Pride…

…otherwise known as GHHD1 [1]Gay High Holy Day #1 is this month. And again this year we see people in a pissing match about changes to the Pride flag. It’s downright embarrassing at times. While I tend to avoid the keyboard warrior approach, after more than a few disparaging comments, I have a few thoughts….

Claiming the flag was designed in its original form to include everyone, while technically true, is irrelevant. If you actually knew your “herstory,” you would know it was changed almost immediately after it came out. It is not sacrosanct. And nowhere did the original creator say or even infer the flag should never be changed. The only constant in life is everything changes. The flag is what we make it.

I personally like the original version only for its simplicity. It calls to me with the meaning and design. I also originally liked the idea of keeping it the same, but I listened, I learned, and I understand better now. [2]Not so hard really  And considering how co-opted the flag has become by corporations, who just want our money, I also like the idea of the new variations.

And I’m about to step on some feelings here, but it’s meant as tough love. Exactly why is it most of the complaints are coming from cis white gay men (CWGM)? Mmhmmmmmm? If you don’t like the variations of the flag then use the one you like. No one is forcing you to do otherwise. Like seriously, how are you in any way harmed? [3]The older I get the more I wish white people in general would just shut the hell up. Lawd, we have such thin skins on just about everything. 

A lot of CWGM feel attacked anytime someone calls out how often our PoC, Trans, Non-binary cousins etc aren’t as accepted in our community. And it’s good you still feel uncomfortable, it means there is still good in you. But, it is time to stop pussyfooting around and own our part. I say our because I am a CWGM. If I can learn and grow so can you. Channel those feelings in the pit of your stomach into something useful. And a word to the wise, you can disassociate any personal involvement because you’re not one of the bad gays, but that doesn’t erase the issue. You can do better by just closing your mouth, taking a seat, and listening.

You have to ask yourself, is it any real surprise many groups in our alphabet mafia [4]lovingly borrowed from TikTok don’t feel included? CWGM have spent decades using phrases like “no fats, no fems, no black, asians, straight acting only, etc“. How can you be shocked these same groups do not feel recognized? We don’t want lesbians in our bars. We don’t want trans men in our play spaces. We don’t want fem men virtually anywhere, except drag. Come on! Deep down you know why. These stigmas persist even today all over this country.

Being gay didn’t erase racism or the privilege many CWGM are afforded in society. And while you can’t always control that, it’s ok to acknowledge and accept it. You don’t need to get your knickers in a twist just because someone calls it out. Let that uncomfortable awkward feeling guide you to do better. If we did a better job making others feel included instead of “less than” us, maybe they wouldn’t need or want their own version of the pride flag. Frankly, collectively they outnumber us so be grateful the shoe isn’t on the other foot.

So… I humbly ask anyone reading this to try a different path. Instead of complaining about what the flag should be, just accept that no one person owns the Pride flag. Nor does any single group in our community own the flag. You don’t get to tell others what the Pride flag means to them. You don’t get to tell them they can’t make changes. Instead, use whatever version you feel connected too and let others do the same. /rant

*

I’ll most likely be working on Pride this year. While I have my issues with the commercialization of Pride, with recent events it is clear we still very much need it. I volunteered for the field detail overseeing medical dispatch for the fair. I have worked it for years prior to the pandemic. After the lockdowns, I’m now eager to be out there again seeing the sea of faces.

Whatever your path, I wish you a happy, safe AND inclusive Pride.

And as always, hope springs eternal….

References

References
1 Gay High Holy Day #1
2 Not so hard really
3 The older I get the more I wish white people in general would just shut the hell up. Lawd, we have such thin skins on just about everything.
4 lovingly borrowed from TikTok

Twit

Thoughts on 3lon buying the blue bird?

For myself, I barely use Twitter anymore so I’m not trying to necessarily pick a side here. I am deeply concerned about how this will unravel though. He has plans to fundamentally alter Twitter IMO. Like it or not, Twitter has become a household name. It is a mass communication tool with global reach.

