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Archive for the ‘Attitudes’ Category

Tommy Robinson, the U.K. and the Threat of Islam

10 Jan

I’m not racist. You can’t be “racist” against an idea or a CULT (i.e. Islam). Ideas and religions are NOT people. But hey, if it makes you “feel” better to think of me as racist then by all means think of me as such. If you are a woman (or gay or bisexual), watch this video and YOU tell ME why so many seemingly EXCUSE the behavior of Muslims. Muslims are RAISED to think of women (in THEIR country) as second-class citizens. For the record, they think of women in the countries of others as even LESS THAN [that]. As a gay, lesbian or bisexual (AND AS anyone who isn’t a card-carrying CULT member of Islam), you have even MORE to be concerned about.

Do NOT “fool” yourself; Barack Obama and others of his ilk do NOT give a damn about this country (or he would be taking actions to protect our way of life). This pretender in the White House makes excuses for Muslims and welcomes them across our borders in record measure. The only reason members of his own party do so is so that they don’t upset the apple cart and cut off the teets they are suckling upon.

And Tommy Robinson is right; watch the video.

I’ve been told Mr. Robinson was jailed for speaking out against Islam and WHILE IN JAIL, he was attacked by Muslims. I haven’t researched that claim but there’s enough evidence on the face of it that I believe it is true.

Tommy Robinson’s circumstances are disturbing enough (and if liberals in our own country had their way, we would be – and ARE ON THE VERGE of facing the same effing consequences!) BTW, Robinson is a citizen of the U.K.

I’m told that NOW those in power in his country want to bring charges against him for PROTECTING HIMSELF while in jail! What the hell? If all of this is true… that he was jailed for simply speaking out against Islam, attacked while IN jail BY Muslims, fought back to PROTECT himself – and is now facing “additional prosecution” for doing something that ANY CIVILIZED PERSON would consider to be well-within one’s right to do (protect him or herself!) than our allies have LOST THEIR EFFING MINDS!!!


Read the rest of this entry »

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Please Remind Me… What Is So Great About Christianity?

09 Feb

Arkansas churches refuse funeral for gay man, give hateful Bible verses to husband

Arkansas churches refuse funeral for gay man, give hateful Bible verses to husband

I know there are “extremists” among every group; even among the Christians. What angers me most is how this kind of ## goes on and on and on and on and on, without any apparent end and yet the “majority” of those who “identify as Christian” fail to show up to call their hateful counterparts out on their very-UNchristian-like behavior. (Read the article by clicking on the image to the right in order to better understand why I am writing today’s blog entry.)

The absence of these so-called “good” Christians is so overwhelmingly apparent that I understand why others feel as they do about this faith and its followers. I myself have begun to think that, all in all, this is a faith I should be more and more inclined to distance myself from.

I DO believe in a higher power (as I am quite convinced, for very personal reasons that there is more to life than simply that “we are born, we die and we become worm food”) — but the God, the Creator, the Spirit that I believe in is a LOVING entity (not just a deity to be whored out when the need to judge others presents itself).

The judgmental morons that condone the kind of behavior afforded the family of James Stone (deceased) and his surviving husband (Jay Hoskins) are “anything BUT” loving. Furthermore, the absence of any real effort (by other followers of this faith) to call these “supposed” Christians out for the kind of behavior they did heap upon a grieving family at their most vulnerable is greatly disappointing. If that is truly what “being a Christian” means to those who identify as such, then you can damn well keep your faith. (I’d like to think this doesn’t represent the majority. It’s simply the lack of response by “Christian friends and loved ones”, to these kinds of situations that has me on my soapbox this evening.)

As for myself, I will choose to worship (in private) a Creator that is loving, tolerant, understanding and non-judgmental. The “Christians” may keep their heaven, their hell and all of the judgment they swear is not “their” place to hand out (yet it is; daily, hourly and moment by moment).

Why? Because actions speak more loudly than words and the deafening silence that ensues each and every time “Christian organizations” (along with those who identify with them) blatantly express judgment, feign indifference and actively seek out to cause harm to LGBT persons, their families and their friends (under the guise of religious faith)… Well, let us just say that it is VERY evident that the flocks of these organized religions are nothing more than hypocrites whose real motto is, “Do as I say, not as I do.

Yeah, I’m pretty hard-pressed to take up for Christians and Christianity, for the moment, since so many seem incapable or unwilling to take up for those of us they profess to love.

Related Links:

  • dallasvoice.comChurches Near Mountain Home, Ark. Refuse Funeral For Gay Man.
     

    What follows is a comment made by Jay Hoskins, husband of the deceased, following the article and update on the Dallas Voice:
     

    —BEGIN QUOTE—
     
    do not know what happened to the post I just commented on. I am James’ “legal” husband of nearly 6 months, and we had been together for over 10 years. Yes, this incident happened. And yes, it was out of the fundamentalist Clarkridge Church of Christ, amongst others. I just learned of the media coverage of this issue in the past couple of hours on the Voice. I have been contacted by local media in the last hour.

    I can tell you that there were not only issues having a service for him, but also in so much as that one or more members of the Clarkridge Church of Christ called and “CANCELLED” our family get-together after the service, and that TWO members of the Clarkridge Church of Christ, Jerry and Vicki Oels gave James grieving mother, myself and the preacher a nice big envelope each

    One filled with over 10 pages of Bible passages condemning us to hell, referencing God’s marriage laws, marriage amongst people and animals, and then a sympathy card.

    I HAVE NEVER EXPERIENCED SUCH HATE AND BIGOTRY in my life. James was taught not to be bigoted, hateful, and would not have approved of this.

    James did not die of Sjogren’s Syndrome. He died a tragic death of suicide where his poor mother and myself found him hanging from a ceiling fan. I tried unsuccessfully to revive him, but it was too late.

    To the people of Clarkridge, including his own family, RUTH STRAIN, RAY WAYE, ROY (JUNIOR) STONE and JACKIE STONE- you all will be judged just as everyone else. The same goes for VICKI and JERRY OELHS.

