gays

Italians, Marriage, Gays, and Fidelity; Cindy Brady, Again; James Franco Smacking Guy’s Bare Ass With A Chicken Wing

Italians, Marriage, Gays, and Fidelity

This is something that surprised me a little. It sounds valid, and I did check other sources. 

An amendment to Italy’s Civil Code would remove references to “fidelity” from the institution of marriage, following the model adopted for Italy’s gay civil unions.

Passed earlier this year, the Italian civil unions bill omitted references to fidelity and marital faithfulness, and referred simply to “moral and material support” and “cohabitation.”

And this is interesting, too.

A 2010 Gay Couples Study conducted by Colleen Hoff at the Center for Research on Gender and Sexuality, San Francisco, found that 47 percent of gay couples had “sex agreements” that specifically allowed sexual activity with others.

You can read the rest here. The bill has passed the Senate and is under review. I know it’s a very conservative publication and I’m linking to it on purpose to prove a point. This is how people who don’t know get an exaggerated impression of gay couples. Here’s a link to another article in the Telegraph.  

I’m not familiar with the study in San Francisco, but I do know a lot of gay couples. And that study was done over six years ago before legalized gay marriage. The gay couples I know are mostly monogamous. That’s just from my personal experience. And they are gay couples of all ages. I’m not knocking open marriages, gay or straight. I just don’t know if it’s realistic to mention gay couples this way without doing extensive research, everywhere, and finding gay couples who are willing to participate. I would never participate in a study like that. I’m on the fence with this one.

Cindy Brady, Again

Last week I posted about how Susan Olsen, who played Cindy Brady on the TV show The Brady Bunch, made gay slurs on the radio and was ultimately fired as a result.

Here’s a new twist…

‘This is only about me supporting Trump. And I still do!’ she writes in Facebook post.

She adds: ‘And by the way, how does one get fired from a job they were never paid to do?’

Whether she was paid or not, LA Talk Radio took her off the air for using anti-gay slurs against a gay actor in a Facebook message made public.

Here’s the rest.  You can read the gay slurs she made at this link.

James Franco Smacking Guy’s Bare Ass With A Chicken Wing

You have to admit that even a new James Franco story is a nice diversion from politics these days. Franco’s actually talking about a scene he did for a film while he was playing James Dean.

‘Well in this version Paul had kind of changed it … there he is picking stuff up and it’s not tea anymore – it’s Kentucky Fried Chicken.

‘And his pants are down at his ankles, his ass is out … I’m supposed to get on his back and like ride him and say like, “Ride the pig! Ride the pig!” and hit his ass with a chicken wing.’

There’s more here, with a video. It’s a good video of Franco being interviewed by Stephen Colbert.

Stepbrothers In the Attic by Ryan Field

The Sneaky Disingenuous Hollywood Actors In the Closet; Cher, Dyslexia, Gays, and Hollywood Fail, Again; University of Indonesia To "Normalize" Gays

The Sneaky, Disingenuous Hollywood Actors In the Closet

This has always been a rough one for me, because I have always firmly believed that no one should ever be forced into coming out as gay. For most people who fall under the umbrella of LGBTQ, it’s a serious, emotional decision for which they have to be ready. And I still believe that. I receive e-mails daily from closeted gay male readers who are fighting with this dilemma every waking minute.

However, there are still a lot of double standards going on in Hollywood these days that are both disingenuous and sneaky. I’m not going into a long rant about this because I know everyone “gets’ it.

Here’s an article that gives 20 reasons why Matt Damon was wrong to tell gay actors to remain in the closet.

So there still are no openly gay leading men, at least on the Major Motion Picture front. It’s a pity.

According to Matt Damon (in a comment he’s since insisted was taken out of context), this is because the career of Rupert Everett, who came out in 1989 when Matt was 19, did not achieve the stardom Everett apparently assumed he was destined for. Apparently this narrative, promulgated mostly by Everett, made a deep impression on Damon.

Damon’s theory, whether he meant it or not, is another version of the old canard that openly gay men can’t be leading men because straight men recoil at the notion and, for women, it ruins the fantasy. Hahaha

You can read the rest here. It’s a list of successful openly gay stars, proving Matt Damon wrong. However, Damon isn’t totally wrong because that same passive aggressive, self-loathing homophobia still exists today in Hollywood. 