I’ve already seen folks within the #alphabetmafia applauding his purchase. I wonder if they’ve thought this through. Twitter will now be privately owned, which means he can do whatever he wants with it (within some limits). He can dis(allow) any content he deems (un)worthy. He could try to monitize it thru more than just ads. What happens if he does and decides porn is no longer allowed? Can you say “Tumblr?” You may not care if porn gets the axe, but LGBT+ issues are routinely flagged as “adult material” online.

He may be the new sole owner but he leveraged that purchase and he will want a return on his investment. Keep in mind, this all started because he was censored for spreading conspiracies. Who will keep that in check now? I mean Twitter wasn’t doing a bang up job before, but there was some effort to keep it honest.

I have no idea how this will play out. I don’t have any immediate plans to delete my accounts. I also wish I could say I don’t care, but I do. The ramifications of this are breathtaking.

A single man just bought a social media company with over 300 million users. What does that kind of wealth say about our society? What does it say about our future?

Right

I had a female scream at me a week or so back after I almost hit her with my motorcycle when she walked out in front of me at an intersection. She launches herself full speed into the intersection right in front of me. On a side note, I actually encounter this question a lot in my job too.

My first reply was, “even if you were right, would you rather be right or dead?” That, of course sent her into another screaming fit of “the pedestrian always has the right of way,” which is wrong. I didn’t have time to keep screaming back so I drove away leaving her screaming like an idiot.

The pedestrian has first dibs on “right of way” at an (un)marked crosswalks. [1]California vehicle code 21950. The rule is the same in all states but may be under different statute numbers  If neither party has committed to the intersection, the pedestrian always gets first dibs. The latter is where most people get confused. If a vehicle(s) enters an intersection from either side, pedestrians do not have the right of way over the vehicle.

Now, does that mean the vehicle is free to run you over? Of course not, the statute spells out the requirements to slow and proceed with caution. On my incident above I was fully in the intersection crossing and almost into the opposing crosswalk when Karen decided to launch into it. Yes, I had enough time to slam on the brake and not hit her However, another foot closer and she would have been sticky putty under my wheels.

So, now you know. Don’t be a Karen, More importantly, don’t let the epithet on your tombstone be, “he had the right of way“.

Now…get off my lawn you crazy kids!

References

References
1 California vehicle code 21950. The rule is the same in all states but may be under different statute numbers

V-Day

Yet another made up holiday is fast approaching. Whether you are single or not, please do not let it get you down. Way too much emphasis is spent on some randomly made up day to show “your love.” If anything it’s just another commercial scam to increase consumerism. Frankly, if you truly love or care for someone, you shouldn’t need a day to tell/show them. More astutely, it is and should not be some sort of signal you are less than others simply because you are not currently coupled.

While I am currently in a LTR, Shawn and I do very little for the holiday. We basically acknowledge it and move on. There is no pressure, expectations, or obligations for either of us to “demonstrate” our affections. We each find our own way to show each other we care on a regular basis.

So if you are dreading the adnauseam ads and displays, I’m with you. Hang in there, it will be forgotten the very next day.

hugs and tugs

Perky

Ever have one of those days where for no apparent reason you have an extra pep in your step? You feel extra just for being awake? Or, you just feel awesome for no real reason? I had one recently and I was tickled pink when I realized it. I guess it has been so long I had almost forgotten what it felt like. At face value that sounds kind of sad, but considering the state of the world these last couple years anyone could be forgiven.

I tend to be a rather upbeat person. It is just my nature. As I push 51, it is also a mark of pride I still have such days. My job has certainly had an impact on a subconscious level. Being on an assignment for the past 5 years definitely helped. In general, I believe life’s responsibilities and worries tend to wear us down and take the “shine” off our world view. That said, I definitely missed the feeling and hope I’ve found enough of my old optimism to have more of them. The irony here is in some of the roughest times of my life I was the most optimistic. Nothing really seemed to tarnish my boundless good moods back then. One could say I’m a bit more jaded now.

