Stuart Milk, nephew of Harvey Milk and Equality Advocate, has said: “I love your work, which is vital to show the richness of embracing and celebrating our wonderful diversity. As Harvey would say, you’re bringing medicine into the world that the world needs! Thank you!”
I think that out of everyone in society LGBT people, especially LGBT youth, are subjected to most negative energy and the most negative portrayals of themselves and so it’s really important for us as a community to give back and to let people see that the sun can shine
“I have worked with a myriad of Harvey Milk related researchers in recent years and I wish they were all as thorough and considerate as Mr. Watters. I trust him and his workmanship implicitly. Dan Nicoletta”
July 27, 2010
Daniel Nicoletta , owner , Photography by Daniel Nicoletta
He (Harvey Milk) had great confidence in me; I really felt that the basic message was “you can do it”. He was a cheerleader first and then he would deconstruct content second. I think there was always this attention to helping somebody really feel that they can make their way. If you look at his speeches that’s there; there’s really this broad stroke that’s about positivity and confidence so you’re on the right path in terms of carrying on his work that way.
For me as a care professional, working in chem-dependency, to have any kind of guidebook that talks about self-esteem or how to keep people from committing suicide…I’m all for it. The few kids that have shown up that had suicide ideation, quite honestly, I didn’t have a template for what to tell them so I had to rely upon my intuition but I have no idea if I’m doing the right thing. I definitely feel that the therapeutic community, the psychological therapeutic community has a role to play in LGBT civil rights and I applaud you for doing this.
I was reading some of your pages on your website and I thought, “This is the antidote to my suicidal friend. If he could just read this, it would help him rephrase what he is defaulting to now.”
For young people coming to terms with their sexuality it’s really important that they have positive, high achieving role models as a way of boosting their self esteem and confidence. This kind of book shares the experience of a very diverse group of LGBT people. Individual and collective experience offers the inspiration and motivation for LGBT people to do something worthwhile with their lives and live their dream.
There are two ways you can approach not fitting in. If you get to see it as a blessing, feeling like an Outsider can eventually give you the freedom and license to create your own world, follow your own goals, and make your own reality. I’ve always thought it must be a lot harder for those who effortlessly belong – how much stronger the temptation to just blend in and be a non-questioning sheep! Yes, there is pain. Feelings of rejection, confusion, self-doubt. But think of those negatives in a positive light: you have the chance to acquire resilience, fortitude, understanding and the realization but you have one life to live, so you absolutely have the right to live it your way!
It’s no shame to get help and inspiration from others, which is why David Watters ‘Never Blend In’, is so timely.
At all times, but especially as an adolescent you need to be told “You are not alone” – there is no more positive and euphoric feeling than the discovery that others, including people of courage, genius, insight, passion, talent and charm felt the kind of feelings you feel. Especially when society, religion and the world tell you that those feelings are wrong.
I have to modify that with this point though: some people growing up LGBT will certainly want affirmation that they are not alone, but they will also (quite rightly IMHO) resist the idea that there is a “type” and that they fall into a categorisation. Such is the human paradox, yearning to assimilated and demanding to be treated as unique and apart. A part of the tribe and apart from the tribe. There are plenty of young LGBT people I know or have known who hate the idea of any sort of ghetto or connection with others. I’m Jewish and I’ll fight against anti-Semitism, but I’ll also raise issues about Israel’s violations of human rights and express my happy atheism and contempt for much of Judaism… It’s not a question of “hurrah, there’s a role model, now I know who I am and who my people are and where I belong in the world.”
Role models are described as those individuals who we ‘aspire to’ and who provide strong and achievable targets that we can emulate in pursuit of our career or personal aims. This book breaks down the common stereotypes of gay people and unveils a more realistic perspective, chronicling the success of many gay role models that others aspire to.
In “Never Blend In” David Watters has brought together a number of role models in one publication featuring successful gay artists, scientists and entrepreneurs, who share their experiences and take you on their journey. These are men and women with whom you can relate, whose stories will inspire and motivate you and leave you ready to move forward, both personally and professionally.
Be inspired by the successful members of the gay community; real men and women. Read about the challenges they faced along the way, what helped to keep them going, and what it takes to make a small business, a life, a success.
This book illustrates the breadth and creativity of gays everywhere. It is a pioneering work and the success stories of inspirational gay role models from a wide variety of backgrounds should be made available in every library, every school. These are men and women you can aspire to but who have all shown just what it takes to become a role model – determination, courage and an unwavering desire to succeed.
“Never Blend In” brings you some amazing candidates all of whom have succeeded in very different ways. They each have inspiring stories to tell about their achievements and future ambitions, yet I noticed they all had one thing in common they were passionate about what they did.
