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.

 

Chandelier

Sometimes you just got to.break from of all the stress and frustration we deal with in our day to day lives. I personally hear the words of this song and wish I was swinging from a chandelier or on a mountain top screaming to let it all out. Some people say screaming doesn’t do anything but hurt your throat. I believe if done right it can be a very stress relief. Hell, when things get bad for me I will sometimes scream into my pillow not to scare my neighbors or roommate.

So let the words wash over you. Sit back close your eyes and imagine yourself cutting loose just like the girl in the video, with not a care in the world.

Sia – Chandelier (Official Video):

http://youtu.be/2vjPBrBU-TM


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Same-Sex Marriage soon to be legal to over 60% of the Nation

With the news that is swarming the internet about the Supreme Court refusing to hear appeals in regards to Same-Sex Marriage Bans, I just had to share my thoughts. Below you will see what has become the anthem for the Same-Sex Movement, and it was done by a straight artist. If you actually take a min and listen to the words they really resonate on what is going on in the world today.

According to Freedom to Marry:

In 25 states – CA, CO, CT, DE, HI, IA, IL, IN, ME, MD, MA, MN, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OK, OR, PA, RI, UT, VA, VT, WA and WI, plus Washington, D.C. – same-sex couples have the freedom to marry.

In an additional five states – KS, NC, SC, WV, and WY – federal appellate rulings have set a binding precedent in favor of the freedom to marry, meaning the path is cleared for the freedom to marry there.

In another 10 states, judges have issued rulings in favor of the freedom to marry, with many of these rulings now stayed as they proceed to appellate courts: In AR, FL, ID, KY, MI, and TX, judges have struck down marriage bans, and in AZ, LA, OH and TN, judges have issued more limited pro-marriage rulings.

In NV, same-sex couples can join together in domestic partnership, which offers broad protections short of marriage. And in MO, the marriages of same-sex couples legally performed in other states are respected.

With these advances, a record number of Americans live in states that recognize relationships between same-sex couples:

  • Over 54% of the U.S. population lives in a state with the freedom to marry for same-sex couples.
  • Nearly 55% of the U.S. population lives in a state with either marriage or a broad legal status such as domestic partnership.
  • Over 60% of the U.S. population will soon live in a state with the freedom to marry for same-sex couples.

This is truly a time to remember, as things are soon to be the law of the land. As a soldier I fought in the name of freedom, only to be told i was not wanted to to my being a gay man, and returned home to Texas to be told I could not marry the person of my choosing.  When I moved to California, I new I was now living in a state where I can live freely, and someday be able to publicly marry Mr. Right when he came along. I saw that reality come alive when Marriage was first made legal in California. Then a few months later than dream was shattered before it could come to fruition when the Voters chose to Ban Same-Sex Marriage. I am glad to have lived to see that right return to the citizens of California when Prop 8 was found to be unconstitutional. And the Justices of the US Supreme Court upheld that basis of the US Constitution that states that the majority can not choose to remove the rights of the minority. One of the reasons I took the Oath of Enlistment, “that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”This first part of that oath is used in nearly every government office in the country, as we as public servants choose to live to a higher standard, one where we will fight for those with no voice, and defend ALL AMERICANS from those who wish to do harm, be it by legal means or not. Granted, I no longer am held accountable to the Oath, as i don’t currently hold a public office, nor am I in the US Military. I choose to retain these words in my day to day life, it has made me the man I today. The openly gay Veteran who freely fights for full equality. I hope to see the day when every American Citizen can marry any one of their choosing. I hope to see the day where there is no such thing as discrimination. Some day I want to be able to marry Mr. Right, and have him eligible for full spousal benefits from the VA. I want to be able to show my future husband, whomever he is, that I love him in public without being called names or get dirty looks. I want to be able to visit my future husband in the hospital when he is sick and have him be able to make the decisions for me when that time comes, and ultimately be able to have my future husband buried along side me in a federally funded VA Cemetery.

These are just some of the rights that are banned from my same-sex family in states where it is illegal. and of course the federal government still is not affording these rights to every person dictated by federal law. When part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was struck down, causing a ripple effect that still has not run its course, allowing the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages performed in states where it is legal. Each Department has been dragging its feet as they have to go thru and change the wording in all the federal code that was written before and after the passage of DOMA. You would think it would be a quick fix to have a few analysts go thru the code and remove any and all reference in regards to the federal ban of same-sex marriage. It sadly is not that easy, as some departments need to submit changes to congress before anything can happen. An example is when my friend Tracy Cooper-Harris filed suit against the Department of Veterans Affairs to have her lawfully wedded wife be able to share her VA Benefits just like her straight brothers and sisters in arms. As histrory has told us, the US Goverrnment lost that battle, and the VA was ordered to give Tracy’s wife the benefits she was due. This only went so far as the lawsuit was against the Veterans Health Administration. Another branch of the VA has yet to change their policy allowing same-sex couples to be buried in Federally Funded Veterans Cemeteries. Someday soon, we should see that change for the better.