I can’t help but wonder if my recent attempts to limit my social media exposure has anything to do with it. I spend less than 15 mins a day on FB or Twitter. About 90% of my IG feed is thirst traps and gym motivation. My brain gets its fill of context switching from TikTok, where I’ve curated a feed of comedy and funny home videos. [1]Context Switching can be highly addicting and destructive to your work day or motivation I’ve also started denying myself the urge to check media/news apps first thing in the morning. I deliberately avoid them for at least 30 mins to an hour to give myself time to wake up and just be present. I pick up my phone and briefly scroll the notification panel for anything truly urgent and then just avoid it for a while.

I’m fond of saying “hope springs eternal” here and it has been a struggle these last 4-5 years to follow that mantra. Not to go all doom and gloom but I’m seriously worried for our way of life. Greed, bias and anti-intellectualism has replaced integrity, truth, and science. But, at the end of the day, I can only control myself. I cannot control others. My innate desire to “correct someone on the internet who is wrong” is slowly being replaced by a “leave it alone“. Successful discourse online is all but dead. I firmly believe my avoidance of that toxic environment is having an effect on me. I’m eager to test the theory.

So….hope springs eternal… (you knew it was coming.)

References

References
1 Context Switching can be highly addicting and destructive to your work day or motivation

Terrible

I admit it, I am a terrible person. Why you ask? Well, because I gloated to myself over another.

Ok, so I don’t feel terrible but I also know I shouldn’t gloat. Let me ‘esplain’. There is a guy at the gym who pre-pandemic was all about his fitness. That, of course, is a good thing, except he was always humble bragging about how important fitness is to one’s health and side-shaming everyone around him. He would routinely make rather insulting comments about anyone he didn’t think put in as much effort as he did. I personally witnessed him fat shame a couple ladies on treadmills to one of the few guys in the gym who would socialize with him. I could go on but I think I conveyed the point.

Oh, and he is also a grunter. Any and every exercise was like he was dying to get that last set in, except it was every set. The worst, right?!

After seeing this guy and his snotty attitude for years at the gym, imagine my surprise upon seeing him lately. OMG! He gained like 40 or 50lbs of chunk. Yes, I know this is the “I’m terrible” part but I can’t help it. And maybe gloating isn’t the right word. I mean, it isn’t like I ran up to him and said, “hey fatty” or made any of the off-hand comments in his presence he used to make about others.  No, I did not do any of that. I’m just a little gleeful to see him get some comeuppance after years of his shitty attitude.

So while I work on keeping the smugness off my face, my hope is that whatever experience he had during the pandemic has taught him a lesson. Yes, fitness is important. However, it isn’t always easy for someone to dedicate themselves to the gym. And talking smack about people on a fitness journey sure as hell doesn’t encourage them to get better or stick with it.

I’m terrible.

 

He Was Nice to Me

A somewhat well known racist in our community passed away recently. I won’t mention his name, nor will I link to anything about him here. My rant today has more to do with all the gays [1]read as cis-white gay men falling all over themselves to defend their friendship with said person as they mourn his passing.

As a bit of back story, I met this person multiple times in my tenure here in SF. Sometimes it was here in SF and others while I was back visiting in Texas, where he lived for a length of time. Without fail, every time I met this person he managed to tell me in various phrases and words about his racist views. It should come as no surprise he was also a rabid trump supporter. Granted, our first meeting didn’t go so well when I asked why he had a confederate flag tattoo on his chest. [2]A tattoo he later had covered up for some “unknown” reason He gave the typical BS excuse about white heritage.

Fast forward to his recent death and the eulogies about how “they didn’t always see eye to eye but he was a good friend.”  It was almost as if they all got together to work on a standardized message. It would be comical if it wasn’t so pathetic. I encountered the same phrasing from various folks on IG multiple times; talking about how “genuine” and “what a great friend” he was prior to his death. He was a proud racist and made no bones about it and these sycophant fa**ots are touting his virtues.

