Saturday, March 31, 2012
Friday, March 30, 2012
The thought of you has filled me with hate almost every day since we first met -- but for different reasons altogether than you might expect.
I still remember the terror I felt every time I approached the soccer field. It was in junior high, a difficult time for almost everyone, but especially for me.
You see, I'd always known I was gay. Even in kindergarten, just looking at Jeff Hayward's smile would make me happy, and I knew intrinsically that it was all right to feel this way -- to love other boys -- as everything about it felt completely natural and unforced.
In junior high, however, I was placed on the same soccer team as you, and everything changed.
What I had seen as natural and good, you were suddenly calling abnormal and detestable. Every "faggot" you spit toward me hit directly between the eyes, and the whispers, taunts, and dirty looks you and Mike Baker sent my way continually unnerved me, affecting both my sense of self and my performance on the field. Because of you, questions about my masculinity hovered over me, and I would feel physically ill at the thought of another practice or game. I would choose different, roundabout paths to my classes, just to avoid where I knew you'd be.
In high school, while I went on to be active in theater and academics, you and Mike continued to rise socially, becoming the big men on campus that I'd longed to be. You were even voted onto the homecoming king's court, and as you took to the field, flashing your charming smile, all I could see was the sneer on your lips when you turned and glanced my way.
But that isn't why you fill me with hate.
Just prior to our senior year, during summer break, word came that you'd tried to commit suicide and were in a coma. No one knew what had happened, but you eventually returned to school our senior year. You were just as popular as you had been before, and perhaps even more so, now that you had this added air of intrigue about you. But despite your outright hatred of me, I still wondered about you and about what could have possibly led you to try to take your own life. You more than anyone seemed to have it all, and despite the way you continued to torment me, I felt a pang of pity for you.
The following summer, I got another call. You'd again tried to kill yourself, tying a noose from the garage rafters -- only this time you succeeded. Your mother discovered you, hanging there, upon her return home.
How lonely you must have felt, Dirk, as you tied that rope. Could you really see no path forward? Was there no one you could have reached out to? Was there no friend, family member, priest, counselor -- not one person you could've trusted with your pain?
Later, I heard that you'd left behind a note, writing that although you did not like girls, you did not want to like boys. And suddenly it became horribly clear to me. You and I were exactly alike. That anger and venom you directed at me, you were also directing at yourself.
How I wish, Dirk, that you'd allowed yourself to connect with me. I'm not saying that a friendship between us could have altered your path, but just knowing that we weren't the only ones could've made our lives easier. For me, discovering that there were other gay people out there did help. I found a progressive bookstore, not too far from where we lived, and I'd covertly journey there as often as I could, just to lose myself in reading about a world that I knew I'd someday enter.
And even if a friendship between us wasn't possible, given our differing social status, imagine how less torturous you could have made another's life, simply by being kind.
While in school, my hatred was based solely upon how mean you were to me. Now my anger is reserved for the lack of value you placed upon yourself. Clearly, you didn't think you were worth loving. Where did you get such a message? You were smart, personable, an exceptional athlete, and beyond handsome. Even with all the venom you sent my way, I still admired your more affirming qualities. Regardless, despite these many gifts, somewhere along the way, you were taught that instead of acting on your love of other men, you'd be better off dead.
I hate that you hurt so, Dirk, and hate just as much that you listened to those who filled your head with such thoughts.
I also hate that I was so absorbed in and blinded by my own situation that I couldn't see your venom for what it really was. What if, one day, instead of running the other way when I saw you, I had instead offered you a smile?
Dirk, you might be surprised to know whom I ran into at our high school reunion: your old pal, Mike Baker. Imagine my shock, spotting him across the room, when we suddenly locked eyes. I immediately went to that same place of fear and panic, but that only lasted a moment, until I saw him break out into a big grin and make a beeline toward me.
I was shocked when he warmly clasped my hand in his, as if we were longtime friends. "I've been looking all over for you," he said, intently. "I've really been wanting to say 'hello.'" While he never brought up our shared past, it was clear to me that he was making amends.
Did you know, Dirk, that Mike's younger brother has come out as gay? Would it surprise you to know that Mike is totally OK with it? If you had known back then that your best friend might have been accepting of you, could that have possibly altered your decision?
People loved you, Dirk -- then and now.
I wish I could have held you, Dirk, comforted you, and told you that everything would be all right. Our individual uniquenesses are a gift, given by our maker, which we then get to share with the world. Your void is noticeable, even 20-odd years later.
You could've done so much, Dirk, if only you'd realized that each one of us is deserving of love and respect.
Wishing you peace,
*Though innocence for all was lost some years ago, in respect of their families, all names have been changed.
This piece originally appeared on the Bilerico Project and KerganEdwards-Stout.com.
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Not a whole lot has been going on this week, and so I haven't found much great inspiration for a post today, at least not one that can be done quickly. Probably, the most exciting thing this week that has happened for me personally is that I was asked a few weeks ago if I would be the advisor for a new drama club at school and I have been working on that this week. I am really excited about it. It's going to be a lot of work for me, but I look forward to the challenge. We are hoping to have a plan in place for when school starts next year.
This week I have been working on a plan of action so that it can be presented to the students and get some interests generated. At first, I want to put together a few fundraisers that will not be too expensive to produce. We have a lovely mansion near the school where we may be able to have a murder mystery dinner night. The kits for the murder mystery nights are not too expensive and I hope to be able to adapt one so that we can have a little local flavor to it. The mansion where we hope to host it has an old legend that it is haunted (actually by two different women who had unhappy lives in this house). The second of the two women may have even possibly been murdered after a dinner party. I think it will be a fun and fantastic fundraiser. We are hoping to have it sometime near Halloween.
