Page 1

March 2014 | | Page 1


Gracefully Infusing Influences


Page 2 | | January 2014


Captain’s Log

Eric’s Roasted Tomato Caramelized Onion Soup

Table of Contents

Lesbians Are Women First

An Intro to Polyamory

I Just Wanted to be Like Everybody Else...

Before You Say “I Do”


RESOURCES Aris is Burning

Livin’ in the 509

January 2014 | | Page 3

Captain’s Log March 2014 We are two months into 2014—already! Even though winter is still vexing us, spring is around the corner and soon the birds will be singing, the sun will be shining, and the flowers will be blooming. Let us know how the new year is treating you so far. Here at Proud Times, we are excited about what the rest of the year is bringing. There is so much happening in the Inland Northwest, and we are ready to pass along information on events that you are planning, participating in, and would possibly attend—if only you knew about them ahead of time. We encourage each of you to submit events, resources and articles. We want to share what is important to you. Our writers have been busy crafting informational, intense, and inspirational articles. We are especially grateful for the contributions of returning writers Jerry Rabushka, J’son M. Lee, Michelle Cuttino, and Mick Sandoval. At the beginning of this installment of “Livin’ in the 509,” I hope you find Jerry’s Gollum reference as funny as I did. J’son continues to inform with the second part of his series about samesex marriage. “Before You Say ‘I Do’” gives couples quite a bit to think about—from a legal perspective. We have been looking for articles focused on lesbian issues; Michelle stepped up and researched the topic of lesbian life in the workplace. Her article is quite impressive. Then there is Mick, who has provided another great interview with budding artist Aris.

Page 4 | | January 2014

Our new contributors, Mark Scrudder and Leelyn Evens, give us two thought-provoking articles which provide insights about people who have lived unconventional lives. Their knowledge and experience could be considered mind-blowing, but you should walk away with a better understanding of how—and why—other people live their lives in the manner they do. When we say, “expanding your frame of mind,” we mean it! We are extremely proud to introduce Jeremy Price to our readers. Jeremy has been updating our website’s calendar of events and resource list. After he suggested several times that someone should write an article about Eric Himan (who has performed several times at nYne Bar & Bistro in Spokane), he eventually offered to do an interview and write the article himself. The result? Outstanding! We have subsequently discovered that Jeremy has been looking for an opportunity to use his highereducation English studies. Proud Times is lucky to have discovered Jeremy’s talents and look forward to a longterm relationship. Together, we can make our world a better place.

Dean Ellerbusch Proud Times Executive Editor

March 2014 | | Page 5

Lesbians Are Wo

Breaking Sexual Orientation By Michelle Cuttino

Stonewall is a charity that collects information and researches areas that affect the lives of lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Britain. In summer 2008, they interviewed lesbian and bisexual women regarding their workplace experiences. Their findings confirm that no matter where you live, the consensus is that a universal glass ceiling has been erected that hinders the advancement of women within organizations. Those women who are also gay are placed at an even higher disadvantage, putting many in a position to hide their identity as a lesbian.

owner and Editor-in-Chief of Urban Grapevine Magazine ( Felisha is openly gay and was not concerned with her sexuality in the workplace. “I worked in the Human Services field prior to becoming an author and I had very little issues. H.S. is a field where your adversities work in your favor, especially when you have overcome them,” she said. Several from Stonewall’s report

would agree with her, as the findings were that “some participants felt that being open about being a gay woman was empowering. It had raised their profile, facilitated networking opportunities, and helped them to feel more equal with men in their organization.” Felisha Bradshaw is a mother of three who lives in Connecticut and produces a number of BlogTalkRadio shows. She is the CEO,

Page 6 | | January 2014

Saundra W. Haggerty is an openly gay California native who now resides in Texas with her German Shepherd, Felony. She

omen First:

n Barriers in the Workplace publishes lesbian erotica under a pseudonym and is also a writing consultant at BTS Literary Services, LLC. She said her first experience with discrimination due to her sexuality was when she was enlisted in the United States Navy. Her enrollment was before the enactment of the 1993 Department of Defense Directive 1304.26, better known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue.” “My military career

confessed. It’s apparent that Saundra is not alone in her experience, and inappropriate conduct is still prevalent in the military. There have been numerous women—straight and gay—coming forward to report being victims of sexual assault and rape in the military. However, the fact still remains that a large percentage of these assaults are against lesbians and gays.

was abruptly ended as a result of my relentless pursuit in filing an ‘Improper Conduct’ complaint against a male superior officer,” Saundra

There are countless other women who face similar harassment in the workplace due to their sexuality. They are forced to deal with it because their bosses are male and not only pay their salaries, but hold the power to promote or fire them. In most cases, the women pretend to be straight, or are considered straight by omission. Not being able to interact with their male counterparts the way a straight woman would makes many lesbians more fearful of being ousted.

January 2014 | | Page 7

Felisha encountered a different kind of bias in the workplace. “I was dating within the job, and my boss actually took my girlfriend out to lunch to talk her out of being with me. Towards the end of the day, she then began flirting with me and asked me was I serious about the girl.” The scenario may seem surprising, but there are many openly gay women who suffer sexual harassment at the hands of their openly gay superiors. This predicament is even more unpleasant and compels some women to “play ball” so that they don’t impede their chance for advancement. “Beverly” is a very close friend who was just promoted at a prestigious firm in New York City. For fear of being “outed” and ostracized within her male-dominated organization, she asked that I change her name and falsify any direct reference to her. Beverly and I share another close friend, who is a single father and one of her biggest supporters. “Daniel” has become Beverly’s surrogate husband, allowing her to display a photo they took at his daughter’s birthday party on her desk at work. She even wears a wedding band she purchased for herself to support her fabrication. Daniel is also her stand-in for all office functions, and they dote on each other as if they were really a couple. It comes easy as the love they have for each other is genuine, but just not in the conventional way. Beverly goes on to say, “Being a lesbian does not define me, as I am a woman first. I’m not open about my sexuality in the workplace because homosexuality is frowned upon within the ‘old boys club.’ Besides, I think if my colleagues knew of my sexual preference, the jokes, innuendos and harassment would be upsetting and intolerable. Therefore, I let my work ethic speak for itself. Once I break through the proverbial glass ceiling, I will be sure to make an entrance with my real life

Page 8 | | March 2014

partner on my arm. By that time, it won’t make a difference who I share my bed with.” Another concern lesbians face in the workplace is being labeled as unfriendly or unwelcoming. Since they are trying to keep their personal life private, co-workers misinterpret it as them being impersonal. The inability to share intimate details about their life or their pastimes outside of work decreases their chance for advancement as well. Several have missed out on opportunities due to their failure to interact and network with co-workers and superiors in a traditional way. There is also a flipside, where being forthcoming with your sexuality can cause office rifts. “In a straight environment, masculine women may come across as a threat to men in positions of power,” Felisha said. “It may hold you back if you appear too ‘butch.’ Women may even feel uncomfortable [with your sexuality] and that very well may be a hindrance.” Stonewall’s report takes it one step further, with some “arguing that in the corporate world in particular, the image of a successful woman was so heavily associated with the stereotype of an aggressive lesbian that senior women of all sexual orientations often tend to act in a way that heterosexual women perceive to be gay, in order to infiltrate senior leadership structures.” The existence of a glass ceiling is unmistakable in the corporate world; however, being an openly gay woman should not encumber your progress. Studies show that allowing the real you to shine through will make you more willing to engage your co-workers and superiors. I am in no way suggesting that one should stay in the closet, but networking doesn’t have to be taboo or awkward. Even as a straight woman, I am not a fan of bringing my personal

life into the workplace. I keep it vague and you can, too. When discussing your personal life— use words such as “them”, “they” and “friend” while straying from the terms “partner” and/or “girlfriend.” This way, you can be engaging and considered a team player without thoughts of backlash for your sexual orientation. Don’t play into the stereotype. You may be a lesbian, but you are a woman first. Your ability to go above and beyond when it comes to the work you perform is what will make you stand out from the rest. There is chance for advancement and breaking through the glass ceilings in the corporate world by taking the initiative and showing that you can be a leader. Saundra put it eloquently, “Homophobia, not homosexuality, hinders an individual’s success.” Take a look at Stonewall’s report. I’m sure you will agree with much of the findings. It can be found at http://www. glass_ceiling.pdf.

