Top

This is a bit of gay adult themed rant today. You’ve been warned.

I’ve noticed a particularly annoying trend lately in various social media outlets. Basically, someone will show a compliment to a hot or attractive picture by commenting "top" as a one word comment. I must admit, I’m SMDH1 over this one. When I see this I’m immediately hit with a sense of sadness at the failed progression of our community. It is a self-reinforcing stereotype. And lest you think I’m overreacting to a simple comment, I’m not. I’m pointing out one part of a large pattern of self-destructive behaviors. Pick any medium for gay men to connect and you will find 1) people pretending to be something they aren’t or used to be, and 2) people afraid to admit their true desires out of fear of being marginalized as inferior or effeminate.

While the fight for equality is moving right along, we are moving backwards in our attempts to destroy old stereotypes. We seem intent on creating new even more restrictive ones instead I find it incredibly sad and pathetic we are still doing this to each other. The idea that to be considered attractive, muscular, successful, etc one must be a top reeks of insecurity and low self-esteem. How you look, dress, act, or behave has zero determination on your sexual role in bed. The fake bravado and never-ending attempts to appear masculine are just tired. For myself, I’ve just started assuming most of the loudest blowhards online are bottoms afraid to admit it. And I say that as a declarative statement, not a slight. The beard craze has sadly started taking on this role now as well.

We will never overcome the idea that being a bottom or the receptive partner during sex is somehow inferior unless we stop marginalizing each other. My first thought is to block the person because, as the saying goes, "I just can’t…" but that seems counter productive. Of course trying to mention it online just leads to flame wars and who has the time or energy for that? I’m definitely tarting to see why many older gay men withdraw from the community over time. They finally reach a point where they overcome the trauma and fallout from a lifetime of discrimination and they are left with a community at war with itself. I refuse to be like that but I admit I’m at a loss for solutions.

It is no easy task facing our own insecurities, but I’m living proof it can happen. Oh, I still have them but they do not drive my behavior anymore. I got where I am now because I spent over a decade of my life focused on healing myself and growing past my fears. I consider myself very lucky to have accomplished it with so little outside help. I now find myself struggling to find a way to help others and those around me. Don’t fall for the idea that being [insert stereotype of choice here] somehow makes you better or worse. It doesn’t. And you only end up hurting or alienating yourself in the long run. Be true to yourself. Be authentic in all that you do.

For many years, I listed axioms on my About page I try to live by. I took them down as they are such a part of me now I no longer need reminders. I think I will bring them back. One of them, and the most difficult for me to learn, I kept posted on my mirror ever day for over a year. It reads, "no one can make you feel inferior without your permission." I’m not sure who originally made the quote but it’s been used and reused quite often. As I struggled to identify and overcome individual insecurities, this axiom became more and more clear and a part of my daily thinking. It is the foundation for overcoming a need to meet or be a stereotype or unrealistic expectations.

I hope that if you are reading this and struggle with how you feel perceived by the "community", you can benefit from it. And if you’ve been fortunate to overcome it, please share your struggles and success with others when given the chance.

Hope springs eternal…

  1. Shaking my damn head []

Hero-less

Well, it looks like the City of Houston will be the only large city in the US to not provide protections for LGBT folks in a variety of areas, including housing and employment. It was a unexpected blow to be honest. I just knew my old stomping ground had moved into current times after electing a gay mayor, not once but twice. It doesn’t help that the initiative should never have been put to a vote anyway.1 Contrary to the established process and even though there was no doubt the appealing side didn’t garner the necessary signatures, the Texas Supreme Court, full of Repugs, sent it to a vote anyway.