In the lyrics of the song, “Same Love – Macklemore & Lewis feat. Mary Lambert“:

America the brave
Still fears, what, we don’t know
And God loves all His children
Is somehow forgotten
But we paraphrase a book written
35 hundred years ago

We see the artist make reference to two very important things, that the country we call the “Land of the Brave” is still afraid of the unknown and anything different. Can change really be that much of a threat to our country? I think not. This great country of ours has seen change and progress since day one. I don’t think we will ever be a perfect country where we no longer have to change our laws. Since the US Constitution was first written there have been 27 Official Amendments and over 11,000 proposals. Showing that we can always change laws. We also have adopted tens of thousands of laws since the country was founded, and congress makes hundreds of changes to these laws each year. Proving that if used properly we can truly be a land of people governed by the people, creating and enforcing laws that benefit all men and women. We are not a land where a book written 35 hundred years ago is the law of the land, as we don’t know who actually wrote it, and what the context could have been as we definitely live in a land where many of the Bibles laws do not exist. Both documents are also open to debate as the reader is allowed to interpret the words as they wish. I just do not agree when that interpretation is made in a manner to place harm on any person or group of people. That is not the word I was taught in Sunday School.

If you wish to read more on what the media is saying about today’s decision not to review the appeals you can visit these and the many more found using google or the search engine of your choosing:

7 Sexy Things Guys Do Without Realizing It (Words of Wisdom #2)

I was browsing the internet today and stumbled upon this. BuzzFeed was able to complied a list of 7 things guys do that are really sexy without realizing it. I have to admit I do find myself paying more attention to a guy when he does these things. Men, take note of this wisdom & use wisely.

7 Sexy Things Guys Do Without Realizing It

  • Rolling Up Their Sleeves (As for me i find this very much a turn on, it shows off the guy’s forearms, and puts him in  relaxed semi-professional look.)
  • Scratching Their Beard (I find this a big turn on as I love a man with facial hair.)
  • The ‘Save The Last Dance’ Lean (This stance is one where the guy is focused on you in conversation, and can be a turn on as it allows you to see him in a relaxed state.)
  • Putting Their Thumb On Their Lip (I dunno what it is, but there is something about a man who uses oral sexual queues even if their unintentional.)
  • Bracing Against the Door Frame (This can be a big turn on as it shows off the guy’s upper-body. If the right guy where to do this when we are talking I would definitely get distracted, and might stare a bit as i find a defined upper-body a big turn on.)
  • Adjusting Their Watch & Tie (I haven’t found this to be distracting or a turn on, but from the example in the video I can see how it can be. What about you?)
  • Making Good Eye Contact (Above all, this is the sexiest thing a man can do. He can have the body of a god and be the sweetest guy, however if he can’t make good eye contact when talking to you he is a dud. I dunno about you but it means a lot when a guy looks you in the eye, shows dominance as well as many other qualities. I can get lost in a guy’s eyes for hours if you let me.)

“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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Watch “A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera – Say Some…” on YouTube

A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera – Say Some…: http://youtu.be/-2U0Ivkn2Ds

I’m a sucker for a love sing. The lyrics of this really hit home as I want to love someone so passionately that it hurts when he is not around or when he is going through troubles and I can’t do anything to help….


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

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Tonight’s Thoughts

Tonight on my way home from your house, All of Me, by John Legend came on the radio and it brought a tear to my eye as the Weiss stated to hit him… I know we have talked about this and I have put up a guard to not get hurt, however I can not over look the fact that there was a connection of some sort and the more we are together the more I fall for your crazy ass! You know that I love you and will always be there for you, however you did hurt me when you fell for another guy…

Lately I have seen you go thru some really right moments and I’m honored I could be there for you. It really hurts that I can’t do more to help you. You’re a wonderful man, and you deserve much more than what your current bf is giving you, I wonder at times if things would have been better for you if you have me a chance, alas we shall never know…  I just pay that the next few days are good and you make it thru in one piece, no matter what the future holds I’m here for you as best add I can… Love ya ~MuAh~


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

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