    And for anyone who would like to send their thoughts to Jerry and Vick Oels, you can write them at JERRY AND VICKI OELS
    3843 CR 37
    CLARKRIDGE AR 72623
    I can be reached via email at jhoskins2@att.net
     
    —END QUOTE—

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An Open Discussion About HIV (And Me)

20 Jan

I was diagnosed in 2001 and have been on meds since 2005, now having an undetectable viral load of < 20 and a CD4 count of near 1100; these are considered great numbers, BUT…

In my experience, the moment this topic comes up between myself and another, any interest that may have been expressed by him is wholly lost. The mere mention of the disease seemingly terrifies those who believe themselves to be HIV-negative. I couch it this way because a number of our community don’t get tested regularly (if even) – assuming just because they’ve not knowingly had sex with somebody who did not appear to be positive for an STD, that they are negative. Personally speaking, I pray they are correct (for their sakes).

Moving along… I’ve enough friends (couples) who don’t share the same HIV status as one another, whose relationships include healthy sex lives – and they haven’t exposed their partner to the disease. Because of this, I’ve moved on from “once being afraid to getting involved with somebody who isn’t themselves HIV-positive” to being comfortable with the idea of a relationship with someone of either status now.

Of major note, a two-year study reveals if one is HIV+ but adhering to an effective regime of meds and has an undetectable viral load – the risk of exposing one’s HIV-negative partner is pretty much non-existent. The study consisted of 767 couples with one partner being HIV+ while the other was negative (otherwise defined as “serodiscordant”). The couples had unprotected sex during the study and none of the partners who were HIV-negative became infected with the disease with the exception of a few who had sex with others “outside of the study” (determined by genetic testing of the HIV strain). Yeah, I’ll go out on a limb here and say those few had a little explaining to do!

Do NOT be mistaken; I’m NOT encouraging, or promoting in any way, unprotected sex. I’m of the opinion that anyone who isn’t in a committed monogamous and trustworthy relationship, both parties of which are KNOWN to be HIV-negative, should be using condoms.

And some might jump to the conclusion that this study was truly irresponsible and risky, to have been conducted in the way that it was but the simple truth is these couples were picked (as I understand it) because they were already having unprotected sex with one another). Initially, I didn’t understand that and was horrified that such a study existed. Even so, from a somewhat selfish perspective I did find it reassuring to hear the results (even before I understood that the couples were already barebacking).

Again, moving along…

I’m pretty up-front about my HIV status (with those I am planning on seeing on an intimate level). It isn’t the FIRST thing I start talking about, but certainly the topic comes up early enough that the person I’m interested in myself isn’t caught off-guard. I don’t think it’s fair to wait until somebody has developed an attachment BEFORE putting all of the facts out there for him to consider – but then, that’s just how I feel about it.

Having said all of the above, I can’t think of one time where my own HIV status “has not” gotten in the way of moving the relationship forward because of the stigma.

HIV-negative guys are, in general, terrified of getting involved with a man who is HIV-positive. I’m NOT judging; I’ve been on that side of the table and “I hesitated.” In the process I lost the opportunity to spend ten years with the man who was probably the love of my life. He saw the fear in my eyes (NEITHER of us knew he was HIV+ until later on, when his boss insisted he get a test — don’t go there please — I’ve enough anger over that asshole boss of his)…

At any rate when he saw how the news affected me (I was thinking back, trying to relive every sex act we’d had over the past year, asking myself “Were we safe?“). Rodney made the decision for both of us when he saw the fear in my eyes. He refused to take ANY chance of exposing me to the virus so he broke it off; he left Dallas and went to live with his family until passing away in January of 1998. (You must remember, his diagnosis came before drugs as effective as those today were readily available.)

My point is that this was ten years I “could have had” with a wonderful man, during which time I became involved with a total asshole who lied about his own status, who [ironically] exposed me to the virus anyway.

With regard to the previous statement, know this. For the record, I take FULL responsibility for my exposure to the virus. Not because I’m trying to let the asshole ex off the hook but because I didn’t insist on using a condom with him until such time as he’d gotten a test (and we knew he was negative). Well, that until I felt I could trust he would be monogamous, which never came. So no, I don’t blame him for my being positive (EVEN THOUGH he was the one who exposed me to the virus). What I blame him for is being abusive, for cheating and for lying to me. That’s all.

We’re all responsible for taking the necessary precautions to protect ourselves when the variables are as yet “unknown.” I didn’t and I paid the price.

When it comes to relationships and “being available for somebody who might just be that one special someone you’ve been searching for your entire life,” one needs to be aware of what IS considered to be a risk and what isn’t. That’s why I felt it was important to mention the study above which you can read about here and here. I would also recommend that you read this article on the Queerty website.

Near to closing, don’t judge those who are HIV-negative, who don’t respond as you might wish they would to your reveal of being positive. Regardless of what studies reveal, many if not most who are HIV-negative are literally terrified of getting involved with those of us who are positive. That’s their right. As I’ve said, I’ve been on that side of the table. It sucked then (and it sucks even more now, being on the other side) but everybody progresses at his or her own pace. The best you can do is simply keep as positive an attitude about yourself that you can.

That’s easier said than done; see my comment below for an example of just how difficult it can be at times.

To minimize the number of times I’m hurt because I’ve gotten my hopes up [again], only to see them crash and burn — well, let’s just say that I’m “open” to the idea of a relationship when and if the right man comes along but I’m not putting a lot of effort into the pursuit of one these days. It just hurts too damn much when the shit hits the fan. LOL.

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Family Dynamics and How They Change

28 Dec

Why are “family dynamics” so contrary and difficult?

Family, they’re people we grow up with. We start out our lives knowing aunts and uncles as the adults who know everything and then they become the adults who don’t understand us. LOL

Of course, when we are young we’re all about the cousins, the aunts and the uncles and doing things with family when they come into town. We’ve no idea what it means to be an adult. It’s impossible to imagine what a shitty responsibility it is to pay the bills that make those occasional trips possible or dealing with the disagreements that inevitably occur when people of different backgrounds and life experiences come together.

