Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Death of DOMA Day!

By Robert Hudson Westover

Added June 26, 2014 on the one year anniversary of Death of DOMA day:

One year ago today, the day the U.S. Supreme Court struck down DOMA (or most of it). Tom and I were waiting outside the white marble court house edifice with thousands of others. Two reporters published some of what we had to say. Our quotes were picked up in media outlets around the world that day.

 Posted by Elizabeth Dunbar, NPR 6/26/2013 4:53:10 PM June 26, 2013 at 12:53 PM
  • "Being openly gay in America has been a very huge challenge. You're still seeing discrimination and obstafication within the cultures of corporate America. You can see it's starting to change with young people... It's very different now for young people, how they interact with you. It's not really changed with folks who are our age."
    "It's very exciting, rewarding. It's been a long journey"
    "Young people hopefully (won't face discrimination). It will be much more of a normative environment."
    "I remember... when my gayness was as bad as a bad perfume. This is all stuff that I've lived through."
    "I'm going to be able to be on my husband's health care plan in terms of health care benefits. That's huge.”
    - Tom Fulton, 55, Public Affairs, D.C.
    Posted by Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 6/26/2013 4:54:54 PM June 26, 2013 at 12:54 PM
    "We now have federal rights. I burst out into tears when this decision..." trails off, choked up
    "The United States is the most powerful nation on earth. The last time the most powerful nation  in the world allowed gays to not be persecuted was Rome. Fifteen hundred years. Think about that. Fifteen hundred years of oppression... This is a dramatic change in the history of the world and it can't be understated."
    "We first got married in West Hollywood about 12 years ago. It was the only city in the entire country at the time that allowed gay marriage... We attempted to get married in Massachusetts... but they didn't have reciprocity so we couldn't get married because we lived in the District. So we went and got married in the District. That's our journey."

  • Robert Westover, 49, Public Affairs, D.C., married to Fulton in 2001 

The original posting from last year:

My Flag Waving Hero!
My husband, Tom Fulton, was at the Supreme Court in 1986 protesting the horrible Hardwick ruling. He said the treatment of Gay protesters that day was so bad that the cops wore plastic gloves so as not to have to come in contact with "The Gays." 

What a difference 27 years makes! 

Tom and me right after the ruling on DOMA 
Today, the horrific and discriminatory so called Defense of Marriage Act was overturned by five Justices of the United States Supreme Court. These enlightened and wonderful Justices deserve the LGBT community's unending gratitude and they will no doubt receive the adoration of posterity. 

But what about those four losers Jackass Justices?

I don't know where to begin, so I'll focus on the one Jackass Justice I have actually met. And by doing so would like to point out the cowardice and particular narrow mindedness of this man, The Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, John Roberts. 

Two years ago Tom and I attended an intimate Christmas concert at the Dunbarton Church in Georgetown. The Chief Justice and his family sat directly in front of us in the small edifice. 

During intermission Tom approached Mr. Roberts, and with the audacity of a man oppressed by men like Robert's his entire life said, "I really hope that when a case on Gay rights reaches your court that you won't vote against my rights as a equal citizen of this country..." 

You could have heard a pin drop. 

Unfortunately, but predictably, this misguided man of letters did exactly as expected and has now joined those on the wrong side of history--think Dred Scott, Mr. Roberts (et al). 

Tom being interviewed by the world press after
the death of DOMA!!!
So here's a proud Marine's OOORAH to my flag waving Gay Rights activist husband who has been fighting for our rights since the 1970s! And has never once hid in the closet! I love you so much! 

You are my hero!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Oh Happy Day! This Man Gets Into The Spirit!

Recently, Tom and I went to Howard Theater's (in DC) Gospel Brunch with the Harlem Choir performing. Toward the end of the program, the famous Gospel group began to sing "Oh Happy Day" and invited all those who knew the words to sing with them on stage. Although he gets stage fright, Tom jumped at the change to sing what is one of his favorite spirituals.

He thought he was just going to sing along with the chorus.

To his (and my) surprise, the acclaimed performers asked him to center stage and handed him the mic!

Almost like a scene in a movie, Tom starts out slowly (and nervously). But he gets into it and wham, just as the lead singer reaches for the mic, Tom let's lose and gets the whole audience into it! It was such an incredible and spiritual moment.

My husband is a star--but I always knew it!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Beware Trogs! @lordwestover Twitter Site Has Over 4000 Lordiacs

By Robert Hudson Westover

The Vast Estate (and me!) are very pleased to announce that the Lord Westover Twitter account, @lordwestover, has over 4000 followers, or Lordiacs, as I like to refer to fans of His Lordship.

So, you may ask, why did I start the Lord Westover Find Your Inner Nobility performance art piece?

It all started many, many years ago when, as a young Trog, I was introduced to a woman who changed my life. She gave me a gift that has sustained me throughout my life for which I am eternally grateful. This gift was an awakening of something we all have within us: our inner nobility.

