My Life by Jon Galluccio

Sunday, March 16, 2014
Alice/Madison is the real star........
Posted by Jon Holden Galluccio  

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Recently (ok last night!) Manchester Regional High School produced "Alice in Wonderland".  Michael and I had been approached early if we would "help" (which translates to create ALL of them) since we had "helped" out last year when they put on "Snow White" so we said yes.  We said yes before we knew it was "Alice in Wonderland" but we also said yes after we knew it was "Alice in Wonderland".

If you live under a rock and know nothing about this show, it's unreal, literaly unreal.  Wonderland is a magical place filled with magical creatures. Not just some period drama or comedy but a totally new and unique universe that Alice explores after she falls down a rabbit hole (big rabbit)!

clientuploads/madison.jpgOnce we knew what show they were producing and that our daughter, Madison, had the title role we knew we could not turn back.  Michael and I have been sharing our own version of a magical universe for close to 32 years and I knew that making Wonderland come to life (on a shoestring budget no less) would be no easy challenge but that we could live up to it.

I sat in the audience Friday night and actually, for the first time, saw the show.  There she was Alice, our Alice, acting and singing away.  She, not the costumes, transformed me as she took me out of my seat and placed me in Wonderland.  Of course, I never actually moved but it was her pure talent and drive that made the show.  The art department was amazing with props and backdrops, the costumes were FABULOUS (if I do say so myself) but it was Madison who reached out to the audience bearing her soul and took everyone away from their problems if only for a biit and brought them to Wonderland.

As a 17 year old girl, she can be quite challenging at times.  She works/studies hard in school, she's a varsity track star, getting ready for her driving test, studying and practicing for the SAT's all while holding down a job as a dental assitant.  So I get it, I really do get it that it's tough for her right now.  However, with all that going on she took on the lead of the show and transformed herself into Alice, and by doing that took us all along for the ride.

There is no doubt that Madison has a bright future ahead of her.  She is determined and has integrity.  She actucally seems to be a rare breed these days so her journey may not be easy but as she reminded me tonight is that life is in the jorney and that Wonderland may not be all it's cracked up to be but in the end, the very end there is always love!

JON HOLDEN GALLUCCIO, AUTHOR OF “AN AMERICAN FAMILY” WITH MICHAEL GALLUCCIO AND DAVID GROFF. HE HAS THREE CHILDREN AND THREE GRANDCHILDREN.  HE RESIDES WITH MICHAEL ( HIS HUSBAND OF 31 YEARS) AND TWO OF THEIR CHILDREN IN NORTH HALEDON.  THEY ARE BOTH ELECTED OFFICIALS IN NORTH HALEDON.  JON CAN BE CONTACTED AT 973-573-4344, ON FACEBOOK: JON HOLDEN GALLUCCIO  @njgayfamily ON TWITTER.

 


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Sunday, March 9, 2014
Autistic Kid or Basketball Superstar....You Decide
Posted by Jon Holden Galluccio  

ADAM, MY HERO

clientuploads/basketball.jpgTwo nights ago, Adam's Freshman Basketball Coach, John called me.  He reminded me that Adam's possible last game he would be suiting up for was the following evening at the States Playoff's where Manchester would be taking on Glen Rock at Glen Rock.  That was how the conversation started....this is where it went.

We both began to reminisce about the lanky, slightly uncoordinated, autistic freshman that was determined to try out for the basketball team.  To be honest, my husband and I did not originally encourage him.  We were trying to protect him as we knew that although he was extremely passionate, he just didn't seem to have the skill to make the team.  He was insistent like never before exerting his new found teenage know it all and so we prepared him for the inevitable.  We prepared him for the disappointment of not making the team and worked with him for days on this.  He would not have it, he somehow knew that HE WOULD MAKE THE TEAM and that we were absolutely wrong.

We reached out to the coach, John, so that we could tell him about Adam and prepare how we could let him down with the gentlest of care.  John, however, saw something different, it was Adam's passion that was greater than he had ever seen and he would put Adam on the team.  I'm not sure if it was his idea or mine but I insisted that I attend all practices so that I could make sure he didn't wander off or get hurt or  whatever, basically I was scared and paranoid for Adam about so many things.  The biggest was how his teammates would respond to him and treat him.  I NEEDED to be there.

Much to my surprise most of Adam's teammates immediately got it, that Adam was someone special, that he needed their help and they rose to the occasion.  (ok tears are already falling so this is going to be hard and hope you put up with me)  My husband and I have always affectionately referred to Adam as Pinocchio because all he has always wanted was to be a real live boy like all the others and struggled for years accepting his Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Before my eyes, which were always peeking over the top of the book I was "reading" during practice I got to witness Adam's dreams come true.

Many of you know that as an infant Adam had changed the world.  It was protecting him that made us sue the State of New Jersey and make New Jersey the first state in the nation to allow gay and unmarried couples to jointly adopt children.  However, Adam continues to change the world by defying preconceived notions of what it means to be on the Autistic Spectrum.

So as it turned out, the Manchester Regional High School Falcons lost by one point, at literally the last second, to the Glen Rock Panthers.  It was Adam's last time in a High School Varsity Basketball Uniform.  He is still so passionate about basketball but unfortunately college is not in his future so he is probably finished as a player.  He talks about coaching etc as he copes with this new reality.

I write this today for two reasons.  First and foremost is for my miraculous son Adam.  Pinocchio no longer as Basketball Superstar will forever replace that metaphor.  I am so incredibly proud of Adam I feel like my chest could burst, HE IS MY HERO.

Secondly, I need to recognize all the staff, coaches, players and students of Manchester Regional High School that took the time to change one person's life in such a positive way.  I sat at the game against Glen Rock and listened as former players that have moved on with their lives relived their glory days as Falcon Basketball Players and it reminded me that Adam's dream will live forever so last night was not the end but only the beginning.

Finally, If I have learned anything from this experience is to listen more to our children, special or not, as they can simply amaze us in ways we will never foresee.


JON HOLDEN GALLUCCIO, AUTHOR OF “AN AMERICAN FAMILY” WITH MICHAEL GALLUCCIO AND DAVID GROFF. HE HAS THREE CHILDREN AND THREE GRANDCHILDREN.  HE RESIDES WITH MICHAEL ( HIS HUSBAND OF 31 YEARS) AND TWO OF THEIR CHILDREN IN NORTH HALEDON.  THEY ARE BOTH ELECTED OFFICIALS IN NORTH HALEDON.  JON CAN BE CONTACTED AT 973-573-4344, ON FACEBOOK: JON HOLDEN GALLUCCIO  @njgayfamilyON TWITTER.


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Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Death brings out the best and worst of some people.
Posted by Jon Holden Galluccio  

I am starting to believe that as a community, a family, a country…whatever, we have failed to address one of the most basic facts of our existence and that is that at some point we will die and those around  us will die too.  People need to understand it and not just from all the emotional angles but from legal ones as well.  I don’t know Death 101, senior year maybe.

 I have always struggled with the notion of inheritance.  I guess I just don’t believe anyone else’s money or possessions are mine and therefore have never expected anything.  I know other people feel very different on this subject and to make it clear this is not about my Mother’s death or my family secrets, I save those for books!  It’s just the general notion of how we all think differently and when we think differently we behave differently.

I will share that, my family and my in-laws had shared their wills and wishes with us years ago.  It didn’t go over easy for either but that is again because expectations differ from person to person.  That is why I believe we all need a little training……back to Death 101.

As I mourn the loss of my mother, Ann Mary.  As we lay her ashes to rest on the day 39 years to the date that my father died it is hard not to think of these things.

