Tag: gay

sotd: Troye Sivan – Wild

Not often do I stumble on a new artist that completely takes me by storm, and I become instantly, obsessively, incessantly transfixed on their voice, their music, and need to hear everything I can get my hands on by them. Well, that’s exactly what happened when my buddy Jamie told me to listen to Troye Sivan. Sivan is a 20 year old, out, Australian actor, singer/songwriter who’s song Wild, which has a beautiful, hauntingly touching video, has me completely obsessed, and after hearing his two EPs, TRXYE and Wild, has me incredibly hungry to hear more from this incredibly talented young singer.

I’m coming out… I want the world to know…

Today is National Coming Out day! Today is a great day in which we look to our fellow gay community to celebrate being who you are, and letting everyone know how proud you are to be who you are. Coming out is the best way to not only be yourself, but also to bring visibility to the gay community as a whole; people get to see just how many of us there are among them. Coming out is a celebration, and a giant step in the life of any gay man, lesbian woman, trans individual, bisexual person, or questioning person.

Let’s not forget, however, that coming out is an intensely powerful statement, not only to oneself, but also to those around them. Coming out to yourself is a monumental step for every single LGBTQ person, and it is one that often takes years of struggle, soul searching, and coming to terms with your own identity. There are those of us that find it easy to come out, and there are those of us that struggle for years, even a lifetime, to either come out to ourselves, or to those around us (or both). Some people struggle with this more than others, and remember, especially on days like this, that they deserve our love and support, because they are grappling with understanding and embracing their very fundamental being.

I write about this so that people who have not come out, and thus cannot fully and truly understand the powerful ramifications coming out has to a queer person, can better grasp the magnitude of such a statement. I also write about this, so that we can share in understanding just how much of a celebration this day should be; and anyone’s coming out day, for that matter.

I. Am. Gay. While it’s something that seems so small and innocent, it is in fact something that is not only hard to say, but it can be almost impossible to accept for oneself, as well as for those around them.

Honor those that speak loudly about who they are, and be proud of those that represent us in the public eye. Applaud and celebrate those that find themselves, and are out and proud as gay, lesbian, trans, bi, and queer individuals; I can assure you that they did not come to this place lightly, and being who you are takes a ton of courage. This is something that should be celebrated when it happens for anyone, because it marks a monumental phase in someone’s life; the moment when they are finally free to be who they are. Never let yourself fall into the space of questioning why someone has not come out if you believe them to be LGBTQ, because coming out isn’t as easy for everyone; trust me, it took me quite a while to get here myself.

So let’s celebrate today for what it is; a statement, a purpose, an understanding that someone finally get’s to be themselves. There really is no better feeling than the moment when you can finally say to yourself, and to the world…

I’m gay and proud, damn it!

…AND, I want everyone to know!! Happy Coming Out day, everyone!

Tom Ford on gay marriage

This morning, I read this interview with Tom Ford, and I really liked some of the things he had to say; especially what he said about the gay marriage issue in this country. Tom Ford is my number one celebrity crush, so of course, any time I have a sliver of a good reason to do a post about him, I will. In fact, thinking about that, I don’t post about him nearly enough!

In the article, when he was asked if he would marry his partner of over 20 years, after being together for so long, Ford responded with:

Yes, when it becomes a federal law. Right now it doesn’t do any good in the states. A few weeks ago Richard had to go into the hospital for something, and I had to carry around all these legal documents saying I could make medical decisions for him. It was insane. The fact that we are not married in the federal sense means that if I were to die, he’d have to pay all these taxes on my estate and receive but a fraction of it and he’d have to alter his life —whereas if we were married, he wouldn’t have to face that burden. That’s disgusting. It’s wrong. But that said, I think I am in favor of terming what I’m talking about as a civil partnership. We all get so caught up with this word marriage. For me, the word marriage is something that a religion should decide. Just give me all the same rights. A civil partnership is what I’d like for everyone—heterosexual as well as homosexual. Call it what you like—it’s the rights that are important. Getting hung up with the semantics derails the cause we’re all fighting for.