Michelle “Big Body” Cuttino was born and raised in Bronx, New York. She is an esteemed book reviewer and contributing writer for African Americans On The Move Book Club (AAMBC), Proud Times Magazine and Black Literature Magazine, and once optioned one of her screenplays with Flavor Unit Films, Inc. She currently heads Big Body Broadcasting, her BlogTalkRadio network that hosts her bi-monthly show, The Q-Spot with Big Body. Michelle will be releasing her debut Contemporary Women’s Fiction novel and eBook short story series under her Big Body Publishing imprint in summer 2014. Her contact info:

March 2014 | | Page 9

An Intro to Polyamory

By Mark Scrudder Maybe you’ve heard of polyamory. Polyamory has been around for as long as there have been people. In recent years, polyamory has gained a great deal of publicity, appearing everywhere from popular television series to talk shows to mainstream news articles. You may have a friend or family member who is polyamorous. What is polyamory? Let’s take a moment to break down the word polyamory. “Poly” is Greek meaning ‘many’, “amo” is the Latin root for ‘love’. To put it simply, polyamory is having relationships with more than one person at a time, while being honest and open about it.

Page 10 | | March 2014

People who are actively polyamorous will often refer to themselves as being “poly.” There are as many ways of practicing polyamory as there are people who identify as polyamorous, as with monogamous people. Every monogamous couple is different; some will spend all of their time with their partners, while some couples have independent lives but come home to each other at night. People who practice poly are people who have agreed to be sexually and/or romantically involved with more than one person, and that they will be open and honest about

those relationships with all people involved. Poly people come from all races, creeds, orientations, ages, and genders. One of the biggest misunderstandings about poly is relating it to cheating. Cheating is when one partner has broken an agreement about who they can be romantically or sexually involved with. In a polyamorous relationship, there are guidelines in place as to what is acceptable. Those guidelines are established by negotiating terms between the partners and are different between each relationship.

Some polyamorous people are married or have made lifelong commitments to one or more partners. Some poly folk have children with one or more of their partners. Like with most parents, children are typically given the highest priority. In many cases, the partners who share children are given a default “primary� status. It is important to realize however, that polyamory is not the same as polygamy. Polygamy is marrying multiple people, which is illegal in the United States. Also, polygamy has many common associations, including one person having multiple partners (such as one man

March 2014 | | Page 11

with 3 wives, each of which are only married to him), only heteronormative connections, and is commonly associated in many people’s minds with the Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormonism). Some polyamorists don’t mind the term polygamy being applied to them, but many do. So, please ask before using this term. Polyamorous relationships can be structured in a large number of ways based on the needs and wants of those involved in the relationships. Many have a polyfidelitous structure. This is a closed partnership with more than two people, where the members are only involved with people within the polyfidelitous relationship. This could have connections between all members (a threeperson relationship as a triangle, for instance) or just between some of the members (a three person v or a four person square, for instance), but there will be no outside relationships. Other polyamorists have a more open structure, including varying numbers of relationships involving any number of connected or unconnected people. This can vary from having a core “primary” relationship and any number of secondary or tertiary relationships, or to simply having a number of equal but different relationships. No one form of polyamory is better than another. Polyamory as a whole is about recognizing that people should have the option to find the type of relationship structure which works best for them. Most polyamorous relationships fall somewhere in the middle, balancing each relationship based on the needs of each relationship. Sometimes a monogamous relationship will open up. In these cases, the existing partnership is often very protective of that existing relationship and negotiates rules on

Page 12 | | March 2014

moving slowly to maintain that relationship as “primary.” There are many reasons to be polyamorous and the different structures may grow out of those reasons. Don’t assume the reasons and keep an open mind if you ask someone why they chose polyamory. Their answers might surprise you. It is always important to ask a polyamorous person how open they are about their lives. Being openly polyamorous can be dangerous in many ways. Just like with anything which is outside of societal expectations, there can be threats of harm, loss of work, loss of parental rights, and familial ostracizing. If a polyamorous person has children, they may or may not be open with their children or have their partners be involved in their children’s lives. When it comes to being a friend or family member of a polyamorous person, it’s important to be respectful and honest. Every person is different and each polyamorous relationship is different. Remember that it’s not all about the sex, it’s about love and respect and honesty. Ask questions and keep an open mind. In the following months, I will cover issues regarding polyamory such as coming out, negotiating terms, online resources for people wanting to learn more about polyamory or looking for polyamorous advice, legal complications of polyamory, and raising children.

March 2014 | | Page 13

By Jeremy Price

From Tulsa, Oklahoma—Out and Proud, award-winning, singer/songwriter, and all-around nice guy: Eric Himan returned to Spokane for a third time on his national tour. He graced us with original music from his newest album Gracefully, named after his grandmother Grace (pictured in a silhouette behind Eric on the album cover), an inspirational and encouraging part of his life and artistic ability. If you are not familiar with Eric’s music, it’s a treat you don’t want to miss. He has an eclectic collection of several different styles infused into his signature evolving sound. With influences from rock, folk, R&B and more, there is something for any music lover. Eric also has a flair for flavor, as he demonstrates with his signature dishes on his live cooking show and cookbook Trial and Eric. Much like his music, he takes traditional practical foods and infuses new elements into them, making them something all his own.

Page 14 | | January 2014

Before his February performance at nYne Bar & Bistro in Spokane, Eric granted us this interview for our readers. This is your third time playing in Spokane. Are you touring again to promote a new album? How many albums have you recorded? I have recorded eight albums, with my latest being Gracefully. I’m very proud of this album— more than any other I’ve done. It took a lot of work to get it right and this will be my second

stop through with it. This means the audience has more reason to sing along this time! Have you had a chance to experience the area and gay culture within the city? If so, what did you think of the community in Spokane? I love the community of Spokane because it is so diverse. My friend ‘bob’ started introducing me to a number of folks who have given me a really positive outlook on the city. nYne Bar has also been super supportive of bringing me back to town with each new album. You seem to try new things often and add new elements—from solo acoustic shows to full band performances, playing piano, original songs, and some great covers including Queen’s “Killer Queen.” What inspires you to constantly try new things with your music, instead of sticking to one specific sound or formula? Boredom. Ha! I like a good challenge and I like goals. Goals keep me going in music and life. My grandma Grace, who I named Gracefully after, had so many cool jobs throughout her life and so many skills. I really grew up thinking that versatility was a great quality to have. Still do. I don’t think I adhere to one style of music because I really love so many different styles. There are songs of mine that fit well in the Rock category, while two songs down on the same CD could be Folk. Jazz and Blues have always

March 2014 | | Page 15

been a big influence, too. I like not adhering—it keeps people guessing and the music fresh. You have opened for Patty Griffin, India. Arie, Leon Russell, Edwin McCain and others. Who would be your dream act to open for? Who would you like to see opening for you? Wow, I love this question because my opinion of opening for big artists has changed after doing it. Opening for artists is great, in that you share in the same audience. But it doesn’t necessarily position you any better with the main act. I think the dream would be to perform with artists like Patty. Ani DiFranco has

Page 16 | | March 2014

always been someone I would love to share the stage with. Natalie Merchant, Corey Glover of Living Colour—the list could go on for days. Opening for me? I can’t even imagine. Your label has licensed your music to MTV, E! and satellite radio. That’s a big accomplishment. How has all that exposure increased your record sales and downloads?

