Monday, April 25, 2005

Ever Run Out of Things To Say?

I have. For now at least. I am closing on my NEW house next week, and I am super pumped and nervous all at once. This is my first house kids, so it's a big step.

Due to that and some other stuff, I have been pretty busy, which means I haven't kept up on news, current events, blogs, etc. as much as I usually do. The result is that I have little to say now.

I did read a blog entry at Gays For Life that I liked a lot. Gay and conservative with a lot to say on abortion. I gave him a bit of a hard time about his posts on gays being too negative. He clarified for me (which I greatly appreciated) and then took my 'conservatives spend too much time on gays' post a bit further. Good points. Check it out here.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Religious Right Focused on Gays

I was thinking back today about my post on whether the religious right really thinks about gays that much. Sometimes I think maybe since I am gay, I think about gays more than normal people do. You know what, I probably do.

But, no matter which way you want to pretend to slice it, the religious right think about gays a little bit too much too.

Completely on a whim, I went to Focus on the Family's online news broadcast (actually Randy was on there, and I wanted to listen to it, but I couldn't play it here at work). So, I went into the archives section and decided to look at the last 10 daily broadcasts (from 4/11-4/22). And, guess what I found. Every single day had at least one topic pertaining specifically to homosexauality, and 3 of the days talked about the issue in 2 separate sessions.

Man, for all of the people that tell me that most Christians just see homosexuality as one of the myriad sins out there, it sure does seem like there is a lot of focus on it. Just so I am clear- guess how many times they spoke about divorce- 0, drugs- 2, abortion- 5. I picked those issues because 1) divorce is comparable in my mind to homosexuality because it is a sexual sin according to the bible, but it is allowed by the right and 2) drugs and abortion are hot-button political issues, just like homosexuality. Oh yeah, the didn't mention alcoholism, crime, smoking or a whole host of others at all.

Check it out for yourself.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Texas House- No Foster Kids for Gays

The Texas House passed a childcare reform bill today that would bring sweeping changes to the state's foster care program. Sounds like a good plan and all, except that Rep. Robert Talton through in a little Ammendment that would prevent gay, bisexual, and lesbian Texans to be foster care parents.

Honestly, I haven't this mad/upset about an issue in a very long while. First of all, Talton added this little ammendment to the bill after the bill was introduced because he knew very well this type of thing would not pass on its own. In fact, the ammendment has been introduced as an independent bill several times, and it has been voted down several times. Talton managed to get good Republican support because the main part of the bill was so important. This is politics at its very worst.

A couple of key points of this bill. First, it allows the state to conduct a "reasonable investigation" to decide if a person is actually gay. What exactly is a reasonable investigation? Currently, estimates put an additional $8 million per year tab on the state to conduct such absurd investigations. I'd venture to say that this money would be coming out of the operating expenses of other investigations to determine whether or not foster parents are actually doing a good job.

Second, this bill would remove foster kids in current homes from any home where there is a gay person. We are talking about current kids here, taken away from stable, happy homes just because someone there is gay. Estimates here say 1,200 kids would be left without homes as a result of this. This from a state that already has a big problem finding enough foster parents for kids.

Last, the bill would include all foster homes, even those where there is a familial relationship, no matter how close. This means if something happened to my parents, my 9 year old sister would have to go with strangers, rather than staying with a brother that loves her and wants nothing but the best for her. For people that claim to be pro-family, this really looks more like ripping families apart to me.

Make no mistake, this is about rights. The anti gay-marriage crowd has been claiming all along that a vote against gay marriage wouldn't affect the rights of gay people, but this bill very much does. Under this bill, gays would lose the right to be foster parents, and I don't think it is too much of a jump to assume adoption may be next. Heck, why don't we have CPS take kids away from all gays. I mean, if they can't be good enough to be foster parents, they certainly aren't good enough to raise kids at all.

My Rep, Martha Wong, thankfully broke party lines to vote against this bill. Thank you Martha. Hears hoping the Senate dumps this trash of an ammendment when they vote on the final bill.