Cher, Dyslexia, Gays, and Hollywood Fail, Again

On the surface, this sounds okay. I can even relate to it to a certain extent…again, on the surface. However, I would never be presumptuous…or foolish enough…to even try to begin to understand what life is like for someone with dyslexia. And frankly, I would like the same respect extended to me as a gay man from someone who is still coming from a place of privilege like Cher. 

But while making yet another fundraising appearance for Hillary Clinton this week, the Oscar winner talked about another reason why she feels so simpatico with LGBTI people: her dyslexia.

‘I understand, and I think this is a thing that I share with my gay brothers and sisters, that I understand shame-for-no-reason,’ she said at The Park on 10th Avenue in New York City.

‘I understand trying to overcome what you shouldn’t have to overcome, something that’s just natural, that we are, the people who we are, the colors that we are.’

Here’s a link to the rest.

This is Hollywood fail, and in the same way it always has been. As far as I know, Cher will never know what it’s like to be refused the right to marry legally. And that’s just one thing. 

University of Indonesia To “Normalize” Gays

Evidently, they think they can “normalize” gay people at this university.

Syamsu Qamar Badu, the rector of the State University of Gorontalo (UNG), issued a new set of policies targeting LGBTI people.

This includes a ‘special team’ employed to look out for, and offer ‘counseling’ for, students they suspect of identifying as LGBTI.

‘This identification process will not be easy, but we can’t just let it happen if there are male students wearing lipstick on campus,’ Badu said.

You can read the rest here. 

Lipstick on campus? Someone should tell them.

And it’s interesting to note that The Indonesia Psychiatric Association (PDSKJI) still believes “homosexuality” is an illness.

Unabated

 Amazon


Unabated

 Uncertainty



FREE Gay Fiction Excerpt; Susan Sarandon, Hillary, and Gays; Gus Kenworthy and Russian Hotel Room; Nate Berkus True Story

Susan Sarandon, Hillary, and Gays

Susan Sarandon tossed a little shade in Hillary Clinton’s direction with a few honest, accurate comments about Hillary’s stand on gay rights. You can’t knock Sarandon for this one. For the most part, she’s right.

The actress and activist lent her star power to a Bernie Sanders rally in Iowa on Thursday (28 January) evening, where she blasted the former secretary of state for voting for the Iraq War, taking money from Wall Street and ‘equivocating’ on issues such as gay marriage.

‘It’s one thing to be for gay rights and gay marriage once everybody else is for it. That’s not difficult,’ she told a crowd of Sanders supporters.

Sanders, on the other hand, is ‘untainted’ and ‘has managed to consistently be on the right side of every issue the correct side of every issue that reflects my concerns,’ she later told DailyMail.com.

You can read more here. 

I know the comments about Hillary are true, but I’m not so sure about Sanders.  According to Time.com, Sanders was did not always support gay marriage…support being the key word.

But his record on gay marriage is more complicated than he now makes it sound. While Sanders generally opposed measures to ban gay marriage, he did not speak out in favor of it until 2009. That’s still ahead of Clinton, who released a YouTube video announcing her support in 2013, as well as most other Democratic Senators, but not as early as he’s now casting it.

So Sarandon is partially correct. But I do like…love…what Sanders said here:


“I’m not evolving when it comes to gay rights. I was there,” Sanders told the New York Times earlier this year.

That word. Evolving. It’s been used by Hillary too many times and I’m not too thrilled with it.  An apology might be more appropriate.

Gus Kenworthy and Russian Hotel Room

When Gus Kenworthy tried to check into a hotel room in Russia with his boyfriend he got an interesting surprise.

‘I had been in Russia the year before for the test event with my boyfriend and they wouldn’t let us check into the hotel room. They were like, “Two guys can’t be in the same bed,”‘ Kenworthy tells Attitude magazine.

Kenworthy, 25, came out publicly last fall and remained firmly closeted during that competition and during the Olympics.

‘It felt shitty,’ he said of being closeted at that time.

‘I wasn’t worried about being targeted necessarily, because nobody knew that I was gay but I still felt uncomfortable knowing how Russia, the country and the government, felt about me,’ he says.

You can read more here. Since coming out, Kenworthy has become somewhat of an inspiration and example to gay men all over the globe. And it’s really mostly about what he says and how he says it. It’s always good to hear from him.