So in reality gays are still struggling for acceptance and to reach the top of the ladder. However, I think for the gay who enters the celebrity arena or who decides to do his/her own thing – they no longer have to do it at the expense of their happiness- they can do things on their own terms. For many it will provide them with the work/ life balance that wasn’t available for them in the past. It’s vital we have gays in big business and we need more gays to be there. I think companies need to realize they can’t operate without gays. But they do need to provide the very thing we all tend to take for granted – the basic right of being given the same opportunities and earning power as str8 men. We are mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, lovers, and friends. We are like you.
Anthony Spiteri, BS, MSc, PhD (Psychology)
DR JOHN R. SHAFER
The book NEVER BLEND IN is a provocative look into the lives of successful people who live in a world where the odds are stacked against us. It is important to give hope to the younger generation with diverse sexual orientations to see that we can be happy, healthy, and successful players in this game we call life. I hope by telling my story in this book, I can, in some small way, make life easier for those who march to the beat of a different drum. I am a rebel with a cause…you can either march with me, or step out of my way.
I am excited to order several copies of your book and share them with friends and family as gifts. I may try to use it with one of my classes that I teach at my college on the psychology of diversity.
Director of the Counseling Center and Professor at Franklin College of Indiana, President, Shafer Consulting Services
As one of the leading personal development and transformational coaches in the UK, Gladeana was instrumental in founding the Association for Coaching for which she now holds the positions of Life Fellow and Vice President.
The Book that David Watters is proposing is long overdue as there is little written on the topic of LGBT issues.
Positive role models are important to individuals whether they be LGBT individuals talking about their experiences or the family and friends of such individuals who can model acceptance and positive affirmation. Therapists are likely to be interested in such a book in a bid to understand the specific needs of those who identify as LGBT considering the best ways to work with such individuals and/or their families. Academics are likely to find the book useful in considering issues around diversity and, of course, the general public will also benefit as a book of this sort educates the reader. This book will also help LGBT individuals to understand their situation and consider how to develop a deep and meaningful sense of self-worth. It will also help such individuals understand how best to help those around them to understand their situation as much as it will educate family and friends.
NEVER BLEND IN, and the efforts of writer David Watters, is a brilliant collection and resource of openly LGBT and successful role models across the globe. The value to all, especially for the younger generation, is paramount. The presentation of individuals who are successful, determined, active and visible in our communities will undoubtedly inspire all who read this collection, to do better, become a better person, and strive for greatness in their lives and that of others.
The LGBT community has often been portrayed in a less than favorable light – NEVER BLEND IN rips that inaccurate veil off, and offers a face and portrait of today’s LGBT community, its leaders, history, accomplishments and potential.
Herb Sosa, Editor|Publisher – Ambiente Magazine
& President – Unity Coalition|Coalicion Unida
“NEVER BLEND IN is a vital project that is sure to make a difference in many young (and not so young!) lives. As the author of HEATHER HAS TWO MOMMIES, I have seen firsthand how important it is for children to see a family like theirs portrayed in the media. It is just as important for teenagers and adults to see themselves represented in books, in film, and on TV.
By showcasing people who are out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender and living authentic lives, David Watters is sending an important message to those struggling to come out and be out: You CAN be yourself and live a full, satisfying, meaningful, and glorious life.”–
This book is crucially important because we need to continually shed light on the struggles and adversity facing the LGBT community.
We can never become complacent in our fight for equal rights and we need to remember the trailblazers who ignited the spark for the flame of progress that burns today.
As role models following in the legacy of others like Harvey Milk, we need to stand as proud confident people and continue to broaden the path of acceptance for those that follow us.
RABBI DENISE EGER
“Never Blend In: The Legacy of Harvey Milk” is an important work that will inspire and lead at the same time. Harvey’s legacy to us is one of activism, “can do” spirit and honesty.
This project authored and edited by David Watters will help certainly reach out and touch a generation of young people who will be the ones to carry on his legacy by helping transform our perceptions of the LGBT community and lay the foundation for a healthy and whole sense of self.
Rabbi Denise L. Eger
Congregation Kol Ami
West Hollywood’s Reform Synagogue
1200 N. La Brea Ave
West Hollywood, CA 90038
…we are in the fight for our very lives. NEVER BLEND IN says that we are committed to living out in the open, as we have a right to do. NEVER BLEND IN, means never settle for second best or the notion that we are “second class citizens” I will NEVER blend in.
I always feel inspired by someone everyday. I think we should learn something new each day from anywhere or anyone. I’m inspired right now, by you, answering your intelligent questions Mr. David Watters. It’s not often I get to answer some great meaningful questions. So Bravo!!! MARCUS PATRICK
There’s plenty of times in this world where we can feel isolated and alone and anytime we can find a source of community, a feeling of being a part of something bigger than ourselves; that can provide tremendous inspiration and solace, then that’s invaluable.