Archive for the ‘Gay Lesbian and Bisexual’ tag
I remember at the age of about 13 having an argument with my very Catholic grandmother. We were arguing about the rights of gay people. It wasn’t the first time we’d had the argument, and, as you might expect, I was very pro-gay equality and she was very much not. It’s not like she wanted homosexuals executed or anything, but she considered it an illness. She thought that Oscar Wilde had “ruined his life” with his homosexuality and believed that HIV and Aids were god’s way of eradicating gays.
I remember at the time having not the slightest doubt in the power of my position. I was one of those annoying little gits that went around describing themselves as “an equalitarian” (I’d read it in the dictionary and instantly adopted it) and as I grew older I met friends who were gay or who would later come out as gay. I even wrote a thesis on Oscar Wilde as a school student and remember feeling mortified when, commenting on the death of Freddy Mercury, a family member ‘joked’ to a neighbour that it “served him right for being a poofter”. (Imagine the embarrassment when the neighbour in question replied with “my brother’s gay”).
I guess the point of mentioning this, is to highlight that I myself never had any issue with homosexuality. Or bisexuality. Very much the opposite. That makes it all the more baffling to me that it took me so very long to realise that I myself was gay. I was into my twenties, had completed my degree and had even got married. And then it hit me like a train. I’d made a terrible, terrible mistake. I wasn’t the person that I had thought I was – actually the person I married turned out also not to be the person I had thought he was either, which at least made it slightly easier to leave. But that still left me with a massive problem. I could leave him easy enough – I was pretty much stuck with myself. There was no leaving that behind.
I didn’t so much come out of the closet – more exploded out of there, hurting myself and a few others on the way. I told a close friend what was muddling around in my head. She seduced me. I tried to resist and then thought what the hell. The first time I kissed her I was terrified. No amount of alcohol seemed sufficient to calm my nerves and in the end I just had to swallow them. Once I’d taken the plunge I knew there was no going back. I think it probably remains the best kiss of my life, not only for how damn good it was but also for everything it symbolised. I then fell crazy in love and had my heart broken. It took me three years to patch it back together.
I went off the rails, had some brilliant and some awful times and never stopped to look back. It needed doing. I suddenly had all this catching up to do – there was a whole world out there that I had always known existed, but had never thought applied to me. Now it suddenly did.
I occasionally wonder why it took me so long. The gay community is now the centre around which my life resolves; it’s where many of my friends are, it’s where I go for support and a huge chunk of my social life. It’s where I feel safe. Accepted. Me. I simply can’t imagine my life without it – and I doubt I would want to live somewhere without a significant gay scene. And I suppose the answer is in the two stories I started this with. While I was able to know that there was nothing wrong with being gay, my entire experience of any discussion about homosexuality had been that of it being ‘othered’ by people. Being gay was what happened to other people – not to me or anyone in my family. It’s not like I had the kind of upbringing where we were encouraged to think about the kind of people we were or the lives we wanted for ourselves – there was certainly no questioning, let alone challenging, or perceived norms. We were all assumed to be straight, to be destined for a lifetime of unsatisfying low-paid work, marriage and kids. I bucked the trend by going to university after my history teacher talked me into it, but otherwise I was sleepwalking towards my future. It took the (apparent) finality of marriage and the prospect of a miserable life to jolt me awake and make me ask myself who I really was and what I really wanted. For that reason alone, I remain glad that I did it.
I knew this wouldn’t be easy to do. I didn’t think it would be as hard as it was.
I also really think this project is a great idea and I think YouTube was the best medium for it. It reaches the right people, where they are.
The video I recorded first thing in the morning… if you look closely you’ll notice some serious bedhead going on. I meant it as a dry run, but I never made it through another version.So here it is.
There’s loads of stuff I didn’t get to say — like why I’m happy I survived. Things like how I’ve traveled and met amazing people. How I’ve fallen in love. But at least I’ve shared my story and in case someone else is going through the same despair and confusion, it might speak to them.
