PA

Steve Grand In New Hope, PA; Gay Man On PrEP Tests HIV Poz; Gay Adult Film Star and Alleged Rape Case

Steve Grand In New Hope, PA

I’m always posting something about New Hope, PA, where I live, and how it’s a well known tourist destination for LGBT people, and I’m sure a lot of you are left wondering what I’m talking about. So here’s a good example. Internet sensation, Steve Grand, whom I’ve also posted about before, will be here in New Hope this Saturday doing a live concert.

Of course when I heard about it I went to the web site to see about tickets, however, the show was sold out almost immediately. That’s fine. I’ll live. I’ll still promote Grand because I think he’s doing something wonderful and he’s doing it all alone without the help of huge money supporting him. And he will go down in gay history.

I would imagine there will be a cross section of LGBT people coming to the show in New Hope that ranges from New York, to Philadelphia, to Washington DC.

Here’s where it was originally posted.

Gay Man On PrEP Tests HIV Poz

They don’t seem to be taking this too seriously right now, however, it’s still not a chance I would be willing to take based on the limited information that’s out there right now.

For the first time, researchers have documented a case in which an individual has contracted a multi-drug resistant strain of HIV.

He claims that at the time he was adhering to a daily regiment of Truvada (tenofovir/emtricitabine) as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

POZ reports that scientists have come to the conclusion that it’s indeed possible to contract HIV even when adhering to PrEP, when exposed to a strain of the virus that’s resistant to both drugs included in Truvada.

While it’s concerning, experts are suggesting failures like these will be rare.

Here’s the rest. It’s an in-depth piece with a lot more information, so you really should check it out. That’s why I post these links.

The comments are varied with this one, and I don’t think some people even get the entire concept of PrEP.

I was actually hoping we wouldn’t hear news like this. Even though I’d never do PrEP at this point in time, I was hoping it would work 100%.

Gay Adult Film Star and Alleged Rape Case

And yet here’s another disturbing story coming from the world of gay adult film stars.

Wait until you read this…

Also known by his porn alias ‘Mike Dozer’, the HIV-positive adult star has appeared previously as an “anti-condom” ambassador. He had already pleaded guilty to federal charges of felony rape and pled guilty to reckless endangerment of another person following his initial arrest in 2014, having had sex with the victim without condoms.

The new state conviction is in addition to Steele’s federal conviction on related charges, though it is not known if his two separate prison sentences will be served concurrently or consecutively.

The 33-year-old was also reportedly charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault, disseminating explicit material to a minor, corruption of a minor among other charges that was dismissed by the court in exchange for a guilty plea bargain.

The link will lead you here. There are over 55 comments with this one. 

The Rainbow Detective Agency: Rancho Mirage
Gay Romance by Ryan Field

Free:Littlest Christmas Tree; Gay New Hope; Tranny Word

Date Drug New Hope

Tony pointed this one out to me early this morning. Evidently, there was a date drugger at a gay bar in New Hope, PA (where I live) and security cameras captured his image in what looks to me like a gay bar on the outskirts of town called, The Raven. (Been there many times.) There was also an alleged credit card/identity theft fraud incident. According to this article, both victim and suspect went back to the victim’s residence…where they were “socializing.”

“Drugged Acquaintance Date – Theft & Credit Card Fraud

“An adult male victim met the pictured male suspect at a known gay bar at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, 11-22-2013. Victim invited the suspect to his residence to continue socializing. When victim uses the bathroom, the suspect “freshens” the victim’s alcoholic beverage, whereupon the victim loses consciousness for approx. 5 hours. Victim awaken nauseous to find the suspect has stolen his wallet, $150 USC, assorted credit cards, and 2 out of sequence blank bank checks.

I love the way they call it “socializing.” So proper and neat (smile).

You can read more here.

Free: The Littlest Christmas Tree

My holiday novella, The Littlest Christmas Tree, is now up for free at the following venues. I don’t have all the links, but I’ll update as they come in.

Here’s a link to the blurb, and a short excerpt. The novella is 21,000 words in length.

I’m doing this as a little holiday present for readers who always remain faithful all year long. This is the second book in the Second Chance series and I’ll be putting future titles in the series up throughout 2014 for .99.

On Smashwords.