A high-born Russian countess (for real), this woman, Olga C Morgan, was uniquely qualified to take a very rough-hewn character and make him into someone who would lead a productive and useful life.

It could have so easily gone the other way (really easily!)

Unidentified Trog (believed to be this Steven Tyler person)
Attempts to congratulate His Lordship upon hearing
the news of the growing followers of @lordwestover Twitter Site
Since Olga’s passing I find myself constantly drawing on the wisdom she imparted to me to guide decisions, shape my behavior and most of all, to provide me strength. I now realize this noble teaching, this framework of higher life ideals, can be used by others to help them overcome their own life challenges and ignite the spirit of inner nobility that burns within.

And it can be funny, too!

As an artist, I sought out an array of ways to bring this noble awareness to others. Then it hit me! Why not use comedic (that means funny) performance art? What better way to see the impact on fellow Trogs but to actually witness it! (Of course, Lord Westover is not a Trog, obviously.)

I started with a Nobility Oath based on Lowell’s Be Noble quote and created the character Lord Westover to administer it. I then recruited others (seriously, I did) to play the roles they most thought brought out (or didn’t!) their inner nobility.

We “opened” our first “performance” at the Jon Stewart Rally on the National Mall (that’s Washington, DC, not the Mall of America.)

The impact went far beyond our expectations. I named our performance art piece Find Your Inner Nobility and it received national attention with many wanting to take the Nobility Oath!  

Later that year I then created a blog and developed the Ask a Lord column taking “questions” from both “noble” and “trog” alike. The timing could not have been more appropriate for shortly thereafter the horrific Tucson shootings of Congresswoman Giffor, her staff and bystanders, shined a white-hot
spotlight on the growing incivility taking hold in our national discourse.

That year, the Washington Post asked readers to submit their one minute “State of the Union” address. Lord Westover’s speech, addressing incivility, was one of only three to be posted by the newspaper and by far received the most hits.

Our next installation (of sorts) was to take the concept of Inner Nobility to a medium most familiar now to American audiences: the reality show venue. We called it American Monarch  (yes, I know, it congers up so many amazing images!) and created a ten minute “sizzle real” and a “promotional” trailer.

At the same time both comedic and profound, I think Find Your Inner Nobility breaks new ground and goes to the core of why so many of us want to be and do good things (really, most of us do).

Discovering one’s inner nobility has very little to do with the bling (well, not entirely) and societal positioning (ok, maybe not entirely) that Lord Westover possess. It has everything to do with the intrinsic desire we all have in us to be noble as we best understand what nobility means to us.

Here’s to four thousand more Lordiacs!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The 57th Inaugural Ball!

An inside look at the Commander-in Chief's Ball

I had the privilege and honor to serve as a team captain for the President's Commander-in Chief Ball. My crew was incredible. We sailed through the night without a single mishap! We looked at this honor to serve President Obama as a gift to the First Family and we delivered!

The following is a link to a short music video I put together to share with others what an incredible night it was to be an American! Semper Fi team!!!

Go to video:
Inaugural Ball for President Obama!

Peace, Robert

This letter, my life-partner wrote to the Washington Post about my service at the event, really says it all about why I dedicated so many hours of my time to serve President Obama at his second Inaugural:

I want to tell you about my life-partner.  He recently received exciting news from President Obama’s inaugural committee. Out of “thousands of qualified and enthusiastic applicants,” they wrote in their acceptance email, my partner, Robert Hudson Westover, was selected to serve as a team captain for the Commander-in Chief Ball.

Under any circumstance, to be asked to serve in such an important venue, managing dozens of volunteers, would be an important duty and a solemn honor, but for my husband (we were married in DC on Nov 17, 2010 after living together in a committed relationship for ten years), it was almost surreal.  That’s  because when he served in the United States Marine Corps in the late 1980s, before Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, not only could a Marine be discharged for being Gay, that discharge could be a Dishonorable one.

And, sometimes, those discovered to be Gay were beaten so severely by “fellow” Marines, that a medical discharge was given instead—or worse—some were even killed. It was indeed a dark ages for the Marine Corps.

Robert almost became a victim himself. Fortunately, probably because he was a third generation Marine, a call from his mother to Pentagon investigative services ended what could have been a personal catastrophe for Robert.

But the most amazing part of this story isn’t Robert’s fortitude during his crisis but his ongoing and unflinching dedication to the Marine Corps and the time he served which is still what he terms “The proudest thing I’ve ever done.”

As you can imagine, back in 1987, as he feared for his future, Lance Corporal Westover could not have imagined that 25 years later he would be serving as an openly Gay team captain for the President of the United States’ very own Commander-in Chief Ball. As First Lady Michelle Obama said on the election night in 2008 “This is a great country.” A big OOORAH and Semper Fi to that!

Tom E. Fulton