gay discrimination

Bethenny Frankel’s Ass; Anne R. Allen on Writing; Gambian President Gay Hate

Bon Jovi/ Versace

For some reason, this older photo of Jon Bon Jovi started floating around social media over the holidays and it reminded me of a post I wrote last year about photoshopping, body images, and the difference between how celebrity photos are often altered in direct contrast to how fashion designers create what has always been considered artistic images that often border on the abstract. But even fashion designers photoshop celebrities sometimes, and this one photo in particular of Jon Bon Jovi is classic photoshopping at its best.

You can view the photo here. The guy looks great for 50 years old. But a photo can hide certain things that you can’t in real life. And 50 year old skin is not the same as 25 year old skin no matter how hard you try. That’s life. Plain and simple. And to take this to a writer’s POV, you can’t write about a 50 year old the same way you can about a 25 year old unless you’re writing paranormal or science fiction.

And this article goes deeper, with a few excellent examples of how celebrities really look before they’re photoshopped. I love the photos of Bachelor Clooney. And frankly, most of the photos “before” don’t look all that bad anyway and I don’t see a reason to photoshop them. This link also comes with a warning. You’ll have to look at before and after shots of Bethenny Frankel’s ass…something I’m sure we can all live without seeing either before or after.

Anne R. Allen on Writing

Unfortunately, I’m a little late with this link, too, due to family things Tony and I have been dealing with in the past few days. But I wanted to post it anyway because I think it’s an excellent example of many short posts I’ve written on the topic of writing rules. In fact, many of the comments in this post made me smile because I used to follow some of the rules when I first started out. And, as a writer who is constantly trying to evolve, I’ve also changed a few of my own opinions at times. And I think that’s why I like Allen’s post so much.

I like this one rule about show and tell because I’ve posted about it more than once.

Authors who follow this rule closely can write such murky stuff you never know what’s going on.

Is this really the best way to present a character? “He wore a helmet with a wide brim, longer in the back to protect the neck, big black boots, a protective coat, and overalls held up with red suspenders. He smelled of ashes and soot.”

Why not just tell us he’s a fire fighter? After three pages of these guessing games, the building has burned down and WE DO NOT CARE.

You can read the rest here. And I highly suggest reading them all. And this goes for those who might be considered critical book reviewers who often comment on writing rules and styles in book reviews. In other words, if you’re going to mention in a book review that the author shows and tells (or anything writing related) you should know the full meaning of how this works and that writers often balance show and tell on purpose, otherwise you’re going to look a little dumb and you won’t even know it…but other people will know.  
Gambian President Gay Hate

My first thought when I read this was that I’m glad I’ll never have to set foot in Gambia. But then I thought how awful it must be for LGBT people in Gambia to have a President who would actually give a Christmas speech and compare being gay to having a social cancer.

The president said homosexuality will ‘never be condoned’ and warned parents to steer children away from ‘alien cultures that could corrupt their minds at this stage of their moral and psychological development’.

Naturally, there are plenty of gay people in Gambia and they’re fighting for their rights. Homosexuality is a felony there and LGBT people can get up to 14 years in prison for being gay.

But it gets worse. This President, this sick idiot, wants to pass laws where it would be legal to behead gays.

You can read more here.

Obama Picks Gays for Olympics; Coming Out to Rejection: Jonathan Allen

Coming Out to Rejection: Jonathan Allen

I’ll never forget one book review I had for An Officer and His Gentleman about four or five years ago where the book reviewer mocked the main character’s choices and slammed him for not changing his circumstances. Chance, the main character of that book, was thrown out of his home when he told his parents he was gay and had no other choice but to live with a mean old man who made him walk around naked all the time. What shocked me most about the review was that some people think this sort of thing doesn’t happen to younger gay men anymore. As if we all live in places like San Francisco and everyone welcomes it with open arms when their kids come out of the closet. But that’s not the case. And I haven’t read anything more definitive of this than the article to which I’m linking right now. Jonathan Allen, a finalist in America’s Got Talent, came out and his ultra-conservative family kicked him out of their home.

Allen came out to his conservative parents and was kicked out of their home but, thankfully for us, he’s since persevered with one of his natural gifts intact – his voice. Allen was a semi-finalist this past summer on NBC’s competition series America’s Got Talent where he shared his story and blew away the judges – Howard Stern, Heidi Klum, Mel B and Howie Mandel – with not only his commanding voice but also his self-effacing wit and natural charm.

He looks like a great kid. You can read more here. I find the story even more interesting because my character in An Officer and His Gentleman also wound up being a contestant on a reality cooking show in the book, and he depended on his best talent to get him through the worst of times…in his case it was cooking.

