Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving - And, Like Pilgrims In A New Land

Is today Thanksgiving? Already?
We have “jet lag” without having been in a plane! 2,000+ miles in 4 days. And for some reason both Leon and I are both still on Eastern Daylight Saving Time. Those circadian rhythms are out of sync and it is 2 hours earlier here, so we were up at 4am, 6am your time.
We are thankful for having made our trip safely, for having a place to stay and for our family and friends back home and those here as well.
As we set aside our differences on this day to experience a more universal feeling of gratitude, don’t forget to thank that turkey on your table for sacrificing his/her life; for the farmers who raised the food on your table and for the workers who picked, processed, packaged and delivered it to a store near you…and to whoever lovingly cooked it all to perfection. 
Believe it or not, we are expecting snow here in New Mexico tomorrow!
I picked up a cold somewhere, so will probably enjoy just chicken soup for Thanksgiving dinner, though we’ve been invited to friends for a feast.
Benni was a perfect dog all the way out here. He only got excited when we pulled into the hotel parking lot in Santa Fe - as he recognized it from when we were here in January. (He didn’t react at other hotels at all) Who said dogs are not intelligent? We will go to the Frank Ortiz Dog Park later this morning. I’ll try to post on FB and/
or my blog.
Due to delays with our closing in CT (Now scheduled for Dec 4th in our absence) we cannot close on the home in Cochiti Lake until then, so we will be “renting” our new home for 5 or six days (actually cheaper than the hotel room). 
So, that was perhaps more information than you wanted today, so I’ll just end with:
Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Flag-waving, Bible-thumping

I received one of those Flag-waving, bible thumping emails today and this was my response: 
The problem as I see it is that God has been co-opted to serve the prejudices of whoever thinks they have the corner on truth. 
People of dubious faith pick and choose what parts of the bible suit them: they will use passages to condemn gays and lesbians but think it perfectly OK not to feed the hungry or clothe the naked. 
They will complain about being persecuted but ignore the treatment of blacks, Muslims, the handicapped and disabled, the mentally challenged or the disfigured, the homeless, the poor, all of whom their bible in one way or another instructs them to respect, serve and alleviate their suffering. 
They attribute to God their silly notions of using weather to punish a geographical area for some transgression or another but deny the science of climate change. 
They enjoy the privilege of health care while denying affordable health care to the masses.
I'm getting really tired of having so-called "Christianity" shoved in my face. 

And it reminds me of a re-write I did of another post back a couple of years ago. I'll insert the revised edition here:
As Published in Today's American Catholic  April 2013

A Reflection on Easter Past: The Last Station of the Cross 

by Frank DeFrancesco

I write this as one with deep roots in the Catholic tradition, but I have been cut off from the Catholic community for so long now, that I barely speak the language.  I went from Et cum spiritu tuo to being a Catholic in exile and finally to being a man without a church.  

Before I go on, you should know that I struggled, perhaps for too long and needlessly, with my God-given sexuality throughout my childhood, adolescence and young adulthood.  It was a sometimes arduous journey with confessors and penances, and therapists and tears along the way, until I was finally able to accept and fully embrace my gay identity at the age of 36. I knew then I could not sit at a communal table where I was not fully welcome.

Now, when I look at the Catholic Church from my vantage point in the secular world, I experience a brief, but telling, twinge of homesickness in spite of the fact that I notice the broken windows, the crumbling bricks and the old men in funny clothes talking about who they won’t let in.  

But I am well aware of the more mature realizations that I have come to: that I have no Ruby Slippers and I cannot go home; that my home has ceased to exist; and that perhaps that home always was an illusion.  

It sometimes saddens me that I cannot conform, or bring myself to believe any longer in the Catholic myths or mysteries.  In some respect, my life would have been much easier if I had fit the parameters of what is acceptable.  If I could have listened, prayed, communed, participated as, for example, the male head of a neat, little, nuclear, heterosexual family rather than as someone who was condemned, shunned, and ultimately exiled.  

If my authenticity and conscience had remained unchallenged, my life as a Catholic would have been so easy, wouldn’t it?  

But I have moved on, and that is good.  I now rarely see the inside of a church, except for funerals – and that only out of respect for the family of a deceased relative or friend.  I don’t celebrate the religious holydays and am less inclined to celebrate even the secular aspects of religious holidays: I no longer get ashes on Ash Wednesday nor do I weave palm fronds into crosses on Palm Sunday like my father taught me and his father taught him; I no longer fast or abstain out of any religious obligation or sit in a pew moved by the liturgy of Holy Saturday; OK, I confess that I did indulge in a chocolate Easter bunny – but that’s about it.