My mother’s most precious possession was a pair of diamond studded earrings that are nearly 125 years old.  My brother and I were going to get them for tie tacks…….tie tacks! Who the hell wears them anymore?  Instead my mom changed her mind at the last minute and left them to my daughter Madison with the wish that she would wear them at her wake and funeral.  It was just beautiful, a beautiful gesture by her grandmother and a beautiful way to honor my mother at her wake and funeral.  Not for a second was I upset that I didn’t get the opportunity to make a tie tack because I never in all these years thought of them as mine and so if she changed her mind it didn’t bother me in the least. 

I am only responsible for me and my possessions, others are responsible for theirs.  The notion of inheritance to me is as archaic as a dowry.  It’s just me and my thoughts but wouldn’t the world be a happier place if we were all on the same page.

JON HOLDEN GALLUCCIO, AUTHOR OF “AN AMERICAN FAMILY” WITH MICHAEL GALLUCCIO AND DAVID GROFF. HE HAS THREE CHILDREN AND THREE GRANDCHILDREN.  HE RESIDES WITH MICHAEL ( HIS HUSBAND OF 31 YEARS) AND TWO OF THEIR CHILDREN IN NORTH HALEDON.  HE CAN BE CONTACTED AT WWW.GALLUCCIO.COM @njgayfamily ON TWITTER AND JON HOLDEN GALLUCCIO ON FACEBOOK


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Tuesday, January 1, 2013
For my mother, Ann Mary, may you finally rest in peace
Posted by Jon Holden Galluccio  

 

It started out as many New Year's Eve's do, with celebration. I woke up early and like many days it started with me shopping.  Of course, I went overboard. We were staying home to bring in the New Year as we have for the past 17 years since we brought home our first child.  Tonight we would be ringing in the New Year with at least 5 children, two of our own and 3 of our grandchildren. My eldest would come too with her husband and friends for a few hours before they left for there own celebration at the Bonfire in Paterson.  As it would turn out two of my dearest friends would come join us as well.

 

So, the preparations went so well, the day so well. Michaell, Adam, Madison and I cleaned the house, decorated and prepared many, many treats before the onslaught at 7pm.  I did spend a lot of time distracted and on the phone.  One phone call....actually two...this day will last in time forever resonating in my heart.

 

I spoke to my mother Ann Mary earlier.  She had come back from another failed medical test and was very down as she was exhausted of the testing and prodding with never a good result.  She was tired from the day but more tired of the weeks, months, years of poor health. She told me she was not going for her next test, she just couldn't go through it. It wasn't a shock to me as she had been preparing to leave this earth for a while now, I know, she told me many times in the past few months.  

 

In fact, 3 days ago I sat in therapy and prepared for the day I would receive the news and worked for over an hour on how I would feel, act, manage that call.  That call came only hours after I spoke to her as my step-father called to tell me she was gone.  The time was 7:30 with all my children and grandchildren upstairs celebrating, I went down stairs for a moment when the phone rang.  It was a .few seconds to actually realize it was Herb sobbing and I immediately knew why.  In therapy we had never covered the actual call from Herb and his heartbreak tore at my sole more than I knew it could.  His loss was so great, his pain horrofic. As I began weeping it was for him as I hadn't even begun my own thoughts that my mother had died. At that moment one thing will remain crystal clear, etched on my soul for eternity, that Herb had lost his wife.  As soon as I hung up the work I did in therapy began to unfold before me. I barely made the top of the stairs before I broke down calling for Michael.  

 

It was Adam who heard me and ran to me. It scared him to see his Dad in so much pain and immediately ran to get his father, screaming for him announcing to everyone that Dad is crying and needs you right now.  Michael reached me in an instant followed by everyone else. Rosa, the dutiful eldest, shooed everyone else away and Michael somehow got me back downstairs. As waves of mixed emotions began taking hold of me, it was then that I new I was absolutely fine. Nothing was happening to me that I had not just only 3 days ago, by divine intervention, prepared for.  So I was back upstairs quickly to hug and comfort everyone and let them know I was ok.  Their needs to love and comfort me were great and welcome. It was my mother who had only days ago told me "You are so fortunate that you have such a strong supportive family around you all the time." She was jealous but she was proud of me for what I had created even after everyone told me I could not.

 

I took them downstairs in what now seems in pairs to talk to each one of them and allow them to process their own feelings.  This was not just my mother but their Grandmother as well.  It was harder for the older ones that knew her better and even harder for the little ones that wanted to have the same feelings as the rest of us, but the innonce of youth and the lack of knowing her well would not allow it. So as a family, we went through this together. I saw Rosa taking care of her Father so that he could take care of me. I saw Jose take care of Rosa and so on and as I also try to do at the worst points in my life, I looked for the gift and found it. My mother was right, I had a strong supportive family around me and as we all helped one another get through this we also new it was New Year's Eve and life needed to continue as it does, like it or not, life goes on even in the moment of death, life goes on.

 

I don't really know what the next few days, weeks and months will hold for me but I do know that I will get through it and I am not alone. I have my rock Michael, Adam, Madison, Rosa, Jose, Maryanna, Leila, Joselyn, Francesca and Sarah, those that were there and many more that will be coming forward and through this I cannot help but feel blessed.

 

She was ready, I spoke to her only hours before she was gone and now she is at peace and life must go on. For tomorrow is another day, whether I like it or not.

 

JON HOLDEN GALLUCCIO, AUTHOR OF “AN AMERICAN FAMILY” WITH MICHAEL GALLUCCIO AND DAVID GROFF. HE HAS THREE CHILDREN AND THREE GRANDCHILDREN.  HE RESIDES WITH MICHAEL AND TWO OF THEIR CHILDREN IN NORTH HALEDON.  HE CAN BE CONTACTED AT WWW.GALLUCCIO.COM @njgayfamily ON TWITTER AND JON HOLDEN GALLUCCIO ON FACEBOOK.


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Friday, December 28, 2012
Politics and Personalities take over Marriage Equality in New Jersey...WHY?
Posted by Jon Holden Galluccio  

clientuploads/gallucios2012.jpgI’ve been fighting for gay couples like me for a long time…..how long?  Well let’s just say Adam celebrated his 17th birthday this past September, so that makes it a very long time.  In 1997 when we won the right for unmarried couples to jointly adopt children it made New Jersey the first state in the nation to grant gay/lesbian couples equality in the area of adoption.  So to have other states grant their gay/lesbian couples marriage equality, while New Jersey still “debates” it, to me is disgusting.

Years ago, while the kids were still young and Adam had not been diagnosed on the Autistic Spectrum we did a lot of advocating all over the country, hell we even wrote a book about ourselves and our struggle to adopt.  The book titled “An American Family” was an insight to two gay men and what made them tick, flaws and all.  We were and still do expose ourselves, like lab rats to those that would condemn us and hold back that brass ring of marriage equality.  We needed and still need them to see that we have more in common than less, and that is our humanity and dignity.  We still hope to change minds through Love because we believe, as did Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  “Justice at it’s best is love correcting everything that stands against love”.

Justice is what we seek, no more or no less.  Michael  Galluccio, my California Husband, said it best “Love is what makes a family. It is not what you are but who you are.”  The LGBT community should not be denied the right to marriage equality because of what we are and we should be given freely the right to marriage equality because of who we are.  We are citizens of New Jersey, not better or worse, but equal to our heterosexual family, friends and neighbors.

In 2006, it was the State Supreme Court of New Jersey that recognized our humanity and dignity and declared that we should be treated equally but then, disgracefully denied marriage equality and allowed our Legislators to invent Civil Unions as our water fountain for marriage rights.

God has come up quite fervently in this discussion from those deniers of equality but Susan B. Anthony speaks for me when she said “I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires”  I have been quoted as saying “There was no one willing to stand up and do the right thing for our child until it got to court” but I can’t say that this time.

