No More Gender Labels for Toys

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target gender labels I saw a post for an article on Facebook earlier today about a guy named Mike Melgaard who changed his Facebook avatar to a Target logo and changed his name to Ask ForHelp and was responding to people who were voicing their outrage about a new policy at Target to remove gender labels from the toy aisles. His responses were hilarious, and I have not laughed so hard in such a long time.

There were many hundreds of posts today made by people outraged by the news on Fox and Friends, but that’s what they do over at Fox News, they exaggerate and tell lies to make people mad enough to go over to the Target Facebook page and tell them they are boycotting.

This is what people who have been leaving comments think. They are saying it’s for political correctness. They think that Target is pandering to transgender children or parents or the gay and lesbian “agenda”, but that is simply not true. This is what they actually did. They removed the sign that says “Boys toys” and “Girls toys” and just have signs that say like, and this is just a guess, “Lego’s” and “Dolls” and “Barbie” and so on. All the boys and girls Lego’s are all in the same aisle. That’s it. I mean, how simple is that? They did the same with children’s bedding.

More than a few people have jumped from toys to bathrooms. They think that this has to do with transgender people, so they think Target is going to make the bathrooms gender neutral for transgender people. What does removing the words “boys” and “girls” from signs have to do with bathrooms? People, get your minds out of the gutter! Toys and toilets aren’t even in the same hemisphere. It’s not that slippery of a slope.

People say they are going to Walmart, well, here is some news for you, Walmart doesn’t have gender labels on their toy aisles, and neither does Toys R Us. That’s what the response has been from most everyone who has responded to these people. So by saying you are going to start shopping for toys at Walmart instead, well, I have some bad news for you.

Here’s the thing, children have their own sense of what kind of toys THEY want to play with. If you bring your child to Target and tell them to pick out a toy, the toy they choose is the toy that THEY want to play with. It’s that simple. I mean, I honestly don’t know how much more simple it can get.

If your son wants a Easy Bake Oven, are you going to say no, that’s for girls only, what is that telling your son? That cooking is only for girls? Ask Gordon Ramsey how he feels about that. My uncle does a lot of the cooking and my aunt works on the car. Are you going to tell my aunt and uncle that they have to switch gender roles?

When I was a kid, I had my own toys and my sister had her own toys, but I wanted to play with her toys because they seemed more fun. She had this one toy that was called Fashion Plates. It was a toy where you open the lid and place 3 plates in, 1 for the head, 1 for the torso and 1 for the legs. It could be a dress top with pant legs, or a blouse with a skirt. Here is a commercial I found on YouTube, but their description said Hasbro made these from 1989, but that’s wrong because my sister had her fashion plates in the 1970’s.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gH-E27Iyzxg

I loved to color, but I wasn’t very good at drawing, so it was nice to have something to make the pattern for me to color if I didn’t have any new coloring books. I colored a lot, and all of my coloring books were filled in. They didn’t have a boy version at that time, so I had to work with what my sister had.

My sister also had Donnie and Marie dolls complete with a TV studio set with cameras, microphones and outfits as well as the Cher dolls with the TV studio set and MANY outfits.

I had some cool toys too like Lego’s and I had a lot of Matchbox cars with a case and tracks. Oh and I had one of those electric racetracks that you have wired remote controls and you can press the button to make the cars go. Fun times. Oh, but I digress…

Look, kids want what kids want, and you can’t tell a child that they cannot play with a toy simply because it doesn’t match their genitalia. I mean, you’re the parent, you can raise your child however you want, but I’m telling you that if your child wants to play with toy X and you give them toy Z, be prepared for a lifetime of resentment and therapy. You can like what you like, but you aren’t the one who is going to reject a toy because that’s not what they wanted. It’s your money, throw it in the trash if you want to, I don’t care.

I had hours of fun playing with my Light Bright, Lego’s and Spirograph, which are gender neutral toys. I even had hours of fun playing with Donnie and Marie, which in my opinion should have been gender neutral toys, but because they were dolls, they were targeted to girls.