What Gethsemane has brought me to this place on the hill where I gaze upon a man who is broken and bloody for his message of love?

I could talk about Dignity, a faith community of Gay, Lesbian, Bi and Trans Catholics that I was a part of, where, for a time, I shared a wistful hope and a grounded belief that the Catholic Church might come to a new, brave and enlightened understanding of our lived experience as gay men and women and embrace us in the love of Christ.

I could talk about the Alice-in-Wonderland-Theology that, in its lack of wisdom and logic, would theoretically allow me to sin and to repent repeatedly under a great burden of guilt - but deny me the sacraments if I entered into a committed, loving relationship with another man.   

I could talk about the all too many priests I knew who, using similar illogic had “reasoned away” their commitment to celibacy, and were living in sexual relationships with other men – priests who continued to say Mass and consecrate bread and wine, while representing the Church that condemned me and my sexuality and required me to be celibate, despite my never having taken a vow.
I could talk about how I turned the other cheek, again and again, so that the Church hierarchy - its popes and bishops and priests - but specifically in the person of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI, could slap me harder, and repeatedly, until the final blow, calling me and those like me “objectively disordered”, and having a “more or less strong tendency toward moral evil”.  

Those words were uttered in all seriousness and lacked even a hint of compassion.  After some reflection, and deeply hurt, I finally lost heart and walked away.

But what I really want to talk about is what I call the “New” Catholic Church – the one that has seemingly transformed itself over the past thirty years so that I no longer recognize it.  And they say the Church is slow to change!

It seems this “New” Catholic Church, has abandoned the poor, the marginalized and the victimized, all of whom, like Christ on his walk to Golgotha, have received exceptionally brutal treatment by “believers” of many stripes in recent times.  

It seems this “New” Catholic Church has been disturbingly silent on matters that cry out for love, justice and compassion but has been disturbingly vocal on issues that promote divisiveness, hate and conservative ideologies.  

Where is the voice of the Catholic Church speaking on behalf of the struggling working classes and the poor on whose backs the wealthy thrive like parasites? – a church that had always professed a belief in "an option for the poor".

Where is the voice of the Catholic Church speaking out against the hoarding of obscene wealth by corporations and individuals who hold greed as a virtue? – a church that had always professed a belief in the words of Jesus that it is “harder for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven than for a camel to go through a needle's eye”?

Where is the voice of the Catholic Church on behalf of Mother Earth, condemning the waste, the wanton disregard for the environment and the wanton use of limited resources by the wealthy few while the poor are left to subsist on table scraps? – a church that had always professed to hold creation sacred.

Where is the voice of the Catholic Church on behalf of those who have no option for health care or who cannot afford health care? – a church that had always professed that it is a work of mercy to care for the sick.

Where is the voice of the Catholic Church speaking out against the evangelization of government? – a church that had always professed a belief in the words of Jesus to "render to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's".

Where is the voice of the Catholic Church speaking out against the atrocities perpetrated by pedophile priests?  or speaking with humility to put the victims of abuse ahead of its need to hide the truth? – a church that had taught the spiritual grace of humility, penance and repentance.

Where is the voice of the Catholic Church on behalf of gay and lesbian and transgender children – too many of whom take their own lives or are the victims of violence? – a church that professes an unconditional support of all life but for its own nearsighted doctrines, actually puts these children at risk rather than embrace and acknowledge them as authentic children of God.

Where is the voice of the Catholic Church rising in outrage against so-called evangelists who take advantage of the elderly and other vulnerable followers to aggrandize themselves and amass personal wealth?
Where is the voice of the Catholic Church speaking out against a fanatical so-called “christian" church that pickets funerals of American servicemen, gays and others with signs that proclaim, "God hates..."?

Where, indeed!  Instead, over the past years the Catholic Church spoke out lest women receive health services it disapproves of.

Instead they reneged on their mission and service to the poor, the sick and orphans rather than provide health benefits to legally married spouses of employees; they closed their doors rather than allow children to go to “non-traditional,” loving homes.

Instead they loudly condemn the love and commitment of two men or two women in marriage while they tolerate the annulments, divorces and serial marriages of opposite sex couples, all the while waving a banner proclaiming the "Sanctity of Marriage".