Nate Berkus True Story

If you’ve never watched Nate Berkus on The Home Shopping Network, you’ve missed something interesting. He’s not only talented, but he’s also honest, up front, and you never get the feeling he’s pushing anything too hard.

Berkus also has an interesting story to tell, a story that trumps those of most people, gay or straight. I’ve known about it for a long time, but in case you didn’t…

It was a decade earlier that photographer Fernando Bengoechea had been swept out to sea when a tsunami struck Sri Lanka where the couple had been vacationing. Berkus managed to survive the disaster that took more than 30,000 lives but the pain long remained.

 ‘I didn’t know how to articulate what I needed from a new relationship,’ Berkus says in a new interview with his mentor Oprah Winfrey on an episode of Where Are They Now which airs Sunday (24 January).

When Tony was hospitalized, near death, in the summer of 2007, I remember catching an interview with Berkus late at night by accident, and at the time he was a huge inspiration to me. I thought if Berkus can go through all that, I can get through all this. And I did, partly thanks to many of the things he said in that interview. 


I also love his white sheets.

You can read the rest here.

FREE GAY FICTION EXCERPT  THE RAINBOW DETECTIVE AGENCY: RANCHO MIRAGE

Here’s an excerpt from my upcoming book in The Rainbow Detective Agency series, Rancho Mirage. It’s going to be the last book in the series…for now. And I wanted to tie up a story line with one of the minor characters. I tie up a few other things as well. The following excerpt is from a part of the book where Blair and Proctor attend a small LGBT business conference in Rancho Mirage, CA, where they get into a little more trouble than they expected. Blair is not too thrilled to be there either.


On the way down to the banquet room, Proctor reached over to adjust Bob’s black tie. “You look nice tonight, too, Bob. You certainly do dress up very well.” He said this on purpose. He adjusted Bob’s tie in a seductive way on purpose as well. He’d already complimented the way Bob looked and he’d been completely ignoring Blair to see if he could get a reaction from Blair.
Blair looked down at the floor and frowned. “No one said anything about how I look tonight.” He was talking to Proctor and everyone knew it.
Proctor smiled and reached over to adjust Blair’s tie. “I’m sorry. I’ll fix that. You look better than any man has ever looked in a formal tuxedo, and better than any man will ever look again.” Then he patted Blair on the cheek and smiled even wider.
“Oh, you are an evil, cruel man,” Blair said. He glanced at Proctor and almost laughed. “I see I’ve taught you very well. Now you’re beating me at my own game.”
“And you love every minute of it,” Proctor said.
Bob laughed. “Okay, guys. Calm yourselves. Before you rip off each other’s clothes, the elevator is about to stop and the doors are going to open.”
“They can’t help themselves,” Vina said to Bob. “They’ve been like this since the beginning. They argue, they insult each other, they complain, and then they make love. It’s their game. It’s what they do best. I’m used to it. You’ll get used to it eventually.”
Proctor and Blair exchanged a glance and shrugged at the same time, as if they had no idea what Vina was talking about.
Before Blair had a chance to reply, the elevator opened and Bob said, “Should I pretend I’m Vina’s escort tonight?” He smiled at Vina. “I don’t mind in the least. I would be honored.”
Proctor thought that was one of the nicest things he’d heard all week, however, he had other plans for Vina. “No. You’re with us tonight, Bob, and I don’t care who wonders about it. The whole point of Vina being here is to meet new people and have a little fun for a change. If guys think she’s with you no one will come over to her.”
“I don’t mind,” Vina said, with a shaky voice. “I’ll let Bob be my escort. It’s fine with me. Maybe I should take things slowly tonight.”
Proctor stepped out of the elevator and they all followed him toward the banquet room. “Don’t get nervous now, Vina. You’ve come a long way and this is no time to back out. I have a feeling you’re going to be very surprised tonight.”  Although Vina wasn’t a raving beauty there was something about her general appearance that exuded sex appeal. It was the kind of sex appeal that came from a combination of several small physical flaws. When her slightly crooked nose and all of her other unusual features came together they created a look that resembled a cross between a younger version of Donatella Versace, Lady Gaga, and Melania Trump.

