Month: December 2012

2012: 50 Gays Who Came Out This Year

It seems that 2012 was a big year for gays coming out, at least for the following 50 people. Some didn’t surprise me too much. I’d either already figured or heard through the proverbial grapevine. Others did make me stop and think.

As a rule, I’m not fond of this huge pressure we tend to put on gay people to come out. I think that’s a personal thing, and no one should be forced or intimidated to come out. Privacy is also a huge concern nowadays with social media, even if you’re not a celeb. I never actually had the big “coming out” speech. I always knew who I was, I never lied about who I was, and I minded my own business.

“The fact is, I’m gay.” Anderson Cooper’s long-awaited announcement sums what it meant to come out in 2012. Again and again we heard the same sentiment — from pop singer Mika’s equally anticipated confirmation, “If you ask me am I gay, I say yeah,” to actor Andrew Rannells casually remarking about relating to a gay character, “I am gay in real life, so I definitely get it.” — proving that coming out today is in many cases a non-event, and certainly secondary to other achievements.

This one didn’t surprise me. In the same respect it never mattered to me one way or the other what his sexual preference was. It still doesn’t; I think he’s the best at what he does. And it’s nice to see that this is actually a “non-event” in many cases.

Although sometimes it is surprising when you had no idea someone was gay. I didn’t know this until I read the article.

Sherman Hemsley, the actor famous for his role as George Jefferson on All in the Family and The Jeffersons, never came out in life.

Hemsley didn’t actually come out, so this article is a little misleading. If you want to get technical, he was “outed” posthumously against his wishes. All I know is I feel a little guilty. I never thought of him as a good actor. In light of this information I now have a new level of respect for his acting abilities and what he did with his life…cuz it can’t be easy playing straight. It couldn’t have been easy keeping his sexuality a secret either. I can’t even imagine.

This one just leaves me speechless and makes me wonder how dumb they think we are.

“I am gay in real life, so I definitely get it,” actor Andrew Rannells said about his newly out character Elisha on HBO’s Girls.

It was the first time Rannells, who was nominated for a Tony for his Broadway turn in The Book of Mormon and also plays gay on NBC’s The New Normal.

It doesn’t always work this way. And I’m glad it doesn’t. But in this case was there ever any doubt?

Now this one below surprised me as much as George Jefferson. I’m actually a fan of Honey-boo-boo, and I wouldn’t have guessed Uncle Poodle was gay if I’d seen him on the street. At least not until we made eye contact anyway. The eyes are always the dead give-away for me. As a side note, I would never be attracted to Andrew Rannells if I met him on the street or in a club. I’m sure he’s a great guy, but not my type by any means. But if I met Uncle Poodle I’d be so attracted I might be rendered speechless, which doesn’t happen often.

 Alana’s Uncle Lee, affectionately called “Uncle Poodle,” became a breakout star after appearing, open, out and proud, alongside his supportive family. And like Rosie Pierri, Thompson keeps his sexual philosophy real: “I’m gay, but I’m as redneck as I can get. If you want people to accept you, you have to show you don’t have a problem with yourself and just be up front about who you are. If you do, you earn people’s respect.”

For those who don’t know, I have another blog on Word Press that’s basically everything I import from this blog. I keep it for specific reasons, and I might move there one day permanently. I recently had a comment from a young gay man who seemed slightly upset that I’d criticized “The New Normal” and other network TV shows for always portraying the stereotypical gays…men and women…for the sake of ratings and entertainment. And I tried to explain to him I’m not knocking the stereotypes at all. I’m not knocking effeminate gay men. I’d just like to see more gay men of all kinds represented in the mainstream. Because yes, there are “redneck” gay men. And all kinds of other gay men. Just as all groups or minorities have different types, so to speak. But if you watch reruns of “Sex In The City,” all you’re going to see is a very small segment of the gay community. And it’s not a segment with which I can identify as a man just as I’m sure someone like Bill Cosby couldn’t identify with the African-American stereotypes we used to see all the time in the mainstream. Thankfully, that’s ended for African Americans (for the most part). I think we’ll see the end of gay stereotypes as well. I just hope it’s in my lifetime.