It has increased my exposure a lot. When people tell me, “Oh, I heard you in the grocery store” and I think, “they are just being nice and it was probably someone else.” But it is me. Sometimes I even catch it and do the opposite saying, “this must be someone else,” and it turns out to be me. Ha! I am grateful to have outlets that push my music past my own means to get it out there—very grateful. What kind of challenges have you faced with being an out singer/songwriter and touring? Does being an openly gay man affect your career? Do you feel more welcome in Hollywood or Nashville? I have faced a lot of questioning of how far I can go in the music business because I am gay. I don’t hear the conversations as to why I do get a gig or don’t get one—so I can’t say I am discriminated against in that way. I played more gay bars when I started out and my safety going from town to town was an issue at times. I’ve had a few instances where someone interested in working with me was unsure of how the world would perceive me being gay. I left those situations fast. I feel more comfortable in Hollywood to be honest. I think that has more to do with not spending a lot of time in Nashville. It seems like a whole other beast to me. Do you think the gay community is cohesive and embracing as a whole? I don’t know if any community is that way, to be honest. There are those who want to

see progress and there are those who want things to remain the same. I see that in a lot of communities. For the gay community, I do feel we all want to see equality more in our culture/ country—we just have different ideas of how to get there. What do you think it takes to make a strong, embracing, gay community where all feel welcome and connected? I believe that starts with setting up a safe place anyone can go to feel a part of something. A strong community center with the right resources to handle a number of our community’s needs (outreach, coming out counselors, etc). When you came out, did you have the support of your family? Did the dynamics of your relationships with them change? I did have the support of part of my family, the other side quite the opposite. The dynamics did change after time. I think it was hard for some of my family to see my coming out as permanent. I think they wanted different things for me than what they received with me. I am happy that we are all on the same page now. Since you recorded your “It Gets Better” video, what has changed for you? Is there anything that you would like to say to those who are fearful to come out or be themselves for fear of persecution? It is very hard to usher anyone out of the closet, but I do want anyone who is considering it to know that there is a world that will embrace them regardless of those who might negatively be influencing them at that moment. I loved the It Gets Better campaign, because it showed acceptance from all different types of folks (even the President!).

March 2014 | | Page 17

Page 18 | | March 2014

March 2014 | | Page 19

On your site you mention you were the “pickiest eater growing up.” What was the inspiration to get over your fear of trying new foods and do the cooking show Trial and Eric, as well as a cookbook? I think buying my first house and having my own kitchen—my space to experiment without worry. I also was at a point in my life where I had more time to cook my own food, being at home. Trial and Eric came about after I started doing morning cooking segments on our NBC affiliate in Tulsa. The segments were so short I thought, “what if I had a 30-minute cooking show that was live, and had a chat feature in real time where I could make a dish from start to finish and feel like I was amongst friends discussing the meal?” The cookbook came out of my last fundraising efforts for Gracefully. The sale of the books went to funding the album. I would describe it as interactive and experimental. I am not a trained chef, just a cook who took classes for more of a home cook scenario. I love the instant gratification of cooking, then eating what you made. Ha! The

Page 20 | | January 2014

style of food ranges from Italian to German. I love making signature dishes in my own way with a twist. Chicken Marsala? Chicken Marsala Bites. Grilled cheese and tomato soup? Grilled Caprese Salad Sandwiches with Roasted Tomato and Caramelized Onion Soup.

My favorite dish is to make my own ravioli from scratch. Takes time and experience that I’ve worked up to. The end result is very rewarding. One of the episodes was filmed at the Rainbow House, across from a notoriously anti-gay church. What was that experience like? What do you think is the best way to deal with these type of people and organizations who are so publicly negative and discriminative toward a group of people based on who they love or what they believe? Do you think it’s possible to create an open productive dialogue that leads to understanding and eventually change? That experience was very surreal—being that close the Westboro Baptist Church. I felt like I was going into a war zone, when in fact they aren’t a violent bunch. It was quiet and they stayed on their side of the street. I was well aware of their notoriety and their hateful manner, but didn’t witness it that night. The guys at the Equality House were very kind and I could see why they gained such a loving amount of attention. The best way to deal with them? I don’t know for sure. I think it depends on the level of hostility coming from them. Hateful words are easier to ignore than hateful action. I also think living our lives the best we can is the way to get the point across, rather than screaming back at someone who isn’t going to change their point of view because you tell them to.

You are a happily married man. Where and how did you two meet? How long have you been together? What sort of things do you do to keep your relationship fresh? I have been with my husband for around nine years. We met in Tulsa, Oklahoma while I was touring through. And in terms of keeping things fresh after nine years—ha! I feel like having close family nearby keeps things fresh. We have a great network of family and friends to always make life interesting. What advice would you give to couples starting out their lives together? Hmm, I guess I would say to treasure each moment. The beginning of the relationship is when all the big things start happening. Remember those moments, because that is what you are building on. Proud Times gives a big “thank you” to Eric Himan for taking the time to answer questions and for his support to the L.G.B.T.Q. Community. Be sure to check out Eric on his national music tour or his live cooking show on

Last month, Oklahoma struck down the state’s ban on gay marriage. Have you seen any positive changes in the last month? I think it was a big step, having that state’s ban struck down. But we still have so much farther to go for marriage equality in this state. I feel like we went into the negative digits with the ban and now we are back to zero with a brighter future in store.

For information on tour dates and all things “Eric,” go to

March 2014 | | Page 21

Eric’s Roasted Tomato and Caramelized Onion Soup by Eric Himan Ingredients:

1 large red onion 2 tablespoons butter 4 tablespoons olive oil 3 tablespoons kosher salt 2 pounds of tomatoes (I use grape tomatoes mixed with premium) 4 garlic cloves 1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper 1 (28-ounce) can of diced skinless tomatoes 6 basil leaves, minced 30 oz carton of vegetable stock 2 tablespoons heavy cream

Directions: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash the tomatoes, score the bottom of each tomato with a criss cross slice in both directions, and add for 30 seconds to a pot of boiling water. Pull out tomatoes and immediately place in a bowl of cold water. The skins should peel right off easily. Dump the water and keep the bowl ready. Slice each tomato in half (or in sections if not grape tomatoes) and add to bowl. Mince the 4 cloves of garlic. Add garlic, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and salt and pepper. Mix, draining most of the juice out, and spread evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in oven for 40 minutes. Add the butter with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a dutch oven on medium/high heat. Dice the red onion and add with a tablespoon of the kosher salt to sweat out the onions. When translucent, turn down the heat a bit and let sit for 5 minutes at a time without touching. Each 5 minutes, push the onions around. After 25 minutes, the onions will become a dark caramelized color. Take the roasted tomatoes out of the oven (they should be done now) and add to the onions with the can of tomatoes (including the juice), fresh basil, and the vegetable stock. Stir and bring to a boil. Let simmer 20 minutes. Let cool 20 minutes. Add to blender with a plastic (NOT metal blade—metal can turn the tomatoes an orange color) to make smooth. Place back on stove, reheat to desired temperature and slowly add the heavy cream, stirring frequently. Serve with minced basil and parmesan sprinkled on top.

