Some Guys Are Normal
Monday, October 31, 2005
Sunday, October 30, 2005
A LetterI finally got around to writing an email to my friends and family asking them to vote no on Proposition 2. I'll let you guys know what kind of response I get once people email me back. This particular letter went to those that know I'm gay. I will be sending out a slightly altered one for some other family members soon.
Here it is:
Let me start by apologizing for this mass email. I normally don't like to write such large group emails, but I figure the topic of this email is very personal for me, so getting this message to as many people as I can is most important.
As some of you may know, there is an election coming up here in Texas on November 8th. However, early voting started Monday, so many people are already heading to the ballot boxes. Most people generally ignore elections like this because there really isn't much going on. No national elections at all, and only a couple of local and state issues. However, this year is different, especially for any gay people that you may know. This year there is an issue on the ballot called Proposition 2. This Proposition is a proposed Constitutional Amendment that is designed to change the state Constitution to permanently ban gay marriages, civil unions, domestic partnerships, and many other legal relationships between loving couples in our state.
Now, I know some of you may be opposed to gay marriage. However, this proposed Amendment is certainly not the way to go about banning gay marriage in Texas. In addition to gay marriage, the Amendment will also ban any type of civil unions, domestic partnerships, and any type of legal status "similar to marriage" forever. Many lawyers also worry that it will invalidate common law marriage among heterosexuals, and living wills, hospital visitations, medical directives, and many other legal arrangements among all unmarried couples. The idea is that if the Constitution outlaws any relationship "similar to" marriage, the upset family of a gay person would have a much easier time fighting to invalidate a will that this gay person may have set up with his or her partner by claiming that the will was the result of an illegal relationship.
Gay marriage is also already against the law in Texas, and right now it is unreasonable to believe that a judge in Texas would opt to overturn the existing law especially considering that we elect judges in our state. Unfortunately it appears that some of the legislators in Austin are more interested in painting gay people as scapegoats than actually having a law protecting marriage. Since heterosexual marriage is already protected here in Texas, their motives are fairly clear. This Amendment is divisive and mean-spirited, and shouldn't be part of our Constitution.
Not only is gay marriage already illegal in Texas, but passing a Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage would do nothing to protect the current state of marriage. Marriage in Texas has been floundering as a result of no-fault divorce, adultery, and other problems for decades. Rather than take a stance against these problems, our legislators and our society have opted to go after gay people, one of the few groups that have never done anything to affect the institution of marriage. Sometimes, it really is easier to rally against the sin of others rather than look at and try to fix our own sins. I believe this is the case with this Amendment in Texas, and I am sad that hundreds of thousands (even millions) of gay and straight couples across the state will have to be punished as a result.
So, to sum up my email, I encourage (plead really--I'm serious, this is important) you to vote NO on Proposition 2 for the following reasons:
-The Amendment is overly broad and would outlaw civil unions, domestic partnerships, and even living wills, hospital visitations, and many other legal arrangements made between all unmarried couples. There is even speculation that the Amendment is so broad that sly divorce lawyers could use it to argue that the state of Texas does not honor any marriages at all (you can see this argument at www.savetexasmarriage.com).
-The Amendment is repetitive and unnecessary. Gay marriage is already illegal in Texas and is not in danger of being challenged. This Proposition does nothing more than pick on innocent gay people.
-The Amendment will do nothing to save marriage. No-fault divorce, serial-marriages and a host of other issues do much more damage to marriage than gay marriage ever will. Marriage should be protected by looking at the problems that already exist within it, not by scapegoating gays as a group to blame for its problems.
For those of you that are against gay marriage, please keep in mind that a NO vote on Proposition 2 will not create gay marriage in Texas. It will only protect other rights that all couples currently enjoy and will send a message to Texas lawmakers that gay people cannot continue to be scapegoats and victims of inequality. This is more about decency and fairness than it is about marriage.
