07.12.18 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
Comments: 0

I’m not a very religious person. Actually, I’m not religious in the traditional sense at all. Organized religion and I have not seen eye to eye for some time. That’s not a secret to those who know me well, but sometimes I find it harder to admit that to people than to say that I am a gay man.

In a previous article of mine, I described in detail a story of how I felt manipulated by “the church,” which was the beginning of the end for me. I then attended a very religious college, which to a young and outspoken liberal just seemed like a propaganda machine and torture device.

However, life took a turn for me when I turned 40, a hard turn with no blinker. That’s the year I discovered I am an alcoholic and the year I began to slowly open up spiritually. Programs designed to help alcoholics are riddled in religious verbiage. It’s really a turn off for people like me. Luckily, I was able to find a group of people who not only thought like me, but who had years of experience and could guide me through the principles that could help by opening up spiritually, not religiously.

The principle I found the most helpful: The Serenity Prayer. “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.” The first time this was presented to me I rolled my eyes. But then it was explained to me that believers say God because they are talking directly to God; some alcoholics use God as an acronym for Group of Drunks because they are looking to their peers for strength; and non-believers will change God to “good” as if speaking to the power of all that is good. That was something I could get behind. Whether speaking to God, friends or good, we are all just trying to do what is right. That’s the place where the religious meets the spiritual and the agnostic. As long as we are all working for the power of good, then we are all alright by me.

The Serenity Prayer is what gets me through the day. We live in a time when families are torn apart at our borders, our allies are being bashed by our leadership and the Axis of Evil is readying our seat at the table. The latest hit, the Supreme Court looks to swing conservative and potentially change the course of social issues.

As a community we could sit back and play the blame game. We can yell at Bernie supporters and Jill Stein voters. We can blame Hillary’s email server or Jim Comey. We can sit in an endless pit of What Ifs. What if Trump ran against Bernie? Would it have mattered? What if marriage equality is reversed? What if being gay is made illegal? What if all media is shut down except state-run news? What if Trump appoints himself as a lifetime president?

We should all have the wisdom to know that we can’t change the past. We should all have the wisdom to know that we can’t do good by dwelling on a “what if.” More importantly, we should all have the courage to change what we can. We can change the course of the political climate. We can have the courage to knock on doors and to make phone calls for brave leaders emerging in our local and state governments.

We can’t just sit back and complain on Facebook and write articles and expect the world will change for us. We need to have the courage to do it ourselves. We need to vote. We need to make good happen. Maybe then we will all be able to sit down with our spiritual creator or savior and have a drink. Although, don’t touch my water, Jesus. I’m not allowed to have wine.

In this issue we talk about the courageous leaders in Jacksonville who are shedding light on a series of murders targeting the transgender community. In Tampa Bay, we check in on the increase in HRT at Metro Wellness and introduce you to the mother of a transgender child. In Central Florida, sheds light on a new LGBTQ Asian group and highlights the need for participation in three local elections. Our Arts & Entertainment section spotlights the latest touring show of Cirque Du Soleil and a local Tampa Bay author’s book “One Hundred Little Men.”

We strive to bring you a variety of stories, your stories. I hope you enjoy this latest issue.

Share this story: