Monday, February 10, 2014

Be proud that you're gay!

With all the nonsense and crap we go through it's no wonder it takes gay men and women so long to fully accept themselves and be completely happy with it.  But hold on a second there Chief...there are plenty of reasons to be all out proud you are gay.  Being proud you're gay tells other people we will not be put down for being gay.  We are not less than you.  We are not more than you.  We are equal to you.  Here is a quick list.

1. You can never get rid of us.
Sure...we will never be the majority because as those clever conservatives like to point out, two men can't have a gay baby (trust us...we try!).   However, even though we may never over populate the Earth, we can never be destroyed.  You can burn us, beat us, drown us, or even as Mike Priefer of the Minnesota Vikings suggested, put us on an island and nuke wouldn't matter.  We'd be back the next day.  We'd be born to black people, white people, Muslims, and Christians...we've been here forever and we will never go away.

2. We are strong.
While gay men are often thought of as "weak" nothing could be farther from the truth.  Gay men and woman are some of the most emotionally strong people in the world.  We go through some ignorant $h!t. Do black people have to worry about their parents disowning them for being black?  No...that would be ridiculous.  Yet, we deal with this.  We are the only minority who often have to deal with being a minority on our own.  We have to deal with ignorant friends and family as well as random strangers who think they know how we should live our lives, all at the same time figuring out what it means for us.  This struggle gives us strength and this strength that has lead to less than 4 percent of the population convincing more than 50 percent (and rising) of the people that we should have equal rights.

3.  We are in great company.
There is nothing more annoying than some dumbass who thinks gay men and women are cognitively inferior or even that the world is better off with out us.  The truth is that we were needed to get the world to where it is today.  Leonardo Da Vinci, Socrates, Alan Turing, Alexander the Great, Richard the Lionhearted...really the list is amazing, hell even Abraham Lincoln is questionable.  Just google it if you don't believe me.   We've been Kings, Presidents, and Popes.  We've lead in Science, Theology, and Art.  Without us, the world would be crap.

4.  We are in a revolution.
People are going to look back at this moment in time someday and wonder why all this was such a big deal.  They are going to remember all the good people who have helped push equality and they are going to see the embarrassments who tried to stop it.  It's an exciting time to be gay and alive.  The fight for the future is being fought right now.  We have made huge strides with equality even if we have so far to go.  We will be able to tell our children, "It wasn't so long ago we couldn't do that.  I helped change that."

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A world without gay people? No thank you.

Being such a small portion of the population hasn't stopped gay men and woman from making HUGE contributions to the world.  Imagine a world without the following people and you will have to envision one that is much worse off.  It's embarrassing to think that some say we should be put in prison or stoned to death.  Why wouldn't you want people to live their lives and be happy?

Alan Turing
Personally he's one of my favorite people ever.  Turing was a math genius who broke the Nazi transmission codes and single-handedly shortened WWII.   If that wasn't enough he's also responsible for today's computers (yeah that thing you're reading this on).  He is considered to be the father of artificial intelligence and theoretical computer science.   For all his contributions to the world we will never know what could have been had he not been convicted of being a homosexual and castrated.  This lead to deep depression and his eventual suicide. 

Bayard Rustin
Everyone knows Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have A Dream Speech" but few know that it would have been seen by no one if it were not for Bayard Rustin.  He was the lead organizer of the "March on Washington" and was hugely influential for Civil Rights.  Bayard was thanked for his efforts by being made to hide behind the scenes and be attacked by his own people who called him a pervert.

Alexander the Great.
Alexanders Empire was the greatest the world has ever seen.  Just a badass of his day, he had never lost a battle and extended his empire from Greece to Pakistan only stopping when his army was so sick of winning that they wanted to go home to their families.  Ironically, Alexander's influence is a leading cause of the spread of Christianity.  He believed in a "one true god" and with so much empire all of the New Testament writings were written in Greek. 

Jack Andraka
At the ripe old age of 15 Jack invented a way to detect cancer.  Oh...and it just happens to cost 3 cents per test (opposed to $800), is 168 times faster, and 50% more accurate.  He's won multiple world wide awards for science and he's not even 18 yet.  When I was 15 I was struggling to learn how to iron.

