So, we did it. I'm officially (ok not officially, but it definitely feels like it) married. The nigtht was completely amazing, and this is coming from a person that thought it would be more or less like all the other weddings. I got way more emotional than I thought I would. Everything was perfect.
For now I am minutes away from going to the airport to fly to Cancun. I'll update more when we get back home next week, and I promise I'll have details.
Until then everyone--from one of the happiest people around.
Streetlight Manifesto, MxPx, Reel Big Fish
Did I mention my wedding is this Saturday? Pretty unbelievable, huh? I am hoping to post tomorrow or Thursday about how the plan is layed out, so check back.
As if I have all of this free time with that coming up, I went to a punk rock/ska concert last night. My favorite band, Streetlight Manifesto
was in town last night opening for two bands that had mild mainstream success in the mid-to-late nineties, MxPx and Reel Big Fish. A good portion of the crowd, if not most, were definitely waiting to see Streetlight, though.
I took my boyfriend and two friends with me. They aren't necessarily fans of this kind of music, but they all like Streetlight live (at least they say they do), and they seemed to enjoy them. One of them even added Streetlight as the background music to her Myspace page.
The concert was really good--probably one of the best I've been to in a while. Streetlight's set was insanely short, though. They were great as usual, but I think they got to play 5 songs max. The crowd was really energetic, and I was one toe away from losing my shoe near the front of the stage with all the craziness going on. This is the kind of band that has amazing talent but misses out on mainstream popularity because of the type of music they play. I've never heard someone listen to them and not like them, though.
MxPx, a sort of Christian punk band played next. They were good, but they didn't really get the crowd going quite as much as the other two. But, they did play a great cover of "500 Miles." Who knew so many people knew the words to that song.
Reel Big Fish closed the show, and I couldn't believe how excited these kids were. Like I said, the band was popular in 1996 or 1997, making the majority of the crowd younger than ten years old when they had a hit. I guess they've managed to maintain an underground following, though, because most of the crowd new the words to all of their songs. They opened with a cover of "Take on Me," which was great (ska covers are so good!) and they played a cover of "Unity" by Operation Ivy, which is a song I used to listen to almost daily back in my freshman year of college.
So, that was the show. Sadly, I ran out of money at the show and couldn't buy a t-shirt because the ATM was down. Oh well. Even with that, still a great night.
People Can Change Survey
From the Exodus Blog
, I read a brief synospis of a recent study conducted by "People Can Change," a group dedicated to helping people change from gay to straight.
The study looked at 200 same-sex attracted men that are pursuing a change to be straight and asked them why they were looking to change. One answer, "outside pressure" was listed very infrequently among the participants as a major motivator (only 22%) and only 3% listed it as among the top 3 reasons for seeking change. A Christian Newswire article
picked up that story and ran with it, claiming that most gay folks blame internalized homophobia and outside pressure for forcing people to want to change.
Fair enough, but lets look at the other commonly cited reasons for pursuing change that the article used:
--personal spirituality – 68%
--desire for wife and children – 66%
--religious teachings – 63%
--desire for nonsexual male friendships – 63%
--conscience – 63%
--expectation of unhappiness in gay life – 63%
I'm not sure why religious teachings and "outside pressure" aren't in the same category, but it's pretty obvious that religious teachings come from outside influences. So, if religion is causing someone to want to be straight, it stands to reason that outside pressure is a major part of that.
I'd have to say that "expectations of unhappiness in gay life" is a pretty direct correlation with "outside pressure" too. Maybe no one from the outside directly said, "you must be straight," but telling someone if they are gay they will never be happy is a pretty strong motivator.
Some of the other reasons aren't so directly correlated, but there is certainly a decent implication in most of these responses that some sort of outside influence played a role in the decisions of these men more than the story is leading on to.
I haven't looked in-depth at this study, but right off the bat, that's what I noticed. Hopefully I'll have more time to look more deeply at the study and the site soon.
A Letter From My Grandmother
I got a letter earlier this week from my grandmother--the one that just found out both that I am gay and that I'm getting married. I'm not sure what happened to the letter, but what should have been a one to two day trip in the mail turned into two long weeks, and when it finally got to me there was a big chunk missing from the letter and the envelope.
But, through all of its turmoil, the letter still arrived. My grandmother is a devout Southern Baptist from a small town, and I was very worried about what she would think of my being gay. In fact, I waited to tell her more because I didn't want her to worry about my salvation than anything else. Grandmothers just shouldn't have to worry about that kind of stuff.
Well, it turns out she was worried about me--has been for years she said. But, not so much because I was gay--more because she could just sense something had been wrong in my life.
Here's what the letter said:
"The first thing I want to say is that I love you very much...Your dad told me your 'news' just before he left this weekend. I'm sure you would like to know how everyone responded. All agreed that we love you and hope you will always feel welcome to be with us....
Brady, I'm so very sorry you did not feel comfortable about sharing your feelings with me and your family. You must have been so unhappy for several years. I just wish I could have been there for you. Please always know I love you and God loves you - feel free to visit me anytime."
There was more, but those are the parts that really got to me. It was probably one of the nicest letters I have ever read. Honestly, I should've known. In a phone call I had with my grandmother after I read the letter, she even asked about my boyfriend and his family.
Don't get me wrong--several of my cousins/aunts and uncles won't be attending our ceremony because of their feelings about being gay, and my grandmother said she is unsure, but she would do whatever I wanted. So, it's not all perfect, but it sure is better than I what I imagined might happen.
So, that's the big news this week. Here's to wonderful grandmothers...