Page 22 | | January 2014

D.L. Polonsky is an artist, author and filmmaker. Born on 3 November 1960, he grew up in Newton, Massachusetts and has lived in Allston since April of 2000. He has been immersed in the arts for most of his life, as both of his parents and younger brother are artists. He began drawing and painting at four years old. Published in 1992, D.L. wrote and illustrated the children’s book The Letter Bandits. With political cartoons on the editorial pages of dozens of major papers and magazines, 9 were seen in The Boston Globe from 1986-2000 and 80 in The Boston Herald from 2004-2010. He has exhibited artwork throughout Massachusetts at Art Bijoux Gallery in Brookline, Out of the Blue Gallery in Cambridge, J.B. Scoops in Newton, T. Anthony’s Restaurant in Brookline, Bagel Rising in Allston, Caffe Espresso Royale in Brookline, and dozens of other venues. Using the resources of public access TV stations, D.L. made several dozen short films. His autobiographical short film Blid won Most Innovative Video in the Country by a NonProfessional in the Hometown Video Contest, a national film contest. His interview with openly gay Congressman Barney Frank won the Best Program of the Year from NEW-TV in 1988. Some thoughts from the artist himself: I like to say that my artwork is halfway between cartooning and realism. I do a lot of elaborate cross-hatching in my black-and-white pen drawings, and I turn the paper when I draw because it somehow makes all the shapes and the cross-hatching look fresher and have a certain energy. I don’t think you always have to start out inspired when you draw. If you just force yourself at the beginning it can happen during the process. Or you don’t have to feel inspired at all if you’re good at making the drawing or painting look like you were. But

Page 24 | | March 2014

March 2014 | | Page 25

I Just Wanted to be Like Everybody Else...

By Leelyn Evens

Not everyone has the courage to walk into an A.A. or N.A. meeting. I’m sharing a bit about my life for those who need some Strength, Hope and Inspiration. Everyone needs guidance, whether it be Religiously or Spiritually. I’m Leelyn Evens and this is my story… I was raised in a house of drugs, alcohol and sex parties. I thought that was the way everybody lived. I really didn’t know any different. When I was four, I had my stomach pumped when I ate my mother’s prescription diet pills she left on the coffee table. Cocaine was the first drug I used when I was in the fourth grade.

“Needy Visions” #1 © 2010, by D.L. Polonsky. Colored pencil on Bristol board.

Page 26 | | March 2014

My mother had parties almost every night. I used to get up because of the noise and find my mother and other people having sex in the living room or in her bedroom. I knew what orgies were long before I ever should have. I would drink what was left in the beer bottles and drink

glasses. If drugs were left out, I would do them too. By age ten, I was doing cocaine and getting drunk. Marijuana came next; I had to smoke it to help me come down off of the high. I wasn’t the most attractive girl and my mother never let me forget it. She would tell me I would be pretty if it wasn’t for my chin and huge nose. She would say the only reason why anybody would have me is because I would have sex with them. It hurt that my mother would say something like that to me, especially after watching her do the things she did with men. My mother has been married eight times. One of her husbands molested me when I was in middle school. I was also molested by the babysitter’s son when I was in second grade. When I told my mother about it, she said I had to have done something to deserve it. I was a child that had been made out to be the worst kid in the world. The emotional and physical abuse I endured with this woman was heartbreaking and scarred me for life. She blames me for the way she treated me and said it was because I was a horrible and uncontrollable child. To this day, she still thinks she didn’t do anything wrong to me. My pre-teen and teenage years were shifted into overdrive with moving to towns where drugs were the only recreation. I crushed up my speed into lines and chased it with a beer on lunch break. As school got out every day, we would go under the bleachers at school or go to my place, in the barn, to finish up the day. I was

“Misfit Room” (C) 1994, by D.L. Polonsky. Colored pencil and art marker on Bristol board.

sneaking out almost every night so I could get high and drunk. My mother never noticed my drug and alcohol use because she was too busy with her own dysfunctional life. Once I lost my virginity I really followed in my mother’s footsteps. I would sleep with anyone that would have me. Sex was fun; I really enjoyed it and it made me feel wanted. Once I got out on my own, my habits did not change. I even took a man’s virginity when I was seventeen and he was in his twenties. Then, I discovered I was attracted to women also. Let the sex parties begin! I had the best of both worlds and I was loving every minute of it. I got married for the second time and moved overseas to the Philippines. I was really hoping that would help me find some peace in my life. I got all the drugs and alcohol I wanted and it

March 2014 | | Page 27

was very cheap there. Neighborhood block parties every weekend and a club or bar on every corner. Most clubs had strippers—so that made it very easy for me to enjoy the opposite sex. I came back to the states when Mount Pinatubo exploded in June of 1991. We were stationed at Mather A.F.B. in Sacramento, CA. Everywhere I turned there was a drug dealer on a corner or just a phone call away. I spiraled downhill from there and lost both of my kids. I didn’t care, because I was enjoying the only

Page 28 | | January 2014

life I knew. I got two D.U.I.’s in one week and still didn’t think I had a problem. Then, the military police came knocking on my door. I was busted for “illegal use and transportation of a controlled substance on a military installation.” I was banned from every military base in the world. Nope. I still didn’t think I had a problem. I spent the next fifteen years drunk, high, and working one to three jobs to support my lifestyle. June 26, 2000, I woke up to pounding

on the front door. I couldn’t figure out why my boyfriend hadn’t answered the door yet. I got up, walked out to the living room and found Mike dead. He had done so much cocaine that his heart exploded. I got clean for about three months, but couldn’t stay away from the stuff. I was working graveyard and I thought I needed assistance to stay awake. I bounced from relationship to relationship. After my accident in 2004, when my head was busted open after traveling 60mph, I was back to doing crack to

numb the pain and the horrible headaches. My life had changed in an instant—for the worse again. I couldn’t keep a job to save my life. The head injury had caused some real anger problems along with my habits. Those things mixed together made a monster. My world came crashing down on me when I was fired from the best job I’ve ever had when I tested positive for meth. They said I had enough meth in my system to kill three elephants. I tried to lie my way through that horrible situation. That’s

January 2014 | | Page 29

Page 30 | | January 2014

when I realized that I might have a problem. I was 38 years old and never really knew that another way of life existed. I had to make the biggest decisions of my life. Am I an addict and alcoholic? Am I using to cover up the real problems of my life? Can I beat this this addiction? Will I ever be happy? Was I ready to make a drastic change in my life that would help me live longer? The emotional and physical problems I had all my life were being masked instead of dealing with the pain. I made a New Year’s resolution to never do drugs ever again. I have tried several times to stop doing drugs and alcohol at the same time, but it didn’t work. I had to work on one addiction at a time. I know it sounds messed up to some people, but this was the only way I could beat my affliction. As of January 2, 2007, I didn’t touch meth again. I really struggled for the first three years. I had a great partner and she was very patient with me while I went through the worst withdrawals I ever experienced. I thought I was going to die or take my own life to kill the pain. If it wasn’t for her and my son, I think I would have committed suicide. While I was exploring my recovery, I decided to go to college. Four years and two Associate degrees later, I feel free of my meth addiction.