Then we get older and we’re like, “What the hell? I just want to go back to being a kid and not having to deal with all of this shit!” {laughing}

(Tell me, honestly, this isn’t something you haven’t told yourself on at least one occasion. I dare you to deny it! LOL)

As a child, I had one brother I grew up with (he was a pain in my backside, or so I thought back then) with whom I get along GREAT with now that we’re adults.

I had/have another brother and a sister by the bio-father (neither of which I was raised with but of course, knew and loved in my own limited way) and had as well, a step-sister from my bio-father’s third marriage. Billy Marshall wasn’t very successful when it came to relationships; Billy was the paternal spectrum of the “gene” pool that made my life possible. I could speculate as to why his relationships weren’t successful but the closest I could come is to say he was self-centered and thought mostly only of what would make “himself happy” (regardless of any responsibilities he might have created along the way). That’s the way it seems to me anyway. It’s difficult expressing this, knowing his sisters (my Aunts) might be reading this post and they likely saw other sides of him we kids never saw. (After all, there MUST have been a reason my own mother was once attracted to him; I hope, I hope.)

But when one has three kids from three different marriages and has done little to be much more than a “physical presence” in their lives, having seemingly expressed little to no interest in understanding those children. Well, at some point or another, the children (now adults) have a tendency to quit thinking of the person as much more than a member of the gene pool. It’s difficult to have respect for someone who showed so little interest or respect for you growing up, even if he’s since passed away.

But this [blog] entry isn’t intended to be about Billy; it’s about the dynamics between myself and the rest of that side of the family.

You see, when I was growing up I got teased unmercifully about the “little red-headed girl” (Hell, I can’t even recall her name now … LOL … Margaret, I think) next door. My uncles figured it was funny, teasing the little nephew about girls and such, having no knowledge that even as far back as in my early years of Elementary School I pretty much knew I was “different from the majority of the rest of the kids.” Sure, I saw myself growing up and having a family; just not with a girl.

Those feelings weren’t because of anything I’d gone through — or hadn’t experienced — as a young child; they just “were.” Seeing myself as a man one day, with my arms wrapped around another man was as natural to me as what I’m sure any straight boy can imagine, visualizing a woman in his own arms later on in life. (Okay, at that age, girls are “icky” but you get my point.)

Even so, I felt it was best not to let anybody know how I felt on this particular subject at such a young age. Better to just live my life, as a kid in a family that played cards, rode motorcycles in the summer up in the mountains and enjoy my youth with family I loved/love rather than distance myself from them with my very different ideals of what the future held “for me.” There would be time enough to figure all of that out years down the road.

The years went by and we kids grew up. Puberty came and went and I couldn’t wait to get out of the smothering, conservative little town I’d grown up in and move to the big city. I’d “finally” be able to just be myself and explore the side of my life I’d dared not speak of to others. You think it’s difficult dating and coming into your own as a straight boy or girl? Just IMAGINE what it’s like when you don’t feel safe asking the football jock you’ve had a crush on since mid-high [school] out on a date. After all, “he might not be gay and despite the fact that you are considered a friend, he might ‘spill that secret!’ Then you’ll be the butt-end of every damned joke in town for being the local queer boy.” (Yeah, it wasn’t fun…)

So I moved to the city — and I immersed myself in a culture of dating, hooking up, equal rights activism, etc. To put it succinctly, I grew up.

Just understand that “growing up” doesn’t necessarily mean “maturing, developing the skills and resources necessary to make good decisions and effectively being able to see things from another person’s point of view.” What it means is you now get to pay your own damn bills, live your life (make mistakes) as you get your ass handed to you, repeatedly, learning from all of the bad decisions you make along the way. …and trust me, I’ve made (and likely, more will follow) my fair share of hellacious mistakes over the years!

Which brings me to the point in time where our family dynamics changed … and not necessarily for the better.

I got involved with an asshole ex- (whom I couldn’t trust to keep his dick in his own pants when we weren’t together). I had good reason not to trust him; I’d discover just “how justified” those reasons were AFTER we broke up (actually, I’d find out many years later).

At this particular point in time, I didn’t feel I had any option but to take him with me to visit family in Carlsbad. This was during the summer of 1989, twenty-five and a half years ago. Sitting at the kitchen table in my grandmother and grandfather’s home, it was obvious to all (but granddad, bless his heart!) “what the score was” and the dynamics shifted. It wasn’t my best and brightest move but at least the veil had [finally] lifted and perhaps my uncles would finally get off my damned ass about the “little red-headed girl next door.” You’ve no idea how frustrating it can be, even if they don’t know what they’re doing, to constantly be reminded “you are different” because family members are pushing you along a trail on some ridiculous journey you know isn’t intended for you. Again, I knew I was gay long before I ever hit puberty.

But on that day, the day when we were all sitting at the table in my grandparent’s home; THAT was the day that the dynamics between myself and the extended family I loved so much would forever change. Oh, sure… nobody is perfect and we all make mistakes — but I was “the fag.”

And twenty-five and a half years later, long after my grandmother, my grandfather, my Great Aunt and the biological “gene” that made my presence on this earth possible have all passed — I’m told they still don’t understand that this isn’t a “choice one makes.” If I’d had a “choice” in the matter, does one really think I’d have signed up for a life of second-guessing and ridicule (if not openly, at least behind the scenes)? Does one really think we “want” to be made to feel unwelcome (this was more so back then — not so much now) around family? ..and do you truly think a person wants to be made to feel “less than” because, in the committed relationship he or she might share with that special someone, taking the next logical step and get “hitched” (married) will always be problematic because it’s either illegal (in the state one lives in) or it’s seen as some kind of an attack on the sacred institution of love and commitment. (Seriously, I wish I had a dollar for every person who feels that his or her own “straight relationship” is any more important than a loving relationship between two persons of the same gender.) The last time I thought on the matter, I came to the simple conclusion that “love is love.”

