married to my best friend. All this right after starting a new job as a VA Contractor a few weeks ago and getting approved for the VA’s Section 8 Program last week. Things are starting to finally look up. It’s true what they say, “One Door Closes, Another Door Opens.”

That’s that, know it is alot to process, will keep y’all posted on how things unfold over next few months. It might be a Christmas wonderland wedding…

#LoveWins

Today will definitely be a day I will remember. I witnessed the decision of the US Supreme Court that Marriage Equality is now legal in all 50 States. Since moving to California in 2007 I have seen much change that impact my community. I first witnessed Marriage Equality in CA, only to have it taken away by the electorate a few months later. Then came the Repeal of DADT, then Marriage Equality again in CA along with the finding of DOMA as unconstitutional. I even witnessed my home State of Texas, fight a legal battle to limit my rights if i ever chose to move back home, all because I am an openly gay man. I put my live on the line by going to war for this country to be kicked out of the Military for loving a man, and then to be told I am a second-class citizen for the same reason. However, today I am overwhelmed with joy that my rights and freedoms are restored. That someday, hopefully soon, I can share in the happiness of marrying the man I love, just like every other citizen. That in the eyes of the Federal Government and each of the 50 States, I am to never be seen as a second-class citizen.

The fight in not over! Until my fellow LGBT Brothers and Sisters are afforded full and equal status, and treatment by the VA, DOD and other government agencies & communities, the work for Equality must go on. Today is a day of celebration on this victory. AVER and myself will keep watch to make sure that full equality comes and is never taken away.

Earlier today i wrote the official Statement for AVER-GLA congratulating my fellow Brothers and Sisters on our Marriage Equality Victory. The full text can be found here.


marriage-equality-constitutionThis morning marked a monumentous milestone in the history of LGBT Equality. The US Supreme Court issued a landmark decision on Marriage Equality yet again in the OBERGEFELL v HODGES (No. 14-556)  stating that it is unconstitutional to ban marriage to same-sex couples and cited the Fourteenth Amendment that no State shall “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” This 5-4 decision in affect enforces the 2014 U.S v Windsor (No. 12–307) which declared that the Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional. Around the Country, civil liberty groups are celebrating years of fighting to be considered as everyday citizens and not a sub-set of the population. Before today, 37 States had Full Marriage Equality,  leaving 13 with it either banned or had some form of partial recognition. Today’s decision affirmed two important issues, 1. “The Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex”  and 2. “to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-State.”  Meaning just that, anyone who wishes to marry the person they love can do so in any of the 50 States, and the marriage must be recognized by another state if the couple happens to move around the country. This freedom and right has been afford to opposite-sex couples going back to the start of our Great Country.

Rally GraphicAVER-GLA is proud to be on the forefront of history and witness Marriage Equality not only in our home State of California, but the entire United States of America. Please join us this evening as we gather as a community in West Hollywood, for the Marriage Equality: Decision Day Rally at West Hollywood Park, 647 N San Vicente Blvd, West Hollywood, California 90069 from 6p-10p. Similar Celebrations will be held around Southern California, in Pasadena SCOTUS Decision Day Rally at the Metro Gold Line Lake Station at 340 N Lake Ave, Pasadena, California 91101 from 6p-? and in Long Beach Day of Decision Long Beach at the Long Beach Civic Center from 5:30p-7:30p. Other Locations around the Country can be found by visiting www.uniteformarriage.org.

As you can see the earth did not swallow the County whole, the skies did not rain hell fire, the world did not end, the sanctity of marriage was not ruined, the lives of children were not threatened, none of the things that the opposition cited occurred. What did happen is couples who truly loved each other were told that their union is not recognized by the Federal Government as well as each and every state in the US. Very shortly we will see benefits and legal rights that were denied to same-sex couples by various States and Government Agencies be afford to each and every citizen of the United States of America.

Follow the discussion on-line by using these trending hashtags:

#LoveWins | #LoveIsLove | #MarriageEquality

#Equality4All | #EqualityWins | #EqualIsEqual

love_wins

Pondering the past weekend – 5 Oct 14

Well this past weekend as been a whirlwind of emotions and everything has been all over the place… Last week the Muscle Cub and I had been getting a bit distant and I figured it would happen as he is under lots of stress and his mom is now staying with him. What I was not expecting was that I would find out via social media that he was talking to another guy as well.