More on how the votes fell and more discussion at PinkDome. There are lots of others out there up in arms about this.

What a terrible political ploy. If this is so important and what the state wants, why tack it on to another bill? I hope the Senate comes to their senses on this one. I'll be doing whatever I can to get this tossed out. Man I am mad.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Being Gay and the Bible

Nick is currently having a very good discussion on his blog about homosexuality and the typical "anti-gay" passages cited in the Bible.

Of course, he and I will probably end up disagreeing on what many of the passages mean, but he is being very honest and open with his discussion, and I think it is worth a look.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

William Rehnquist is the Liberal's Pope

According to Rush Limbaugh, William Rehnquist is the Pope of the liberals. He made this absurd statement on his show last Friday. The rest of the Supreme Court, of course, is the College of Cardinals.

Is the most conservative member of the court (and one of the only members conservative radio hosts still call conservative) really appropriately referred to as the Pope of the liberals? I bet Rehnquist would be less than happy to hear this comparison.

You know, sometimes I think Rush really doesn't think these thinks all the way through before he talks.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

We Don't Say, "I am Cancer"

Ben over at Scattered Words has an interesting post up currently. In the post, he compares the acceptance of being gay to the acceptance of having cancer. He says that even though many cancers are not treatable, people still try to fight the disease. He says that people that suffer from same sex attraction should do the same.

I'll admit, for a while in life, this type of analogy did cause to do a lot of self-evaluation. Let's not forget, for most of my life I tried everything I could think of not to be gay (short of "treatment"). However, these days I think the analogy misses the point.

The big difference is that one is a disease and the other simply isn't (no matter what some "conservatives" may have you believe. People do not die of homosexuality, but those who fail to overcome homosexuality very obviously die.

So, maybe a better analogy would have been to depression, schizophrenia, or something like that. I still think the analogy would have missed the point, but at least we wouldn't be comparing homosexuality to something that actually physically kills someone.

The problem with these analogies is that they start with the priori assumption that same sex attraction is a bad thing. But, as we can see from many successful, open gay people, homosexuality is not inherently something that leads to destruction, failure, etc.

Do some gay people suffer from problems? Sure, but if you look closely at the other factors involved, these problems don't stem from homosexuality itself, but from other actions, motivations, issues, etc.

It really angers me when I see the "well-meaning" Christians that protest with signs that say desparaging things about gays. They will quote AIDS statistics, some "studies" will quote promiscuity statistics, others will turn to their own testimony of lives of drug use and promiscuity turned around wants they left their same sex attractions behind. As for the testimonies, it is always great to hear about a life turned around, but it is too much of a leap for me to blame homosexuality for the destruction and not look individually at the other issues involved at the same time. Lots of gay people go from being drug-addicted sex fiends to responsible, monogamous members of society. Their lives turn around too, even though they are still gay. Maybe the gay community should highlight these people more often.

In our world, different communities have different problems. For whatever reason, black people have a higher incident of poverty than whites. Native Americans have a higher incidence of alcohol abuse. White kids have a higher incidence of suicide. Gays have a higher rate of HIV infection. The problem here is that with all of the categories above except for homosexuality, we look further to try to find out what the root cause of these issues are.

We realize that being Native American does not cause alcoholism, for example. But, our society and many "conservatives" are hell-bent on creating a cause and effect relationship with homosexuality that does not exist, for the sole purpose of claiming homosexuality itself is detrimental. God forbid they ever recognize that a gay person can live fulfilled, happy lives.

**Side Note**

I have made several posts about how often Ben at Scattered Words and the crew at Ex-Gay Watch talk about each other. I find it odd, not because they talk about each other, but because their blogs purport to be something different. Ben's blog claims to be the journey of a guy trying to turn away from homosexuality, but lately it has become more political and anti-XGW than the journal-type format it used to be. XGW purports to be offering critical analysis of the ex-gay world, but publishing so frequently about one pretty obscure ex-gay blogger seems to be over kill.