If you are boycotting Target because of this decision because you think this is a LGBT issue, let me give you some news. That computer, tablet or cell phone you are using right now was the invention of a gay person named Alan Turing. You will also be disappointed to know that Target is a gay friendly company. They sell gay pride clothing. Oh and Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, Apple and Google (who owns Android) are all gay friendly companies. So next time you are using a computer, tablet or phone, just remember that you are using something invented by a gay person.

Alan-Turing

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What Is My Main Focus Anyway?

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I wrote my memoir and published it in February 2012.  My memoir (if you haven’t read it) is about child abuse, anti-gay bullying, acceptance, heartbreak, relationships and health matters.  When I published my memoir, I created a website with a blog, a book fan page for Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Showcase Freedom with the main purpose of selling books, but also to share stories that are in the news about child abuse, anti-gay bullying, acceptance, heartbreak and relationships in the gay community.  I have never veered off course, although I haven’t been trying to sell books as much as I should, but my main focus is what is happening in the world today.

Speaking of which… Buy my book at Amazon on paperback or for your Kindle, Barnes & Noble for your Nook only and Rainbow eBooks.  30% of all profits go to charity.

Some of the things that I post or have posted on Facebook in the past have been hurtful towards some people because they were anti-religion.  I am not trying to be anti-religion, but I do post things that religious anti-gay people say or do because it is part of what I dealt with when I came out of the closet and what people are being put through today.  Those anti-gay religious people are who made me the atheist I am today.  I don’t have anything against religion itself, but I will post images, quotes and stories of religious people being anti-gay.  I don’t think I am being disrespectful, they are the ones who are being disrespectful.  You can’t expect me to not say anything and let them walk all over gay people can you?  I refuse to apologize for that.

I saw an image of Snooki with a quote of her saying this:

“There is no way I’m changing any diapers when my baby is born. That is disgusting,” she said.”That’s what maids are for and babysitters. I don’t have time for that. I’ll have them do that stuff. I’ll be there for the good parts, like dressing my son up, making sure he got style. You don’t have to cook or clean or change diapers to be a good mother.”

Some people were outraged that she would say such a thing, one person in particular got mad at me because I was attacking someone he admired by posting that on my page.  He said that my page was specifically for “the gay community.”  Don’t tell me what my page is for!  That’s my page, not yours.  He didn’t like that I posted it, so he not only stopped being a fan of my page/book, but he also unfriended me.  Look, my page isn’t just about gay rights, it is also about child abuse and this falls under that category.  Although I have seen her show Snooki and Jwoww so I am no longer worried about her being a terrible mother because she has proven that she will be a good mother and raise her child in a loving environment.  Not that she has to prove herself to me or anyone else, but my opinion of her has changed since seeing her with her baby.

Look, I am going to post things that people may not like, but think of it this way, I only post 5% of what I see in my feed.  There are so many things that I could be posting, but I don’t because I don’t want to overload people with everything that I have to see on a daily basis.  So what you see is the best of the best, even though it seems pretty bad.

Sometimes there is a story with an image of a beat up child that says in the story that the father or uncle or brother needs to be caught, then that story goes to the front of the line.  I’m sure not everyone is going to see that story or know who the child is, but even if 1 person out of 1159 sees it and knows that person or saw that person, then he gets caught and arrested because I posted that story, then I have done my duty and I won’t apologize for that.

Abraham Lincoln said:

“You can please some of the people some of the time, all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but you can never please all of the people all of the time.”

I post what I feel is appropriate.  Most may think it’s awesome while one might think it’s the worst idea ever.  See quote above.

I am sorry if someone doesn’t like something that I post, but I won’t apologize for posting it.  I may have had a reason for posting something.  If I agree that what I posted was offensive, then I usually remove it, but if it’s not offensive then it stays.

That guy who unfreinded me over the Snooki post said that I was supposed to be anti-bully, but I was being a bully.  Every time he commented on any of my posts, it was almost always a nasty or rude comment.  He could never say anything nice to me, but he was calling me a bully.  While I was still his “friend” on Facebook, every time I saw him comment on anyone else’s post, it was always a nasty or rude comment.  So I ask, who was the bully?