Let me back track a lil, for the past lets say month maybe longer we had been having trouble finding time to do anything. Only time I would get to see him or even talk was when I was driving him home from work. We had before that decided to take things slow to really get a chance to know each other. This of course was not happening and we had to cancel plans after plans and say we will try for another time. Well this past weekend I found out that some of the plans were cancelled so he could hang out with the other guy.

I at first was hurt and felt betrayed, however it really made sense as to what had been going on. I had felt like something was up, just wasn’t sure. When I asked him about what I found he got upset and said I was being too nosey and he felt uncomfortable as he didn’t think he had to say anything. I was like papi, wr are supposed to be getting to know each other and see where things would be going. Even if we were to.just become friends, friends talk and don’t be shady about things. From my point of view it looks as if he has one live that I’m part of where his family sees me as more than just a friend of the family, and then there is this other person that parties and forgets those close to him. I don’t know if I have the energy to be in a complicated friendship or any kind of relationship like that.

Don’t get me wrong, I still care deeply about the guy. He was the first guy in a really long time to really accept me for the person I am, and not judge me for being a Drag Nun. I felt really appreciated and comfortable with him, I still do. Physically he is not the type of guy I would consider would give me the time of day. He is a 5’8 naturally smooth bodybuilder, the type of guy very opposite me as I’m a big hairy not fit guy. He really made me feel special, and his family accepted me as one of there own.

Lately I have spent many nights torn as to what to do with this guy. I have gave up a lot to show him I was serious about wanting to get to know him. I have shed many tears wondering what I did wrong for him not to open up or want to spend time together as late. If this was anyone else I would have walked away and shifted focus to taking care of my self, however I see him struggling with life and I can’t help but wanna be there for him anyway I can. Just after recent events I am wondering if this is worth the time and energy. I can see beyond the party guy and see he wants something serious, however I can see he is damaged and afraid to get hurt. I understand that his background has scared him, and know from experience what he is going thru. When I think about walking away, there is lil voice in the back of my head saying don’t give up on him just yet. Give him a lil more time.

I can see him and I really being close friends that can trust each other no matter what comes along, or even a strong happy couple. I would so love the latter, however if the universe only allows us to become good friends, then I will gladly accept that as well.

Back, to the events of this weekend… We had a heated argument which ended with him walking away pissed. I had not wanted to bring it up, but when he got in the car ge saw that something was bothering me, and I broke down. I know that might not have been the best time to ask him about things, but I could not hold it in anymore. Later that day, while he was at work we talked via email and aired this out a lil, however he said he wanted to sit and talk things out in person so we both are on the same page. This is something we been wanting yo do for awhile, and haven’t had a chance for one reason or another.

To make things even more complicated this past week marked 2 years since I was laid off from my last job. I have been such an emotional mess because I dunno if I will ever be able to hold a regular 9-5 job again, as my PTSD related Stress, depression and anxiety have been getting the best of me. I filed for an increase in my VA Disability, however they are dragging their feet. Meanwhile, my bills keep piling up. I saw the only good thing going for me, giving me something to want to wake up and get outta the house, giving me a reason yo smile again.

I just want to feel love and give love to another person. With all this stress, and nothing going right I have been thinking about giving up and retreating to the family farm or a friend’s house in San Antonio, where I can isolate and think about what I wanna do with myself. The thought of giving up on life has also crossed my mind, however the thought of hurting my family keeps those thoughts from manifesting into reality. It scares me that I have had these kinds of thoughts. I would so want to live a long and happy life here in LA, a place where I truly feel at home.

As for the Muscle Cub, I don’t know what the future will hold just yet. We still haven’t sat down to talk, was hoping to this weekend, but he had plans to go out with friends and we really didn’t talk much. Supposed to see him tomorrow so we will see what happens. I also have noticed the interest of some other great guys, however I just can’t start talking to another until I know for sure where I stand with this one. I don’t want to complicate my life anymore that it is. One thing is for sure, I can’t wait around for things to manifest into what ever the universe holds with the Muscle Cub. I have to start looking after me, I need to stop putting him and others before my personal needs. I’m giving myself a few months to find a reason to stay in LA, such as a job or a man to love. I know it might be a bit much, but I want to be happy again. I don’t want to have to cry myself to sleep every night as I can’t cope with the stress and heart ache.