Someone told me “The New Normal” was not renewed, and if this is true I’m not surprised. I tried to watch and I tried to give it a chance. But it just didn’t work for me.

A huge bravo for JoCasta Zamarripa for coming out as bisexual. The B in LGBT is probably the most unrecognized group in the world, and also the most underestimated. They tend to take a lot more unfair criticism as well, from both the straight and gay communities.

Wisconsin State Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa also helped elevate the B in LGBT this year when she came out as bisexual. And it was all in the name of full transparency, said the Democrat “It has always been my goal in office to be transparent and honest with my constituents. But before the primary in 2010, I didn’t have the valor and courage to come out. I feel remiss that I didn’t come out then.”

It’s also interesting to see someone in politics come out. As I stated earlier, I don’t think we should pressure anyone into coming out. But if you are living a public life this is one of the prices you pay sometimes. And Washington is probably the second most closeted town outside Hollywood when it comes to people guarding their public images.

In any event, it’s an interesting article and there were a few more surprises for me. You can get there from the link I provided above and read them all in detail at Towerload.


Top Ten LGBT Stories of 2012; Don’t Call Me Queer

Here’s a list of some top ten LGBT news worthy items from 2012.

You can read the article here.

I posted about a few myself, like the Frank Ocean story, which focused on gay rappers breaking stereotypes. As a huge fan of rap music, I follow this sort of thing with interest all the time.

R&B artist Frank Ocean, best known as part of the hip-hop collective Odd Future, made waves in the music world when he used a Tumblr post to reveal that his first love was another man. While the critically acclaimed Channel Orange artist hasn’t elaborated on his specific orientation, the revelation rocked the hip-hop world, drawing largely supportive responses from fans and insiders (including Jay-Z and 50 Cent). 

I think I posted about this one with Kirk Cameron, too, but I could be wrong. All I know is I used to like him when I was a kid; not so much anymore.

Kirk Cameron’s “Unnatural” Bigotry Lest he fade into obscurity, former Growing Pains star Kirk Cameron reaffirmed his antigay opinions, calling homosexuality “unnatural” in a CNN interview. While Stephen Baldwin thought Cameron was on point, other celebrities, including Debra Messing and Cameron’s Growing Pains costars Tracey Gold and Alan Thicke, heartily disagreed. At an October speech at conservative Liberty University, Cameron played the victim card, saying that he seemed “to have blasphemed the god of political correctness, and [my critics] tried to drag me out into the public square and crucify me.”

In any event, it’s an interesting article that covers some of the most publicized LGBT news items this year. Not all, but it’s worth checking out.

Don’t Call Me Queer

One of the things I spoke about this year that I didn’t like was how I started seeing LGBTQ turn up everywhere instead of LGBT. At first I didn’t even know what the “Q” stood for. This happened a lot in publishing, especially in blog posts. It also happened a lot on the fringe. And I never considered myself on the fringe in a social sense. In publishing, yes. My fiction is on the fringe. But not in my daily life. And I don’t intend to start doing that now.

And while I never said I was against it and I believe anyone who wants to be referred to as “Queer” has every right to be referred to as “Queer,” if you call me a “Queer” you’d better start running. As a writer I believe in the power of words. And I do get why people believe that if we all start using the word “Queer” it will remove the stigma. (They say the same things about the “N” word, but I didn’t embrace that either.) However, words are powerful and can affect us in ways we don’t even know…subconsciously. And for anyone who has ever been called a “Queer” in a negative way…most of us…it conjures up all kinds of fresh hells they don’t like to revisit.

So if you want to be called “Queer,” I think that’s great. More power to you. But don’t expect me to embrace it. And, so far I haven’t seen it catching on all that much. In fact, I haven’t seen it used in a while. 

Nicest Blogger I Met This Year: Anthony Romero

I met a lot of nice bloggers this year, both gay and straight, male and female. But one guy really stands out as being the nicest, the sweetest, and the most genuine…and that’s because I didn’t expect him to be so nice.

