Cait

Unless you live under a person who lives under a rock, I’m pretty sure you already know where I’m going with the title. hehehe Everyone is up in arms (repeatedly) pretty much anytime Cait opens her mouth these days.

And if you have been under the rock, Caitlyn (Cait) Jenner, formerly Bruce Jenner, is transgendered and came out to the world not so long ago. Her ‘coming out’ was a big revelation and brought the fight for our transgendered brethren to the national stage. Then the problems began. Our shining new role-model had a different secret. She was a life long Republican and those views ran contrary to her new existence.

As her public appearances increased in her new role, her continuing support for those views showed a conflicting mess of greed, entitlement, and indifference. Our new model was saying and supporting many of those in politics who are against her existence. The backlash has been swift. For myself, I’m not really surprised. A lifetime of affluence has bred a selfish desire to maintain her own status.

Cait should be a lesson to the rest of us though. We have a chance to learn from her. We, as a society and a community, often conflate being famous w/being a good role model. Even after repeated and re-repeated scandals in the news almost daily, we still seem to hold onto this belief. Life and people people don’t exist in the absolutes of black & white. They exist in a spectrum of greys. Good people can do bad things and bad people can do good things. That distinction, as always, is important.

Cait as a famous figure, has brought a lot of welcome and needed attention to the fight for trans folks. Her willingness to come out was and is a big deal. It pushed the trans movement that much further into equality. We should celebrate and take advantage of it. Her continued appearances as a trans person lends authenticity to their existence and also reduces fear. It normalizes an otherwise normal existence made scary by ignorance.

Cait’s acceptance is separate from her conflicted and often shameful views. I can accept her as she is and still condemn her views. Further, Cait doesn’t have to conform anymore than gay men had to to gain equality. She is allowed to have her own beliefs, however hypocritical. She is no different from a gay republican. She is still entitled to acceptance. The distinction between the two is important because it defines the very right of equality. It is not ok to attack her status or existence simply because she is a hypocrite and blithely unaware of the struggles many less affluent trans folk face. Condemn her hypocrisy. Call her out on it any and every time but don’t resort to demeaning her existence. By doing so, you legitimize the idea that trans folk are not worthy of equality.

The lesson we can learn here is equality is not based on how well you behave, believe, or conform.

Parent

I had a chance to observe good parenting the other day and I just had to share! hehehe

It was my day off and I was having lunch in the Westfield Center. As I’m sitting down to eat, I notice this lady with a kid that was acting up. The kid was probably 4-6 years old and throwing a fit over what appeared to be the child not getting what he wanted. The mother was trying to soothe the child and keep him in line but he kept getting louder and louder. The mother was not having any of that. She finally spun him around got down to his level and spoke directly to him. "If you do not stop acting up, we will go home right now and you will get absolutely nothing." I guess the child thought this was a good time to challange her because he got louder. The mother then grabbed him by the arm, got out of line, and headed for the front door. The kid realizing his error suddenly got quiet right before they exited but she didn’t fall for it. They left.

If I could have, I would have given her a hug. It is so rare to see parents make any real effort to control their children in public these days. I couldn’t count the number of times I’ve been in restaurants with kids basically ruining everyone else’s enjoyment. There are even a few times where I’ve actively spoken to a child (and it’s so called parent) when the behavior was particularly heinous.

When I was young we typically got one verbal warning. It was often accompanied with a very stern glare. If that didn’t work, we got a very hard hand to the leg, arm, or backside. It was firm and often strong enough to rattle one’s teeth. In the unlikely event said slap didn’t work, oh it was on! Depending on where we were, my parents would stop and give me a full whoopin’ right there on the spot or we left. And you simply did not want to be the cause of your parent(s) having to leave a place due to your behavior. When you got home, your backside remembered the unfortunate event for days.

Children are children. They get boisterous, loud, obnoxious, and even mischievous; it’s what they do. I always try to be accommodating to such behavior. That said, it is the parent’s responsibility to curb over the top antics. The world is not your personal romper room. If you are parent who thinks it is, you are directly responsible for the selfish, entitled adults your children will become. I’m not implying you have to beat your children either. Many parents are against corporal punishment completely. That is fine but you still need to maintain control. The mother above demonstrated quite well how it can be done. I applaud her!