It really resonated with me, because that is exactly the way that people should view it. If the word marriage makes it such a sticky and religious issue, take “marriage” out of it. Give us the rights, you can keep the religious mumbo jumbo; we don’t want that part of it anyway. Additionally, the government shouldn’t back religious practices anyway, so if this will get us equal rights, I am all for it.

I for one, am sick and tired of someone holding up a book and determining what rights I get to have because of what that book may or may not have told them to believe as the truth; the same book that also told them to love thy neighbor, and not pass judgment. Wrapping civil rights up in religious institutions is not only wrong, it is unconstitutional. When will our government take a stand, and stand up for us?

Maine votes against gay marriage: some thoughts

Yesterday, Maine’s vote sent a(nother) clear message to me: gay people do not matter to the majority of Americans. I am sure that many will argue that this is not the position of most Americans, but the message is too clear to ignore. Our civil rights are constantly up for debate, and constantly, we have them taken away. I cannot interpret that as anything other than a message that we do not matter; this society does not see fit to grant us the same rights and liberties as the rest of Americans.

It’s interesting, because this same society gladly takes our tax money, our contributions to society, and expects us to serve our country, but people continue to pass laws that reflect whether or not they feel “comfortable” with the “idea” of us getting married? Um, how does that work? That’s not just “unfair”, it’s un-American.

Isn’t the constitution supposed to grant freedom; not take it away? Additionally, isn’t the constitution supposed to protect us from the government making decisions about whether or not to strip us of our civil rights? Where are the values and principles that represent the underlying foundation of this nation? They are glaringly absent when you look at any vote for or against anyone’s civil rights. This bears repeating: voting for or against anyone’s rights goes against the very foundation of this country. We are all supposed to be free and equal. By putting this up for a vote, more than half of the people in Maine have gone against the foundation of our nation, and have made it clear that they feel as if it is okay to make the decision against gay people being equal.

Again, how does this make sense?

Every time we vote for or against the civil rights of any group of people in this country, especially minorities, we are sending a clear message that their rights do not matter. No one should ever have to campaign to have the popular vote determine whether or not they can have the same rights as everyone else. It’s just plain wrong.

Shame on 53% of Maine voters for believing that their opinion matters more than the rights of gays and lesbians living in Maine. Since this isn’t the first, and it will not be the last time that our rights are in the hands of those that wish to discriminate, I also say shame on any American who thinks that their opinion matters more than someone’s civil rights.

One final thing. In looking for the results of the vote this morning, I came across this article, and I have to comment on the quote from Jeff Flint:

Voters have a pretty good grasp about what they think marriage should be. It’s not that they’re discriminatory or bigoted. They just draw the line at what they think marriage should be.

Um, what? I’m sorry, but I will never allow anyone who says bullshit like this to have a free pass. If you are against gay marriage, you are against it because of discrimination; that is what you voted on. You voted specifically in order to discriminate against gay people. Jeff, just because you are able to some how twist your illogical thoughts into what you consider rational doesn’t not get you off the hook. You represent a discriminatory body of Americans that have “values” and beliefs that are most certainly based on bigotry. You can’t take away someone’s rights and say that you did it for “personal reasons” or “personal beliefs”, and then in the same breath say, “but I have nothing against them”. Perhaps he should actually look up the word discrimination, because I don’t think he understands the concept.

Perhaps he, and others like him, should keep their opinions to themselves, and stop using them to determine whether or not someone else should or should not have equal rights. Feel free to define marriage however you want; just don’t decide how I, or anyone else, has access to my civil rights.

a (queer) monday menagerie

Pride in Atlanta is this weekend, and I am kind of excited about being able to celebrate Pride weekend without the heat of June, and hopefully, without the torrential downpours that usually came along with it. Anyone going besides me?

This blog post about the (possibly diminished) potentiality of Adam Lambert’s success in the American conservative driven music market is a great read. When a queer artist doesn’t make it in the US music market, it’s difficult not to tie that to the fact that they are gay; especially when they can only be described as stellar (like him or not, Adam can really sing). If you look at artists like Will Young, Scissor Sisters, Mika, Westlife, and other queer artists that are hugely famous overseas that never get radio play here in the states, it gets even harder to not draw those same conclusions. While it was pretty clear that Adam lost American Idol because he was gay, as middle America was probably risking burning their houses down from all the rotary dialing in order to prevent that queer from beating the little straight guy, I hope that his sexuality doesn’t ruin his music career before it even starts. The boy is extremely talented, and I hope that he finds the success he deserves. Even more so, I wish American’s had more brains than they do drive to stamp out things they don’t understand, or things they equate to different, and therefore wrong.