My rant today isn’t so much about the failure of the initiative but some of the aftermath. I’ve seen several comments and posts on various social outlets lamenting the initiative included Transgendered protections. It wasn’t so much that people didn’t want transgendered folks included as much as the old argument it was too much too soon.2 And to be fair, there was a time when winning a few protections at a time was a worthwhile pursuit. We carved out rights for the LGB part of the community slowly and often one piece at a time because it was the only way to win then. But that time is over and we are way past it now. It is time for us to change our thinking. We are no longer groveling for whatever we can get. The tide of the law and public opinion has shifted to our side. We need to turn and bring the T in the umbrella forward and stand with them. We need to show the world that like us they too are just humans with lives and dreams of their own. They deserve it as much as we do. They’ve patiently (and not so patiently at times) waited as we gained piece after piece of equality. They sat behind us watching our progression hoping for their chance. And that chance is now. The sad tired argument about their fight being different from ours is pure BS. They get marginalized, discriminated against, assaulted, raped, and murdered just like us. They’ve stood with us since our movement started and it is time for us to stand with them.

Having lived in Houston and the surrounding area for a big percentage of my young adult life, the loss was disappointing on a very personal level. However, the fight continues as Houston now finds itself in a very public view. The mayor and others continue to work on bringing equality to Houston.

  1. In case you missed it, the initiative was enacted legally. It was appealed. The appealing side cheated and when they got caught cheating and turned down they decided to go to court. []
  2. I’m deliberately excluding the article from the homocon over at Breibart. That level of stupid doesn’t even merit an argument []

Equal

EqualWell, we finally made it! On June 26 2015, the United States Supreme Court confirmed that any two people can marry, regardless of gender. We can officially stop referring to it as gay marriage and just call it what it is, marriage. This marks a pivotal moment in history folks. This is the domino that will tumble the rest of the archaic laws preventing us from being treated fairly in the eyes of the law. The excuses, the pretense, and the scare tactics won’t be enough anymore. This decision may only apply to marriage rights but it’s ripples will be felt everywhere.

Oh, I’m not so foolish to think everything will just be hunky-dory. No, there is still a lot of hate out there. And we are still being targeted by extremists and bigots. Our fight is not over but the tide as well as the right has shifted now. And as time goes by the bigots, haters, and fundies will be relegated to the history books to be scorned by future generations. Now we must turn our attentions to trans rights and making sure they obtain protections and equality under the law as well. No person should ever have to feel like an outcast simply because they were born different. The fight is not over for them and so it is not over for us.

*

For myself, I never thought I’d see this day. It was only in the last 5 or so years I dared to hope for it. Growing up in rural East Texas, I just assumed I’d always be an outcast. I’d never be part of ‘normal’ people. Back then you just learned to accept it and try and carve out a life for yourself. You did the best you could and hoped for the best. Well now, those days are over.

In many ways, I don’t feel much different. My life overall won’t change much after this ruling. It is almost anti-climatic in many ways as we were lucky enough to get equality in California already. But, I can move forward without fear of leaving California now. Shawn and I have yet to tie the knot, but knowing we can do so and be accepted in all 50 states is a huge deal. I won’t worry about hospital visits. I won’t worry about my or his legal rights in case of an emergency. I frankly won’t worry that much at all. I can make legal decisions and preparations w/o extra steps to protect him. I can make plans for our future and not “mine and his.”

This is indeed a wonderful day!

Secret

We’ve heard tons of comments on white privilege in recent weeks, but what about religious privilege? We are quite accustomed to hearing from the fundies about how they are being persecuted. The reality is religion is given an exceptionally wide berth in this country.

In recent days, I’ve seen a plethora of news stories on church pastors talking about killing LGBT folks for just existing and having the audacity to want equal rights. And don’t get me started on those Duggar assholes. All of these folks are becoming desperate because they realize they are losing their so called culture war. Forgetting the normal rants on how we are single-handedly causing the destruction of everything because … "god" for a moment, they’ve upped their game now and completely gone off the deep end.