The review I’m talking about that slammed the Chance character can be read here. I’m glad the book reviewer left it up because I like having this point of reference when I’m writing posts like this. This is a quote from the review:

I had hoped from reading the blurb and excerpt that it would end up being quirky instead, but Dan treats Chance so abysmally, it might as well be abuse.And the problem is, Chance takes it.This was one of my biggest stumbling blocks in the entire set-up.Chance is an incredibly talented cook.He’s young.He’s reasonably bright.He’s a hard worker.How am I expected to believe this is his only alternative?

As a gay man I failed to understand there would be people who don’t realize these things still happen, or that I would be questioned as a gay man for knowing more about the gay community from personal circumstances than someone who is straight. It’s not good enough to show these awful things happen. You need to tell them, in detail, sometimes that we all don’t live in the loving accepting, cliched world of Modern Family. I wouldn’t mind the review at all if the reviewer were to have put up a disclaimer stating she’s not gay. You can’t fault people for not knowing something. However, I wouldn’t question Toni Morrison or her experience as an African American in African American culture and I don’t like being questioned as a gay man in gay culture. But what do I know?

Obama Picks Gays for Olympics

After an aggressive effort on the part of gay rights groups urging the President to include prominent athletes from the LGBT community in a delegation representing the US at the Russian Olympics this winter, Obama has chosen some impressive names making a clear statement to Russia. Billie Jean King will be part of this delegation at the opening ceremonies.

White House spokesman Shin Inouye said that the delegation “represents the diversity that is the United States” and that Obama was proud to cheer America’s athletes on at the 2014 Olympic Games.

“He knows they will showcase to the world the best of America — diversity, determination and teamwork,” Inouye said.
 
 
Frankly, after hearing the most recent statement by an actor in Russia who wants to burn gays alive in ovens, I’m still for boycotting completely. I wish I were more of an optimist and that I had the faith some people have. But I don’t think anything we do or say in Russia at this point is going to change how they think. Sometimes you just have to order them to “take down that wall,” so to speak. We need strong leaders for this, not mediators who can give good speeches.
 
But it should be interesting to watch, and even more interesting to see how Russia treats gays this time next year. I don’t have much hope from what I’ve seen so far. History always repeats itself.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Lesbian Couple Humiliated and Degraded in North Carolina Restaurant

When a good friend in Brooklyn e-mailed this to me earlier today, I have to say I was shocked to see that something like this would happen in North Carolina. I know a few gay couples who’ve left New Hope to move to NC, and they’ve never complained about anti-gay attitudes…or anything like getting handed an anti-gay letter in a restaurant. I love the Outer Banks. Ashville is not only one of my favorite cities in the US, it’s the home of my all time favorite author, Tom Wolfe, who wrote “Look Homeward Angel.”

But according to this article, that’s exactly what happened to a lesbian couple recently in a NC restaurant.

A lesbian couple dining at a North Carolina cafe was handed a letter that decried homosexuality as being against God’s will.

Arielle and Shawnee McPhail went to The Sting Ray Cafe in New Bern on Dec. 4, according to WCTI 12. On their way out, restaurant owner Ed McGovern approached the couple and handed them a letter asking them to reevaluate their lives.

This is what the letter said:

[…] Please, look at your life. See how it hurt[s] everyone around you. And ask the Lord to open your eye[s] before it [is] to[o] late.
The Love of Christ
P.S. my daughter also was gay. It destroy[ed] her life and my grandson.

And, the article gets even worse in a general sense.

Joel Diaz, the chief development officer for the AIDS Resource Center Ohio, recently wrote a blog for The Huffington Post describing a recent experience during which he and a friend were berated for “gay shit” while holding hands outside Mikey’s Late Night Slice pizza truck in Columbus, Ohio. Fortunately, everyone in line defended the pair.

You can follow the link above to read the entire article, and read the entire letter.

My lesbian friend in Brooklyn said this in the e-mail:

nope. not vacationing in north carolina anytime soon.


I personally wouldn’t take it that far, and I don’t think we can blame an entire state for what happened to the couple. This is the sort of thing that can happen in any state, from New Jersey to California. The good thing is that we’re talking about it now, and when things like this happen they are being reported. For too long, things like this were ignored.

I actually feel a little guilty about this because I should have caught this story and I didn’t. And when I think of the fact that I posted about Amazon bestseller lists yesterday, which is such a trivial, superficial thing compared to what happened to these two decent women, I realize I need to step it up a little and focus on the more important things going on within the LGBT community. I grew a little discouraged after the last general election when I didn’t see any huge support for the first openly gay man to ever run for President. It was as if he didn’t even exist. And he was the only candidate to my knowledge who actually came out and stated that he would, indeed, fight for marriage equality.

In any event, a post to follow soon on gay divorce. I know it’s not the most pleasant topic to get into, which is why I’ve been putting it off for a long time, but as long as same sex marriage is not recognized on a federal level, it’s something all gay couples have to pay attention to.