We actually have a beautiful stage at school, but currently the lighting does not work, so they will have to be fixed before we can stage our first real production. I hope the murder mystery night can raise the funds to fix the lights. Then I am hoping that we can have a series of comedy skits that can be our first production. I think that we can do a night of a "thousand" laughs or something similar that can be a relatively inexpensive first production so that we can generate funds for a larger show next spring.
I certainly think that we will have some interest and I hope the interest will grow. I do not have any real experience with theatre, so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Do any of you have any experience with productions?
To say that I am excited about this would be a bit of an understatement. Even though I am not out at school, I guess I don't have the ruggedness that the other men/coaches at school have. Everyone I know who I have told about starting a drama club seems to think that it is natural that they would look to me. Even though I'm not out, I think the gay stereotype is still there. Oh well, I am going to enjoy it anyway, no matter what they think.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Rocco Morabito won the 1968 Pulitzer Prize for Spot Photography for this photograph – “The Kiss of Life.”
Apprentice lineman J.D. Thompson is breathing life into the mouth of another apprentice lineman, Randall G. Champion, who hangs unconscious after receiving a jolt of high voltage.
Morabito was driving on West 26th Street in July 1967 on another assignment when he saw Champion dangling from the pole. He called an ambulance and grabbed his camera.
I published this post once before, over a year ago, but it is still a favorite photo of mine (and so is the story). I thought that it was worth posting again.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Manuel Vicente S.C.
He recorrido muchos caminos
donde he respirado polvo ajeno que levantaban otras vidas
que pasaban rozando la mía
y yo siempre quedaba en la cuneta esperando una buena alma
que se apiadara de mi cuando el barro ya me cubría hasta las rodillas.
Pero aprendí a buscar guaridas
cuando la luna me sorprendía en los caminos solitarios.
Aprendí a cobijarme al abrigo de otros cuerpos
cuando el frío me calaba hasta los huesos.
He dormido en muchas camas extrañas
a las que nunca volví.
He grabado muchos ojos en mis pupilas.
Ojos por los que hubiera matado.
He amanecido en calles extrañas y
me he bebido el licor de todos los bares.
Muchas veces he jurado en vano
y he asegurado delante del interesado
que nunca volvería a hacerlo.
Pero nunca cumplí mi palabra.
Volví a tropezar mil veces en la misma piedra.
Volví a recorrer caminos inciertos, vacios, cotidianos
y volví a llenarme de luna llena.
Busqué los caminos que llevan al mar
intentando buscar un refugio.
Intentando dejar mis huellas en la arena por si tú salias a buscarme.
Manuel Vicente S.C.
where I breathed dust that raised other lives outside
mine that skimming
and I was always in the gutter waiting for a good soul
to take pity on me when the mud already covered my knee.
But I learned to look for hideouts
I was surprised as the moon on lonely roads.
I learned to take shelter in the lee of other bodies
when the cold was soaked to the bone.
I slept in many strange beds
of those who never came back.
I recorded many eyes in my eyes.
Eyes which have killed him.
I dawned on strange streets
I have drunk the liquor of all bars.
Many times I have sworn in vain
and have assured before the interested
would never do.
But I never kept my word.
I returned to stumble a thousand times in the same stone.
Again I go uncertain roads, empty, everyday
and returned to fill a full moon.
I searched the roads leading to the sea
trying to find a shelter.
Trying to leave my footprints in the sand if you are looking for me.
Monday, March 26, 2012
So it should come as no surprise that the number of anti-gay hate groups in the United States increased by 60% in the past year from 17 in 2010 to 27 in 2011, according to a recent Intelligence Report from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
From the SPLC:
The LGBT community made significant advances in 2011, with the repeal of the “Don’t Act, Don’t Tell” policy on gay men and lesbians in the military, the growing acceptance of same-sex marriage by Americans and the legalization of such bonds in New York state. But it was precisely these advances that seemed to set off a furious rage on the religious right, with renewed efforts to ban or repeal marriage equality and what seemed to be an intensification of anti-gay propaganda in certain quarters. American Family Association official Bryan Fischer, for instance, said that “gays are Nazis,” claimed that HIV does not cause AIDS but gay men do, and, for good measure, criticized black welfare recipients who “rut like animals.” In another development, most of the religious right groups that started out opposing abortion but moved on to attacking LGBT people have recently begun to adopt anti-Muslim propaganda en masse. The gay-bashing Traditional Values Coalition, for instance, last year redesigned its website to emphasize a new section entitled “Islam vs. the Constitution,” published a report on Shariah law, and joined anti-Shariah conferences. Overall, the number of anti-gay hate groups in the United States rose markedly, going from 17 in 2010 to 27 last year.With that being said, I have to make one (or several) remarks about the Southern Poverty Law Center. As much as I dislike hate groups of any kind, I actually find the SPLC to be just as much of a hate group as the ones that they claim to keep tabs on. As long as I have lived in Alabama, worked near the SPLC, and dealt with the lawyers who are there to protect the impoverished of the South, I find all of those that I have met and dealt with to be the most abhorrent, self-centered, self-righteous, money grubbing bigots that I have ever met.