Ben recently vaguely criticized me for being hypocritical. He said that as often as I talk about his battle with XGW, I sure do talk about him a lot.

I agree, I do talk about him a lot. But, as I say in my profile, my blog is mainly about other blogs I read. I started this, after all, because I didn't want to comment on blogs such as his anymore (he was very obvioubsly tired of the dissent I occasionally posted there). So, I think it is fine for these guys to talk about each other, but shouldn't they be more open about their newly found blog purpose?

Then again, I feel that my comments about SW, XGW, and the other blogs and news I talk about is more of commentary on what I read there, not just yelling names and insults at others. At least, that is what I am trying to do.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Everybody Duck, It's a FOOD FIGHT!

Randy started a war on his blog, and I got pie filling all over me, so this is my retaliation! Consider yourselves pied!

Monday, April 11, 2005

Texas Marriage Ammendment Moves on

The folks over at PinkDome have reported that Texas bill HJR 6 that will ammend the Texas Constitution has moved out of committee by a 6-1 vote. My own Rep., Martha Wong, who I voted for, voted in favor of the bill. This whole thing is bade news, if you ask me.

In Wong's defense, she did demand that the absurd language attempting to outlaw civil unions was taken out before voting in favor of the bill. I wonder if the creator of the extra language about civil unions realized how many "common law" straight marriage would have been broken up had that language passed. Talk about destroying families.

In the end, my whole opinion on the matter is that I'm willing to settle for civil unions. But, I am not willing to settle for Constitutional Ammendments outlawing any type of relationships, marriages or otherwise. If Wong really wanted to be on the right side of the issue in her own mind, she should have voted no on this bill unless it did specifically authorize civil unions. That way, she gets her marriage is for men and women only, but she also allows gays to have an specific contract for themselves.

Hopefully this will all get killed in the Texas House. We will see I guess. I just can't get over the idea that something has traditionally been unconstitutional, so instead of looking at that, we just cahnge the Constitution. For the first time since the stunning success of prohibition, we are changing Constitutions to take away rights for a specific group of people, for no good reason. Decades from now, I hope these people are embarassed for their actions.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Watergate, Monica, and 9/11

I read in Parade Magazine (I prefer to call it Parade Newspaper Insert since I have a hard time classifying it as a magazine) today that the US Government spent 15 million on the investigation of the 9/11 attacks and 40 million total investigating Watergate and the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

I don't know how they came up with these numbers (maybe they used money in other areas investigating 9/11), but if this is true, I have a real problem with it.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

It's A Dangerous Lifestyle

When I came out to my dad, it didn't go that well. He had no idea it was coming, and it really took him by surprise. After asking for a few days to collect his thoughts, I went over to speak to him.

He had been to a local Baptist church (he is Baptist, but hasn't been to church in several years) to talk about this stuff. They told him the answer was simple- people change from gay to straight all of the time. Over the next year, my dad did his own research on both sides of the issue, and he has decided that he was misled about the possibility of change. He still doesn't agree with me being gay though.

Now, when we finally talked, he told me he didn't know much about being gay. All he knew, he said, was that it was a dangerous lifestyle. He went on to say that this lifestyle was full of drugs, alcohol, and promiscuity. I was kind of stunned by this. All of my life, I have been the good kid that didn't have sex, never did drugs, didn't drink at all until college and then only very rarely. Why now did he think because I was gay I was going to start doing all of this stuff?

So, I told him what I just wrote. He said that he knew from what he saw and people that he talked to that that is what gays did. I tried to explain to him that I had not changed as a person, that I was the same kid I'd always been. He tried to listen, but these imbedded stereotypes were hard for him to let go of.

No wonder people are so against gay marriage and gay rights in this country. If the stereotype can make my own dad think I had done a 180 degree turn and become this sex and drug-crazed monster, why would someone that didn't even know a gay person think any differently.

If being gay is a sin, let it be a sin. Why spread stereotypes as a way to dishonestly demean an entire group, and thus, individual people? It doesn't make sense.

