Spotlight Edition – Mel Reid, a 6-time Ladies European Tour Winner and LPGA golfer

Hi Rob,

I’m Mel Reid, a a 6-time Ladies European Tour winner and LPGA golfer.  I’ve always fought for equality, and now I’ve decided to come out as a gay woman and work with Athlete Ally to empower others to be themselves. Once you’ve read my story, please share on Facebook and Twitter.

Athlete Ally: What was your process like coming out to yourself, and then to loved ones? What surprised you?

Mel Reid: Looking back on it, I knew from quite a young age, but then never thought about it during my teenage years. It then crept up on me again when I started playing on Tour, meeting new people and traveling the world. I fell in love with a girl and I was excited about it, so I told my sister who was completely cool about it, and then my brother. My parents are older than most, but they couldn’t have been better about everything. They just assured me that as long as I love a good person, it doesn’t matter what race, gender or background they come from. I was very lucky my entire family is very liberal and embraced it totally.

How did you start playing golf, and what do you love about it?

I started playing golf because I used to play football (soccer for Americans) and my mum wanted to keep me occupied and busy during the summer holiday. She took me to the golf course that a few of my friends went to, and I fell in love with the social aspect of it, even though it’s an individual sport.

Nowadays, there are so many reasons why I love the game, but the biggest for me is how challenging it is, and that it really brings out your true character by exposing your weaknesses and more importantly your strengths. Plus, in my opinion, golf is one of the hardest sports on the planet to play, so when I play well it’s like a feeling I don’t get from anything else—complete euphoria

Melissa Reid hits the opening shot of the 2017 Solheim Cup. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
How would having a more inclusive and representative golf community have changed your experiences as a pro golfer?

The Tour is a very welcoming community and it’s rare that anyone has an issue with sexuality or openly express any issues. The only problem we run into is that being gay is still illegal or frowned upon in certain countries we play in. There are also a lot of male-dominated sponsors that are looking for certain types of players, so that’s why I have felt I can’t be quite as open as I would like to be when it comes to my personal life.

I have always had good friends around me and supporting me, so I have never run into any huge issues with it during my career. The only issues I have had is when I have taken my girlfriend with me to dinners or awards, and I’m very conscious how I introduce her depending on the environment I’m in, because of the culture around the sport and the assumption that the sponsors would want to keep that part of my life quiet.

 

What changes do you hope to see in golf to make the sport more inclusive and representative?

I would love to see more women in business come forward and support women’s golf. At the LPGA, we have a great relationship with so many companies, but would love to have more women come to events and publicly support women in sport. I think this would make a big difference and create more exposure opportunities for us players. I’d also love to see more equipment companies in general support women and show our faces in stores and in ads.

Melissa Reid celebrates during the 2017 Solheim Cup in West Des Moines, Iowa.
(Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
What advice would you give to young LGBTQ athletes who are wondering if they can be themselves and play the sport they love?

I protected my sexuality for a long time because I thought I had to in order to help my career and to get more sponsors. But then I started to wonder why these companies would want to sponsor me and have me represent them if I can’t be my authentic self. There is only one of you in the world and you have one life, so be the best version of yourself and be proud of who you are. That’s when you attract the right people around you to make you better, and ultimately, happier.

How do you see Athlete Ally’s work as helping to make sport more open and inclusive, and why did you want to become an Athlete Ally Ambassador?

I wanted to be part of Athlete Ally because I feel it’s important for people to be themselves. Just because they love someone that may not be ‘socially correct’, it does not make them any less of a person. It’s important for me to always fight for equality. I’ve been fortunate to have a platform to reach a lot of people and I’ve tried to take advantage of that when I can. Athlete Ally helps spread that message even further and I’m very excited to join the team.


Thanks for reading, and please share my story on Facebook and Twitter!
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Uplift, empower, and connect LGBTQ+ youth around the globe. With you, it gets better!

The It Gets Better Project inspires people across the globe to share their stories and remind the next generation of LGBTQ+ youth that hope is out there, and it will get better.

Dear Rob —

What an incredible year 2018 has been! Thanks to your support, our work has reached more LGBTQ+ youth around the globe than ever before. Here are some of our proudest achievements:

New Family: Our global affiliate network grew this year to include the United Kingdom, Argentina, and new leadership in India.