It is time for us as a citizenry to start reigning this nonsense in. You can believe whatever brand of crazy you want as long as you keep it to yourself. You can believe I am personally going to some imaginary place of eternal suffering after I die because I refuse to fall in line with your brand of crazy.1 But the moment you start calling for me to be less than other humans or calling for my death, you no longer get a say. The moment you start trying to legislate your beliefs on everyone you’ve crossed the line into bigotry. Your ignorant bile is not welcome in society anymore. ​

Even worse in my mind are the people who go around giving lip-service to their so-called faith but do nothing to stop the insanity. Where are all the other church pastors decrying this behavior? Where is the outcry from the millions of Americans who ‘claim’ to be christian? Why are they not condemning these fanatics? Could it be because their supposedly non-violent book of fairy tales is actually very violent. We are quick to talk about how Islam is a violent religion but we brush off our own brand of crazy. Well, your dirty little secret is out and we ain’t buying it anymore.

In my book you no longer get a pass. Your privilege ends with me. Stop sharing your smarmy photos and memes on social media about how wonderful your [insert deity of choice here] is and start calling out the crazies in your own ranks. If you are not calling them out then you are complicit in their actions. And if you are an LGBT person on top of it, you bear the shame of knowing your inaction directly contributes to the oppression of your brothers and sisters.

  1. I still can’t get over the ‘shell-fish is an abomination’ clause. I sends me into hysterics every time. Of course we realize how crazy that is but magically forget it when it comes to begin gay. []

Civic

Everyone is jockeying for the moral high ground after the Ferguson verdict. Social media is a shit-show of everyone pointing fingers at each other. I won’t even go into all the judge/juries that have appointed them selves verdict makers on Brown/Wilson’s implied guilt.

I feel like I have a unique perspective on the subject.1   There is my work side that deals with law-enforcement issues every day of my career. I can see valid points from the officer’s story. There were several things Brown could have done to avoid the confrontation. Then there is my gay side that grew up at the hands of very rough and not so friendly police on more than one occasion. I can see valid points from Brown’s family. The police could have handled the situation better and not necessarily let it escalate out of control. 

The reality is neither side is blameless. No one has the moral high ground here. And no one should walk away feeling like they lost/won. We all lost. People often can’t resolve the cognitive dissonance created by the ambiguity of fault or blame. And because of this, we can’t admit that neither side is blameless. Brown refused to comply, Wilson overreacted.2

No matter who’s side you are on it still means nothing unless we act. If we truly want to fix these problems, we must move beyond the never-ending and condescending tantrums via social media. And while petitions and marches in the streets are excellent displays of solidarity, they are not enough. These things depend on someone else to fix our problems.

We as a citizenry must be involved. We cannot abandon, thru indifference, our oversight of those we place in power and be surprised when it suddenly becomes corrupt. Civic duty is not just serving jury duty or voting, begrudgingly. It is our guaranteed right thru the freedoms granted us. But we must exercise those rights. It should not be something we only do when it is convenient. It should be a part of our daily lives.3  If more of us get involved, we won’t need to constantly focus on blame. We’ll be in forums to constantly give oversight, feedback, and accountability to both sides.

Basically, I’m saying be involved or shut up and accept your servitude. It is that simple. Like any living thing, democracy must be fed or it dies from neglect. Go to your local police community meetings. If they aren’t offered,  rally your neighbors and friends and demand they have them. Go to your governing body’s public meetings. Call, write, and/or email your local and state leaders. And don’t do it once and call it good. Involvement is ongoing. Embrace your civic duties. Then and only then can we see real change.

  1. No surprise there right? lol []
  2. Please spare me unnecessary rants on the variances of this over simplification []
  3. Do me a favor and read this paragraph again []

PSA

I thought I’d provide a public service announcement today. Let me attempt to clarify (and edify) you on the differences between belief and bigotry.

Belief (or faith) in your [deity of choice] is soley your choice in life. Under the freedoms granted to you in our democracy, you are free to believe and celebrate (thru prayer, church, communion, etc) said belief thru its given dogma any way you choose. While I may or may not agree with your belief(s), you are entitled to them and I respect that. You are free to believe that being gay is an abomination.1 You are free to hate me for being gay. Hate is not illegal. You are free to think that I will be transported to a magical place of fire/brimestone upon my death. You are free to ignore the fact that I was born gay. You are free to disagree with the later statement verbally. You are free to say your beliefs and share them with others by proselytizing2. These are your rights.