Update: On Allromanceebooks.com

At Rainbow Book Reviews: Link

Update #2…The book will be up on Amazon for .99. I wish I could have done this for free, but Amazon will not allow this unless I sign an exclusive for three months and then the book will only be up for free on Amazon for five days, and I can’t put it up for free anywhere else without breach of contract with Amazon. Here’s the Amazon link. Why am I disclosing this? I think readers should know.

Tranny Word

When I spotted this article I was prepared to take a completely different approach to it. But after I read it I couldn’t ignore this even if I tried. It’s an interview with a Brooklyn drag performer, Babes Trust, and one of the most interesting things in the interview I read is how Trust thinks of the word “Tranny.”

This is the question about Tranny as a word:

Some transgender people are critical of drag performers using the word “tranny.” What are your thoughts about it?

Here’s how Babes Trust answered:

I have issues around this wider idea of community; such as the gay “community,” the trans “community” — we are not a generalized generic community or binary. Although we share some basic values, we are many different communities with varying values, speech, meanings, codes and languages.

Tranny means different things to different people. Do I know some people who feel more comfortable with explaining their gender and sexuality as “tranny”? Yes. Its that okay?

By one “community” effectively silencing and oppressing another to “not say” certain words or be so untrusting of people that you believe that everything comes from a place of violence, is sad.

If someone identifies as “tranny,” the people who attack the term as offensive are oppressing the people who have a valid claim over the term.

I agree with Trust, and I find people like that not only oppressive, but bullies.

The reason I find this so interesting is that I once came across a comment thread on romance book review web site best known for its incivility where someone went berserk in a politically correct rampage about how offensive the word “Tranny” is, and frankly I didn’t get that at the time and I still don’t get it now. In full disclosure, ever since then I’ve been terrified to use the word myself for fear of being politically incorrect…or offending someone without realizing it.

However, the word “Tranny” is one I’ve heard all my life in certain LGBT circles, and I’ve never heard it used in a derogatory way. So my point with this is I think Babes Trust makes a highly valid point in being so candid, and those who think they know it all about gay culture don’t even get the tip of what gay culture is really all about. And the only thing that really offends me most as a gay man is when people who aren’t gay start telling me how to be gay.

You can read more of the interview here. Babes Trust is no one’s fool, and it’s been a long time since I’ve read such sharp, intelligent answers. It also shows how Brooklyn is up and coming as its own hot spot.

June Trial PA Gay Marriage; The Men of Purdue

June Trial PA Gay Marriage

US District Judge, John E. Jones, set June 2014 as the date for a trial challenging the ban on same sex marriage in Pennsylvania. That will be one year since SCOTUS made the historic ruling on same sex marriage and that means one more year for LGBT couples in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to be denied the same equal rights that LGBT couples in surrounding states like New York and New Jersey receive.

Jones said he would set a specific date and a timetable for pretrial discovery and depositions soon. He rejected as unnecessary a defense request to delay the trial until August.

One year.

You can read more here.

The Men of Purdue

The only thing I know about Purdue University is that my mom almost went there. She opted for a college in New Jersey instead. In the 1950’s it wasn’t as common as it is now for a woman to go to college and her mom and dad wanted her to be a secretary and get married. She wanted to be a psychologist, so she settled for her second choice.

In any event, here’s a link that will lead you to the men of Purdue’s gymnastics team, with photos and a video. It’s very interesting to see them twist and turn and make it look so simple. There’s also more info about LGBT issues here, too.

The Purdue University Senate has approved a resolution opposing Indiana’s proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

I posted about the Republican Mayor of Indianapolis opposing this last week.

Authors Behaving Badly: New Hope Gay Marriage Saga

Authors Behaving Badly

In the past few years we’ve heard a great deal about authors behaving badly. There’s even an acronym…BBA…badly behaving author. But this following list mentions a few alleged BBAs who aren’t new authors, or even self-published authors, and I found the comments fascinating.

Here are just a few names mentioned. There are fourteen mentioned altogether, twelve of which are showcased in detail.

Jonathan Franzen:

While we love Franzen’s work, he doesn’t seem to be the friendliest guy in town. First, he insulted Oprah. Who insults Oprah?! When Oprah wanted to make “The Corrections” one of her book club picks, Franzen was insulted. He notes, “I think she was surprised that I wasn’t moaning with shock and pleasure.” Um, why wouldn’t you be? Oprah is about to make you rich. Jonathan Franzen thinks he’s too good to have suburban housewives reading his books. To make matters worse, he wrote that horrible piece about Edith Wharton in the New Yorker that basically talked about how she hated other women because she was so ugly, so she only created tragic beautiful female characters. Yeah, Jonathan. We’re sure that was the reason. Just totally undermine the first female author to win a Pulitzer for her fiction. Good job.

