Category: it gets better

Architectural Digest Shows "It Does Get Better"

A good friend who spends the winter in Key West e-mailed me yesterday to ask if I’d read the latest issue of AD. I hadn’t had time; it was still wrapped in plastic and in my waiting snail mail pile. When he told me I’d like this issue he wasn’t joking.

I’ve been subscribing to AD for at least seventeen years. My brother is one of their advertisers and I’ve had local friends who have had their homes featured. This is the one print magazine I can’t even imagine reading on a digital device, and also the one and only print magazine I still have delivered to my home.

The reason I’m posting about AD today is because the latest issue, “Designer’s Own Homes: Signature Style,” features a few different homes with older gay couples. And this isn’t the first time I’ve seen this in AD. Many homes, including Ellen’s, owned by gay people in long term committed relationships have been featured over the years. It’s not announced these people are “gay.” Their political opinions aren’t discussed and their religious beliefs are not questioned. Their homes are features; their lifestyles are shown. And being gay isn’t the number one priority in their lives.

I see more than my fair share of sob stories about gay men and women. And I know the stories are true and I understand how difficult it can be…first hand. But there are far more positive stories about gay men and women we don’t see or hear about. Only we don’t often see them. And publications like AD show these aspects of gay life in a way that proves it does, indeed, get better.

When my partner, Tony, and I first met twenty years ago we were still in college. After college we started out by buying a two bedroom townhouse and had nothing but two white sofas and a bed. Over the years we’ve bought and sold property and we’ve started and sold several businesses. The photo above is just one piece of art I’ve managed to collect since we’ve been together because I’ve always had a strong passion for abstract art. I purchased this Neil Loeb from two older gay men I knew a while back. They were both high end designers in New York and lived on Sutton Place. They were together for 40 years and socialized with people like Sister Parish and Billy Baldwin. I took the abstract painting above in my gallery on consignment and would up falling in love with it and buying it from them. Of course I had to break the news to Tony gently when I told him how much I spent on the painting…but that’s another post 🙂

My point in this post is to try and open up the small window that seems to plague so many in the gay community. We aren’t being represented well in so many cases. And to try to get through to younger gay people out there that it really does get better. I don’t think there is a gay man or woman on this planet that hasn’t undergone some kind of a thrashing at one point in his or her life. But we got through it, we continued to build our lives, and we grew stronger from the experiences that didn’t kill us. And publications like Architectural Digest show this in many ways without trying too hard. People don’t have choices about who they are all the time. I believe a lot of how we turn out is determined by genetics, which keeps proving itself constantly. But I do believe it is possible to make choices about how we want to live our lives and who we choose to model ourselves after.

I’m working on a new book right now that deals with coming out of the closet. I was inspired by this saying: “The Pursuit of Happiness is the Chase of a Lifetime.” I don’t know who said this. I don’t know where it came from. But I do know it’s only going to get better if you keep working at it. Lady Gaga isn’t going to do it for you.

Online Resources To Help Gay Teens In Crisis…

One of the wonderful things about the Internet can be put into one word: INFORMATION.

Another word is ANONYMITY.

So I’m linking to several resources for gay teens in crisis. I don’t know how helpful these things are, but at least it’s something with which to begin.

When we all say things like, “It gets better,” we aren’t just blowing smoke up your asses. But it doesn’t always happen fast. To paraphrase Hillary Clinton from the last election, “The skies aren’t going to open and celestial choirs aren’t going to sing.”

In order for it to get better you have to work through a lot of shit first. I don’t know any gay adult who hasn’t had to do this. Unfortunately, that’s just life.

Suicide & Crisis Hotlines

Life-Saving Resources
Too many young people have taken their lives because of anti-gay bullying.

The Trevor Project: Help for Suicidal Gay Teens

Point Foundation provides financial support, mentoring, leadership training and hope to meritorious students who are marginalized due to sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

Resources for LGBTQ Youth

These are just a handful. There are others.

And reading helps, too. Even if you start with some of the older gay classics, like THE FRONT RUNNER, or GIOVANNI’S ROOM, you’ll gain more of an insight about what it really is to be gay. I know those of you living in small towns all over America right now only know what you’ve seen and heard in the mainstream. And that’s not much information to go on. In fact, most of the gay men and women I know are nothing like the images portrayed by the mainstream. And this crisis with gay teens isn’t something new. And the LGBT community has been working on it for a long time, especially with fiction. And sometimes all it takes is just one book to change your entire life.