Honey Ward

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Honey Ward was born and raised in Southern California. At the age of 26, she participated in The Advocate Experience, a transformational weekend workshop (later renamed The Experience), founded by Rob Eichberg (author of Coming Out: An Act of Love) and David Goodstein. “My life lit up like a light bulb,” Honey says. Honey soon began facilitating The Experience programs. After Rob Eichberg and David Goodstein passed away, Honey was named the heir to the work. Since that time, as a public speaker, seminar leader, corporate trainer, and program facilitator throughout the United States, Honey has led hundreds of events, touching thousands of lives. Simultaneously, she has supported many additional people through personal and professional success coaching.

The Experience was one of two founding organizations of National Coming Out Day (celebrated every year on October 11), and its graduates were instrumental in its success, especially in the early years. 

Over the years, Honey also developed herself as a Reiki Master, Certified Hypnotherapist, and Qigong Instructor, and deepened her skills through the study of energy medicine (EFT/SET), breakthrough communication, NLP, and much more. In the early years of the AIDS epidemic, Honey was involved in creating one of the first well-being programs for people living with HIV/AIDS. Her goal in all her endeavors has been to make the world a better place, and support people to tap into their own innate reservoirs of love, truth, and wisdom. According to Honey, when this happens, “sparks fly, hearts open, and the world starts to live up to its possibility.”

Honey and her wife Sandy Davis lived for three decades in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In recent years, they have become “international vagabonds,” exploring the world year-round.
Natalie Tsui: We're rolling.
Michael Brewer: Okay. Hi honey. First of all, tell me your name and your spelling.
Honey Ward: Honey Ward, H-O-N-E-Y W-A-R-D.
Michael Brewer: Okay. Also, tell me your partner's name and tell me your relationship and also, spell her name too.
Honey Ward: Her name is Sandy Davis, S-A-N-D-Y D-A-V-I-S, and she is my wife.
Michael Brewer: [00:00:30] Okay. You ready?
Natalie Tsui: Okay. It's perfect now.
Michael Brewer: Okay. Tell me, because you were saying tell me, Sandy is my wife.
Honey Ward: [00:01:00] Sandy and I have been together for 21 years, just about right now. This month is our anniversary, on the 17th and we have had the opportunity to marry on two different occasions once with a large gathering of friends and family from around the country, 130 people in a relatively big formal-ish ceremony that was three days of events. When it became legal, we got married again right here on our backyard.
Michael Brewer: Wonderful. Okay. Also, I'm just saying about that picture. In the picture, there's three of you in that picture. Who is the other in the background?
Honey Ward: Our dog, Scout.
Michael Brewer: [00:01:30] Okay. They're not going to hear me. You just say, the three of us in the picture-
Honey Ward: The three of us in the picture-
Michael Brewer: Okay. The three of us in the picture, it's me, Sandy my wife of 20 How many years?
Honey Ward: 21 years.
Michael Brewer: Sandy-
Honey Ward: And Scout.
Michael Brewer: And Scout who is, however his age.
Honey Ward: In that picture of the three of us, it's myself, of course, and then Sandy who is my wife of 21 years and our wonderful dog, Scout, who's 10 years old.
Michael Brewer: [00:02:00] Okay. Now also, I'm gonna ask you your birthday.
Honey Ward: I was born on December 5th, 1952.
Michael Brewer: Just tell me where you're from and where you grew up.
Honey Ward: [00:02:30] Okay, sure. I was born on December 5th, 1952 in Upland, California, small town where my grandfather had a hospital, so my sister and I were both born in his hospital. We grew up in El Monte, California which was a suburb of Los Angeles and I lived there for the first half of my life and I've now been here in Santa Fe for 28 years.
Michael Brewer: Okay. Just tell me, your grandfather is a doctor and just tell me about your family.
Honey Ward: [00:03:00] When I was a little kid, we lived in a property with a lot of land and we had horses and it was great. My parents divorced when I was four years old and my mom was a working mother. She supported the family. We didn't get to spend as much time with her as we wished but we had great times when we were together and my dad interestingly, my dad was gay. We didn't know that when I was a young child but that of course informed a big piece of his life as well.
Michael Brewer: [00:03:30] Okay. I'm just wondering two things. If you were four years old, who watched after you?
Honey Ward: [00:04:00] When we were four years old, my sister was eight and I was four so she always took a lot of responsibility for me. Her name was Phoebe Ward, she passed away about four years ago. She took a lot of care of me and mother always had people who worked at the house and took care of us as well. There was always somebody around taking care of us and we had relatives as well, aunts and uncles, my grandparents were out on Ontario.
Michael Brewer: Tell me a little bit about your grandfather. Just tell me his profession-
Honey Ward: Yeah. My grandfather Use profession and?
Michael Brewer: Yeah. My grandfather was a doctor. Just tell me again, did you live that he had a hospital-
Honey Ward: [00:04:30] Yeah. My grandfather was a doctor. He and my grandmother moved from Minnesota to California back in 1910 and he was he had a home in Ontario, California. Let me start that again. My grandfather and grandmother moved from Minnesota in 1910. They lived in Ontario, California and he and some other fellows started the hospital, San Antonio Community which is in Upland, California nearby where their home was.
Honey Ward: [00:05:00] That's how my sister and I happen to be born there. We spent a lot of time there with our grandparents especially because mother worked in the summertimes, we would spend weeks and weeks and weeks there and mom would come out on the weekends and we'd get to share time together and she'd go back to work.
Michael Brewer: Okay. I still want to hear you say that your grandpa was a doctor. Wait a minute, you just tell me your grandfather was a doctor and that you lived on a place with a lot of land and horses and just paint that picture.
Honey Ward: [00:05:30] That wasn't where he lived. That was where we lived.
Michael Brewer: Okay.
Honey Ward: Okay. They lived in an urban kind of neighborhood.
Michael Brewer: But near you?
Honey Ward: No, it's about an hour away. We went out to that community in order to be born at his hospital. My grandfather was a physician.
Michael Brewer: Okay. Let's say, my grandfather was a physician and he had a hospital. It was about an hour away and so we were able to visit and see him pretty often.
Honey Ward: [00:06:00] Okay. Yeah. My grandfather was a physician and he was a partner in a hospital called San Antonio Community, out in Upland, California. When my sister and I were born, it was there. That was about an hour from our home in El Monte, San Gabriel Valley area and we spent a lot of time out there with them especially because my mom worked in the summertime, we would spend
Honey Ward: [00:06:30] be there for weeks and weeks and mom would come out on the weekends and then we would stay during the week mostly with my grandmother.
Michael Brewer: Great. Your grandfather wasn't the obstetrician?
Honey Ward: No he was not an obstetrician.
Michael Brewer: Okay.
Honey Ward: No, but he wanted to make sure that everything went right for his grandchildren, and it did.