I’ve loved everything Franzen has ever written. But I do marvel at his luck sometimes. And while I do believe that we create our own luck for the most part, I also think there’s something working in the metaphysical background for some people that most of us can’t figure out. It’s not every author who can write one book with bad sex scenes and annoying characters every ten years and make millions.

James Franco:

James Franco likes to call himself a part of the literary community, but unfortunately for him, they don’t really seem to want him (in fact, it might be a stretch to call him a “famous author” in the first place. He’s more “famous” and, in addition, an “author”). The LA Times recently ran a post called Will James Franco Please Stop? However, Franco insists that his undertaking so many artistic projects and trying to look like a renaissance man does not, in fact, make him a jerk. He told E! “If anyone wants to say that my doing these things makes me a jerk, that’s not about me—that’s about people reacting to me.” We see both sides of this coin. However, we think it’d be one thing if writing poetry and novels was just a hobby of Franco’s and he wasn’t pursuing getting them all published. That’s just obnoxious.

This one is tricky for me. Franco has done so many things I admire I just don’t get him being called a BBA. In 2006 James Franco went to UCLA to get his degree. He took 62 credits a quarter, where the normal load is about 18 or 19. And for some that’s even pushing it. He received his degree in 2008, and he never stopped acting during his time in school. He wrote his thesis under Mona Simpson, an author I’ve mentioned here before (she was Steve Jobs’ sister, who didn’t meet Jobs until many years later because Jobs had been put up for adoption…and she also wrote one of my favorite novels of all time, Anywhere But Here). And this is only a partial list of James Franco’s credits. So I personally don’t find him anything but inspirational. And I think calling him a BBA is really reaching too far.

As a side note, the author of this article made a few fundamental mistakes, which are all updated at the bottom of the post. I couldn’t actually find a byline anywhere. You can read more here.

New Hope Gay Marriage Saga

I’ve been following the story of gay marriage and the Mayor of New Hope, PA, where I live, and it continues to devolve. I posted about this early last week. The gist of all this is that Mayor Keller of New Hope believes it’s more important to follow the law than it is to question ethics and inequality. And even though a clerk in Montgomery County, PA, a few miles away from New Hope, has been issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples illegally, Mayor Keller refuses to honor those licenses and he refuses to perform same sex marriage ceremonies in New Hope because same sex marriage in Pennsylvania is illegal. Most legal analysts claim there is limited risk if Keller were to perform same sex marriages, and right now a judge is about to rule on what the clerk in Montgomery County did.

In any event, this was a recent article I read in a local newspaper about Keller.

On one side is the four-term Republican incumbent, Larry Keller, who supports legalization of same-sex marriage and recently declined to perform a wedding ceremony for a gay couple, citing Pennsylvania law, his oath of office and the legal advice of the borough’s solicitor.

On the other side is the Democrat challenger, Donna Deely, who had said she would, if elected, perform such ceremonies and now says she would respect the decision of the state court system, whatever that might be.

At the end of the article, a very clever little small town journalist adds this:

A recent poll by Franklin and Marshall College found that 76 percent of respondents disapprove of elected officials ignoring laws with which they disagree.

The journalist must have looked for ages to find that piece of information. And, there is no mention of the types of laws. In other words, Keller is upholding a law that’s not only unethical, but it is as steeped in US history as segregation laws and slavery laws. In other words, if there were a law in PA that stated people of African descent could not use the same water fountains or public bathrooms that white people use, would Mayor Keller be a hero for upholding that law?

I have the highest respect for the law. We need laws and we need to follow laws. But every so often a law comes along that needs to be challenged, and in this case it’s same sex marriage. What is going to be most interesting out of all of this is whether or not Keller is relected this fall. New Hope has a large gay community, but it’s not all gay. And if Keller is relected it’s going to speak loudly about where the straight community in New Hope stands on the issue of same sex marriage. Because it’s one thing to say you support same sex marriage, but it’s a completely different issue to actually support it.

Here’s a letter to the editor from one local paper.