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With New Ad Platform, Facebook Opens Gates to Its Vault of User Data – Yahoo Finance

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/ad-platform-facebook-opens-gates-020021081.html

With the article linked above you can read about Facebook’s new platform in regards to advertising. It is rolling out a new platform called Atlas that would use FB’s extensive user data to sell advertising to companies that want to know what FB users are doing, viewing and buying on various devices and other sites. Similar to Google and Yahoo’s ability to generate ads based on email and browser usage.

The only thing I see wrong with this is that FB users could potentially get ads in apps based on FB being on their phones. I personally think this is an invasion of privacy. Is this the price to pay for convenience and for using Social Media?


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Apple’s Words of Wisdom

Honey, sit yourself down and get ready for some of my wisdom. I hope you’re thrirsty for this T!

Recently I came in contact with a 10 year-old little girl, who was born with Down’s Syndrome. To safeguard her privacy let’s call her, June. June lives in South Central with her mom and two brothers. I came to know June through a friend that needed help. As y’all know when I come across someone who needs help, I try to do what I can. Especially for my family and friends. Those I consider friends are my adopted family, the family I chose, for them I would move mountains if I could. I would and have given my last dollar to help someone else. I believe if someone needs something like food or necessities they should not go without, and if I have the cash to spare I rather use it on someone who is need…

I met Jun’s family by dropping something off for my friend, and was moved to learn her story. She is in public school and is having trouble due to her disability. At home she has trouble cause the homework is in English and her mom only speaks Spanish. I have gone back several times to help June with her homework, an d wish the public school system would do more. The girl also has trouble speaking and took me awhile to understand her way of communicating which is mostly moans. She understands English and Spanish if you talk to her, but is having trouble ready and writing…

It is so sad that we are failing our children, especially those that really need the extra attention. My words of wisdom here is to treat children as they are our future, cause they are… They will adopt this messed up world, and when we are old they will be looking after us. If we don’t dedicate the right time and attention to these kids, what kinda message are we sending? 


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“War Comes Home: Shad Meshad”

My past employer, The National Veterans Foundation, sent me this link this morning. It’s an interview of one of my personal heroes and mentors, Shad Meshad an Army Vietnam Veteran who now dedicates his life to helping Veterans and their families cope with the struggles of coming home after war. As a young man barely 19 years of age, I was sent to Iraq to bring freedom to people I knew little about & told I would probably die for my country. I was scared out of my mind, and was lucky to come back home. As a kid, you are tried to react to the stress of combat, and you encounter many things that the normal person only reads about or sees on TV. That is something that you never forget. To this day I still have nightmares about dead bodies on the side of the road, in crumbling buildings or bombed cars. The sweet stench of death and burning flesh is something you never forget.

However, the home I came back to didn’t feel like home. This was back in 2004, when I was kicked out of the Army for loving a man, and they gave me the boot immediately after my deployment. I didn’t get a chance to completely debrief, as they say. My life was on the line for an entire year, I lost a good friend, I protected the men and women who where at my side. And when I loved a man, I was told thank you for your service, but we don’t want you anymore. When I came home it took me years to not freak out from the sound of a door close. I still have problems with crowds, people I don’t know and fireworks. I know I’m a mess, but I’m a work in progress. I’m also working on fixing myself so I can once again love a man, and accept his love in return.

Everyday I bare the scars of war, and the scars of being outcast for loving a man. So, I thank Shad for giving us a little insight as to what our Veterans really go thru. I know first hand what its like, and if it wasn’t for people like Shad, I don’t know if I would be alive today.

War Comes Home: Shad Meshad:


Apolonio E Muñoz III | C: 818.281.6060 | apolonio.munoz@gmail.com

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Say Something & Second Chances

Saw this on a friend’s feed and had to share with y’all… I know that it is about some guy in the UK auditioning for the X Factor, however the song he sang had some much feeling and the words to the song really resonate with me, I just had to share. Also, there is a lesson to be learned, that we all are scattered at times, are not perfect and have been hurt, however we all deserve a second chance… It’s is up to all of us to take advantage of those chances and to also also give those chances to others.

Link to audition clip:
http://sfglo.be/dta

A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera – Say Something:

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