04 February 2011

Real, unedited drafts of a "Coming Out" letter

Mother, father, brother (deep sigh),
I have something to say. This is not exactly easy for me. But it’s something I have to say. I’m gay. And I don’t care what you think. I really don’t.

***

Mom, dad, and Daniel,

I have something I have to say. This is something I need to say: I’m gay. But I think that me actually saying it is a lot more, is the right thing to do instead of pretending like it doesn’t exist. So, now we know we don’t have to pretend it’s not there. But, this is only one small part of it me. And it should not impact any part of our family dynamic (not that there is one)

Thank you.

***

Mom, Dad, and DJ,

There is something I need to say.

I have something I need to say.

I have something I have to say.

I’m gay. Now some of you may or may not have already of known but I need to say it. I need you know and that nothing is going to change. Not the way we treat each other or how we act toward one another. Besides unless you’re kicking one out of the family I don’t give a fuck what you think anyway. You’ll just have to accept it as a small part of who I am. Which I think you already do.

***

Dear Mom, Dad, and Daniel
I have something I need to say to all of you. This is something that has been on my mind and I am finally comfortable enough talking about. I am gay. This maybe something that some of you may or may not have already known but now I’m saying it and that is important to me. So shut and be happy for me.

***

Mom, Dad, Daniel,
I have something that has been on my mind and I am finally ready and feel I need to tell you all…I’m gay; this may come as a shock to some. Not a shock to others.

***

Mom, Dad, Daniel,

I have something that I need to say.

This is something that has been on my mind for quite awhile and I am finally comfortable enough with myself to actually be talking about it. Mom, Dad, DJ, I’m gay. To some this may come as a surprise. To some it may not. But most importantly I’m actually comfortable with myself. A radical concept for me. But don’t feel bad! Let’s run down the list of famous gays Freddy Mercury, David Sedaris, Nathan Lane, Abraham Lincoln, Shakespeare, Hitler, Dr. Seuss, Charles Manson, John Waters, I could be famous!

Point on conversation: Practice makes perfect.

- Grant Canyon

03 February 2011

I am still a Gemini


News came out a few weeks ago: I am no longer a Gemini, but rather a Taurus. Ok, Ok: only if I were born yesterday or after January 2009. Nothing against Taureans (spelling?), but my mother is a Taurus and her personality is totally not mine. True to the sign, she is stubborn and most times determined to let people know it. Me? I am an entanglement of paradoxes. The yin and the yang. The good and the bad. The top and the bottom.

So speaking of, recently I have ventured away from my online nom de plume: sub bottom. My experience has been interesting to say the least, but over time I have gotten the hang of it. To be totally honest, I love lying on my back, getting on all fours, or being bent over a balcony banister. But in my older, more open-minded days I decided to attempt the world of top-dom and see what all the hub-bub was about.

Bernard was my guinea pig - a Cali surfer dude who prided himself in being the same sub bottom I always claimed to be. He invited me over to his place having moved into town recently due to job relocation. Blonde wavy hair, blue eyes, golden tan, abs of steel, he had me over for a couple of brews and some light conversation: what do you do on your spare time? What is your favorite movie? How do you want to fuck me?

When we got to the boudoir, he showed off his trick-jaw and non-existent gag-reflex. Pretty talented guy, if you must know. His lean body was easy to manage, manipulate, and flip over so I could lube him up and enter through his exit. As I rolled on a rubber, my heart started racing. He whispered, “Put it in.” With a deep breath, I plunged in. At first, all I could hear was circus theme music because I was fumbling awkwardly with my positioning behind him between his legs as he squirmed. But then I heard it: he moaned and started gyrating. I knew what he was doing; my years of experience as a power bottom told me that he was trying to get some deeper penetration. Success! So I gave it. And gave it. And gave it. Flipped him onto his back, threw his legs onto my shoulders and kept going until he barely touched himself to only give himself his own facial.

Proud, I gave one more thrust for good measure - at which point I could have spit on him and slapped him across the face, but I didn't - and flopped next to him on the bed staring at the ceiling. “Did I enjoy that? But I didn’t finish. Was that any indication? I don’t think I truly did. How do I know?” I discussed with myself.

After a long exhale, he asked: “You ready to go again?”

Point of the conversation: “We are who we are.” Ke$ha

- DeeCue

02 February 2011

Gay Teens on TV

I love Entertainment Weekly; my favorite day of the week is when that magazine shows up in my mailbox. (A Christmas gift from my sister from a couple of years ago that JUST KEEPS GIVING--thanks Amy!).

It was an extra-special day when the recent "Special Report" edition arrived, with the cover story on "Gay Teens on TV," and cute-as-buttons Darren Criss (Blaine) and Chris Colfer (Kurt) of Glee sharing a tender moment on the cover.