with more strength in my heart—that I could be better person than the one I saw in the mirror every day. I haven’t touched alcohol since April 20, 2010, and I don’t miss it. I started having some major issues with the A. A. program. It felt like God was being shoved down my throat every time I walked into the rooms. I’m not necessarily an Atheist, but I do believe in more than just one God. I have always believed in this theory, since I was a small child. I also believed that we could come back after our host body died. I never understood what that kind of thinking was. Now, I know… In June of 2012, I went to the Spokane Pride Festival. I walked through all the booths and kept getting the tugging feeling every time I walked past the SGI-USA Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism booth. There, I met my new friend and now mentor, Judy Yuuki. After listening to her talk about all the benefits and beliefs of Buddhism, I realized that was what I have always been, but didn’t know what it was

Next comes conquering my drinking problem. For years I drank till I could no longer stand on my own or I blacked out. Many times I woke up in unusual places and couldn’t remember what the hell happened. Huckleberry Everclear was my absolute favorite drink, because it was so sweet and I got drunk quickly. I ran into an old friend on the street one day and, if it wasn’t for her introducing me to A.A., I would still be out there drinking and possibly doing drugs again. I went to every meeting I could possibly go to. I listened to everyone’s stories of strength, hope and inspiration. I walked out of every meeting

January 2014 | | Page 31

called. I met some of the most wonderful people there. They shined so bright every time I looked at them. I also found out that many of the Buddhists I met also had drug, alcohol and abuse problems. I always heard stories of relapse in the recovery rooms, but never had I heard from a Buddhist. Now, I know what real peace can be.

I received my Gohonzon on August 5, 2012, and I have never been happier. I have started my Buddhist studies to further my knowledge, so that I may help others in need. The universe is there for me and anyone else who needs extra energy for life. This might be what you need to help yourself be happier. “I just want to be like everyone else” means: - I wanted to be like my mother and her friends—always laughing and having the time of their lives.

- I wanted to be like the clean and sober people—the ones I met in the recovery rooms. - I wanted the same peace in my life that my mentor and the entire Buddhist community that I met had.

Now that I have been like everybody else, I can now be the real me and the best me I could ever be. I have so much love and compassion in my heart and soul; I want to share it with the world. Please explore all the options of recovery. It is out there for everyone who needs it. Don’t let anyone tell you what to do or it has to be a certain way. All they can do is inform you of options and make suggestions. It is your recovery and your program; work it the best way you can so that you live to be successful. All hope is not lost when you want a better life for you and your loved ones. Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo

Page 32 | | March 2014

March 2014 | | Page 33

BEFORE YOU SAY “I DO” Same-sex marriage is now legal in seventeen U.S states and the District of Columbia— California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. As our fight for marriage equality continues, it behooves us to educate ourselves on the myriad benefits that are now afforded us as a result of these rulings.

By J’son M. Lee In the last edition of Proud Times, we spoke with Mark Williams and Edwin Greer, a same-sex couple who were recently married in the District of Columbia. Williams and Greer were very candid about their courtship and subsequent marriage, and offered great advice to those considering tying the knot. We also touched on the history of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which allows states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages granted under the laws of other states. The United States Supreme Court (U.S. v. Windsor) ruled that Section 3 of DOMA, which defined marriage as a “union between one man and one woman,” was unconstitutional.

Page 34 | | January 2014

Jeffrey J. Kash, Esq. and Kimberly Fedrigon, Esq., of Kash & Fedrigon Attorneys At Law, are two attorneys at the forefront of this complicated issue. I had the distinct pleasure of chatting with Jeff and Kim in hopes of better understanding the law as it relates to same-sex marriage. Mr. Kash/Ms. Fedrigon, thank you for taking the time to sit down and chat with Proud Times. Tell us a little about your law firm. JK: We are a three lawyer firm located in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Kim and I, along with our associate, attorney Brandie

January 2014 | | Page 35

Belanger, primarily practice family law, representing clients in divorce, child custody and child support matters. Marriage, albeit not a new construct, is new to same-same couples. Are there basic things people should know before making such a commitment? What types of things should they expect after saying “I do”? JK: The first thing to recognize is that many marriages unfortunately end in divorce. So, while we do not recommend pessimism, we do recommend planning for the worst. Another thing to recognize is that marriage is an economic relationship. It is important to understand the economic roles each spouse will play, whether it is the stay-at-home parent or the wage earner, and to plan accordingly. Under Pennsylvania law, married persons are responsible to support each other financially in accordance with their respective abilities. This means that once you marry someone, you must be prepared to be financially responsible for that person. For people who come into marriage with their long-term domestic partners, they should decide whether they want to change anything about how they own property or take care of the economics of the household. For example, if they already own real estate as joint tenants with right of survivorship, they may want to change the ownership of that real estate to that of a married couple. Even if you come into a marriage with little by way of assets or history, being married does change legal status. Again, subject to the specific laws in your state, marriage offers the opportunity for taking title to real estate in a manner which could offer protection from creditors (only married persons can take title to real estate as “tenants by the entireties” which offers creditor protection as well as

Page 36 | | January 2014

automatic transfer to the survivor upon death). We are not accountants, but the options for tax filing change as do the rules for the taxation of transfers of property. The right to claim social security benefits and other federal benefits change upon marriage. Inheritance and estate tax consequences will change with marriage as well. Let’s go back to where this all began. The challenge to DOMA was brought by Edith Windsor, who was married to Thea Spyer in Canada in 2007 and lived in New York (where their marriage was recognized). When Spyer died in 2009, the feds forced Windsor to pay $363,000 in taxes on her late wife’s estate. If federal law had recognized the validity of their marriage, Windsor would have qualified for an unlimited spousal deduction and paid no federal estate taxes. Can you shed more light on this landmark case? JK: Windsor filed in federal court seeking a refund of the taxes she paid. In doing so, she challenged DOMA as unconstitutional. The Department of Justice elected not to defend section 3 of DOMA which defined marriage, but the IRS would not grant the refund. Both the federal district court and the appeals court ordered the US to pay the refund. The matter ended up before the United States Supreme Court. In a 5 to 4 decision, the Court decided that section 3 of DOMA was unconstitutional. Justice Kennedy wrote for the majority. He reasoned that since New York protected same-sex marriages, DOMA injured the same class of people that New York had decided to protect. Therefore, DOMA interfered with the equal protection of married same-sex couples because it created a situation where certain state-sanctioned marriages were legal under state law and federal law, whereas other state-

January 2014 | | Page 37

agreements. Explain to us what a prenuptial agreement is. Also, is a prenuptial agreement appropriate only in situations where there is a disparity of wealth, or should all marrying couples have one in place? JK: The first thing that should be considered before you say “I do” is whether you need a prenuptial agreement. This is not so much about wealth, but about preserving or protecting premarital assets and/or making provision for the financially dependent spouse. It is important to contemplate your finances going into marriage, how you plan to share your finances during the marriage, and plan carefully. You don’t have to be wealthy to want to protect your assets. If all you own the day you get married is a modest home or a small retirement account, you still may want to protect that asset in the event of a divorce. sanctioned marriages were legal under state law, but not under federal law. This distinction deprived certain families of federal rights and benefits, resulting in deprivations of interests protected by the Fifth Amendment. The Court ruled only on section 3 of DOMA. The decision did not affect section 2 which exempts states from recognizing same-sex marriages performed under laws of other states and from extending full faith and credit to other states’ judgments involving samesex marriages. As a result, there is likely to be more litigation regarding DOMA. Here in Pennsylvania, there is a challenge to the state’s version of DOMA. The PA attorney general has decided not to defend the PA law based on the decision in Windsor. The Governor, however, is still planning to defend. Windsor’s situation leads me to my next question. Oftentimes we hear of people who are well-off entering into prenuptial