My humanity, my dignity, in fact the humanity and dignity of my entire community of LGBT brothers and sisters has been and is still being kicked around due to politics and personalities that do not speak to our love, to our humanity, to our dignity.  It’s their career, their photo op, their quote that seems to trump thousands of New Jersey citizens.  Good people by and large, maybe even great.  Isn’t it time to challenge the politics and personalities that have fumbled our equality so badly that even at the end of 2012 we still stand with our hearts and hands out left empty.  It is not Republicans or Democrats, it is not the Assembly or the Senate of New Jersey but both houses that should be held responsible and not just by the denied, not just by our brothers and sisters but by our family, our neighbors, our teachers, our students, our employers, our employees, our clergy, our unions…….in short all the people of New Jersey should stand as one and shout it from the mountain tops that Marriage Equality must come to New Jersey and it must come NOW!

JON HOLDEN GALLUCCIO, AUTHOR OF “AN AMERICAN FAMILY” WITH MICHAEL GALLUCCIO AND DAVID GROFF. HE HAS THREE CHILDREN AND THREE GRANDCHILDREN.  HE RESIDES WITH MICHAEL AND TWO OF THEIR CHILDREN IN NORTH HALEDON.  HE CAN BE CONTACTED AT WWW.GALLUCCIO.COM @njgayfamily ON TWITTER AND JON HOLDEN GALLUCCIO ON FACEBOOK. 


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Friday, February 17, 2012
Please Don't Veto this Family!
Posted by Jon Holden Galluccio  

Today I will begin a photo campaign to the Governor and all those in the legislature that voted against my family.  I do respect other people's opinions and I hope my opinion is respected as well.  I DO NOT however respect anyone voting to enshire discrimination against my family into law.

The photos that will be sent will speak for themselves. We are a 1st class family in NJ and would like to sit down with all those that oppose us. It's that simple!


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Thursday, February 16, 2012
A prayer for Equality

Last night I prayed to the Gods, yes Gods, yours, mine all of them. I prayed that in the stillness of slumber love would open the hearts and minds of all those that stand against it today. It was that simple. Hoping the universe delivered the message to those in need.

 

JON HOLDEN GALLUCCIO, AUTHOR OF “AN AMERICAN FAMILY” WITH MICHAEL GALLUCCIO AND DAVID GROFF, IS A FINANCIAL SERVICES REPRESENTATIVE WITH METLIFE. HE RESIDES WITH MICHAEL AND TWO OF THEIR CHILDREN IN NORTH HALEDON.  HE CAN BE CONTACTED AT WWW.GALLUCCIO.COM @njgayfamily on twitter and on facebook Jon Holden Galluccio

 


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Sunday, January 29, 2012
Do we have to rip New Jersey apart to achieve full equality? By Jon Holden Galluccio, author of “An American Family” and a Vice Chair of Garden State Equality
Posted by Jon Holden Galluccio  

Do we have to rip New Jersey apart to achieve full equality? By Jon Holden Galluccio, author of “An American Family” and a Vice Chair of Garden State Equality

Back in 2007, through a wonderful job opportunity for Michael and the magic of Disney, we packed up our lives and moved to California.  It was an extremely difficult decision to move but the job was great and California had programs for Adam that could not be ignored.  So we relocated to a lovely outer suburb of Los Angeles in the Santa Clarita Valley called Stevenson Ranch.

It was a beautiful place to live. The Santa Clarita Valley was an oasis in the desert, with new homes, shopping centers, churches, schools and roads.  People were proud to live there.  As the economy tanked and most families were suffering it was still a great place to live.  It was still an escape from the congestion, smog and overcrowding that is Los Angeles and the adjacent communities.  Soon however, even with all its beauty, it would become a very ugly place to live.

When California granted marriage rights to gay couples our neighbors, coworkers, teacheres and friends were very happy for us.  Everyone wanted to know if we were “finally going to get legally married” of course our answer was yes.

So, on an unusually cold and windy day, Michael and I were married.  We were married at our friends home and horse ranch in Agua Dulce.  Even the temperature and wind could not damper the beautiful wedding.  For us, it was a small understated affair, even dressed in our Indian wedding attire!  As we prepared for this day and when we said our vows that day we had mostly ignored what was becoming the nightmare of Prop 8.

Within what seemed to be moments the tranquil beautiful valley of Santa Clarita had become a bastion for hate.  We were vocal and public and known in the community before this “referendum” was even considered so there was no hiding now.  We stood up, spoke out and asked for people to “vote” for us, to listen to your hearts and do the right thing.  However, it is heard to listen to your heart when your ears and mind are being bombarded by hateful lies about the entire GLBT community but especially those of us with children.

The money came pouring into the state to strip us of our right to marry.  The Mormon Church and the Knights of Columbus sent millions of dollars to fund this campaign. Television commercials, billboards and lawn signs became the norm.  Our community waged a campaign to tell the truth about us but failed miserably, which I will not get into here.

I remember being on a street corner with my family and a pickup truck driving in the street pulled over, window down when a kid, maybe about 8 or 10, hung out of the window, stuck out his hand middle finger up and said “fuck you faggots”.  I was horrified.  My horror was centered at the driver, a parent, who not only encouraged and allowed that kind of behavior but was probably proud of it as well.

Kids that played carefree with my children were no longer allowed to play with our kids.  Former friends of my children would fight with them at school telling them how their parents were “fags” and going to “burn in hell”.  When trick or treating on Halloween, kids chose freely to boycott houses with yard signs that did not agree with their parent’s point of view.  Kids were choosing politics of hate over free candy, WTF?

When Prop 8 passed it was not over and will probably live on for generations in California.  So many children were poisoned by this campaign, so many horrible things ingrained in them, so many bullies created. 

There are hundreds of lessons to be learned from the Prop 8 battle in California.  The ones that will always stick with me are the lessons from the children.  Madison, at 11 years old, had to defend herself and her family on a daily basis to a community which only months before had embraced her and her family.

I never want to go through something like that again, especially in my home state.  I get that change is never easy, it’s not easy for me and I don’t pretend it isn’t easy for others. However, with so much history to help us put things into perspective, why do people continue to fight against us achieving full equality?

There is no doubt in my mind, no doubt in my heart that we, the GLBT community, will achieve full equality on the state and federal level.  At what price though?  No minority group has achieved equality without a fight and we have been fighting ours for a long time, remember Stonewall?  Our adoption victory was in 1997, 15 years ago. It might be time for our oppressors to stand aside and finally let us live our lives with dignity.

JON HOLDEN GALLUCCIO, AUTHOR OF “AN AMERICAN FAMILY” WITH MICHAEL GALLUCCIO AND DAVID GROFF, IS A FINANCIAL SERVICES REPRESENTATIVE WITH METLIFE. HE RESIDES WITH MICHAEL AND TWO OF THEIR CHILDREN IN NORTH HALEDON.  HE CAN BE CONTACTED AT WWW.GALLUCCIO.COM @njgayfamily on twitter and on facebook Jon Holden Galluccio

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012
The Inevitability of Ordinary by Jon Holden Galluccio, author of “An American Family” and a Vice Chair of Garden State Equality
Posted by Jon Holden Galluccio  

As a child, when I realized I was gay I was terrified.  I never heard anything positive in my world being said about gay people just horrible things, horribly ugly things.  A lot I heard at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church in Maywood as I sat on the Parish Council as the “youth” representative.  The Pope and the Church this, the Pope and the Church that and unfortunately for me I was too young and impressionable and it all, well, attacked my soul.  Sure by now the booze and pot were “helping” me cope but how much booze and pot can a 16 year old really get away with!  There are plenty of other sources of self esteem crushers that came my way but I mention the Church because it had inflicted the most damage.

