Revisiting…

Tonight I revisited one of my favorite blog posts of all time – “Coming Out and Out and Out and Out”. This week we’ve had a lot of media exposure (as you know! That’s why you’re here and reading) and I again feel like I am coming out over and over again.

This has been an exhausting week… I’m glad I’m at the end of my work week. Let the weekend… BEGIN!

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New Hair Cut / 18 Inches for Donation

On Saturday I got my first major haircut since 2006. (I had a few trims in between). The last time I cut my hair short, I wanted to donate my hair, but I think I needed 10 inches and I had only cut off 9 (what a waste!) So this time I was determined to donate.

So Saturday I went and got a short haircut and saved the ponytail. I took before and after photos (and the last photo in the purple t-shirt was this morning before work). The ponytail for donation is 18 inches long! Wow!

My only question now is… where?
Pantene Beautiful Lengths? http://www.pantene.com/en-US/beautiful-lengths-cause/pages/how-hair-wigs-help-women.aspx
Locks of Love? http://www.locksoflove.org/mission.html
Wigs For Kids? http://www.wigsforkids.org/

Pantene gives wigs for free to cancer patients (of all ages and genders). Locks of Love sells wigs to children with permanent hair loss at a fraction of the price of purchasing a wig at retail. And Wigs for Kids seems to be a regional thing?

But I’m hearing negative things about Locks for Love online. That they collect enough hair to make 10,000 wigs a year, but have only made 1,400 in the entire time the charity has been around? But I do realize that not just hair is needed to make the wigs, there IS a cost to make them. But that does seem like a pretty small percentage.

If anyone is familiar with these organizations or has info or advice, I’d love to hear it.

Choices choices…

I am just not sure who to send it to. I won’t “miss” it, but I’d still like it to go to the best possible charity/organization. Maybe it doesn’t matter, maybe they are all great. This week has been busy, but next week I’m going to decide and send it out.

New York Assembly approves same-sex marriage Tonight!

New York Assembly approves same-sex marriage
By the CNN Wire Staff
June 15, 2011 9:48 p.m. EDT
(text copied from http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/06/15/new.york.gay.marriage/index.html?hpt=hp_t2 )

(CNN) — New York’s state Assembly Wednesday night approved a same-sex marriage bill, sending it to the Senate, where it faces a closer vote.

The Marriage Equality Act passed the Assembly 80-63.

It would grant same-sex couples equal rights to marry “as well as hundreds of rights, benefits and protections that are currently limited to married couples of the opposite sex,” according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.

“This is an immense step toward achieving true equality for all here in New York,” said Democratic Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell, who argued that he and his partner should be allowed to marry.

Wednesday night’s debate included discussion of religious, traditions, customs and families. Small gay rights flags decorated many desks in the chamber.

Same-sex marriage is a fundamental human right, said Democratic Assemblyman Richard Gottfried during the debate.

Democratic Assemblyman Micah Kellner also supported the bill, saying, “This is about people’s happiness.”

Republicans defended their opposition, saying it did not mean they were intolerant.

“It doesn’t make me a bigot,” said Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin. “It makes me a traditional American.”

“Marriage to me has a separate importance and it has to do with a man and a woman,” said Republican Nancy Calhoun.

Senate Republicans also met Wednesday on the issue, and discussed the law’s wording.

There was no decision on when it may come to the floor. A vote there likely won’t happen until Friday, at the earliest.

The state Senate rejected a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in 2009. Wednesday’s vote was the fourth time same-sex marriages were approved in the Assembly, according to O’Donnell.

Currently, 31 senators, including two Republicans, are in favor of the bill. Backers need one more GOP member to vote in favor for it to pass.

Although New York does not grant same-sex marriages, a 2008 appellate court ruling upheld the right of couples to have their same-sex marriages recognized if they are performed elsewhere.

[Which we knew already: http://lilfamily13.blogspot.com/2010/07/i-now-pronounce-you.html ]

The act would amend the state’s Domestic Relations Law to say, among other changes, that “no application for a marriage license shall be denied on the ground that the parties are of the same or a different sex.”

Five states — Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont and New Hampshire — and the District of Columbia currently grant same-sex marriage licenses.

The issue also is being debated in California, where a federal judge ruled Tuesday that another judge who ruled against a ban on same-sex marriage and later revealed that he is gay showed no evidence he was prejudiced in the case. Supporters of the ban said they would appeal.

CNN’s Laura Dolan and Leigh Remizowski contributed to this report.


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Is a THIRD wedding in our future?!?! (A local one in our OWN home state, for once!)