Scalia

I’m still digesting the news Antonin Scalia has died. I know in today’s environment of fast-moving news, this is old news for sure. That aside, my instinctual reaction was one of joy. I’ll be honest the realization I was joyful over someone’s death bothered me a bit. The initial idea was a man w/so much influence to harm me and mine was gone. This sort of visceral reaction reminded me of my step-mother’s death. Unlike my foster mom, I was ecstatic when my step-mom died. She was the only person on this planet I’v ever felt true malevolence toward and I threw a party when she died.

Why did I associate a man who has never personally done me any direct harm with a women who delighted in abusing me daily as a child? Yes, his influence did harm me in very indirect ways but it wasn’t a direct connection. Why would I associate him with my step-mother? I mean I didn’t care for Scalia but I never hated him.1 I don’t really have an answer yet but distinctions matter and I’m working my way thru the grey areas. (pun intended)

If you know me, you know I try not to see the world thru the lens of absolutes. It has become one of the defining characteristics of my id. It is easy to believe in simplistic right/wrong, good/bad actions. It requires no sense of self or morality to avoid delving beyond the idea of ‘you wronged me’ mentality. I am fond of saying the devil is in the details. While part of me is glad the man is no longer in a position to do me harm, I’m not celebrating his death. He had a right to life as much as I did. I can’t bring myself to celebrate his life but I’m working on disentangling my emotions over his death.

People like Scalia truly believe their ideologies. He wasn’t an ignorant follower. He was well-educated and even respected as judge for decades. While he deftly avoided any real-world interactions with the LGBT community, he believed what he was doing was right. Of course, it is much easier to marginalize people when you avoid getting to know them as human beings. History is littered with examples over and over. This by itself is often a marker for a failed ideology.

While I won’t mourn Scalia’s passing, I don’t hate him. I try not to take joy in his death. It should be beneath me to feel that way. I am grateful he will no longer be in a position to influence my very existence. I will remember the lesson he taught us. We cannot let our own ideological beliefs blind us to the suffering of others. We cannot become so rigid in our thinking we forget human beings do not require permission or conformity to exist.




  1. Contrary to what you read, the act of hating someone takes a lot of energy. It is a dedication of sorts. []

Destroy

I’m in a mood today.

Why is it anytime something happens the so called "devout christians" don’t like god is going to destroy America?’ Every other day now there is some hypocritical blow-hard declaring we are going to be destroyed if [abc person] gets elected or [xyz law] passes. SMDH

Out of all the atrocities occurring in the world on a daily basis ‘god’ is going to smite us because they don’t get their bigoted way? I guess having a monopoly on the idea of what a god would/wouldn’t say means one gets to deftly ignore everything else in favor of cause de jure. These folks always ramp up their rhetoric during elections. They can’t use common sense or logic so they fall back on fear and ignorance. They are utterly predictable now.

What is sad in all of this is they are gaining influence. As we let our children continually be deprived of a decent education in this country, ignorance and anti-intellectualism are on the rise. The ignorant are often easily swayed by emotions. Add in the mind-numbing influence of social media these days and it is a perfect platform.

Here’s a newsflash for said folks. Your god isn’t going to do anything. We; however, will most likely wipe ourselves out. It won’t be because of who won/lost an election or what law passed or didn’t. No, our blind indifference to the devastation we are causing this planet will mostly likely be a contributing factor. And we’ll never do anything about it because our greed is too powerful. Our never-ending obsession with wealth and control will be our end.

In brighter news, [insert choice] sports team won something! That is totes more important than any tree-hugging hippie news right?

Q-word

I ditched one of my regular news reads today.

Based on what appears to be a completely internal narrative, the Gay Voices section of the HuffPo1 decided to change their name to Queer Voices. The explanation is that gay is too limiting and Queer is somehow more inclusive. Really? Are you effin’ kidding me? One of the most vile hateful words out there and it’s more inclusive? Hell naw! Even the normal definition is divisive.