My life story is full of adversity, highs and lows, but it still hurts me that the world has missed out on so much of it.  Of course, there was a crash course on the news about my life back in 1997 but more than that it was the ordinary things that were missed.

The most ordinary thing the world missed out on was the love story that is my life.  Having met my one true love when I was only 17, Michael and I would set out to conquer the world together.  But it was a private world, one where we could only let in those that “supported” who we were and back then there weren’t too many.  There wasn’t an internet and education was left to those that “chose” what people should be educated about and clearly our lives were not on that list.  Actually, I believe our lives are still left off the education pie….for now.  But that was back in 1982.

By 1997, we had become strong enough to face ourselves, our families, our Church, our friends, neighbors, co-workers and the State of NJ and declare ourselves ordinary.  Ordinary men that wanted an ordinary family and we would never accept being treated any other way.  It was a huge victory for us, for our son and his adoption and above all a huge civil rights victory for gays and lesbians in NJ.  Strike one profound act of discrimination off the chalk board!

There have been other victories that we were less involved in but have been victories for us all the same.  Victories with Aids funding, job discrimination, domestic partnership and even a less than stellar attempt at marriage equality called “civil unions”.

With each victory “different” peoples have been empowered to stand up and be counted and have joined the fight for the next one as have their friends and families.  In NJ there is no bigger “next one” than that of full marriage equality and I am ashamed to be a part of a state that has floundered instead of lead on this.

I remember being in a gay club around 2000 and a young couple approached Michael and I and asked us if we were “those guys” who changed the law.  When we confirmed their suspicion they thanked us and told us they just started dating but couldn’t wait to adopt someday.  OMG, Michael and I were together almost 12 years before we even discussed children!  I bring this up because with each victory the culture and not just the lgbt culture but the collective culture begins to change, to grow, to “evolve” (no pun intended Mr. President).  Clearly gay men adopting was becoming ordinary.

My point to this is that both Michael and I have spent an awful lot of our lives, running, and hiding, fighting and healing.  What might we have accomplished if when we were first together and made the decision we wanted to be together for the rest of our lives we were thrown an engagement party and a lavish wedding?  We are good people who could have used those energies on who knows what?  World peace maybe?

By ending this final frontier of discrimination against same-sex couples you will be freeing up valuable resources that when free to be who they are can truly focus their energy on making this state better.  Maybe start a small business, employ more people, pay more taxes….just a thought.

It is time NJ takes its place as an evolved state.  I mean really, do people really not see the inevitability of marriage equality in our future?  Really?

For those non-believers in equality, please go read your history books.  The same exact arguments used to halt this progress were used to try and stop interracial marriage.  And for those knuckle draggers that actually do go back and read your history books, please ask yourself if that’s truly how you want to be remembered.

Finally, I will leave you with this.  If after you look into your heart and still don’t believe in same-sex marriage than don’t marry someone of the same sex……it just won’t work out for you!

JON HOLDEN GALLUCCIO, AUTHOR OF “AN AMERICAN FAMILY” WITH MICHAEL GALLUCCIO AND DAVID GROFF, IS A FINANCIAL SERVICES REPRESENTATIVE WITH METLIFE. HE RESIDES WITH MICHAEL AND TWO OF THEIR CHILDREN IN NORTH HALEDON.  HE CAN BE CONTACTED AT WWW.GALLUCCIO.COM


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Friday, December 23, 2011
MY GREATEST GIFT by Jon Holden Galluccio, author of “An American Family”
Posted by Jon Holden Galluccio  

MY GREATEST GIFT  by Jon Holden Galluccio, author of “An American Family”

For many of us, probably most of us, the last few weeks of the year bring us so much.  So much stress, so much joy, so much sadness….an avalanche of feelings come raining down on us as we frantically shop, finish last minute business, visit family and friends, etc. 

For me, those are just the things that I add to my daily routine of working, cleaning, food shopping, cooking, cleaning again, doctor appointments, paying bills……trust me, there’s more.

So things can get a little tense around here during the holidays. This year has been no exception. 

Adam at 16 is trying so hard to be 16 and can get so frustrated and angry when he falls short.  This has always been the case but with more maturity he realizes more and more just how different he is, when all he really wants to be is like everyone else.  I think it’s exaggerated because he’s autistic but really in many ways Madison is exactly the same.  At 15 she struggles too.  My heart goes out to them as they find their way in the world.  I know it is rough.  By the age of 15, I was completely lost.

Last night, in my efforts to de-stress and create a little Christmas joy I planned a night of cookie baking.  I also bought two gingerbread kits (a house and a train) that I thought I could get Adam and Madison to do together (a little bonding perhaps?). 

You see, my two youngest children have been the best of friends their entire lives until this past year.  In my mind, cookies and gingerbread would magically make it all better.  So as I started the cookie baking they set out to create gingerbread masterpieces.  However, Adam’s definition of masterpiece was vastly different than Madison’s and it just didn’t pan out like I wanted.

Until Michael joined us and then it was magically. Within minutes of Michael sitting at the counter with us we were all laughing and having a wonderful time.  To me the castle and train are masterpieces but I doubt anyone else will see that.  It was again last night, I looked at the man I love and remembered what a gift he was to me, in fact he is my greatest gift.

He came into my world when I was only 17.  As a freshman at Glassboro State College, I was standing in the magenta and purple accented student center, when I saw him.  A gorgeous brown haired sophomore, in very short jean shorts and a TKE shirt, a short TKE shirt, came into view and I was hooked.  Whether it was lust or love at first site I can’t be really sure.  But my greatest gift was standing there, his name was Michael.

Michael has been many things to me over the past 30 years.  To say he is my rock is an understatement. He is just so much more than that, he has always been.  For everything I achieved in this world, it has been Michael that was holding me up.

For me, Michael is, was and always will be the gift that keeps on giving. So with everyone asking me over and over what I want for Christmas, the truth is that as long as I have Michael, I could be happy in a box on a street. 

My wish for all my friends and especially for my children is that you too find your greatest gift this year.  Who knows look around you may already have it.

Happy Holidays to all!

JON HOLDEN GALLUCCIO, AUTHOR OF “AN AMERICAN FAMILY” WITH MICHAEL GALLUCCIO AND DAVID GROFF, IS A FINANCIAL SERVICES REPRESENTATIVE WITH METLIFE. HE RESIDES WITH MICHAEL AND TWO OF THEIR CHILDREN IN NORTH HALEDON.  HE CAN BE CONTACTED AT WWW.GALLUCCIO.COM


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Friday, December 9, 2011
The Unimportance of Mothers by Jon Holden Galluccio, author of “An American Family”
Posted by Jon Holden Galluccio  

The Unimportance of Mothers by Jon Holden Galluccio, author of “An American Family”

My daughter Madison just turned 15.  My baby is now 15, a young lady and a quite accomplished young lady at that! The truth is that most of the time over the past 15 years Madison has basically walked on water.  She has always been one of the most caring loving souls on this planet.  Ask anyone, it is not just parental bias here.  I say that with the utmost humility because I know in many ways I am responsible for it. Michael too of course, but for this piece I’m taking credit because this is about the unimportance of “Mothers”.

Offensive, maybe but read along and hopefully you will be less offended and more enlightened for isn’t that the point of everything I write?

Michael and I, along with raising three children, have always advocated for families like ours, gays and lesbians having and raising children.  Recently, someone coined the phrase “growing up in a homocentric household” not sure if it makes sense or not but I like it so who cares, it makes sense to me and I’m the author here!

So in advocating for families like ours we have always been barraged with questions about “growing up in a ‘homocentric’ household”. “What’s it like?” “How is it different from growing up in a ‘heterocentric’ household?” For us, as gay men, there have been two questions asked over and over and over again.