Leonardo Da Vinci
Painter, inventor, engineer...what wasn't Leonardo famous for?  The Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, Vitruvian Man, ball bearings, tanks, parachutes, calculator, solar power, submarine...the list is almost endless.  I know what you're thinking and yes, Michelangelo and Donatello were both gay, but Raphael was not. 3 out of 4 ninja turtles isn't too bad though!

Katherine Bates
No, not the actress from one of my favorite movies of all time (Misery). But the writer of "America the Beautiful." know the song that so many were up in arms about because Coke had the audacity to use it in a commercial with different languages and a gay couple.

That's just a few I find interesting.  There are so many.  It's easy to find many who have contributed to music, literature, movies, television, and other careers where it was more socially acceptable to be gay.  But who knows who history has forgot or never knew about?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Blame the Gays

It's not guns that kill people.  It's same sex marriage.
One thing I have to say about anti-gay people is that they are really very creative.  Gays literally get blamed for everything bad that has ever happened in the world.  Remember that time you tried to buy a bag of Hot Cheetos from the vending machine only to have it get stuck before falling and even though you had another 85 cents you didn't want to risk it and instead had to eat Funyuns which then gave you bad breath for the rest of the day?  You know why?  Gay people.

Seriously though we do get blamed for the craziest things.  Do you remember the Sandy Hook shootings?  A troubled young man killed 20 children and 6 adults in an elementary school that day. But it was obvious to James Dobson of the Family Research Council that it was people's acceptance of gay marriage that had lead to this devastation. Just look at this photo on the right.  Clearly these evil and vile people getting married is a reason to go shoot children.

How about Benghazi?  A group of 125 to 150 militants over ran the American Embassy in Benghazi, Libya killing many including the ambassador Christopher Stevens.  Democrats and Conservatives still fight about what happened but Town Hall's Ben Shapiro figured out the truth rather quickly pointing out that there was an ad posted where it made it clear The Gays would be allowed to apply to guard the compound.  I guess had those limp wristed gay men not been blinded by the glitter on their rifle sights and not been allowed to be guards, the heterosexual replacements would have stopped the attacks easily.  Did I mention that not one gay man or woman actually applied to that ad?

Did you also know we have the power to crash helicopters?  The friendly folk at Westboro Baptist Church sure do. When a police helicopter crashed into a pub in Scotland the hate group quickly took to twitter blaming the accident on those rascally little gays.  Of course Westboro blames every tragedy on the gays.  A tornado that ripped through Oklahoma killing 23 people they blamed on NBA player Jason Collins.  That's right...a man in New Jersey came out of the closet and a little over a month later there was a tornado in Oklahoma.  It's so obviously connected.  They also blamed the Boston Marathon Massacre on gay marriage as well.  Massachusetts has allowed gay marriage for ten years but I guess God had been really busy.

We also apparently are to blame for the Holocaust. According to Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association Germany allowed gays in the military and that is what caused the Holocaust. Because gays are actually Nazi's and we want to do the same thing here in America. This makes sense because...well it just doesn't make sense.  Especially since over 100,000 men were arrested by the Nazi's for being gay.  We were also sent to camps and made to wear pink triangles on our sleeves. Oh and yeah we were also slaughtered.

With all this power we posses it's no wonder we are how we are.

Monday, January 20, 2014

A quick guide for straight people who don't really get being gay

     This week Liam Payne of One Direction took to Twitter to show his support for Willie Robertson and the Duck Dynasty family saying,

@williebosshog huge love to you/your family huge respect for your business prosperities and the family values you still all behold. big fan

Media outlets quickly started picking up on the story and reporting that Liam was showing his support for the family and their Anti-LGBT stance.  Soon after that Liam took to Twitter again blaming lazy media outlets and bloggers for sensationalizing the story by Tweeting a string of rantings about the media and defending himself by saying he can enjoy a show and a family and not support everything they agree in.  Maybe Liam is a bigot, may be he is not.  He never really makes a statement either way, and really I don't care.  What I continue to find most interesting is how bigots have tried to flower up their rhetoric and how it is now backfiring to the point that certain words and phrases which sound nice and pleasant, actually have negative connotation to the LGBT and more.  You should remember that words like sh%t, f$#k, c#nt, and others are really just sounds we can make with our mouths.  It was how we used them that gave them the bad meanings.  So here are a few quick tips for the people who don't really pay attention to what LGBT people hear and fight over every day of our lives. 