Michael Brewer: Okay. Now, you tell me about your father and you moved away and then you tell me-
Honey Ward: [00:07:00] Yeah. When I was four, my parents divorced and one of the big factors in that, which of course we didn't know at the time as children was that my dad was gay and he, like so many people of his era, married thinking that he could not be gay, that he could make that work. Ultimately, it didn't as is the case for so many people. Fortunately, now that ...
Honey Ward: [00:07:30] nearly everybody is out more and more these days, we don't have people who get married thinking, I can make this work because there's only one picture of how to do life. For my dad, there was only one picture of how to do life in his era so he pretty much left after they divorced. We had very little contact with him. He ultimately got into a great relationship with this wonderful guy who now lives on Molokai. My father has passed away and his former partner is someone whom we visit when we go to Hawaii.
Honey Ward: [00:08:00] We go to Hawaii most every year and we get to share a day or two with Michael there.
Michael Brewer: How did you find out? I know at four years old, you didn't know that your father was you can say that. Yeah, four years old, I didn't know, but tell me how did you find out?
Honey Ward: [00:08:30] Of course, at four years old, we didn't know that our father was gay but I found out actually from an uncle who told me and my sister because he thought it would help us make more sense of what happened and why my dad was gone really. He came back into our lives later but there were many years when he was virtually gone and so my uncle thought that that would be more comforting for us to have that information than to not have it.
Michael Brewer: Okay. I want to hear, now your uncle told you eventually, he told you. How old were you guys when he you can say, my uncle told me-
Honey Ward: [00:09:00] My uncle told me when I was about 13 I think, so early teen. To tell the truth, I'm not sure that it made things better. It made things a little bit more confusing because I wasn't sure how all of that was going to play out and I wasn't sure what that meant.
Honey Ward: [00:09:30] I knew who gay people were, but we didn't have a strong foundation around that when I was growing up of really seeing people who had fulfilling and happy lives who were gay. It was confusing to me to get that information. My mom was upset that the information had been shared with us so there were some family drama that went on around that but it wasn't unusual in our family to have some drama now and again.
Michael Brewer: [00:10:00] Okay. Now, you were 13 and that's puberty, you're a teenager, a young teenager?
Honey Ward: Yeah.
Michael Brewer: What was your life like?
Honey Ward: When I was 13, I was a really smart kid. I did well in school without much effort.
Honey Ward: [00:10:30] That did not work well for me as I got older and it required more effort to do well because I never had developed great study habits. I was pretty active in school things, I was always very active in music, I sang, was in choirs and active in sports as well. I was sort of an all-around vocal tomboy kind of kid. At that point, I didn't realize that I was gay, which is what we called it back then, before the whole alphabet soup of our community came about. I call it the gay BLT.
Honey Ward: [00:11:00] I didn't realize that about myself at that early age, but as time went on over the years, I noticed that my attraction was more to girls than to boys although I dated boys as most people did certainly back in the day but I noticed more of who I was attracted to and that kept leaning more toward girls.
Michael Brewer: [00:11:30] Was there a moment when I think I'm going to make a move?
Honey Ward: It was really a process which I think is how that is coming out isn't an event. It's a process. It's got different phases to it which is one of the things that we teach in the experience workshops.
Honey Ward: [00:12:00] For me, I was having this realization that that was how I was feeling, that was where my attractions were and then I met a woman who was great and she was older and she was out and all of a sudden, the pieces started to fall into place and things make more sense. We were actually in a relationship for seven years. That started when I was 19.
Michael Brewer: Okay. You are still living in Upland?
Honey Ward: [00:12:30] No. I lived in the Southern California I lived in the San Gabriel Valley area and she lived in the same general vicinity so I moved in with her and we had a great life for seven years, working, going to school and discovering more about how to be a grownup.
Michael Brewer: Okay. Now, what time period is this?
Honey Ward: [00:13:00] When I was 19, it would have been 1971.
Michael Brewer: Okay. In the '70s.
Honey Ward: Yeah.
Michael Brewer: That was a time when I remember things like the Vietnam War and there was drug, sex and rock and roll and you were coming out and finding yourself.
Honey Ward: Yeah.
Michael Brewer: Was there a community or how was that?
Honey Ward: [00:13:30] It was interesting. Because I was in a relationship with a person who was older, even as a late teenager, 19, 20, 21, I was in a more adult world that had an organized gay community. It wasn't a political gay community, but it was a group of people who got together who did brunches were a really big thing, we would have dinners, we would go on outings together.
Honey Ward: [00:14:00] There was a whole community that I got to be a part of as a young person of people who were older than I and so I actually grew up pretty fast in my gay world.
Michael Brewer: Okay. Let's see. You went to school?
Honey Ward: I did.
Michael Brewer: What did you study?
Honey Ward: I studied music and art. I was passionate about choral music.
Michael Brewer: [00:14:30] Just tell me, when you went to school, what school you went to-
Honey Ward: Yeah. I went to school at Rio Hondo Junior College which is in Whittier, California and Cal State Fullerton. I studied music and art. Vocal music was always one of my passions. When I was 16 and 18, I was able to travel to Europe with a group called the Southern California Youth Chorale which was a topnotch choral ensemble of young people from throughout Southern California...
Honey Ward: [00:15:00] and we went on a one-month choral tour of Europe and I got to do that two times. That was a really significant part of my adolescence.
Michael Brewer: Okay. This was when you were in your teens?
Honey Ward: [00:15:30] Yeah. That was when I was 16 and 18, so really formative kinds of time that I got to go on these tours. The choir would be about 70 students and we would do a wide variety of music from show tunes to spirituals to high quality choral music from the ages. It was just great.
Michael Brewer: Were you out then?
Honey Ward: [00:16:00] No. The time when I really started coming out was at age 19 and those choral tours were 16 and 18. I had interest in people, I had inklings, I had some flirtations but I wasn't really out and I certainly wasn't out in a public way. I was in the personal phase of the coming out process where I was really thinking about what did that mean to me? Was I gay? Was I not? What would my life be like if I were? I was dealing with all of that and it wasn't out further in a more public way at all at that point.
Michael Brewer: Any boyfriends along the way?
Honey Ward: [00:16:30] Yeah. I had some boyfriends along the way, dated nice people, not anybody who was ever the one for me, but I had great times with people and we would do all the kinds of fun things that young folks did. Mostly, they were people who are involved in the music groups with me.
Michael Brewer: But no conversations about how the kind of conflict or any kind of-
Natalie Tsui: [00:17:00] There's like a piece of white dust here that I just want to remove.
Honey Ward: Thank you.
Michael Brewer: Okay. Were there any conversations that you shared with-
Natalie Tsui: Sorry.
Honey Ward: It's okay.
Natalie Tsui: Okay.
Honey Ward: Nice. Conversations about what?
Michael Brewer: [00:17:30] About maybe you in terms of how you were feeling about them or how you were feeling about women or girls?