The SPLC is an American nonprofit civil rights organization noted for its legal victories against white supremacist groups; legal representation for victims of hate groups; monitoring of alleged hate groups, militias and extremist organizations; and educational programs that promote tolerance. The SPLC classifies as hate groups organizations that denigrate or assault entire groups of people, typically for attributes that are beyond their control. Another problem that I have with the SPLC is that they are overzealous in their attempts at identifying hate groups. One of their so-called neo-Confederate groups is the League of the South, which is largely an academic group studying America's Southern heritage. Though I will admit that there are some fringe elements within the group, all groups have fringe elements. At various other times, they have hinted that the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the United Daughters of the Confederacy were in the same category as the League of the South. I have said enough about the errors of the SPLC and their media hungry arrogance, but I could not use a source of their without having my say about these people. Quite honestly, if you are among the richest people in a city and call yourself the Southern Poverty Law Center, I have a problem with that. Maybe it's just me.
- New Report: Number of Antigay Hate Groups on the Rise, by Christopher Donaldson, March 22, 2012.
- The 'Patriot' Movement Explodes, by Mark Potok, Intelligence Report, Spring 2012, Issue Number: 145.
- Southern Poverty Law Center, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
I had planned on writing this post after I got home from church, hoping that something in the sermon would inspire me to write something inspirational. To be completely honest, I was trying so hard not to fall asleep, that nothing really struck me to write about. There was one thing though, as our preacher was praying (he's a bit long winded at times), we always know when he is nearly finished when he begins to thank God for all of he beauty in nature: trees, flowers, creatures great and small, etc. Since spring is here and the wisteria has been blooming along with the azaleas and other flowers that remind me of spring, I too am thankful of the natural beauty that surrounds us because of God's blessings.
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Friday, March 23, 2012
Each of us has been born with a genius. There is something that each of us do very well. It has been assigned to us, and yet many of us ever really pause in life to discover it deeply and then apply the other necessary ingredient. And that is drill. That is practice. That is taking that which is good and making it great. That is pursuing your niche. That is unveiling your uniqueness. That is finding your voice and learning how to vocalize - not like everybody else - but your way. That requires you to at times to swim upstream, to go against the flow, to stand out in the crowd declaring – ‘here I am, and here is what I offer to create a much better world – that is now better because I have not hidden my gift – and have risked rejection by bringing it forth in public.
SOURCE: AOM SoulFood (NSFW)
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Behavior can be normal for an individual when it is consistent with the most common behavior for that person. "Normal" is also used to describe when someone's behavior conforms to the most common behavior in society. Definitions of normality vary by person, time, place, and situation – it changes along with changing societal standards and norms. Normal behavior is often only recognized in contrast to abnormality. In its simplest form, normality is seen as good while abnormality is seen as bad. Someone being seen as "normal" or "not normal" can have social ramifications, including being included, excluded or stigmatized by larger society.
Although it is difficult to define normality, since it is a flexible concept, the existence of these ramifications also makes it an important definition. The study of what is normal is called normatology – this field attempts to develop an operational definition distinguishing between normality and abnormality (or pathology). The general question of 'what is normal' is discussed in many fields, including philosophy, psychology and sociology.
As part of the LGBT community, we are often seen by some as being abnormal, but really that is just an aberration. Because we are all unique, I don't think there truly is anything as normal or abnormal. Teaching high school and college, I've known many students who buck the norm. They want to be different, and they have no desire to be like all of the others. Our former principal believed that for those who were outside the norm, bullying them back into the fold was natural and worth encouraging. I, and most of the other teachers, believed that he could not be more wrong. The uniqueness of students, and people in general, are what makes us such a wonderful society. We don't live in a totalitarian society or even a utopia where everyone is the same and there is no reason for normal v. abnormal. For me, such a society would be a very boring place. Instead, it takes all of our uniqueness to make the world a better place. We all have our talents and individuality.
How can we claim that just because someone is different (especially when we are all different in some way) that anything is abnormal? The definitions of normal and abnormal have long been reasons used for discrimination and hatred. We all have a little bit of discrimination in us. We all look at someone and think: they are a bit odd. Truthfully though, we should embrace those differences and allow the world to be a better place for it.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Sometimes (not often) the hangover is worth it. I had a great time with a few friends in New Orleans on Monday. New Orleans is one of my favorite cities, but those hurricanes will kick your ass. I felt it yesterday morning. It didn't help that I had to drive back to Alabama when I got up that morning. So I felt a bit like the guy in the picture above. Thank God for Starbucks Vanilla Lattes, LOL. Oh well, sometimes the hangover is worth it. There is nothing quite like sitting on a patio in New Orleans having drinks with friends.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
How does a person say “I love you” in our post-ironic age and not sound greeting-card vapid? In “You, Therefore,” Reginald Shepherd (b. 1963) manages the trick. He doesn’t avoid romantic clichés: you’ll find the moon and stars, scads of flowers, a rain-speckled bower, the heaving sea, strawberries, and a soft-focus snowbound bedroom vignette. Shepherd takes these hoary materials, however, and presents them with the awkwardness, stuttering, and pseudologic of a man choked by passion. The poem is a single meandering sentence with peculiar repetitions (“if I say to you, ‘To you I say’”); faulty grammar (“you” are “a kind of dwell and welcome”); odd puns (“you . . . have come to be my night”—oh Lancelot!); overheated sound play (“like the sea, salt-sweet . . . trees and seas have flown away”); and attempts to qualify or take back things just asserted (“the snow was you, / when there was snow”). The style saves the subject by roughening and skewing it, giving it the feel of authenticity (a little like antiquing a piece of furniture, perhaps). Shepherd conveys persuasively the way somebody can “fall from the sky” into your life and renew it utterly, giving you the home you’d been seeking for years.