I know not all of you vote regularly, especially in elections this small. However, this issue is extremely important to me. I have already donated money, attended fundraisers, and I plan to volunteer on election day. I'm asking each of you to vote (now through November 8th). Please vote NO on Proposition 2. I know this may not be as huge of an issue for some of you as it is for me, but it would mean so much for me if you would vote with me on this. These types of issues have been landslides against gay people like me all over the country. The only way for Texas to avoid the same fate is for all of us to get out, vote, and spread the word to everyone you know.
Thanks for reading all of this. In case I haven't made myself clear, I really want--no NEED--you and anyone you know to help with this issue and vote NO on Proposition 2. Please don't let politics punish your gay friends and family.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Lawrence v. Texas Incident a Hoax?That's what Janice Law says in a new book according to WorldNetDaily.
Now, my first response is that people will do anything for a buck. My second response is that people will do anything to make gays look like evil monsters.
Let's keep in mind that this judge/author did not preside over the case in any way. This book is going mainly off of rumor, from what I can tell.
Question for you guys. If anti-gay folks out there claim to "love the sinner but hate the sin," why do they continue to call gay people "homosexuals" instead of gays and lesbians? It is pretty obvious that gays prefer not to be called "homosexuals." My theories- they either do it just to anger gays or they do it to keep the word "sex" in every description of gay people they make. Any other ideas?
Monday, October 24, 2005
Ever Heard of a Non-Sequitur?If you haven't, this is probably the best example I have ever seen:
"Imagine you stand in the middle of vast, hostile desert. A camel is your only means of transversing it, your lifeline to the future. The camel is burdened-- stumbling, loaded down, tired; enfeebled-- the conditions of the modern life are clearly not favorable to it. But still it’s your only hope, because to get across that desert you need a camel.
Now, chop off its legs and order it to carry you to safety.
That’s what SSM looks like, to me."
Is anyone as confused as I am?
Courtesy of the wonderful Maggie Gallagher and pointed out by Julian Sanchez.
I'm not really sure there is much more to say on this one. Is this really the best they can do?
Also, apparently the KKK supports Prop. 2 in Texas and will be holding a rally in Austin. Shocking, really.
More Texas Papers Against Proposition 2According to Burnt Orange Report, every major newspaper in Texas has now issued an opinion against Proposition 2. The most recent additions are Galveston, Lufkin, Bryan-College Station, El Paso, and San Antonio. However, I have yet to see anything from my boyfriend's home town of San Angelo. Nonetheless, this is good news. Many of these towns are quite rural, and no paper in Texas has advocated a Yes vote on the issue so far.
Early voting also starts today for the issue. I guess it's time to start calling/emailing all of my friends and family.
Friday, October 21, 2005
Pro-Family. Pro-Nothing."Something that was once sort of universally regarded as a sin, is now becoming sort of cool in high school," he said. "It's easy for an adult to say, 'Oh wow, I'm doing the compassionate thing by telling this teenaged boy that he's gay,' but they won't be there when the boy becomes a man and comes down with HIV or hepititis B and C."
-Pete LaBarbera of the Illinois Family Institute, and noted Concerned Woman, reacting after a gay boy and a lesbian were voted homecoming king and queen of their high schools. (From this article).
Screw trying to teach people to be safe and responsible, let's just use scare tactics and gross stereotypes to enrage the masses and ostracize these kids. Rather than being proud of a kid that just became king of his high school, he creates this absurd statement about how he was going to get AIDS later in life. If only the rest of the world could see this guy for the blow-hard jerk politician that he is. There's nothing "pro-family" about him at all.
(Hat Tip: INTOUS)
Thursday, October 20, 2005
I Guess It's Ok to LieI just got done watching the Dr. Phil show on gay families (I had it on DVR). Actually, saying the show was about gay families is a bit too generous. It was basically a sideshow without much content. Oh well, What are you going to expect from Dr. Phil?
Anyway, on the show, an ex-gay Priest referred to the infamous Robert Spitzer study as proof that gays could change. Fair enough, I guess, but when Dr. Phil pointed out that the study had been widely criticized, the Priest's only response was that it was being criticized by gay activists. Obviously the point was to discredit the criticism, and given the reaction of the audience for most of the show, I think he accomplished his goal.
