I want to thank you all for being a part of Gay Visalia this past year. We’ve had some ups and downs in our struggles of inequalities but we’ve ridden the roller coaster together. I hope 2013 is the year we see FULL equality and protections under our nation’s laws. I hope we see fewer hate crimes, but if we see any, then more harsh/swifter punishment for the accused. I hope we can see far less suicides of people who feel hopeless, lost and alone. Let’s give them reasons to believe in their importance and help change the reasons they feel less than. I challenged you a few days ago to make a resolution for the New Year that doesn’t change your life but changes someone else’s instead. I want to hold you to that. Volunteer with the Trevor Project or join the Visalia Pride Lions Club. You can always join me in creating LGBT events, providing news, or writing articles. Let me know what you want to see in our area for our community and help make it happen. If you can’t donate your time, you can always donate money to us and/or many of our local groups so we can continue our service. This resolution doesn’t have to be difficult, helping out and contributing to your community is simple. It can even be as easy as speaking out on behalf of the inequalities we face as being LGBT+. How easy is it to refer someone to our great PFLAG of Tulare-Kings Counties monthly meetings? Spend your money at a gay business or those who are supportive and friendly. There are countless ways you can contribute. If you’re stuck….just ask me and we can figure it out together. A community is only as strong as its members and I know how strong most of you are. This area has really grown in what it has to offer the gay community. I’m very proud of its growth over the past few years. We are on the right path and the path is getting easier but we still have a long way to go and many mountains ahead to climb. But together, we really can make a difference in our community. Again, thank you all for your continued support; whether it is financially, volunteering, attending, etc. It all means a great deal and I couldn’t do it without you, nor would I want to. May you all have a spectacular 2013 filled with happiness, kindness and self love!
In closing, I wanted to share a great poem that, written over 160 years ago, still holds the same hopes in the present: A kinder man, a softer society, more just laws for all and the possibility to start anew…
Ring Out, Wild Bells
by Lord Alfred Tennyson
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.
Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.
Ring out the want, the care the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.
Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.
Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.
Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the compassion that is to be.
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!