Don't Ask Don't Tell

Did you ever know that the full name of this policy is, "Don't Ask Don't Tell, Don't Pursue Don't Harass? I found that out about a year ago, and I was shocked, to say the least. Basically, gays are allowed in the military as long as they don't become public with their sexual orientation. But, the nearly always deleted part of the bill also says that the military is not going to pursue or harass gays to figure out if they are, in fact, gay.

The odd thing is, there are lots of gays that get discharged from the military under Don't Ask Don't Tell that never come out on their own volition. If a military member gets caught in a gay bar, even while not on active duty, it is possible to launch an investigation. To me, that really doesn't hold up the full spirit of the policy.

The main reason I wanted to post though, is that newer studies show that public polls now show that a pretty good majority of the nation are in favor of repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell. This article mentions the polls.

The anti-gay marriage folks are always saying that a Constitutional Ammendment is the only way to let the people speak on the issue of gay marriage. So, if they are so big on letting the people speak on gay issues, why not send Don't Ask Don't Tell to a popular vote? Why not compromise? We will all agree to send both policies to a popular vote. Ok, so maybe it is not a good compromise, but it would be nice to at least be fair. The anti-gay camp should just admit that they aren't interested in a popular vote on gay rights unless the popular vote shows what they want it to show. This isn't about public opinion, folks.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Marriage Ammendment Stalled (for now)

According to PinkDome, the proposed Texas Constitutional Ammendment HJR 6 stalled in committee. I was glad to finally find an update. Apparently it is likely to unstall and get a vote, but this is good news for now.

My Rep., Martha Wong, took issue (along with a few others) at the last minute addition of language that would outlaw any relationship that would approximate marriage. That's good news. If the conservatives want to say this is all about marriage, not about taking away rights, they should leave language like that out of this stuff. But, then again, honesty and integrity doesn't seem to be the main focus of these types of bills.

You know, Texas has Common Law Marriage from day one of a couple living as if they were married for straight couples. Talk about making a mochery of marriage. Shouldn't we focus on that first?

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Do Conservatives Really Care That Much About Gays?

The other day, Randy Thomas told me that, "in reality, conservatives think about [gay activists] very very little." I will admit that sometimes the gay media and some gay political groups make it look like conservatives are only out to get gays. But, to take the opposite road and say that conservatives spend very very little time thinking about gays activists also seems a bit much. To me, it is pretty apparent that conservatives do spend a good amount of times on gay issues. Maybe not activists per se, but the issue of homosexuality is certainly one of the more prominent ones.

So, I did my own little survey. On the post where Randy talked about how little time conservatives spend on gays, he also linked to a radio brodcast (I think, maybe it was just an online audio broadcast) of Focus on the Family (one of the nation's largets conservative groups) where he would be speaking about gays, strangely enough. So, I did a little survey myself of this audio broadcast by day. I went back for one week from Wed, 4/6 to Fri, 3/25 and counted the number of days in which homosexuality or gays was mentioned as a topic on any of the days. You can try the little experiment yourself here.

After the survey, guess what I found. Of the 8 days I looked at basically randomly, 4 of them mentioned homosexuality as a topic at least once and 4 of them did not. That doesn't really sound like "very very little" time to me.

As a little extra, I just went on the site to link it up, and today's topics list homosexuality twice as a point of discussion. Very, very little? I guess it depends on what the definition of "very very" is.

Ex-Gays, Do They Exist?

The answer to this question, obviously, is of course they do. Getting down to what actually constitutes an ex-gay person and a gay person gets a little more hairy, though. Is an ex-gay person just a gay person that now chooses not to act on his/her same sex attractions? Is an ex-gay person now feeling attractions to both men and women but only acting on one of them? Or, is an ex-gay person now no longer attracted to the same sex and only attracted to the opposite sex?

I guess the answer depends on who you ask. Lots of moderately well-known ex-gays will fully admit that being ex-gay is a struggle that may never end. Others claim that they no longer feel any attractions to the same sex.