Page 38 | | January 2014

Prenuptial agreements are particularly important when one or both partners come into the marriage with separate assets or prior families. Depending upon the laws in your state, marital property begins to accrue on the date of marriage. So, increases in premarital assets become subject to division in divorce (think about your premarital stock portfolio going up). In addition, your spouse gets to make a claim against your estate (which needs to be considered if you have children from a prior relationship whose financial interests you want to protect). Prenuptial agreements are entered before the marriage. These agreements (make sure to check the laws in your own state) are enforceable contracts where the parties can agree in advance what will happen in the event of divorce or in the event of death. Prenups can cover property distribution, support and alimony issues, as well as estate issues, and can be customized to meet the needs of the

Can you briefly talk to us about wills and the need to have them updated upon marriage? JK: Again, subject to the laws of a specific state, if a person dies without a will, the state law dictates where his or her property goes. Typically, if the couple is married, the surviving spouse would receive all or a large part of the estate (depending upon whether there are children of the deceased, if they are minors, and if they are whole or half or step-children). Consequently, while it is imperative to have a will if you want to leave property to your partner and you are not married, once you are married, whether you need a will depends on your particular circumstances.

people involved. Each state may have its own laws regarding what is required to make a valid and binding prenup. We know a number of same-sex couples who have been together for years and own assets together. If they remain unmarried, their assets are subject to division based upon how they are owned, and they owe no legal duty to support each other. However, if they marry, the rules for dividing their property may change. For example, Pennsylvania is an equitable distribution state (property is not necessarily divided 50/50), and the duty of support could kick in. A prenuptial agreement would address these issues in advance. In addition, considering the kind of problems we see with heterosexual marriages—one spouse works so the other can go to medical school and, as soon as the ink is dry on the MD, the doctor dumps the working spouse. Or, one spouse forgoes a career to raise the children and then, when that spouse is too old to enter the work force, the employed spouse leaves. Prenups could be used to protect the financially less well-off spouse.

In addition to marital status, the way property is titled will affect the need to make a will. Property that is jointly owned with right of survivorship or is owned by a married couple as tenants by the entireties will transfer directly to the survivor at death and so a will would not be necessary to transfer assets such as these. If you have already made a will and then get married, the need to change the will would depend on a number of circumstances. If you have a will and it names your spouse as a beneficiary already and makes provision for anyone else important to you, you probably would not need to make a change. If all of your property is jointly owned with rights of survivorship and/or all of your beneficiary designations are in place, you might not need a will at all. In order to help you make a decision about your will or other estate planning documents, you should look carefully at what you own, how it is titled, who would get it upon your death if you don’t have a will, and whether you want someone else to receive property upon your death.

January 2014 | | Page 39

How does marriage impact ownership of property? Is it different from state to state?

to the ownership interest (two owners each get half).

JK: When it comes to real estate, there are three ways to own property which I believe are uniform from state to state: tenants in common, joint tenants with right of survivorship (jtwros), and tenants by the entireties.

Jtwros is different from tenants in common in that upon death the survivor receives the whole property. Tenants by the entireties provides for the survivorship and protection from creditors (something not available with the other two). It is available only to married couples. As you can see, marriage does impact ownership.

Tenants in common is co-ownership with each party owning his/her own share. Upon death the survivor keeps his/her share and the decedent’s share goes through his/her estate. Upon a separation, the shares are divided according

Page 40 | | January 2014

It is important to know that the title to real estate does not change automatically. If you want to change the ownership from in common

or jtwros to entireties, you need to have a new deed signed and recorded. No one ever wants to think about their marriage dissolving, but what things should people consider when confronted with divorce? JK: I’ve been practicing divorce law since 1988, and have developed a philosophy that I hope my clients appreciate. Divorce is not a war. No one wins or loses. But there is grief and every one processes that differently. However, when the emotion is stripped away, it comes down to business decisions. What is there to divide? How do we divide it? What will it cost? Is the cost worth what I might get? At the same time, spouses—especially financially dependent spouses—should have separate funds and separate credit and access to all of the important documents (tax returns, 401k statements, etc.). Both parties should take responsibility for the finances of the marriage throughout the good and bad times, so no one is caught unaware in the event of a divorce. Don’t fight your divorce over social media. Avoid Facebook, etc. And if you can’t, confirm your security settings and password-protect everything. Finally, living well is the best revenge. Say one of the partners dies during the marriage. What are the rights of the surviving partner? JK: If the partners are not married, the rights of the survivor are dictated solely by the contents

of the will, beneficiary designation, and the way property is owned. If there is no will, intestacy laws do not provide for unmarried partners to receive anything upon death. If property is titled jointly it must have a right of survivorship in order for the surviving partner to receive the whole thing upon death (as opposed to just his/ her own half). Marriage would change much of this—again, depending upon the laws of the given state. Ms. Fedrigon, I have one final question. I am originally from North Carolina. You attended North Carolina Central University-School of Law and I attended UNC-Chapel Hill. I always try to keep an eye on what’s going on in my home state. Do you think North Carolina will ever join the ranks of those states that recognize same-sex marriage? KF: Inasmuch as in 2012 North Carolina voters passed a constitutional amendment defining marriage as solely between a man and a woman, it seems like change will be a long time in coming. Apparently, North Carolina law banned gay marriage before they passed the amendment. So, the amendment really speaks to the opposition in the state. Interestingly, I believe some of the opponents of gay marriage are happy with the Windsor decision since it supports states’ rights and that means to them that North Carolina is free to define marriage as between a man and a woman only. NOTE: This article is intended as general legal information only. It is not a substitute for consultations with a competent lawyer and/or a competent financial planner or accountant. Jeffrey J. Kash, Esq. is a 1983 graduate of Penn State University and a 1988 graduate of Vermont Law School. Jeff began practicing

January 2014 | | Page 41

law in 1988 as an associate in the firm of H. Alan Vican. During his years with Al Vican, he represented clients in a wide range of legal matters, including federal RICO cases, personal injury cases, estate planning and administration, family law matters, and criminal defense. In August 1991, Jeff opened his own firm in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. The firm started, as so many new firms do, in the general practice of law, providing the full range of legal services for private clients as well as businesses and property owners associations in Monroe County and the surrounding areas in Northeastern Pennsylvania. After years of successfully practicing the many areas of law involved in a generalized practice, Jeff began concentrating his practice in the area of family law, representing clients in divorce, support, child custody and adoptions in Monroe County, PA. Kimberly Fedrigon, Esq. is a 1990 graduate of Luzerne County Community College with a degree in Paralegal studies. Kim worked as a paralegal with the law office of James and Mihalik, Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania from

Page 42 | | March 2014

1990 to 1992. She is a 1996 graduate of Bloomsburg University with a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics education, graduating with an honors thesis on chaos and fractal theory. She taught mathematics in Maui, Hawaii until returning east in 1997. Prior to attending law school, she worked as a support paralegal to the office of Regional Counsel for Veterans Affairs in North Carolina, defending employment discrimination claims filed against the facility. Kim attended law school at North Carolina Central University School of Law graduating in 2002 with honors. Kim’s initial focus in her law practice was in the area of employment discrimination. Kim joined Jeff’s office in 2004 and since that time has concentrated on family law areas including divorce, custody, support, adoption, dependency and juvenile delinquency. For more information about Kash & Fedrigon Attorneys at Law, please visit their website at

March 2014 | | Page 43

By Mick Sandoval

Out rocker Aris (pronounced like Paris, but without the “P”) grew up in Brooklyn, the product of a belly-dancing mother and a Greek immigrant father. Music played in his home all the time—mostly doowop and Motown, his mother’s favorites. She particularly loved Elvis and through him, introduced her son to rock & roll. In his teenage years, Aris began to explore the genre more deeply, listening to rock radio for endless hours.