His name is Anthony Romero. And he also writes great stories, too.

A lot of bloggers, especially gay bloggers, can have attitude that goes on for days. Oh yes, I know of what I speak. Nasty little queens with too much attitude and not enough money or talent.

That sweet little Davey Wavey wasn’t so sweet when I found a malware virus from a link to his blog and it took me all morning to get rid of it. And when I was nice enough to e-mail good old Davey Wavey about the malware virus to warn him, I never even received so much as a thank you. I get that. I’m used to that with the Davey Wavey types. They know how to work a crowd but deep down they aren’t the sweetest people on earth.

But this guy, Anthony Romero, truly is just as nice as a blogger can get. And as good looking as he is smart!!

2012 Favorite KDP Self-Published Book: "No More Harvard Debt"

I didn’t have to think too hard to figure out my favorite Kindle Direct Publishing self-published book of 2012. Hands down, it was “No More Harvard Debt,” by Joe Mihalic.

I then read another book he’d written, and loved it just as much.

If all self-published authors were this articulate, this bright, and this *humble* the big six would shut down for good, agents would be querying authors, and we’d all be reading self-published books.

He’s also a consummate blogger.

I actually hesitated before I wrote this post because the author is so humble…and he doesn’t take nearly enough credit for his talent.

In fact, I have seen cheese-dick authors with small start-up e-publishers brag and boast about dreadful books that should have been in the slush pile and they could not even compare to Joe just in writing style alone.

And it was all done by one writer. It didn’t cost him much to do. And all it took was time, talent, and dedication.

Knowing Joe, he’s going to hate this post because he is that humble. And I swear I won’t do it again. But I couldn’t help writing this follow up and letting people know there’s help out there for dealing with student debt, and it’s done very well.

2012 Favorite Book Review for "Fifty Shades of Grey"

When I say this is my favorite book review of 2012 for “Fifty Shades of Grey,” I should probably add it might be my favorite book review of all time. I joke not about this. I’ve mentioned this review before but never actually linked to it until now. If you do a blog search above, you’ll find a few posts.

Brief back story: At first I didn’t like the review. I posted about all that here.

But all that changed fast.

I now I love this book review because it is such a cutting, scathing, head-bashing book review…not to mention looooonnnngggg…it helped me find FSoG before it actually went mainstream, before millions of people started reading FS and talking about it, and before FS turned into one of the biggest books of 2012…if not this decade.

This review not only turned me on to FSoG, it helped me fall in love with it.

It’s also extremely entertaining, as far as reviews go in a general sense.

And that deserves a huge round of applause, a big old gold dart trophy, and all the recognition we can give it.

So let’s hear it for:

REVIEW: Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James

Photo of dart trophy from

2012 Fav Christmas Card From Elisa Rolle…

I’m posting this because it really was my favorite Christmas card this year, and because I sent Elisa a card the week before Christmas and I’m not sure it arrived on time. I’m bad that way. I can get books to publishers weeks before deadlines. If you ask me to do an interview or blog post, I’ll deliver early. I even pay bills ten days in advance.

But ask me to write a Christmas card…or any kind of card…and I become completely kerfuffled.

First Gay Weddings in Maine…

In a history making event, the first same sex couples gathered in Maine to exchange vows this weekend. It’s significant in the sense that all these couples were finally allowed to have their relationships validated legally in Maine, and also because it’s one step closer to same sex marriage on a federal level.

There’s also an emotional factor here as well. And unless you’ve been in a long term same sex relationship and you’ve gone the proverbial distance, you can’t even begin to imagine how something like this works psychologically. You might think you can, but you really can’t know unless you’ve experienced not being allowed to legally marry. Being able to legally marry for gay couples is like they’ve finally stopped punishing you for that crime you never committed in the first place.

Arriving in a limo, Donna Galluzzo and Lisa Gorney had all the trappings of a traditional wedding: Rings, flowers, wedding vows, an entourage and a friend to officiate.