Anyway, does any of this sound like a rational reason to make a ‘choice’ to identify with the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community? Does doing so make any sense to anyone at all, who wouldn’t be into sadomasochism. For the record, I’m not into S&M (I’m actually quite vanilla). LOL. I’ve no doubt my family loves me but to this day I question whether they’ve taken time to investigate and really open their minds to the possibility that they “might actually be wrong, in that being gay really isn’t so much about making a ‘choice’.”

(To their credit, it doesn’t help that there are so many [people] in the world who identify as bisexual, able to swap love interests from one gender to the other. Compounding the matter (and thus giving “some” family members false hope for a different outcome), many so-called bisexuals give in to the implied (or directed) pressure of conformance, feeling “encouraged” to at least make the effort, if only initially, to be “normal” (I’m being sarcastic and the translation here is “straight” for those who might have missed the point) by dating and/or having a family with somebody of the opposite gender. I know of at least one young man who likely feels as though the love and approval of his mother are fully contingent on his “fitting in and wearing the shoes of a straight male.” The judgment on his mother’s part has motivated him to make decisions that were fraught with risks, as well as consequences (and one blessing) he will have to live with all of his life. (Fortunately, I’ve confidence in him and think he is strong enough to have a happy life, regardless of the strings his mother keeps attaching to the love she feels for her boys.)

The most heart-felt and precious gift a family member can give someone is his or her love and an honest attempt to understand that which seems so foreign.

So again, I won’t say there isn’t cause to speculate “being gay” is a choice; especially when it seems so many appear to be able to be in relationships with both, the opposite and the same gender. But I suspect for the VAST MAJORITY who identify as gay or lesbian, it’s never been a matter of “choice.” It is simply a part of who and what we are, no different than the color of our eyes or the tint of our skin.

Neither is it so much about sex.

Certainly, I have (and will continue, I’m sure) made plenty of comments about the bodies of handsome, young sexy men — but in all honesty, it’s more about the “feeling of total attachment (in a healthy way) and attraction” that I feel for somebody swathed in the body of the male physique … more so than it is about “what parts fit where.”

I might enjoy the sex… (be honest, who of us doesn’t enjoy a great orgasm?) but for me it’s more about my feeling “at home” with my arms wrapped around a man — or his arms wrapped around me, for that matter. It’s about being fully attracted to somebody, in every aspect; on a sexual/physical level and as well, on an emotional/intellectual plane.

The only “choice” I ever made was to accept myself for who and what I am. So for those who fail to understand, yes, there was a choice; it just wasn’t the one you might be thinking it was.

Namaste,
Michael

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Time For Change

14 Dec

It’s been a difficult year for many; at least from the perspective of dealing with political and moral issues across the land (including a lack of confidence in our law enforcement agencies).

With regard to the latter, a calling for many on the force was once seen as commendable and honorable. What else could it be when one’s future responsibility, encouraged by his or her own life’s experiences or simply cultivated by a history of familial service, all but guaranteed a quest to protect and serve others within his or her community?

Sadly, the focus of our law enforcement agencies has slowly devolved. Rather than serving their communities (much the same as politicians were once elected to “serve their constituents”) those on the department are now encouraged to do little to nothing more than enforce the law. They’re often discouraged from deviating from procedure, lest they be disciplined by superiors or embroiled in lawsuits brought on by society’s adoption of a more litigious nature. Compounding the problem of an already frustrated force, Federal factions have negatively influenced our local departments by further encouraging an “us vs. them” mentality by providing local law enforcement with military grade weapons every time the country steps away from an initiative overseas. When you combine all of these factors, how could our police officers NOT become more brutal and desensitized over time?

In order to change that we need to break down the walls that separate the average citizen from those tasked with protecting and serving him or her. I’m not in the state-of-mind right now to say with certainty that we can accomplish that. I’m hopeful we can, but unconvinced right now.

Economic Recovery? For whom?

Along other lines, we’ve witnessed a recovery in the economy (not wholly but the economy is doing better). However, personally speaking (and there are likely many who will agree) I feel my own situation has improved only slightly. It seems while companies are realizing more profits and influence in Washington, D.C., the same isn’t true of the average man or woman on the street.

The cost of fuel to run our vehicles has dropped [considerably] over the past several months but it cost more to put food on the table, a roof over our head and health insurance, if you can afford to pay for it, is an ever-growing JOKE!

The “Affordable Care Act” has done little, in my opinion, to better the lives of those living in this country. In fact, it’s had a negative impact on my own situation and (I believe) on the lives of many of our aged and our veterans.

Lest you think I’m faulting Barack Obama, I’m not. I’m blaming every damned politician in Washington, D.C. (both parties, Democrat and Republican alike) who has failed to work together to positively influence the lives of those they were elected to represent.

Then there is the stress of watching helplessly on as both parties battle for dominance (negatively impacting the average citizen in the process).

My own Health

Health remains a concern for me; perhaps more so this year than in years past. I need to get a handle on my weight (which became an issue after treatment began for Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2006, as well as having to commence taking meds for my HIV that same year). I’ve gone from an estimated 180 pounds in 2006 to 280 pounds as of this month — and I feel that it’s high time I did something about it. I don’t believe I can continue living like this. I’m fat, I feel much older than “I should” at fifty-one and I’m depressed because of the weight (intensified by other factors in my personal life, not the least of which is my having given up on any hope for a relationship in the future).

Let’s face it I’m just not feeling very attractive or optimistic these days.

But if one need find something to give thanks for, I’ve this to offer…

We are (a) alive, (b) most have food on the table and a roof over their heads and (c) for those of us who are LGBTQ, marriage equality is fast evolving from a “hope” to something real and concrete in more and more states around the country. (Good news for those who are fortunate enough to be in relationships.)

It should be said that for all of the good that may come into our lives there is always room for personal growth and improvement.

Given my depression of late, that has been my focus this past week or two. It’s a sure sign I’ll be doing a lot of soul searching and will [hopefully] have the strength to implement a lot of changes in my own life over the next twelve months.