I just can’t bring myself to support a news org that willingly uses a derogatory slur to describe us. Actually, I can but I won’t. I am the last person to be the word police but this isn’t about being politically correct at all. The rambling article they put out to announce the decision was full of self-serving justifications. If anything the tone was we refuse to every be considered normal or part of the whole so we are changing our name to prove it. The entire piece felt insulting and condescending wrapped in a smile of ‘we’re just trying to stay current.‘ Well, they can stay current w/o me and go straight to hell. Do not pass go, do not collect $200, go directly to hell.

I normally don’t put much stock in hearing people talking about how ‘offended’ they are at [action of choice]. Being offended usually just means you don’t like something. As with a lot of things these days, people conflate ideas/actions/behaviors that are considered offensive to society at large with general every day actions they don’t like. Regardless, I was offended and deeply. I grew up listening to that awful word being hurled around as an insult and slur. While I was fortunate enough to escape childhood with only a little physical gay-bashing, I did not escape the jeers, taunts, and never-ending cruel names. ‘Queer’ was front and center and I will never willingly refer to someone that way. It has not lost its bite or derogatory meaning.

The argument that we are somehow reclaiming the word is absolute bullshit. It is not slang, it is a slur!2 Even here in SF said term is not accepted. Oh there is a contingent that feels the need to refer to themselves that way for sure. And that is their right. You can call yourself whatever you wish but don’t presume to speak for the whole. It’s flat out disgusts me we could consider naming a section of an online publication with global recognition with such a shameful slur. And I’m not alone. The reaction was swift and almost unanimous. The decision is not being met well at all. At last count the article was up to 200 comments and almost all were against it. At one point comments appeared to disappear; however, the site is notorious for outages and glitches with the FB commenting tool.

I am not queer, I am a man who happens to be gay. My orientation adds to my uniqueness but it does not define me. The idea that being queer somehow exclusively makes me special or different is foolish. Call it the LGBTI voices, rainbow voices, etc but don’t call it queer and pretend it’s OK now.

So far there have been no updates, no apologies, no "we had the best intentions" acknowledgments, nothing. I’ve taken them out of my news reader and told FB to not ‘show me stories from HuffPo’ at all. There are plenty of welcoming places online that don’t decide, based on the ideas of a few, renaming themselves an offensive slur is "looking to the future." I won’t be going back to that site as long as they demean us.

end of line




  1. Huffington Post []
  2. I’m struck here by the irony we can’t say tranny anymore which is just simple slang but we can use a slur to refer to ourselves. SMDH []

Bash

I can understand the Repugs eating their own but I’m struggling with the Dems doing it now as well. More and more lately, I’m seeing vitriolic and viscous attacks online between the Hillary and Bernie supporters. Even more surprising is seeing a lot of it from within the LGBT umbrella.

I don’t get it. Since when is it ok to disrespect people because they like a different candidate than you? Having a difference of opinion or even a healthy discussion on the pros/cons of [candidate] is great. However, resorting to baseless accusations, name calling, and personal attacks is counter productive at best. Last time I checked this was still a free country where every citizen had the right to freely vote or support the candidate of their choice. And for the few I’ve seen making comments like, "well if [candidate] wins, I won’t vote", you don’t deserve a vote. Voting is a privilege for adults not petulant children. And how is it helping the situation by alienating people who might be convinced to support your candidate of choice? I know I sure as hell don’t feel sympathetic when someone tries to shame me into changing my opinion. If anything, it solidifies my thoughts. I blame the lack of face to face interactions that social media creates. People are emboldened to behave poorly w/o fear of retribution.

I rarely unfriend or unfollow folks but I’m reaching a point where I just don’t care anymore. And it’s never folks I know personally because they honestly wouldn’t remain in my life as a friend with such behaviors. Anyway, I unfollowed several folks today and even unfriended two who were just awful. The comments ranged from insults, personal attacks, and even threats. I just don’t have time for that. Rather than starting a flame war, it is easier to just unfollow or unfriend said folks.