Radio Interview Airs in 4+ Hours…

http://m.blogtalkradio.com/marcinhosavant/2011/06/15/savvyliving-with-marcinho-savant-missy-donatuti-alison

Missy did a radio interview regarding the incident at Starbucks, please tune in.
(Click the link for the exact air time).

KIRO tv

The story was featured on a Seattle TV station: http://www.kirotv.com/news/28239524/detail.html

We are just so overwhelmed at the reaction this has gotten. Oh my god, it’s a 3 and a half minute news story (you can watch it at the above link). Both Missy and Jeff have given phone interviews are are included here. Wow.

Starbucks – Update 2 – A Letter from Jeffrey

It took less than 24 hours for Jeff to be sent the link with our plea for help for him! The internet is an amazing thing, but it’s awesome that since we didn’t exchange info at the scene, that we are now in contact. Jeffrey has written to me asking me to please post a letter of thank you from him to everyone who has supported him and shared his story. He also wanted me to let everyone know that…

There will be a newscast tonight airing at approximately 8:25pm EST regarding our issue. It can be seen at
http://www.kirotv.com/watchitlive/index.html

Jeffrey’s letter:

Hi I am Jeffrey, the person in Missy’s blog. I am a real person, her blog is about my experience.

I am writing to thank Missy, a complete stranger, and all who have supported her blog. Without Missy I could not have received the confirmation on why I surmised I had been forced to hand in my keys as a Starbucks Shift Supervisor. She is to commended for her voice and values as an outstanding humanitarian.

Missy consoled me outside of the Starbucks location in Centereach, Long Island on Sunday afternoon just as she described. I walked away from her not knowing who she was or if I would ever see her again. Approximately 24 hours went by when a friend of mine forwarded a link to me on Facebook to say a blog had been posted about me. I read the letter and after reading all the facts came to realize the reason I was no longer welcome for employment at Starbucks.

All of you who have supported our cause to stand united in the LGBT community have made this possible! I would not have found Missy or her blog if it were not for our strong values as a community which I pride with all of my heart. That said I continue expressing my appreciation for her and all of your standing up for our right to be treated respectfully and fairly in our work environments. A promise we hold our employers to daily.

Thank you all for your supportive letters and encouragement.

Regards,

Jeffrey

For privacy sake and the sake of future legal action he plans on taking, we won’t be making public Jeffrey’s last name or email address, but if anyone would like to contact him regarding the incident, please send emails to us with YOUR contact info and we will forward to him or leave comments here, he IS reading.

Starbucks Update… Part 1

It’s been less than 30 hours since we posted about the incident at Starbucks. 

The post has over 200 comments, has received over 15,000 views.  It’s been Tweeted, Facebooked, and blogged at least 6 degrees of stranger-dom.  People who aren’t even friends of friends are finding links on their Facebooks and Twitters and reaching out.  On the official Starbucks Twitter, this post just appeared “@Starbucks: If you read a blog post about a NY store, we are concerned and are looking into it. We have a zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind.”  I have received an email from corporate trying to set up a phone call with Missy (which should be taking place soon).  And we’ve received 2 requests for media (news) interviews.

We will definitely keep everyone updated with the progress, but in the meantime…

Thank you to everyone who cared enough to reach out an comment, Tweet, and share the link.  I am so proud of my wife, Missy for taking a stand against an injustice to a complete stranger.  But I am also so pleased that people out there Care!

Keep sharing, because the first step to change is awareness.

So thanks to everyone, Starbucks has heard us loud and clear.  I only hope that appropriate action follows.

This is for Jeffrey.  And this is for everyone who has faced injustice and humilation without the back-up the deserved.

Keep checking back on the blog for further updates.  (And add our Facebook page for notifications of updates).

*edited to add* The first news article about this has been brought to my attention: http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/World/2011/06/14/18281786.html

And we just found a second article: http://outspokennyc.com/shoutout/starbucks-employees-accused-of-homophobia

*edit 3:55PM* Starbucks has issued an official response to our letter: http://www.starbucks.com/blog/our-dedication-to-embrace-diversity/1035?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=rep

*Edit* 9:30PM – more articles!
http://www.metroweekly.com/news/last_word/2011/06/starbucks-looks-into-gay-mans.html
http://www.torontosun.com/2011/06/14/woman-complains-of-homophobic-rant-at-starbucks
http://www.outwesttv.org/2011/06/brewing-hate-starbucks-manager-is.html

Picked up by a Seattle news station: http://www.kirotv.com/news/28239524/detail.html

You can follow us on Twitter: dana_rubyfruit

I Know Starbucks is Not an Anti-Gay, Homophobic Company (by Policy)…. BUT…

Yesterday while I got my hair cut, my wife witnessed something in Starbucks (while she hung out with Lily, waiting for me) that she felt couldn’t go unnoticed or unmentioned.  Her letter says it all, but I wanted to share this open letter to Starbucks corporate office as a plea for awareness and solidarity.  Please forward this link on… and please leave comments to show your support.  Let’s all let Starbucks know that this is not OK.  Missy keeps saying that a stranger to us, Jeffrey, had a HORRIBLE day yesterday, let’s see if we can make his (and others’) todays and tomorrows better.