Friends and Family

I cherish the friendships I’ve made over the years but as with so many things, you must sometimes let go and move on with your life. That became obvious for me at a point earlier this year with regard to a couple of friends I’ve known for almost twenty years. Our relationship had become strained over the past decade. I’m certain there are things I could have done differently to improve the friendship but the tension wasn’t all one-sided. Both are good people in all other regards but I rarely came away from a visit without feeling as though I’d been judged. One always went out of his way to mention an event they were scheduled for “that was only open to couples; not singles” (like I needed to be reminded yet again that I’m single). Both felt I wasn’t involved enough in the gay community and both made it a point of reminding me I’d not been attending church as often as (in their opinion) I should. I’ve been a member of the same church since 1986 but the atmosphere there has changed over the years, seeming much less like that which first motivated me to join decades ago. Besides, my faith is very personal for me. I don’t have to be “in a building, on a Sunday” to worship. In fact, I’m more comfortable relating to God in a one-on-one situation, like out at the lake or simply in a meadow in the country.

Anyway, you get the picture. Simply put, I felt that my friendship with them was taken for granted and that I would never measure up to the standards they had set since they met one another.

I [eventually] came to the conclusion our friendship had run its course and made the difficult decision to part ways. It has been HARD the past several months because they did play a large part in my life once — but there were tensions neither seemed willing to acknowledge and work on, so…

I put that chapter and their friendship behind me.

The same may [sadly] be said of some of my family members soon. There are those [family] who’ve yet to grow the hell up; they are [still] very homophobic or so I’m told. (This is especially frustrating as they relate fine to me in person but the grousing and complaining is alleged to be going on behind my back.)

A little bit of history.

My family discovered I’m gay when I was about twenty-six; that was twenty-five years ago. It seems some cannot wrap their heads around the fact that one doesn’t “choose” to be a homosexual or a bisexual. Whatever your sexuality is, it is. YOU can work through the process of accepting who you are but you’ve little control over what others will ever think of you. They either put in the effort to learn more about sexuality; what is true and what isn’t — or they stay the same, never moving forward in such a way that they can accept you for who and what you are.

After having given them twenty-five years to accept me I’m about ready to just leave the whole lot behind and move on. If they “want to be a part of my life” THEY can make the effort to do so.

I’m not perfect but my sexuality is one thing I can’t change about myself — and I’m tired of having it brought up as a tool to “shame me” when I least expect it, or as a means for some family to undermine me with others.

To paraphrase one family member, “Fuck it; I’m done.

So…

2015 promises to be a year of change. I fully intend on changing my eating patterns and exercising at every opportunity I can. I’m going to lose this weight if it’s the last thing I do in this life; I refuse to go to the grave weighing two-hundred and eighty pounds.

For the time being, I’ve given up on believing our elected leaders will ever pull their heads out of their asses and do “the right thing” for their constituents. They’re simply too busy doing for themselves and the plutocrats who support them. I’m losing confidence that the police across the nation give a damn about the citizens they should be “protecting and serving (they’re too busy acting the parts of bullies and flexing their fucking biceps).

I’ve no control over the latter two but by God I have [some] control over my body and it’s time to implement the change I desire or die trying.

I’ll likely be spending MUCH LESS time on social networking sites (as I expect the time I’ve “been” spending on them would be better spent doing cardio, working out in the weight room and even reading).

Doing so should reduce the “drama” in my life. One thing I’ve learned over the years — repeatedly — is that you just can’t please everybody. You say something that makes one person happy and agreeable, you’ve three or four more assholes who are pissed off at you (who are often only interested in feeding their need to foment drama).

I’m tired of drama, which means it may be time to cut some people “out” of my life. I’m just me, people. I’m not perfect and I CERTAINLY have a lot I want to work on in my life “but if you can’t get over the fact that I’m queer, or that on some issues I’m quite conservative (while on others, I’m very liberal) then we will be parting ways.”

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, folks!
Michael

This will likely be my last blog entry for 2014 (not that I have blogged nearly as much this year).

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The Beast Within Russia

15 Jan

To many this is considered “old news” because the law was enacted during the summer of last year (2013). But to those of us whose brothers and sisters face anguish, antagonism, vitriolic hatred, physical beatings and (worst case scenario) even death this isn’t old news at all.

In Russia, young men and women live in fear for their lives (just because of what and who they are) If they’re the least bit open about their sexuality.

The British protestor depicted in the embedded video is correct. If this draconian law were instead focused on persons of color (black people) or targeted a segment of society for its religious beliefs (or background, such as those of Jewish descent), there would be an overwhelming outrage; one such that the Olympic Committee would have been forced to revisit its decision to hold the Winter games in Sochi, Russia. However, because the law is “anti-gay” in nature — well, it’s just easier to digest and turn a blind eye to I suppose.

I’ve written the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and as well have signed a petition asking that they take a stand on this issue. My comments to the head of the committee read as follows:

IF the IOC cannot bring itself to do something about this outlandish and discriminatory practice from the Russian government then I will assure you that I (1) will not watch any of the games, (2) will make it clear to ALL of those who purchase advertising for the games that I’ll not be purchasing their products or services so long as the games are taking place in Russia, (3) will not purchase games memorabilia, (4) will write the networks “carrying” the games to advise them of my intent not to watch any of their daily programming during the time that the games are going on — and as well, will further research how I and other like-minded persons may negatively impact the International Olympic Committee and the games held in Russia. I have the greatest respect for the athletes and am saddened that my actions may have a negative effect on them in some fashion but in all honesty, you have had entirely enough time to get off of your ass and initiate a proactive response toward Russia and its policies with regard to this matter. (What you SHOULD have done was either move the damn games or simply call them off until the next set of games were scheduled to take place. I have lost ALL matter of confidence and respect for the IOC at this point in time — and I do know with certainty that others feel similarly.)

And I meant every word. Am I angry? Yes, I am (and as you read further you will understand just why this should anger you as well).

Has anything changed?

We have made a lot of headway in North America regarding LGBTQ issues; acceptance and understanding, tolerance and even equality to a larger degree in many states. Still, there are far too many who unfairly judge and openly discriminate against the gay, lesbian and transgender communities. LGBTQ teens and young adults by and large face higher risks; more attempt suicide, struggle with depression, are homeless and bullied, both online and offline daily — but there has been progress (just not so much in Russia!)