My main focus since I began has never changed.  If the day ever comes when people are no longer beating up children or are no longer bashing gay people then I won’t have anything bad to post and I can start posting images of panda bears, baby penguins, babies and kittens.  I would love it if that fantasy ever came true.  Until then…

A conversation and a response about The Salvation Army’s anti-gay policies

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Yesterday I was happy to participate in a live web conversation via Google Plus Hangouts with the Huffington Post Live.  You can see that conversation here.  I also added the video directly to my blog here.

I was able to tell my story about what happened to me 30 years ago when I was in the 6th and 7th grade about how they excluded me from Sunday School with the other children by giving me Sunday School in a little room.  I also shared my story about what happened to me 25 years ago when I was homeless and in the Salvation Army homeless shelter and when I came out of the closet to one of the volunteers who told me to never ever speak of it because the church would kick me out of the shelter if they found out.

Today I got an email from the producer (I don’t know if she’s a producer, but happy promotion day to you lol) of the show asking for my permission to pass along my email address to a communications director for the Salvation Army who was concerned about what happened to me.  I gave my permission and it wasn’t too long before I got the email.  Here it is.

Dear Michel,

Thank you for providing your contact information. You shared some time last evening with Major George Hood on the web broadcast hosted by Huffington Post . We were concerned by your account of not receiving help from the organization.  We have made a commitment to review such circumstances. So we can research this incident and follow up as necessary, we were wondering if it would be possible for you to provide us with more details, including names of Salvation Army personnel involved, specific dates and locations surrounding the events.

We are sorry for any pain this may have caused you. Thank you for any information you can provide.

Thank you again and take care,

Jennifer

It was nice to receive an email from them wanting to resolve what had happened to me, but the wounds have healed and I have moved on with my life.  I only share my story because it happened and people sometimes need to hear the negative things that people went through in their lives, which is why I wrote my memoir.

I responded:

Dear Jennifer,

Although I did feel hurt and pain back then and over the years, the wounds have healed and I have moved on, but still thought it was helpful to share my story anyway.  

The incident that happened when I was a child happened 30 years ago.  I don’t have any names or addresses or any other information because I was just a child.  I was driven and I never paid any attention to where the church was.  So in that case I really cannot provide any information.  It happened so long ago that I’m sure those who were involved are either not living or aren’t with the church so the point is moot.

The second incident was with the Salvation Army in Simi Valley of which I again don’t have any names or dates except that it happened 25 years ago from January to May of 1988.  Again, the wounds have long since healed and I just wanted to share my story of what happened.

I don’t find it necessary to hold anyone responsible because I don’t want anyone to get into any trouble.

Susan who was also in that show needs more resolution than I do because her story was 2 years ago.  So I think if anyone should be helped it should be her and not me.

Thanks for your concern,

Michel McDonald

“Diary of a Gay Nerd: Life After Child Abuse, It Gets Better!”

She did respond again telling me that she was happy that the wounds have healed and that I have moved on.

One thing that irritated me in the show was Major Hood’s statement that gays are allowed in the church, as long as they NEVER HAVE SEX!!!  I wasn’t on there to argue with anyone or to cause a ruckus, and by the time I got to speak I had totally forgotten that he had said that.  Karel and I both had a reaction of laughter when he said that that was not seen in the show, and the reason we laughed is because it’s such a ridiculous thing for anyone to say.

You simply cannot tell someone that it is okay for them to go to their church as long as you don’t have sex.  That’s preposterous.  First of all, it’s none of the church’s business who is doing what behind closed doors, so telling someone they can’t have sex is just the dumbest thing ever.

So if you are gay and you go to their church and you tell them or they found out that you were sexually active, are they going to kick you out of the church?  Isn’t that still discrimination?  Yes it is!  So how can he say they don’t discriminate if they still kick you out for being sexually active?  Discrimination is still discrimination.

Anyway, that’s all I wanted to say about that.  I want to keep my blood pressure down.  I just wanted to do a follow up of the experience and to show the conversation I had with the Salvation Army.

The experience with the show on Huffington Post Live was awesome and I would do it again in a heartbeat if asked.