By Reginald Shepherd
For Robert PhilenYou are like me, you will die too, but not today:
you, incommensurate, therefore the hours shine:
if I say to you “To you I say,” you have not been
set to music, or broadcast live on the ghost
radio, may never be an oil painting or
Old Master’s charcoal sketch: you are
a concordance of person, number, voice,
and place, strawberries spread through your name
as if it were budding shrubs, how you remind me
of some spring, the waters as cool and clear
(late rain clings to your leaves, shaken by light wind),
which is where you occur in grassy moonlight:
and you are a lily, an aster, white trillium
or viburnum, by all rights mine, white star
in the meadow sky, the snow still arriving
from its earthwards journeys, here where there is
no snow (I dreamed the snow was you,
when there was snow), you are my right,
have come to be my night (your body takes on
the dimensions of sleep, the shape of sleep
becomes you): and you fall from the sky
with several flowers, words spill from your mouth
in waves, your lips taste like the sea, salt-sweet (trees
and seas have flown away, I call it
loving you): home is nowhere, therefore you,
a kind of dwell and welcome, song after all,
and free of any eden we can name
Reprinted from Fata Morgana by Reginald Shepherd, published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. Copyright © 2007 by Reginald Shepherd.
Source: Fata Morgana (2007)
Poet and editor Reginald Shepherd was born in New York City in 1963 and grew up in the Bronx. He earned a BA from Bennington College and studied at Brown University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His first collection, Some Are Drowning (1994), won the Associated Writing Program’s Award in Poetry; his fourth, Otherhood (2003), was a finalist for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; and his last book, Fata Morgana (2007), won a Silver Medal in the Florida Book Awards. Shepherd’s work is known for its elegance, beauty, and critical acumen. As Ron Silliman wrote in a tribute to Shepherd, who died in 2008, “Shepherd took from all schools and created something entirely his own.” Shepherd was the author of a book of essays, Orpheus in the Bronx: Essays on Identity, Politics, and the Freedom of Poetry (2008), and the editor of two anthologies, The Iowa Anthology of New American Poetries (2004) and Lyric Postmodernisms (2008). He was also an active blogger, helping to shape an emerging forum for poetics.
Monday, March 19, 2012
The movie Auntie Mame is centered on the main character, Mame, an unconventional individualist socialite from the roaring 20's. When her brother dies, she is forced to raise her nephew Patrick. However, Patrick's father has designated an executor to his will to protect the boy from absorbing too much of Mame's rather unconventional perspective. Patrick and Mame become devoted to each other in spite of this restriction, and together journey through Patrick's childhood and the great depression, amidst some rather zaney adventures.
The movie was based on the book by Patrick Dennis. Patrick Dennis was an American author, whose novel Auntie Mame: An Irreverent Escapade (1955) was one of the bestselling American books of the 20th century. In chronological vignettes "Patrick" recalls his adventures growing up under the wing of his madcap aunt, Mame Dennis. Dennis wrote a sequel, Around the World with Auntie Mame, in 1958.
Throughout his life, Dennis struggled with his bisexuality, later becoming a well-known participant in Greenwich Village's gay scene.
Dennis' work fell out of fashion in the 1970s, and all of his books went out of print. In his later years, he left writing to become a butler, a job that his friends reported he enjoyed. At one time, he worked for Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald's. Although he was at long last using his real name, Edward Everett Tanner III, he was in essence working yet again under a pseudonym; his employers had no inkling that their butler, Tanner, was the world-famous author Patrick Dennis.
He died from pancreatic cancer in Manhattan at the age of 55 in November 1976.
At the turn of the 21st century there was a resurgence of interest in his work, and subsequently many of his novels are once again available. His son, Dr. Michael Tanner, wrote introductions to several reissues of his father's books. Some of Dennis' original manuscripts are held at Yale University, others at Boston University.
Sunday, March 18, 2012
1To, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
9What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?
10I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.
11He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.
12I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.
13And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.
14I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.
15That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past.
16And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there.
17I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.
18I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.
19For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.
20All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.
21Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?
22Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?
Saturday, March 17, 2012
So you think St. Patrick’s Day is all about obnoxious straight people wearing green and drinking beer in public? Well, yes—but there are some very queer things indeed about the holiday.
Herewith, are the top five reasons LGBTs should care about St. Patrick’s Day, happening Saturday, March 17. (And be sure to check out all of the best gay-themed St. Pat’s events listed on our sister site, GayCities):
1. The streets are awash in completely wasted, highly suggestible straight boys
It’s no secret that St. Patrick’s Day is basically an enabler of daytime alcohol consumption. There’s a reason the parade’s slogan is “Kiss Me I’m Irish”— it’s all about getting lucky!
For you gay guys and gals whose deepest fantasy is turning out a Hibernian hetero, St. Patrick’s Day is your chance. Boys: Find an outdoor area full of straight bros and see if one of them won’t smooch your Blarney Stone. And, ladies, straight girls are all about being exhibitionists. Buy them a few shots of Jameson, bribe the DJ to play “I Kissed A Girl,” and let the party begin.
Heck, if you go to a wild enough St. Paddy’s Day event, two dudes might even break-dance naked in front of a huge crowd, like Irish hip-hop brothers Jedward did in 2010 (link NSFW-ish).
2. It’s the one time us gays can stop caring about what we’re wearing.
“I think St. Patty’s day is a really good excuse to dress like a tool,” style maven and reality star Brad Goreski told Queerty. And it’s true: So long as it’s green and relatively unstained, you’re safe. (Fun fact: originally the color associated with Saint Patrick was blue.)
3. There are lots of famous gay Irish and Irish-Americans to raise a pint of Guinness to.
* Oscar Wilde (1854-1900, right): the quotable author and playwright spent most of his adult life as a dandy-about-town in London, but was born in Dublin.