Please add us on Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lil-Family-Blog/139186336101600

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Dear Starbucks,

I am writing this letter to you as a loyal customer with concerns.  I know probably 90% of the letters you receive trying to solicit something from you probably start the same way, but this is different. When I say, I am a loyal customer I mean you have had me for the better part of my adult life, hook, line and sinker. I will spend the extra $2.50 for a cup of your coffee. When I worked in Hoboken I would walk an extra three blocks for your coffee, walking past a Dunkin Donuts, Panera, Macdonalds and two bodegas to purchase from you. Every morning I drink my coffee out of one of your ceramic mugs and I have for years. A dozen of them line my shelves, (even the poorly conceived “Father’s Day” argyle mugs from 2005 that have metal bottoms which means I can’t pop it in the microwave to reheat)  I only buy Starbucks for my home consuption. When you roll out a new product, I flock to your nearest location like a moth to a flame.  I mourned the loss of the Chantico and I even rushed out to try that banana mocha abomination (a match made in hell) blindly following your suggestions like a lemming. I know, and speak your “lingo” that grates on me like nails on a chalk board and is sometimes so complicated I feel like I speak a second language. I even, as much as I am ashamed to admit it, buy most of the adult contemporary CDs you peddle in the front of the store. By the time I reach the front of the line somehow the newest James Taylor CD or whatever swing jazz collection you put together seems like something I can no longer live without.  I am your disciple. I am part of the Starbucks machine. I am your dream customer because whatever your company puts into the market, I have and I would have continued to buy.  I never felt bad about my commitment to your chain either because I felt like you were a company that was ethically sound.  Your commitment to free trade, The Starbucks Charitable Foundation, your appearance as a diverse work environment. These are all things that I as a customer felt good about. I felt like I was supporting a company that although huge, I felt you were doing your best to “do good” and leave a positive mark on the world.

That was the case, until yesterday.
Which is why I am writing to you today.
The sentiments above, about me being a loyal customer were not written to solicit anything from you. I do not want free coffee or a refund. I ask, as a loyal customer for the past 15 years that I have your attention. Your time and consideration.

Yesterday when I walked into your  Centereach, Long Island  location  I saw one of the most brazen and unapologetic displays of homophobia I have ever witnessed in my entire life.  What was most concerning about it was it was perpetuated by not one, not two but THREE of your employees and it was directed towards a fourth employee.  I don’t know this man, but I know his name is Jeffrey because the woman (who seemed to be in charge of this circus)  loudly scolded, spoke to in a condescending manner, humiliated, and then let go.  In the middle of your store. Two feet away from my table.   Then when Jeffrey, who was visibly shaken went to the bathroom to collect him self, the women at the table went on a long, ranting homophobic rant that lasted about five minutes. This rant transpired two feet away from my table where I sat with my daughter. A three year old child, with two mothers. I have never, in my entire life seem such a gross and unapologetic display of ignorance and intolerance. The most horrific aspect of it was that it was by someone that your corporation put into a position of power.  I have never, ever in ANY context seen ANYTHING so unprofessional in my entire life.  I was horrified that my daughter was exposed to that.

The whole incident spanned about 15-20 minuets. It looked like it was a sit down discussion about something that had happened in the store, an earlier problem.  What that was, I couldn’t be certain. I do know however, the fact that Jeffery’s sexuality was brought into the conversation (and it obviously was for me to know about it) is inappropriate. The woman (Who I will refer to going forward as the “Manager” although she may have been someone from Human Resources) spoke to him in a sharp condescending manner. She told him that they were not interested in his politics or beliefs and his thoughts were down right offensive to his co-workers. They did not want to hear about his personal life. When Jeffrey pointed out that they ALL talked about their personal lives (during the course of the conversation I learned that the manager had a daughter that went to tennis camp and another one of the women had a birthday coming up so the irony and the hypocrisy of that statement was mind blowing.) That his beliefs were not welcome at Starbucks.  She went on, an on and on talking about leadership building workshops where she learned to “Keep it to herself”  (again I will remind you of tennis camp). She was even so condescending to tell him,

“It might not be today, it might not be tomorrow, but ten years from now you will thank me for this…”

For what? For for letting him go for speaking about his personal life? For learning to put up with bigotry in the work place?