The first question Michael and I resolved very early on and that is “Won’t gay men raise their children to be gay?”  Of course, our parents raised us to be heterosexual and that didn’t happen so we knew that was just ridiculous. However, in the beginning we were quoting statistics that proved that to be unlikely etc. Then during one radio interview while we still lived in Maywood (so this was early), after discussing this with Michael, I responded “So what if they turn out to be gay because of us, there is nothing wrong with being gay!” From that interview forward there was no longer a debate on that issue.  We have repeated that answer over and over and have yet to have anyone come back on that. Issue closed!

The second question has taken quite a bit longer to resolve and that is something like “Won’t your children suffer without having a mother?” Michael and I have both spoken volumes on this to our friends and foes alike.  We have given examples of all the female role models they have. We have probably even over compensated with making sure Madison had all these connections.  Last month, at Montclair State University, I watched Madison struggle with the same question as the world in general still seems very concerned about how there is no mother in our family equation.  Madison immediately spoke up about how Rosa, her 29 year old sister is “like a mother to her” and the audience accepted it, felt better about it and moved on.

I, however, did not accept it and am only moving on now as I write this.  So here’s the truth.  The un-sugar coated reality is kids don’t need mother’s, they need nurturers.  I swear to you, it is the God’s honest truth but I have never said it before for fear of offending mothers, motherhood, women, etc. While I am at it I will even go on to say that men (meaning at least me) can nurture children as well as any woman can.  A vagina is not required to nurture a child.  I am just trying to say that our ingrained bias on the whole male/female thing skews people’s view of families like ours. It’s a gender bias that in this day and age has to be addressed.  For my lesbian counterparts raising kids in a “homocentric” household I’m sure the same argument can be made for the unimportance of fathers! Again, I do not believe that one must have a penis in order to demonstrate discipline and stability for their children.  This probably applies to all the “heterocentic” families with stay at home dads and working moms too!

So I’m not against mothers because honestly my role, my culturally ingrained role, is that of a mother.  Not the noun mother but the verb.  Ok, maybe it isn’t an actual verb but by now I hope you got my point if not I will share this one more story.

When Madison was 11 (she’ll probably hate me for sharing this one!) she got her period.  This is probably the single most important experience for a female in their young lives.  When the heralding of her impending womanhood showed up, my mother was visiting and I said to Madison “Oh wait do you want me to get Nana?” and she said “No I need you Daddy”.  So for the most intimate female event in her young life she did not need a woman, she needed her Daddy. 

Her Daddy who has been mothering her since she was a baby is all she needed.

JON HOLDEN GALLUCCIO, AUTHOR OF “AN AMERICAN FAMILY” WITH MICHAEL GALLUCCIO AND DAVID GROFF, IS A FINANCIAL SERVICES REPRESENTATIVE WITH METLIFE. HE RESIDES WITH MICHAEL AND TWO OF THEIR CHILDREN IN NORTH HALEDON.  HE CAN BE CONTACTED AT WWW.GALLUCCIO.COM


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Sunday, November 27, 2011
The Galluccio Family Hits the Road!

Ever since Michael and I won our landmark court case, that made New Jersey the first state in the nation to put gay and unmarried couples on equal footing to married heterosexual couples in the area of adoption, we have been quite the public family.

Even though our families begged us to keep the kids out of the spotlight, we saw the importance of having them with us and whenever we could, we had a bouncing baby or toddler with us.

Of course, kids grow quick and as Adam was becoming more and more unpredictable, so we began doing more and more media and events as a couple without the kids, but always as parents.  We spoke at colleges and universities across the country but with us always, a huge poster of our children on a tripod and a 10 minute video to introduce us, which included home movies of the kids as well as many news clips where we were featured both a positive and negative light.

Our message was, is and always will be that are family is equal in every way to a heterosexual family.

Well, the kids are much older now and the beauty of adopting a teenager (Rosa) is that you become grandparents before all of your peers. So, after only 16 years at family building, we have 3 children, 3 grand children and a son-in-law.  A pretty impressive feat considering so many had said we could never have children!

With all that out of the way, I really want to share an event at Montclair State University.  We were fortunate enough to be asked to speak about our family by Spectrums at MSU on November 9th.  They had entitled our presentation “Growing up in a Homocentric (love that word!) Household” so we gave our prepared presentation a much needed update.

We had our 10 minute video with the home movies and history lesson play but then this time Michael and I spoke for only a brief time (20 minutes) about our history together etc.  Then we brought down our children (to thunderous applause) to stand with us.  This is when we turned it over to them and asked each of them, Adam, Madison and Rosa, questions about growing up in a homocentric home.  We had warned them this would happen and told them to speak openly and honestly and they did.

I’m not going to go into all of it right now but when they were finished we then brought down our 3 grand daughters, Maryanna, Leila and Joselyn along with our son-in-law, Jose. It was a magical moment for me.  My in-laws were then recognized in the audience and my father-in-law spoke and again….magic!

Sure, fighting bigotry and putting your family out there in the spotlight can be an exhausting scary thing at times but it is events like this one that makes it all worth it.  I hope it was as fulfilling for the students and faculty at MSU that attended, our hosts seemed pleased.  For me, selfishly, it really didn’t matter because I got a moment to see just how wonderful, how powerful the family Michael and I fought saw hard to create is.

The Galluccio Family ROCKS!

JON HOLDEN GALLUCCIO, AUTHOR OF “AN AMERICAN FAMILY” WITH MICHAEL GALLUCCIO AND DAVID GROFF, IS A FINANCIAL SERVICES REPRESENTATIVE WITH METLIFE. HE RESIDES WITH MICHAEL AND TWO OF THEIR CHILDREN IN NORTH HALEDON.  HE CAN BE CONTACTED AT WWW.GALLUCCIO.COM


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Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Shining Star, Shining Moment
Posted by Jon Holden Galluccio  

“We’re all just people and we need to learn to respect each other” – Madison Elena Galluccio

Michael and I began this crazy parenting journey back in 1994. Childless, with just the spark of a possibility, we took our first step towards making a family of our own.  It began with us, with a tremendous amount of self discovery.  For me anyway, it was really the year I grew up.  I put down the bottle, faced my past, saw my true reality and holding onto Michael for dear life started planning our future together.

There were many steps along the way….thousands.....ok tens of thousands, well there have been a lot and way too many to address right now because for me, for this story, I just want to zero in on a moment in time.  One moment from last night, but, before I go there I must take a detour.

I’ve shared before about another moment in time, a warm June evening this year. When the Galluccio family sat together at Madison’s 8th grade graduation listened to this:

"The Humanitarian Award is given to the student, who consistently exhibits genuine acts of kindness, compassion and concern for everyone.  This award is presented to (wait for it!) Madison Galluccio"

We, of course, we’re thrilled for her, for us, for life.  It was validating for us in many ways but for Madison, I think it was the push, the straw, the ounce of courage she needed to shed her pubescent insecurities and truly begin her journey towards adulthood.  Just like our journey can be measured in thousands of steps, Madison is just starting hers.

Last year, terrified and crying, she testified in Trenton for marriage equality. 

Last month, she started high school and was a wreak but immediately began reaching out to teachers and friends to start a Gay Straight Alliance as she was distraught that none existed.

Oct. 8th, she joined Garden State Equality’s youth cause and attended an Anti Bullying Training event with 6 of her friends.

Oct. 9th, cheered and celebrated, she stood center stage in front of a thousand or so people at Hudson Pride and delivered her own speech in which she asked the crowd, “If you saw a 14 year old girl on the street who needed help, would you help her?” The crowd responded in cheers “YES!” She asked again and they roared “YES!!” and then she said it “Well I’m 14 and I need your help”.  When she was finished delivering her speech I heard someone yell “Madison for President!”