Family Values/Moral Values
Sounds great because valuing your family is everything and who wants to be immoral?

What do we hear when it is said?
At the very least I don't support same sex couples having children. I probably also don't support you getting married or your attraction to the same sex.

Why does it mean this?
The phrase Family Values is brought up in almost every political discussion and is referenced as a reason to deny us marriage and families.  There are hundreds of Anti-LGBT groups that use that terminology and a lot of the time right in the name of their organizations and groups.  See this link for a list of gay hate groups.  When someone says, I'm against gay families because of my family values they are saying that same sex families are not valuable. This is offensive. 

I'm Christian/I'm Religious
There is absolutely nothing wrong with believing in a higher power.  I'm thankful that people have an outlet to use to give their life more meaning.

What do we hear when it is said?I think gays are going to hell.  I think you are all sinners.  The Bible clearly says being gay is an abomination.  I possibly wouldn't mind if you were harmed for being gay and I will not stand up for you if I see physical or emotional damage being inflicted on you.

Why does it mean this?Religion (and the majority of religious Americans are Christian) is the number one weapon being used against LGBT people.  Every single person who says they are against the gays justifies it by the Bible. Using religion against the LGBT has backfired as it hasn't kept Americans thinking being gay is a scary thing.  Instead it has started making many religious Americans question their religion.  I give people the benefit of the doubt as I believe most Christians to be supportive of the same civil rights that I am.  But if I had to sit on a train and I got to choose between sitting by a punk rocker with orange hair and a lip disc and a 50 year old woman holding a bible, I'm going to pick the punk rocker.

We love gay people. (that's why we are trying to change them)
Love is awesome.  There is nothing bad you can say about it...Right?

What do we hear when it's said?I care about you so much that I want you to change who you are.  I basically want you to not be gay or at the very least pretend to be straight.  I won't support you if you're gay and do gay things because that's uncomfortable for me.  I want you to live your entire life alone and without a family of your own, or I want you to be in a sham marriage which is completely loveless...because I love you.

Why does it mean this?You just can't love someone and want them to be happy and also try to make them straight.  They will not live to their full potential of happiness.  You also can't tell someone I love you even though they're gay.  Being gay isn't a thing to look past.  Being gay isn't that big of deal.  Any problem you have with it is really your own issue and not the gay persons issue.  Whenever someone tells me they love me but don't support gay marriage, adoption, or whatever else my first thought isn't...Awwwww they love me.  It's...they don't love me.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Stupid things good people say to justify being a bigot

I love homosexuals. Real Christians love the sinner and not the sin. 
    It's really annoying to be told what you are at your base is a sinner and going to hell...but I love you anyway.  It's not because I'm scared I'm going to hell it's because it doesn't make you a good person for loving me even though I'm going to makes you a pious jerk.  It's exactly the same as if I said to you, "You're really dumb and ugly but I love you anyway." You're trying to degrade me and then complimenting yourself for looking past it.  Being gay is not a short coming. It is not something you need to look past.  I don't need you to love me anyway...if you're going to love me, then support me.  This non support is just as degrading and terrible as being against me. If you are perceiving me as going to hell, and therefor less than you, it is not a far jump for some crazy guy to then justify beating me up and dragging me up behind a pickup truck or some kid growing up deathly afraid of who he is and wanting to be dead. 

I definitely don't support murdering gays.  I'm not a bigot.
Thank you so much for allowing me to live.  I'm glad that most people understand it is now wrong to murder someone just because they are gay.  That's not true in a lot of the world.  However me not being murdered, jailed, or disfigured is not a compromise. I want everything I deserve...not just to not be killed.