In the end, the consensus for most fully enlightened people that have actually been through the struggle of being gay or ex-gay is that whatever the definition is, this really is a struggle that won't happen overnight for the huge majority of people. This school counselordoesn't seem to get that though when he says, "There is a middle ground, where children who need support and protection from harassment can receive it, while Christian children are also protected form false teaching about orientation issues. But some children and their parents need to hear a message of hope that orientation is indeed changeable, and that there is help for them if they wish to change."

To me, this kind of statement is really dangerous. It makes uninformed parents that don't want a gay child think that change is out there and the solution to all of their cures. Do some people change? Probably? Do all? No. Telling people that sexuality is indeed changeable without any type of caveat mentioning that many people do not change or at least mentioning how long and hard of a struggle it is is really dangerous to me.

This is the problem I often have with a lot of straight conservatives. The answer is always too simple for them. Don't want to be gay- change! Want to marry- change and marry a woman! Don't want to sin- change! Most that I have talked to never have really sat down and listened to the whole story. Besides listening to the Exodus leaders of the world who will tell them how change is out there, have they ever talked to a gay person that has tried for years and decades to change but has not? Have they ever talked to someone like me that prayed every night for this all to go away? To someone that spent his teenage years trying to hide and avoid his deepest secret. That has now grown up to decide change hasn't worked, so maybe acceptance isn't all that bad. For so many, it's all about this "evil" group of gays. This lump of gays that are trying to indoctrinate our kids. Who cares if they are individuals with their own struggles and stories? After all, why listen to them, they are trying to recruit our kids!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Texas Ammendment HJR 6

I still haven't found out what happened with the HJR 6 committee vote. Burnt Orange Report and PinkDome did some commentary of the vote itself. Apparently it went on until 2:30am, with most people opposing the bill. For some reason, nothing is posted as to the result, and with all my searching, I could not find how things turned out. Hopefully someone will clue me in.

On a side note, PinkDome had some very humorous liveblogging posted on their site. At one point the writer *stopped the presses* (kind of) to annouce that "Some SERIOUS homo just walked in wearing silky shorts and a tank top." That quote made me really laugh. I could just picture the guy. Did someone not tell him to dress appropriately while giving testimony in the capitol? They also have some really good blogging about some of the more emotional testimony.

Scattered Words and Ex-Gay Watch at it Again

Two of the sites I read have a little bit of a rivalry going on. It wasn't always like that. Ex-Gay Watch started with good things to say about Ben at Scattered Words. However, as the days passed, they got kind of bitter. I'm not really sure I know why. Well, I have my ideas, but I'll keep them to myself.

Over the past months, both sites have spent an extra amount of time on the other (enough for casual readers to notice some sort of a relationship), and both have done their share of jabbing and pot shotting. This week, Ben stirs up the pot in his "News" section by quoting a posting on Ex-Gay Watch.

Ben takes issue with the idea he claims is put forward that "change...isn't possible." He goes on to asky why Mike (the main author at Ex-Gay Watch) is allowed to express unsubstantiated opinions while jumping on others that do the same. Then he makes a reference to Ex-Gay Watch and its "friends" never presenting any biblical evidence in defense of homosexuality.

There are a few things wrong with Ben's take on all of this. First and foremost, as noted in the comments section of Ex-Gay Watch, Ben took the initial quote out of context and removed a key word or two. Ben quoted the article as saying "change...isn't possible," but the author actually said, "change really isn't possible, at least for most gays." The original author of the XGW article goes on to explain why this misquote really changes the meaning of what he said. He says that the word "most" he used, is "an important distinction and i mention it because i avoid absolutes on purpose. for all i know, this particular ex-gay guy really is straight now. if so, great for him! but clearly, gays that can change are in the minority."

So, by quoting this statement out of context, Ben makes it look like the author is saying that all gays can't change. However, the author very obviously does not intend to make such a blanket statement. This gets even messier because Ben accuses the article of being unsubstantiated opinion. Saying that all gays can't change probably cannot be proven scientifically. But, there are tens of thousands of gays that have tried and failed to change, so there is some pretty good proof (not opinion) to back up the ideas that most gays can't change. I'd also like to point out that so far, even the author of Scattered Words has been unable to "change."