This makes me want to puke. Seriously? Censoring a children’s book because a character has two moms? What the fuck is offensive about SOMETHING THAT HAPPENS IN REAL LIFE? Seriously, people that believe that this type of scenario is in any way offensive or “harming to them” needs to walk over and tell me in person so I can slap in the face like the fools they are. Seriously people, gay people and gay families are normal. Deal with it. If you want to “shelter” your child and your family from it, kindly pick up and go live in a shack in the woods where you won’t bother the rest of society, okay? (h/t to the the amazing jacksonpearce)

– Kind of related to the children’s book mentioned above, Towleroad reported about a gay family that made a video, acting out a book that is also getting a lot of negative attention because two princes get married and live happily ever after. This book is being slandered to spread hate in the Yes on One anti-gay marriage campaign in Maine. Here’s their video:

Not only was this video incredibly adorable, but they have made many more, using their family as a beautiful example of what is normal about gay families. I want to personally applaud those guys for what they are doing. Gay families are normal families, and the people behind these horrible campaigns like Prop 8, and now Prop 1 in Maine, should really take a look and see who’s lives they are messing with. The hypocrisy behind anyone saying they are anti-gay marriage because of “family values”, “morality”, and “protection of marriage” when everything they are doing against gay marriage is in spite of those very things, drives me insane. When will people learn to just butt out of our lives, and stop seeing who we are as offensive to them; especially when it has NO IMPACT on them in any way?

must watch: Modern Family

Initially, it seems that it always takes me a while to get into anything that gets a lot of hype, and because of the pre-season buzz, Modern Family was no exception. However, thankfully, I saw the light early on in this case, and after last night’s hilarious episode, I can definitely say that the hype was right in this case; there is something truly wonderful about this show. The characters are all funny, they are developing them well on the show, and they all play off of one another as an ensemble masterfully. This show doesn’t feel like a “new show” at all.

I almost don’t want to compare it to anything, but I would definitely say that Modern Family bears many similarities to another great show, Arrested Development; perhaps most obviously in the way that it uses a hybrid mocumentary filming style in the story development (not to mention the laugh out loud hilarity found in each show). Shows and movies that use that form of story telling usually draw me in (Best in Show and Drop Dead Gorgeous are all time favorite movies of mine), and Modern Family is no exception. When you add that to the witty writing, and laugh out loud gags, I am confident in saying that that I have found a new must watch show of the fall 2009 season. It’s also extremely refreshing that there is a gay couple on the show, and that they are not just background characters, or stereotypical punchlines/token go-to’s for a laugh. I actually really like their characters, and I like even more that they are portrayed as normal; which, importantly, is what gay people are. Perhaps their characters will help further educate the people in America that still see us as “other” and “different” that we’re just normal people with normal lives; and that we might be the funniest ones around, too. ABC is getting all kinds of plus marks and gold stars from me in their portrayal of gay characters on prime time shows.

I’ve really enjoyed every episode of Modern Family that I’ve seen thus far, and I am excited to see what this show has in store for us. Wednesday nights at 9 just keep getting better and better.

madonna and me (too)

After reading Rich‘s excellent blog post, Madonna and Me, about his life-long experiences regarding Madonna, I felt compelled to share it (go read it!! It’s excellent!), and say something (well, a lot of somethings) about how it eerily mirrors my own feelings, and the reasons behind those feelings, about her.

I have always had a “thing” against Madonna, which is noticeably strange for someone who loves pop music as much as I do (seriously… two words: Britney Spears). I find it interesting, that it wasn’t until I read his post, that I put two and two together, and realize that I think at least a portion of my history of “hate” for Madonna comes from not wanting to like her because of who she is and what she represents.