Page 44 | | March 2014

March 2014 | | Page 45

He gravitated toward singer-songwriters that bared their souls in their work—artists like Chris Cornell, Paula Cole, Joan Osborne, Poe, and Nikka Costa. Kurt Cobain was especially significant. To young Aris, Cobain exemplified the duality of rock. “I love how soft and hard rock can be”, he says. “It’s powerful and vulnerable at the same time.” Aris hopes fans will feel he has captured that duality on his own album, Twilight Revival, hitting stores this month. It was inspired by the tragic death of his mother in Hurricane Sandy. Many of the songs read like entries from his journal, reflecting his personal journey toward healing. But there is celebration in the album too, recounting a mother who accepted her son’s homosexuality and allowed her young boy to play with make-up and wigs. The album’s title track is about music’s power to lift people out of dark times and reignite the fire in their hearts. Two variations, a rock and an EDM version, are releasing simultaneously. Both comprise the artist’s gritty vocals and minor key refrains, and both exude the drive-for-life passion Aris has found through his loss.

Page 46 | | March 2014

How has the album helped your healing process? Writing and recording Twilight Revival has been my saving grace. I had been gathering ideas for the album for several years, but things took on a new dimension after the passing of my mother in Hurricane Sandy. I found great comfort while in the studio recording it. There are several songs that my mother loved, such as “Pray for Change”, a song about the state of the world and yearning to lend a helping hand to make it better. My mom appears in the video, shot just a few weeks before her passing. “Twilight”, the first release from the album, actually sounds pretty celebratory. Was that intentional? It was definitely intentional. The song’s about not wanting the night to end and living in the moment. I had been through a series of difficult events that left me feeling mentally, spiritually

March 2014 | | Page 47

and physically exhausted. It felt like a really long, dark winter. I had to remind myself that winter soon turns to spring. The EDM version is a new sound for you. Are you branching out from rock? Believe it or not, I was once a club kid and even worked in dance clubs doing event production. Though I’m a rocker at heart, dance is in my blood. I love experimenting and blending genres, so it felt like a very natural progression for me. There is still a spirit of rock in the vocal approach and the guitars. How did you get involved in the rock scene? Thanks to my mother’s record collection, I grew up around a lot of rock music. In the eighties, it was Blondie and U2. In the nineties, I loved Nirvana, Soundgarden and Bush. As a rocker, did you find it difficult to connect with a disco-loving LGBT community? Sometimes. People aren’t so sure what to think of me. I’ve had long hair and a beard for a long time, before it was trendy. But times are changing. There is more of an understanding of sexuality and the different types of men who make up the gay community. We’re a diverse tapestry of personalities and tastes. Emotionally, where are you at today? I’m still grieving the loss of my mother, but I’m also celebrating her legacy of love. I’m living in the now, in a state of gratitude and taking in each breath with passion and purpose. Would you be open to dating? It’s taken a while—but yes, I’m ready now. The

Page 48 | | March 2014

biggest thing that’s happened for me is learning what it really means to love myself. What do you look for in a guy? I find intelligence very sexy. A great sense of humor is so important. I’m attracted to compassionate, kind hearts. I’m also a sucker for blue eyes and well trimmed beards. Is spirituality important? Yes, but not mandatory. I find it very attractive when someone cares deeply about something greater than themselves, but I think an open mind is more important. You don’t have to agree with what I believe in, as long as you respect my right to believe it. What’s next? I’m preparing to shoot the videos for my next two singles. I’m also launching an initiative called “Operation Inspire” in April, which will gather creative minds to influence, affect and shape the world for the better. Aris’ album Twilight Revival and single, “Twilight”, are available now on iTunes and other online music retailers.


Ask about our Paid-Referrals Program!

When Renters Need Co-Signers Tenants may now purchase our property lease co-signature online at With our guarantee, provided at no cost to the landlord, getting a tenant approved to lease your apartment, condo, or house has never been easier. Should your tenant default, the LeaseLock® Guarantee assures that we will continue to make monthly rent payments until the end of the lease or until the unit is re-rented. (Details on reverse) LeaseLock® gives tenants who are building their credit a chance to lease the apartment they really want while helping landlords rent their units with the confidence of knowing that rent payments are guaranteed. LeaseLock®’s founders are experienced in the industries of real estate, insurance, building management, and technical/on-line operations.


(323) 645-7710

March 2014 | | Page 49

Catch up on the story by reading the chapters in the previous issues! Jasper Hardy would have crawled into a hole with Gollum if he’d been privy to the follicle by follicle analysis of his thin-haired blondness. “It’s meth hair. And he shouldn’t have that stupid mustache,” Rolie offered. “You can’t even see it.” “You don’t taste the mushrooms, they told me. So, I said why put them on the pizza?” Candle was almost participating in a way people could relate to. “I think it’s all nicely decorative,” Patrice offered. “It’s scraggy in just the right places.”

by Miki and Lilly. Skuff found some time in between furnace fixin’s to try to put out the flames in his nascent social life. He had to admit he was peeved at Jasp for putting him in this position—the “I don’t like your friends” position. It wasn’t even that. It was the “I don’t like your friends’ dogs” position. Understandably so— these dogs bit. Skuff knocked at the door; six eyes gaped at him as if they’d accidentally summoned him via séance. Truth was, Skuff could have broken Rolie in three and stuffed him into a furnace filter

“What do you know about it?” Rolie accused her. “I’m bi, remember?” Patrice got eerily dreamy. “Everything about Jasper is sex; you just have to let it wash over you.” “Everything but his face,” Rolie countered. “Skuff likes him. I think you do, too.” “I’m tired of them being here.” “We acknowledge your weariness,” Candle said. “And are weary of it.” As ze spoke on the hour, the cuckoo clock happily agreed. -----------------------------------Jasp was tired of it, too—which is why he unilaterally announced he wasn’t going over to Miki and Lilly’s place to visit anymore. This took a ratchet to Skuff’s social life, small as it was in the gay world. He liked the place, even though Rolie’s angst and Patrice’s depression often overtook the warmth and peace radiated

January 2014 | | Page 51

without generating too much sweat. Their eyes met, and the message was conveyed. “This is bizarrely fortuitous,” said Patrice. “You can settle an argument for us.” “Yeah,” Skuff exhaled. He hadn’t been this nervous since he told his wife he was gay. Ever since then, everything meant too much. “How hot do you think Jasp is?” Patrice asked. She had nothing to lose. So she thought. “Like a bare wire falling into a pool of water. Sizzlllle.” Skuff’s tongue poked out gracefully. “If you want the Aloha Queen, she’s upstairs,” Rolie yapped. No she wasn’t—Miki was at that moment

Page 52 | | January 2014

coming down to provide a more proper greeting. She could read Skuff’s face. She read it well enough the first time he came over to realize he needed her. This page of it said that he felt threatened. She invited him upstairs—there always seemed to be a part of this old house he hadn’t yet seen. Maybe he should have called first? He’d stupidly thought the dogs would be out roaming. “Rolie is making it really hard to come here,” he said quietly and evenly. “And Jasper doesn’t want to. He says the kids creep him out. You’ve been so good to me. I don’t know what to do.” Miki, in an oversized floral housecoat, thought it over. “I do.”

