Tony Zeoli is a digital media strategist, innovator and entrepreneur. He founded Netmix.com, in 1995, which was considered by Billboard Magazine to be the "innovation and advancement of dance music online." He has innovated as a product manager and information architect in online music, news and fashion. Tony is also founding partner of Digital Strategy Works (netmix-co.netmix.co), a digital strategy and interactive development agency focused on building web, mobile and social products.
Here’s a follow-up Facebook comment I made to my Tim Cook post in October.
Today I made a comment about my wonderful gay friends, which was inspired by Tim Cook’s coming out post. While many in Cook’s circles knew that he is openly gay, it seems as if it was important to let America know. I just want to make sure that no one misunderstands me and thinks my post is directed at them and their views. I mention “gay marriage,” simply because it’s now overturned in North Carolina and Tim Cook’s recent post.
However, just as much as I support the right for gay (LGBT) people to marry, I also wholeheartedly support the right for anyone who disagrees with gay (LGBT) marriage to have their position and their opinion, as long as it is not Federal Law. If your religious beliefs dictate to you that marriage is between a man and a woman, then you have every right to that belief. I cannot say that my belief is any different than yours. We agree to believe different views, and that’s okay.
While we may disagree on the precept that “gay marriage” is legal and that gay’s (LGBT) have the right to marry, we will do so as friends who understand that not everyone agrees on everything. I can have my beliefs and you can have yours. I welcome the opportunity to discuss those beliefs and tell you why I feel the way I do, just as much as I would expect you to tell me why you believe marriage should be between a man and a woman.
We are all on this planet together. Not everyone is going to agree. But we can work together to understand why we believe the things we do and peacefully coexist, because as brothers and sisters on this planet, when push comes to shove, we need each others help regardless of who is married and who is not. Who is this religion or that religion. Or, who is this color or that color.
When put in a room together like those kidnapped by ISIS in Syria, it all becomes meaningless. The only thing that then matters is cooperation and survival.
This post is from my original Facebook post in October on Tim Cook’s announcement that he is gay. I corrected a couple of spelling errors and changed a few sentences, but for the most part, it’s the original post.
I’m happy that Tim Cook is letting the world know who is, but I’m looking forward to a day when the next Tim Cook never has to explain it.
You don’t see me being interviewed by CNN to ask me when I’m going to announce that I’m straight, do you? So, why gay people have this pressure to come out when really, why do we care?
I don’t want to go to a “gay” wedding. I want to go to a wedding that happens to have gay people in it, and I really don’t care if I know it or not.
I don’t want to go to a “gay” bar. I want to go to a bar where there happen to be gay people who I will hug and have a beer, share some wine, and have a conversation with.
I don’t want to fly a “gay” flag. I want to fly the United States flag, where all people, gay, straight and of all races, creeds and colors live underneath it. And, that flag protects each and every one of our rights as human beings and citizens of this country.
I don’t want to have to explain to kids in my volunteer program that no one should be bullied because they are gay. I want to make sure if any of those kids are LGBT, that they never have to hide their evolutionary and biological DNA from others.
If you’re LGBT, you’re LGBT. If you’re straight, you’re straight. If some people are not comfortable with that by now – in 2014 – let them be forever fearful of the boogeyman, the ghosts, or the day they profess the world will end. That day has come and gone a number of times!
I certainly respect the belief from some of my friends that marriage should be between a man and a woman. If that is their belief, they have every right to believe that for themselves and the community they participate in. And, if they want to guide their children in that belief, they have every right to do so. It’s part of their faith. In that, they can pursue that faith any way they want to. I just want to make sure that if they truly believe what they do, they don’t hate on someone for not living a similar world view.
A person who is black cannot change their blackness. A person who is white cannot change their whiteness. A person who is Chinese cannot change their Asian skin. We are born who we are and I believe LGBT people are born LGBT. That it is not a “choice.” It is part of their structural make-up. Some may be confused about this, because many LGBT people stay in the closet, then come out because after being pressured for so long to conform. Some people may view this as “choice.” But, it’s not choice. It’s breaking from the structure of societies predominantly straight culture.
There are people born without limbs. There are people born with autism. There are people born as geniuses. There are people born who can’t think their way out of a paper bag. There a people born who are CEOs of companies, many of whom are gay, yet we use their products everyday. They may be our teachers. They may be our hair stylists. They may be our realtors or farmers. But, because they are gay, their product or service didn’t turn you gay. You still use it. They are still incredible at what they do. You may have a friend who is gay and that friend has made a pass at you, but all you have to do is politely say that you’re not available, just like you would a straight person who is not right for you. Feelings are intense, but that doesn’t mean they are any different coming from an LGBT person or a straight person.
