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.

Facebook Stock Down; Porn Star in Where We Belong; Obama and The New Normal

On Tuesday, Mark Zuckerberg had to deal with questions from aggressive stockholders about why facebook’s stock isn’t what he’d promised it would be by now. Facebook is free to millions of users and based on ad revenue, like most social media.

“We’re disappointed with the performance of the stock over the last year,” Mr. Zuckerberg said. “We expect there’s going to be fluctuations.”

Mr. Zuckerberg also defended the company’s business model and several of its recent decisions, such as changes in its mobile apps and new ad products. He said there are signs of strength across Facebook’s business, especially in mobile, where about 30% of its sales now come from mobile ads.

It should be interesting to see how this continues to play out. The fact is that times are still hard for most people. Most people don’t click facebook ads (partly because they don’t trust viruses). We used to have no choice when it came to ads on TV and radio. We had to watch them or listen to them, or get up and leave the room until they were over. Now we do have a choice, for the most part, with ads and most of us don’t pay attention to them. Most ads annoys us. In a weird moment a few years ago I thought I wanted a nine feet tall white artificial Christmas tree. I searched for a few on google, and for the next three months I was followed by a shitstorm of ads for nine feet tall Christmas trees until I thought it would never end. I didn’t buy it in spite of the ads…or perhaps because of the annoying ads.

Facebook could start charging users. A lot of online newspapers and magazines are starting to do that. But would you pay to find out what Betty Jane Author Person had for lunch?

Actually, I’m on Zuckerberg’s side. I don’t know how it’s going to work out, but I hope it does. I do like social media and I think it’s helped change the world. I’m just not certain I’d pay for it.

You can read more here.

Porn Star in Where We Belong

I posted earlier that former porn star, Johnny Hazzard, is in a new gay indie film that’s not porn titled, Where We Belong. You can read more here.

Frankie Valenti, aka gay adult film star Johnny Hazzard, is set to make his big screen debut in the independent feature-length drama “Where We Belong.”

The film, set in a small town in Central California, highlights two estranged gay brothers who struggle to reconnect after the recent death of their homophobic father. Valenti plays the role of the younger brother and black sheep of the family.

Aside from the fact that I have a gay brother and that part about the film interests me, I also think it’s interesting that the film has been funded through kickstarter. I’ve posted several times about kickstarter here. If you haven’t heard of it, you might want to check out that link.

Kickspy lists the details here.

Here’s a facebook page for the film.

Obama and the New Normal

I posted more than once about the TV show The New Normal.  I was on the fence with it for a while, I finally started getting into it more, and now I hear it’s been canceled.

NBC quietly canceled its groundbreaking gay sitcom “The New Normal” after just one season on Friday. The news was met with very little fanfare from the liberal media, which stood in stark contrast to the circus atmosphere hype surrounding the show’s premiere on September 11, 2012.

The cancellation was among a long list of shows such as “Go On” and “Guys With Kids” which were also canceled Friday.

“The New Normal” was produced by Glee’s Ryan Murphy, who sought to redefine the way families are portrayed on TV. Murphy arrogantly described TNN as “changing the face of television.”

Of course One Million Moms took credit for The New Normal Being Canceled. This is very amusing:

A conservative and notoriously anti-gay group is claiming responsibility for the cancellation of the NBC series “The New Normal.”

Joe. My. God cites an email sent to him from Monica Cole, the leader of One Million Moms, who writes, “Our persistence has paid off once again! ‘The New Normal’ got the axe by NBC after the show’s first and only season!”

You can read more of this nonsense here.

Give us a break, million moms. And give us some credit, too. The reason I think The New Normal was canceled was because it was too self-indulgent. I wrote about that here last year. I was wrong about TNN sticking around. I guess you can’t win them all. But I don’t think I was wrong about it being way too self-indulgent.

There was a TV show years ago where the creator used to get very political. It was called “Designing Women,” and it’s still on TV in some markets in syndication. In the beginning, it was a great show. But as each season passed it started getting more political and self-indulgent and it wound up being more cheese than actual entertainment. The only reason I watched it was because Delta Burke was hysterical and her character grounded the other big mouths who were always complaining and harping about something. And it always seemed as if the creator of that show, Linda Bloodworth Thomason, was standing on a soap box telling the world her political opinions: self-indulgence once again. The show wound up tanking after Burke left, and Bloodworth-Thomason went on to create other shows that never did half as well as “Designing Women.”

Those one million moms can think anything they want, but the fact is that I know many gay men and women who didn’t watch TNN because they couldn’t relate to it. Some I know hated it. I actually did relate to TNN in many ways, but not all gay people are like me or like the characters on TNN. And that’s the problem with being self-indulgent. You tend to assume too much, and you don’t take into consideration that not everyone agrees with you. 

In the same respect, on the very day that TNN was canceled, the US Department of Education made a huge change of its own:

The new policy, which takes effect in the 2014-2015 school year, will eliminate the terms “mother” and “father” from student aid forms. The new, non-gender specific terms will be “Parent 1″ and “Parent 2″.

The change is being instituted to make children who were raised in non-traditional same sex homes more comfortable with the application process.

“All students should be able to apply for federal student aid within a system that incorporates their unique family dynamics, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement.

You can read more here, where Sandra Rose gets into a few interesting statistics about HIV/AIDS.  

Gay Rom Lit Retreat 2013 New Policy; Obama Gets Involved In Gay Marriage Issue

President Obama is now weighing in on Gay Marriage. I didn’t hear much about it in the mainstream yesterday, but I could have missed it because I’ve been focused on so many work related projects lately. In any event, here’s something from CNN.