New Projects: The results from our 2017 Global Grants are in, and we couldn’t be prouder! This year, we’ve awarded eight new grants to organizations serving LGBTQ+ youth in Brazil, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Paraguay (x2), Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

New Experiences: We hosted two regional summits this year for our volunteer leaders across Europe and Latin America. We can’t wait for our first Global Summit to be held in conjunction with WorldPride in NYC next summer!

New Stories: This year alone, we’ve added over 300 new videos from all over the world to our online collection.

Please join us in 2019 as we continue to uplift, empower, and connect LGBTQ+ youth around the globe. With you, it gets better!

Justin Tindall
Director, Education and Global Programming
It Gets Better Project

A Christmas Gift from Virginia Harris, C.S.B.

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The Gift of the Christmas Amaryllis

Virginia Harris, C.S.B.

It’s in there. The complete, beautiful and full flower of the amaryllis is already included in the small bulb before your eyes. Can you see the promised effect? Not at this moment – but you know the flower’s perfection will come for you to see. You may be waiting, but the flower – what it is! – is already done. And it will be revealed.

Can the amaryllis bulb become, unexpectedly, something else – an ear of corn? Inconceivable. Can you, by watching and willing, make the flower bloom before its perfect moment? Impossible. Your only role, as the recipient of this lovely gift, is to wait expectantly and knowingly…trusting that the flower science is fulfilled in all its glory!

So it is with you. The complete and beautiful effect that is you is already included in the one and only Cause, God. Cause and effect is one, unchanging and certain.

It is inconceivable that you could be anything less than or different from what has already been created. The perfect demonstration of you is done. Your health, your worth, your job, your happy home is not a process of becoming…the complete demonstration is ordained and constituted now. Your role is to bear witness to this certain effect.

Can you see the demonstration of beautiful you right now? It may not be obvious to you yet! But wait expectantly, trusting and accepting the science of creation to reveal what is already included in this present moment. The healing effect will be revealed in all its glory!

The Christmas amaryllis shows that the gift of demonstration is already in you.

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When Religion Creates Dragons – Church Moms Loving Our LGBTQ Youth – Now Playing

Hunter is a member of Mama Dragons, a group of nearly 2,000 mothers of LGBTQ children founded in 2014 as a private Facebook group. Their members set up “hugging booths” across the country, where they offer a mother’s warm embrace to anyone who needs it ― most often, LGBTQ youth who feel misunderstood and ostracized by their own mothers.  
Mama Dragons originated as a resource for Mormon mothers in Utah. It now has members from across the country who provide information and support to mothers from more conservative religious or political backgrounds whose children have recently come out.
“When you see other moms supporting those kids, you become brave enough to do the same thing yourself,” Davis said. “You become brave enough to have those hard conversations, to look at your own beliefs and evaluate them.”
They feel strongly that a mother’s support for their LGBTQ child can profoundly affect their livelihood and, in some cases, whether they live or die.
“It’s about life and death in many situations,” Hunter said. “Every mom we can reach and help them accept their kid, to know how to support them just a little better, is one less funeral we have to go to and one more family who will deal with this for the rest of their life in a completely different way.”

Premiered Oct 28, 2018

Comprised of Mormon, post-Mormon and never-Mormon women, the support group offers mothers of LGBTQ+ children an outlet and a community. Together, this grassroots group of mothers is breathing fire to protect their kids, writing a new chapter in a community of faith.

So what do we do as Mama Dragons?

Sometimes we can help in person. Sometimes it’s through social media, texts, emails or phone calls. We have attended same-sex weddings and celebrated with the new couple. We have buoyed each other up when unjust things have happened to our children. We have met with some of the highest leaders in the LDS Church, asking for more visibility and promotion of the church-sponsored Mormons & Gays website, and increased compassion and inclusivity in their talks about LGBTQIA (1) people. We have met with our local ward and stake leaders.  We’ve testified at Capitol Hill advocating against LGBT discrimination bills. We have attended funerals of gay teen suicide victims and mourned with their bereaved families. We have written articles about our experiences that have helped to open the eyes and hearts of the people who read them. We have done podcasts, press interviews, documentaries, YouTube videos, etc. in the hopes of furthering our message of unconditional love, full acceptance and equality, and education of church leaders and members. (2)  We work hard EVERY DAY to make things better for LGBTQIA Mormons, especially the youth. They are our most vulnerable. And unfortunately, the most invisible.