New Hope Mayor Keller brought disappointment and sadness to me this week. My life is peppered with many amazing and happy times in New Hope. I shake my head. One of the friendliest places to gay people in Pennsylvania has a mayor who refused to marry a gay couple. Amazing!

Why would someone support a law that is obviously unethical? I remember my father telling me the Army (he served in the Korean War) gave a soldier the option to not follow an order if the soldier felt the command was unethical and/or immoral. If Mayor Keller is for gay rights, then why would he morally or ethically uphold the current marriage law?

As a local official, Mayor Keller should call Gov. Corbett and ask him to stand down and bring down the state marriage law. He should be an advocate for gay rights and not against gay rights.

I was married in New York in July the week of the Supreme Court DOMA decision. My wish was to marry among my family and friends in Pennsylvania, but I could not. Mayor Keller of New Hope was given the chance to stand up for equality and change. He sat down and supported the current law. Amazing!

Now this is an interesting spin. In the same article I linked to above, this is mentioned.

Keller said he is one of about 350 mayors nationwide who have signed a letter by Mayors for the Freedom to Marry, and this week sent a letter to Governor Tom Corbett that said although he always will uphold his oath, ” … in my heart, I strongly believe same-sex marriage should be legal.”

And this is how the New Hope Council responded. It’s an online version of the newspaper, and I couldn’t find another link. But I wanted to add the link becuase I know several of the people on the list are openly gay, and in long term relationships. One I’ve met at parties and she and her partner recently married on Cape Cod this summer, in Provincetown. In other words, she’s legally married in MA, but not in New Hope, where she selflessly gives her time to work for the town of New Hope as a council member.

The following members of the New Hope Burough Council want the public to know that we support marriage equality and will do all in our power to put pressure on our state senator, state representatives, and Gov. Corbett to change the biased unconstitutional law banning same sex marriage. We are proud members of a town that supports diversity and equal rights for all. We will not stop our pro-active role until Pennsylvania supports marriage equality.

 
 

Gay Marriage Montgomery County, PA; Free Excerpt Small Town Romance Writer

Gay Marriage Montgomery County, PA

As most people know, same sex marriage in PA is still illegal in spite of the SCOTUS ruling this summer. In protest, D. Bruce Hanes, who is a Montgomery County Clerk, is straight, and has two children, started issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples this summer.

From my earlier post:

Even though same sex marriage is still not legal in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Montgomery County in PA issued marriage licenses to same sex couples today in defiance of the ban on same sex marriage. Tony and I live in Bucks County, PA, which is only a few miles from where the marriage licenses were issued, and it’s s significant move for those who issued the licenses and those who obtained them.

When I wrote that post I was still under the impression I lived in a highly progressive community that stood for equality and cared about being on the right side of history. However, in recent weeks the mayor of New Hope, PA, which has a large LGBT population and is only a few miles from Montgomery County, PA, decided to refuse marriage to same sex couples based on what many legal experts say are weak legal reasons. I posted several times about that.

Even though there are legalities involved here, sometimes it’s important to be on the right side of history in order to make a change. There was a time when people of African descent were not allowed to use the same bathrooms and water fountains as white people. Clearly, Mayor Keller doesn’t believe the issue of gay marriage is important enough to take a stand and challenge.

Today it will be decided whether or not Hanes acted illegally as county clerk by issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples, and many people are watching this closely. Here’s a link to a local article.

On Wednesday, Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court will consider whether Hanes acted illegally when he began doling out licenses to same-sex couples on July 24, one month after the U.S. Supreme Court declared part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. State attorneys have argued that the documents have no “value or legitimacy.” So far, Hanes has granted marriage paperwork to at least 157 gay couples.

If the court sides with Hanes, the ruling could bring same-sex marriage a step closer in Pennsylvania, the only Northeastern state that does not permit gays to marry or enter into civil unions. If the court rules in favor of the state, the marriage licenses Hanes issued could be rendered useless.

I have no idea what to predict, but I will post an update soon. Similar things have been happening in other states, too.

This week has seen a flurry of activity supporting the freedom to marry in New Mexico. Three counties in New Mexico have been ordered by district court judges to end marriage discrimination and begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. County clerks in three additional counties have followed the lead of these rulings by issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in their own counties. These huge steps forward in New Mexico this week bring renewed urgency to why we need the freedom to marry uniformly across the state – and, ultimately, why we need the freedom to marry nationwide.