January 2014 | | Page 53

“Oh,” said a surprised repairman. “That makes it easy.” “I know a little about what happened with Irv’s,” she said. “You never quite made it there. I’ve tried to provide a safe haven for everyone, but the people I make it safe for aren’t making it safe for anyone else.” “Jasper is all about safe. If I can’t keep him safe, I’ll lose him.” “You love him,” Miki said. It was the first time he’d heard that concept out loud. “I changed my whole life for him.” Miki thought for awhile. She and Lilly had discussed a course of action that was a concept she wasn’t used to hearing out loud. “I changed my whole life for them,” she said. “For everyone. I changed my life for Lilly by moving to Spokane. Now I have to change my life for me.” Skuff went to his next appointment. He smiled at the trio in the front room and clasped his big hands together. “Gotta get home to that hot ’stache,” he stoked on the way out. “You’re only railing on it because you can’t have it,” Patrice bounced to Rolie. “You’ve got jealousy etched into your face like a drainage ditch.” “Shut it!” he seethed. “I can’t stand living here.” Outside, Skuff blew out a visible breath of relief. After that heat, winter felt good. Miki gathered Lilly from another room and answered Rolie’s complaint. “Then you don’t have to anymore,” she said. A little afraid, but it was her house, and more than that, her

Page 54 | | January 2014

LGBTQQIAA community. As Skuff drove to his next appointment wondering what exactly he had catalyzed, Miki and Lilly were kicked into exercising some too-tough love. “We have provided many people in the community a chance to find themselves, grow, and move on,” Miki explained. “But everyone else who’s stayed here has, actually, grown and moved on. You three are showing signs of doing neither. So, I’m going to have to force it.” “And,” added Lilly, “we’ve waited 30 years to become newlyweds. So, we want to be able to moan and scream in ecstasy without disturbing anyone.” “Eeeww?” said Patrice, busily reading about some heroine’s throes of orgasm in her steamy romance novel. “That’s why we’re giving you all 30 days to find another place to live. We will support you and love you always. But you’re stagnating here, and it does none of us any good.” “This is all because of Skuff,” Rolie said. “It’s because of all of you,” Miki insisted. “Spokane has become precipitously small,” Candle proclaimed with more force than anyone had ever heard from hir before. “I don’t have a place to go,” said Patrice. “Rolie can find a drag queen who needs a roommate. Bitter, party of 35.” She then, as usual, launched into a scathing condemnation of the state of Idaho. “Get a job, get a place,” commanded Mikilana Kalani. “The only way we can get on with our lives is if you get on with yours.”

Mouths opened to spew and lament, but the house-coated ladies weren’t having it. “I would spend your time planning rather than arguing,” Lilly suggested. Skuff and Jasp sat on the mechanic’s garage floor, quietly holding hands next to an old oily Mustang. Skuff’s dark eyes took in Jasp’s astronomy… thin hair over a high forehead, blond lashes framing grey eyes, his jagged face, repaired jawline, mustache randomly falling over a red lip like ivy in a rock garden, thin rough-hewn fingers… and mostly, a heart

of golden tears. “Jasper,” Skuff half whispered, half growled. “I love you, boy.” “I love you too, sir.” “I don’t really mean boy.” “I don’t really mean sir.” “But boy, I do love you.”

January 2014 | | Page 55

RESOURCES LGBT Non-profit Organizations

Inland Northwest Business Alliance (INBA) 9 S. Washington, Ste. 618 Spokane WA 99201

Imperial Sovereign Court of Spokane (ISCS) P.O. Box 65 
Spokane WA 99210-0065

 9414-A E. 1ST AVE.
 SPOKANE VALLEY WA 99206 (509) 326-6847


Page 56 | | January 2014


Blue Mountain Heart to Heart

P.O. BOX 883
 SPOKANE WA 99201-0883

1520 Kelly Place, Suite 120 Walla Walla, WA 99362 509-529-4744

 P.O. BOX 2194
SPOKANE WA 99210 509/481-0402

P.O. BOX 10292
SPOKANE WA 99209 509/593-0191

North Idaho Aids Coalition


2201 N Government Way, Coeur d’Alene, ID Phone # (208) 665-1448 Toll Free#: (866)609-1774

January 2014 | | Page 57








Page 58 | | January 2014


PLACES OF WORSHIP Bethany Presbyterian Church 2607 S. Ray St Spokane WA 99223 509/534-0066


St. Clare Ecumenical Catholic Community SPOKANE WA 99224


Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane

PO BOX 647204 CUB 401 PULLMAN, WA 99164-7204 509/335-8841

4340 W. Fort Wright Drive Spokane WA 99224 509/325-6383

January 2014 | | Page 59

Westminster UCC


411 S. Washington Ave. Spokane WA 99204 509/624-1366

Christine Wilson, LMHC

Veradale United Church of Christ

417 N. Maple St. Colville WA 99114 509/690-0715

Juliann Haffey, LMHC, MA 325 S. University Ave. Spokane WA 99206 509-534-9380

611 North Progress Road Spokane Valley,WA 99037 509/926-7173

Kate Robbins


Page 60 | | March 2014


DOCTORS/HRT PRESCRIBERS Dr. Cathcart (Endocrinology) Northside Internal Medicine 6120 N. Mayfair St., #101 Spokane WA 99208 509/489-7483

Dr. Will Corell (General Practitioner) Integrative Medicine Associates 3424 S. Grand Blvd. Spokane WA 99203 509/838-5800 800/491-0017

Family Medicine Spokane Dr. Lilly J Wittich MD Dr. Rachel Wright D.O. (General Practitioner) 104 W. 5th Ave., Suite 200W Spokane WA 99204 509/624-2313 website (temporarily unavailable)

Jeffry Hartman MD (Endocrinology) 104 W. 5th Ave., #140W Spokane WA 99204 509/747-2147

UROLOGIST ROBERT J. GOLDEN MD 12615 E. Mission Ave., #303 Spokane Valley WA 99216-1047 509/921-0099

GP/GYNO CARE Dr. William Roth (pronounced “Rooth”) Roth Medical Center 220 E. Rowan Ave., #200 Spokane WA 99207 509/483-4403

South Hill Family Medical Wendy Smith ARNP, MN 3010 S. Southeast Blvd., Ste. A Spokane WA 99223 509/533-1000

HAIR REMOVAL Dianne at Mirage Spa and Salon (Electrologist) 9421 N. Division St. Spokane WA 99218 509/325-5254

March 2014 | | Page 61

Elain Cain (Electrologist) 18123 E. Appleway Ave. Green Acres WA 99016


Inland Empire Dermatology

Dr. Antonio Mangubat (Breast Augmentation and Chest Reconstruction)

312 N. Mullan Rd. Spokane Valley WA 99206 509/921-7884

16400 Southcenter Parkway, #101 Tukwila WA 98188 206/575-0300

Louisville Laser 6011 N. Division St. Spokane WA 99208 509/482-0655

VOICE THERAPY Lynette Norton 4407 N. Division St. Spokane WA 99207 509/279-2555

Dr. Tuan Nguyen (Breast augmentation, Chest reconstruction, and MtF SRS) Lake Oswego Plastic Surgery 15820 Quarry Rd Lake Oswego OR 97035 503/635-1955



Strochecker’s Pharmacy Tyler Treharne, Pharm. D. 2855-A SW Patton Rd. Portland OR 97201 503/222-4822

Page 62 | | March 2014

GENERAL INFORMATION Driver’s license gender marker change

District Court name change petition and instructions

March 2014 | | Page 63

Page 64 | | March 2014

"Proud Times" ~ Issue #6 ~ March 2014  

"Proud Times" ~ Issue #6 ~ March 2014