Instead they excommunicated an intelligent, dedicated religious Sister for making a difficult, conscientious, life-or-death medical decision to save a woman's life while under her hospital's purview.

Instead they denied communion to a woman at her mother's funeral Mass instead of offering the sacrament in love and compassion.

Instead they withdrew financial support from a homeless shelter because the director advocates same-gender marriage, even though they say they believe in the merciful work to "shelter the homeless".

Instead they intimidated the religious Sisters in America who have been living and working in the true spirit of the gospels and under the guidance provided by the Second Vatican Council.

You get the gist. 
It is no longer an option for me to try to "change things from within".  There was a time when I thought it was possible, when being a “dissenting” Catholic was an authentic option.  I think this is no longer the case.  The "New" Catholic Church is a different church altogether.  I do no not recognize this new heretical church and I think it has lost whatever vestige of moral authority it had left.   

I cannot help but imagine that if Jesus Christ could see his "followers" today, He would certainly "turn in his grave" so to speak. The passion of Christ lives on, but Resurrection seems highly unlikely. 

Frank DeFrancesco, critic and sometimes apologist, was educated in Catholic schools, received a BA from St Michael’s College, Vermont and an MA from St Joseph College, Connecticut.  A former member of the board of Dignity Hartford, Frank lives with his husband of 27 years and their dog Bennie who was named in spite of the Pope.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

A First Anniversary After 27 Years

Today we celebrate our First Anniversary - Leon and I were married on October 25th 2014.
Our "First" Anniversary after 27 years together.

This morning we went through all the cards we received on the occasion of our wedding and all the beautiful words and sentiments that our family and friends expressed. We love and appreciate all of you - immediate family, mom, brothers, sisters, in-laws, cousins, aunts, uncles, friends. Your support and love means more than you can possibly know!

Over the past year I have been getting used to tossing around the word "husband" and the rebel in me gets a thrill out of correcting people who ask me about my "wife".... "no that would be my HUSBAND who is (the co-owner, going to be home at 3, the second on the AAA membership, or whatever)."

Sadly both my own sister, Mary Ann and our Justice of the Peace, Michele, passed away this year. We have fond memories of them on the happy occasion of our wedding and we are grateful that they were there with us.

Here are a few photos of the day.

Leon trying on the baseball cap veil
Me trying on the baseball cap veil

With My Sister Mary Ann DeFrancesco, RSM (Religious Sisters of Mercy)
who passed away on May 11, 2015 

With my Brother Mike, Sister-in-law Claire, Sister Mary Ann
With Leon's Sisters Lisa and Brenda, Brother Martin, Sister-in-law Debbie and Mother Joan
Dinner at Pagliacci's Restaurant

Michele Boyko, our Justice of the Peace who passed away on April 30, 2015

Friday, October 2, 2015

Who Am I To Judge?

Looks like the Vatican has confirmed that Francis' meeting with Davis was in no way meant to be "a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects.” - possibly one of the rooms in a series of rooms the Pope wandered through in lieu of a reception line. But there is a video of Pope Francis meeting with, conversing with and exchanging warm handshakes and hugs with a long time GAY friend and former student AND HIS PARTNER OF 19 YEARS. 

Who am I to judge?

Exactly - who are we to judge? I have seen judgements being made literally right and left about every aspect of Pope Francis' visit and his speeches - from conservatives to LGBT liberals and anarchists. (I am not talking about thoughtful, reasoned critiques.)

And beyond judgements, there was outright vitriol and ignorance. Especially in the comment threads on Towleroad and other blogs.

The verbiage on this topic and many others sickens me. While I want to stay informed about LGBT issues, I have had about as much as I can take with the juvenile name calling, thoughtless, unprofessional editorializing and other nonsense that is rampant both in blog posts and in the comment threads.

It is ruining any credibility of the bloggers and making the internet experience wholly unpleasant.
And there's this from yesterday: Esquire Article

A speculative article, but highly palusable.