Politics is always a sensitive subject because most folks often project their own views onto others. When they abruptly discover said view isn’t shared, discord arises. That’s perfectly fine and acceptable. However, when your behavior is in question, you take away any chance of success at winning your case in the minds of others. And if you really really really want your candidate to win, get off your ass and join their campaign. Get out and shake hands, talk to people, share your thoughts on how great said candidate is. Don’t whine and bash others on social media who don’t agree with you. Frankly, said behavior does way more harm than good.

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!

Defend

And speaking of Instagram, I had a very odd (in a good way) interaction on there recently.

I follow several fellas because they work out and post progress selfies. Being back on my gym-kick, I like the inspiration. Besides the selfies, they’ll often post tips, suggestions, diet routines, etc, all of which I find beneficial. In the process of ‘liking’, I don’t often check to see if they are gay or straight.

It should come as no surprise I also follow others for a different type of inspiration. Most of the guys in the latter group are most definitely gay. lol Nothing x-rated mind you, but still gay.1

The problem arises when I forget to check which group said person is in before commenting. This has led to a few awkward conversations from time to time. In the most recent situation, I made a comment on a straight guys feed. He was hot and I said as much. Several folks after me started leaving comments trying to dog him because "gay guys were checking him out." For my part, I usually don’t engage as it is a futile endeavor. To my utter surprise, the guy himself came to my defense. He posted several comments chastising commenters for being so shallow and homophobic.

I was really impressed by his replied. He could have deleted my comments, blocked me, or just ignored it completely but he took the time to call it out. I decided to write about it here only because it left me with such a good feeling. We, as LGBT folks, still have a ways to go to overcome the discrimination we face on a daily basis. But interactions like this give me real hope that we are winning. We are changing hearts/minds of everyday.




  1. I actually don’t follow x-rated accounts on Instagram at all. Different purpose, different medium as it were []

Helpless

My little brother had a medical scare recently and I watched as his FB profile filled up with ‘prayers​.’ My first thought was to be angry. The I remembered most people grow up being conditioned to accept their religion as-is. It is just part of the "known" to be filed away and referenced when needed.1

Afterwards, I began to ponder why people always want to pray for everything. And I don’t mean people who are devoutly religious. I’m talking about every-day folks who offer to "pray for you" anytime life isn’t going your way. The obvious answer is they feel helpless to do anything. Therefore it is to be turned over to the [insert made up deity of choice here] to handle and take responsibility. The act allows said person to feel like they’ve done something, no matter how meaningless the act may be. It also means they don’t have to feel guilty over the outcome.

*

Religion spans back to the earliest days of human existence. It spawned from our inability to explain the unknown forces around us. If you’ve looked at the origins of religion of any culture you see similar history trails. It is perfectly understandable in human nature even today; in the absence of knowledge, many will fill in the details with an explanation. And having no concrete denial or refutal, that theory becomes truth. Is it really that hard of a stretch to realize we simply turned our gods (the moon, sun, and stars) into beings, then into a being.

But why did religion persist? Why do we continue to cling to it in abject fear of having it taken away? IMO, at our core, we cannot reconcile the idea of mortality with our own awareness. To do that would mean admitting in the grand scheme of creation we mean very little. If humanity disappeared today, the universe would not even notice. And instead of realizing how precious that makes us, we fear and resent it. And instead of valuing life that much more, we turn to making up fables to inflate our importance.

On a different tact, I also think for many it is a cop-out. They really don’t want to help or be involved. Your drama is yours and they want no part of it. So the easiest answer is, ‘I’ll pray for you.‘ How convenient? I’ll just mumble some words into the ether and a magical being will hear me and fix whatever is wrong with you. Totes logical, right?

*

In my eyes, religion is no longer a benefit to humanity. It routinely does more harm than good and continues to do so in an exponential manner. It is time for us to shed our fears and grow up as a society. I realize it won’t happen anytime soon. However, the more we talk, learn, and grow, the more the idea will catch on. We can no longer hide our own failings behind misguided (and often blatant bias) religion. We cannot cloak our hatred and fear of others in belief. We cannot continue on this path if we hope to survive.




  1. The brother is doing fine. He is getting treatment for a blockage []