Love is love and humans deserve equal rights. These are facts many believe, but aren't always upheld and reflected by law. Here are the countries that deserve a big internet high-five for leading the charge in LGBT rights, creating a safe and inclusive culture. Spain also hosts one of the largest Pride parades in the world in Madrid every year that attracts a whopping 1. This European nation legalised same-sex relations back in and have continued supporting it ever since, allowing same-sex marriage in , as well as letting their citizens change their gender on all legal documents.
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I have gotten permission to attend, despite being straight, on the condition that I participate in the proceedings, photograph only the altar, and respect the privacy of the group members.
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Nigel Farage has defended the Brexit party MEP Ann Widdecombe , after she suggested science might one day produce an answer to being gay. Widdecombe was widely criticised after she appeared to endorse gay conversion therapy in an interview over the weekend.
Farage said he was hoping to meet Donald Trump at some point during his state visit to the UK. It will be attended by the Queen and Prince Charles. The president will then attend a private lunch at the palace, which is expected to be attended by Prince Harry, but not his wife, who Trump recently described as 'nasty'. The Queen, Prince Charles and Prince Harry will then host a state banquet in the evening, which will be attended by prominent US citizens who live in the UK, as well as political and civic leaders.
On Tuesday 4 June the visit includes a breakfast meeting with Prince Andrew, and then talks and a press conference with prime minister Theresa May at Downing Street. On the Tuesday evening Trump hosts a dinner at the residence of the US ambassador.
On Wednesday 5 June Trump will take part in commemoration services in Portsmouth to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings. The day ends with the Queen formally bidding farewell to the US president. He gave a speech that said all the right things. And he warned Boris Johnson that he would be punished in the polls if he were elected as Conservative leader and then reneged on his promise to leave the EU with or without a deal on 31 October.
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Gay loneliness is real but toxic gay cultures isn’t the problem.
I have gotten permission to attend, despite being straight, on the condition that I participate in the proceedings, photograph only the altar, and respect the privacy of the group members. As someone who has dabbled in mysticism and spiritual practices over the years, having attended Native American sweat lodges, meditated in noble silence for ten days, read Carlos Castaneda and tried out a few consciousness-expanding substances, I am no stranger to shamans, or medicine men, and their healing powers.
In the center stands a hawk totem, around which Madson is gradually laying sacred objects upon a cotton cloth emblazoned with stars, things you might expect in such a Native American ceremony — a candle, a stone, a seashell with water in it, rattles, molted egret feathers, sage, a buffalo bone, a serpent coiled around a stick — arranged according to the four cardinal points.
Then he adds several packs of Crayola magic markers and crayons, staplers and a stack of paper. Shortly before starting, one of the original members of the group, which was formed about fifteen years ago by a few enthusiasts as an invitation-only circle, sits me down for a pre-journey orientation.
In those worlds, we find allies and knowledge which help us heal ourselves, others, our community, and ultimately, the world. Toward that end, we commence with a dozen of us standing in a circle around the altar shaking rattles during a brief invocation ceremony, a Native American tradition to call in the energies of the cardinal directions, such as Father Sky, Mother Earth, great mystery, and gay erotic spirits, Madson later explains.
Then it is time for the first journey of the day. To signal the start, he and two other members each pick up a large frame drum and begin beating them with padded drumsticks in a steady brisk tempo.
The drum is a vehicle for the shaman to bring about a trance state, by slowing down brain waves. As the drums pound in sync, resonating in my chest, I close my eyes, look inward, and find something that feels true. After five minutes, we are ready for the second journey. For this, we are to witness the harm that we have done to others or ourselves. Once again, the drums kick in, and I note down a victim on the second piece of paper.
Everyone walks up to the altar to put a staple in their dolls. Then Madson asks if anyone has something to share. The next one involves taking a series of actual physical steps that correspond to elements of the prior journeying. First, we take one step backward into the natural unharmed self as a child, followed by another step back into the self that was harmed.
Um, O. Then we take a third step back and a fourth, arriving at an ancestor who we are to ask for a gift that can help heal the harm dredged up by all the journeying.
Then a few steps forward, winding up at last at the unharmed, innocent self that will receive the gift, which can be applied retroactively so it heals all the harm before it ever came to be. Finally, we set out to destroy our dolls. Since burning them is out of the question, Madson offers a sensible substitute — shredding them. With an Amazon shredder set up by the altar, he demonstrates.
One by one, as the drums pound, each man goes up to the shredder by the altar and ceremoniously delivers his doll to its doom. I and a few others have trouble getting our dolls into the shredder. Several guys are smiling at the struggle with the dolls who put up a fight. Then we do a closing ritual to release the energies called in at the beginning, and the candle is blown out.