It shouldn’t surprise me, but because some of the people involved I used to admire, it did. Granted, after I reflected on why I admired these guys it was mostly due to their prowess in the gym and/or attractiveness to me. So yeah, I shouldn’t have been surprised. Seeing some of these guys just falling over themselves to qualify “he was always a good friend to me“, or “he was always nice to me“, etc was pretty disgusting. So that makes it ok? In other words, “I knew he was a racist but because he liked me, it didn’t matter.” Hitler was nice to white people, did that make him ok? The most laughable argument was “I wish people knew him in real life vs his social media persona“.  Yeah, I can personally shoot that weak argument down. And to bear, it is just code for he knew we were uncomfortable with his views so he avoided talking too much about them around us so we could pretend he was a good guy. 

Are we so broken as a community that attraction is more important than morals? Or maybe I’m deluding myself that we were ever anything better. There are a lot of things we can agree to disagree on but racism definitely is not one of them. If you’re butt-hurt for being called out on your friendship with a vocal racist, maybe you should spend some time examining why his views weren’t a deal breaker instead of shrugging it off with comments like  “we should respect the dead”. He might be dead but the rot in our community is alive as ever.

References

References
1 read as cis-white gay men
2 A tattoo he later had covered up for some “unknown” reason

Recovery

Building on my last post, I wanted to share more about the small but welcome improvements in the SF area. California adopted the 4-tier system of restrictions relating to the pandemic. If your state doesn’t have it, it’s pretty simple. Each tier has it’s own level of restrictions, what can/can’t open, etc. We have purple, red, orange, & yellow; purple being the most severe and yellow being the least. It makes it easier for counties and cities to better manage local health orders and restrictions.

Of course, SF being a very dense environment, even when we move into a higher tier we tend to have some lingering tougher restrictions. While unfortunate, it is necessary to avoid a resurgence of cases. And seeing surges in pretty much the entire middle of the US, we are grateful for the slow but steady improvements. SF has officially moved into the orange tier and our ‘rt’ ratio is hovering just below 1. [1]rt is the likelihood of retransmission from an infected person. Anything above 1 is considered not good.  Hopefully, we can stay in the orange and yellow tiers.  *crossed fingers*

Indoor bars, theaters, and larger social establishments are still closed. (I don’t understand why theaters can’t open if gyms can, but I don’t make the rules.) Restaurants have been able to serve outdoor seating for awhile now. Some bars have paired up with restaurants to gain an allowance to open outdoors as well. Now that SF is in the orange tier, restaurants and retail shops can open indoor facilities in a limited capacity. For myself, I still avoid eating indoors. I am just not that confident in others. We tend to order for home more than going out to eat, but I try to adhere to my weekend rituals as much as I can.

Shawn and I have slowly been allowing ourselves to do more outside the apt. Meanwhile, I see people planning trips and going to far off places and I just shake my damn head. If this pandemic has taught me anything, it is that a lot of people don’t really give two-shits about others as long as they aren’t inconvenienced. But, I digress… I have restrictions that also affect my ability to work so even if I was more comfortable, I would still not be traveling.

I’ve been seeing and helping an elderly retired coworker since the beginning of the pandemic and every time I see him, I make sure to test negative for covid-19 beforehand. Before we could get tests, I would leave disinfected items outside his doorway or stairs. He is in a high risk category due to his age and I would never forgive myself if I inadvertently passed it on to him. [2]or anyone for that matter. Anyway, I’m getting upset thinking about it, let me move on.