With tears in their eyes, they were among the first gay couples to exchange wedding vows early Saturday morning after Maine’s same-sex marriage law went into effect at midnight.

“We’re paving the way for people to go after us. I think it’s just amazing. It’s freeing. It’s what’s right,” an emotionally drained Gorney said after their ceremony in front of City Hall.

Of course here in Pennsylvania same sex couples aren’t allowed to get married, and the couples who were allowed to marry in Maine are still facing obstacles like inheritance taxes, benefits, and other legal issues because same sex marriage is not legal on a federal level. In an ironic twist, same sex couples who aren’t legally allowed to marry face injustices when it comes to divorce, too. (More to follow on the divorce issue soon.) In other words, to make this clear, if the couples who were married in Maine…or any other state where gay marriage is legal…come to visit Tony and me in Pennsylvania they would not be considered legally married. And that’s what “state by state” means in a general sense.

But at least it seems we’re moving forward. After the most recent elections in this country, I’ve stopped hoping that a President or one particular leader (and I use the term leader loosely) is going to do anything about recognizing same sex marriage federally. When it does happen (and it will) it’s going to have to be a collective effort that involves many people. And what happened in Maine this weekend is one more step in that direction.

You can read more here.

Photo: Falln-Stock    (Huge thanks to photographer for taking such cool pics!)  

Steve Jobs’ Yacht Is Like Good Tight Fiction

When I saw this article I wanted to post about it because I think it’s the most wonderful ship I’ve ever seen as far as design goes. I’ve seen a lot of negative comments from those who don’t know any better and never will, but no matter how many times I look at photos and see the intricate, yet simple, design of this boat I’m amazed at how elegant it really is.

You either get it or you don’t. Plain and simple.

It’s the most perfect example of minimalist modern design I’ve seen in years, and I think it’s going to become a classic. I like to think of fiction writing that way: tight, clean, sleek, and without the messy said bookisms and adverbs (He mumbled longingly; She grumbled lovingly; He barked loudly…ick, ick, ick). Unfortunately, this kind of tight fiction is not popular in the romance genre, and frills and ruffles that aren’t needed are often inserted and people think that’s good writing. I’m talking about word economy without frills: first page; Great Gatsby. That’s what writing fiction is all about for me. And it takes years to develop. I’m still working on that kind of perfection and probably always will be.  

For those who don’t know, Steve Jobs was so obsessed with minimalist design he only wore black mock turtlenecks. And he didn’t own any furniture for years because he couldn’t find anything he liked…or what he thought would work from a design POV. As the true perfectionist, he wouldn’t settle for almost as good. It had to be just right, and perfect. This followed through in every aspect of his life, which is why the iPad you’re using now looks and feels the way it does. The technology was important to him, and so was the design. I have an iPhone 3, and I don’t know if I will get the iPhone 4 or 5. Whenever I see someone use one of the newer versions I can’t help noticing how the design has suffered since the beginning. They don’t even feel the same to me, and I can’t help wondering if we’ve seen the last of that kind of exceptional minimalist design for a long time.

In any event, here’s part of the article about the yacht that was just launched.

The Venus is a sort of iPhone of yachts — minimalist in design, aluminum hulled, not cheap at a reported cost of about $138 million to build, and equipped with the latest in Apple technology.

Jobs’ influence is all over that yacht. If you’ve studied anything at all about him, and you’ve read about how hard he worked toward that kind of perfection, you’ll see the artist in him surpassed the businessman more than once in his life. And it’s a shame we don’t know more about this, because it’s not usually what we see focused on when he’s talked about now.

Gay Couples Getting Legal Issues In Order, Including Divorce

This post about gay couples getting wills in order wasn’t planned today. But I recently witnessed a situation that made me think about this more than usual and I figured I’d post something for those gay couples who have not taken the time to deal with wills and estates. Without legalized marriage on a federal level…I repeat: a FEDERAL level…this is extremely important.

And I’m not talking specifically about covering each other if one person in the relationship passes away or gets sick. I’ve gone there before with things like power of attorney and I’ll do it again at some point. That’s just as important as what I’m going to mention now, because if you don’t deal with these things while you’re alive and healthy you’re going to wind up screwed over big time….and so is your partner.