“Should I say anything?” Vina asked, as they approached the banquet room.
“About what?” Proctor asked.
 “Should I mention I’m a transgender person to people?”
Blair smiled. “You take this one, Proctor. It’s too easy.”
Proctor knew what Blair was thinking. He put his arm around Vina and said, “Absolutely not. You don’t have to say anything to anyone. You are who you are and you have to learn how to be proud of that. If and when you get to know someone better you can tell them whatever you want. But in the beginning, just be yourself and that’s all that matters. Most people will figure out you’re a transgender person on their own and they’ll either love you for it or they’ll walk away. You don’t need the people who walk away. Let them go with pleasure.”
“That’s how I’ve always handled it,” Bob said.
They all looked at him and tilted their heads to the side at the same time.
“I’m talking about being gay,” Bob said. “I never came out of the closet. I never made any announcements that I’m gay. Here I am. This is who I am. If you don’t like it kiss my ass.”
Proctor smiled. “I like that. It’s crude, but I like it.” Even though they were only ten years apart in age, Proctor came from a time when coming out was looked at as a sign of pride and strength. It was peer pressure, too. You had to come out in order to be accepted in the gay community. However, he’d noticed that younger men like Bob were opting for a different approach and he couldn’t blame them. In fact, he was starting to question a few things in his life.
“Okay, enough talking,” Blair said. “We’re starting to overthink again. Let’s just get in there and get the bad food and listen to the bad music so we can get this night over with.”
“Stop complaining,” Proctor said, glancing into the crowded banquet room. “You might have the best time of your life.”
Blair reached around and grabbed his ass. “Not until we go back up to the room.”
As Blair had predicted, the food turned out to be overcooked beef, some kind of soggy vegetable medley, square potatoes, and a wedge of iceberg lettuce. They were seated at a table of eight near the dance floor with two other generic gay couples from California. One was a middle aged married lesbian couple where the older one wore a man’s tuxedo and the younger wore a frilly white little Miss Muffet dress. The one wearing the tuxedo was a dentist and the one in the Miss Muffet dress was, so she claimed, a stay-at-home-mom. It wasn’t until she showed Proctor photos of their “children” on her phone that Proctor got the full message. When she held the phone in front of him and started scrolling, all he saw were pictures of cats.
The other couple came from some little town in the mountains Proctor had never heard of…and didn’t care to hear more about…and they ran a touristy gift shop called Where the Ember Glows. They were the quasi, amateur creative gay types Proctor always ran into at these conventions and conferences. The older one was about fifty pounds overweight. He wore a tuxedo jacket he couldn’t button, a red plaid cummerbund, and a matching red plaid kilt instead of pants…a mistake. The younger one…and he wasn’t much younger…wore a black tuxedo with a rainbow cummerbund and matching rainbow tie. This guy looked as if he’d stepped out of a Disney movie. He was bean pole thin with a chin so long and pointy Proctor was afraid Blair might ask him if he wanted to build a snowman.
While the lesbian couple and the two guys from the mountain town were talking about how much they “adored” a political candidate, Blair leaned into Proctor’s side and said, “How much longer do I have to endure this nightmare?”
Proctor rolled his eyes. “Be patient, Blair.” He glanced over at Vina and saw she was staring at the dance floor with a sullen expression. He was so hoping she’d meet someone new and fresh that night and it didn’t seem to be happening. “The music hasn’t even started yet.”
“Oh, I can’t wait,” Blair said. “Let me see, will it be Barry Manilow or Air Supply?”
Bob overheard that comment and laughed. “It can’t be that bad,” he said.
Proctor remained silent. He knew it could get much worse.
Blair tilted his head and said, “You wanna bet?”
“Finish your dinner like a good boy,” Proctor said, pointing to Blair’s plate.
Blair pointed to Proctor’s plate and said, “You didn’t finish yours.”