The paths we choose in life vary in speed but my daughter is on the fast track.  As her parents, Michael and I have always known that Madison is going to be a force to be reckoned with. Since her earliest days she has been a shining star.  Sure she is beautiful, has incredibly hair and a smile that could melt a snowman, but her brilliant shine comes from within and it always has.

As her parents, we are fortunate enough to know what it is like to be on the fast track.  After all, how many couples can make a family that consists of three children, a son-in-law and three granddaughters in just 16 years.  So we get it and the fast track can be a rough ride.

Ok, now I’m getting to the moment I really want to share.

Last night, we (Michael, Adam, Madison and I) drove down to protest at Union High School.  Madison having attended another GSE event the night before and just finding out that her school board is meeting this Thursday to vote to implement the GSA she wants so badly was very excited but very tired.  Sometimes, as parents, our children don’t have to say anything to us, we feel, we know, our children need protection. We had that sense last night.  So even though we, along with our children, have been front and center at so many different events “for the cause of equality” last night we held back.  We held our children back.  We held Madison back.

It was a tug of war at times with the rising activist and her protective parents.  Emotional and weary she was drawn to the center, pulled this way and that and we were not comfortable. There’s no doubt had we let her go her own way she would have been ambushed by the media. Remember we’re experienced at that too.  But at this time, this night, she was too exhausted and as we were stepping in to pull her out of center stage, a reporter got to her first and pulled her to the side.  Ok she’s out of that crowd, one way or another and then I hovered over my girl as she gave her interview

Sucking it up, she spoke eloquently, succinctly and summed up an entire civil rights movement. As she began breaking down she said;

“We’re all just people and we need to learn to respect each other”  

Then I swooped in and held her, loved her. This is the moment!

JON HOLDEN GALLUCCIO, AUTHOR OF “AN AMERICAN FAMILY” WITH MICHAEL GALLUCCIO AND DAVID GROFF, IS A FINANCIAL SERVICES REPRESENTATIVE WITH METLIFE. HE RESIDES WITH MICHAEL AND TWO OF THEIR CHILDREN IN NORTH HALEDON.  HE CAN BE CONTACTED AT WWW.GALLUCCIO.COM


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Thursday, October 13, 2011
The Galluccio Family at Hudson Pride
Posted by Jon Galluccio  
Keynote Speech at the Hudson Pride Festival in Jersey City, Sunday, October 9th.  The whole Galluccio Family--Adam and Madison both spoke and Rosa, Jose, Maryanna, Leila and Joselyn all joined us on stage.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Are you awake? It's me.....Hero!
Posted by Jon Holden Galluccio  

Years, years and even more years ago, I would take people's inventory for all the wrong reasons. It was to point out flaws, to feel superior and the reality was I was taking their inventory in order to avoid my own.  Now however, after a lot of years taking my own personal inventory on a daily basis, I find that I still take note of other people and how they manage their lives, but for all the right reasons.

The difference is the eyes, my eyes. More than a decade ago, I marched passed a church that had a quote from Marcel Proust, it read " The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes."  It was one of those AHA! moments in my life, where there was some biological/psychological shift in me after reading that for the very first time.  It so happened that I was in what I call the beginning of my spiritual journey here on earth. So I began with "new eyes".  I saw a stone with a quote from Ghandi "We must be the change we want to see!" All the signs were there, maybe they always were but with new eyes I was able to see them.

I was 31 and for the first time since 13, a truly sober person. I was changing quickly in ways I could never anticipate. In ways too numerous to count (for this piece anyway). 

Now a good 16 years later I am still becoming the man I want to be, a work in progress.  Through the past 16 years, I have achieved so much for myself and for others.  There was a stretch of time I really put myself out there. I did it for my son and found the strength to walk in the boots I so easily put on for him.  I was under a microscope, standing up for my son, husband, family, community and what I believe to be "God's work" (whatever that means). The examination felt great most of the time as I received great support and affirmation on the man, the husband, the parent I had become.

But there was doubt, there was fear.  Little by little I turned myself away from the good and handed myself over,  bit by bit, to the fear inside.  Everything changed for me then. When you turn away from the light there is only shadows and darkness and I turned. It wasn't long before I was lost.  Everyone seemed happier, brighter than I was. I dropped my new eyes and picked up my old ones without ever noticing.

I was judging myself through other people. Friends or foe, famous or not, I looked to them to tell me who I was. How I got lost and how to get back. I looked for the worst in people, so that I could feel better. It was seductive and tragic. 

There is a hero inside me.  Although I stopped feeding him for awhile, he stayed there for the duration of an ugly time in my life. The hero had already been woken though and did not retreat too far this time but rather held my hand while I dealt with my most inner demons.  The hero held my new eyes for me and as soon as I was ready, he encouraged me to put them back in.......so I did.

For the past few years, my family has moved from NJ, to NY, to CA and back to NJ.  Like a caterpillar I have reinvented myself, all the while looking at life through the eyes that heal, the eyes that challange, the eyes that see. I have no regrets and resentments are few and far between and definitely not allowed to multiply. As my house is now in order, I am called upon again from somewhere deep that whispers to me softly to wake up, "it's time"  It's the hero, he's back and this time I'm jumping on his shoulders.

I am proud of who I am. I no longer need other's to define me and I let their inventory be their inventory.  I love me just the way I am today.  Self doubt tries to opine every now and again and I just thank him for sharing and move forward.

I have said yes, yes, yes to a call, to a calling. This might be the biggest YES yet. I said yes for my entire family I represent. The hero is back. The hero is me.

My son craves to be a superhero. If he can't be one then he will find one. He is constantly searching for a "real" superhero.  Today, in all modesty I will tell him the truth.....that I am a superhero. He won't understand that my super powers are my eyes.  Eyes that see love, truth and have the power to change.  My greatest hope is that all my kids learn that they too can be a superhero.

Note to self (and others)  It's all in the eyes, the eyes have it.

 

JON HOLDEN GALLUCCIO, AUTHOR OF “AN AMERICAN FAMILY” WITH MICHAEL GALLUCCIO AND DAVID GROFF, IS A FINANCIAL SERVICES REPRESENTATIVE WITH METLIFE. HE RESIDES WITH MICHAEL AND TWO OF THEIR CHILDREN IN NORTH HALEDON.  HE CAN BE CONTACTED AT WWW.GALLUCCIO.COM

 


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Friday, August 19, 2011
Sunshine is Back!
Posted by Jon Holden Galluccio  

Arriving at Camp Merry Heart, we are greeted by group of counselors including Amy.  Amy, Adam's young blonde Australian counselor, told us to wait and she would go get Adam.  Having a arrived at 1pm on the dot for pick up, not all the campers were ready to leave and Adam was still hanging in his cabin with his friends.

Within minutes Adam appeared with Amy and Reece (another counselor, this one from England).  There we stood Michael and I with Madison in between us.  As they came down the path it occurred to me that Adam would have to choose who he would go to first.  I felt for him and then I felt for Michael. So in my head I began chatting “go to Michael, go to Michael” when all of a sudden he bolted forward through his arms out in the air, reached and picked up Madison. My heart beat faster and the tears welled up.  I was so moved and so happy for both of them and then for us.  All parents want their kids to get along but this display of love was so genuine and beautiful….a parent’s dream come true. 

In a few I was back in my head a little dismayed that I didn’t even see Madison as a choice.  I was so wrapped up in “parent mode” that I couldn’t see the “forest through the trees”.  I am secure in Adam’s love for me so I wanted him to shower Michael over me.  I am usually very aware of all the players in my family, their presence, their needs etc.  I am the consummate juggler making sure everyone is taken care of.  This welcoming taught me how lucky I am to have a family full of jugglers.  I may be the consummate juggler but all the members of my family have decided to juggle the needs of one another along with their own.  14 year old girls are full of insecurities and Adam made sure that his sister knew where she stood with him.  To be able to see just how much they meant to one another at that moment in time is priceless and something I will always treasure.