This makes me happy for several reasons:

I love Glee. Something about the musical numbers moves me to tears every single week, and the bullying theme this year is just brilliant. Kurt’s dad has been supportive of his gay son from the get-go. Blaine’s version of "Teenage Dream" was better than Katy Perry’s, and how about the gorgeous duet of "Baby, It’s Cold Outside" between Blaine and Kurt on the Christmas episode. I could go on...

As the article points out, TV was sorely lacking in gay characters for years, at least ones who weren’t “one-time guest stars, whispered tragedies and silly sidekicks." (Check out my earlier post on gay TV characters here). Acceptance of gays continues to rise, as polls and recent political gains confirm, and TV watchers very clearly make that case by inviting the same gay characters into their homes each week.

EW notes that demographics have changed too: the average coming-out age is 16 now, while about 20 years ago, most gays didn’t come out until college. Also, the percentage of schools with gay-straight alliances is at 45%. That’s up from 25% in 2001 (and 0% when I went to high school, not all that long ago).

Perhaps more importantly, the storylines speak to kids AND parents. On Glee, for example, Kurt’s dad looks and acts like what he is: a small-town guy from the Midwest, a mechanic, a man’s man with average intelligence and sensitivities. But he's also shown himself to be a dad who immediately supported his son when he came out and has continued to stand by him, fiercely and loyally, in every situation. I hope that parents who watch Glee with their kids are taking their cues from him. That’s when it will really get better.

From a corporate standpoint, EW says there have been no controversies for Glee--no boycotts, protests, or episodes blacked out by the local broadcaster, as has happened in the past to gay-themed TV episodes. In fact, Glee will take over the most coveted, hyped, and celebrated TV spot of the year, when it airs directly after the Super Bowl later this week. Since currency is king, this is obviously an important measure of mainstream acceptance for the show’s gay sensibility.

It’s amazing to see how far gay characters--and therefore gays--have come. As Jarrett Barrios, president of Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) says, “This increasing number of story lines makes it impossible to assume there are no gay people around you. It makes it uncool to be a bully.” Amen.

- Maura McGurk

Maura is an artist who paints about issues related to gay rights. Please check out her paintings at http://mauramcgurk.com

01 February 2011

No Strings Attached

The first time I ever really went on a date with a guy was to an amusement park - roller coaster rides, cotton candy, the works. We had it all planned out. He would get the tickets and transportation and I would look through the rides ahead of time to see which ones would be worth the wait in line. I searched for reviews and carefully cross-referenced with the map. You know, wanting to get the biggest bang for our buck. By the time he picked me up, I had the battle plan all laid out!

We get there and find a TON of people. The more we packed into the bottle-neck of the entrance, the tighter I held onto “The Plan” I had printed out. After we got through the entrance, I asked him where he wanted to go first. It wasn’t the first ride on the battle “The Plan” and found myself throwing caution to the wind within five minutes of arriving. But how could I say no when he looked me in the eyes and smiled?

The first ride was great and had a military theme to it. One of those rides where your feet dangled down, whipping side to side around sharp corners. After the first big loop, I laughed with a great big grin. When I glanced over at my date, he looked at me through sunglasses with a slight grin seemingly oblivious to the ride itself. This only made me grin more!

The second ride was a swing that flipped you upside down and shook you – which sounded great. Paying little attention to the sign that said to “Secure all personal items,” we went gung-ho to find seats. The ride started building up momentum to invert us. Just as we were flipped upside down, it stopped with a jerk. With that jerk, my glasses fell off into the water below. Those few seconds seemed like minutes as I watched my glasses, the only things that brought clarity to the world, fall into the gray-green water below. I wanted to die, crawl under a rock and die.

The ride ended and I was lost. Fortunately, my date took me by the shoulder and we talked to the operator. They stopped the ride – COMPLETELY – and turned away all the people in line. Mortified and blinded, I was solely dependent on this guy who HAD to think I was an idiot. I certainly thought I was one. They got a maintenance guy who waded into the murky gray-green water to fish out my glasses. After a grueling 10-15 minutes, he found them. I got them back and clutched onto them for dear life. We headed to the nearest bathroom so I could wash them off. After, I put them on. In the relief of them having found a pair of glasses, I failed to notice these were NOT my glasses. More mortified that I thought possible, we went back, they stopped the ride again, and the maintenance guy once again waded through the murky water - again he found a pair of glasses (this time mine).