The only problem is that the Spitzer study has been panned by nearly everyone that looks at it, not just gay activists. Anyone with a basic idea of study methodology can see the obvious flaws. Even worse, Spitzer himself specifically said that his study did not prove that all gays could change (the Priest claimed that all gays can) and even postulated that very very few gay people actually could change their sexual orientation (a point conveniently left out by the Priest).
All I can say is that I finished the show with the worst taste in my mouth. I mean, I just saw a Priest lie at worst and be dishonest at best on national television, all to demean gay people. I guess lying is better than being gay in his book.
So, that's the problem. If a priest is going to go on tv and lie about this kind of stuff, and anti-gay spokespeople will go on tv, talk-shows, and basically anywhere they can and spew their false statistics and stereotypes, how do we get heard?
The inclination is for people to believe the stereotypes, not question the "facts" and statistics that are heard, no matter how false or how contrived. And, when Priests like the one on Dr. Phil can get away with hiding the truth, it's hard to see the end.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
More on the Texas (Un)Constitutional AmendmentFrom PinkDome and Burnt Orange Report, I learned that the Waco Tribune, The Corpus Cristi Caller Times (just found out about them) and the Mayor of Austin, Will Wynn, all spoke out against Texas Proposition 2 (the Amendment that would make gay marriages, civil unions, and maybe even many insurance benefits, legal contracts, etc. illegal in Texas forever).
So, that puts the number of Texas Newspapers against the Amendment at 5. None have supported the Amendment yet. Promising news that so far all of these folks have realized the absurdity that is this Amendment. The Caller actually went as far as to call the language supporting the Amendment "linguistic fraud" noting that this was going to do nothing to save marriage in Texas.
Since Waco is the home of the Southern Baptist Baylor University, I'd really be interested to see the letters to the editor in that paper about their stance.
So, good news- people are seeing this Amendment for the fraud that it is. Bad news- this is a huge uphill battle. I'm still worried. Yikes.
HeartbreakerOne slider left up in the strike zone and one very large Cardinal broke my heart last night.
For those of you that don't know, I live in Houston and I'm a huge sports fan. The Astros were one strike away from making it to the World Series last night. Luckily for me we have 2 more games and 2 of the best pitchers in the league to make it happen. Cross your fingers everyone!
Sunday, October 16, 2005
New Blog LinksJust a quick note to tell everyone that I finally got around to updating my bloglinks. I've been meaning to do it for a long time, and I finally did it this weekend. Anyway, check out the new links on the right hand side. These are good blogs that I read from time to time (or more often).
Friday, October 14, 2005
Some People Just Don't Get ItAt the risk of sounding like my world is terrible (as one anonymous commentator believes), I wanted to point everyone to a blog entry that really got me riled up. *Disclaimer*- My world is not terrible, and I am a happy person.
Over at Natalie's blog, I found the number one example of how a lot of times non-gay people just don't get it. She is talking about the sin of homosexuality. It's pretty easy to talk about sins that you don't committ or don't even have to struggle with. A lot harder to talk about the one's in your own life.
Natalie admits that their may be some atonement necessary from the Church towards gay people. But then she slides right into making some claims that I feel the Church needs to ask atonement for.
Among her first thoughts, "Going back to Ben’s original post… I think the point was that the sin is what Christians are against, and the blatant pride surrounding it - NOT the people..."
-So, she says Christians (I guess she incorrectly means all Christians) are against the sin of homosexuality. Fine. But then goes on to talk about the "blatant pride" that surrounds it. I'm kind of lost. Are all gay people full of "blatant pride?" Sounds kind of general to me. It's interesting because in the comments she gets on a commentor for being too general.
She then slips to comparing gay people to cheating husbands and compulsive thiefs. Then in the comments she compares gay folks to the old standbys--idolators, adulterers, murderers, and thieves (again).
She does also admit one of her sins--spending too much money.