“I’m allergic,” Proctor said, trying not to laugh.
Bob looked confused. “You’re allergic to beef.”
Blair jumped in before Proctor could reply. “He’s not allergic to anything. He just says that whenever he doesn’t want to eat something he doesn’t like. And people always believe him.”
Bob shrugged. “Well if you two aren’t going to eat anything can I have it?”
Blair picked up his plate filled with overcooked beef and switched it with Bob’s empty plate. “Here you go. Be my guest.”
As he sat there listening to Bob and Blair, and then listening to the two other couples at their table, Proctor realized just how diverse gay people really are. Even though Blair and Bob were a lot alike in many ways, even they had their differences. It made Proctor wonder about a lot of things in his life he’d always taken for granted. When he’d been younger he’d always just assumed that all gay people had similar interests and things in common and the older he grew the more he realized that wasn’t true at all. In fact, he hadn’t mentioned anything to Blair yet, but he was seriously thinking about changing the name of the agency. The Rainbow Detective Agency had seemed like a good name at the time, but he was starting to wonder whether or not it was too inclusive now with the world changing so fast.
When the music started to play, the first song turned out to be an older Ricky Martin song Proctor hadn’t heard since the 90s. He didn’t have to look at Blair this time. Blair poked in in the ribs with his elbow and said, “And there you go. Time to Macarena. Just hit me over the head with a two by four and be done with it.”
“Well at least it’s not Barry Manilow,” Proctor said.
“Don’t worry, that’s coming soon,” Blair said.
Proctor turned to Bob to see if he wanted to dance. Blair hated to dance and Proctor didn’t want to force him into anything else that night. He wasn’t sure how Bob felt about dancing so he decided to ask. However, as he looked at Bob he noticed Bob’s plate was empty. He’d eaten his dinner, Blair’s dinner, and he’d just finished Proctor’s dinner. “How can you eat so much and keep that fantastic body?”
Bob shrugged and said, “I never had a weight problem. I can eat as much as I want and I can eat anything I want. Do you want to dance?”
He asked so casually and without warning Proctor smiled. “Yes, I’d love to dance.”
As Proctor stood and reached for Bob’s hand, he was about to lean over and whisper into Blair’s ear. He wanted to ask Blair to dance with Vina if no one else came along. However, he didn’t get a chance. Right before he leaned over a tall, dark attractive young man walked over to Vina and said, “Can I have this dance? My name is Charlie Kilpatrick and I’ve been watching you since you arrived. I hope that’s okay.”
Vina shot Proctor a glance and Proctor smiled and sent her an encouraging nod.
Vina looked up at Charlie and said, “I’m a transgender person.”
Blair smacked his forehead and said, “So much for not saying anything at first.”
Proctor poked Blair in the head with his elbow this time.
Charlie said, “I know that. I told you I’ve been watching you for a while and it doesn’t matter one way or the other to me. I’d like to dance and get to know you better.”
“You would?” Vina asked, as if she couldn’t believe her ears.
“Yes, I would,” Charlie said.
Proctor smiled and winked at Vina. “Go dance with him. Have some fun.”
For a moment, Vina hesitated. She stared at Proctor, took a quick breath, and then she finally stood up. Proctor watched Charlie lead her onto the dance floor. When she tripped over her own feet…in her defense, she wasn’t used to wearing such high heels…Charlie smiled and helped her gain her balance without making a big deal of it. He simply placed his palm on the small of Vina’s back and they glided away from the tables as if they’d known each other for years instead of minutes.
The lesbian couple and the guys from the mountains stood up at the same time and they headed to the dance floor. Bob pulled Proctor closer and Proctor turned to Blair and asked, “Are you sure you don’t mind being left all alone here?”
“We can stay here with you,” Bob said. “We don’t have to dance.”
Blair shook his head and waved them off. “Go dance. I’m fine. I’m sure they’ll be serving the melted vanilla ice cream soon and I’ve been waiting for that all night.”