The blunder was that this so-called meeting (likely a receiving line where people were shuffled in for a brief face-to-face handshake and souvenir rosary beads) wasn't seen as an opportunity for political fodder. It is being used to claim Papal and RC support for Davis and her "case" - hopefully something that was not intended and now seems to have become the focal point for the entire Papal visit. I don't need Francis to be my "friend" but I do "pray" that he will steer the massive RC ship in a more loving direction. The backlash against Vatican II has had years to consolidate under Ratzinger and John Paul II/Benedict XVI and Francis ain't going to change it in his lifetime.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Falling Out Of Love

When we found you, our current home and saw you for the first time, it was love at first sight. We'd seen close to 75 homes before we found you. You were there, a bit homely, nestled in the woods on a hillside. You'd just had some cosmetic work done inside and looked shiny and bright.

We have loved you well these past 15+ years. We have cared for you well, treated you well, and done for you whatever we could within our means. We added your beautiful sunroom. We landscaped and terraced with rocks we carried ourselves from all over your property. We dressed you in irises and hydrangeas and Four O'Clocks and Marigolds and Prickly Pear and Azaleas and Hostas and flowers that sometimes struggle to grow.
We are sorry we couldn't give you a brand new driveway or have a professional mason replace your stairway and stone walls. We're sorry we couldn't pay for 10 inches of new top soil to plant you a lush luxurious lawn. We couldn't add that extra bathroom or make a beautiful master suite. We used all kinds of found and recycled things to dress you up - no store-bought clothes: scavenged flagstone, an old slate table for the patio that someone was throwing out, lawn chairs and a fence that were going to the dump.

Your trees are a bit scraggly and should be thinned and trimmed. Your veggie garden could be raised. Your basement could have been turned into living space. We did our very best within our means though we couldn't fulfill your potential and our earlier dreams.

We've have had many happy times, and family and friends who came and ate and drank and laughed. We had our wedding in your sunroom and Thanksgiving meals there too. We have shared many meals, we've partied, we've enjoyed your tranquility and sunshine and your shade on the hottest summer days. We've enjoyed your glorious Mountain Laurel blossoms in the spring. We have enjoyed walking in your woods and beyond into the trails on Fall Mountain.

But your grooming and beauty treatments require now too much of our time and energy. We are weary. We watch your lawn dry up in this season's drought, we are on our knees too often picking out weeds because we refuse to poison you with chemicals.

We've mowed you and manicured you each summer; we've cleaned up too many leaves over fifteen autumns; and god knows we've cleared way too much snow during seemingly endless winters.

You are still a very pretty house, always open and cozy and welcoming and filled with light, but we, we are weary.

We think it is time for you to have new companions, new caretakers, a new dream for what you might become. We love you still, but perhaps we're no longer in love. We need to tell you we'll be moving on soon.

Wish us luck and godspeed.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

How Right-Wing Media Are Welcoming Pope Francis To America


Apparently the conservatives/Republicans are now more infallible than the Pope (who, of course, doesn't claim to be, really)

These folks should be shamed and shunned and called out.

Monday, September 21, 2015

In Honor Of Pope Francis - Had To Share This Article

OK, now for something serious. No beach scenes or cute puppies.

Who is dissing the Pope?

People - many who call themselves Catholics and have public visibility are dissing the Pope big time.

This is just wrong.

When I was growing up, the Catholic Church was about works of mercy, service to others, social justice and embracing everyone without judgement. Why or how this changed in recent years is baffling.

That change in attitudes or emphasis, that ultra conservative ideology of Razinger/BenedictXVI and JPII, fed right into the plans of the white, wealthy, Republican, corporate, money hoarding one percent.

Now, this progressively leaning article in NCR  Why Do You Harden Your Hearts? | National Catholic Reporter and several other news stories have got me to thinking how ironic that the Republican Party and Fox News have appropriated the dogma of INFALLIBILITY when proclaiming THEIR version of what the Catholic Church believes and teaches.

The Republican Party in the hands of the Koch brothers has become dangerous, subversive and outright lunatic.

As a gay married man I may be with Little Anthony "on the outside looking in", but I see this guy Francis who has something of importance to say - not that I expect him to embrace same-sex marriage or women priests - but he deserves a modicum of respect:

PLEASE LISTEN POLITELY and critique respectfully.

OK, one beach scene with cute puppy.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

New Billboard in Morehead Kentucky and New Comments 9/22/15

New Billboard in Morehead, Kentucky.

I haven't posted much about this ridiculous "religious" controversy but I think this says it all:

The group writes, on its website:

Following the June 26th Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality, Rowan County clerk Kim Davis refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses in her home state, citing that doing so compromised her religious beliefs. That day, she became the poster child for the anti-gay movement.