I think visibility has been a double-edged sword for kids these days. People didn’t talk a lot about gay stuff 20 years ago, and while that wasn’t good, it probably meant that people were less likely to be targeted, because the issue wasn’t on the radar the way it is right now. Still, there have been amazing advances.
Let me know if you’ve done a video or if you’re planning to.
Is anyone else doing one?
- Awesome Video Project Shows Gay Youth “It Gets Better” [Video] (jezebel.com)
- It Gets Better: We’re Giving Them Hope (slog.thestranger.com)
- Watch: Dan Savage Launches Anti-Bullying YouTube Project (towleroad.com)
Christian gay man studying counselling at seminary talks about the false promises of the ex-gay movement and the hope of being yourself.
Resource he mentions:
I’m sure plenty of you have seen the news reports of the suicides in America this week.
He’s called on gays to tell their stories on YouTube to reassure gay teens that life does get better after school. It’s really taken off!
I know some of you are working on your own vids. I want links, people.
I’m also going to go through some of the videos and pick out some to blog.
To begin, I’ll include Michael Urie‘s video:
There will be more to come!
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- Dan Savage tells teenagers “It Gets Better.” (timeoutny.com)
- Dan Savage Starts “It Gets Better” YouTube Campaign for Gay Teens (nytimes.com)
- Life Does Get Better For Gay Teens, But Bullies Don’t Magically Disappear (queerty.com)
Reverend Tom Brock is the Associate Pastor at Hope Lutheran Church in North Minneapolis. He is known for his denunciations of homosexuality and GLBT rights on his daily KKMS AM 980 radio program, The Pastor’s Study. His video series lambastes with outrage the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) for progressive attitudes toward women’s reproductive rights, racial equality, ecological stewardship—and, worst of all in his view, openly gay or lesbian pastors having the right to minister if they are in a committed monogamous relationship with a member of the same sex.
In stunning contrast to all this homophobic vitriol, I observed firsthand that the words spoken by the 49-year-old, unmarried Brock from his ivory bully pulpits do not match his actions.
I encountered Brock at my very first FIA meeting on April 16.
Having arrived 10 minutes early, I was greeted amicably outside St. Charles Church by its Pastor, Father Paul A. La Fontaine. He escorted me inside, down some stairs, through a kitchen, and into a meeting room.
At 7 PM, Brock entered with two younger men, who immediately swooped toward where I was seated. They grilled me to ferret out if I was Catholic, or at least Christian, and how I found out about the meeting. I was taken aback, as Father Jim Livingston, in my initial interview at North Memorial Hospital through which I was granted access to participate, gave the impression that the group was comparatively low-key and easygoing. I told the two that I was Baptist, not Catholic, but that I had great respect for Catholicism, having defended the Catholic Church to friends and family. I added that I had Googled to find the location.
One of the two younger men laughed, teasing that “now, Tom isn’t the only non-Catholic in the group.”
At one end of the table, Brock sat adjacent to me. At the opposite end was La Fontaine. After opening remarks, reading, recitation, and prayer, he asked how we had been faring—over the past week, since we last attended, or in my case since my interview—with what participants were calling a “gender disorder.”
Brock recounted that it had been “a good week.” He had been on a trip to the East Coast, and had kept his mind off men.
Following the first round were moments when attendees brought up feeling excluded and stigmatized as boys for being inept at sports.
Brock observed that he sometimes “feels effeminate” because he has no interest in the sports page, and that he feels deficient because he finds society’s mass interest in sports to be a bore.
On the other hand, most of the men, including Brock, expressed a deep love for opera and classical music. He related that he was especially fond of a Ralph Vaughan Williams composition.
When the topic of same-sex marriage came up, Brock stated, “The world needs [heterosexual] marriage.”
This one has been widely discussed because the reporter who outed Tom Brock did so by infiltrating a confidential 12-step style support group for celibate gays.
While there is some support for the outing of hypocritical anti-gay gays, many people have been very uncomfortable with how the reporter got his information this time.
Not sure I’d have done it myself, but I’m not going to shed too many tears for the Rev either, I have to admit.