Honey Ward: [00:18:00] When I was dating boys or young men, I was dating them and we didn't have conversations about sexuality. Actually, we probably didn't really have conversations about sexuality. We had fun; we went out and did things with people. We went out on dates and it wasn't until as I mentioned, I was 19 and I got into my first significant relationship, that was when I really started having those kinds of conversations with people.
Honey Ward: [00:18:30] As I was saying, I wasn't out to people who weren't gay. I was in that phase. That wasn't a conversation that I had with the young men that I had dated.
Michael Brewer: Okay because I hear from some people, some people say that they knew at an early age or that they were different, maybe they didn't know quite how but at some point, there was even in a conversation with themselves, it was a process that they came to understand. With you, was it like that at all?
Honey Ward: [00:19:00] Yeah. There were certainly that personal It felt pretty challenging. Is this true? Is this not true? What does it mean if it is, if I am a lesbian? What will that mean for the rest of my life? Will my family reject me?
Honey Ward: [00:19:30] All of those kinds of thoughts were there for me. That was just really my personal processing. That wasn't conversation that I had with other people at that time.
Michael Brewer: Okay. Once you did decide to live your truth, how ... Did your sister it wasn't a secret then I guess-
Honey Ward: [00:20:00] It was a process. Coming out is a process. For most people, unless you're Ellen DeGeneres, it doesn't happen in one big moment when the entire world knows it once. It's a process and for me, it was as well. It was a challenge actually for my sister when I came out because she was also a lesbian and she was four years older than I was and she was not out. My coming out put pressure on her especially with family in areas that she had been not communicating about.
Honey Ward: [00:20:30] When I came out to my mother, it was, as I think I mentioned earlier, it was pretty dramatic. My mom had a flair for the dramatic anyway but she was very upset and she had things very tied up, having been married to a man who was gay, there was a lot going on for her. She was pretty upset and over time, we worked through that.
Honey Ward: [00:21:00] At the same time, my mom had a lot of gay friends. She had gay employees, socialized with gay people so it wasn't as though we didn't have gay people around our lives and it was different when it was her kid than when it was just folks at work or social friends which is understandable. She had her own process to go through. We all made it. We all made it to the other side together.
Michael Brewer: Okay. Just some clarifications. Now, your older sister was gay?
Honey Ward: Yes.
Michael Brewer: You didn't know it?
Honey Ward: I did.
Michael Brewer: [00:21:30] Okay. You knew that as you were growing?
Honey Ward: She was just a little bit ahead she was four years ahead of me so I did know that she was gay based on the relationships that she was in that I observed so I did know that but she didn't talk about it, and she certainly didn't talk about it with the family.
Michael Brewer: [00:22:00] Okay. Now, did you ever think that it's something that runs in the family? Did your mom think that your dad had something to do with it?
Honey Ward: In terms of what my mom thought about that, I really don't know and she's now deceased as is my sister as is my dad. I'm the last one standing.
Honey Ward: [00:22:30] I don't know what she thought about that piece of it. I just know that it was really difficult for her and she did not handle it gracefully and it caused an estrangement with us that lasted for some time, several years and then we got to the other side of it. At one point, she lamented that I didn't spend more time with her and I said, "If you want me to spend more time with you, you need to be nice to Sylvia. If you'll be nice to Sylvia, we will come around more.
Honey Ward: [00:23:00] It's as simple as that." It didn't happen overnight, but it started to happen.
Michael Brewer: Now, is that common then for was that different for the family members generationally to all have similar lifestyles?
Honey Ward: I'm not sure I understand the question.
Michael Brewer: [00:23:30] Okay. I guess some people say things maybe are genetic or did you ever was that true or not?
Honey Ward: There are studies that show that there are some genetic bases for sexual orientation. Truthfully, I've never really cared about that one way or the other. I think sometimes, when people can say that's a genetic thing.
Honey Ward: [00:24:00] There's a quality about that that feels like, I'm not responsible for it because it's genetic like my blue eyes? It's not like that for me because ... Certainly not now. Early on, I may have had more of those questions but now, what I know is this is just one of the gifts that I have in this world. The work that I've been doing for decades, the relationships I've been in, the experiences that I've had.
Honey Ward: [00:24:30] Were I not a lesbian, I wouldn't have been able to have those. I would've had some other great thing I'm sure but this is part of the gift that I'm here with for this lifetime so I'm thrilled about it.
Michael Brewer: Okay. Now tell me some of the things that you got involved with the experience in helping people. Now, okay, you're in your late 20s.
Honey Ward: [00:25:00] In 1979 when I would have been 27, I participated The first thing I did was to get on the board of the lesbian and gay chapter, wait a second, when I was about 26, I got on the board of the lesbian and gay rights chapter of the ACLU which was I think one of the very first ones was in Los Angeles. I began to become more of an activist and then I was introduced to this program which used to be called the Advocate Experience and then became the Experience over time.
Honey Ward: [00:25:30] It was all about living more powerfully about personal transformation in the context of the lesbian and gay community and that was revolutionary. Nothing like that existed. The very first workshop was in 1978. I participated in 1979 and it was a weekend that changed my life, literally changed my life. The way I viewed myself was different.
Honey Ward: [00:26:00] One thing that I had not expected in any way was at that time, I was a pretty heavy smoker and it was something that shifted for me through the course of that weekend that afterward, I was a nonsmoker. I went from two packs a day to nothing by participating in this workshop. That was another way I knew there's something really important that can occur here.
Honey Ward: [00:26:30] That really shifted the trajectory of my life. Once I participated in that workshop and I became active as a volunteer, I was really using the material. We have a model of consciousness that gives tools that you can expand from powerless and depressed all the way through every level of consciousness to powerful and empowering.
Honey Ward: [00:27:00] Knowing that we have the ability to relate to circumstances from any of those states of consciousness gives tremendous freedom and I had no idea of that before I participated in this workshop. In some ways, it was magical and I volunteered, I went on staff as an administrative kind of person, director of operations and then finally, I trained with Rob Eichberg who was one of the cofounders to lead the workshops. For the last several decades, I have been fortunate to lead the experience, workshops in cities all around the country.
Honey Ward: [00:27:30] That started in about 1989 was when I first started leading the events and Rob passed away in 1995 so I really ended up being the heir to this important work.
Michael Brewer: Okay. I have a couple of thoughts. One, do you see anything? Any moisture on this side?
Natalie Tsui: Wait. Hold on.
Michael Brewer: Okay. Just do that. That's it.
Natalie Tsui: [00:28:00] Okay.
Michael Brewer: Okay. On one hand, I'm hearing that you were not very talkative about who you were and then all of a sudden, you found something that connected with you.