What you are not free to do is enforce your belief onto me, thru laws or otherwise. You are not free to commit a crime against me based on your hate. When you attempt to enforce your belief(s) onto me you are engaged in bigotry. You are not free to discriminate against me based on your belief when you provide public accommodations. You are not free force me to live your way. You are not free to prevent me from having the same rights as any other human being simply because I’m different. We do not live in a theocracy. And no matter how you might wish we did, we still do not. Your belief does not shield you from persecution when you cross over into being a bigot. And calling you out for your bigotry does not make you a victim of persecution. And no amount of cognitive dissonace, conflation, or twisting the english language will ever make it so.

Now you know. Go forth and edify others; so it is my commandment to you this 17th day of October in the year 11 of Moby’s blog.

  1. So is eating shell-fish. Where is the outrage over shrimp? I mean just look at those nasty little buggers! They have ‘demon’ written all over them! []
  2. witnessing []

Russia

I rarely discuss current events here as one, not really what my blog is about and two, successful discourse these days seems to be all but impossible. Having had several discussions with friends and even a few blog readers asking my thoughts on it, I thought I’d weigh in.

First, there is no clean answer. It is a sticky convoluted problem. Every answer put forward so far hurts someone. So if you look at the least amount of harm caused vs potential success then you can sort of see a way forward.

The boycott of companies. I don’t support a boycott. Primarily, because it won’t do any good. Put – head doesn’t care about the fallout or damage he causes, he only cares about furthering an agenda. He doesn’t care if we boycott one company or all of them, he will continue his agenda unabated. This is Russia we’re talking about. It’s history speaks for itself. Frankly, I don’t see that we do all that much business with Russian companies to begin with. I’m sure we have some but as a consumer I just don’t see it. I also don’t believe that they have any influence at all over their government. They don’t have the lobbyists like we do here. They don’t have the buying power like greedy corps here. The vodka company has been a decent supporter of gay rights before and after this incident. Why is it fair to punish them when they have zero influence over their government? Plus, boycotts are becoming so common as to be pointless and ineffective IMO. Even if they make further strides to support us, I still don’t support our methodology. The end does not justify the means if we give up the ethical/moral high ground. I don’t see the extra media attention as justification either. Said attention could have been garnered in other ways.

Boycotting the Olympics. Why, so the Russian athletes can take home all the medals? No thanks. Many of these athletes work their whole lives for this. To deny them that would be just a wrong as what is being done to us. How does wronging others do us any benefit? If anything, I think it would create more animosity towards the LGBT community.

Moving the Olympics. I would support a measure if there were time. From a very pragmatic approach, there isn’t and they wouldn’t even consider it. It takes years to plan and prepare for said event. As much as I’d love it if they were willing to move it, it’s not gonna happen. Too many ripple effects for a cause that is not near and dear to their hearts. If it were an option, this would be the one to go with. It would embarrass Russia and Put – head in a major way. Sadly, I just don’t see it as a real option.

Banning Russia from the Olympics. While still causing harm to their athletes, it would send a very powerful message to the government. While I still don’t like the idea of denying athletes, many of whom are probably gay, it is the least damaging of the previous options. Sadly, I’m not even sure that would work. Put – head has some pretty hard line policies and I can’t honestly believe he’d change his mind.

Pressuring sponsors. This is probably the least likely to cause harm but also least effective. I’d support the effort but I’m having a hard time finding a positive net result.

I would push other countries into a united front against Russia. Then if they didn’t budge the IOC could resort to banning Russia from attending. To me this seems to be the most effective way to make a positive change before the Olympics. Granted, any athletes that get arrested for ‘propaganda’ would set off world wide repercussions. While I’d never wish that on anyone, I’d support any athlete who did it! And sadly, I am worried it is the only really effective way to make a difference over there. *sigh*

Dong

Ding dong Prop 8 and DOMA (parts at least) are dead! lol It is high time too. Courtesy of the rulings, ss-couples can now not only be recognized at the state level but also the federal level. This is truly historic times for us.