Judy Blume/Lena Dunham; No E-books for 70%?Gay Fired Catholic

Judy Blume/Lena Dunham

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:JudyBlume2009(cropped).jpg

This looks fascinating. There’s a “mini” book coming out that focuses on a personal conversation with Judy Blume and Lena Dunham. (Dunham is the star of TV show “Girls” and I’ve posted about her here a few times. For the first time, gay characers are portrayed well on her show.)

Here’s more about the book: “What does surprise, though, in this 80-page book chronicling the pair’s first meeting and a conversation that touches on writing, celebrity, sex, censorship, and favorite breakfasts, is just how naturally the two get along. The generation gap doesn’t stand a chance—perhaps because Dunham and Blume have reading in common.”

From Galleycat.

I think the book is supposed to be about 8,000 words, but it’s only coming out in a limited run. I’m not certain if it will be launched in digital format (I really hope it is, and that the publisher “gets” digital). If it is, I’m buying it.

No E-books for 70%?

Speaking of digital format, this is one of those articles I just find hard to believe. And the main reason is that e-books sales rise in some articles, and then fall in others, and no one knows WTF to believe anymore. There’s been a long running small scale poll over at Nathan Bransford’s blog since (I think) 2007 where he polls his blog readers about whether or not they’ll switch to e-books. I’ve followed it each year, and each year the numbers reading e-books seem to rise. You can check that out here. He does a follow up post with links to other years. What’s been amazing to see is how some who stated they would NEVER switch to e-books have changed since 2007. I would consider his readership a mix of elite and mainstream. And with Bransford’s poll, there’s no hidden agenda, so I tend to believe it more than other things I read.

In any event:

The main reasons for preferring print are that these consumers like the look and feel of a real book, they don’t have to strain their eyes to read print and they like putting books on the bookshelf.

“The Evolution of the Book Industry: Implications for US Book Manufacturers and Printers” report also revealed that college students prefer print textbooks to digital textbooks, for reasons of concentration. According to the report, respondents reported that a digital display is too distracting.

Interesting. I have bad eyes, from years of working on a computer. I only read e-books because I can adjust the size of the print. Last study I heard in September many college students, in order to offset the cost of rising tuition and student loans, aren’t just reading e-books, they are downloading from sharing sites in digital in questionable ways.

From my post in September:

This morning on a local Philadelphia news channel, the morning anchor, Sheinelle Jones, mentioned the rising cost of a college text book, which she said is about $200.00. Then she started talking about social media messages she’d received on the topic from college students headed back to school this month, and carefully discussed how some students are getting around this by finding digital books in places where it’s not allowed.

So just by judging from what I see around me, and from what I see younger people doing, I find it hard to believe 70% absolutely refuse to read e-books. They even went so far as to say most e-books downloaded aren’t read. I think there’s a way for companies like Amazon to track that, and I find that statement hard to believe, too.

So take all information like this with that proverbial grain of salt. I only read e-books, and so do most of the people I know. And the ones I know who don’t are the types who can even figure out how to use the TV remote control.

You can read more here, because it’s interesting.

Gay Fired Catholic

I saw this on my local Philadelphia news earlier this past weekend, and Tony and I looked at each other in shock. A young (gay) Catholic school teacher in Philadelphia was fired because he filed for a marriage license in New Jersey. According to what I saw on TV, the teacher phoned in, said he would be late, and also said he was filing for a marriage license. The principal and some other priest in charge, called him into the office when he arrived for work and fired him on the spot. The underlying message seems to be you can be gay, but you can’t get married or let anyone know you’re gay.

Michael Griffin worked at the Holy Ghost Preparatory School for 12 years teaching French and Italian. He said that although administrators, including the principal, knew he was gay, he never had any major conflict with the Catholic administrators until Friday.

Griffin said he was fired on Friday after he had emailed administrators to tell them he was going to file for a marriage license and would be slightly late to work.
 
From what I’ve also heard, the teacher allegedly went to this same school himself.
 
Tony and I live in the northern suburbs of Philadelphia in New Hope where there are gay bars and restaurants. One night we were at a gay bar with friends and a group of priests from a school just like the one mentioned in the article above came into the gay bar, in street clothes, and they had a blast. And I’m going to be writing a long personal post in the near future about two gay priests Tony and I both knew very well for many years. We celebrated holidays with them, and birthdays. But in all the years we knew them we had no idea they were living double lives as Catholic priests. We didn’t have a clue. And that’s not hearsay or third party information. It happened and I was there. It creeped me out for a long time. But I don’t mind posting about this after I read things like the piece about the school teacher above.
 
The Catholic church needs to look deeper into its own gay roots. (Side note: I went to 12 years of Catholic school and I’m more than familiar with the practices.)
 

David Bromstad Slammed by Gays

David Bromstad Slammed by Gays

I normally wouldn’t post something like this, but I’ve been reading a lot about boycotts, the Salvation Army, and the Barilla Pasta debacle. It seems that nowadays we’re so sensitive to anything anyone says we tend to jump onto a bandwagon and it’s off to the witch hunt. And the one thing we never take into consideration is that maybe if we listened without reacting too soon we might be able to educate people more about what it’s like to be gay, and what being gay is really all about. There are many misconceptions out there about gay people, and I often worry these radical boycotts and public outbursts are not helping the way LGBT people are perceived.