Russian President Vladimir PutinIt’s now open season on all who are even perceived to be gay/lesbian or transgendered in Russia, the vast majority attempting to justify their violent actions by linking homosexuality to pedophilia (a claim that has been debunked many times over).

And Russia’s “head douche-bag”, President Vladimir Putin has made it clear that the homophobic State Duma (the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia) has his full support and praise.

The law passed in Russia only this past summer bans all “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations.” Propaganda? The law is written so broadly, it’s wide open to interpretation and the perfect tool of choice to enable the police/courts and prejudiced, uninformed citizens (who are waging war on all things LGBTQ) to abuse our brothers and sisters living or visiting there. Most of what I’m reading in the news demonstrates that the law has pushed back human rights for gays and lesbians decades (or more), giving those who are prejudiced renewed motivation to discriminate, humiliate and torture LGBTQ persons in public.

For instance, a group of young men and women gather together (not unlike a rogue pack of filthy, wild dogs) weekly to go on what they refer to as “safaris.” Their sole purpose during these events is to target gay men and women, beating them severely. I believe it’s only a matter of time before they actually kill someone (or perhaps that’s already occurred and we simply don’t know about it … yet!) This ill-educated band of social misfits feel so empowered by the state, they film their attacks and upload the videos to a website for others to view. It’s as if they are peacocks preening their feathers; the difference being that these “lumbering ostriches” aren’t at all, all that beautiful — nor are their crimes of misled passion.

That is the effect this hateful law has had; it simply encourages the most dull-witted and hateful among Russia’s citizens to become more and more violent, seemingly with the state’s permission and encouragement.

Vladimir Putin must be so proud.

Related Links:

  • HUFFPOST GAY VOICESThe Heartbreaking Story Of Two Gay Men Who Were Forced To Flee Russia “Oleg Dussaev, 33, and Dmitriy Stepanov, 30, fled Moscow in October last year after allegedly being beaten up, harassed and intimidated by anti-gay vigilantes. Their careers met an abrupt end after Oleg came out publicly on Facebook in August.”

  • The IndependentRussian politician Vitaly Milonov brands Stephen Fry ‘sick’ during anti-gay rant “Mr Milonov met Mr Fry in St Petersburg in March this year when the broadcaster was filming a documentary on gay people’s experiences across the world and he interviewed the politician. The comment was part of a long, offensive rant by the politician and lawmaker, who likened homosexuality to perversion.”

  • CBS NewsRussian anti-gay bill passes, protesters detained

  • ALLOUT.orgSend a message to Thomas Bach, IOC President

  • DallasVoice.comOut on the Street: Homeless LGBT youth in Dallas often turn to drugs, prostitution if social workers don’t find them first – and advocates say they need the community’s help.

  • DailyKos.com on homosexuality and pedophilia — “The simplest understanding of this, and a very correct understanding is to see that sexual abuse isn’t about sexual orientation or sexual attraction. Unattractive people are often victims of sexual abuse and sexual violence. Sexual violence and abuse is about power, domination, and control. It’s not about sexual attraction.

  • (SPLC) Southern Poverty Law Center 10 Anti-Gay Myths Debunked — [Excerpt] “These fairy tales are important to the anti-gay right because they form the basis of its claim that homosexuality is a social evil that must be suppressed — an opinion rejected by virtually all relevant medical and scientific authorities.”

  • ABC News online: Russia expels David Satter, US journalist critical of Vladimir Putin — [Excerpt] “In one of his books, Darkness at Dawn, Satter accuses the Federal Security Service (FSB), a successor of the Soviet-era KGB, of being responsible for bombings of Russian apartment buildings in 1999 which killed more than 300 people.”

  • Google Search including the keywords anti-gay, law and Russia.

  • Google Search including the keywords Russia, “Vitaly Milonov” and anti-gay.

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Welcoming In The New Year

01 Jan

We all do it; some successfully and some not so much. It’s something we feel “obliged” to do at the close of one year and the commencement of another, those pesky resolutions.

I’ve made more than my fair share of commitments to better my life in years past. As I grew much older, I began to make fewer and fewer (as it was depressing to start the year off with statements I’d have to chew on and digest only a short twelve months later). We do that, you know; we sometimes take on more than we want — or ought — to take on with a public proclamation! We live our lives with such abandon when we are young, feeling as though anything is possible and as we grow older it seems so easy to be overwhelmed by the history of questionable decisions, the weathered and weary influence of promises made and broken — not to mention the baggage accumulated from the actions of those we once held dear, who did seemingly let us down along the way.

The truth is our biggest offender is oft ourselves.

With age comes wisdom, but also one must be careful not to allow the “cynicism” to wend its way into the heart. “What good ever came of handing the keys of one’s spiritual household over to cynicism,” I ask you?

Nothing; nothing good at all ever came of losing hope and allowing disappointment to reign supreme over your life. And so it is I suggest you be gentle with yourself; forgive the one who stares back from the mirror for whatever past indiscretions he or she may be held responsible for and allow the dreams you had as a young child to come out of hiding.

The close of another year is your opportunity to reflect upon the past. Ask yourselves, “What did work for me?” (and what did not). Redirect your personal efforts for a happier, perhaps leisurely future (just don’t let your tomorrows become too leisurely, lest you find yourself in a pine box, 6-feet underground prematurely).

In reflecting…

I recognize I’ve allowed myself to become complacent with my life, cynical and angrier than I’d have wanted to be (focusing on the political misdeeds of others and the lack of progress I’d thought to see in the world about me by this time in my life 1 ). But that isn’t the only reason for my anger; no, I’m more angry with myself for not realizing these “mature” years could gain ground so quickly! (Just where the feck DID they come from?!) *laughter*

As a young lad, I’d hoped to see the change I sought fully recognized before my departure from this world — and that time seems closer at hand as each New Year rings in. But still, progress [much] has been achieved and I’m very thankful for that.