For one, Madonna, like it or not, has a strong affiliation with the “idea” of being gay. I remember school when I was younger, and it was pretty much a given that on any day, I was going to be called a faggot/ sissy/ girl/ pussy/ fag at some point by someone; regardless of whether or not I was “queeny”, “faggy”, “girly”, or overtly “homosexual” in the slightest. It was just the way it was. It was my reality from pretty much the first day of elementary school, on up through the end of high school (even though it continued in college, it was noticeably changed). As a result, I tried really, really hard to stay away from anything that would further label me as what I was; and unfortunately, exactly what I didn’t want to be in any way, shape, or form. When those kids were calling me whatever their chosen gay-indicative expletive of the day was, they were labeling me as gay, and at the same time, indicating that being gay was not only “not okay”, but that it was really, really bad. As such, being gay was the last thing on the planet I wanted to be, even though I was; talk about inner conflict.

I remember when I was in middle school, and the song Vogue became popular, and a friend of mine named Nikki did the entire dance routine for our gym class during “dance week” (whoever thought that was a good idea should be tortured, because I got teased incessantly because of my even being preset that week). I remember loving the song, and really liking her performance, but I found myself cowardly wanting to shun Nikki for doing her dance, and in effect, distance myself from liking anything about it. I honestly think that this moment really shaped how I would feel about Madonna up until this very moment.

There is a part of me that definitely, whether I want to admit it or not, STILL has a shred of disdain for the fact that I am gay. Now, that is not to say that I “don’t like who I am”, or that I “hate myself for being gay”, because those vastly overstep the boundary of this disdain of which I speak. I’m saying that there is a part of me that dislikes the fact that I am the very thing that many people out there consider to be bad, wrong, and love to express their hatred for; which comes from growing up with people berating me with this very sentiment day in and day out. When I am riding in my car with the widows down, and I am playing something especially “gay”, I still always turn it down when someone pulls up next to me. There is something in me that will always remain guarded, and as such, I try to hide the fact that I am gay to random strangers sometimes. It sounds completely stupid when I say it out loud, but this is an example of the part of me that wants to hide the fact that I am gay, because of that disdain I have for it; which again, stems from being made fun of and judged as a child. The shitty part, is that I always find myself doing it again, because that disdain (however small it may be) lives on.

I realize now, that I have written off my feelings about Madonna as “hatred”, because other gay men seemingly follow her every foot step, and hang on her every word, and that disdain in me made me want to distance myself from anything that would paint me as so overtly gay. As I read Rich’s post, I found myself back in that auditorium, watching Nikki bravely perform to Vogue, wishing I could be as brave as she, but cowardly wishing that no one would see me enjoying her performance, for fear that I would be further berated for being a fag.

I hate that I let myself think this way, and I hate even more that this disdain exists within me, but at least I realize that I cannot let it make judgments about things such as liking Madonna for the rest of my life. Even though this is a small step towards totally making the aforementioned realization a reality, today I have identified the fact that my disdain for Madonna represents (at least in part) my personal turmoil with being gay, and the conflict I have had with it for as long as I can remember. I disliked her, openly hated her, and even mocked her because of what she represents and who she is. Yet the fact still remainded that Madonna is a woman who can do what she wants, and doesn’t get called a faggot because she takes dance classes, and enjoys extremely “gay”, poptastic music. She is a woman who has constantly put herself out there as a symbol of something “gay”, and while other gay men have lopped up everything she offered, I realize that I have shunned her because of what it would mean if I grabbed my spoon and joined the feast. Instead of hating her music, or disliking her as a person, I have been disliking what “liking her” would mean all of these years.

I have to say, that I didn’t expect a blog post about Madonna to open my eyes to something this deep, but I guess it goes to show that you never know who is going to turn a mirror on you, and show you who you really are inside. I hope that I can work on eliminating all final shreds of disdain for who I am someday; because I think that I would be a much happier person as a result. Now, one thing is for sure, I am going to go and enjoy some fucking Madonna; because save Ray of Light, she made had some great music, and it is high time I get caught up!

Finally, I want to extend a huge thank you to Rich for his post; great work all around.

so you’ve known all along?