Free Excerpt Small Town Romance Writer

Along with several other projects I’ve done this summer, I’ve also been working on the final book in the Bad Boy Billionaire series, tentatively titled, “Small Town Romance Writer.” I know a lot of people will be looking for similarities of me in the book, but I never work that way and rarely ever insert anything autobiographical in my books. If and when I do this, I take bits and pieces from my life or my experiences and I embellish them to the point where they are beyond recognition. I think that’s important in writing fiction, because fiction should be larger than life. Otherwise it wouldn’t BE fiction.

The two main characters in this book are writers, but they are totally different writers. One writes erotic gay romance and figures out a way to make billions. The other writes literary gay fiction and he wins awards and gains prestige. The book starts out in 1990 and covers the course of their lives and their careers as authors for the next twenty years, where they experience every emotion there is from, jealousy to closure. I didn’t want the book to run over 80,000 words, but it wound up being 112,000 words…about 400 pages. Here’s an excerpt from the raw unedited version.

1990

           

            When former male stripper Ethan Holmes gained admission to The Iowa Writers’ Workshop he had the best of intentions. And while he often bragged to people it was the oldest and most celebrated writers’ workshop in the country, and he never failed to mention how difficult it was to get accepted, he often wondered in private how he would suffer through the intense academic two year residency requirement without losing his mind.

            By the end of his first year in the program the only two things that kept him in Iowa were his best friend, Travis Lane, and a guy he’d met over the summer, Lance Mannington.

            Ethan had met Travis Lane the day he’d started the program. At the time, Ethan hadn’t planned ahead for housing and he’d spent his first night in Iowa in a dumpy hotel off-campus. He was from a small town on Florida’s Gulf Coast and he’d always been able to find affordable housing as an undergrad student there. No one had mentioned to him that affordable on-campus housing at the University of Iowa was so scarce in September. He thought he’d show up the day he arrived, sign a lease, and everything would fall into place for him the way it usually did. He’d always been charmed that way, and he knew it. Evidently, all these people had planned ahead.

            On the first day of class, the other grad students all looked and sounded so aggressive and competitive Ethan wanted to hide behind a door. It didn’t take him long to realize this wasn’t small town Florida where he could get away with anything by flashing a seductive smile, opening his shirt a little, and moving his hips just the right way. When he overheard the female students discussing feminism and rape culture, he knew casual flirting with them wouldn’t get him anywhere. When he overheard the male students talking about gender politics in fiction he groaned aloud and turned in the other direction.

            Then Ethan spotted a young man standing in the corner leaning against the wall, glancing down at a thick book. He seemed to want to remain separate from the others. There was a green canvas backpack at his feet stuffed with books, and he seemed oblivious to his surroundings in a forced way no one would have noticed if they weren’t paying attention to him. While he looked at the book, his eyes kept darting up at the other students waiting to go into class, which Ethan found interesting. The guy wasn’t even reading the book; it could have been upside down. He was only pretending to read the book.

             This unusual guy stood about six feet tall, had a slim, lanky body, and his short, straight hair reminded Ethan of the wheat fields he’d seen on the bus driving through Iowa. He wore a crisp white button down shirt that day, and flat front khaki slacks that bunched up at the hem around his brown oxfords. When his eyes went up and he noticed Ethan staring at him, he looked down at the book so fast Ethan didn’t even get a chance to send him a smile.

            So Ethan walked over to him, with his hands in his pockets and his head held high. He’d worn his tightest jeans that day, the ones that made his crotch bulge. He hadn’t brought any books or materials to class because he hadn’t unpacked any of his things yet. He leaned back against the wall next to the nervous young man, and said, “Hey, man. I’m Ethan.” He extended his right hand. “It’s nice to meet you.”

            The young man hesitated for a moment, and then he shook Ethan’s hand and said, “I’m Travis Lane.” He spoke with a soft, cautious tone, as if he’d lost his voice.

            But Travis didn’t hesitate to look into Ethan’s eyes, which made Ethan feel more at ease. At least there didn’t seem to be anything fundamentally wrong with him.  “I was wondering if you could loan me a notebook and a pen, buddy,” Ethan said. “I just got here last night and I haven’t had time to unpack my shit yet. You should see the shithole hotel where I’m staying. I still don’t even know where I’m going to live yet.” He laughed and scratched the back of his head. “I guess I should have thought about that a while ago.”