This isn’t just to make LGBTQIA people comfortable at church. This is literally to save lives. The following study was done by Dr. Caitlin Ryan of the Family Acceptance Project and San Francisco State University. Their research and conclusions concerning LGBTQIA children raised in highly-religious families were peer-reviewed and published in the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics:

“Higher rates of family rejection were significantly associated with poorer health outcomes. On the basis of odds ratios, lesbian, gay, and bisexual young adults who reported higher levels of family rejection during adolescence were 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide, 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression, 3.4 times more likely to use illegal drugs, and 3.4 times more likely to report having engaged in unprotected sexual intercourse compared with peers from families that reported no or low levels of family rejection. ” (3)

Utah has an estimated 5,000 homeless youths, about 40 percent of whom identify as LGBT people–50 percent of whom were raised in LDS families (4). What needs to be realized about the staggering nature of these statistics on homeless teens is that only 7% of teens in Utah identify as LGBT, so for them to make up 40% of the homeless youth in Utah is horrific.

Regardless of how you personally feel about homosexuality or gay marriage, these statistics and percentages should be enough to mobilize EVERY Latter-day Saint, indeed EVERY human, that reads this. I guarantee that there is someone in your life who is LGBTQIA, whether you know it or not. What are YOU doing to help that person feel loved, valued and included? If you don’t know anyone who is LGBTQIA, it could be because they don’t yet know that you are a safe person to talk to about this sensitive and tender subject. You could send them a subtle message by your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram posts, wearing a rainbow ring or ribbon, a bumper sticker on your car, bearing your testimony in Sacrament meeting or a supportive, loving comment at appropriate times at church. All of these things take courage, but please know that it is not an exaggeration when I tell you that these small actions have the power to save a life.

I hope that one day there will be no need for Mama Dragons. I hope that our children will be fully loved and wanted in their religious community, and not need to be protected from it. Sadly, today is not that day. So until then, we keep fighting. I am grateful for the work these women do, and that they have the courage, talons, and fire needed to protect God’s LGBTQIA sons and daughters from harm.

https://mamadragons.org/when-religion-creates-dragons/

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2018 Outfest Los Angeles Lgbtq Film Festival Announces Complete Lineup

“It’s a sacred space for people to discuss difficult topics,” Davis said.

Related imageMama Dragons attend Salt Lake City Pride in Utah, where they set up an annual "Hugging Booth."

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Renewal with Laura Moliter

e-inspire, November 28th

“Do not fear, you wild beasts: You will eat again, for the desert pastures are green again! And so will we: the trees bear their fruit; the fig trees and the vines produce their bounty once again.” (Joel 2: 22, The Voice Translation)

This verse glows with a promise for each of us. The barrenness we may feel at times, the lack or loss that seems to engulf us, is not our fate. The desert of our thought and experience will bloom again.

For God is with us. His grace is boundless and ready. What seems to be destruction at times may actually be renewal, that necessary “slash and burn” where the old and unfruitful is cleared away so that new life can grow and flourish.

God’s Love and His infinite Life is our assurance. And this means we can calm our fear and that of others, knowing God’s good intention for us is that we are fed, nurtured, given all that is needed for us to grow and be happy, to be what He made us to be. God’s promise is that we not only survive the wilderness times, but emerge from them into even greater productivity, inspiration, and bounteous goodness to express and to share!

Laura Moliter, Divine Purpose Coach and Spiritual Activist

www.beingfreenow.com
https://www.facebook.com/poeticandpowerfulliving/

The Christian Science Monitor -Watch out, 2020: Young voters are on the rise

 

Diversity “makes us who we are,” Obama said at the 2017 School Counselor of the Year event in the East Room of the White House, where she hosted 50 school counselors and a slew of stars. “Don’t ever let anyone make you feel like you don’t matter, or like you don’t have a place in our American story [or your church]. You do.”

First Lady Michelle Obama said at the 2017 School Counselor of the Year event in the East Room of the White House.