It is no secret that I have been thoroughly enjoying the new show Glee, that it seems everyone is talking about. However, this post really isn’t about Glee. While I find the show funny, sweet, endearing, the times where it has proven to be an intimate portrait of real life are what have really struck a cord with me.

Now, I am going to say this to warn you, I am going to discuss something that happened on the show last night, so you have been forewarned of spoilers, and should stop reading now if you haven’t seen the episode/don’t want to see this spoiler.

On last night’s episode, Kurt came out to his father (he came out in the episode before it too, and while I’m glad they covered him coming out, I really hope the whole season isn’t Kurt coming out to people) and while I thought it was really touching, it was what was said said during their conversation that really hit me. Mike O’Malley (who’s kind of adorable) played Kurt’s father, and after Kurt came out to him, he said to him, “I’ve known since you were 3. All you wanted for your birthday was a pair of sensible heels.”. While his follow up was hilarious, I can’t help but focus on his initial response: “I’ve known since you were 3.”. For me, an unavoidable question arose when I heard that statement: why didn’t you say anything, then?

This reminds me of a scene from the first season of (the American version) Queer as Folk, where Justin’s mom Jennifer is talking to Debbie about their respective gay sons. Jennifer was having an issue with talking to Justin about it (I think it was about getting confirmation that he was indeed gay), when Jennifer said something to the effect of “when did you know your son was gay?”. Debbie’s response really resonated with me in the same way Kurt’s father’s response did; however, she took it a crucial step farther. Debbie tells her that she had always known, and quips to Jennifer that parents always know; which is the reason that she went to her son and talked to him about it, so that he wouldn’t have to face the difficulty of coming to her on his own.

What I wanted to get at with writing about this is, if parents know their child is gay, why don’t they talk to them about it, instead of making us go through the process of coming out? Even if you aren’t 100% sure your child is gay, at least going to them, and talking to them makes it easier for them to know that things are going to be okay. Coming out was one of the hardest things I have ever done, and unfortunately, I got that same response from my parents, “we’ve always known”.

This time I was asking myself: since they knew, why didn’t they say anything? Since they knew, why did they make me go through the pain of having to come to them, on my own, to tell them? I am sure they had to of noticed how hard it was for me to do it, and what I went through all of those years prior to your official confirmation, so again, why did they wait?

I think that many parents are afraid to take responsibility for things, and as such, are afraid to talk to their kids about things that are affecting them. This is a major reason why some parents are terrified to talk with their kids about sex, which, just like ignoring the gay issues, has its own set of consequences. It’s incredibly difficult for me to understand how you can be someone’s parent (or guardian), and not want to protect and love your child as much as humanly possible. It would seem to me, that this would include making things better for them in any way I could (in this case, making their lives easier by helping them come out by going to them first and letting them know it is okay).

Unfortunately, I know there are people out there that are just downright horrible people, and many of those people would likely cause harm to their child if put in this situation; and as such, these are not the people I am asking to answer this question. A friend of mine in college named Mandy was thrown out by her parents when they found out she was indeed a lesbian, and they cut her off completely. People like that should really be ashamed of themselves, but are clearly so selfish, that I am certain that isn’t possible. Yet, parents that aren’t horrible people like the ones I just mentioned, still let their kids go through the painful process of discovering who they really are alone. I just don’t get it.

I once dated someone whose parents came to him and discussed his sexuality before he came out to them, and they had an amazing relationship. I always admired them for their being so forthcoming with him, and making the issue of his sexuality something that helped him, instead of hurt him. By opening up to him, he wasn’t forced to go the often difficult journey of discovering who you are, and coming out, alone. Seeing it practice even strengthened my curiosity as to why so many parents don’t do the same thing his parents did for him.

I can tell you, that if I ever have kids, no issue will be “off the table”. I think one of the best ways you can show your child that you love them, is by not keeping vital information that you know they are struggling with to discover themselves to yourself; the damage that could arise always outweighs the discomfort you might feel engaging in a sensitive conversation. If there is anything that I would want to come out of this, is if any parent reads this, and you think your child might be gay, talk to them about it. The worst thing that could happen, is that you make their life easier in the process; and isn’t that what every good parent wants for their child?

