Tag Archives: Gay Lesbian and Bisexual

Please choose the styles for your wedding gown and handcuffs.

On occasion, I’ve written about the emotional manipulation and lies that Eugene Delgaudio uses in his fundraising emails.  Today marks another one of those occasions.  I received another email about how he’s helping to fight the good fight to help repeal marriage equality legislation in various states and even fighting to aid the appeal to the Proposition 8 decision if it goes before SCOTUS.  It’s all his pretty standard claptrap.

But what really draw my attention and spawned this post is the subject line he chose for this:

Real marriage outlawed

I’m so awestruck by that line, I feel the need to repeat it:

Real marriage outlawed

Okay, let’s ignore the fact that Eugene Delgaudio and his band of merry hate-peddlers don’t actually get to define what marriages are “real” and what ones are “shams” and force that definition on the rest of us.  Let’s just for the moment pretend that only marriages between one man and one woman are a “real” and the other marriages (including those of Abraham, Jacob, David, and Solomon) are cheap knockoffs, presumably being sold by hucksters standing on NYC street corners alongside the hucksters selling Rilex watches and Guxi purses.

That subject line still makes no sense.  Nothing has been outlawed.  There are no special agents bursting into churches to interrupt man-woman marriages and arrest the priest trying to perform such a thing.  The IRS isn’t lining up to audit men who mark “married” on their 1040 and list a woman as their spouse and accuse them of fraud.  Newspapers aren’t refusing to print marriage announcements for man-woman couples out of fear of being charged with conspiracy after the fact.

Men and women are still happily getting married to one another and the population at large is freely and happily celebrating those weddings.  The idea that such marriages have somehow been “outlawed” is ridiculous to the point of me wondering what color the sky is in Mr. Delgaudio’s world.  Because anyone who can write that subject line in any sense of seriousness — and there’s no sense that he’s being ironic or intentionally engaging in hyperbole — is not someone I can picture as living in reality.

Sadly, this kind of bizarre thinking seems to be prevalent among the anti-equality crowd.  They are convinced that allowing same sex couples to marry will somehow outlaw or destroy man-woman marriages.  To their way of thinking, the peaceful co-existence of same sex marriages as an additional option alongside man-woman marriages simply isn’t possible.  This is “us vs. them” thinking at its most extreme.

Some opponents of marriage equality say it’s not about being against gay people.  But when most opponents of marriage equality — and gay rights in general — hold this extreme “us vs. them” mentality at the heart of their arguments, it’s nearly impossible to believe that claim.  After all, as my mother used to tell me, “Actions speak louder than words.”

Thank the Gods for Option Three

Logo designed by artist Keith Harring.

Image via Wikipedia

I’d rather be hated for who I am rather than loved for who I am not.

I ran across the above saying on a tee shirt a couple years ago.  It’s always stuck with me, and it’s a principle I try to keep in mind when I live my life.  It’s an important principle when faced with the decision of whether or not to live as an openly gay[1] man.  It’s a principle I want to discuss as a part of my contribution to National Coming Out Day.

One of the big hurdles to coming out — whether in general or to specific people — is the fear of rejection.  There’s that fear — and sometimes, it’s a well-founded fear — that friends, family members, bosses, and other individuals will reject us, stop loving us, and even make our lives miserable.  Personally, I’ve often found it far easier to come out to a perfect stranger.  After all, if they reject me, I’ve lost no relationship or support.  However, I maintain that remaining in the closet in order to get someone to continue to love and accept me isn’t a good reason to stay in the closet.

I wish to be clear on what I am saying there, lest it be misconstrued.  Staying in the closet so that someone loves me is not the same as not coming out to my parents because I’m financially dependent on them.  Nor is it the same as hiding my sexual orientation from my boss so that I don’t get fired.  In those cases, I would not be staying closeted in order to get the people in question to continue loving me.  I would be doing it in order to survive.  I could survive without my parents’ love[2] relatively easily — sadly, some kids do it all their lives.  But there was a time when it would’ve been much harder to survive if my parents quit buying me food and clothes or stopped providing me with a place to sleep and keep warm.[3]

The thing is, there are billions of people on this planet.  And a great many number of them will love me and accept me for who I am, gay man and all.  I’ve been fortunate in that over the years, I’ve found and built friendships with plenty of them.  Indeed, I’ve made far more new and incredibly supportive friends than I have lost old friends.

So I see no point in remaining in the closet to keep those “friends” who refuse to accept me for who I am.  Truth be told, if I have to lie to them to keep them as loved ones, then they are not truly loved ones at all.  I learned long ago that as much as it may hurt, I’m better off letting such people go and finding people who will not only accept me for who I am, but actually prefer me to be authentically me.

So yes, I’d rather be hated for who I am than hated for who I am not.  But I have a third, even better option. I can find people who love me for who I am.


[1] And I’m pretty sure it would apply to other QUILTBAG people too.

[2] I am fortunate in that this was never an issue for me.  While it did take my parents time to adjust, they never rejected or disowned me.  Sadly, not every QUILTBAG individual has been so fortunate.

[3] Note, also that came a going when I no longer needed my parents’ financial support.  And that’s the thing about valid reasons to stay in the closet:  they are more often than not temporary and something that can eventually be overcome.  Granted, finding a new boss who isn’t homophobic in today’s economy may seem like a near-impossibility….