We express our dissatisfaction with the world about us and the real question becomes, “Can we do so without allowing that which we despise to influence our overall attitude and outlook?” (Perhaps a tad irrational but I’m hoping we can, or at the very least break the vicious circle of influence long enough to come out the other side a little less damaged.)

I’ve seen my boyhood hometown change over time and (missing the naiveté that childish dreams afford) often refused to appreciate the “changes” because I was too busy missing and wishing to revisit the haunts of memories past — but you can never really “go back.” All you can hope to do is forge a new path forward.

Every challenge I’ve ever [successfully] met has been through the slow and steady trudging of putting “one foot in front of the other.” Cancer was overcome with a “certainty I’d survive [it]” — that and chemo (four months of the dastardly poison). A broken heart and loss of self-confidence was overcome by staying the course and allowing myself to “live” again – each day, until the pains of the past slowly became a memory with no real, lasting effect on the present. HIV? That has been more difficult (because it’s a constant reminder of a relationship I “should” have ended much sooner than I did, but…) I suppose the answer to this disease has been the acceptance and the willingness to take responsibility for my exposure, even if the decision(s) that led to such was based upon the lies of another. You must take charge of your own life; that is all I’m saying. Own it and make the best of it. If there’s something more you want from life then by all means, go for your dreams; slow, steady and methodically. Don’t give up on them, regardless of what others may say. For giving up is the only true obstacle that can keep you apart from achieving your heart’s desires.

And if you did temporarily throw in the towel, who is to say you can’t pick it right back up? Get in there, decide what (about your life) you’d like to change and start moving in that direction. It may not (and likely won’t) be easy but if you stay the course, allowing yourself a rest now and again, you’re likely to arrive. Don’t beat yourself up for the small “missteps” because we ALL experience those; just keep walking in the general direction of where you’d like to be — and there’ll come the day when you’ll be out of the woods and into the clearing where your dreams reside.

Oh, and you don’t have to explain yourself to everyone else or make your proclamations public. Just start walking toward your dreams.

Best wishes and Namaste,
Michael

Footnotes:

1 Yes, it pains me, the grievous actions of those elected to represent us at the highest levels of government and consequently, has left me somewhat cynical. Certainly, don’t for a moment think I’m suggesting we set aside the actions of such purposeful self-interested persons who steal, rape and plunder; no, address such acts we must – but don’t allow THEIR crimes to define the way you yourself look out upon and walk amongst the rest of the world, or fail to fully enjoy all of the beauty it has to offer.

(The same goes for approaching the hypocrites in the world who are quick to lay claim to religious faith yet do very little to call attention to the shameful, atrocious behavior of their more judgmental, callous and less open-minded brothers and sisters.) That said, there is [much] to gain from having “faith” in a higher power, my personal opinion; just saying.

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Taking Offense

29 Dec

My timing could not be worse (being that we are only just now coming off of the tail end of celebrating the Christmas holiday) but this post has been a long time in the making.

I thought about creating a graphic and to tell the truth, that PROBABLY would be the best way to get my point across — but I’m not going to expend the time on doing so.

I’ll simply say what I feel and leave it at that. Family members who are offended are welcome to un-friend me; same goes for friends and acquaintances who may find what I’m about to say offensive.

Personally, I don’t feel you SHOULD find it offensive but it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve misjudged how others would receive something I have to say — and it certainly won’t be the last.

So, to start…

I believe in a higher power (call that power God, Yahweh, Spirit, the One, choose your own label). I’ve always believed there was “a plan” — a higher calling — but I’m NOT going to pretend that I believe in everything ever regurgitated from the pulpit or in Sunday School growing up.

How on earth could I believe “everything” if so much is left out?

In the Christian faith, most who have an issue with another’s sexuality (be the other gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, simply questioning, what have you…) justify their unease and their “judgment” by what they THINK is said in the Bible. The simple truth is there is VERY LITTLE indeed said on the subject of homosexuality; most of what our detractors believe is simply the consequence of their mistaken translation of scripture and taking shit out of context!

But you know what? EVEN IF there were a myriad of passages speaking to the subject, the one premise remains…

Pretty much every Christian alive who has an issue with LGBTQ persons is a hypocrite (because he or she is focused on ONE topic while disregarding every other “thou shalt not” that is spelled out in the good book). Do not give me this crap about “Old Testament” vs. “New Testament” either; either believe and follow everything (if you must judge others) or nothing at all but quit picking and choosing your damned poison.

Also, I’ve given a lot of latitude to others for their beliefs in the past. I’ve defended good people who were seemingly attacked for their Christian faith but who themselves rarely, if ever, went out of their own way to judge others. I’ve given a lot of latitude to those who are practicing Wiccans because, just as with any other form of faith, it’s their choice to believe as they do. I’ve been very forgiving of Atheists, even when they “go out of their damn way to ATTACK the religious beliefs of others, many of whom were/are my friends.” (Trust me when I say I am NOT impressed by that crap, however!)

In fact, I’m going to take a final opportunity to explain just WHY I’m over that kind of crap (because I don’t expect to belabor the point after today).

To the Atheists reading:

You don’t recognize Christmas? Don’t celebrate it then but do NOT try and offend, attack and belittle others for celebrating the holiday. Why must you go out of your way to try and take the “Christ” out of Christmas? If you do not believe, okay! You don’t believe; doesn’t mean that you have to be a damned prick about it, going out of your way to offend for the sake of offending. DON’T feel as though you’re “entitled” to put a damned display up next to a nativity scene either. If you don’t celebrate the holiday then simply go on with yourself and do whatever it is that you would be doing on any other day of the week, month and year. I can respect that but this b.s. where Atheists (or any other religion for that matter) try to “take over” a holiday that’s set aside FOR those who are practicing Christians is just a childish attempt to poke such believers in the eye with their own statement that they [you] don’t believe in Christ, God, etc.

I’m FINE with it if you do not believe in a higher power; just quit acting like a damned child and insisting you be given the opportunity to offend everyone else FOR believing. That isn’t a “right”; it’s a TANTRUM and you damned well know it.