* Francis Bacon (1909-1992): Perhaps the greatest artist to emerge from the Emerald Isle, Bacon was known for his abstract figure drawings and intense relationship with his muse and lover, George Dyer (played by Daniel Craig in the film Love is the Devil)
* Rosie O’Donnell (b. 1962) and Daniel O’Donnell (b. 1960): Rosie is the one-named talk-show host (obviously), but her out older brother Daniel is the first openly gay man elected to the New York State Assembly.
* Graham Norton (b. 1963): The UK’s version of Jay Leno, but gay—and actually funny—Norton hails from County Cork.
* Sinéad O’Connor (b. 1966): Though she’s bounced around the Kinsey scale, the controversial Irish singer announced she was a lesbian back in 2000.
* Christine Quinn (b. 1966): The influential New York City Council Speaker has all but announced her bid for mayor in 2013.
* Stephen Gately (1976-2009): One of the two lead singers of the popular British boy band Boyzone, Gately came out in a blaze of publicity in 1999 and wed his partner five years later. Sadly, Gately passed away in 2009 from an undiagnosed heart condition.
4. The St. Paddy’s Day parade is essentially an Irish version of a Pride parade.
Back in the 1800s and early 19oos, Irish immigrants suffered serious discrimination in the U.S—denied jobs and access to schooling, caricatured as uneducated alcoholics, and in some cases deemed an “inferior race” in comparison to Anglo-Saxons.
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade was a way for Irish-Americans to stand up and basically say “we’re here, we’re queer, get used to it!” Only, y’know, without the whole “queer” party.
Of course LGBTs aren’t always welcome at St. Patrick’s Day parades: In 1995, the Supreme Court ruled that the organizers of Boston’s parade could turn away an LGBT group based on the First Amendment. (That’s okay, it also means we can ban anyone we want from a pride parades, too!)
New York’s queer population has bitten back at the homophobic organizers of Manhattan’s exclusionary march by organizing “St. Pat’s for All,” a parade in Queens where gay marchers are welcomed.
5. The life and legacy of St. Patrick himself is kinda gay.
Ah, St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, about whom so little is known but so much legend is legion. Only two of his letters remain in existence and one, Declaration, concerns charges made against him by fellow Christians during a trial. Historians don’t know what the charges were but Patrick made a point of returning gifts offered by wealthy women and paying for the sons of chiefs to accompany him on his sojourns. (Was he the Ancient World’s answer to George Alan Rekers?)
Plus, the two miracles most closely associated with St. Pat are pretty darn phallic when you think about it: Driving the snakes out of Ireland and turning his long, hard walking stick into a tree.
I’m just saying.
Full story here: http://www.queerty.com/queertys-gay-guide-to-st-patricks-day-20120314/#ixzz1pFjCdQac
Friday, March 16, 2012
Thursday, March 15, 2012
I have always found these collage pictures to be fascinating, but this one comes with a twist. This photo collage of Rick Santorum is made entirely of gay pornographic images. The enlargement of this image is NSFW, so be forwarned. The pictures are still quite small if you click on the full image. I find it quite funny considering Santorum's homophobic and religiously conservative political agenda.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
"It is a marvel that those red-roseleaf lips of yours should be made no less for the madness of music and song than for the madness of kissing," Wilde wrote to Lord Alfred in 1893. "Your slim gilt soul walks between passion and poetry."
Bosie knew of Wilde's affection for him early on and succeeded in using it to his advantage. He relied on Wilde's money when his own ran out and would pout and threaten self-injury when Wilde complained of his behavior or criticized his literary skills. For the length of their relationship, Lord Alfred used Oscar's love for him as a means to get what he wanted. In the end, Wilde sacrificed himself to protect Lord Alfred, who remained a loyal, yet manipulative, friend.
For Wilde, who was much more low-key about his sexuality, it was a love-hate relationship, almost akin to the moth and flame. He lusted for Lord Alfred, but knew that Bosie would only hurt him. His head told him the cost of Bosie's love was too expensive, his heart considered it a bargain.
"Wilde wanted a consuming passion," Ellman wrote. "He got it and was consumed by it."
When Wilde was put on trial for his homosexuality, Edward Carson questioned Wilde about two poems written by Lord Douglas that appeared in the issue of The Chameleon that contained Wilde's "Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young." The two poems were "Two Loves" and "In Praise of Shame."
Lord Alfred Douglas
I dreamed I stood upon a little hill,
And at my feet there lay a ground, that seemed
Like a waste garden, flowering at its will
With buds and blossoms. There were pools that dreamed
Black and unruffled; there were white lilies
A few, and crocuses, and violets
Purple or pale, snake-like fritillaries
Scarce seen for the rank grass, and through green nets
Blue eyes of shy peryenche winked in the sun.
And there were curious flowers, before unknown,
Flowers that were stained with moonlight, or with shades
Of Nature's willful moods; and here a one
That had drunk in the transitory tone
Of one brief moment in a sunset; blades
Of grass that in an hundred springs had been
Slowly but exquisitely nurtured by the stars,
And watered with the scented dew long cupped
In lilies, that for rays of sun had seen
Only God's glory, for never a sunrise mars
The luminous air of Heaven. Beyond, abrupt,
A grey stone wall. o'ergrown with velvet moss
Uprose; and gazing I stood long, all mazed
To see a place so strange, so sweet, so fair.
And as I stood and marvelled, lo! across
The garden came a youth; one hand he raised
To shield him from the sun, his wind-tossed hair
Was twined with flowers, and in his hand he bore
A purple bunch of bursting grapes, his eyes
Were clear as crystal, naked all was he,
White as the snow on pathless mountains frore,
Red were his lips as red wine-spilith that dyes
A marble floor, his brow chalcedony.