The problem with all of these comparisons is that she is describing gay people by their sin. It's seems pretty hard to me that you can love the sinner and hate the sin when you group gay people together as sinners, comparing them to murderers and thieves. She is describing these people by their sins. How do I separate a gay person from the sin if I describe him (or a group of people) only by their sins. Notice she does not call herself a compulsive spender and say she is the same as a murderer.
The second problem is that she assumes to much about being gay. Rather than wondering what it might be like if she was never allowed to fall in love, spend her life with someone, cuddle romatincally, start a family, etc., she immediately writes off gay people as analogous to other sinners.
Come on, a compulsive thief? Is it really the same that someone is dealing with their natural, unchosen attractions and is being told that they can never love someone and then saying that some people have an urge to steal. Even God realized that man was not meant to be alone. At least Natalie could admit that the idea of dealing with unchosen romantic attractions and realizing that love can never be a part of a gay person's life is one of the hardest things a person will ever have to deal with. God said as much in the Bible, and for Natalie to go and compare it with an urge to steal or spend or cheat is way too convenient.
So, that's it in a nutshell. Rather than comparing gays' struggle with their own lives. I.E. what would it be like if I was told I could never fall in love, never hold hands with a crush, never start a family, people all too often right off gays as other sinners, no different from murderers and thieves. It's easier not to challenge your own comfortability in life sometimes. Unfortunately, it leads to a lot less understanding.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
So, I Came Out YesterdayWhen I called a long lost high school friend of mine last night, I had completely forgotten that it was National Coming Out Day. I'd been meaning to call and catch up with her for months, and since I had the house to myself last night, I figured I'd make the call.
She had big news- she's going to be graduating with an MBA in May. That's much more ambitious than the friend I knew in high school, so I was impressed and excited.
I had two pieces of news to share too. First, I bought a house last May. Second, I'm gay. The news took her by complete surprise. Oddly enough, when I told her by email a few months ago that I wanted to talk to her about something, she had concluded that I was going to be a father. But, after making sure I was not playing a joke, she was fine with it. We talked for half an hour more and then hung up the phone.
This morning I had an email from her that said only, "it was good to talk to you last night. I'm glad you told me." The simplicity and the thoughtfullness made me smile. She's the same person I used to be best friends with.
So, for the first time in my life, I "celebrated" National Coming Out Day. Man, who knew this was such an ongoing thing.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
National Coming Out DayToday is National Coming Out Day, a day for closeted gays and lesbians to tell the world they are gay. Something like that at least.
I've never participated in this event in the past, and I probably won't do anything this year (I still do have some coming out to do myself). But I've really been thinking over the last few weeks about the side of my family that doesn't know I'm gay.
When I told my mom I was gay, it wasn't a planned thing. I was sitting at home alone and I had this pressure that had been building up on me for the last few weeks. Sitting on my couch alone that night, I felt like I was going to explode. It's a feeling I had never felt before.
So, I went and sat on the floor in my bedroom next to the phone for about 20 minutes. I finally got the nerve to call her (we live in different cities) and she answered only to tell me she had just sat down for dinner. About five minutes later she called me back and matter-of-factly told me dinner was done. She must have heard the stress in my voice when I called the first time, because there is no way dinner was over that quickly. So, I told her I was gay, basically choking out the words. I hadn't cried like that in years and years. She was understanding and happy that I had finally lifted this weight off of my chest. She even called back a few minutes after we hung up the phone to make sure I was ok and crack a few jokes.
That really was the most amazing feeling for me--to finally have this out in the open. The experience was wonderful. Now, the coming out to my dad wasn't so rosey, but now a couple of years after I told him, I'm glad I did it too. Like that Starbucks cup said, the only regret I have is that I didn't come out earlier.
Given all of this, I think it might be time to take the next step. Obviously they are my family and they love me, but my dad's reaction put me in a depression for weeks. I told my mom in an email that it felt like I had been punched in the chest. I don't want that to happen again. But, life's not easy and sometimes to move forward, you have to take a few steps backward first.
I guess we will see how things go from here.