By the way, I won’t tell you not to donate money to them because they do help people.  But what I would like to suggest is that if you are a member of the LGBT community and you would like to make a donation, please make it to an organization that needs your money more than a church that probably gets billions of dollars every Christmas.  I donated 30% of my books profits to 3 charities (so they each got 10%) which are the Bakersfield Gay and Lesbian Center, who by the way is hanging on by a string, they need donations desperately, way more than the Salvation Army does.  The Bakersfield AIDS Project “Ricky’s Retreat” which is a hospice run by an amazing woman Audrey Chavez.  And PFLAG Bakersfield which I encourage everyone who is LGBT and/or friendly to join.  So if you can spare some money, please donate it to a charity that actually needs the money.

Thank you for reading.

Free Giveaway for Christmas with Goodreads

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Goodreads Diary of a Gay Nerd Giveaway

I published my memoir “Diary of a Gay Nerd” earlier this year in February 2012 and gave away 30% of the profits to my local LGBT charities in October.  I gave away some books for my birthday in June and I wanted to give away another book for the Winter Holidays, so here is your chance to get a free autographed copy of Diary of a Gay Nerd.

I wanted to thank all of the people who bought my memoir and also thank them for being so supportive all year on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter  Google+ and Showcase Freedom.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Enter to win and on December 10th a winner will be chosen and I will sign it and ship it out the very next day so you get it long before Christmas.  Good luck!

My Birthday E-Book Giveaway

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From May 20th to June 2nd, I had a giveaway on the Goodreads website as my birthday present to you.  I was humbled by the response that I got when I saw that 328 people wanted to win a free signed paperback copy of my book.  I wanted to offer an ebook giveaway as well, but Goodreads only allowed paperback giveaways, so I am offering the ebook giveaway here on my blog instead.

If you want to win a free ebook, all you have to do is leave a comment, it’s that easy.  Just tell me what ebook reader you have, Sony, Nook, Kindle, android, iPad, iPhone, iPod or whatever you own and WordPress will choose 2 winners at random from the comments.  The free giveaway begins today and will end at midnight on Friday, June 8th 2012.  Make sure you enter a valid email address because that is how I will send the file, and make sure you give me your name so I can sign it to you as well.

Good luck 😀

I have a comment spam filter which will automatically delete a comment if it looks like spam.  So if you are a real person who wants to win my ebook, please use your real name and your real email address and don’t use any links in your comments otherwise it will be considered spam.  Just type in your comments what device you have, thank you.

Update: Thank you all for playing along.  There were 2 winners Jason and Angelica.  I am in a good mood and since only 3 people played, I am giving all 3 of you an ebook for your device.  I will email the winners and let them know when the ebook will be ready.

My Goodreads Book Giveaway

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Guess who is turning 4?  Er um I mean 42?  It’s ME!  So for my 42nd birthday, I want to give some books away to my Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and my Blog friends.  How do you get book?  Enter at Goodreads and you could win one of two signed paperback books that I am offering.  Enter for your chance to win today.

Diary of a Gay Nerd by Michel McDonaldGoodreads Book Giveaway
Diary of a Gay Nerd
by Michel McDonald

Released February 02 2012
Giveaway ends in on June 02, 2012
2 copies available giveaway details » Enter to win
 

I Haven’t Been Blogging As Much As I’d Like To…

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I spent every waking minute on the computer on Facebook browsing through all of the posts that have to do with gay rights issues and I don’t give myself any time to blog.  My intention for creating this blog was to voice my opinion about those issues, but instead I end up sharing them on Facebook along with my 2 cents.  I also haven’t been on Twitter or Google+ either because Facebook takes up all of my time.

I would love to start reading actual books again because I would love the distraction.  I started reading Heaven Cent which is a Xanth novel before I started writing my book, but then my book distracted me from that and I have yet to finish it.  I did read 100 Frogs by Alice Badler before I finished editing my book to give me a break from my own book, and her book is an amazing book and I suggest anyone who is using any dating sites or are thinking of using them to read her book first and find out how she experienced it.

Anyway, getting back to my original thought… lol.  I would like to start blogging again so don’t give up on me yet.  I may not blog daily, but I will do what I can when I can think of something to go on a rant about lol.