FREE Gay Fiction Excerpt: A STARR IS BORN; Patti LuPone and Her Homophobic Tweet; Italy: University Lets Trans People Officially Self-Identify;

Patti LuPone and Her Homophobic Tweet

Whenever I see anyone coming from a place of privilege who thinks they know what’s best for gay people I have to wonder. And I see this all the time. This time it happened with Patti LuPone posting a homophobic tweet to Sen. Lindsay Graham regarding gay rumors.

First, we don’t even know if Graham is gay. Second…and this is a big one so pay attention…no one has the right to tell any gay person when they should or should not come out. That’s the most personal decision any gay person will ever make. I wouldn’t do it, and clearly Ms. LuPone has absolutely no right to do it either.

With that said, here’s what happened. 

“Lindsey Graham, you are a disgrace,” LuPone tweeted. “On a personal note, why don’t you just bite the bullet and come out. You might just come to your senses.”

Whether or not you like Lindsay Graham is not the point here. The point is that this kind of homophobia does not help any LGBTQ+ person. And even though there are still millions of straight ‘allies’ wondering what LuPone did wrong, this time it backfired and the replies to her tweet did not go unnoticed. 

Italy: University Lets Trans People Officially Self-Identify

On a more positive note, we are still making progress on other areas. 

An Italian university will let trans students self-identify on their official assessment tracker.

Here’s more to the story. Unfortunately, this won’t be legal anywhere else but within the University, and they get into more of the details about that as well. 