Movie Review: Shelter

Shelter (2007 film)

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I’m a fan of movies that deal with a gay guy who is struggling to come to terms with his sexuality.  There’s just something touching and nostalgic about watching the main character discover his feelings for another man and begin to sort through the emotional obstacle course made up of love, desire, fear, doubt, and guilt.

One such movie that stands out in my mind is Shelter, the 2007 movie about a young man, Zach, living in California.  Where Shelter differs from other great coming out movies, like Latter Days and Rock Haven, is that Zach’s major conflict isn’t so much about his religion, but his family.

Zach lives with his older sister, her live-in boyfriend (at least I don’t get the impression their married) and his five year old nephew.  Zach works at odd jobs to help support his sister and little Cody, who sees his uncle as a major father figure.  Zach’s life begins to change when is best friend’s older brother, Shaun, comes to town for an extended stay.  Zach and Shaun fall in love, and quickly finds his desire to be with Shaun quickly coming into conflict with his family obligations.  His sister, Jeanne, is concerned about her son being around all that “gay stuff” and doesn’t think it’s healthy environment.  (Strangely, Jeanne isn’t all that concerned that her live-in boyfriend is asking her to go to Oregon for six months and leave Cody behind.) Despite Shaun’s undying adoration of Cody and his willingness to make Cody a part of any plans he and Zach might have, the family conflict leads to problems in the couple’s budding relationship.

In addition to the conflict between love and obligations to a family that doesn’t approve of gay relationships, this film weaves in the extra dimensions of different family backgrounds.  While Zach and his sister have lived a difficult life with plenty of hard luck and few breaks, Shaun comes from a well-to-do family.  This difference leads to differences in perspective and different approaches to their problems, adding to the conflict.

All of these elements are handled well, or at least as well as they can be in a 97 minute movie.  It makes for a touching and heartfelt story, and one that I could personally identify with on many levels.

The false dichotomy of gay life.

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 10:  Rainbow fla...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Misty Irons reposted the “gay lifestyle” of the (In)Famous SMT.  After reading both her post and his original, I decided I wanted to make a similar post and offer some commentary on the underlying topic.

So an average weekday looks like this for me:

7:00am:  The first alarm goes off.  I hit the off button.
7:30am:  The second alarm goes off.  I hit the off button.
8:00am:  The third alarm goes off.  I hit the snooze button.  I keep hitting it each time it goes off.
8:30am:  The third alarm won’t let me hit the snooze button any more.  I turn it off and get up.
8:35am:  I wash up and get dressed.
8:45am:  I check email, visit my social networking sites, and read my favorite blogs.
9:20am:  I hop in the car and head to work, stopping at the 7-Eleven to grab something to eat and something for lunch.
10:00am:  I arrive at work.  I spend the next eight hours attending meetings, writing code, answering emails, and fielding the occasional technical question for the sales team.
6:30pm:  I leave work.  If it’s open, I run to Psychic’s Thyme and hang out with friends for a bit.
7:00pm:  Dinner time.
8:00pm:  If I’m curently dating someone, I ask my boyfriend if he’s free.  If so, we get together, watch a movie, talk, make love, and cuddle.  If I’m very lucky, we spend the night sleeping in each others arms.
8:00pm:  If I’m single or my boyfriend is busy, I check email, respond to any outstanding ones, read blogs, do some blogging of my own, and/or or work on my writing.

In my life, there’s no such thing as a typical weekend.  I may go see my parents for the weekend.  Or I might head up to Toronto for a dance class and a show with Marina for Saturday.  Or I might go back to Psychic’s Thyme to hang out with friends.  I may go to dinner with friends.  I may go dancing Saturday night.  If I’m dating someone, I may spend time with my boyfriend (going to a movie, staying home and cuddling, making love, talking, going to a party together, whatever).  Trying to fit that into a single “daily schedule” would be impossible.  There’s just too many possibilities.

What inspired me to write this, however, is that I’ve notice something about many “gay lifestyle” posts:  most of them say absolutely nothing about sex.  In many cases, that’s perfectly understandable.  There are a lot of gay people out there who are not sexually active for one reason or another.  They may simply be too busy right now for a sexual relationship.  Or they may be waiting for that one special someone they want to spend their lives with.  I totally get that and respect that.

What I don’t get or respect, however, is the underlying message (or so it seems to me) that the only way to prove that all gay men spend their weekends at the bathhouse or bring home a different guy every night is to show that we’re not having sex at all, or at least hiding the fact that we’re having it.  I’m sorry, but “total celibacy” and “having 100 sex partners every year” are not the only two possibilities.

In many ways, I’m reminded of the first American Pie movie.  I loved that movie because it was a great commentary on the pressure (heterosexual) guys feel about having sex in their teen years and how it can become an obsession.  The other thing I like about that movie is that the way the “quest to lose their virginity” ends differently for the various main characters.  Two of them end up having what basically amount to random hookups (though the one ends up falling in love with his partner and marrying her in future movies).  One ends up having sex with his long-term girlfriend (who breaks up with him in the next movie).  And the fourth ends up in a relationship and he and his new girlfriend decide to put off having sex for a while longer.  The movie ends up demonstrating a diversity of responses to human sexuality.

I think we need more of that in the gay community and how we present ourselves to the outside world.  We need to get rid of the “celibacy/promiscuity” dichotomy altogether.  There’s a far more complex range of choices when it comes to human sexuality and human sexual behavior, and I think we need to start demanding that our detractors acknowledge that in our own communities.

I won’t pretend I’m a sexual prude in order to get acceptance.  But that doesn’t mean I’m totally devoid of a sexual ethic or standards, either.