Beyond the assistance to my dear friend above, we are just now reaching a point where we feel comfortable meeting people outdoors for meals or conversation. I say we, but it is more me. lol Shawn is still content to avoid people for the most part. He will probably be reticent until there is a viable vaccine. Even when to go to the gym, we usually go to a sparsely populated location with sign-ups well below the allowable limit. [3]You can see online how many slots are available and taken by the hour. It has been good for him to get out of the apt more though. He was getting really depressed as well. I think the gym and the sporadic trips outside of the apt has helped him as much as it has me.

Of course, we miss traveling. We miss weekend jaunts to bars, beer busts, movies, etc. We miss visiting distant friends and places. We miss a lot of things. It sucks monkey balls, but we know by isolating we are helping to prevent the spread of covid-19. We are both hopeful a safe vaccine will be available sometime early next year. For myself, I doubt I’ll ever take for granted again the openness of our life. The simple freedom to hug friends, to kiss or touch others, to be close to people. I think the intimacy of strangers (if such a thing exists) is what I miss the most. The relaxed restrictions gives me hope we are on the right path. Until then, I hope you are safe and well.

References

References
1 rt is the likelihood of retransmission from an infected person. Anything above 1 is considered not good.
2 or anyone for that matter.
3 You can see online how many slots are available and taken by the hour.

“Ma Freedums”

Only in ‘murica do we argue against the entire scientific community [1]minus the few crackpots on proper precautions to avoid the continued spread of the COVID-19 virus. And because we live in a economy with zero safe-guards or systems to survive this kind of crisis, many are forced into the false choice of opening up everything to ‘save’ jobs and the economy or close everything and keep people safe but let the economy crash. This is what comes from unregulated capitalism aka greed.

The right wing propaganda campaign has convinced 10’s of thousands of Americans the pandemic is hoax, and only when it bites them in the ass do they suddenly realize it isn’t. Forgetting a hoax would require the complete and total cooperation of the global medical community, counted in the low millions of people, the rest of the free world is already recovering from the pandemic and slowly reopening their economies. Meanwhile, our new cases and deaths are setting new records almost weekly now.

And when it isn’t ‘hoax’, it is a conspiracy. Depending on which version you read, it was deliberately spread from China, created in a lab who knows where, a giant ploy by the Democrats to throw the election, and/or [insert famous person’s name here] ploy for world subjugation. A global pandemic just to get 45 out of office? You’d rather believe that than the cold hard truth?

Then we get to the mask propaganda, which has reached levels previously relegated to the Hilary/pizzgate drama. Only in ‘murica is being required to wear a mask to protect yourself and others considered tyranny, a democratic ploy, a sign of the end times, an enactment of a world order meant to enslave all humans, or taking away ‘my freedums’. Take your pick.

If you get your news primarily from social media, it is easy to think the majority of people feel this way. Actually, thru repeated polls most people consistently support the restrictions and understand why they are necessary. Unfortunately, the idiots go out and put us all at risk so they can’t just be ignored.

The tyranny theory is usually reserved for the “coming for my guns” crowd. You know the ones. The incels, the darkweb conspirators, or propagandists who go out of their way to correlate completely random events to “uncover” a secret plot with various nefarious outcomes. Yes, we get it, it makes you feel special. Just some random dude (dudette) in the middle of America somehow discovered what every educated scientist over looked. Oh right, they are in on the conspiracy. *wink, wink*

Contrary to popular conspiracies, Obama nor Hillary are involved. Bill Gates is not working on a vaccine [2]Even though his orgs work to help eliminate dangerous yet preventable diseases thru vaccinations has saved countless lives. to enslave us or give us the “mark of the beast.” The Qanon crowd, the racist/nazi groups, the religious fanatics, or the just plain crazy are all out to sell a narrative based on fear. This is the ONLY way they can recruit new members. Logic and reason can’t be used and are universally shunned. And let us not forget the campaigns to paint movements like Antifa or BLM as the same level of dangerous or crazy as the nazis and racists. Sure Jan.