I know for a fact, after reading a great deal about the Barilla Pasta issue, that Guido Barilla made a public statement that basically said he didn’t know anything about gays or the way the family unit is changing around the world. This is most likely cultural, and it is a reflection on his upbringing and where is lives right now. He’s offered to sit down and discuss this issue. And if someone is willing to sit down and discuss any issue with civility, I personally think he or she should be given the benefit of the doubt. If and when that doesn’t work, then maybe a boycott is the thing to do. But right now, from facts I’ve read about the Barilla Pasta issue, I’m getting a few mixed signals from both sides. And, as a side note, I don’t even eat carbs.

With the David Bromstad issue, I also think it’s a little too soon to judge him or what he’s doing. Bromstad accepted the job as host of a Salvation Army event that will be held in Wilton Manors this fall. This has started a shitstorm all over, even here in New Hope with a few loud voices in the local LGBT community who I would rather not have represent me. David Bromstad obviously has a high profile, in both the gay community and the mainstream design world. Wouldn’t it be counterproductive for him to do something anti-gay that would not only hurt him as a gay man, but also his career? And I hate to go there again, but there are far more celebrities in Hollywood and politicians in Washington that are not openly gay and doing far more serious things to hurt the LGBT community by remaining in the closet and promoting the shame that goes along with being gay. Openly gay David Bromstad simply wants to extend a proverbial olive branch, and he’s not even a political figure.

This is what Bromstad wrote on facebook:

Dear fans,
 
I’ve read your feedback on my participation with The Salvation Army USA, as an openly gay person whom just happens to also be a celebrity, I took the Salvation Army’s request to participate in their fundraiser as one step in the right direction towards equality. If we simply separate ourselves from those that we assume appose us or our beliefs then we will never make strides in the right direction. I applaud the Salvation Army’s symbolic handshake towards acceptance and would be foolish to not extend my hand in acceptance.

I’ve done a little research on this issue myself, even before I read about Bromstad doing the SA event, and from all the information I could gather many in the SA are trying to fix a good deal of miscommunication that had resulted from poor Internet interpretations, and overzealous radicals who act and comment before they know facts. At the end of this article from Snopes, the SA even issues an apology to the LGBT community for miscommunication.

I am by no means defending the SA, or Guido Barilla for that matter. But I do think David Bromstad makes a logical point when asking for tolerance from everyone, including those in the LGBT community. The fact remains that many in the straight community, from the US to Italy, do not fully understand what being LGBT is all about, and unfortunately what they get from the mainstream media and the Internet is an isolated example that focuses many times on those within the LGBT community who represent us with the least amount of tolerance. They also don’t represent all of us because we’re a highly diverse community. This lack of knowledge and understanding leads to even more miscommunication. And when you’re asking for tolerance, I think it’s equally important to be willing to offer the same brand of tolerance…as Bromstad is doing by offering his handshake in return.

If you do a simple search for the SA, you won’t be too impressed with what you find with regard to their previous stands on anything LGBT related. A good deal of this is not true, but some of it is. However, this David Bromstad issue seems to be the beginning of a new era for the SA and I think we should at least be willing to listen, without slamming David Bromstad for trying to make things a little better in the world…or for trying the change the world in a positive way. For those who haven’t read anything on the topic, this is the latest piece of information I could find about the SA and gays. From the Miami Herald:

The Salvation Army says it is actively seeking to mend fences with the LGBT community. Each year before Christmas, gay activists take to the Internet and ask that people not put money in the Army’s ubiquitous red kettles.

“The idea that we are homophobic and anti-gay is just not true,” said Ron Busroe, the Virginia-based church’s national secretary for community relations and development.

“We don’t discriminate in delivery of services and we don’t discrimination in hiring,” said Busroe, who from 1988-94 was area commander for Salvation Army of Broward County.
One touchy point: Salvation Army offers domestic partner benefits only where required by law.

 I have no idea where this will lead, however, if there is a chance that what David Bromstad is doing might help relations between the Salvation Army and the LGBT community I think we should give him the benefit of the doubt, too, before we slam him.

Gay Parents Flee Russia; Gay Russian Teens; Growing up Gay in Russia

Gay Parents Flee Russia

The things that are happening right now in Russia to LGBT people aren’t getting any better. The article to which I’m linking puts many things into perspective with LGBT people who have children. We’re fighting for marriage and that hasn’t been simple, but they’re fighting for their lives.