She kept reminding him, “You are not fired but….” as if to say, you are not fired but you are really not welcome here anymore. I assume this was a clever HR move so he would not be able to collect unemployment. He told her that he felt like he was being FORCED to leave because he felt like the “problems” at that location were not being addressed and the workplace had turned into a hostile environment.  She in turn told him that if he was not, “Part of the solution, he was the problem.”and his two weeks notice would not be needed. He asked if he would be marked by the corporation as “un-hireable”

She smugly looked at him and said,

“Well I don’t know. It’s not looking good for you.”

Basically threatening his professional future.

Know, I am not going to swear by what the original confrontation was. I only heard bits and pieces, but I know that worker was attacked and humiliated on the middle of your shop floor. I don’t care what his offense was, that sort of business should be conducted in a back room. I also know, the “manager” was not willing to listen to him and personally attacked him several times with snide, condescending comments. Telling him, in the subtext of her words that he was “Less than” and his personal belief system was no longer welcome at the shop.

The event got more horrific, when he, who had kept his composure through the entire incident, not once raising his voice despite being attacked, got up from the table to go to the bathroom to cry in private.

Then the three women turned on him like Vultures.

“I’m done. I’m done. Nobody wants to hear it anymore.  I don’t care who he is dating. I don’t want to hear about it.”

“He should not get upset at the things people say to him. He should be used to it. It’s not like he turned gay yesterday.”

“I used to listen to it, now I’m just sick of hearing about it.”

“Nobody does, but it’s over now. You won’t have to hear about it anymore.”

It went on, and on and on.

The focus of their discussion then when he left the table, was not about an incident that occurred in the previous days.  It was about how they were intolerant to his lifestyle, nobody wanted to hear about the fact that he was gay, they didn’t want to be exposed to that.  The focus was not about his poor performance as an employee but their intolerance towards him as a person.  I  sat at there at my  table with the impression that,

This man, this Starbucks employee was losing his job, because he was gay.

Whether that was the case or not.  Whatever Jeffrey’s offense might have been… that is how one of your loyal customers perceived the events as they transpired based on the actions and the statements of your “manager”.  She was bigoted, intolerant, insensitive and no matter how upset she was at Jeffrey, her comments and sentiments should not have been overheard by one of your customers, gay or not.

So I guess the biggest irony is, that nobody in the Starbucks that afternoon wanted to hear her politics, the very thing she was scolding Jeffrey for.

When Jeffrey returned from the bathroom she asked him for his keys. She was pretending to be sensitive and offered him her card if he needed to talk.  Which disgusted me because, she was anything but concerned for his well being.

I followed Jeffery out of the store horrified by what I had just witnessed.
I said to him, “That was unreal. That was “bullshit” and I was so sorry.
He walked away at first, then he approached me and said, “Thank you.”
I hugged him and he said,

“I came to this company because I thought it was supposed to be better. I thought that it was a positive and tolerant work place to work. I was passed over for promotions, they hired from the outside, I fought against their vendetta. I couldn’t take it anymore. I didn’t have a chance here.”

I hugged him again.
Disgusted that something so ugly, so cruel could happen in this day in age in America and that the perpetrator was basically patting herself on the back. Not caring that she had not only destroyed this man’s life, but that she also humiliated him and threatened his future.   She was going to sleep soundly that night. She was going to get away with her gross display of how disgusting one human can be to another if they have a position of power and slap a fake smile across their face.

I walked away from Jeffrey and I started to cry.  At how cruel we can still be to each other. How awful I felt for him. I strapped my daughter into her car seat and I thought about how in this society we are so self congratulating as we scream to the rafters promising our children,

“It gets better!”

I found myself wondering, “Better than what?”
What I saw on that Starbucks floor was pretty awful.

I have had friends tell me, to boycott. I have had other friends tell me that Starbucks is a positive and tolerant corporation. The latter has always been my impression.  I don’t think this is how Starbucks wants themselves represented.  However, I think you should be aware of the people who you currently have representing you and the way they are doing it.  I am hoping by bringing this to your attention, you will do the right thing. As you can tell by the tone of my letter I am not a political activist. I am not militant and I do not have an axe to grind nor am I looking for a soap box. I’m pretty boring to be quite honest with you.  I do not even march in pride parades and I swear I own not a single thing that has a rainbow on it. I don’t celebrate my diversity, That’s simply not the type of person that I am. In fact, I’m more the type to wallow in how mediocre I am.  I am an average American who just so happens to be gay. I live my life, I raise my family and I hope to also leave a mark on this world that is positive.  I do not like seeing anyone hurt, abused and degraded. I know that should go without saying, a sentiment akin to “All babies should be fed.” but after yesterday, and what I witnessed, I feel like it has to be said.