Morton had always thought of Palm Springs as all desert and palm trees, with sandy landscapes, rocks and stone, and cactus plants everywhere. He soon learned it was like that to a certain extent, but it was also a great deal more than what he’d pictured. The first thing he noticed as they pulled off the interstate were wind turbines. There must have been thousands of pure white wind turbines glistening in the hot desert sun that looked as though they’d been planted in neat rows to resemble a tree farm back east. Harrison told him the wind turbines supplied energy to the entire Coachella Valley and had become a huge tourist attraction. He promised to take Morton to see them up close one afternoon.
When they entered the city limits of Palm Springs and Morton saw Mt. San Jacinto for the first time he pressed his hand to his chest and gaped at the magnitude of it all. Back east he’d never seen mountains this majestic or vivid and not that close to a city. Harrison told him the Mt. San Jacinto peak was over 10,000 feet high and there was a tram that took tourists over 8,000 feet up. He promised to take Morton there for lunch one afternoon. But the most significant aspect about the San Jacinto Mountains that Morton would soon discover in time was that everywhere he went in Palm Springs they could be viewed.  
As they entered the city limits the desert landscape gave way to sturdy mid-century modern homes with flat roofs and interesting widows. They all had lush green lawns and well executed landscapes. Almost every home was surrounded by a wall of some kind, and almost every wall had vibrant flowering vines from one end to the other. The colors of the flowers and shrubs alone made him feel as though he’d just entered paradise. And when he looked up at the sky, beyond the massive bearded palm trees that lined all the streets in Palm Springs, it was bluer than any sky he’d ever seen.
They had to cross through downtown Palm Springs to get to Harrison’s house, which Harrison said was located in a neighborhood called The Mesa. As they passed high-end shops and toney restaurants and bars, Morton continued to gaze in silence. Most of the shops had rainbow flags hanging outside. They seemed to have everything in Palm Springs, even corporate fast food places and chain hotels. He’d thought Harrison was taking him to the middle of nowhere and he realized how far off he’d been in thinking this. They even had buses and a convention hall there. And the overall feeling he received was friendly and relaxed. No one seemed to be in a hurry to get anywhere.
When they reached a small street off the main road, Harrison made a right turn and they entered a narrow neighborhood stippled with a mix of Spanish colonial and mid-century modern homes. Like the rest of Palm Springs, all the homes had privacy walls with flowering vines, palm trees and lush green landscapes, which made it difficult to see any of the homes in detail. The neighborhood itself felt expensive, and the cars parked in the driveways were the most well-made European cars sold. The homes weren’t overly grand, though, and they’d all been built close together in a comfortable way, so he figured Harrison’s house would be pretty much the same.
Then Harrison started to climb a steep, narrow road that wound around the base of a ridge that was part of the mountains. When he reached the top of the ridge, there was a gate and he lowered the window to punch a code into a key pad to open the gate.
As they crossed through the tall iron gate, Morton asked, “How far away are we?”
Harrison smiled. “We’re here.” He gestured to a group of Spanish colonial buildings, with one grand Spanish colonial mansion. “There it is. Home sweet home.”
“You own all this?” So much for the modest house he’d been expecting.
We own all this,” Harrison said. “We’re married now and half is yours.” He laughed and corrected himself. “Well, the bank owns a good chunk, too.”
“I’ve never seen anything so wonderful,” Morton said. “All the homes we passed in this neighborhood are fantastic and I would have been thrilled with any of those. But this is breathtaking.”
“It’s the only place like it in Palm Springs,” Harrison said. “It’s over 80 acres of the best land in the Coachella Valley. And it overlooks everything. It used to belong to a silent film star who would come down here to get away from Hollywood.”
They pulled up in front of the Spanish colonial mansion and Sam was waiting there for them near the front doors. Harrison opened his door and said, “You take care of Nico and get settled. I want to talk to Sam about a few things. I’ll see you in a few minutes and I’ll show you around. The master bedroom is at the top of the stairs to the right, and our luggage should be up there already.”
Morton waved at Sam, and then grabbed his satchel and the leash and climbed out of the car. He opened the back door for Nico and didn’t bother with the leash. There didn’t seem to be a need. There were no neighbors or streets to worry about. And there was plenty of room for Nico to run around and explore.
Nico jumped out of the car. Morton closed the door and turned fast to see where he went. He didn’t go far; just about a hundred feet near a large fountain surrounded by orange flowers with light green leaves, where a tall young man was standing with his hands buried in his pockets.
The young man reached down to pet the top of Nico’s head and he smiled at Morton. “Hi, I’m Dustin Gonzalez. I’m the guy who oversees the property management here. If you need anything just let me know.” He spoke with a slight accent and smooth even tone.
Morton returned the smile and walked up to shake his hand. “I’m Morton Starr-Parker, and it’s very nice to meet you.” He still didn’t totally understand what a property manager did, and he was too embarrassed to ask. Besides, this guy was so good looking it intimidated him and he didn’t want to sound as if he was a total idiot. Dustin had a lean lanky body, wavy black hair, and eyes so dark they were almost black. He wore light cream chinos so tight they hugged his crotch, a tight white polo shirt that outlined his chest muscles and light brown leather shoes with no socks. Dressed that way he clearly wasn’t doing any physical labor, so Morton figured he was managing other people who worked there.
“I know exactly who you are,” Dustin said, as he shook Morton’s hand. “The whole world knows who you are. Congratulations on your marriage. My husband and I are huge fans of Harrison, and he’s a great guy to work for.”
Morton looked down and shook his head. He still couldn’t believe the power of social media. “So you’ve seen the nude photo online. That wasn’t planned. I wish that had never been published. It wasn’t my idea.”
“Don’t sweat it, man,” Dustin said. “It was a great photo of you sitting on your husband’s lap, and it’s not like we saw too much. It was very discreet compared to the nude photos other people post on social media.”
Morton looked up and said, “Well, thank you. It’s very nice of you to say that.”
Dustin shrugged and said, “I’ll let you get settled now.” He handed Morton a business card. “If you need anything, call me at any time. I don’t live far from here and I’ll come at any time. When the homeowners are around I make myself invisible.”