As has been painstakingly observed time and time again, the anti-LGBTQ movement is comprised of a substantial number of zealots who unfailingly refer to their rigid interpretation of religious text to narrowly define “traditional” institutions and values. They pick and choose what they wish to convey as immoral and unacceptable, while seemingly sweeping lines of scripture just a few letters away completely under the rug.
In response, Planting Peace has constructed a message for Kim Davis and the anti-LGBTQ movement. The intent of the billboard is to expose this narrow interpretation by Davis and others that they use to defend their discrimination against the LGBTQ community. It is important and relevant to call this out, because these messages and actions are not simply about a political or religious debate. There are LGBTQ youth across the world who are taking their lives at an alarming rate because of these messages from society that make them feel broken or less than. We have to meet hate with love…intolerance with compassion.
OH - And where are all the other Christian denominations speaking out against this christian cult that picks which groups their bible says are not to be allowed civil rights or civil marriage?

EDITED POST: 9/22/15

I just want to express a few thoughts on the Kim Davis situation.

First, it is sad that so many people have lowered themselves to send her hate-mail or to name-call. It doesn't help our cause one bit, in fact makes us look like bullies and gives the anti-gay contingent ammunition. Reasoned arguments at least are not easily dismissed by intelligent people and well, those with closed minds don't listen anyway.

Second, has anyone considered the possibility that Davis' religion may be more cult-like than mainstream Christian denominations. I have dealt with people who've been involved with extreme fundamentalist groups and they are literally brainwashed into their beliefs. They hold on to them as if in dread of what might happen if their beliefs turn out to be wrong - and in the case of many gay youth, often through counseling they are able to recognize that their belief system is a great source of pain and confusion. I sense that Kim has bought into such a system because it has provided her a means to repudiate her past life and its disappointments and bad choices. What she may not know is that her current belief system may be fraught with other disappointments and bad choices.

It is easy to say she needs psychiatric intervention [above], but realistically, until her religion is shook at the foundations she will hang on tight. However, Kim, in the interview hints at this possibility of a crumbling belief system when she says her greatest fear is that God does not approve of her, that she may in fact be a hypocrite. I say, give her time. In five or ten years she will write a book about her recovery from this cult.

Third, where are the mainstream Protestant and Catholic denominations and leaders speaking out to say that Kim Davis does not speak for all Christians? Clearly she does not when many denominations approve of same-sex marriage now. Is the "religious freedom" issue too hot a potato to handle? Are they all afraid to put themselves in that position?

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Pertaining To The Matter Of A Certain Clerk In The State Of Kentucky

So much has been written and the commentary has been continuous regarding the ability of this one person and her truly misguided beliefs to obstruct justice and the rule of United States law. 

I have said many times - Beware! They are not going to stop hating us or castigating us or fighting to take back our civil liberties just because we have some legal claim to civil rights. 

Beware! The struggle is not over. Not even close to over.

Rather than comment on these current events, I would like to share the Afterword from Did You Ever See A Horse Go By? A Coming Out Memoir. I have shared these words on this blog before (probably labeled as the book's Preface) but in any case I think some of my observations may be relevant at this time.


Peter, the friend to whom I addressed the Preface, died from complications of AIDS, like too many other people I have known. I never finished composing that letter to him in 1987 and so it was never sent. Here, many years later, I include an Afterword, addressed to him.

May 2014

Dear Peter,

I’ve somehow survived to 2014. I am old—or pretty nearly old as life journeys go.
In the grand scheme of things, I am nobody and my life is irrelevant. 

So why should my story, my experiences beginning more than half a century ago, matter to

Why should I bother to write down these snippets of my life?

The answer to that last question: I had to write this account, even if no one ever
reads it, because I was compelled to do so in the same way as I was compelled to
come out; it was a matter of survival. And if I am to live any semblance of an
authentic life, I must come out unreservedly and often; because coming out is never
only an event: it is a continuous process and one that challenges me daily.

• The woman who cuts my hair when I’m visiting in South Carolina insists on
making small talk and asks about my wife. She has scissors. How do I respond?

• At the auto repair shop, I tell the service tech, who I’ve just overheard making a
homophobic comment, “If there’s a problem, call Lee, my, uh, friend? roommate?
partner? significant other? husband?”

• Lee and I are holding hands on a deserted beach at sunset as some college kids
approach in the distance. Do I let go of his hand?