This post is more about your intentions, and how you’d like things to be carried out when you’re gone. About thirteen years ago Tony and I lost two very good old friends who had been together for forty years. They literally died within a year of each other, in spite of a fifteen year age difference, and I always thought the last one died from a broken heart. I’ve seen this often in long term gay relationships, especially when there are no children involved. Thankfully, these two men had their affairs in order, so to speak. When the first one passed, the survivor was protected and covered from money grubbing nieces and nephews…or those distant cousins you never hear from unless there’s money involved. Tony and I watched carefully, and we followed what they did with our own wills. Without this legal protection gay couples have nothing. And even with legal protection things can get confusing if family members decide to contest. At least it’s not easy for them.

But what about if something happens to both people in a gay relationship at the same time? Suppose the gay couple is killed in a car accident, or something just as bad happens. This is one of those issues that isn’t always addressed, and it’s just as important for straight couples who don’t have children and haven’t planned ahead (I’m assuming those with kids do this without thinking about it). Most of the gay couples I know who have been together for a long time have accumulated assets and I think it’s important to be prepared for anything. I would hate to think all Tony and I have worked for all our lives would wind up going to people we weren’t close to at all. So you need someone you can trust completely to handle these things and make sure your wishes and intentions are carried out. And that doesn’t always have to be a family member. It just has to be someone you care about and trust.

It’s just as important for single gay men, too. I know a gay man who isn’t in a relationship at this point and he decided to bypass his brothers and sisters in case anything happens to him and leave his entire estate to nieces and nephews. That’s his choice; there’s nothing wrong with that. And at least it sounds as if he’s prepared. In our case, Tony and I have one person appointed as executor, and then whatever we have would be divided between brothers and sisters. I personally don’t feel an obligation to nieces and nephews at this point in my life. I love them all, but I believe the next in line should be the people I grew up with: brothers and sisters. But everyone feels differently. We know one couple who can’t stand anyone in their family and they’ve left everything they have to charity in case something happens to both of them at the same time. We know another couple who left everything to friends. I see nothing wrong with that either.

You just have to be sure you’re prepared. So don’t put it off, and don’t forget about your pets. If something happens to both people in a gay relationship and they have pets they want them to be placed in good homes with people they trust. Your intentions are important, and when you’re gay and you don’t have children no one ever seems to consider this.

I’m not even going to get into gay divorce right now. That’s for a future post. But here’s a hint of what that will be about. I know a straight couple who got divorced recently and everything was divided 50/50 right down the line. It was the law; they didn’t have a choice. I also know a gay couple who got “divorced,” but because their marriage wasn’t recognized on a FEDERAL level everything they had was divided 80/20, including what was left after the sale of their home. And the one who wanted the divorce…the one who left his partner in mid-life crisis for someone twenty years younger…wound up getting 80% of everything they’d accumulated in twelve years. And the one who got dumped wound up with 20%. Not fair at all. If they’d been legally married it would have been 50/50. But that’s how it works because gay marriage is NOT legal.

Here’s a link to Rainbow Law in case you don’t have an attorney, where you can read about all this in more depth.

Don’t put it off.

Rainbow Law’s legal documents provide you with the right to:
  • Advance Directives let you authorize your partner (or some other person who is not your legal relative) to make medical and financial decisions for you when you are not able to speak for yourself;
  • A Medical Power of Attorney will authorize your partner to have primary rights to visit you in the hospital;
  • A Disposition of Remains will let your partner to make arrangements for your burial, cremation, funeral or memorial services;
  • A Will or Trust allows you to leave your house and/or other property to your partner or someone else;
  • A Will or Trust lets you disinherit someone who would otherwise have legal rights to inherit your property;
  • A Nomination of Guardian lets you choose your partner or someone else you trust to raise your minor children, and/or to make medical, educational and financial decisions for them until they are old enough to take care of themselves;
  • A Will or Trust lets you make arrangements for the care of your pets;
  • And more…