Then we get to all the entitled Karens/Chads of the world. “It interferes with my breathing”, “I have a medical condition,” or “you can’t force me because it isn’t ‘da law'”. Wrong on all counts. There are countless demonstrations of real world use of mask having no impact on your breathing. And the random conspiracies are easily disproved with basic logic. What many people confuse is it does cause you to breath slightly harder, but you are still getting the same amount of air. Because you are unaccustomed to wearing a mask, you notice the extra effort. If you have a medical condition that prevents you from wearing a mask, you are a very sick person and have no business being outdoors, period. But let us pretend for a moment you did. The ADA (or HIPAA for the exceptionally ignorant) does not protect you or allow you to disregard health orders when you go out in public. Why? Because your accommodation would put other people at risk. ADA does not allow for that. And as a result of all the ignorance has had to officially go on the record stating as such. The fake cards saying you are exempt or immune are just that, fake.

And then we get to the ‘constitutional scholars‘ who claim because it isn’t the law, they don’t have to obey. Oh, but you do! Thru a century of court cases and law review, the line between public rights and individual rights is clearly drawn. Your ‘individual freedoms‘ do not trump (pun intended) the rights of the public. Businesses can limit your access or refuse to do business with you for failing to comply with legally issued orders to wear a mask. [3]These same folks were all about screaming business rights when people could refuse to do business with gays, but now suddenly business rights do not matter. Funny how that works. Wearing a shirt or shoes indoors isn’t a law, but is universally accepted businesses are allowed to enforce this measure. (Forgetting the very racist roots of said restrictions.) When you are required to produce 2 forms of ID at the DMV it is not a law. When you queue up in line to wait your turn, it is not a law. Just try to cut in line anywhere and see what happens. There is no law that you have to work. However, if you want to have money for necessities or luxuries you get your ass up and go to work. So you see, not everything we do requires a law.

Frankly, being a decent human being shouldn’t require a law. If yo mamma raised you right, you would give two-shits about other people. Caring about the welfare of others shouldn’t need to be legislated.

I won’t even cover the new round of entitled idiots trying to use religion as an excuse. The newest excuse? Wearing a mask interferes with our ability to pray?

smdh

References

References
1 minus the few crackpots
2 Even though his orgs work to help eliminate dangerous yet preventable diseases thru vaccinations has saved countless lives.
3 These same folks were all about screaming business rights when people could refuse to do business with gays, but now suddenly business rights do not matter. Funny how that works.

Schock-ed!

Oh look, the hypocrite finally came out. Color no one surprised, henny! Seriously, we all knew! How could you NOT know?! He is only coming out now because he is being continually hounded and exposed for the continual liar and hypocrite he is. [1]I know, terrible way to end a sentence. I admit my seething hatred for people like this is hard to control. I have tons of terribly vile and yet appropriate names for him beyond the truthful ones, but I won’t allow myself to go on a personal tirade because I strive to be better than that. Nor will I link directly to his BS non-apology apology statement.

Beside piggy-backing on the self-loathing LCR crowd with his whole straight white male charade, he had to add insult to injury and be one of the most conservative voting members in the house, even beyond LGBTI rights. He bragged every chance he got about how conservative he was.

  • He repeatedly voted against all gay rights.
  • He voted against amendments to include sexual orientation and gender identity as hate crimes.
  • He supported the marriage act. [2]I don’t think he ever got a chance to vote for it as it didn’t come up again during his tenure from what I remember.
  • He aligned himself with the AFA, who hates all of us and wants us criminals or dead.
  • He voted against the repeal of DADT. [3]Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

So, no. Your BS letter does not make up for all the horrible things you did. It does not excuse you from being a crook and a liar while you were in office. And it certainly doesn’t make you “one of us” now that you were hounded into finally admitting the truth.

Simply put, until you show some real contrition and make an effort to undue the damage you’ve done, go fuck yourself!

References

References
1 I know, terrible way to end a sentence.
2 I don’t think he ever got a chance to vote for it as it didn’t come up again during his tenure from what I remember.
3 Don’t Ask Don’t Tell