LGBT people are HUMAN beings. They have hearts, souls, and minds just like we all do. All they want to do is love and be loved back. All they want to do is walk this earth and celebrate their special moments with their families, their partners, their friends, and their colleagues.
We, as a society, are hurting Gay people deeply by telling them they are not allowed to be married to each other. Fortunately, this is now ending state by state because of the change in Federal law. Marriage is a social construct created by man and governments centuries ago to achieve social order. While some would say the Bible says marriage is between a man and a woman, we all must remember that the Bible was written by many individuals, each with his (or her – but not sure how many women actually wrote passages in the Bible) own idea of right and wrong. Each with a desire to shape society to their will, by writing about hearsay from centuries of chatter that was construed verbally across generations.
Let’s remember, back in biblical times, people didn’t write – they talked. They shared stories forward from person to person through discourse. Writing and books were for the elite, well before Gutenberg make publishing mainstream. Stories can change over time as they are shared forward, each time colored with that person adding their view of the world. Mouth to ear. All along this pathway the story changed and any real evidence was centuries old – left to interpretation by scholars with their own views of what a sentence might mean well after it was originally written.
The Bible was created and updated over many centuries – addendum to addendum. It was not written in one sitting, where everyone decided this is the way life should be. The bible was constructed by man as a guide, a tool, and a pathway for life lived. Each one with a different views and beliefs of what transpired before their time. In some cases, hundreds of years before, with no one to interview to correct the record.
It is a wonderful book, but it is full of references that even popes are challenging. For example, the one that says God waved his hand one day and there was the earth and then Adam and Eve. There is no more fantastical story than the story of God creating the earth in 7 days. If people believe that is actually true, then I can’t help you with that. I believe in evolution. Our world was created in space over a span of time and there is no proof that a God waved his hand and said, “Let there be light.” The power and energy of the Universe is God and God is a construct of man, because man needs to believe and follow in a higher power to make sense of the Universe.
My idea of God is an energy that somehow created a system. A galaxy of sorts. Through evolution, we are now here today. Each generation leaves us and a new generation arrives to start anew. Because whatever God is, is different to each one of us. God is different to Muslims, to Jews, to Christians, to Baptists, and to Buddhists. Everyone has a different take, so the confusion sets in as to who is right and that’s where religion fails us, as we now see with ISIS in Syria or in other fanatical, right-wing interpretations of God’s word and how people should live and behave. The Bible, the Torah, the Koran, and other scriptures are all written by man and inspired by faith. They are meant as a guide and not an absolute, but some take them as such. It’s their right to do so – to live by the book, so to speak. But that doesn’t mean I can’t have my view either.
Remember, your child can look at you one day and say, “Mom. Dad. I need to tell you something…I’m gay.” And, if your child looks at you and says that, what I hope you do is turn around and say, “Really? Great…now get back to your school work, because that’s far more important than announcing something that’s no big deal (meaning: not an issue in this household).”
In my response to someone who posted their disapproval of Apple's pending acquisition of Beats By Dre and Beats Music on the New York Tech Meetup list, I reference the fact that not only is this a good move for Apple to one-up Spotify, it's also a great move for diversity and an inspiration to kids across the country who will be inspired by Apple helping to make Hip Hop's first billionaire in Dr. Dre.
This week, Missouri's Michael Sam, the best defensive player in college football, announced he was gay, so that he could control story before it broke in the media. Dallas, Texas sportscaster, Dale Hansen, defends Sam's right to love who he wants and play the game that he loves, while highlighting the hypocrisy of and NFL that looks the other way when players behave badly.
It's difficult to make friends at a later age, especially when you don't drink alcohol or eat processed foods. When you're gluten-free, trying to cut down on sugar and you want stimulating conversation, it's more difficult to find moments where alcohol does not get in the way.
In 2002, Trax Records released an updated version of the Larry Heard classic, "Can You Feel It" originally released under the moniker, Mr. Fingers. In honor of MLK Day, I always post this version to remind myself and those in my circle of influence of the power of MLKs words. When mixed with one of my favorite house music track of all time, it takes on a special resonance.
My wife, Missy, and I are now down to eight days left of our visit to Ecuador. In just over one week, we'll be back in the United States, returning to the lives we put on hold and friends we left on November 25 to experience this most interesting and joyful adventure. While I was very concerned about our journey here and what that might do to my job prospects and other opportunities for work at home, I grew to embrace this journey as a challenge and experience and I see how its helped me grow as a person.