Honey Ward: Yeah and they were years that passed in between them because I was in that relationship for seven years and through the course of that relationship, I was becoming more and more out,
Honey Ward: [00:28:30] ...but didn't really have it integrated yet for myself but I was becoming I had a larger and larger circle of friends, lesbian and gay friends, people to whom I was out, was becoming more comfortable in relationships with my family, that was all evolutionary. Then when I was introduced to this workshop, I thought, wow, there's something that the people who have done this seem to have going on for them.
Honey Ward: [00:29:00] Have you ever seen a glow or a light or something that people have got? I wasn't quite sure what that was but I thought whatever it is, I want it in my life too. I want to benefit from whatever that is. That's how I showed up for that workshop at the Long Beach convention center back in June of 1979 with 100 other people. It was a big group.
Honey Ward: [00:29:30] As I was saying earlier, it really changed my life and then my life began to become more integrated.That was one of the key things about the development of the lesbian and gay community especially back in the early days. People weren't out. People were out like I was in gay bars, people were out in gay restaurants, people were out with their gay friends but people weren't out at work.
Honey Ward: [00:30:00] People weren't all out with their families. People weren't comfortable going to places if they thought, we might be the only gay people there. It just wasn't comfortable then in the way that it is now and so part of what the experience has done and offered to thousands and tens of thousands of people is offer that opportunity to integrate
Honey Ward: [00:30:30] ...who we are so that we don't have our work-life selves and our home-life selves and our family selves, that who we are is one integrated being. When we have The Experience and we can express it, then that's when we are as powerful as we can possibly be. Otherwise, it's like playing ball with one hand tied behind your back. You just can't do it.
Michael Brewer: [00:31:00] What do you attribute to the fact that now, people are out publicly like if you see the difference between 2018 and 1971, what do you think are some of the main things that attributed to that change?
Honey Ward: There are a lot of different factors of course that have added to the change that has occurred over the last decades, certainly since the early '70s in my experience and now in 2018.
Honey Ward: [00:31:30] I would say a fundamental piece throughout all of it is that process of coming out. What we know is that when people know that they are related to, they work with, they go to church with, they have some relationship with members of the LGBTQ community,
Honey Ward: [00:32:00] ...they are more likely to be positive about equality on our issues. One of the most important things that we can do and that's always been key is to come out. That's why The Experience organization was one of the two founding organizations for National Coming Out Day.
Honey Ward: [00:32:30] That was an event or a project that came out of the there was something called the war conference. After the March on Washington in 1987, there was a gathering of 200 leaders from the community in Virginia and they agreed on something called National Coming Out Day that that would be a good idea. Rob Eichberg who had founded along with David B. Goodstein, the Experience and Jean O'Leary who founded the National Gay Rights Advocates.
Honey Ward: [00:33:00] They agreed to be the co-chairs and their organizations would take this on and make it happen and so they did. In 1988, was the very first National Coming Out Day and it has built since then, started with a very small operation and a very small footprint but a big vision. The slogan was, take your next step, and that's one thing that everybody can do on the road to empowerment is take your next step.
Honey Ward: [00:33:30] It wasn't, what's the biggest thing you can do like Ellen did on her TV show? It's a perfect example. It wasn't that. It was, what's one step you can take? Who could you tell? Who could you support? Who's having a hard time? What's one thing you can do? Everybody can take one step. That's how National Coming Out Day started and how it built and how it's continued to grow.
Honey Ward: [00:34:00] Now, it was headquartered here in Santa Fe. Starting in 1990, my second partner, Lynn Shepodd was the National Executive Director and it was headquartered with a big kickoff event, 200 people right here on our backyard in 1990. Then over a few years as it continued to grow, it was ultimately folded into the Human Rights Campaign
Honey Ward: [00:34:30] ...which had more muscle and more opportunity to really take it to the heights that it has reached now but it started just as an idea at a conference and I would say that there is nothing more fundamental to our being able to live powerfully than coming out. That doesn't just apply to the LGBTQ community either because wherever our secrets are, that's where we'll hold ourselves back.
Honey Ward: [00:35:00] In a workshop, one of the introductory things I ask people to share about in addition to what they want to get out of the workshop and other standard things you might imagine is what don't you want us to know? People will always say, why in the world would I tell you what I don't want you to know? The reason is that if you tell me what you don't want me to know, then there's nothing in between.
Honey Ward: [00:35:30] You won't guard yourself in sharing with us because whatever that thing is you're worried that we're going to find out, whatever it is, once you let us know it, you can relax. You can just participate, so people start telling their truth early on.
Michael Brewer: Okay. Just tell me what was the people that don't know, just tell me the March on Washington was in '87 and tell me what was-
Honey Ward: I'm sorry, I don't understand the question.
Michael Brewer: [00:36:00] When you said the March on Washington, that's when people got together and started National Coming Out Day.
Honey Ward: Yes.
Michael Brewer: Tell me, what March on Washington?
Honey Ward: Okay. In 1987, there was a second or some would say, a third March on Washington for lesbian and gay rights. As a result of that march, a group of community leaders from throughout the country, 200 of them came together of what was called the war conference, it was in Virginia.
Honey Ward: [00:36:30] They were able to agree on the importance of coming out and the idea that having a National Coming Out Day would be a way to encourage folks to take their next step which was the slogan, take your next step, but it would also give people the kind of visibility that if all of a sudden,
Honey Ward: [00:37:00] ..everybody saw somebody was wearing a National Coming Out Day t-shirt or somebody was coming out to them and it happened all on one day that it would give momentum to that idea of living powerfully and telling the truth.
Michael Brewer: [00:37:30] That piece is succinct and clear. Very nice. Okay. Now, I'm just going to ask you and you've said in so many ways, but what advice would you give to someone who is maybe not sure, who's conflicted as to who's thinking about coming out?
Honey Ward: I think the most important thing anyone can do if you're feeling conflicted about sexual orientation or gender identity, that's really the frontier now is with our transgender brothers and sisters that
Honey Ward: [00:38:00] ...what's the most important thing to do is to sit with yourself and listen for what your truth is. I believe that we know what our truth is. We grow up in a culture that has socialized people away from living their truth unless it fits a particular norm. The truth is for most of us, that norm doesn't really fit.
Honey Ward: [00:38:30] For me, when I grew up looking at television as a child, there would be these families on TV, they were a mom and a dad and a couple of kids, not too many kids would look like you had sex too much and they were usually white people unless they were help or staff or something and then you would have people of color and they were always straight couples.
Honey Ward: [00:39:00] Now, that fits for some folks but for little dykes growing up like me, that didn't make all that much sense and not everybody wants to have a house in the suburbs and a picket fence. Some folks are more urban, some folks are gay, some folks are people of color, there's all different ways we show up. I think for people to take time and I really do mean time, to have space, to be in touch with what's true for us
Honey Ward: [00:39:30] ...and then to begin to communicate about that and I think beginning to communicate with people who you believe will be of support to you is important. That's why organizations like PFLAG have been so important in our community because PFLAG which is parents, friends, families of lesbians and gays has existed for decades now
Honey Ward: [00:40:00] to give parents as well as other relatives as well as the affected individuals themselves a place to go and be supported in community meetings where folks can show up and just be who they are and there are all kinds of support groups at community centers and things like that that are available as well. Coming out groups are available. One of the important things about the PFLAG organization is that it addresses the needs of families because when we come out, we're very self-centered.