            Travis sent him a look. His head jerked back a little and he asked, “You didn’t secure housing beforehand?”

            Ethan shrugged and smiled. “You know how it is, man. I figured I’d worry about it when I got here. I’m from a small town in Florida and it’s pretty easy to find digs where I come from.”

            Travis bent down and pulled a notebook and a pen from his overflowing backpack. He handed it to Ethan and said, “I waited a year to get my apartment in Hawkeye Court. Around here you really have to plan ahead for these things. Didn’t anyone tell you?”

            Ethan laughed. “I probably didn’t pay attention to them. You know how it is, man.”

            “Well you’re going to have a tough time now,” Travis said.  

            “Clearly,” Ethan said, taking the notebook and pen. “Thanks for letting me borrow these, bro. I appreciate it. I probably shouldn’t even be here in this program, but I figured I’d give it a shot since they admitted me.”

            “I don’t understand,” Travis said. “I worked hard to get accepted. I killed myself.”

            “Where are you from?” Ethan asked. He could see they’d come from two different worlds, but he wanted to make a point.

            “Connecticut,” Travis said. “I went to Yale and I’ve been planning to come here for the past four years. It was my only goal all through undergrad school. My mom and dad are both attorneys and they wanted me to be a lawyer but all I ever wanted to do was write. I had to get into this workshop; otherwise they would have made me go to law school. I wouldn’t have had a choice.”

            Ethan looked at him and smiled. “I’m from a small town on the Gulf coast of Florida. My mom’s a waitress and my dad’s a trucker, and neither one of them graduated from high school. I worked my way through undergrad school as a male stripper in both gay and straight strip clubs all over Florida. And I still don’t know how I got into this workshop. I heard about it one day last year and I figured I would apply and see what happened. I’m still shocked they let me in.”

            “Well you must be good,” Travis said. “They don’t just let anyone into this program.”

            “I guess they liked something I did,” Ethan said. He’d always been able to write and he’d never had to work hard at it.

            Although Travis didn’t seem stunned, he did tilt his head sideways and ask, “Do you want to be a writer?”

            Ethan shrugged. “I want to make a lot of money.”

            Travis laughed and said, “Well you can do that stripping. You don’t need The Iowa Writers’ Workshop. If I had your looks and your body, I might not be standing here right now myself.”

            That was when Ethan knew they were going to be friends. Though Travis looked like a tight-ass at a glance, he was far from it. Ethan looked him up and down and said, “You could strip with that ass. You wouldn’t starve to death. They love it when the smart looking guys pull down their pants. And you’re cute as fuck.” He made the remark about Travis being cute to see if he was gay. All of Ethan’s instincts told him Travis was gay but he wanted to be certain.

            Travis didn’t seem offended about the cute remark. His face turned a pale shade of pink and he said, “Well, thanks for the compliment, I think. But I think I’d better stick to writing. As it is, I still might starve to death doing that. At least that’s what my parents think will happen.” Then he stopped and hesitated for a second. He rubbed his jaw and thought as if he was choosing his words with caution. “I’m curious,” he said. “Are you gay? I am; just so you know.”
            Ethan didn’t mind the bluntness of that question, and he had come to terms with being gay when he was in high school. But he liked to play games, especially with someone who asked such a direct question without knowing anything about him. He shrugged and said, “What if I said I don’t like labels?”
            Travis lifted his eyebrows and said, “Then I would think you are mostly likely gay and you’re not ready to admit it aloud, or you are still lying to yourself. Your type is always like that.”

            “My type?” Ethan laughed at his innocence.

            “The rough-looking, straight dude who can pass whenever he wants to pass as straight,” Travis said. “Your type likes to hold out for a while.”

            “Well you would be wrong,” Ethan said. “As it happens, I’m into dudes and I have no problem admitting it aloud to anyone. If anything, my problem is that I’m into dudes a little too much. I can’t stop thinking about anything but men.” He glanced at a young woman in the hall with long flat, dark hair parted in the middle and he frowned. She wore a gray plaid skirt and black ballerina slippers. She didn’t have ankles, and her legs reminded Ethan of tree trunks. There were so many flawed people in the world he found it exasperating sometimes. “From the way it looks, all I’m going to be doing is thinking about men, because I haven’t seen a single man or woman yet that’s even halfway hot enough to actually fuck.”

            Travis blinked. “Well thanks.”