Adam’s week away at camp has had a profound effect on all of us here in the Galluccio Family.  As we drove away last week, Michael had stated “I hope he learns to appreciate his parents while he’s at camp” and within minutes, in the Adamless silence of the car, Michael restated “I think I had it wrong, we’re going to appreciate Adam more while he’s gone.” So Michael nailed it, we did learn so much and most of all have learned to appreciate the role, the positive role, Adam has in all of our lives.

So as we drove away from camp Adam was reunited with his Ipod and the singing (the constant singing!) began and he has never sounded better! Welcome home Sunshine!

JON HOLDEN GALLUCCIO, AUTHOR OF “AN AMERICAN FAMILY” WITH MICHAEL GALLUCCIO AND DAVID GROFF, IS A FINANCIAL SERVICES REPRESENTATIVE WITH METLIFE. HE RESIDES WITH MICHAEL AND TWO OF THEIR CHILDREN IN NORTH HALEDON.  HE CAN BE CONTACTED AT WWW.GALLUCCIO.COM

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Adam Wants to be a Rapper!
Posted by Jon Holden Galluccio  

Adam wants to be a rapper!

Adam says “ I can say nigger and bitch when I rap right?”

 “OMG, NO and you know I hate that word!” I reply.

“What word?”

“Nigger”

“Dad” Adam says exasperated “I didn’t say nigger, I said NIGGA and that’s cool right?”

So that is how my 10 minute commute to Adam’s basketball camp began this morning.  Clearly I will remember to have 2 cups of coffee before getting in the car with him again!

I wanted to share that because spectrum kids seem to have a more difficult time with language and I’m hoping I can shed some light here because it is becoming more or a challenge.

The other evening at dinner with my in-laws, my mother in-law said “Boy are they milking her for all she’s worth!”  Adam exclaimed “What?!? They are MILKING HER?? Why?”  Of course it’s hard not to explode into a roar of laughter but when we did settle down, once again we were explaining to Adam what the “silly” expression actually meant.

Sitting at a restaurant in Little Italy with a friend visiting from California, Adam leans in to hear what Paul is asking him.  “Rate those girls at the other table, 1, 2 3” said Paul “What?” “Rate them” he repeated.  Adam looked at me horrified and said “Dad he wants me to RAPE those girls, tell him no!”

So even if an expression is clear, if it doesn’t make sense Adam will change it up to make sense.  He didn’t understand what “rate those girls” meant but he did understand when he changed the t to a p.

Now that Adam is getting older, 16 next month!, he is becoming more independent.  He’s craving more independence than he actually gets but that will change.  I wonder though how many things Adam hears that just don’t make any sense and what would it be like if I wandered the world like that.  After all it’s the same world out there but the way he needs to negotiate it is so vastly different from how I do.

I will never completely “get it” but I’m on my way to understanding just what it is he goes through. I have to remember that “his eyes” see things differently than mine and just because he’s Autistic, because he’s an individual.  The lessons I learn from Adam everyday help me to be a better person because they apply to all of us.

I will leave you with this one.  For years Adam has had a hard time with what’s real and what isn’t.  We have told him thousands of times that what you see on TV isn’t real……now he want’s us to explain the Kardashians because “they’re real and they’re on TV!” My reply “The Kardashians don’t count!”

JON HOLDEN GALLUCCIO, AUTHOR OF “AN AMERICAN FAMILY” WITH MICHAEL GALLUCCIO AND DAVID GROFF, IS A FINANCIAL SERVICES REPRESENTATIVE WITH METLIFE. HE RESIDES WITH MICHAEL AND TWO OF THEIR CHILDREN IN NORTH HALEDON.


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Wednesday, August 3, 2011
WTFNJ?
Posted by Jon Holden Galluccio  

 

WTFNJ?

Where’s the Freedom?

On a beautiful summer Sunday, we had the opportunity to attend a rally in Hoboken sponsored by Garden State Equality and Lambda Legal to raise our voices in protest.  For as our brothers and sisters were getting legally married across the river on that gorgeous summer day, we here in New Jersey are still denied the right to marry.  So we asked, “Where’s the Freedom?” or just “WTF?”

Lambda was there to announce their latest lawsuit “Garden State Equality vs. the State of NJ….” But WHY DOES THERE HAVE TO BE ANOTHER LAWSUIT?  Didn’t the Supreme Court of NJ already rule in favor of equality.  Of course they did, but they left it in the hands of cowards to enact it and so instead of marriage equality we got Civil Unions.  So even though most of the legislators will admit that civil unions did not bring marriage equality to the lgbt community we still have to fight and file a lawsuit to get it changed. 

Now, if the Supreme Court of NJ told me to do something and I didn’t, wouldn’t that be a violation and wouldn’t I be charged, held responsible in some manner?  Why can’t we make a citizen’s arrest of all of those in Trenton that ignored the Supreme Court the first time around?  I can’t imagine breaking the law and so easily getting away with it but isn’t that exactly what happened here and continues each and every day we don’t have marriage equality.  Maybe if we just held each and every one of them responsible for their actions things might change a little quicker down in Trenton.

My kids get it and it’s all about freedom.  We, the lgbt community, are not free.  We are not protected, we are second class.  My daughter saw this last year and asked if she could stop saying the Pledge of Allegiance because “freedom and liberty for all” was a lie.  We said yes as we don’t say it ourselves (we can talk about this another time).  What’s important here is that why is it taking so long and costing so much when we all know that eventually we will have the freedom to marry but until then I’ll just scratch my head and ask WTF?

JON HOLDEN GALLUCCIO, AUTHOR OF “AN AMERICAN FAMILY” WITH MICHAEL GALLUCCIO AND DAVID GROFF, IS A FINANCIAL SERVICES REPRESENTATIVE WITH METLIFE. HE RESIDES WITH MICHAEL AND TWO OF THEIR CHILDREN IN NORTH HALEDON.


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Wednesday, July 20, 2011
My cat is dying, now let's be grateful!
Posted by Jon Galluccio  

Over the past few days we have been dealing with a crisis here in the Galluccio home.  Our cat, Mercury, a large gray and white "street cat" which we adopted as a stray from Eastside Park, Paterson, 10 years ago, is dying.  So the drama here in this very high drama household is really peaking and fortunately for me, this is where I (Daddy) work some of my best magic.

Being a care taker has always come easy to me. It's a gift but like all gifts it can and has been a burden as well.  Caretakers frequently forget to take care of themselves.  It's why flight attendants have to remind parents to put on their OWN oxygen masks first before the child.  It's a simply philosophy made iconic by RuPaul "If you don't love yourself, how the hell are you going to love anyone else!"  Caretakers are no good to anyone if they are not taking care and loving themselves first.  So I've been blogging in my head since Monday when we first heard the news from the vet that our Mercury might be really sick. For me, writing of any kind is cathartic.  It releases me, soothes me, it quiets my soul.  So if you're still reading this, you are part of my process......welcome to my world!

How do I take this experience with our cat and make it a healthy experience for my family? Well, each one of them are different so each approach must be finessed for them.  For now, I will just focus on Adam and Madison.

