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RGOD2: The presence of absence, a reflection on 9/11 and lessons in shared heritage

(Editor's note: RGOD2 traditionally runs on Fridays, but this week's column is being published on 9/11.)

Sometimes when something is taken away from us or removed without our consent or approval, what is taken away takes on a more important function in our internal navigation. This came home to me several years ago while doing some research in Ohrid in Macedonia.

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RGOD2: Making sense (and cents) in the global AIDS epidemic

Two years ago, 26 international activists were invited by the St. Paul’s Foundation and our key partners to attend the 19th International AIDS Conference in Washington DC. Reflecting back two years later, one leader was brutally murdered in Cameroon, another exiled as an expert in Ethiopia, and many of the challenges these wonderful people faced upon returning to their countries, are, in many cases, worse than in 2012.

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RGOD2: How a piggery in remote Uganda is changing LGBT lives trapped in poverty

As a result of donations raised from global LGBT activist Angeline Jackson’s recent visit to Southern California, $1,000 was sent to the Good Samaritan Consortium in Uganda.

JP Conly is a nurse from San Diego who worked with the Consortium last year and while he was there he visited a piggery run by a new organization called Youth on Rock Foundation. This is a wonderful grassroots network of young activists who are using the piggery project to help fellow LGBTQ people get out of poverty and help to prevent the spread of HIV among people under 30.

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RGOD2: Where is God when needed most?

I stood alone Wednesday night in my back yard, heart thumping in my chest, watching 100-foot flames leap and dance in the illumined spray of water. It was both frightening and spectacular as the winds gusted through the trees.

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RGOD2: Getting ready for San Diego Pride

There are many traditions that have developed in the San Diego community over the years to add spice and flavor to one of the nation’s most celebrated events. I must have attended at least 10 Pride parades, half of which I was a cheering spectator and the other half have been marching or riding with someone in the actual parade.

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RGOD2: Hey, Joe Biden! Where’s the beef?

“A week is a long time in politics” -- UK Prime Minister Harold Wilson

I am in Washington DC this week for some important reflections on the state of the global LGBT movement, and things happen so quickly that it is difficult to keep up.

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RGOD2: LGBT Czar proposed for the State Department

Massachusetts Sen. Edward Markey met Pope Francis on Wednesday as part of a delegation of politicians from around the world hoping to enlist the pontiff’s help in framing the fight against climate change as a “moral imperative.”

As a practicing Roman Catholic, Markey has also taken the bold lead to ensure the U.S. government’s commitment to LGBT global human rights will finally have some teeth. This other “moral imperative” of Senator Markey is making its way through the Senate under the title of “The International Human Rights Defense Act of 2014.”

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RGOD2: Mentoring, LGBT people’s highest calling

There are sacred moments when, as young people, we chose our mentors. It is as powerful as sexual attraction and falling in love, but true mentorship transcends both. There is something else that will flow between us and this mystery will last an eternity.

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RGOD2: Confessions of a naive gay cleric – “I fed and schooled Bahati”

I watched the video of the passage of Uganda’s now infamous Anti-Homosexuality Bill and particularly of its author, David Bahati, bouncing on his seat and slapping his hands in glee when it passed.

Poor David, in that very public moment, reverted to being a 7-year-old in school once again! When he found out his little bill had the votes it needed to pass, it was as if the chamber of the parliament (which appeared remarkably sparse of fellow members that day) became a scene from a school playground where the children danced with glee.

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RGOD2: A mother’s love

I am writing today’s column from Belfast, Northern Ireland, where our family are gathering to prepare for our mother’s funeral on Monday. As a very active 81-year-old, able to be in California and New Zealand this time last year, Thelma Ogle’s sudden death has hit us all like a bullet train. Though we are grateful for her long active life and the fact that she did not suffer, it is difficult to process such news and the gathering of the family is a bittersweet experience as we prepare for Christmas.

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