Ann Bancroft as Ma Beckoff scolded Harvey Fierstein’s Arnold in Torch Song
Trilogy: “You haven’t spoken one sentence since I got here,” she says indignantly,
“without the word gay in it.” How often do I check myself so as not to offend the
likes of all the Ma Beckoffs in the world with constant gay references?

• I am challenged daily to come out, again and again and again, because, even as
things appear to be changing, there still exist subtle and pervasive societal and
cultural norms that are intended to usher us back into our closets: the veiled but
insidious beliefs, behaviors, words, and hatred that are still widely tolerated.

• I am challenged to come out, again and again and again, because of the hate and
vitriol and rage that seem to escalate in response to every equal rights victory and
with every courageous individual who comes out and who refuses to remain
silent and invisible.

• I am challenged to come out, again and again and again, because too many gay
kids still choose suicide as their only option to escape bullying and familial rejection;
because some lawmakers still introduce bills that would take back our hard
won rights and liberties; because some religions still wave signs declaring that
“God hates fags” while others, less blatant, use more refined and educated language
to condemn and vilify us.

My coming out was not only a matter of self-preservation; it was and continues
to be a uniquely liberating, transformational, spiritual, and healing life experience. I
do believe that coming out is the only antidote to the poison of societal oppression
that tries to deceive us into believing that the closet is the safest place to be, that the
closet will ultimately protect us from the world, from ourselves, and from eternal

The closet’s false security is ultimately suffocating and fatal to one’s emotional
and psychological integrity, if not to one’s physical existence. The closet is built on
fear and guilt, but more so on societal and religious disapprobation and condemnation—
a formula for what is called internalized homophobia. The closet derives
power from this internalized homophobia, from our internal conflicts and fears, the
artificial conflict between some bogus good and fake evil: the fear of rejection, reprisals,
and violence, and the terror of a mythologized Last Judgment and ungodly

Despite all of that, we persist in our coming out as if our lives depended on it—
because they do. Coming out is so vital to our integrity that the impulse to acknowledge
and be true to ourselves is, in many respects, not unlike our innate survival

The fact that the event that we call coming out is virtually universal to the contemporary
homosexual experience suggests that it is not an inconsequential phenomenon.
Think about that. Coming out has a reality beyond our individual experience.
It is both a unique and a shared experience—one that unites us in some fundamental

Our sexuality, our gayness, is mostly invisible to others. Coming out and being
out involves being visible—both when we look in the mirror and when others see us.
Sometimes, in order to be visible to others, we have to be “in their face.” Sometimes
we need to tell our stories, each of us, story after story, after story, until they “get it.”

Because “they” are still trying to define “us,” tell us who they think we are, tell us
that we are objectively disordered or immoral or sinful or worse. 

Who are “they” and who do they think they are?

Unfortunately “they” are not only the ignorant and bigoted, but often otherwise
intelligent and sometimes even well-meaning individuals. Why do “they” think they
know more about our sexuality, or us, than we do?

More to the point, why do they care?

Certainly “they” outnumber “us” and we’ve always been an easy target. Does
their inability to save our souls or change us, or to limit our freedom somehow make
them inadequate or fearful? 

What is in it for “them” that they so persist?

It amazes and frustrates me that our stories—the actual lived experience of gay,
lesbian, bisexual, or transgender individuals—are so summarily ignored, discounted,
and dismissed. 

It baffles me that many vocal and influential individuals persist in holding to and 
disseminating absurd, erroneous, and irrelevant opinions about us. 

This is unacceptable and can no longer be tolerated. 

“They” can only make their own positions tenable by repeating questionable scriptures, 
fabricated “studies,” pseudo-science, and outright lies—and repeating them over and over as
they wholly disregard us and our voices.

I can only pose a few questions for others to try to answer: What is it about
homosexuality and sexual and gender non-conformity that makes it such a lightning

What is so unique about it that religious factions condemn it, regressive governments
ban it, entire cultures punish it, and ordinary people are moved to hatred and violence by it? 

Why are millions of dollars spent to fight us and to deny us equal protections under the law?

These questions underlie the need to tell my story.

As for the first question—whether my story or experiences will matter to the
readers or not—is for each of them to decide. But I do know that this is my voice
and my truth, for what it’s worth.

For me the value in telling my story here, beyond the healing, is to preserve a tiny
slice of collective history—to document what it was to be gay and to come out in a
particular time and place. I want to remember all the others who were there along
with me, creating our lives together and defining our sexuality as we went along. My
hope is that others find some value in that as well.