To wake up and feel like an equal citizen for the first time1 is amazing. And unlike before Prop 8, there is a sense of finality to the issue. There will be no more Prop 8s. We’ve gained recognition at a whole new level and I couldn’t be happier. To feel recognized and accepted under the law is just unbelievable. In a way, it is almost anti-climactic.

Of course, the fight is not over. We still have equal rights for our Trans brethren and we still have a slew of states that don’t yet recognize gay marriage and/or bar it completely. The latter is only a matter of time. If you read the DOMA ruling, the justices pretty much set it up. The bias and basis for these laws is based only on discrimination and ignorant religious dogma. As new cases wind their way thru the courts back to the supreme court, the issue of ss-marriage will be decided once and for all. All the states with these horrible restrictions and bans on ss-marriage will have to suck it up, just like they did for women voting, the end of segregation, and interracial marriages. All of which, they also tried to use religious dogma to enforce.

The tide has shifted to our side. Thanks to the multitudes of us living openly/honestly, the world is beginning to see we really aren’t that different. We want the same things in life. We aren’t out to destroy civilization. Hardly. lol With 7 billion people clogging up this poor planet, there is zero danger there. I look forward to the future w/new dreams that I never thought possible.

  1. Ok. 2nd time. The first time was when California ruled we could get married before Prop 8 []

GHHD 2013

Well, GHHD #1 has come and gone this year.1  This year was especially significant due the recent rulings of Prop 8 and DOMA, both of which got the axe! (More on those later)

My personal pride was somewhat subdued. I think I was so emotionally worn out from the day of the ruling, I just couldn’t muster super excitement. That is not to say I wasn’t happy. Anyway, I noticed a large number of straight people at the events this year. The number of straights in attendance has been increasing dramatically in recent years but this year seemed even more so. (More on that in another post)

I always go early to the events because I don’t like the drunkenness that ensues later on. Plus it isn’t yet unbearably busy. For a social person, I get really frustrated in cramped crowd environments. Anyway, the party was busy very early and since I had Cooper I had to take him home and come back. The most striking thing about the Pink party was the couples. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed so many couples before. Maybe it was the significance of the weekend but it really seemed like a lot more couples were in attendance. A good thing of course. I mention it only because I was struck by it.

I admit I had a moment of sadness for being single. I was a single guy surrounded by couples and I do like being coupled. But, then I remembered I am single not because I have to be but because I choose to be. When a guy comes along that compliments me in the way I need/want, then I’ll couple up again. I have no desire to be in a LTR just to avoid being lonely. It is a recipe for disaster and never ends well. So I pushed my momentary sadness away and embraced the freedom that I had and so rightly deserved.

Of course, Pride is barely over and many are whining about “do we need pride anymore?”  Yes we do. Just because it is no longer a benefit to you, doesn’t mean we do away with it. But more on that later too.

There was some bad news this year as well. Two shootings happened right outside the fair. It appears they weren’t straight on gay crime but details are still emerging. Two people were shot and so far both are expected to recover. This saddens me. While we welcome straights, often times as their numbers increase, so does the crime. And I’m not saying gays are less prone to crime than straights. But there is a fundamental difference between a drunk straight and gay guy. Gay guys usually just want to get laid, not start fights. They might read you to filth for some unknown slight vs trying to beat you up or shoot you. I’m not sure what the answer is here but I worry the outcome will be much like our old Halloween parties…shut it down. I hope not.

Now that it is over, I have plenty on my mind and even more to rant about. It certainly gave me blog fodder for a couple weeks. lol

I hope you all had a safe and loving pride, even if you didn’t celebrate or care.