Adam, on the autistic spectrum, requires major work on all our parts to help him through this.  He will need constant reassurance on so many levels because in some ways, he will never "get" exactly what's going on here.  Expressions like "put him to sleep" or "put him down" mean sleeping and down. He doesn't "get" the nuance of this kind of phrasing, things don't work that way for him.  Adam has a closeness with Mercury that rivals all the stories of "A boy and his Dog" that authors and hollywood have enjoyed forever.  He literally has been dragging that cat around for years and sleeping with him everynight.  When I say dragging....I mean dragging! Most cats would have hissed and scratched him to death years ago but not Mercury. I believe the cat, sometime's more than us, "gets" Adam. 

We took Adam to the vet with us on Monday.  Afterall, a very hard tumor the size of a tennis ball had us immediately concerned and we kind of knew and feared the path we would be taking.  We are trying to help Adam understand this process.  We will be utilizing a therapist as well as coaching friends, family, teachers and coaches on how to support him through this.  We are still in the early stages and we do not have to euthanize Merc yet so we, especially Adam, have some time to adjust.

Madison, being a 14 year old girl, is devastated but from almost from afar.  As she copes, she has decided she wants nothing to do with it.  It is too sad etc.  I made her look at his lump of fur that is hiding his tumor and she almost freaked.  She too needs to be part of this process.  Countless times she has shouted "Oh Mercury, I just love your marshmallow paws!"......she too is attached but she is also stoic.  Fortunately for us, there is a lot to occupy Madison.

For me, the most important part of this is teaching my children that when things seem to be at their worst, it is then that we need to find the gratitude in life for all the good things we do have.  Sure we can focus on losing our cat but isn't better to focus on the terrific luck we have in having him for a little while longer while we can truly appreciate what a great member of this family he has been.  We won't have any regrets about petting him more or giving him an extra treat because we have been given the time to get that done.

I'm grateful for so many things in my life but today I am most grateful for time.  The time to show my cat, Mercury, that I love and adore him and I will help him pass with love and kindness.  I'm grateful that we were lucky enough to have a cat that brought so much joy into our lives. He contributes to make this house a home and I will always love him for that.


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Friday, July 8, 2011
Where's NJ's wedding videos?????
Posted by Jon Galluccio  

With the HUGE legislative victory in New York and a NEW law suit filed in New Jersey, same-sex marriage talk is at a feverish pitch right now.  So, not to be left out, I too wish to comment.

For your information, I would like to quickly outline what steps Michael and I have taken over the past 29 years to "legitimize" our relationship.

1983 ish, Michael and I had a small ring ceremony in our small apartment in the heart of Hollywood, CA.

1992, Michael and I had a formal 10 year commitment ceremony in our house in Upper Grandview, NY.

1997, Michael and I had wills, power or attorney and durable power of attorney papers drafted and executed.

1998, I legally changed my name from Jon Joseph Holden to Jon Holden Galluccio

1998, Michael and I had a Holy Union Service at the Church of the Atonement in Fair Lawn, NJ on "Father's Day"

1999, Michael and I traveled to Vermont and had a Civil Union

2004, Michael and I were legally married in New Paltz, NY by Mayor Jason West, soon after it would be declared "null and void"

2007, As new residents of CA we executed our first formal domestic partnership (at a Stevenson Ranch UPS Store!)

2008, Early October was a magical moment in CA history and  Michael and I were legally married at a gorgeous horse ranch in Agua Dulce.

2008, November Prop 8 passed in CA, however our legal marriage in CA was and is honored.

2010, NJ forces us to file our taxes as a Civil Union Couple and not as a married couple as our CA 100% legal marriage is not recognized by our home state.

Of course, throughout this time we have owned homes, cars, bank accounts and everything else together. We have also adopted three children and have three grandchildren, a dog, a cat and 7 fish.

How many couples have gone through this much to solidify their union in the eyes of the law? How come I'm still jumping through hoops when my straight counterparts can get legally married on their first date?

Why has New Jersey not secured full marriage rights for the gay community even though the courts ALREADY ruled in favor of equality?? It is because of our straight allies have mostly sat idly by, that's what I think and I'm sticking to it! New York's marriage equality PR campaign was brillaint. How much positive publicity did they get with each professional athlete or politician or artist that took a few minutes of their time to video a message for equality? It moved people, it moved a republican heavy legislature!

So we do have another lawsuit filed that will work its way through the courts and I'm sure it will find in our favor AGAIN but where are our athletes, our politicians, our artists........where are our videos???  If indeed this is a culture shift then we must use social media to engage the public and unlike NY, we don't have to change a republican heavy legislature, we just have to change one heavy republican legislator.


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Thursday, June 23, 2011
Pride: Hell yeah I'm proud!
Posted by Jon Holden Galluccio  

Is there anyone gay out there that doesn't know that June is Gay Pride month?  Ok, so I'm sure there are (considering those newbies and all) but for me and in my house it is huge each and every year.  Although our participation has varied from year to year our hearts have always thumped louder during the month of June.

This June the activities that we have been involved in have been abundant.  My husband Michael has written for Jersey Pride, I have written for the Pride Guide and started writing for this blog, our kids gave a beautiful interview for Inside Jersey Magazine coverage of gay pride in New Jersey and that's just the beginning.  We have attended two pride festivals, prepared for other events and soon will be marching in the NYC pride parade with GAAMC (gay activist alliance of morris county).

While gay pride "stuff" may have been keeping us busy it has been just a sideshow here in the Galluccio home.  You see our daughter, Madison, graduated 8th grade last night.  Here in North Haledon, that is a BIG thing! June started with an overnight trip to Rocking Horse Ranch with the 8th grade class.  The madness or room assignments, packing and just anxiety was week one.  Week two's event was the 8th grade dance.  The actual prep work for that little diddy started somewhere in February when we began looking for the perfect dress! But as the event drew near all sorts of plans came up.  We tested makeup and hair, had a few dress rehersals and even changed shoes.  Week three was like, OMG we have finals!! To be honest, I forgot finals too so who could blame her for forgetting.  Which brings us to the big event of last night.....the graduation.

Before I go on, I just want to add that Adam, remember him? the famous little toddler we fought the state of NJ to adopt as a couple.  Well Adam is 15 now and autistic and NEEDS to be the center of attention sooooooo while pride and Madison were demanding our attention somehow Michael and I, a therapist, a behaviorist and a staff of angels at school were able to meet his needs as well.  What a great team we have keeping him on track!

So, I'm sure most of you have been to a graduation of some sort before so I won't bore you with the details but I will share this.  After diplomas came awards.  In the audience for Madison were Michael and I, Adam, Rosa, Rosa's husband Jose, and their three children, our grand daughters, Maryanna, Leila and Joselyn.  That's not it because Michael's parents as well as mine were sitting right there with us when we heard:

"The Humanitarian Award is given to the student, who consistently exhibits genuine acts of kindness, compassion and concern for everyone.  This award is presented to (wait for it!)  Madison Galluccio"

There isn't a soul on this planet that can question me about pride today. I have pride dripping out of each and every pore, gushing like rays of sunshine from my eyes.  Most of this feeling comes from having such a beautiful daughter, a beautiful family, but it all is wrapped up in the pride I have being a gay man that has refused to settle for anything.  Remembering countless interviews where Michael and I defended our right to have and raise children. The absurd, sometimes hateful, "facts" how we would destroy the children, the family as a whole....blah blah blah

Today I rest easy knowing that somewhere Rev. Fallwell (may he rest in...), who wanted to take our children away and find them "good moral homes", knows that Madison Elena Galluccio, daughter of Jon and Michael Galluccio recieved the Humanitarian Award. 

So am I proud to be a gay man?  I'm so proud you better find a new word for it!! So tell me, what are you most proud of this June? 

Remember if you're in NYC this Sunday June 26th for the pride parade look for us marching with GAAMC. If you can't find me, look for Michael, Adam, Madison, Rosa, Jose, Maryanna, Leila or Joselyn afterall pride is a family affair!


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