[End rant regarding Atheists, etc. who are doing all they can to disrupt Christmas — and any other Christian holiday for that matter — for others]

Now…
[BEGIN rant about the Christians]

As you can clearly see, I’ve gone out of my way —- just now and many times in the past —- to defend the right of Christians to believe and practice the faith as you might see fit. That said, I’m taking a sabbatical from defending and here is the simple reason why.

For all of my efforts to defend and keep an open mind… For all of the wonderful friends and family I’m blessed to know who ARE practicing Christians… It NEVER seems as though any of you are taking the initiative to call out those conservatives who judge, demean, bully and attempt to cast restrictions and hurtful comments toward those with whom they [obviously] despise and clearly do not even attempt to fully understand. The actions of such hateful, so-called Christians are anything but Christ-like and the vast majority of those who are more open-minded and less judgmental will agree with such a statement — yet where is the criticism of these vile “Christian pretenders”? Why must I or any other gay man or woman be the one to take offense and call the actions of such persons into question first? I appreciate those [Christians] who consequently agree and come to our defense but why can’t those who claim to be “better than their odious counterparts” do us all a favor and start calling their own brethren out on their hateful, hurtful, bullying comments for a change, rather than simply joining in after the fact? I have to tell you, I’m tired of feeling as though I have to be the one —- as one of those being attacked by such assholes —- who must take the fight TO them.

So…

If I’m to feel so alone in this fight then “I’m going to seriously question whether I need to take any kind of lead in a defense on behalf of all [other] Christians in the fight against the Atheists (and others) attempting to diminish and belittle the [real] Christian faith.” I’ve my hands full and I’m going to start picking my own battles a little more carefully for a while.

Perhaps I’ll have a change of heart if I see some hopeful changes in the conduct of others.

That is all.
Michael

A good man once said…

I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.

Mahatma Gandhi

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Medals for Mediocrity

21 Oct

Definition of mediocrityWhat are we teaching our children today. (Okay, in all fairness I don’t have kids so perhaps the question should be “What are you teaching your children”?)

Recently, it’s become a pattern to give kids a medal for “participating” (for just showing up, regardless of whether they were prepared, put any effort into the competition or were skilled.). I know this because I’ve seen it firsthand over and over. The message seems to be that it’s alright to be lazy, to be motivated not to improve one’s skills and hone his or her craft.

All that matters is that you show up — and you deserve a medal just for doing so.

Not!


Read the rest of this entry »

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Long Time In The Making

09 Mar

Ever feel like screaming because everything you once knew is “off limits”? That’s me of recent…

Anyone following my rants on Facebook or even my blog entries for some time now should be able to easily see that I’ve allowed myself to become very cynical. Of course, that really shouldn’t be such a surprise when you work 40-plus hours a week in a job that is filled with tension, surrounded by people who are not happy themselves and who are always bitching and/or gossiping about others. (Yes, I work with a bunch of women. Even the most staunch among the female race will readily admit an office dominated by the “fairer sex” can and often is a VERY DIFFICULT environment to navigate within. I feel empathy for your menstruation cycles but Christ, MUST you take it out on every man alive when the bloody river rises — as it most certainly will each and every month?) {shakes-head}

So considering:

  • The office with all of these combative women and their monthly cycles of pure terror;
  • The dolts in Washington, D.C. who refuse to do their jobs lest they appear weak and unwilling to deviate from their party’s official position (regardless of whether it’s good for the country or even in line with what the majority of their own constituents would have them present). Partisan politics, God save us all(!);
  • Assholes on the Internet who feel it’s their right (and perhaps even their DUTY) to bully anybody who dares have an opinion or set of values that differs from their own;
  • And the far-reaching overreactions of those same dolts in Washington, D.C. who, in the wake of the tragic deaths of school-age children at Sandy Hook Elementary are now irresponsibly attempting to circumvent the rights of all “law-abiding” citizens as guaranteed us under the Constitution (in order to push through their version of an extremist liberal agenda of gun control).

You might be thinking, “How strange for a comment such as the last one to be coming from Michael, a self-professed and registered Democrat who holds many among the Republican Party in disdain for pushing what he believes to be an irrationally religious and homophobic agenda.”

You’d be justified to ponder the why of this but the simple answer is, “It’s the politics of the extremists that are holding everyone hostage [today] and that is what truly disgusts me the most. “Partisan politics be damned; just do the job we voted you in to do already!” That’s my message to the politicians.

In light of the above, I think it’s rather easy to understand why I have become so cynical in recent years.

I’m simply exhausted; tired of hearing people whose heads appear to be permanently fixated upon or thrust far up into their arses, who can’t seem to understand they shouldn’t take everything they hear “at face value.” All would be well-advised to do a little bit of studying; of our own history and of the values (not simply the rhetoric and self-professed values, but the REAL values held by those they have already elected or are considering for a seat of power).

We need to put in the work if we truly want to see the results we yearn for — and we need to FIRE the people in Washington, D.C. who do NOT have our own best interests at heart but rather, are yielding to those lobbying on behalf of businesses who truly don’t give a crap about anything but their own profit (regardless of the real costs, both in dollars and inasmuch as our civil rights are concerned – to the rest of us).

Certainly, none of what I’m saying should be coming as “news” to you and I know that this entry has, not surprisingly come off as yet another rant.

The rants are why I deactivated my Facebook account for a minimum of 6-months only recently. I’d grown weary of seeing links to alleged news about events or agendas at the federal level that only left me feeling angrier, dissatisfied and more hopeless than I was feeling in the moments just before I’d read the article.

In this fast-paced era where “news” travels in a millisecond, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed or overcome with rage at a world that has seemingly “totally and hopelessly” spun out of control.

For that reason, I decided to pull the plug on one of the sources (Facebook) of my own frustration for a short six months. I’ll revisit the decision at the end of that period and will decide whether I want to reactivate the account. We shall see; meanwhile, I’ll blog from time to time and spend more of my energy trying to lose the weight I’ve gained over the years. The same weight I often complain about when long-lost friends see me for the first time in years. {laughs}

Namaste,
Michael

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