I was done. I was thoroughly embarrassed. With my tail between my legs, I apologized to my date and asked if we could just leave. But then he placed his hand on my shoulder, took his sunglasses off, looked me square in the eye, and said “It’s alright.” We ended having a great time the rest of the evening – but only after we got one of those strings to hold your glasses on your head!

Point of the conversation: While no strings attached makes for interesting stories, “it’s alright” with them.

- Rusty Peters

31 January 2011

My friend, My brother


When I was 17, I met a 14 year old that would change my life forever. I was working at a Lil’ Grocer market, which was much like a 7-11, only worse. The night manager, David, was a great guy, always laughing and held a sense of humor that would have made it worth being there for free, let alone the minimum wage of $3.35 I was making at the time. It’s amazing to look back and remember how rich I thought myself for making such money. Ah, hindsight… my old friend!

My first night there, this young boy walks in, talks to Dave and comes to the cooler to help me stock milk and other cold products. My still being rather quiet and shy, I said very little to this kid, but he kept talking to me. He told me his name was Jason, and he was precocious and hyper, and had a natural aura of happiness and humor about him; something he got from his father, whom I found out shortly thereafter, was my Manager, David. We talked a bit, and he was scolded for wasting time, and left.

The next day, I had come into the store as a customer and saw him there again. We started talking and it was as if we had known one another our entire lives. We had an instant connection, and he came back to my parent’s house, where I still lived, and we watched the new VHS rental release of Born in East L.A. OK, not a great movie, but it cemented the foundation of a new friendship.

Over the next few years, I finally, if not slower than snot in winter, began coming out of the closet. This turned out to be very difficult for him to understand or accept, as he looked up to me as a big brother, the kind of guy he thought he should be, and I went from dressing like a hard-core rocker with torn jeans, t-shirts with profane directions and long hair falling past my shoulders, to an almost overnight preppy with collared neon shirts (Hey, it was the 80’s) and a short, neat haircut. He was confused and started avoiding me, and my heart began to crush under the weight of the distance that was developing between us.

While his father was always fun and great to me, I learned that at home, he was an abusive pot-head that kept his children second to everything; so when his mother, who lived in Kentucky, was able to afford the airline ticket, he flew out to see her for Christmas, and never came back. I lost my dearest friend, and the only person who really knew me at all. My heart felt as though a piece were taken from it, and left un-whole. But, life moved on and I went from relationship to relationship, having lost all contact with him as he was now somewhere up in the Appalachian Mountains never to be seen or heard from again. Until one night, when I came home and my boyfriend told me about a strange call he had received from someone named Jason and handed me a note with a scribbled phone number. My heart leaped as high as my spirit, and I was on the phone to him within seconds. As though no time had passed at all, we picked up right where we left off, catching one another up on our lives that had passed by. It had been several years and yet we spoke as if we had seen one another only that morning.

A few weeks later I flew out to Kentucky and visited him in Whitesburg, spent 2 weeks there and realized how much he had grown up. He was no longer that kid, and no longer looked up to me. He had surpassed me in every way possible, and in his presence, I started to feel like the small child, especially in such a foreign environment as this. If you have never been to the Deep South, then going there for the first time as a California native was much akin to visiting a foreign country; albeit, a beautiful one that I fell in love with.
Over the next 7 years Jason joined the army, and I surprised him by flying back out for his graduation from boot camp at Fort Knox, and attended his wedding that same week. We never lost contact again. His first born daughter was given my last name as her middle, and was my god-daughter. Three children and a couple more years passed, and he had made the decision that it was time for him to come home. He came out to California and in a time when no one could find work, he secured a great job and a new home in 24 hours. I flew out with him back to Kentucky and drove back to California driving the moving truck and his family. He was here again, and my life had seemed to find that missing piece that had been lost for so many years.

Today, he is the most amazing father and husband anyone could ask for. He got over his childish insecurity about my being gay, so much so that, when I got married in 2008, he stood by me as my best man, and marched for opposition against Proposition 8 that was meant to abolish gay marriage in California. To those who know us, we are simply best of friends. To one another, we are brothers joined at the thought; to me, he is the friend who saved me from a loneliness in life that no lover, family member or husband could understand or fill. He is the part of me that was missing at birth and having come full circle, he is back in my life, and we feel complete and on equal ground. We both have our families, but to one another, we will always be something very different. Beyond the relationship of lovers or friends, family or acquaintances, we have an unspoken and mutual understanding of one another, feel each other’s pain and can brighten one another’s mood with a no-holds bared understanding. Jason is not just the best friend I could hope for, but despite the constant challenges life has thrown at him, he is the best human being this world could hope to have, and because of him, my life is richer, and I am a better person for having him, a true brother, in my world.

Point of the conversation: Keep your friends close . . . full stop.

- Shaun Taylor