As for the part about biblical evidence in support of homosexuality, all I have to say is that the site is in no way a religious site, so why would it? This seems like a baseless tactic to attack XGW where Ben's readers can see it. I'm guessing he thinks his pro-readers will rely on what Ben said, and never delve into the XGW site at all. He is probably right, unfortunately. And, if by "friends," Ben means "commenters," then he has a point. However, Ex-Gay Watch does frequently link to sites and people that offer evidence of biblical defense of homosexuality.

In the end of all of this, I'm pretty disappointed in Ben. Ben presents himself as someone trying to move closer to guy. But, my impression of him is someone that is always taking the moral high ground. Sure, he admits when he slips and falls in the sin of homosexuality, but his other sins get smooth passes. His discourse with those that disagree with him is often rude, hostile, and arrogant, no matter how nicely he is addressed. And, to see him completely mischaracterize this statement says a lot about how hard he really is working to move closer to God and address ALL of his sins. I hope he is able to see that while he may believe homosexuality is a sin and needs to address it, sinning happens in all facets of life, and any Christian should not allow himself to be complacent in any sin, whether it is arrogance, homosexuality, dishonesty, etc.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Terri Schiavo (again)

This will probably be my last post on the Shiavo case. As I have said before, I could go both ways on this issue. I was talking to my boyfriend's dad recently (who is a hospice director) about the issue, and he agreed with me about it being a hard decision. However, I want to dedicate this post to more "truth stretching" I have been hearing around.

Today Rush Limbaugh was talking about recent polls that said most of the country said that they agreed with Michael Schiavo on the issue. Rush said the poll questions were loaded. He said the used words such as "terminally ill," "coma," "life support," etc. I agree, if these words were used, the questions probably were a bit biased. He then discussed a Zogby poll that found, basically, the exact opposite findings as the first poll. He said the Zogby poll was clear to point out situations where someone was not in a "coma," "not on life support," and most importantly for me, he said one of the questions asked if people would withdraw "food and water" from an impaired loved one. Rush claimed that these questions were fair, honest questions. But, as you can probably see, they were far from it.

To be sure, the questions should have just stuck to the Schiavo case specifically, not some hypotheticals with loaded questions.

On to the "truth stretching." Let's be clear that Terry was not receiving "food and water" through a feeding tube. She was receiving specially formulated liquid proteins because her body could not process any type of food. Using words like "food and water" is meant to sway public opinion.

Also, hospitals, doctors, and most of the medical community considers the type of feeding tube Terry was receiving to be life support. People may personally disagree, but the medical opinioin is that this does constitute life support. This is definitely a special type of feeding tube, not to be confused (again) with the giving of basic food and water. On this note, I have mentioned before that hospitals in Texas and across the country end the life support of their patients all of the time by removing the same type of feeding tubes. President Bush even signed a bill into law allowing this type of thing in Texas while Governor. So, to say Terri was not receiving life support may be one's personal opinion, it is not a medical fact, and leading people to believe otherwise is not being completely honest.

Finally, while Michael Schiavo may have agreed to an autopsy, he is not the one that asked for it. Florida law requires cremated bodies to be autopsied first. So, reports attacking him for pretending to clear his name through an autopsy are misleading. He had no choice in this. He very well could have been trying to respond to alarmingly unsupported claims of abuse by saying that an autopsy would help dispell these rumors (how else could he disprove something like this?), but he did not offer up an autopsy just for this purpose. The state required this all along.

Texas (Un)Constitutional Marriage Ammendment

The Texas legislature had a committe meeting to vote on the possibility to pass a Constitutional Ammendment to the Texas State Constitution to ban gay marriage. Of course, as with all other similar ammendments and laws, the anti-gay folks are claiming that this is meant to protect marriage. Apparently this is more effective than banning divorce (or at least banning no-fault divorce). This is a sad state of affairs we live in.
I wrote to my local Representative, Martha Wong, to ask her to vote against this in the committee. The local radio talk news is reporting that this is supposed to pass the committee vote pretty easily. Burnt Orange Report and other sites claim the hearing and vote will go well into the night (it is probably still going on now, for that matter).