With Fondness and Love,


P.S. Why would a town make the position of Town Clerk an ELECTED OFFICE? If she were an employee they could fire her ass for not doing her job!

Friday, September 4, 2015



Response from Hertz via Better Business Bureau:
This is in response to your case file for Leon O'Hart.
We apologize for any confusion regarding the charges billed and for any misunderstanding
regarding our Additional Driver policy. This fee applies to anyone, including a spouse, .... etc.(Details about the charges which I already knew and which I enumerated in detail in my complaint, so they just repeated that). 
As a gesture of our concern, we will refund the Additional Driver fee and Fuel Purchase Option. A credit of $158.22 is being issued to the American Express account billed. Please allow 3 to 5 business days for this credit to post to the account.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to review this matter.

Almost couldn't believe what I was reading...they actually are refunding a part of the cost!

I was required to answer "yes" or "no" to whether I accepted the response: I ticked "yes" and added the note as follows:

I accept the refund as the response from Hertz. However I am disappointed that Hertz did not address the issue regarding its employee's misrepresenting the AAD charge as a New Mexico Law. I am afraid that the ABQ office will continue to tell customers that the ADD is a New Mexico law, rather than a charge that Hertz chooses to require - a charge that other companies doing business in New Mexico choose not to require.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015


We recently used the Hertz website to rent a car for pick-up in Albuquerque 
We were given a quote at the HERTZ FIFTY PLUS rate for $177.71 after taxes and fees. NOT BAD. No where was there an option to add an additional driver.

Due to a change in pick-up time we called Hertz to add an earlier pick-up (noon instead of 8:30pm for which we expected an extra charge, but we were not told what the charge was to be nor were we sent any email confirmation of the change.

When we arrived at the Hertz office at the Albuquerque airport we were shocked at the humongous additional fees that were never disclosed upon booking.


QUOTED at Booking:
1 Week at (includes 50+ discount) $114.50
Airport concession fee recovery   $13.00
Customer facility charge  
(NO mention of NM Surcharge)           $15.75
Rental surcharge   $14.00
Vehicle licensing Cost Recovery     $1.15
Energy surcharge     $1.49
Subtotal $159.92

Taxes   $17.79

Amount charged to card $114.51
Amount at time of rent   $63.20
TOTAL $177.71

1 Week at $127.23
1 day at $  18.18
        Subtotal                                      $145.41
        Discount 10%                              -  14.54
        Subtotal less discount                 $130.87

Airport concession fee recovery   $28.95
Customer facility charge 
(NM SUR & CFC)                                 $36.16
Rental surcharge   $14.00
Vehicle licensing Cost Recovery     $1.31
Energy surcharge     $1.49
FPO    (fuel)                                          $ 32.32
Authorized Additional Driver                 $94.50
Taxes   $35.28

Amount charged to card -$130.87
Amount at time of rent             $ 230.01
TOTAL $360.88

Even adding the extra day at $18+ this is nearly $200 more than we anticipated spending! 
Even if we agree on the FPO (Fuel Purchase Option) $32.32 (another "gotcha")
How does HERTZ justify the more than doubling of the Airport Concession Fee Recovery cost and the Customer Facility Charge (from a quoted price of $28.75 to $65.11? (a $36.36 increase!)
There is only one Albuquerque and it is in NEW MEXICO, so if these extra charges are specific to New Mexico, why were they NOT given in the initial booking?
As far as HERTZ’s Authorized Additional Driver scam to cheat us out of another $94.50, consider this:
On a previous trip to Albuquerque we rented from Enterprise and as is their policy we were not charged for a spouse as additional driver. We obviously were mistaken to assume that Hertz was competitive in this regard and so expected that a spouse was included as an authorized driver at no additional charge. Especially since we had used the HERTZ FIFTY PLUS.

This might have been merely a disappointment but the up-charge came with outright lying, deceit and misrepresentation by the Hertz employee at the desk. Not only did he not even ask if we were eligible for any exemption (AAA for example) he outright lied about why Hertz was charging for an additional (spouse) driver by telling us it was New Mexico LAW




Even when we returned the car and mentioned to the attendant that we were charged additional for spouse as second driver, he told us “No, that’s not right, there’s no such law.”

We also called Enterprise and their agent confirmed there is no such law.



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