Why can't you just call it something else besides marriage?  Marriage is a religious term. 
Actually people who aren't religious get married all the time.  They don't have to call it anything different and neither should I.  If your church doesn't want to marry me because I'm gay, then I don't really care.  I think it makes them bigots and you're telling people being gay is wrong, but I'll get married somewhere else.  The reasons we can't call it something different are the same reasons why we don't make black people use different water fountains anymore.  Just because both white people and black people had a water fountain to use didn't mean it was equal now did it?  You can't tell someone that they are equal but they can't drink from the same water fountain and you can't tell someone they are equal but they can't call their marriage the same as yours. 

I don't see why you hate Christians and are attacking them all the time. 
I don't and I'm not.  I'm actually defending myself against Christians all the time.  You can't use your religion against me and expect me to not point out why you're wrong.  I don't agree with trashing people because they believe in religion any more than I agree with trashing people because they do not.  Don't get mad at me for pointing out your religion is alienating people, get mad at who is doing it.  If you're going to tell me, "The Bible says ________" I'm not going to tell you all the times the Bible says some terrible things and make you feel bad about being religious. 

We aren't alienating anyone. 
Yes you are.  Let's suppose I ignore everyone else in the world who feels similar to me and just focus on my own thoughts...I feel alienated.  There is nothing more alienating then someone trying to convince me to pray and at the same time telling me homosexuality is a sin.  I'm not joining a group of people who are the main reason for every unnecessary problem homosexuals have.  No thanks I'll pass.

Why do you care what people say?
I don't actually care all that much about what people say.  Never have. There are a lot of people in the world and you can find someone of any background to say what you want.  I'm sure if you look you can find a black guy who will tell you he's ok with the KKK.

The real problem is that what people say is the tip of the iceberg.  For instance when Evander Holyfield or that duck hunter want to say something horrible about homosexuals it doesn't really effect me.  The problem though is that as homosexuals in this country we don't have federal protections against discrimination.  We can be fired for being gay.  We can be kicked from our apartments.  We aren't suppose to donate blood.  We can be prevented from marrying.  The iceberg goes further down however.  Prevention of marrying prevents us hundreds of legal protections.  For instance you can't marry someone from another country and bring them here.  I can be prevented from seeing my husband if he is sick or dead.  The iceberg goes even further which is really the main problem.  Gay kids grow up feeling that they are wrong and worthless and a lot of those kids grow into adults that feel the same.  How can you have a productive society if you teach a child he is less than another child?  How can you expect that child to consistently grow up and be productive and happy?

So no.  It doesn't bother me if some jerk wants to be a jerk.  But since you can multiply that mindset by a few million and it trickles down into so many complicated and unnecessary problems, then yes...I have a problem with that.  What advice would you give to a kid that's gay and wants to die because of it?

If you're not religious why do you care what religious people say?
See the above answers. 

Gay men and women can't have a baby.  Therefor you shouldn't be allowed the benefits of marriage. The idea behind marriage is procreation.
True I can't get another man pregnant. But my penis still has baby bullets.  There are millions of LGBT families in existence right now.  Weird how that happened.  You're not going to stop us from having families, you're just preventing us from having some protections and degrading us.
Also there are no questions about how many kids you're going to have when you get married...why are you asking us?

You choose to be gay
I'm gay.  It wasn't a choice.  I could chose to be straight I guess.  I could have a life with a woman who I never really love the same way I can love a man. I'd probably love her as much as I could but I'd feel that emptiness inside. I'd probably be miserable because of it.  Me being miserable would make her miserable.  And two miserable parents would make for some miserable children.   But hey at least you wouldn't feel bad about it.

Friday, December 27, 2013

I'll be home for Christmas.

As I watch the pine trees covered in last nights dusting of snow whiz by the window I can't help but get lost in thought.   The hum of the tires comforts me, even as they bring me towards what's scares me most.  But it has to be done.  This is the year...everything will change.  The world spins.

Where the wind has blown the snow from the branches, the deep green backdrop turns my window into a mirror of worrisome looks. Past the distraught angles of my face I can see Paul turn his head to look at me with concern.  I know he's thinking the same things I am.  Even when his lips make the words, "Everything is going to be ok." His eyes scream silently, "This is going to be tough...and I love you."