 

…  hitch your wagon to something bigger than yourselves. This generation coming up – unselfish, altruistic, creative, patriotic – I’ve seen you in every corner of the country. You believe in a fair, just, inclusive America [and church]; you know that constant change has been America’s hallmark, something not to fear but to embrace, and you are willing to carry this hard work of democracy forward. You’ll soon outnumber any of us, and I believe as a result that the future is in good hands. 

President Barack Obama’s farewell speech in Chicago, IL

 

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Watch out, 2020: Young voters are on the rise

WHY WE WROTE THIS

Young people have long been seen as apathetic when it comes to engaging in politics. But this year revealed a remarkable receptivity to their peers’ activism.

  • QUICK READ

First-time voters, dubbed “Generation Columbine,” have never known a world free of school shootings. That proved to be a powerful catalyst this year, along with concerns about President Trump’s ascendancy to the White House. Young people turned out on Election Day at the highest rate the United States has seen in a midterm in at least 25 years, though at 31 percent turnout they still lag behind their elders. The surge in youth turnout stems in part from fear – about school shootings, the state of politics, and the direction of the country. But it also comes from a collective desire to support each other and make positive change at a time when many feel their lives are quite literally on the line. “This is a sea change [in political engagement]…. They’re the most diverse generation in history so they don’t point their finger at the other,” says Alan Solomont, dean of the Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University in Medford, Mass. “This generation is about ‘us’ more than about ‘me.’ ”

 

https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2018/1115/Watch-out-2020-Young-voters-are-on-the-rise?

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Thanksgiving Song of Joy & Gratitude with Virginia Harris, C.S.B. & the Macy’s Parade – Come Out of the Storms & Shadows of Fear and Separation

 

Thanksgiving Song

In the Book of Psalms there are 150 songs – most of which are of praise and thanksgiving to God for deliverance from disaster and suffering. Even the communal and personal laments include verses of gratitude for ultimate proof of protection and safekeeping. Sung, spoken, and written by countless voices describing their experiences over 500 years, these offerings of gratitude come out of the storms and shadows of loss into glorious light…the victory over every human ill.

In fact, the underlying premise of all the psalms is the effectiveness of prayer to God, the declaration and assurance of and trust in Her unconditional and universal goodness. This is the prayer that removes fear – the fear of separation from God’s love and goodness – and guides, guards, and governs each of us, especially in the midst of trouble.

So many times I have been freed from sorrow, fear, or despondency by the simple utterance, “Thank You, God.” Thank You for creating me inseparable and undivorced from Your love, abundance, protection, guidance, joy, and…, and…, and…! In fact, the more I keep adding the ideal qualities of the Spirit that are mine by reflection, the higher my heart soars. The trouble gets smaller until it is meaningless and powerless.

A friend sent me this link to a beautiful psalm of Thanksgiving, This Is the Day, by John Rutter.  It is a “new-old” psalm in that it sings the lovely top-notes from several ancient Psalms (118, 148, 91, 121 and 27) to offer one powerful, present-day hymn of praise.

This Thanksgiving season, may you find opportunity to sing the song of gratitude, and may your heart and home be full of praise and peace.

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The Joy of Using Our Talents with Elton John + a Christian Science Perspective

I hope you don’t mind, I hope you don’t mind that I put down in words. How wonder full your ad is, which I did enjoy ❤

D. Craig

 

 

The Joy of Using Our Talents

[Of Special Interest to Children]

Excerpt below from the January 27, 1962 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel


One of Jim’s favorite Bible stories is the parable of the talents, which Jesus once told to his followers. The parable tells of a certain man who prepared to go away on a long journey and “who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods” (Matt. 25:14). To each servant he gave money, or “talents,” as some of the money was called in those days. He gave five talents to one servant, two to another, and one to a third. He gave to each the amount he felt that servant was able to take care of.

While the master was away, two of the servants doubled their money. But the third servant buried his talent in the ground. When the master returned from his journey, he took the talent away from the lazy servant and gave it to the one who had made the most use of his money.

Mother told Jim that he could think of the talents in this story as representing the truths of Christian Science that he was learning in Sunday School. At first he did not understand how important it was for him to put these truths into daily use. Gradually, however, he began to prove for himself that he could turn to God whenever he was in any trouble and find God to be a quick and powerful help, able to free him from his difficulty, because nothing is impossible to God.