  1. Gay High Holy Day []

Assimilate

Today’s rant is about the growing rift within our community as we march toward equality. I’m feeling a bit long-winded today, be warned.1

With the progress toward equality, not just under the law but also in the heart & minds of middle America, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend lately. It seems many do not like the march for equality because it would somehow mean giving up some of our culture’s ‘uniqueness’ or ‘queerness’ or whatever subjective term de jour you prefer. Even worse, many of the said folks have begun belittling those who  want inclusion. One has only to delve in the recent SF Pride/Bradly Manning scandal to see it. Actually, you can delve into pretty any recent scandal involving gay culture and see it. The name calling, the condescending attitudes, the outright vitriol for anyone who might simply want to be included and not stand out. It is shameful and makes us no better than the crazy fundies. Oh, the fear might be different but the end is the same. I’m disappointed to see us turning on ourselves over something that should be a given.

Parts of our gay culture developed on different paths. For some, it developed as an abandonment of those who abandoned us.2  This group embraced the fact we were different. They began to celebrate and exemplify it. One might say it was liberating as they were freed from the constrictions of an overly restrictive puritanical moral code. In essence, they embraced everything that was outside the norm and rejoiced in the new found freedom it gave them. I would argue these outlets saved many from simply giving up. It is not an idea or approach that necessarily should be discarded. And as one would expect, many of these coping mechanisms became a way of life.

Then you have the holier-than-thou’s who thru ignorance and desperation cater to the idea that LGBT’s should avoid any display of stereotypes and conform. I guess they think if we look/act like the rest of society they’ll fear us less. Sadly, you see it most in the so called conservative gays who let greed dictate their actions. This ideology is flawed because it relies on the premise that I somehow am less deserving of equality and have to earn it thru conformity. It’s not and I don’t.

Then you have what I refer to as the rest of us. The largest percentage of LGBT folks who’ve always felt like they’ve been on the outside looking in and wanted to be inside. We’ve spent most of our lives hoping and fighting for equality. And now that it is happening, we are thrilled beyond measure. For myself, there are parts of me that identify with the first and last groups mentioned above. I stepped away from much of the puritanical nonsense long ago. But I still yearn to be treated equally under the law and not feel like an outcast in society.

The holier-than-thou’s will most likely adapt the easiest. They’ll just shift their need for conformity to greed and keep going. It will barely make a blip on their radar. The first group though are the ones who are struggling with our growing acceptance and for obvious reasons. They developed outside the norm and the norm is now alien to them in many ways. They see it as a relic of the past to be discarded. And on some points, I’d probably agree with them. But that doesn’t make it ok to turn on those who do not see it that way. And to see many within said group turn to hatred is disappointing. It shows first they are not as evolved as they’d like to think for one. Two, it shows they are scared and acting out of misplaced fear to save their way of life. A way of life that might very well be in danger to some degree but not in total destruction.

I would argue that we do not need to be divided. We can accept and rejoice at our inclusion into mainstream society and still maintain the things that gave our culture so much pizazz. And my advice to anyone who resents mainstreaming, don’t be so quick to hate those who’s only goal in life is to feel included. Not everyone copes the same way and it should not be derided because of it. Looking down your nose at LGBT brethren only serves to make you more like the fundies who hate us. They hate us because we are different. They hate us because we don’t act the way they do. Don’t make their shallow un-evolved mistakes. Be the bigger person and embrace the fact we are merging back into society.

And we can merge w/o giving up our culture. Sure some things might change and/or shrink but that is only because this generation is driven to be included. The next generation won’t feel that drive as strongly3 and will be more likely embrace uniqueness. Instead of lamenting for the old days, continue on your path and be there to help show them the way. If you need an example, you only have to look within the black community. They’ve maintained a separate culture while still being a part of society as whole. We can do the same but with the flair and creativity that gives us some of our uniqueness.

  1. I’ve already condensed this post twice []
  2. For the purpose of this discussion, I am using very general terms. I realize not everyone fits neatly into a a  label! []
  3. because they will already feel included []