And he came near me, with his lips uncurled
And kind, and caught my hand and kissed my mouth,
And gave me grapes to eat, and said, 'Sweet friend,
Come I will show thee shadows of the world
And images of life. See from the South
Comes the pale pageant that hath never an end.'
And lo! within the garden of my dream
I saw two walking on a shining plain
Of golden light. The one did joyous seem
And fair and blooming, and a sweet refrain
Came from his lips; he sang of pretty maids
And joyous love of comely girl and boy,
His eyes were bright, and 'mid the dancing blades
Of golden grass his feet did trip for joy;
And in his hand he held an ivory lute
With strings of gold that were as maidens' hair,
And sang with voice as tuneful as a flute,
And round his neck three chains of roses were.
But he that was his comrade walked aside;
He was full sad and sweet, and his large eyes
Were strange with wondrous brightness, staring wide
With gazing; and he sighed with many sighs
That moved me, and his cheeks were wan and white
Like pallid lilies, and his lips were red
Like poppies, and his hands he clenched tight,
And yet again unclenched, and his head
Was wreathed with moon-flowers pale as lips of death.
A purple robe he wore, o'erwrought in gold
With the device of a great snake, whose breath
Was fiery flame: which when I did behold
I fell a-weeping, and I cried, 'Sweet youth,
Tell me why, sad and sighing, thou dost rove
These pleasent realms? I pray thee speak me sooth
What is thy name?' He said, 'My name is Love.'
Then straight the first did turn himself to me
And cried, 'He lieth, for his name is Shame,
But I am Love, and I was wont to be
Alone in this fair garden, till he came
Unasked by night; I am true Love, I fill
The hearts of boy and girl with mutual flame.'
Then sighing, said the other, 'Have thy will,
I am the love that dare not speak its name.'
In Praise of Shame
Last night unto my bed bethought there came
Our lady of strange dreams, and from an urn
She poured live fire, so that mine eyes did burn
At the sight of it. Anon the floating fame
Took many shapes, and one cried: "I am shame
That walks with Love, I am most wise to turn
Cold lips and limbs to fire; therefore discern
And see my loveliness, and praise my name."
And afterwords, in radiant garments dressed
With sound of flutes and laughing of glad lips,
A pomp of all the passions passed along
All the night through; till the white phantom ships
Of dawn sailed in. Whereat I said this song,
"Of all sweet passions Shame is the loveliest."
At the trial, Wilde was asked if he saw any improper suggestions in the two poems. Wilde's response to Carson's question as to what was "the love that dare not speak its name" provided one of the most memorable moments of a memorable trial.
What is “the love that dares not speak its name?”
Wilde: “The love that dares not speak its name” in this century is such a great affection of an elder for a younger man as there was between David and Jonathan, such as Plato made the very basis of his philosophy, and such as you find in the sonnets of Michelangelo and Shakespeare. It is that deep spiritual affection that is as pure as it is perfect. It dictates and pervades great works of art, like those of Shakespeare and Michelangelo, and those two letters of mine, such as they are. It is in this century misunderstood, so much misunderstood that it may be described as “The love that dares not speak its name,” and on that account of it I am placed where I am now. It is beautiful, it is fine, it is the noblest form of affection. There is nothing unnatural about it. It is intellectual, and it repeatedly exists between an older and a younger man, when the older man has intellect, and the younger man has all the joy, hope and glamour of life before him. That it should be so, the world does not understand. The world mocks at it, and sometimes puts one in the pillory for it.
Since Saturday is St. Patrick's day, I wanted to post poetry by Ireland's most famous literary homosexual. The poems above are by Lord Alfred Douglas, Wilde's lover, but I also wanted to add a poem by Wilde himself, and this is one of my favorites.
The True Knowledge
Thou knowest all; I seek in vain
What lands to till or sow with seed -
The land is black with briar and weed,
Nor cares for falling tears or rain.
Thou knowest all; I sit and wait
With blinded eyes and hands that fail,
Till the last lifting of the veil
And the first opening of the gate.
Thou knowest all; I cannot see.
I trust I shall not live in vain,
I know that we shall meet again
In some divine eternity.
Monday, March 12, 2012
How can former members of the porn industry, which employs roughly 12,000 people a year in California alone, be denied jobs because they are “morally abhorrent”? Where is the line of demarcation that decides when a part of someone’s past does not “reflect credit?”
As LA Weekly is reporting, Shawn Loftis will not only be permitted to teach, but will also be eligible to apply for a permanent position as an educator. He will, however, reportedly remain on probation for two years.
Loftis' case mirrors that of Kevin Hogan, a Boston-based English teacher who was placed on administrative leave after Fox News broke the news that he had acted under the pseudonym "Hytch Cawke" in gay pornographic movies like "Fetish World" and "Just Gone Gay 8," which were released in 2010. In addition, a California junior high teacher was reportedly placed on paid administrative leave earlier this month amid allegations that she appeared in a pornographic video, the Associated Press reports.
I personally am pleased that Shawn was given his job back. He is well educated, and besides, I'd love to have someone this hot teaching at my school.
- "Shawn Loftis, Former Gay Porn Star, Allowed To Teach After Being Fired For X-Rated Past" HuffPost Gay Voices.