            Ethan patted him on the back. “Present company excluded,” he said. “I should have said that you’re the only cute guy I’ve seen since I got off the bus in Iowa.”

            “You’re full of shit,” Travis said.

            “Sometimes,” Ethan said. “But you are hot.”

            “What about beauty from within?” Travis asked. “Doesn’t that count for something? I like to think it does.”

            “That’s what yourtype always says,” Ethan said.

            “My type?”

            “The good-hearted elitist who cares about issues and all of humanity,” Ethan said. “You’re only fooling yourselves, and you’re the first ones to jump into the sack with the first hot piece that comes along.”

            Before Travis had a chance to reply, the other students began filing into the classroom and Ethan turned to join them. Travis followed him, and Ethan and Travis sat next to each other that first day.  After class they went out for coffee, where Ethan made sure he pulled Travis’s chair out on purpose. Even though they came from completely different worlds, they balanced each other in a natural way and finding things to talk about never seemed to be an issue. Ethan couldn’t believe his luck once again, so on the way out of the coffee shop he asked if he could see where Travis lived and Travis brought him to the small on-campus apartment he’d rented.

            It wasn’t much of an apartment, but the moment he walked inside Ethan knew it was better than the shabby hotel room where he’d spent the night. There was an open floor plan that had a living, dining, and kitchen area. In the back, there was one medium sized bedroom with a double bed, a closet large enough for two people, and a basic bathroom with a shower and a tub. Although nothing was elaborate, and the gray carpets and old white bathroom tiles had been around since the disco era, Ethan didn’t want to let this opportunity slip away without doing something about it.




Almost Gay Guys; New Hope Mayor No Gay Marriage for ME



Almost Gay Guys

When I read the article to which I’m linking, I had to admit it was the first time I’d really ever seen anything like this spoken about so openly. It deals with men who are mostly straight, but sometimes almost gay, and stuck somewhere in between bi and gay. I know that sounds complicated, but there is validity here. The focus of the article is a young man named Dillon who is interested in women and sometimes men, but is not actually gay, straight, or bisexual.

By his own admission, Dillon says he resides in the “Sexual Netherlands” (his words), a place that exists between heterosexuality and bisexuality. In previous generations, such individuals might have been described as “straight but not narrow,” “bending a little,” and “heteroflexible.”

Dillon is part of a growing trend of young men who are secure in their heterosexuality and yet remain aware of their potential to experience far more—sexual attractions, sexual interactions, crushes, and, occasionally romantic relationships with other guys. Dillon lives these contradictions—seemingly hetero guys who now reject that label, sexual description, and identity.

Although I’m no expert on this topic by any means, I will admit that I’ve run across guys like Dillon before when I was single. (Actually, I still run into them, especially at weddings for some reason.) I once dated a marine who was very open about his sexuality with me, and he told me up front he was mostly straight. I dated a semi-pro baseball player…I was eighteen he was thirty…and he basically explained his situation as being almost gay, but only sometimes. I know that sounds odd to some people, but they were very nice guys and I found them very simple and easy to be with. In fact, in most cases they were easier to be with than out, openly gay men. Many who have read my novels will notice that I sometimes have characters in my books with men who are like this, and many of those characters were loosely based on my own personal experiences.

The article goes even deeper and it’s a very interesting read for those who haven’t heard about men like this before. The one part I didn’t buy totally was that these guys care more about romance than sex. That was never something I experienced. These guys care about sex. It’s not that they aren’t romantic at all, but I’ve never seen that as the main focus. The one thing I can say is that they’ve always been cool and honest about it, which was actually kind of romantic itself. And these guys can be very adorable under the right conditions.

You can read more here.

New Hope Mayor No Gay Marriage for ME

When I read this article late last night, I can’t say I was totally shocked. I know many people are because New Hope, PA, (where I live) is such an openly gay friendly tourist town, and has been for many years. We even have our own Gay Pride Festival in May. We have more gay owned establishments than I can count. At one time, we had more gay nightclubs than I can count. New Hope has always been a small gay mecca, like Provincetown, MA. Without apology, it’s the reason Tony and I live here.

But I have seen more than a few interesting things living here. There was once a very wealthy woman who owned property and several high end businesses in town. She lived with another woman and we all knew she was a lesbian. But she never came out, and never openly supported the gay community in New Hope. The mayor of New Hope right now, Larry Keller, the one who refuses to perform gay marriages, is middle-aged and has been a confirmed “bachelor” as far as I know all his life. So when I read that this particular mayor will not perform gay marriages for legal reasons, no one had to bring my smelling salts.