Atlanta gay bar, The Eagle raided

UPDATE on the Eagle raid: I no longer THINK this was discriminatory, I know it was. This comment literally send shivers down my spine:

Du-Wayne Ray, store manager of Rawhide Leather, which operates below the Eagle, said that he and one of his employees heard one white uniformed officer say to another, “This is a lot more fun than raiding n***ers with crack.”

Ray said he was handcuffed for an hour-and-a-half to two hours on the back deck of The Eagle, and said, “A lot of anti-gay comments were made.”

This is an outrage. Atlanta police should be extremely forthcoming with formal apologies to anyone and everyone involved; additionally, a formal apology to the gay community should be submitted. This level of discrimination is shocking and unbelievable; especially when it comes from the very people that are supposed to keep us safe. Bigotry in any form cannot be tolerated, and this again, is just shocking to know that it came from Atlanta police officers.

I honestly can’t believe that this happened, here in Atlanta, last night. I thought we were living in a more progressive city, but it just goes to show, you aren’t safe from discrimination anywhere.

a lot of little things really add up

I just took a survey in order for $20 credit added to my account for a website I bought a product from. To be quite honest, I was sort of offended that I was not given any option other than single, married, widowed, divorced, or separated in the relationship question field. Since none of those apply to me, I left that question blank, but the survey wouldn’t submit without it, so I had to chose an incorrect response.

I know it may seem “meager” or “nit-picky” but it’s honestly little things like this that constantly reaffirm the second class status of gay people. I ended up emailing them, because sometimes, it really is simple ignorance, and I was hoping that was the case in this instance. Here was the email I sent:

I just took the survey on your website after committing to buy one of your products, and I find it interesting that you don’t offer an option for same sex couples. Clearly, we cannot get married in most parts of the US, as well as most of the world, and I am slightly offended that I was required to answer the question as a part of your survey; because I am neither single, NOR married. Granted, I didn’t have to take the survey, but since I did, I felt compelled to drop you a line to let you know that a simple inclusion field for partnered/in a relationship would clear this whole thing right up; that, or not requiring that I answer the question with an incorrect answer. Thanks, Duane Moody

They replied with:

Hi Duane,
You are absolutely correct. We need to fix this survey right away – and we will do so as soon as possible.

Like I said, this may be incredibly minor, but when you take a bunch of minor things (as well as some major ones) they start to really add up after a while, and every new one is just a reminder of every other one before it. I can now cross this one off the list, and appreciate the fact that they responded quickly and kindly. I am sure that a lot of people see it as complaining, and sweating the small stuff, but I see it as all part of the bigger picture. We have to be recognized as equal; not just considered later when we bring it up that we were excluded.

This is not really a “little thing”, but there was a raid on the Eagle last night, that reeks of Stonewall-esque civil rights infringement, and it really brings home the point that I am trying to make about our struggle being FAR from over. Some thoughts about the Eagle raid: while they may have gone in on suspicion of “seedy” behavior, and they may have been well within their rights to shut things down for not having the proper permit, from the sound of it, they had a very heavy hand in doing so. I know that if I would have been there, legally drinking in a bar, one that holds a legal liquor license, and would have been handcuffed OR searched, without explanation, I would have been outraged. Even though I wasn’t there, I can’t help but read this, feel as though The Eagle and its patrons were being targeted because it was a gay establishment. I don’t like to think those things, but the description (especially the recall of one person who was there) of the event, makes almost impossible not to.

Honestly, if it is what it sounds like it is, it is really unbelievable that it happened; not only in Atlanta, but in 2009. I, for one, would like to know why the cops aren’t out there working on stopping the violent crimes that have been escalating over the past couple of years; instead of raiding gay bars? If we have such a “shortage” of funds and police force, why are they focusing on the lack of a permit for dancers in a gay bar, instead of bigger, more dangerous stuff? Couldn’t they have issued some kind of warning, or citation that would certainly wouldn’t necessitate a raid? Again, the more I look at this situation, the more it reeks of discriminatory action. I’m interested to see how this Eagle raid story develops, and I hope that it doesn’t fall squarely on the ever-growing list of acts discrimination against gay people in this country; because whether the items are big or small, it’s a really long list.