Two things happened to me the same month: I was beaten up in front of parliament for the first time and I realised that in all my interactions, including professional ones, I no longer felt I was perceived as a journalist first: I am now a person with a pink triangle.

My family is moving to New York. We have the money and documents needed to do that with relative ease – unlike thousands of other LGBT families and individuals in Russia.

But what is happening to all gays in Russia is just as bad, and we all need to pay more attention to this and start talking about it.

Gay Russian Teens

This is even worse. And it shows the magnitude of how gays in Russia can’t be open about themselves and why they have to remain in the closet. 

Only one person knew that Svetlana was gay when she wrote to Deti-404, a Russian support group for lesbian teenagers. In her letter, the 16-year-old described a life of hiding her sexuality in a small town in central Russia where a man had been killed for being a homosexual. “I am scared that they will find out about me and lynch me. Sometimes I want to cry out: ‘Accept me for who I am! Or at least be tolerant of me’,” she wrote.

It’s an emotional article that reads a lot like a WWII history book about Nazi Germany.

Born Gay in Russia

According to this article dated 8/9/13, President Obama doesn’t think we should call for a boycott with the Olympics in Russia just because of the anti-gay laws. I wonder how he would react if they began to enforce anti-African descent laws just like the anti-gay laws in Russia. It shouldn’t really make a difference and I’m just throwing out that analogy for the sake of argument. All discrimination of any kind is despicable, especially when it involves the kind of suppression going on in Russia right now with gays. But this is basically what the President said:

US President Barack Obama said on Friday he did not consider it “appropriate” to boycott the Winter Olympics over the gay rights issue.

Instead he hoped gay and lesbian athletes would do well at the games.

“One of the things I’m really looking forward to is maybe some gay and lesbian athletes bringing home the gold or silver or bronze, which would, I think, go a long way in rejecting the kind of attitudes that we’re seeing there,” he said.

This article goes into more detail about Obama’s stand on this issue…if you could actually call it a stand.

This doesn’t surprise me. Most world leaders ignored what happened in Nazi Germany before WWII, and they waited until it was far too late. What does surprise me is that Obama would be so cautious about this issue when so many LGBT American helped get him into office. In other words, if every single gay American had supported Hillary Clinton for President in 2008, like I did, we would have had the first woman President in the history of the US. Of course I don’t know how Hillary would have reacted to what’s happening in Russia right now. But it’s pointless to speculate on that because Obama is the President and she’s not.

This is what it’s like to be born gay in Russia,and grow up gay there:

It’s hard to pinpoint an exact day when I felt a shift in my consciousness, the realization that I did not want to spend the rest of my life in that country, in that culture. The closest to such an event was a history lesson on the Holocaust. When my teacher brought up Nazi camps, students started to heckle her, saying things like, “Hitler should have finished the job.” Before I knew it, the entire class was chanting, “Kill kikes!” and pounding their fists on their desks. I stared at them, terrified. Adidas track suits, leather jackets, and gold crosses had replaced the Communist uniforms, but the other kids still had the same glassy look in their eyes, the same frenzied anger, and the same impulse to be a monolithic, unquestioning lynch mob.

I mentioned Nazi Germany earlier in this post. I had not read this particular article yet.


An Interesting Take on Gays, Family, and Christmas


When I read the blog post I’m quoting and linking to below, I have to admit that I did identify with everything that was written. I think most gay people experience this, especially around the major holidays.

“The huge amount of responses I got to my last post made me wonder if queers are more likely to feel alienated from their families than straight people are. I mean, if your family doesn’t respect your queerness, this is pretty self-evident. But I know a lot of queers whose family is cool with their queerness, but they still feel alienated. Why would this be?”

My family is fine with me being openly gay…but…there’s still that unspoken “thing” that I experience, especially during the holidays. It’s not something that is done on purpose. I know this for certain. But this feeling of disconnection is why a lot of my gay friends have started their own holiday traditions with other gay friends. Many gays travel during the holidays, in order to avoid these family situations. I’ll probably do the same thing, eventually. For now, I’m happy with how well my amaryllis did this year in the photo above. They don’t always do this well.

You can read the rest of the post here.