In any event, this is what’s happening:

Amid the typical discussions about zoning and amplified music at this week’s borough council meeting in New Hope was mention of an Aug. 16 letter from Mayor Larry Keller to council in which he explained the reasons for his declining the recent request “by two gentlemen to officiate their wedding.”

The letter went on to say, “As part of the official duties of the office of the elected mayor of New Hope Borough, I am permitted by law to solemnize marriages between persons who produce a marriage license issued by any County Clerk of Orphans’ Court. This authorization is not mandatory. A Mayor is not obligated to officiate any wedding.

To backtrack a little, I recently posted about how they are issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples in Montgomery County, PA, which is only a few miles away from New Hope.

Even though same sex marriage is still not legal in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Montgomery County in PA issued marriage licenses to same sex couples today in defiance of the ban on same sex marriage. Tony and I live in Bucks County, PA, which is only a few miles from where the marriage licenses were issued, and it’s s significant move for those who issued the licenses and those who obtained them.

The key words above are defiance and ban. It’s obvious that in Montgomery County they are intentionally challenging the law in order to push things forward. Pennsylvania is the only mid-Atlantic state that doesn’t even have civil unions for same sex couples. And we’re tired of it.

What I found most refreshing about the article dealing with New Hope Mayor Keller was this:

Donna Deely, the Democratic contender for Republican Keller’s job in an election scheduled for this November, took it a step further: “If I am elected mayor I will officiate same-sex weddings. I think the risk there is minimal, and it’s the right thing to do, not only because it reflects the current prevailing legal winds and the country is moving in that direction, but also given New Hope’s rich tradition of acceptance. That’s why we chose to live here, and in my heart of hearts, I think it’s the fair and just thing to do.”

Even though there are legalities involved here, sometimes it’s important to be on the right side of history in order to make a change. There was a time when people of African descent were not allowed to use the same bathrooms and water fountains as white people. Clearly, Mayor Keller doesn’t believe the issue of gay marriage is important enough to take a stand and challenge. And this is in spite of the fact that his business has been supported by the gay dollar for many years, as well as his political ambitions. The most interesting thing here is that Keller is a Republican, and gays here have supported him in spite of that, too.

Now, Mayor Keller does have a history of issues regarding marriage.

Keller’s reluctance to engage in activity that may draw litigation seems to be founded in personal experience: he was questioned some years ago during a politically-charged environment about the propriety of the charitable donation of marriage fees he had collected, a charge he defended “at great personal cost.” Keller said he sought the advice of Borough Solicitor T.J. Walsh in this marriage request, who said “You don’t want to touch this. If he [Hanes] did something they said is illegal, you are going to be an accessory to an illegality.”

I can’t find any links to that controversy now, but I do remember it. The issue eventually died down and no one heard a word about it again. However, it’s important to note that marrying people is not unusual for mayors, and New Hope is also a destination for many straight couples to get married. Famed author and cook Julia Child and her husband were actually married in Lumberville, a few miles away from New Hope, many years ago. And Mayor Keller has performed marriages for straight couples.

Many are disagreeing with Keller’s decision, including attorneys:

David S. Cohen, associate professor of law at Drexel University’s Earle Mack School of Law disagreed. “There is no clear decision from any binding court in Pennsylvania or the Federal court about the state’s marriage law, but officials like Attorney General Kathleen Kane and Montgomery County Clerk Hanes both have decided that the marriage law is unconstitutional. As a law professor and one of the attorneys representing same-sex couples in Montgomery County, I agree wholeheartedly,” said Cohen.

“If the mayor doesn’t want to go along with what the Attorney General and Montgomery County Clerk are doing, he will find himself on wrong side of history,” added Cohen.

Sometimes that’s what it all comes down to in the end. And I think it will be interesting to see if Keller holds his ground with this, and, if he gets reelected this November.

Photo here.

Pierre’s Chocolates: My Home Away From Home

Everyone has something in which they indulge. Chocolate is mine.

And I happen to live in a town with one of the best chocolate shops in the country, Pierre’s Chocolates.

It’s on the same order as Sees in San Francisco, only better for me because it’s only three miles and one quick left turn.
And there’s an online store where you can order anything you like.