I have previously written to President Bush, Kay Bailey Hutchison, First Lady Bush and probably a few others to express my discontent with this type of legislation. With all my heart, I feel that this type of thing is nothing more than a political power grab at the expense of ordinary people like me. I have heard people try to explain otherwise, but I have been less than convinced by their reasoning. I just hope that decades from now we look back and see all of the absurdity of this. I can't express how angry this makes me.

On the other hand, it has gotten me involved in politics, so maybe all of this does have a silver lining. I used to spend hours debating gay rights issues on various sites and blogs. I've cooled off some, but honestly I lose all respect for anyone that doesn't see the hypocrisy in all of this.

Friday, April 01, 2005

The Fears of HIV

I have a boyfriend of 6 years now. This is the only relationship that I have ever been in, and I am very happy. I have only ever been sexually active with him. I think my morals growing up really helped me with that. For the most part, I have not had to deal with the stresses of wondering if I have HIV or another STD. But, many gay people do have to worry about this kind of stuff. To some degree I think the gay population is more aware of the risks and the need to be tested and protected that the straight population, so that is a good thing. On the other hand, the risk is definitely higher for sexually active gays, so the increased concern is warranted.

Ben over at Scattered Words talks about having to worry about infection. He's not sure if he is infected or not, but he is definitely scared. My initial reaction was complete pain and sorrow for him. I still feel that. I can only imagine how scared he is that he might have a disease that will almost definitely lead him to an early life. On the other hand, I wonder, as usual, what got him into this situation.

Don't get me wrong, I definitely understand that people make bad, sometimes really bad decisions at times in their lives. I don't have a particularly high libido, and when I am in the mood, I have a monogamous boyfriend that I can turn too. So, I am lucky on both accounts in terms of not needing or even feeling the desire (normally) to go out and hook up with someone.

However, as I have mentioned before, Ben's blog lately has been a lot of anti-gay stuff. Anyone pro-gay at all is pretty quickly shouted down and dismissed. Ben hasn't talked about dealing with his own SSA struggles in a long time, so I was shocked to read of his new scare after a sexual encounter. Then I started to wonder. Regardless of whether his desire is to become straight, he is quite evidently a sexually active gay man. At the very least he is actively engaging in gay sex, even if you wouldn't be able to tell from his blog these days. But he also quite obviously doesn't want to be gay.

So, what is the answer? Does he continue trying to be straight while engaging in risky sex? To me this seems like a pretty scary and dangerous path. I can't begin to wonder why he continues to do this, but I am sure it is a series of mistakes that leads him to this type of thing. Would it not be more safe to accept his homosexuality and move into a relationship of love, committment and monogamy? To me the answer is pretty clear. Trying to move away from being gay is admirable because he thinks it is right for him. But, if he continues like he is now, where will it lead him? Could he be safer, happier as a gay man that is less drawn by the temptation of built up sexual urges that erupt into an encounter? I would think so.

For me, being gay doesn't seem like something I can change, and I am happy where I am. From Ben's experience though, it appears that trying not to be gay is much more difficult that most of the ex-gay groups out there would have you believe. Surely there is some kind of answer that does not involve unsafe sexual encounters that are derived from suppressed sexuality. The answer isn't simple though, and conservatives would be wise to recognize and be honest about this. Ben, for that matter, would be wise to admit this and be less attacking of gays that are happy in their place in life.

In the end, I really hope this scare is nothing more than that, a scare. I also hope Ben is able to learn from this and move forward, in whichever direction will give him peace.

*UPDATE* Ben updated his site to say that his new HIV fear was not related to a sexual encounter but to some other type of accidental encounter. He wasn't specific, but I am glad to hear this. I'm still praying that this is nothing more than a false alarm.