Honey Ward: [00:40:30] We think it's all about ourselves because, of course, it's our own process but what we don't often realize is that our parents, our siblings, our aunts and uncles, our grandparents, they have their own process to go through and they tend to go through it faster than we did, that's my experience. They tend to go through it faster than we did but they still have their own process.
Honey Ward: [00:41:00] PFLAG has been a great group for many years for family members to kind of get their bearings and feel supported. The experience workshops that I've been leading all of these decades is another great place for family members and friends to come. Well it's not focused solely on members of the LGBTQ community, it does have a basis of welcoming everyone.
Honey Ward: [00:41:30] We always have a majority of people in the workshops who fit into that community, but we have a lot of other people who want to come to and they get just as much for themselves as anyone else because it's really about telling the truth about your experience, about living more powerfully. There's no one community who has a lock on being held back from that. We all have ways in which we hold ourselves back and we could all be bigger and bolder and brighter.
Michael Brewer: [00:42:00] That leaves me to ask what advice would you give to a parent whose child has come out and they don't know I know that they have these organizations to help guide the way but what can they do personally as individuals would you advise them to do, to deal with what they're going through and inside?
Honey Ward: [00:42:30] I know that when parents receive the information from their children that the child is gay, it can be quite a big piece of information. It sets the parents into thinking about themselves. Is there something maybe they did wrong? Is it a failing as a parent? Were they not stern enough or did they do something else wrong?
Honey Ward: [00:43:00] Did they let their kid hang around with the wrong people? Parents are so prone to feeling guilty about whatever happens with their children and being gay can be a big deal in people's lives. I encourage parents to be more loving of themselves first of all, to realize that it's not something that they did. It's just who their child is and the most important thing they can do is to love their child. I've gotten phone calls from people.
Honey Ward: [00:43:30] I remember a woman in Michigan who called and said, "My teenage son just came out to us and so we want the whole family to come do the workshop because we want to figure out how to do this the very best way we can. We don't want to give a hardship to him because he's already dealing with something big." Parents look for resources sometimes when they're in touch with the fact that really, family is all about love.
Honey Ward: [00:44:00] When their child takes the risk to share something that important, then to the best degree possible, to meet it with love will further the relationship, will give the child the information that I'm okay, the people who are key in my life, they say I'm okay so I must be, and that's one of the biggest gifts you can give children.
Michael Brewer: [00:44:30] Okay. Now, you mentioned that one of the exercises were for people to tell the experience, talk about the things that they don't want to share. What are some, I don't want to say techniques or some things that you facilitate, what goes on? You said it's like a two-day-
Honey Ward: Three-day.
Michael Brewer: Three-day but it's the experience that changes people's lives.
Honey Ward: Yes.
Michael Brewer: [00:45:00] Give me an idea of what goes on.
Honey Ward: Okay. The Experience is an amazing event. It's a three-day workshop where when people arrive, they go into small groups of eight or so with people they don't know so they have an opportunity to really let the barriers down, they're not sitting next to their partner or their mom or their best friend, they'll be with people they don't know. We want to create an environment of safety for people to share.
Honey Ward: [00:45:30] Through the course of the three days, we do a variety of exercises, some with the whole group of eight or the whole group of 50 or 60, however many are there for the workshop, some things that are really individual. We do meditations where people can look at their experiences from childhood and adolescence and notice what happened, also notice what decisions they made about themselves in their lives because those are two very different things.
Honey Ward: [00:46:00] When you can look at it from the point of view of the adult that you are now as opposed to the child that you were or the adolescent when the event happened. All of a sudden, sometimes it opens up in a way and gives you a greater sense of freedom and you don't feel caught in the loop about what that was that occurred. We also look at the different ways in which we relate with one another about leadership, about support, about following and being a part of a team and a group and what are the barriers there?
Honey Ward: [00:46:30] What gets in the way? How can we let those go? We have this model of consciousness that I just love. It's called the Consciousness Measuring Scale and it's got 10 levels to it. Because we in fact can relate to circumstances from any of these 10 different levels and when we have an awareness of choice about it, we will then more consciously choose higher levels of awareness.
Honey Ward: [00:47:00] I'll give you an example. The least powerful state is powerless and depressed where you might find yourself feeling shutdown, grieving, feeling like a victim, feeling like there are persecutors after you. When you finally screw up your courage to start to stand up for yourself, you move into what we call the aggressive state of consciousness where you find yourself feeling angry, you're ready to take on the world but from an angry place.
Honey Ward: [00:47:30] When you decide to let go of that aggression and see if you might produce results in a different way because you know when you're angry all the time, you tend to hit brick walls a lot? When you look at, if I let that go, then what? Then we're uncertain because we know how to do it from this angry place but we don't know how to do it any other way. You have to just look at your options and make your best choice.
Honey Ward: [00:48:00] Now, you've expanded to responsible where if you do things and it produces a result you wish it didn't, you might feel guilty, you have a sense of responsibility, some people talk about that as the ability to respond in that state of responsible. Going along in that mode, ultimately, you expand what we call aimless where you know you could go along and responsible forever but it's like that old Peggy Lee song, Is That All There Is? Where is the oomph? Where is the pizzazz? Where is the joy in life?
Honey Ward: [00:48:30] When we create a vision and expand out of that aimless state, then we're in risky. In risky, we're more out on those skinny branches where we're not sure how it's going to turn out but we know that we can be responsible and we can keep being a player and we continue to build through the normal state of consciousness where we'll feel confident, enthusiastic, cheerful and abundance, we start to notice the beauty in everything around us. Not just the things we love because that's easy to notice, but even the beauty in things didn't work out just
Honey Ward: [00:49:00] ...the way we wished or the circumstance we wished hadn't happened. All of that is included in what we call the powerful and empowering state of consciousness. Here, the primary attitude is one of love. When we hold things in the big enough space, then even when these other attitudes and emotions occur in life _ which they will _
Honey Ward: [00:49:30] we will grieve, we will get angry, we will feel uncertain, we will feel guilty about things but if we can hold it out here, we'll express that anger for example in a very different way. If all I have is anger and aggression and I'm upset with you, boom, I'm going to try and kill you off but if what I have out here is a bigger, broader experience of life and I get angry about something, I can take a deep breath, I can remember the love and I can communicate in a way that's designed to produce a result,
Honey Ward: [00:50:00] not kill somebody off and that model of consciousness works in every area of life and that is one of the biggest aspects of transformation that people experience because they start to see themselves as being at choice. They start to see that they are not victims in life.