I want to still be able to walk into a Starbucks with my head held high. I want to drink your drinks, speak your code and even buy your newest record releases, even though they make me feel middle aged and unhip… and feel good about it.

I want you to restore my faith that you are the company I always thought you were.
Please don’t let this incident go unnoticed. Do something, anything you can to make this right. Please protect your (former) employee. Take a step, and take action to protect basic human dignity. To protect equal rights and equality. Please do something.  I don’t want you to lose my business forever.

A loyal customer,
Missy Alison
631- xxx-xxxx

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Edited to add: we have been contacted by Starbucks. Please see updates here: https://lilfamilyblog.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/starbucks-update-part-1/

I can’t reply to every comment here, but if you’re a media outlet, Missy is available for interview. If you have questions, Please contact me directly at LilFamilyBlog @ gmail dot com.

Thank you so much, everyone!

Love,
Dana

 

3/12/13 – Updated to add, Lil Family Blog can now be found at  http://LilFamily.com  Please visit to read updates to THIS story, and new events (including a new addition to our family!)

Trypophobia

My whole childhood and early adulthood (mostly during childhood) I had a recurring nightmare.  In it, my skin was slowly turning into a honeycomb-like texture.  I had this nightmare for most of my childhood, but never told anybody about it until I was an adult.  But since then, I’ve had a “fear” of holes.  I’m not sure “fear” is the right word… maybe aversion.  Things with series of holes (sponges, honeycombs, seedpods, English muffins, the way little bubbles come to the surface when garlic is cooking in oil, olive loaf meat, etc.) make me uneasy, sick, itchy, and give me physical anxiety symptoms (the shakes, skin crawling feeling, nausea, spins/dizziness, heart racing, etc.)  I’ve explained this to my wife… but I don’t think I’ve talked about it with anyone else really beyond saying “ugh, I can’t stand holes.”  But before tonight, I’ve never really verbalized or had words for why/how holes affect me.

Then tonight, I saw a photo on someone’s Facebook wall of a Surinam Toad (google it and you’ll see what I mean)…. I googled it and immediately started shivering and got ill.  That google search though brought up the word Trypophobia and I started reading and I was shocked.  I seriously had no idea anyone else on the planet felt the same way I did, let alone there was a word for it.  Many people’s forum posts and articles were describing “me”.  It’s not a debilitating anxiety for me… because it’s rare that I see something that triggers it, but I definitely won’t have a career as a beekeeper.  But reading that other people suffer the same anxiety felt like a break through moment for me for some reason.  It’s been the ONLY recurring nightmare I’ve had as a lifelong issue (once I got robbed at gunpoint and I had recurring nightmares surrounding that for a few months but it went away, and other situations like that), so to find out there are other people is reassuring somehow.

Reading all about it, of course forced me to see tons of photos about it tonight… and now I have shivers and chills, electric crawling skin, and nausea… but it still feels like a weight off my shoulders for some reason.  I’m not going to post any photos here, but if you do an image search for Trypophobia, you’ll find hundreds and you can see what I mean.

Anyone else reading this have the same type of physical reaction or recurring nightmares?  It’s 1:20am and I doubt I’ll be able to go to sleep now.

http://www.trypophobia.net/

Trypophobia test:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwE3xcWjfe8

Strange Craving

I have the strangest craving today… especially since I’ve only had it once in my life.   I’m talking about French macarons.  The first place I saw them was at a cafe/restaurant near my house, but I didn’t know what they were, besides adorable, colored little cakes.  Then, when we were in Philadelphia last month (or was it 2 months ag0), my friend Val told me she had a box of French macaroons that her parents sent her from France, and would I like to taste them with her.  In my mind, I pictured those little turd-shaped coconut balls which I remember being offered on many Passovers… because they are Kosher.  Instead she opened this tiny box with 8 or 10 beautiful, colored little cakes.  We didn’t know the flavors, so we tasted each one and tried to guess (looking at it now, we guessed “orange blossom” and “blackcurrant violet” wrong) and the flavors were so delicate and divine.  The rose was my favorite.  Meanwhile, in the dumpiest hotel room ever, Missy and Brontis talked comic books and video games while we had little bites of heaven.

I’m not sure what reminded me of them today… but I think I need to go get one in the near future.  They’re not cheap.  (Around $3 a piece for a cookie the size of an Oreo).  Anyone wanna come with me?

Are you a fan of these?

http://www.laduree.fr/en/fabricant/produits/macarons