In a preview of a major constitutional showdown at the Supreme Court over same-sex marriage, the Obama administration said on Friday that a federal law denying financial benefits to legally wed gay and lesbian couples is unconstitutional.

The Justice Department filed the first of a series of briefs in a pair of cases dealing with the multilayered issue, outlining the executive branch’s positions.
The high court will hear oral arguments next month on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a 1996 congressional law that says for federal purposes, marriage is defined as only between one man and one woman.
This is significant for many reasons, one of which is that I’ve been hoping the President would weigh in on the issue. I wasn’t sure. With this, he has a chance to make history once again, because the fact remains that the issue of gay marriage runs far deeper than love and romance. For many older gay couples who are facing hefty inheritance taxes it’s far more pragmatic than emotional. And that’s just part of it. I recommend reading the article in full to get a grasp on what this means to gay couples.
And, this article from Politico explains it in simpler terms.
A legal brief the Justice Department filed with the Supreme Court Friday asking the justices to strike down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act is raising hopes among gay rights advocates that President Barack Obama is on the verge of embracing a federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/02/obama-brief-fuels-marriage-fight-87976.html#ixzz2LkrYOIYP

Gay Rom Lit Retreat 2013 Announces New Policy:
For GayRomLit 2013, the organizers have revised the way author registration occurs in order to cut down on retreat stress and improve the reader-to-author ratio. In the interests of serving our readers and not pulling them in too many directions, registration will be strictly limited to 100 author registrations: 70 Featured Authors with established careers and 30 Supporting Authors who are building their fanbase. These authors need only prove publication of a minimum of titles. (3 for Featured / 1 for Supporting)
For those who don’t know, Gay Rom Lit Retreat is an event where authors, readers, and fans of all things m/m romance gather each year. The event is taking place this year in Atlanta, from October 17 – 20. You can read more about that here. And here. And, here’s a full explanation of the new policy. The official web site is not up and running yet, but I’m sure it will be soon.  
I should also mention there’s been somewhat of a firestorm on the Interwebs since the new policy was announced last week. I don’t follow these things closely for lack of time, but you can read more about it here, where people (readers and authors) responded on facebook and people from GRL replied. There’s one facebook status update with over 100 comments. Others have written blog posts about it. But I’d rather not link to individual blog posts right now because I can’t find any that balance out. In other words, I like to remain objective about things like this and if I can’t find two sides of the story I don’t link to anything. This one link above to facebok seems to explain why some are upset, and how GRL addressed those concerns.
Although I’ve always been curious about GRL, I hadn’t planned on attending this year. I’ll be in the Hamptons with two other gay couples we’ve known forever. From October 16 – 22, we’re going out for a birthday party and I’m looking forward to being out there that time of year. And, Tony’s birthday is also October 17th, too. I actually like East Hampton better in the fall than in the summer, and the traffic isn’t usually as bad either.  

Why Would Louis Giglio Even Be Considered for Obama’s Inauguration?

I haven’t seen much about this in the mainstream media, which doesn’t surprise me in the least, but I’m curious as to why Louis Giglio would even be considered for the Obama inauguration.

For those who don’t know, this is what’s been happening.

From HuffPo:

The Rev. Louie Giglio, the Atlanta pastor of Passion City Church who will deliver the benediction at President Barack Obama’s inauguration, is under fire for anti-gay preaching and for calling Christians to respond to the gay-rights movement’s “aggressive agenda.”

In a sermon, “In Search of a Standard – Christian Response to Homosexuality,” posted on Discipleship Library, a Christian website that archives sermons, Giglio tells listeners that being gay is a sinful choice and that gay people will be prevented from “entering the Kingdom of God.”

The “only way out of a homosexual lifestyle … is through the healing power of Jesus,” he says. “We’ve got to say to the homosexuals, the same thing that I say to you and that you would say to me … it’s not easy to change, but it is possible to change.”

The sermon, which lasts just under an hour, echoes similar comments four years ago by Rick Warren, the California megachurch pastor who gave the invocation at Obama’s first inauguration. Obama, who was widely supported by the gay community and gay-rights advocates, was strongly criticized for his choice.

First, Rick Warren? Now, Louie Giglio? Sorry if I seem confused. But what should I think? Why not just call up Anita Bryant and ask her over to hold the bible while we’re at it.

In this interesting turn of events, Louis Giglio backs out completely:

Atlanta pastor Louie Giglio has backed out of his planned benediction at President Obama’s upcoming inauguration, saying in a statement that the uproar over anti-gay comments he made over a decade ago would distract from the event.

“It is likely that my participation, and the prayer I would offer, will be dwarfed by those seeking to make their agenda a focal point of the inauguration,” Giglio said. “Though the president and I do not agree on every issue, we have fashioned a friendship around common goals and ideals, most notably, ending slavery in all its forms.”

The Presidential Inaugural Committee said Thursday:

“We were not aware of Pastor Giglio’s past comments at the time of his selection and they don’t reflect our desire to celebrate the strength and diversity of our country at this Inaugural. Pastor Giglio was asked to deliver the benediction in large part for his leadership in combating human trafficking around the world. As we now work to select someone to deliver the benediction, we will ensure their beliefs reflect this administration’s vision of inclusion and acceptance for all Americans.“

And there you have it. Damage control at it’s best. What I’d like to know is why wasn’t there one gay person on that committee with half a brain?

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