Honey Ward: [00:50:30] Certainly, people in the LGBTQ community have often felt like victims. When we start to see ourselves and we start to participate in the world as full-fledged, 100% out there human beings, the world is very different. Then we do other activities as well throughout the workshop. Things about completing communications with parents is a really important one
Honey Ward: [00:51:00] because often, where we've stopped in our ability to operate powerfully is where we stopped in our relationships with our parents if we withheld ourselves and didn't share about things if it wasn't safe at home, so we learn to hold back and keep quiet. Whatever it might be, once we are able to say here I am, a full-fledged adult and you are adults doing the best you knew how and that's even if they did a really rotten job.
Honey Ward: [00:51:30] At the moment, they had whatever resources and skills they brought to the party was what they had but if we can acknowledge that we are now adults and we're not at the mercy of what happened in the past, then all of a sudden, we give ourselves that sense of freedom and liberation that doesn't come from anywhere else. It's totally an inside job.
Michael Brewer: It sounds like you're very-
Natalie Tsui: Can we pause for a second? [inaudible]
Michael Brewer: [00:52:00] Okay. Just cut please. Okay. All right Honey, you seem to be a very spiritually grounded person and it seems like spirituality plays a part in the experience also. Is it true? Is that true?
Honey Ward: [00:52:30] I would say that I'm a spiritually evolved person to some degree. We're all on that path in my view and I've had a lot of attention and focus on that for the last several decades and it has made a big difference in my ability to live life that feels rich and full and peaceful. It's also a part of the work that I do. Now, sometimes people get concerned that it's religious or it's dogmatic and it's none of those things.
Honey Ward: [00:53:00] It really is about getting down to the essence of things, just getting down to the heart of the matter. Years ago, Rob used to say that if you had people come into a room and there was just a board up in front of the room that said, love, and nothing else happened and people stay there, whoever could stay there for the whole time without going into their head and feeling like it was a rip off or whatever it is that would happen that whoever could stay there and
Honey Ward: [00:53:30] be in the presence of love for the entire time of the workshop would get what there is to offer. It's all about being more loving of yourself and of others starting with yourself. Sometimes, people think if I just give enough, if I do enough, that's a sure way to burn out. It's about being more loving of yourself and others so that you then have something available to give.
Honey Ward: [00:54:00] In my experience, that is deeply spiritual and there's such a perfect example of taking care of yourself first that everyone who's ever flown on an airplane has heard the announcement in the unlikely event of a change in cabin pressure, your mask will drop down. Please put your own mask on first and then assist other people. So many people are going through life holding their breath trying to help everybody else and thinking that somehow, it's going to work out and then of course, they just pass out and I'm not in favor of that.
Honey Ward: [00:54:30] I'm in favor of everybody knowing and loving themselves and having that be the basis from which we're able to be of service in the world and that way, everyone gets to benefit and nobody faints.
Michael Brewer: Okay. Were you religious growing up or did that play a part in your life?
Honey Ward: [00:55:00] I don't have any actual religious background myself. I have information, I have some experiences. There was a time I went to the Baptist church with a good friend and her family for a little while when I was a kid and my parents went very nominally to the Episcopal Church. See, I can hardly even think of it, I was baptized in that church.
Honey Ward: [00:55:30] Ive attended many, many churches and I've never been a part of any church. I just go in looking for whatever the value is that I can find and if things are too dogmatic, that's not a place I go back but I find that there are a lot of churches that really have a message of love that predominates.
Michael Brewer: Okay. Now, let's see. Standby for one second and I'll go back to you.
Honey Ward: I have to look at my notes.
Michael Brewer: [00:56:00] No. I want to make sure that we covered everything. Okay. First, tell me why is it important for you to share your story?
Honey Ward: [00:56:30] It feels like it's important to me to share my story not because I'm special. I feel in many ways like a pretty ordinary person who has had some really wonderful opportunities and gifts. I've been open to them and I've taken advantage of them, most of them, not everything but I'm 65 years old now so I've had a chance to be a lot and do a lot.
Honey Ward: [00:57:00] I think sharing my story, it would be my hope that somebody else might see, I could be something more than I am right now. I can make a bigger contribution than I have right now. One of the things that I feel is that in our world right now, we've got some pretty serious challenges.
Honey Ward: [00:57:30] We've got some pretty upsetting things occurring and it's very easy to get caught in that aggressive consciousness and I think it's so important for us to both keep after it. Keep going for justice in every form, keep going for being more loving of ourselves and others but also to know that there is a background of information, of people, of warriors, warriors of the heart
Honey Ward: [00:58:00] who've been at this for decades and more and more people will join and ultimately, I believe the good guys win.
Michael Brewer: Okay. I guess that leads to the next question is what do you hope or what do you see and hope for the future?
Honey Ward: [00:58:30] As I look forward, I really hope that the gains that we have made, the political gains, marriage equality, the gains for being able to adopt children, LGBTQ folks being able to adopt children, all the gains that we have made in education, in society that we continue to build on those.
Honey Ward: [00:59:00] There's not a done deal about it and I think we thought, perhaps we got complacent, to tell you the truth, but there's no done deal about it. It's going to be an ongoing challenge and I believe that we will continue to move in the right direction as long as we stay focused and stay committed
Honey Ward: [00:59:30] and we keep each one of us doing what we can to help make this world a better place, a more loving place, a more inclusive place.
Michael Brewer: Okay. You okay?
Natalie Tsui: Yeah. I'm just going to wipe.
Honey Ward: Do you need Kleenex or something?
Natalie Tsui: I think I can hold it for, yeah, the time being.
Honey Ward: Okay.
Michael Brewer: Sneeze that way. Okay, let me just ask, what do you think about the work that OUTWORDS is doing? What do you think about this project, the OUTWORDS project and use the word, use that in your answer.
Honey Ward: [01:00:00] I think the OUTWORKS project is a really-
Michael Brewer: OUTWORDS.
Honey Ward: OUTWORDS? I didn't say it properly?
Michael Brewer: Okay. There's an outworks. Okay.
Honey Ward: If that's what it sounded like then thanks for stopping me.
Michael Brewer: Okay. OUTWORDS. It is W-O-R-D.
Honey Ward: Right, right.
Michael Brewer: Yup. Okay.
Honey Ward: I think the OUTWORDS project is really great because this very idea of creating an archive of people who have been up to something over the years, people who have been doing things,
Honey Ward: [01:00:30] people who have created things, people who have maybe something to share and whose voices might otherwise be lost is really important. To gather together on these individual interviews, tens of, I don't know. I think it's 150 people, but to reach out to that many people and find out what it is that made them tick
Honey Ward: [01:01:00] I think could be really educational to the generations coming up and I also think it's a great acknowledgement of people who have been there on the frontlines over the decades.
Michael Brewer: Okay. You want to say just that last sentence again?
