Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Equal Rights Blog Hop: What Being Part of the GLBT Community Means to Me

I am a proud participant of the Equal Rights blog hop, taking place here and on dozens of other blogs July 4-7, sponsored by

I had to give the central question for this blog some thought because I've been a member of this community for more years than I care to publicly mention. It's hard to say because it's such an integral part of my life that I seldom really give it much consideration. It's kind of like someone asking me what having green eyes or brown hair means to me. It's simply a fact, neither good nor bad, dependent upon what I choose to do with it.

Once upon a time, when I was coming out in my early 30s, though, it meant very much to me.

  • It meant freedom to at last lay down the shield and the sword, so I could stop fighting who I simply was. 
  • It meant heartbreak, because in my confusion and despair over being gay, I created a family that was destined to break apart, and that hurt me a lot. 
  • It meant possibility, because now I would have to forge new paths and take new directions. I would certainly have to face challenges--both personal and on a larger, more political scale. 
  • In the end, it meant love.

Would I ever find it?

In the end, I did find lasting love (married--legally--on December 9) and I am now a happy member of this community, a person who has struggled to be at peace with himself and to embrace what makes me unique and different. These weren't easy things to come by. But good things never are.

In honor of the hop, I will give away my most heartfelt "coming out" story, OUT ON THE NET. Just leave a comment below to be entered to win. I'll announce a winner over the weekend (and please leave me an e-mail so I can contact you if you do win).

Ray Tolliver has bad timing. Cold feet? It doesn’t get much worse than accepting you’re gay twenty minutes before your wedding to a woman, yet that’s just what happens.

Join Ray as he recounts in his blog the hilarious and touching events that lead him on a journey toward true love. Although he originally starts looking for love in all the wrong places, will he eventually find another man who wants more than just quick sex? A man who appreciates romance, hearts, and flowers? Or will he find that self-acceptance and bliss do not always go hand-in-hand?

And what of Alice, Ray’s lovely, jilted fiancĂ©e? Will she find it in her heart to forgive the man who left her at the altar?

These questions and more are answered in this unique love story, told in the form of blog entries. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, but you’ll come away with a renewed appreciation for the power and difficulties of loving not only others, but yourself...

To win even more prizes, check out all the other blogs dedicated to the theme. You can find out what the grand prizes are and who else is participating, on the Equal Rights Blog Hop page.

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  1. I believe in freedom. The freedom to be who you want to . The freedom to speak your mind respectfully. The freedom to simply be. There is not reason that I can think of where people should be persecuted for who they are!

  2. What a fantastic story, Rick! I'm so glad that you and your partner were able to legally marry--you guys look great together! Congratulations!

  3. Thanks so much for the great post, Rick. And another big congratulations on the happy marriage. : )

  4. Wonderful post, Rick. Congratulations to you and your partner.
    Love all your books.

  5. This is a really lovely and touching post. I was very much struck by the contrast you drew between now It's kind of like someone asking me what having green eyes or brown hair means to me. It's simply a fact, neither good nor bad, dependent upon what I choose to do with it and how things were for you when you were first coming out.

    Additionally, I would like to congratulate you and your husband on your recent nuptials!

  6. Very inspiring post--all the best to you both!


  7. Wonderful post. I love the blurb of your giveaway - oi, what timing to have an epiphany, lol. ...Oh, and congratz on the wedding!

  8. Thank you for sharing.

  9. i believe in our freedom .our poor fathers frought and won our freedom to protect it the best they can. we have the rights to write any thing we want. if people read its find. if not then can not read it .but stop someone to find the freedom and express it .its wrong they have all the rights to do that by signing paper or pro test. we done it in the 60's and 70's .some was peaceful and some was not. but the constution says we the people of the united states..... our rights are protected by this. and now people want to destroyed this paper that our country frought died and wrote to keep it alive and use. marriage to a person either gay or not should be equal to every one .all of us have the right to happeness like our poor fathers have done for the last 200 years. and we have the right to married anyone we love in our hearts

  10. Thanks for taking part in this hop and giving us a chance to win. Great post!
    Dorome at gmx dot de

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. I'm just a few chapters into your new sequel to "Chaser", "Raining Men" and I'm really enjoying it! Congrats to you and your husband! Hopefully we'll have marriage rights here in Illinois before the year is out.

    Tom Scruggs

  13. You live in my neck of the woods, and I remember jumping up and down so happy that Washington voted for legalized gay marriage, so happy in fact I went down to the court house and handed out coffee and hugs to those waiting in line for their license. I will never forget it, it meant my best friend could get married to his love, but more importantly it meant finally having equality to those in the LGTB community which such a wonderful feeling.

    dbfield22 at msn dot com

  14. Thanks Rick and Bruce for sharing your lives with us. As a straight woman, I was welcomed into the LBGT Community in 1965. I witnessed, nursed and buried some of my dearest friends. All through the worst times, I was and still am humbled by the strength, perserverence, kindness and LOVE that has been extended to each other and to me. PRIDE has always been within the community. Now it is visible and being acknowledged in the main stream. Never forget those who forged ahead and who dreamed and fostered and fought for June and July, 2013. Congratulations to ALL!
    Ann Alaskan.

  15. Congratulations on your marriage, and the legal rights that come with it. Thanks for sharing your story with us!

  16. No one should have to go through the pain to be who they really are, but I'm so glad you continued to fight and have found what everyone deserves - love and happiness.

  17. Great post, I appreciate you sharing your story.

  18. Great post! I enjoyed reading it. Everyone should be free.
    Debby236 at gmail dot com

  19. Thanks for sharing your story and the giveaway.


  20. Wonderful post. Thank you for sharing your opinion and feelings on what it means to you to be a part of the GLBT community. Also thank you for sharing with your own happy ending (or should I say new start?).

    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

  21. I've seen your marriage photos and they were lovely :)


  22. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, Rick. I'm so glad that after all your struggles and heartache, you found the love of your life and the happiness you deserve. :D

  23. Great post & Congratulations


  24. It's so beautiful that, no matter how many years it's been, you found the joy of being who you are, authentically and without apology. I'm so glad that led you to your husband and even more joy.

    Thanks for sharing!

    caroaz [at] ymail [dot] com

  25. I guess that's part of what i love about the Queer Community: it knows, and it'll save a place for you til the time is right. And then: watch out! ;-)

  26. Always happy to have an opportunity to read another of your books. Thanks!

  27. I really enjoyed your post. Thanks for the giveaway.
    sstrode at scrtc dot com

  28. Out in the Net sounds great. I'm glad you found your true love, and I wonder if you know that you were married on Donny Osmond's birthday? (One of those childhood facts I can't forget, don't judge me too harshly!) Anyway, thanks for being part of the blog hop.

  29. Congratulations on your wedding and thank you for the giveaway. I very much enjoyed Chaser and look forward to reading more of your books.

    aahickman at

  30. Thank you for your post and for participating in the blog hop. Congratulations on your wedding!

    awindandbooks at gmail dot com

  31. I loved your story Rick, I'm so glad you got your HEA :)


  32. Hey Rick

    I'm a hopeless romantic. Thanks for telling us your story. Congrats on tying the knot.

    yinyang1062 at yahoo dot com


  33. Thank you so much for participating in this important hop. Congratulations on getting married!

    SophieBonaste at gmail dot com

  34. I'm glad that through your struggles you were able to find love and marriage, your own HEA!
    OceanAkers @