“I will,” Morton said. “And thanks, again.” He liked him instantly. He seemed warm, honest and genuinely kind. He also didn’t even seem to notice the high-heeled boots Morton was wearing. This was always a good indicator for Morton. If someone looked at something he was wearing and made a face, he knew they could never be friends. Dustin didn’t seem to care one way or the other.
As he turned to leave, Dustin patted the top of Nico’s head again and continued walking to a small white BMW parked near a group of smaller palm trees.
Morton called after him and said, “Can I ask you something?”
He stopped and turned around. “Sure.”
“I’m going to need to get a costume together for an upcoming concert I’m doing with Harrison and I have nothing prepared. I don’t even know where to go in Palm Springs. Do you know anyone who could help with that? I’m not that complicated, but it has to be just right. I have a certain look that makes me feel comfortable when I perform.”
“You’re in luck,” Dustin said. “My husband owns a salon in town, and he’d be more than happy to help you out. He’s an amateur drag performer and he knows everything there is to know about preparing for a performance.”
“Wow,” Morton said. “My two dads were both professional drag performers. Are you sure he’ll be able to help me?” He felt more comfortable now knowing he could depend on someone professional to help him get ready. He didn’t want to show up at one of the biggest music festivals in the country unprepared. He needed all the rehearsal he could get to make this go smoothly.
Dustin smiled. “Call me later and you can talk to him. We’ll both be home all evening. I think you’ll like him. He’s very bossy and very take charge, but he’s the best at what he does this side of the San Gorgonio Pass.”
“I will, and thank you so much yet again. You have no idea how much of a relief this is. And I need someone very bossy right now, because I don’t like trying to figure these things out alone. I need to be directed sometimes.”
After Dustin left, Morton went into the house to get settled in the master bedroom. Nico followed him without having to be called or coaxed, and once again Morton was amazed at how quickly Nico seemed to figure things out. But more than that, Morton felt a strong connection to Nico that was hard to describe. He’d noticed that all he had to do was share a quick glance with Nico and he knew exactly what Morton was thinking.
Even though the entire house was more magnificent on the inside than the outside, Morton could see that Harrison hadn’t put much effort into it. The floors in the main hall were marble and the walls were some kind of rustic stucco that was authentic to Spanish Colonial design. The attention to detail with every piece of carved molding was a work of art. Everything was elegant; all of it was expensive. But like Harrison’s apartment in New York, it was lacking furniture and felt so empty. Most of all, it seemed to be lacking love. It reminded Morton more of a place where someone would hang their hat to come and go than to actually live. It didn’t feel like a home yet, and Morton wanted to help change that.
After he unpacked the few things he’d brought from New York, he headed downstairs to see if he could find Harrison and Sam. Nico seemed to like the huge king size bed. He was resting on it comfortably when Morton sent him a look and said, “Let’s go downstairs now and explore.”
As he walked through the first floor of the house he found more of the same. It was all wonderful, and spotlessly clean, but empty and lacking the final touches that make a house a home. Even though Morton had always preferred a minimalist look, this was different because it didn’t look as though anyone other than the maid who cleaned it cared very much. He would work on this in time. There was no rush. His main concern at that moment was to find Harrison and start rehearsing for their performance at Coachella.
At the end of a long hall on the first floor, not far from a large kitchen with dark beams on the ceiling and rust colored tiles on the floor, he heard Harrison and Sam talking. He followed their voices to the end of the hall and found them in a large room that had been converted into a music studio. Harrison was pouring himself a tall glass of vodka and Sam was pacing the room with a serious expression.
Harrison looked up and saw him standing in the doorway. He raised his glass and said, “Hey, there they are. How is everything? Did you find the bedroom okay?”
Morton noticed that Sam didn’t appear happy, so he entered the room and said, “Yes. Everything is fine. The house is wonderful. I love Palm Springs. And I met Dustin outside and his husband is a stylist in town. He’s going to help me prepare for our performance at Coachella, and I’ve never been more relieved.”
“Excellent,” Harrison said. He looked at Sam. “You see. Morton has it all under control. Things always work out for the best.”
Sam stopped pacing and sent him a glare. “So they say.”
Nico had jumped up on a brown leather sofa by then and he was watching Sam as if he couldn’t figure him out. The dog seemed to sense there was tension in the room even more than Morton did.
Harrison shrugged Sam’s comment off and he asked if Morton wanted a drink.
Morton walked into the room and sat down on the sofa next to Nico and said, “What’s wrong? You two look as if someone died.”
Harrison smiled even more, as if he had to force himself. “It’s nothing. You know Sam. He’s always gloom and doom. Everything is wonderful.”
Morton looked at Sam, and Sam returned the look with a half-smile and said, “Yeah, that’s me. I’m the one who always faces reality.”
They both seemed so serious, and the room was filled with so much tension, Morton didn’t want to make it worse. He’d read about Harrison’s issues with money and taxes, and he’d noticed that the press was starting to publish negative stories about him. Although Harrison didn’t seem to care, Sam took it so seriously he couldn’t hide his emotions. For now, Morton thought it would be a good idea to change the subject and focus on something positive, something they could all look forward to.
So he sat up a little higher and said, “I’d like to start rehearsing tonight if that’s okay. You know how much I need to rehearse to feel comfortable. I want us to be good together, and I want you to direct me.”
“Sure,” Harrison said. “You can start rehearsing tonight.”
Sam and Morton exchanged a glance.
Morton shifted his gaze to Harrison and asked, “What about you?”
Harrison finished his vodka and started to pour another. “About rehearsing,” he said. “I’m not going to be rehearsing with you for this.”
“You’re not?” Morton asked.
“No,” Harrison said. “I’m taking a little break. I’ve decided that you’re going solo with this one. This is your chance and I want you to do this on your own.”
Morton stood up fast. He felt his face getting warm. “What are you talking about? I can’t do this alone. I thought we were going to do this together. I’ve been planning on that. And I can’t carry the entire performance alone. I’m not ready.”
Harrison finished the second glass of vodka and walked over to kiss him on the mouth. It was a quick kiss, and then he turned to leave. On his way out of the room he said, “Of course you can. They’ll love you. I’m just going to sit this one out and watch you do your magic, cutie.”

Then he left Morton alone in the room with Sam, and Nico didn’t try to follow him.

 The Rescuer

Sleepless In San Francisco

Kendle's Fire by [Field, Ryan]

Altered Parts by [Field, Ryan]

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