Monday, October 10, 2005
What Does "Change" Mean Anyway?For me, when people talk about "change" in terms of sexuality it refers to changing one's orientation. Stephen Bennett advertises that "Complete change is completely possible" and Exodus' tagline is "Change is possible, discover how," I've always thought that they mean that if I no longer want to be gay, I don't have to be.
I guess that's where the semantics come in. I realized I was gay way before I came out and even years before I even kissed another guy. So, to me "change" logically means that my attractions to other guys would change, and I would now be attracted to girls. It's a logical conclusion and one that Exodus and other groups work pretty hard to present to the public and other gays. At the very least, let's be honest that they aren't out at ex-gay conferences and anti-gay political rallies telling the world that they still are attracted to the same sex, they're just celibate now.
But, the Exodus ministry Love In Action that got into some hot water recently with the Zach debacle has recently outlined it's idea of change on it's website. From a commenter on Ex-Gay Watch, here it is:
Love In Action does not seek to change people's "orientation"; rather, LIA exists to help people align their behavior with their faith. We seek to give options to the people who come to us for help -- options about how they live their lives. There is homosexual and heterosexual behavior, but neither word describes people; therefore there can be no change from an identity that never existed to begin with.
I'm glad that LIA has outlined what it means by change, and I encourage other ex-gay ministries and employees to do the same. But, I'm not sure it's going to happen.
Call me a pessimist, but I just don't see the idea that change means that I'll just be a celibate guys still attracted to other guys as all that great. I think most people would agree. On that note, call me arrogant, but I don't really think I need weekly counseling or an in-house facility to teach me to stop having sex. Support is one thing, but treatment is surely something different. I think the ex-gay camp knows all of this. If they come out and tell the world that their "treatments" are really just meant to show gay people how to stop having sex with the same sex instead of turning people straight, their "product" would be a lot less palatable and less popular, and the right wing would not be able to continue to tell the world that gays choose to remain gay.
It's all a political game, unfortunately. For once maybe honesty could win over political points in all of this.
Austin and Victoria Texas Papers against Prop. 2Let me start by saying that I bought the gay teens issue of Time magazine on Thursday of last week and the cashier thought I was the kid on the cover. That gave me a good laugh. For all of those interested, I don't look like a 17 year old (apparently we have the same hair style though--either that or all young gay males look alike).
Anyway, this just in. The Austin American Statesman and the Victoria Advocate both joined the Houston Chronicle in opposing the Anti-Gay Ammendment, Proposition 2. Full story from Burnt Orange Report. I agree with them, the Statesman does a terrific job with their position. Victoria is also nice to see since it is a fairly rural town here in Texas. This gives me hope, but I'm still bracing for the worst. I also might be going to a fundraiser for the anti-amendment crowd tomorrow.
Friday, October 07, 2005
We Don't Need You or Your $3 MillionFrom PinkDome I found out about a pretty amazing story. Apparently a senior class at a high school in Austin is reading Brokeback Mountain, a story about two gay cowboys from what I have heard (the movie is coming out soon). It seems a donor wasn't too happy about the story because of it's gay theme. So, the school told him to take a hike and gave back the $3 million he donated.
Three million dollars goes a long way at any school, so it takes a whole lot of guts to do this. All I can say is, way to go! This story really made me smile today.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Research Help Anyone?*UPDATE*
Thanks to Brett for getting me the source for a wonderful article where this whole "taking words out of context" debacle gets explained by Signorile himself! I was correct, it is very similar to the Gay Manifesto absurdity that happened some years ago. Although, it appears the author of that text was Michael Swift, not Andrew Sullivan.
On the Exodus Media Blog, I found this article about how the sky hasn't fallen after same-sex marriage yet, but it will soon. Of course, he thinks it still will. I find it funny that the author sticks to calling gay people "proponents of homosexual behavior" and refers to their "behaviorial choices."
I guess that's the new spin of the anti-gay crowd. While 5, 10, and 20 years ago, gays were seen as people that chose to be heathens, even the anti-gay side is having to admit that people don't choose their gay attractions. So, to try to make their "gays are sinners" claims more palatable, they reduce being gay down to a sinful state where the only thing involved is sex. And, they can keep saying "choose" now, but they shift it from choosing attractions to choosing behavior. Forget the love, relationships, bonds, etc. And forget that the rest of the world doesn't have to choose never to love someone romantically--ever. That would make it too easy to accept gays.