One day when Jim was behind on an art project in kindergarten, he was so discouraged that he threw his work down and said to his teacher, “I don’t draw well, and I’m not going to try any more.”

Hastily Jim picked up his crayons and began to catch up with his classmates. To his surprise he drew a good picture. In time his drawings improved so much that his pictures were among the best in his class.

Another time, when Jim was playing with his friends, they became angry with him and hit him with sticks and then ran away laughing. This was very hard for him to understand, and he was troubled. His mother came out to him and asked him to think of his talents. Jim was thoughtful for several moments. Then he remembered just the right one.

“I’m all wrapped up in Love, and hate can’t reach me,” he declared.

“That’s right,” Mother replied. “Science and Health says, ‘Clad in the panoply of Love, human hatred cannot reach you’ (p. 571). Now get busy and exchange this picture of hate for the thought of Love everywhere. Hate cannot be real, if Love is all there is.'”

In a little while Jim saw his playmates coming back, and soon they were all playing happily together again.

After a moment Jim began to smile. “I remember something,” he exclaimed joyfully. “It’s from the hymn we sing, which Mrs. Eddy wrote (Poems, p. 4),

Wait, and love more for every hate, and
fear
No ill,—since God is good, and loss
is gain.”

 

That night when Jim talked over the experience with Mother, she smiled and said: “You are doing well with your talents. The more you use them, the more you will have at hand to bless you whenever you need them. We are told by Mrs. Eddy (Science and Health, p. 323), ‘If “faithful over a few things,” we shall be made rulers over many; but the one unused talent decays and is lost.’ ”

 

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Your Holiday Mom – OFFERING OUR LGBTQ YOUTH A VIRTUAL HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Happy Holidays 2018!

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Can you believe another year has passed? I can’t. (It’s my birthday today so I’m really feeling it!) It seems like life just keeps moving forward – but here we are, ready to share another holiday with you.

Who are you? You are my holiday child. Any age, any gender, and labels or no labels at all. You’re mine because I love you, because you are here, because you are YOU. You are worthy of love because you were born. Nothing else is needed – you walk the earth, you deserve love!

Oh, but it goes so much further than that my holiday child. Because I know if you are part of this community, you have a huge amount of courage. You are working hard to just BE in this world some days (maybe some years) and let’s face it, it’s not been the easiest of times in the first place. Not for any of us.

So let’s imagine we are spending this year high on a mountaintop. There’s snow above Palm Springs where I just moved. Let’s make it a snowy holiday together – right here in our virtual world. All it takes is a little imagination. You dancing in the snowflakes as they gently fall. Me trying to keep up! You laughing. Me smiling because it makes me so happy that you are laughing. There are holiday songs – whichever are your favorite – ringing through some bells in the far off distance. We hear them and know it’s time to celebrate.

It’s a funny thing, celebration. Sometimes you celebrate something that happened. But sometimes you just celebrate to BE. To be together, to be playing, to be free in this moment. That’s what I want for you, my holiday child. To feel that freedom. No judging. Nothing to prove. Nothing you’re doing wrong. Just you and me laughing in the moment, free to be. Sounds really good, doesn’t it?

You’ll also hear me whisper that I’ve missed you and I’m glad it is the holidays again. You’ll hear me saying how much I can SEE you, how you’ve grown inside (and maybe out, too). You’ll hear me asking you all the personal stuff. What’s he/she/they like, if you have someone special. If you don’t, what do you imagine him/her/they will be like? I’ll get all giggly because if there is one thing I love, it’s LOVE!

And when we come down the mountain, I’ll remind you to check back here every day for another mom’s love. I can’t take all the joy for myself. And here is a secret – the moms here love to love on you as much as you love to be loved on. We are wired that way, and that is why we are here. So please, come back and let us. We are here every day till New Years!

Yours this holiday and always,

Shamama

(PS, this is me with Jane. Her shirt says “love has no gender.” She’s worked hard to make it better for you in the corporate world and we loved sharing our love at the Palm Springs Pride parade together. I carried my sign high and proud!)

Related image                                                    Madonna visits LGBT youth shelter

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