Anti-Gay Website Links to Some of My Favorite Reads
I just read over at Pam's House Blend
that anti-and-ex-gay James Hartline
linked to Ex-Gay Watch
and Pam's House Blend in a recent post about his trip to the Gay Games. He referred to both blogs as "anti-Christian homosexual websites," which is interesting because many contributors at XGW are actually Christian. I guess they wouldn't seem nearly as evil if he admitted that, though.
First, let me say that it's interesting to hear that these guys keep track of some of these "watch" types of blogs like these two--who knew? (Pam does a great job watching the activities of the extreme right, nicely complementing Ex-Gay Watch's coverage of ex-gay work). Second, I'm glad he linked to these blogs. Maybe if some of his readers/supporters checked out these two blogs they'd realize not everything these guys say is the truth. Hey, maybe he's subconciously wanting people to see the real truth in all of this.
Either way, I guess congratulations are in order.
Does Gay Marriage Help Marriage?
Tomorrow we are 2 weeks away from the big day
, folks. Talk about crazy. Woah! Oh, and we are officially going on a honeymoon in Cancun. Working for a travel company has its occasional perks.
On another note, Mike over at XGW has a post
up about the amazingly low divorce rate in Mass., a rate that is among the lowest in the country and is still declining very rapidly in spite of gay marriage being legal for 2 years now. Or is it still declining because of the positive effects of gay marriage?
In this "battle over marriage," I keep hearing those opposed to gay marriage talk about how allowing gays to marry will destroy the institution of marriage. Obviously, I don't follow the logic, especially since the "definition of marriage" has changed quite dramatically over the course of history, and has continued to change even in recent past.
Their point is that marriage has always been man/woman and allowing same-sex couples to marry would forever crush marriage for straight couples and society as a whole. My first response is that it's almost like they think gay marriage means we are going to force everyone to marry the same-sex, rather than just allowing a small percentage of people to do it.
But, my second response is that maybe, just maybe, preventing people from marrying the person they love is giving a bad name to marriage rather than vice versa. I know the people I am close to are very excited about me getting married (even if it isn't legal), and I would hope most of them would see the hypocrisy of my not being able to marry legally. Could it be that they don't take their own marriages as seriously because an institution that allows two strangers to marry but disallows two loving adults wanting to spend their lives together is an institution that doesn't sound as serious as it seems? It kind of goes like this--my best friend can't marry his boyfriend legally, then how serious is this marriage thing anyway. Obviously that's an exaggeration, but you get the point.
What's worse, preventing gays from marrying, or giving the message that marriage may not really be that special if we restrict it from great candidates just because of their sexual orientation. Better yet, which gives the message of how important marriage is?
Pay to be Ex-Gay
It might just be me, but the website Peoplecanchange.com
feels a bit too much like an online informercial. I just have the feeling that I'm being sold a service rather than reading a website that is really trying to help gays turn straight. Don't get me wrong, as far as ex-gay sites go, this one doesn't look outwardly negative or hostile to gays, but the sales-oriented site leaves me with a bad taste in my life.
Look at the site. The intro starts with a question, "Are You Conflicted Over Same Sex Attractions?" It then empathizes with the reader, saying the site's authors "know what it is like" and "have been there," and then offers a "way out," that they know from personal experience. The site goes on to give another list of qualifying questions--all designed to continue to build a connection with the reader (kind of like the infomercial whose host asks, "tired of burning toast in the morning," followed by a boisterous "Yes!" by the audience). The need has been found, the connection has been made, and the desire has been built. This is standard sales, folks. All we need now is the product...
Sure, there are some free resources on the site, but the seminars, coaching sessions, and books and materials all come at a price. The site kind of feels like the typical "get rich quick" or diet websites--they give you just enough free material to get you really excited, and then they suck you into buying the real stuff. Either way, it's just hard for to me to feel good about reading a site that purports to help people while following such textbook sales strategies to bring in customers, especially ones dealing with such vulnerable issues.
So, they're selling, but even still, they're selling some expensive stuff. Sixty bucks an hour to become straight seems kind of pricey to me, especially if this is going to take years and hundreds (or thousands) of hours of therapy to fix. Who has that kind of money laying around?
When my dad called around to some ex-gay therapy places when I told him I was gay, he even admitted that having to pay hundreds to thousands of bucks to a therapy for an indefinite amount of time to reach an indeterminable cure sounded a bit fishy to him. It sounds fishy to me too.
Round about hat tip to XGW's clown story
I'm not sure if I'm the only one, but anytime I have to tell someone some big news that I've been keeping secret, or anytime someone tells me the same, It eerily reminds me of my coming out, to the point of making me a little uncomfortable.
On Wednesday one of our closest friends told us he was not going to be able to come to our wedding. He's big into theater and he took a part in a decent sized production of Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat
, mistakingly thinking that it was opening the week after our wedding.
I didn't even know what to say. I wanted to say it was ok and that it wasn't a big deal, but it was a big deal, and he knew it. It's sad, but we'll live. He'll be meeting us at the post-wedding reception at our house but no wedding.
Anyway, the whole time all I could think about was how it felt like he was coming out to us. So weird.
My Family Knows
I'm on a short vacation on the lake through the 4th, hence the lack of posting. But, I thought I'd write in to say that my dad's side of the family now knows both that I am gay and that I am having a commitment ceremony with my boyfriend. I'll go into the details when I have some more time, but one of my younger cousins said he'll definitely be there, and my grandmother told my dad that she had suspected for a while and from what she understands, people are born that way.
We'll see how things go from here. Fingers crossed.