Afterwards, eight of us head over to Village Natural on Greenwich Avenue for lunch. He and his husband have been together for 45 years. I tell him I can relate to everything we did, as it seemed to be universal human stuff. He nods, saying ninety-five percent of what they do is indeed universal.
Later, after finishing my Macro Platter, I share my vision of growing like a tree. One member offers that it could have reflected how I felt at that moment, or that I really had overcome that harm. Shamanic journey work has given me the tools to look at them critically in a way that makes sense to my conscious mind.
Daniel Krieger , a contributing editor at Narratively, is a freelance journalist in New York. Lauren Kolesinskas is a freelance illustrator and Pratt graduate based in Brooklyn.
Let the Narratively newsletter be your guide. Love this Narratively story? Sign up for our Newsletter. Send us a story tip. Become a Patron. Follow us. My dad was one of the only people with a good-for-life, go-anywhere American Airlines pass. Then they took it away. This is the true story of having—and losing—a superpower. O n March 10, , a case was filed in the U. Rothstein v. American Airlines, Inc.
For my father, it was a last-ditch effort to save his life. In the early s, American rolled out AAirpass, a prepaid membership program that let very frequent flyers purchase discounted tickets by locking in a certain number of annual miles they presumed they might fly in advance. My something-year-old father, having been a frequent flyer for his entire life, purchased one.
In , amidst a lucrative year as a Bear Stearns stockbroker, my father became one of only a few dozen people on earth to purchase an unlimited, lifetime AAirpass. A quarter of a million dollars gave him access to fly first class anywhere in the world on American for the rest of his life. He flew so much it paid for itself. Other times, I remember calling his office to find out what country he was in.
For several years, the revenues department at American had been monitoring my father and other AAirpass holders to see how much their golden tickets were costing the airline in lost revenue. My father was one of several lifetime, unlimited AAirpass holders American claimed had breached their contracts.
They fought out of court for years. The story became front-page news. The LA Times. The New York Post. Fox News. A slew of online outlets. The obvious story is that my father was a decadent jet-setter who either screwed or got screwed by American; depends on your take. Dad has loved to travel for his entire life.
His father, Josh, was a navigator in the Army Air Corps during World War II, and ran a company that manufactured paper and artificial flowers, traveling worldwide and telling stories about the places he went. Make sure you have your tie on. He wrote his college application on a typewriter at a hotel beach in Hawaii and mailed it from a post office in Osaka, Japan. He flew to Europe several times a year and went to live there after graduating in That December, he joined the wallet business — a company my grandfather had purchased — doing sales.
Transitioning to finance, Dad moved to Chicago in for a stint at Smith Barney, and according to him, became the second highest-grossing stockbroker at Bear Stearns in , where he worked for a decade.
Later, he focused on investment banking, and also became the largest shareholder of the financial corporation Olympic Cascade, the holding company of a brokerage firm, National Securities. Through it all, he continued flying. Airports and airplanes — they were who Dad was. Then, having the cash after a good year at Bear, the investment in an unlimited pass made sense.
In September , five months after my brother, Josh, was born, and three months after we moved from downtown Chicago into the north suburbs, Dad bought his unlimited lifetime AAirpass. My father was 37 years and four days old when he dated the check. Two years later, which was one year before my younger sister, Natalie, was born, he added a companion feature to his AAirpass, allowing him to bring another person along on any flight.
This changed the game, not only for him, but our entire family. My parents decided early on to take separate planes so that in the unlikely event of a crash, at least one of them would be alive for their three children. Officially a customer for life, major U. He knew every employee on his journey — from the curb, through security, to the gate, and onto the plane. None of us has ever met her in person.
But Lorraine was family. Her Southern lilt, a speakerphone staple at the dinner table. While my father befriended dozens and dozens of American employees throughout his tenure as one of their top fliers, and while we knew plenty by name, and vice versa — from skycaps to Admirals Club employees to people who worked at the ticket counter — no one played a role quite like Lorraine.
Lorraine and Dad became fast pals. She says they shared inside jokes — a lot. Dad gifted the miles and upgrades he accumulated throughout his life — both before and during his AAirpass tenure — to dozens and dozens of people over the years.
Once he upgraded my cantor and his wife to first class from Amsterdam. He regularly let relatives and people in crisis come along in his extra seat. He helped get other people where they needed to go. It allowed him to build relationships.
Make connections. Form meaningful bonds. And it allowed other people to access the world like he did. M y friend Phil likes to say my father ran his life like a corporation and raised me in it. His underwear was pressed.