Honey Ward: Okay.
Michael Brewer: You said an acknowledgement of people who have advanced the community.
Honey Ward: [01:01:30] Yeah. I really appreciate that it's an acknowledgement. Should I say OUTWORDS again?
Michael Brewer: If you want to.
Honey Ward: Okay. I really appreciate that OUTWORDS is an acknowledgement of people who have been on the frontlines over the decades, people who have made a difference, people who have done the hard slogging work and I think that's a wonderful thing to do especially to take time to be with people while they're still alive.
Honey Ward: [01:02:00] I know some folks are in their 80s. I know one woman who's been a part of this project who's in her 90s and so for OUTWORDS to reach out and speak to those folks who've been there, who've been doing it I think is a great thing to do.
Michael Brewer: [01:03:30] I've seen so many different types of relationships and it seems to me that today that the same sex relationships are more yeah, that it is outdated. That people are more on equal setting and they contribute and it's not so much linear and written in stone that it's more about loving and being a good person and a good mate and a supportive mate.
Honey Ward: [01:04:00] Yeah. When you think about that idea of roles in relationships, I think that the lesbian and gay community has had an advantage all along because we didn't come out of those norms of the husband and wife and the 2.5 children that we've had the ability to make it up how we wanted to all along. I think there's even more of that freedom now.
Honey Ward: [01:04:30] I think what's also true is that's not just for our community, that straight couples have the ability and the freedom now and feel the freedom to make up their relationships and their families how they want to. If a woman has a great big job and she loves working and her husband is more of a homemaking kind of guy and he loves cooking and staying home and taking care of the kids, that's wonderful, but 20 years ago,
Honey Ward: [01:05:00] that straight couple wouldn't have felt the freedom to do that in most all circumstances and now, they do. I think that that's one of the ways in which the LGBTQ community in modeling the variety and the openness of relationships that we have has given freedom to the rest of the culture to make it up in the way that works best for them as well.
Michael Brewer: Okay, great. Okay you chime in there Natalie. You want to ask some questions?
Natalie Tsui: [01:05:30] I do have some questions but-
Michael Brewer: She's going to ask and then just look at me and not at the camera.
Natalie Tsui: I think I need a second to Why don't you ask her another question and then I'll think of something.
Michael Brewer: [01:06:00] Okay. Let me ask you, is there anything that you would like to talk about that you haven't been asked?
Honey Ward: Nothing jumps out. I know there are more things in those notes but there's nothing really that jumps out.
Michael Brewer: Okay.
Honey Ward: [01:06:30] Okay, he's got one, she's got one, bing-bing.
Michael Brewer: With your relationship with Sandy, you guys have been together a long time and I live in L.A. and in L.A., in Hollywood, people in relationships for a very short time. Is being in a relationship with one person that long, is that a common thing or is that something that you have to work at or how does that work?
Honey Ward: [01:07:00] I'm really lucky to have been in this relationship with Sandy now for 21 years and we're going strong. I think that my ability to be in relationships, I didn't have great role model in relationships. As I mentioned, my parents divorced when I was four
Honey Ward: [01:07:30] and so that was off to the races but relationships have always been really important to me. One of the things that I think has made a huge difference is my spiritual development, the work that I've done through The Experience frankly because I was a participant before I started leading them and I continued to develop myself as well as Sandy has. We have that work in common. I think that there's nothing geographical about having long-term relationships. I come from the Los Angeles area.
Honey Ward: [01:08:00] I have many friends who have been in relationships for 10, 20, even 30 plus years so I know that long-term relationships are possible anywhere and they take work and sometimes, I think folks are a little bit lazy. When the going gets tough, they're out, rather than using it as an opportunity to reflect and notice what rough edge in me is this relationship bringing up and how could I work on that?
Honey Ward: [01:08:30] It's really easy for us to see the partner is being the problem as opposed to the partner being the mirror. When we can see the partner being the mirror and remember our ability to be loving and to love ourselves, I think it's easier at least in my experience,
Honey Ward: [01:09:00] it's easier to make it through what otherwise might be the rough patches where you could go off the road.
Michael Brewer: Okay. Natalie?
Natalie Tsui: Okay. I remember you saying something about coming out is a constant process and it's definitely something When I came out, I was like, okay, I got to do this again and again and again so I was wondering if you could speak to that and even now, you probably have to come out sometimes.
Honey Ward: Sure.
Natalie Tsui: Talk about that process because I think younger people are going to watch this and be like maybe a pep talk to people who are constantly going to come out and maybe
Natalie Tsui: [01:09:30] sometimes there are situations where it's appropriate and sometimes there are situations where you have to be careful. What are some of the pro tips?
Honey Ward: Okay. One of the things about my life, I've been traveling for years leading these workshops, focused in the LGBTQ community, I've described myself as a professional homosexual
Honey Ward: [01:10:00] and that means that I have had the opportunity to come out to people in every possible situation you can imagine quite often to my seatmate on a plane who they talk about what they do. I talk about what I do. Pretty soon, now they know that I'm a lesbian or they talk about their family, I talk about my family, same thing. It's important to remember that coming out is a process, it's not an event that you come out over and over and over again
Honey Ward: [01:10:30] but it starts with the individual, what we call the personal phase. In the personal phase of the coming out process, you're dealing with that information for yourself. Is this really true? Am I queer? Is this just a phase? What will happen if my mother finds out? All that stuff. You're really dealing with it there. Then you expand into what we call the private phase of the process.
Honey Ward: [01:11:00] In the private phase, you share it with other people but you still have attention on who knows and who doesn't know. It might be easy to come out if you happen to go to a coming out group for example but not easy to come out if you've gone off to join the football team necessarily so you'll be more careful about how you pick and choose. When you expand into the public arena,
Honey Ward: [01:11:30] it means that it's just free information. It doesn't mean that every time you meet somebody, you walk them and say, "How do you do? I'm a homosexual." It does mean that if you're sitting next to somebody on the plane and the conversation turns to career and you happen to work in a career that is in the LGBTQ community, you talk about it. If the family comes up, you talk about your family. You talk about your partner. If you've got kids, you talk about that.
Honey Ward: [01:12:00] If you got a dog like we do, Scout, the wonder dog, you talk about that. It's important to know that it's a constant process. You're always taking the next step which was as I mentioned earlier, the slogan for national coming out day originally was take your next step, not throw yourself in front of the speeding train. Just take your next step and you'll gain the perspective and the strength there to then take your next step and take your next step.
Honey Ward: [01:12:30] When you do that, you're not only expanding your own consciousness, your own ability to love yourself and to love others but you're also giving others permission to love you because they know more of who you are.
Michael Brewer: Now, do you ever get to a point where that's not the most important thing in your life? You were saying that you become working to be accepted as a human being, as a broad human being and not pigeonhole?
Honey Ward: [01:13:00] Right.