So, with his group of gays called people that promote homosexual behavior in hand, he goes on to say that gays aren't asking for rights, but rather ACTIVELY seeking to DESTROY the family. This is no passive idea that "if we allow gay marriage, straight marriage will suffer." He really thinks gays are actively trying to destroy families and our society. If this isn't reminiscent of the Communist scare, I don't know what is.
As proof, he gives this quote: "If that sounds extreme, consider this comment by activist Michaelangelo Signorile, who ardently promotes homosexual behavior:
[You should] fight for same-sex marriage and its benefits, and then, once granted, redefine the definition of marriage entirely. The most subversive action lesbians and gay men can undertake is to transform the definition of “family” entirely."
Now, here is the research help I need. First, the author misspells Michelangelo Signorile's name, so I am a bit skeptical. Second, when I through the whole quote into a search engine, nothing came up. Then when I cut it up, only right-wing sources came up, nothing from Signorile or the gay media. I'm thinking this is reminiscent of the Andrew Sullivan "Gay Manifesto" fiasco that was taken out of context by many churches and blasted to their members, even though the original meaning was nothing what the churches had changed it to say.
Let me know if anyone can help.
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Gay Youth and Time MagazineLet me start by saying that I am still upset about this email from my cousin. Now I'm upset not because she sent it to me, but because she hasn't responded to me. Then I also thought that I might want to send my feelings to some of my other family members, but then again I'm not sure I'm ready to stir up the pot that much.
Ok, on to the topic of the post. Time Magazine has a cover story on gay teens this week. Pretty amazing stuff. I don't really consider myself that old (I'm 26), but when I read that in 1997, when I graduated high school, there were only 100 Gay Straight Alliances nationwide, and now there are over 3,000 I feel both old and proud that we have made such great strides. I really do lament that I struggled so much with coming out. I think I would have really done myself a greater service if I had come out earlier on. Oh well...
Jennifer talks about the Time piece here.
Pam has a very good take on the article here, and some choice quotes from freerepublic.com (a right wing website). They inclue the usual stereotyping and name calling that ignorance of a subject so often brings.
Also, the article with a preface from gayteens.com is here.
I'll be buying an issue of Time magazine to keep around. Who knows, maybe it will be a good talking point for my extended family.
Oh, for those of you that are interested in the ex-gay angle in all of this, Time does spend some time in that camp as well writing about Exouds Youth Day and Chad Thompson. I'd like to see them take a bit of a more skeptical view. If people are ex-gay, that is great (I'm pretty positive some people are no longer gay, for whatever reason). But, it should be noted that claims of 100% change being completely possible for all gay people and various success rates have never been substantiated or reported. (The first thing my dad clung on to when I came out was the hope of Exodus. He later did some research and decided the hope of me changing to straight had been wildly inflated by the Pastor he spoke too that volunteered for Exodus).
Monday, October 03, 2005
Being Gay- An EmailI got an email last night. It wasn't specifically about me being gay. But, my cousin sent me an email last night asking me to vote in favor of the Texas Constitutional Ammendment banning gay marriage and civil unions. While my immediate family all knows I'm gay, most of the others don't. My dad's side of the family is very devout Southern Baptist, and I don't think they would take the news very well.
The email really upset me. I know at some point in my life I'll have to tell all of them that I'm gay, but as comfortable as I am with being gay, I'm still not ready for that. So, it upset me. Mostly because it made me realize that my family doesn't see gay people like I see them. They see gay people exactly as I worried they might--as sinful heathens trying to destroy marriage (and our society).
Anyway, don't worry, I did respond to tell my cousin that I would be voting against this Ammendment and outlined a few reasons why. But, I didn't tell her I was gay. So, I guess I fought the easy half of the battle now. Who knows when I'll tackle the hard part.