I barely notice the bumps from the cracks in the pavement as I imagine how this is going to go.  My mother will greet me at the door.  She'll have on one of her famous Christmas sweaters.  The kind that without her knowledge have progressed from lame, to cool, back to lame. It'll probably be the green one with bells in the shape of a tree that jingle as she walks.  It's her favorite...I gave it to her. Accompanying her festive dress will be the biggest smile I've ever seen.  She has the kind of loving smile that touches her eyes and lights up the room brighter than the tree ever could.  Dad was always working, but mom never missed a minute of my life.  She was at every play, every game, and every event.   Somehow she managed to be everywhere and do everything for me and my two siblings. Even now I can't help but wonder in awe how she did it.  She loves me so much...and this is going to crush her.  I'm going to crush her. 

For 22 years I've been her baby boy.  Growing up in such a small town my mom has always taken great pride in me. Whether it was being on the honor roll, being captain of the football team, or leading our math league to state (but losing badly), she's found plenty of which to be proud. When I visit home from college she takes me everywhere as it gives her a chance to brag about her son.  My bedroom is the only bedroom left untouched.  My brother's have had their rooms repurposed into a gym that's never been used and a guestroom. 

Paul takes the exit off the freeway and it releases me from my imagination. I look at him and he gives a sad smile and extends his hand.  I grab it and look back out the window. His hands are so warm and strong and gentle.  I love him.  He gives my hand a squeeze. He's been so good to me. I squeeze him back.  Better than I deserve really.  He's been out since he was 16...he's 29 now. When he told his mom she just looked at him, smiled, and gave him a giant hug.  She knew. Mine does not.

The rest of my family is going to take it just as well.  My oldest brother is active in the Church and after spending his youth drunk and stoned, he's found himself a Deacon at age 36. My other brother Kyle is only 5 years older than me and we've never agreed on anything. I remember last Christmas him getting drunk and saying something as pleasant as, "How do you know if your neighbor is gay?  His candy canes taste like shit."  People laughed.  Nobody corrected him.  His wife Melissa is just as pleasant. 

That just leaves Dad.  He's never said much.  But it was him that put up the, "Vote NO" sign in the yard.  Last year they lost that vote to deny us marriage, yet the sign has remained.  Telling them is going to be awful...but it's my mom I worry about most.

Paul squeezes my hand again, "Are you still here?" I turn to look at him.  He has the most beautiful eyes.  There is a golden ring around his pupils that turns to a sky blue as you venture from the middle. The end result makes his eyes look like a solar eclipse, with his pupils playing the part of the moon. They are celestial.    

Paul wants a family and so do I.  Not yet, but in a couple years. My partial closetedness has been hard on both of us. I can see the brief moment of pain inside him every time I introduce him as my, "friend."  It's a just quick flash, like a single frame of a 3 hour film...but I see it.  Last Valentine's Day he set up this elaborate and romantic dinner for the two of us.  He bought me roses and chocolates and even though I'm not into flowers, I kind of melted when I read his card. He even made reservations for us at Gustaf's.  We had the best table.  Overlooking the lake I couldn't help but think that the view was better than a painting.  It was my first real Valentine's day and it was amazing. At least it was...until my mother's friend from church spotted me.  She and her husband just happened to be in town for Valentine's Day and as they approached I panicked.  I played it off as if I was on a "bros night" and that we were there for the good food.  I claimed our excellent view as just chance, and not the forethought of the love of my life. I didn't even really acknowledge Paul was with me. That night instead of staring longingly into each others eyes, I ate reheated steak and shrimp and cried...alone. We almost broke up.  Not because I hurt his feelings, but because he realized I wasn't ready for a real and legit relationship.

That few weeks without Paul was horrible. I had to do a lot self evaluating and I couldn't call my mother to ask her for comfort and advice. I realized the closeted life wasn't something I wanted.  I clearly couldn't have a real, long term, and committed relationship and be closeted.  And a life of casual acquaintances doesn't come close to fulfilling what I want. So I'm slowly making strides. Last summer was the first summer I stayed away from home.  I told my family it was because I got an internship but really it was because I couldn't live the entire summer without Paul and once again pretend I'm something I'm not.  I know it is better for me to be out and happy.  I also know that my family is not going to like it.  So I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place.  Do I distance myself from my mother?  Hide who I am from her and continue to keep her out of the most important moments of my life?  Or do I tell her.  Give her the chance to be a part of my life, but also risk losing her completely.  Tonight I choose the latter.  I see my driveway.