- "Should former porn stars be allowed to teach?" By Karlee Johnson, Daily Sundial.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
By the way, even though my blog is called The Closet Professor, I do not actually consider myself in the closet. I do not change the way I act around people, and those who I feel have the right to know, do know, and those who I feel have no right to know, do not know. Most of those at the school I teach do not know that I am gay, simply because they would not allow me to teach there if certain people knew. I can do more work teaching tolerance without publicly proclaiming my sexuality then not having a job and not having the chance to do so. I work each day to teach these kids tolerance. In the rural South, teaching tolerance is not always an easy job, and it takes time, but with persistence, it will be done.
Saturday, March 10, 2012
Friday, March 9, 2012
The first lover plans the robbery and goes over the plan with the second lover in great detail.
The robbery begins.
The first lover drives up in front of the bank, stops the car and says to the other lover, "I want to make absolutely sure you understand the plan. You are supposed to be in and out of the bank in no more than three minutes with the cash. Do you understand the plan?"
"Perfectly," he said.
He goes in the bank while the other waits in the getaway car.
One minute passes, two minutes pass...seven minutes pass - and the first lover is really stressing out.
Finally, the bank doors burst open and out he comes. He's got a safe wrapped up in rope and is dragging it to the car.
About the time he gets the safe in the trunk of the car, the bank doors burst open again with the security guard coming out.
The guard's pants and underwear are down around his ankles while he is firing his weapon.
As the guys are getting away, the first lover says "I thought you understood the plan!"
The second lover said, "I did! I did exactly what you said!"
"No, you idiot," he replied. "You got it all mixed up. I said tie up the GUARD and blow the SAFE!"
"What is your name?" he asked.
"John," the guy answered.
"And why were you arrested?" the judge asked.
"I was by the magazine rack holding a big fat cigar and blowing smoke." he answered.
The judge didn't see anything wrong with that, so he dismissed the guy and called up the next one.
"What's your name?" he asked.
"John," the guy answered.
"Why were you arrested?" the Judge asked.
"I was by the magazine rack holding a big fat cigar and blowing smoke." he answered.
Again, the judge saw nothing offensive, 'This so-called adult store is beginning to sound more like a smoking club!' he thought. So he dismissed the charge and called up the next guy.
"What's your name?? No wait, let me guess; John." he said.
"No," said the guy, "My name is Smoke."
After looking around he spots a parrot sitting on a little perch; it doesn't have any feet or legs. The guy says out loud, "Geez, I wonder what happened to this parrot?"
"I was born this way," says the parrot. "I'm a defective parrot."
"Ha, ha," the guy laughs. "It sounded like this parrot actually understood what I said and answered me."
"I understand every word," says the parrot. "I am a highly intelligent and thoroughly educated bird."
"Yeah?" the guy asks. "Then answer this: how do you hang onto your perch without any feet?"
"Well," the parrot says, "this is a little embarrassing, but since you asked, I will tell you. I wrap my little parrot penis around this wooden bar, kind of like a little hook. You can't see it because of my feathers."
"Wow," says the guy, "you really can understand and answer; can't you?"
"Of course. I speak both Spanish and English. I can converse with reasonable competence on almost any subject: politics, religion, sports, physics, philosophy. And I am especially good at ornithology. You should buy me; I am a great companion."
The guy looks at the $200.00 price tag. He says. "I can't afford that."
"Pssst," the parrot hisses, motioning the guy over with one wing. "Nobody wants me because I don't have any feet. You can get me for $20.00; just make an offer."
The guy offers twenty dollars and walks out with the parrot. Weeks go by and the parrot is sensational. He's funny; he's interesting; he's a great pal, he understands everything, sympathizes, and gives good advice. The guy is delighted.
One day the guy comes home from work and the parrot says, "Pssst," and motions him over with one wing. The guy goes up close to the cage. "I don't know if I should tell you this or not," says the parrot, "but it's about your lover and the mailman."
"What?" asks the guy.
"Well," the parrot says, "when the mailman came to the door today, your lover greeted him in a pair of briefs that showed everything and kissed him on the mouth."
"What happened then?" asks the guy.
"Then the mailman came into the house and put his hand on your lovers crotch and began petting him all over," reports the parrot.
"My God!" the guy says. "Then what?"
"Then he pulled down the briefs, got down on his knees and began to lick him, starting with his chest, slowly going down and down." The parrot pauses for a long time...
"What happened? What happened?" says the frantic guy.
"That's what pisses me off. I don't know." said the parrot. "I got a hard-on, and fell off my fucking perch."
If we can't laugh at ourselves...then who can we laugh at. I hope you guys enjoyed these little snippets of fun. Some of them are kind of old, but I still find them funny.
Thursday, March 8, 2012
This is going to be a short post for two reasons. 1) I couldn't think of anything to post on short notice. 2) I have a terrible backache that got worse all day yesterday, and as I was writing this last night, I was laying on a heating pad. Hopefully, my backache will get better, and I will feeling like posting something for tomorrow.
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
A STRAIGHT DOPE CLASSIC FROM CECIL'S STOREHOUSE OF HUMAN KNOWLEDGE
The story of Schroedinger's cat (an epic poem)
May 7, 1982
Cecil, you're my final hope
Of finding out the true Straight Dope
For I have been reading of Schroedinger's cat
But none of my cats are at all like that.
This unusual animal (so it is said)
Is simultaneously live and dead!
What I don't understand is just why he
Can't be one or other, unquestionably.
My future now hangs in between eigenstates.
In one I'm enlightened, the other I ain't.
If you understand, Cecil, then show me the way
And rescue my psyche from quantum decay.
But if this queer thing has perplexed even you,
Then I will and won't see you in Schroedinger's zoo.
— Randy F., Chicago
Schroedinger, Erwin! Professor of physics!
Wrote daring equations! Confounded his critics!