Michael Brewer: Do you ever come to a point where, hey, that's just one part of who I am?
Honey Ward: One of the great things about having a more integrated life and being more fully out is that it doesn't require that much attention anymore. When I was younger and I wasn't out,
Honey Ward: [01:13:30] I had a lot of attention on concealing it or who would know or who didn't know. Now, it's just my life. Sandy and I travel together, we spend most of our time together now and we don't make a big deal of it. We're just being ourselves doing our lives. We don't talk about it often but it can come up but it's just part of who we are integrated into the fabric of our individual lives in our relationship.
Michael Brewer: Okay.
Natalie Tsui: There's 10 minutes-
Michael Brewer: Natalie, did you have-
Natalie Tsui: [01:14:00] I don't know. I zone in and out because I'm looking at other things but did you talk about how you met Sandy?
Honey Ward: No.
Michael Brewer: Okay.
Natalie Tsui: Can you talk about how you two met and maybe the relationship, like a brief romantic history before that?
Honey Ward: Okay. I'm a relationship kind of person and from early on when I was 19 in my first relationship, I'm like settle down.
Honey Ward: [01:14:30] I was there for seven years. Most people don't do that at the age of 19 but I did because that was I always wanted to have that kind of stable family relationship. When we separated, after a while, I met this other great person.
Honey Ward: [01:15:00] Her name was Lynn and she and I were together for 17 years, built a family, a community of our own and we had some wonderful, wonderful times together. Then one of the things about living as long as we do these in these days is that sometimes, we move in directions that are opposite from one another. When that occurred, Lynn and I separated and she actually has ended up moving back to Los Angeles
Honey Ward: [01:15:30] and Sandy and I met when she was in one of The Experience workshops and she was just one of the people who was there. We were in Atlanta and over time, we became friends and then we became more. Now, 21 years later, we're spending the rest of our lives together. My life has been quite focused on relationships. I've been lucky to have three great people in my life.
Honey Ward: [01:16:00] All three of them are still close and in my life. I've been in communication with Sylvia and with Lynn just today. There are people who are fully present for me and for Sandy.
Michael Brewer: Okay. I'm going to ask you about those two relationships in a second but you were telling me before that you guys are going to you have a plan to see the world and go to the next stage in life. Tell me what does the future hold for you and Sandy?
Honey Ward: [01:16:30] This is actually a very transitional time in life for us. We have decided that we're going to downsize. Now that we're mostly retired, it doesn't make sense to have the big home that we've had and frankly, the expense that goes along with that so we've decided to sell our home and downsize. As soon as that process is complete, we're going to take off on an adventure. We're going to go traveling for three to six months starting in the south of France
Honey Ward: [01:17:00] and we will see where we go and what we find. If we find some place we fall in love with, we might end up moving over there. If not, we'll probably come back to Santa Fe and get a smaller home with a garden where we can have a home base and still do more travelling. Travelling is really important to both of us and we want to be certain that our lives makes sense to allow us to do as much of that as we care to.
Michael Brewer: [01:17:30] Okay. Now, the other relationships, and you don't have to be specific in your situation, but you mentioned that when people grow in different directions, give me an example of what that means.
Honey Ward: [01:18:00] Thinking of relationships, sometimes one partner will get very focused on work for example and that becomes their sole focus and they don't have time or attention for nurturing the relationship and maybe their partner is one who isn't as financially motivated
Honey Ward: [01:18:30] and doesn't care about having a big career once they have more time together and a more loving relationship. Now, in that situation, people can really care about one another but if they are on those different paths, ultimately, it will likely not make sense for them to stay together in that form of the relationship in a partnered form.
Honey Ward: [01:19:00] That doesn't mean that they can't remain in relationship as friends, as formers, as whatever it is they chose to call it but it's unlikely if people's goals are very different or they're just moving in different directions, it's unlikely that they will stay in a committed romantic relationship together.
Michael Brewer: Okay. Natalie?
Natalie Tsui: I'm good.
Michael Brewer: [01:19:30] Okay, pause for a second. It's fine? Okay, tell me, what do you think are the biggest changes or the biggest things moving the LGBTQ community forward in the last 20 years? What do you think are some of the milestones?
Honey Ward: The milestones for the LGBTQ community is still such a mouthful. See, I've been at it since we were all just gay so it's really been a long time. Some of the milestones certainly are some of them are legislative.
Honey Ward: [01:20:00] The marriage equality is an enormous milestone, greater protections in municipalities, in states, federal level, protections for families in the workplace, relationships being honored. I know when Sandy was a school principal,
Honey Ward: [01:20:30] when she was allowed to add me onto her school insurance, that was a big deal. That didn't use to happen, that's been within the last 20 years. There's more honoring of relationships that makes a big difference for our families but I think that the biggest things I keep coming back to, coming out, that when people come out, then people know that they already know and love us and so it just makes life easier.
Honey Ward: [01:21:00] If you think about it from legislative things many, many years ago, early on 1979, I went to Washington to march in that march for gay and lesbian rights. The day afterward, we went lobbying and there I was in Congress coming out to people. That was huge thing for me. Now, we've got our own professional lobbyists. We're out there just like everybody else and that's a huge change.
Honey Ward: [01:21:30] It started in how we saw ourselves and then we have imagined and worked and brought it into being, and there's more.
Michael Brewer: Okay. What do you think about present-day politics, the political situation in the country today?
Honey Ward: I have a question. Isn't that going to be stale?
Michael Brewer: Not necessarily.
Honey Ward: [01:22:00] Okay. I think the situation with politics now in 2018 is more challenging than we thought it was going to be in 2016 because of the president that we have and the leadership in Congress. I think that this is a tougher time than we imagined we would have and as always,
Honey Ward: [01:22:30] it's important not to lose heart and to keep going and to just keep doing the right things and keep aligning support and keep coming out and keep loving ourselves and others.
Michael Brewer: Okay, great. I think we're going to pause for a second. Tell me when it's on.
Honey Ward: I think one of the really important things is to remember that we're not just in silos. We don't just have our one issue that we care about, that we really are all in it together.
Honey Ward: [01:23:00] While I may be a white woman member of the LGBTQ community, I'm also concerned and dedicated in working for issues that affect people of color, issues that affect immigrants, issues that affect youth.
Honey Ward: [01:23:30] My intention is to be connected to all of humanity and that means that I have a responsibility to participate and to be an activist for everybody to the best of my ability.
Michael Brewer: Okay. Now, we're going to give it a go and record room tone.
Natalie Tsui: Okay, great.
Honey Ward: What?
Natalie Tsui: Do you have anything to add? We have 30 seconds and we're going to record just the sounds of the room. Okay.
Michael Brewer: We're going to sit silent.

Interviewed by: Michael Brewer
Camera: Natalie Tsui
Date: February 08, 2018
Location: Home of Honey Ward, Santa Fe, NM