Panic is flooding my system.  I want to be anywhere but here.  I want to be with Paul on an island in the middle of an ocean.  Away from everyone.  I realize I'm squeezing his hand...hard.  This is where all my childhood memories live.  This is where the people I love live.  This is my home...for now. 

The house looks like heaven.  It's by far the most beautifully lit house in the neighborhood.  The lights are all a soft white and frame the house perfectly.  There are no giant blow up Santa's.  No blinking colored lights. Just a classy and heartwarming glow.  What people come to see though is the tree.  My father somehow uses the hose and lights to transfer the tree into a beautiful iced candle.  Every year he does it and every year I wonder how he thought of it.  It's breathtaking.  The shadows and refracting light create something new each year.   The whole thing is like something out of a movie...except for the "Vote No" sign.  They actually shoveled out a spot so it could be seen clearly. 

Paul parks the car on the street in front of the house. I see those eyes wander from the tree to the sign and he says, "You're right.  It is beautiful."  We get out and gather the gifts from the trunk.  I think a lifetime passes. They are meticulously wrapped.  Martha Stewart couldn't wrap a gift any better.  I purposefully grab too many gifts so that I have no hand to hold and I march towards the door.  With each step the salt on the sidewalk crunches beneath my feet.  Paul is right behind me. My legs wobble.

I don't know if I can do this...

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The queer problem

There are those who find the term "Politically Correct" to be eye rolling and annoying but even for the most well informed and sensitive person being "PC" is hard at times and one can find themselves being unintentionally insulting.

Recently a man took offense to a Colorado college asking an optional question in a job application. You can read the full article here. If however clicking and reading is too taxing let me sum up the article.   A gay man applied for a job at this college and in an optional question they asked about gender.  There were five options; male, female, transgender, not identified, and queer. The man has decided to sue the school because he finds the term "male" to be extremely offensive....just kidding...he finds the word "queer" to be offensive and views it as a way for the college to root out any unwanted applicants.

And herein lies the problem.  I think he's wrong. And I also find it fascinating.  I don't think he's wrong to be offended by the term queer. He's of a different generation of gay.  What he had to go through and what we go through today are very different worlds.  The term "queer" used to be solely used as a pejorative.  When I was a kid one of my favorite games was smear the queer, and I was so naive that I had absolutely no idea what queer meant.  I just thought it meant the guy with the ball. Starting in the 90s we started to reclaim the word.  Now some younger gay men and women don't even realize it used to be used maliciously and many like to use it as a identifier for gender, sex, and/or sexual orientation. And here is what I find fascinating.  Take the term "queer" and you really have three groups of people.  One group uses the word in a positive or neutral manner as a descriptor. And a second group sees that word to have a negative connotation.  That group can be broken down into those that use it against someone and those that it's used against. You would think that if you were offended by being called a queer you would be all for the meaning of that word being positive...but that's not true.  Years of it being used in a negative way have left some so scarred that they can't even begin to understand that the next generation has the opportunity to not deal with that. The very people who the word is used against actually keep the word from changing meanings! Conditioning is so powerful.  No wonder it is so difficult to make people see how normal being gay is.

So how do you appease these two sides?  I have no idea.   I think the college did the right thing.  For me, my gender is not a hard question, nor is my sexuality.  I'm a gay man. Pretty simple and clean cut answers. For some though those questions are not as easy. And while we have made a lot of great strides in the country on sexual orientation, the idea of gender being more than two options sounds absolutely ridiculous to many.   So I commend the college for trying to address the issue.

I know I find myself wishing for a term that includes everyone.  I often use the word gay as an umbrella not unlike many use the words queer.  It's a lot easier to say, "Gays deserve equality!" than it is to say, "Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgenders, Questioners, Intersexuals, and Asexuals deserve equality!" May be the term that includes everyone is "everyone." Hmmm...

I hope that guy drops the lawsuit.  He's not protecting anyone.  It's an optional question in which they tried to appease everyone.  Say he won the lawsuit, all he would be doing is preventing anyone from identifying not within the terms in which he thinks.