(Not bad, eh? Don't worry. This part of the verse
Starts off pretty good, but it gets a lot worse.)
Win saw that the theory that Newton'd invented
By Einstein's discov'ries had been badly dented.
What now? wailed his colleagues. Said Erwin, "Don't panic,
No grease monkey I, but a quantum mechanic.
Consider electrons. Now, these teeny articles
Are sometimes like waves, and then sometimes like particles.
If that's not confusing, the nuclear dance
Of electrons and suchlike is governed by chance!
No sweat, though — my theory permits us to judge
Where some of 'em is and the rest of 'em was."
Not everyone bought this. It threatened to wreck
The comforting linkage of cause and effect.
E'en Einstein had doubts, and so Schroedinger tried
To tell him what quantum mechanics implied.
Said Win to Al, "Brother, suppose we've a cat,
And inside a tube we have put that cat at —
Along with a solitaire deck and some Fritos,
A bottle of Night Train, a couple mosquitoes
(Or something else rhyming) and, oh, if you got 'em,
One vial prussic acid, one decaying ottom
Or atom — whatever — but when it emits,
A trigger device blasts the vial into bits
Which snuffs our poor kitty. The odds of this crime
Are 50 to 50 per hour each time.
The cylinder's sealed. The hour's passed away. Is
Our pussy still purring — or pushing up daisies?
Now, you'd say the cat either lives or it don't
But quantum mechanics is stubborn and won't.
Statistically speaking, the cat (goes the joke),
Is half a cat breathing and half a cat croaked.
To some this may seem a ridiculous split,
But quantum mechanics must answer, "Tough shit.
We may not know much, but one thing's fo' sho':
There's things in the cosmos that we cannot know.
Shine light on electrons — you'll cause them to swerve.
The act of observing disturbs the observed —
Which ruins your test. But then if there's no testing
To see if a particle's moving or resting
Why try to conjecture? Pure useless endeavor!
We know probability — certainty, never.'
The effect of this notion? I very much fear
'Twill make doubtful all things that were formerly clear.
Till soon the cat doctors will say in reports,
"We've just flipped a coin and we've learned he's a corpse."'
So saith Herr Erwin. Quoth Albert, "You're nuts.
God doesn't play dice with the universe, putz.
I'll prove it!" he said, and the Lord knows he tried —
In vain — until fin'ly he more or less died.
Win spoke at the funeral: "Listen, dear friends,
Sweet Al was my buddy. I must make amends.
Though he doubted my theory, I'll say of this saint:
Ten-to-one he's in heaven — but five bucks says he ain't."
— Cecil Adams
Monday, March 5, 2012
On the most recent post by Frat Star on BI LIKE ME, he writes about his relationship with women, and I think that many of us can identify with:
I come from a family of strong women, and that prototype is still sexy to me. To some extent, I wish I was straight just so that I could fall in love with one of these women and learn to grow with them. I understand them. I like them. I just can't have sex with them anymore, because I've found that I connect with men far more.It may be a stereotype that gay men like strong women, but where would we be without them. Many of my greatest friends have been strong women.
Check out Frat Star's blog, A Bi Kid's Life, I think that you will enjoy it. And just a side note, it is apparent by Frat Star's writing that he is an intelligent young man. He has a maturity with his language that I wish more people his age had. It's very refreshing.
Sunday, March 4, 2012
When I was driving into Canada, I passed a giant white cross on the side of the road. It was likely erected by one of the local congregations, and soared some 50 or 60 feet into the sky. For those that built it, the cross is a symbol of their faith. For me, the cross evokes a lot of mixed feelings.
On the treadmill last night, I caught a few minutes of a CNN interview with an openly gay woman named Barbara Johnson. At her mother’s funeral, the priest denied Barbara Holy Communion. He said:
I can’t give you Communion because you live with a woman and in the eyes of the church, that is a sin.To add insult to injury, he left the altar when Barbara delivered the eulogy – and refused to attend the burial. On one of the hardest days of her life, the priest’s actions added insult to injury.
I know that the cross stands for many beautiful and compassionate teachings. But as a gay man who went through both Catholic high school and university, I’ve seen so many individuals and organizations hide behind the cross as a justification for their hate. After a while, it takes its toll on you.
When I see a cross, the teachings of love and compassion are overshadowed by the stories of people like Barbara Johnson.I am not Catholic, nor do I claim to understand everything about Catholicism. However, in my church (Church of Christ) where I am the person who passes around the communion every Sunday, I have never denied someone the right to take communion. It is their choice, and it is a choice between them and God. That being said, what struck me about this blog post is that Davey wrote that for him "the cross evokes a lot of mixed feelings." When I see a cross, it reminds me purely of the sacrifice that Jesus made for our sins. Instead of having mixed feeling about the cross, about religion, or about God, I feel great sadness for those Christians who use the cross and twist the words of God to something that is negative. Christianity is a positive religion, and when Christians make it a negative religion, then they are doing just what being negative means, they are making it less. It is simple mathematics, 1 + 1 = 2, but 1 - 1 = 0, when you add negatives into the equation, you are taking something away. In my belief those who use Christianity in a negative way are taking God out of it, and thus are moving further away from God and his love.
A friend of mine recently gave me a book God vs. Gay?: The Religious Case for Equality which I am reading that presents a religious case for equality. As you all know, I have had a rough week, and I have not gotten far into God vs. Gay? but I have read a little of it each night. When I am finished with God vs. Gay? I will write more about it on this blog. So far, it is a very encouraging and affirmative look at religion.
As always, thanks for reading and thank you for your support this week. Your support and encouraging words have meant a great deal to me.