Sunday, April 29, 2007

New Blog

Ok, so this blog isn't exactly new--I've been following it for several months now, but I haven't said anything here about it so far, so I guess it might be new for some of you guys. The blog is called "A Westward Journey" and it's by a gay Christian struggling through his sexuality, his faith, and life in general.

The blog is very raw and emotional, and reading through it hits pretty close to home. It's very reminiscent of the feelings and emotions I was going through right before I decided to start coming out. It's painful at times--ok, it's painful a lot of the time--but every now and then there's a post where you can clearly see the hope the author has.

If you're not gay and you want to see what it's like for some people to deal with same sex attraction, this is a good blog to read. For most gay people, there's at least some point in their lives where the internal struggle gets this deep. Luckily it's a stop on the road of life for most of us, and not the final place. Hopefully this blog's author will be able to reconcile his struggles and see all the joy that life has to offer.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Defaced Billboards

My last post was about some controversial billboards in Indianapolis proclaiming that Jesus and early Christians were not anti-gay and may have even been gay affirming. The billboards said things like "Jesus affirmed a gay couple," so they were sure to get a rise out of some people.

Unfortunately, though, that "rise" turned criminal as 2 of the billboards were vandalized shortly after they went up One had the words "Lie Lie Lie" sprawled across it while the other had the word "gay" taken out of the phrase, "the early church welcomed a gay man." Several people placing yard signs also reported being followed by a group that took up the yards signs as soon as they went into the ground.

It's pretty sad that this would happen, but I'm not going to make the jump to say that all conservative Christians or anti-gay Christians are to blame for this. It's unfortunate that some people in almost any group would stoop to a level like this, but even sadder when it appears that it has been done by someone professing to be a Christian.

I wonder if Randy Thomas (see update below), Exodus, or Focus on the Family will write about this and maybe even condemn the vandalism, since they were so quick to condemn it when it happened to a Love Won Out billboard. You can also add the Sean Hannity Discussion Board, LaShawn Barber, Free Republic, and a smattering of other conservative blogs. Randy's only words on his blog post about the incident were, "so much for the 'open minded' crowd." Too bad he couldn't refrain from blaming a group rather than acknowledging that this was most likely the work of some lone vandals rather than a calculated event by all "open minded" folks out there.

Randy even brought up the issue again a year later on his blog. Given that kind of attention, I'd think the same sort of vandalism would at least catch his attention. So, most likely, none of these guys will react to the vandalism, but at least now you know it happens both ways. I wonder how Randy would react if I said something like, "so much for the "we really do love gays crowd." Of course, that'd be unfair, but you get my point.

**Update** Randy has commented on the defaced pro-gay billboards. He took it as an opportunity to rail against the billboards, but he also spoke out against the vandalism, and I appreciate that. Hopefully some of the others will follow suit.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Billboard Battle

Recently several churches and gay organizations have started a billboard campaign in Indianapolis about gays and religion. The ads are made to stir debate and probably to be controversial, with taglines like "Jesus affirmed a gay couple" and "Jesus said some are born gay." The website,, gives explantions to what many would consider the outlandish claims of the ads. It's meant to grab attention and hopefully stir some understanding of the gay Christian perspective.

On the other side of the aisle, Focus on the Family and Exodus have complained recently that an advertising firm refused to sell them billboard space for their "Change is Possible. Discover How." ads promoting the Love Won Out Conference, never mind the fact that another firm did agree to run the billboards.

Two Christian organizations on two opposite sides of the culture war. I wonder if they realize how much they have in common.

And, given Exodus' and Focus' public displays against the advertising company that refused their ads, I also wonder how they feel about the new gay ads getting space (or how they'd feel if the same ads got denied space like theirs did). Somehow I don't think the two groups would be holding joint press conferences.

Virginia Tech Shooting

If you haven't heard about this yet, you should turn on the tv or go to a news website. There's been a shooting on the campus of Virginia Tech where at least 32 people have been killed (according to the radio at lunch, the Web is still saying 21 or 22).

I can't imagine how horrified the students on the campus are right now. The Yahoo article mentions students doing phone interviews and writing emails while huddled in lock down in classrooms. It's amazing how quickly our daily lives can turn so upside down and shock us out of our routines.

This is the type of thing that can scar people for lives. A friend of mine's mother was present at the 1966 UT shooting and saw her best friend get killed next to her. It's hard to even think about how devastating that must be. Apparently the death toll for this shooting is already making it the worst campus shooting in US history.

Please keep everyone at Virginia Tech in your prayers. Hopefully soon we'll at least have some answers as to what set the gunman off.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

What Makes a Man a Man

In honor of national poetry month, I'm going to post a poem. Thanks to Terrance over at Pam's place for the idea.

So many times we have to pay
For having fun and being gay
It's not amusing
There's always those that spoil our games
By finding fault and calling names
Always accusing
They draw attention to themselves
At the expense of someone else
It's so confusing
Yet they make fun of how i talk
And imitate the way i walk
Tell me if you can
What makes a man a man

~ Marc Almond, "What Makes a Man a Man?

Ok, so maybe this is a song, not a poem, and maybe it's British (so it'd be odd to use for National Poetry Month), but still, it's good.


If you'd like to participate in National Poetry Month too, you can sign up to receive a Poem A Day written by a budding young writer. You'll get a new poem every weekday in April. You'll be glad you did--these poems are the highlight of my days in April.

The Poem A Day program is offered by Writers in the Schools, a great literacy non-profit that teaches the joy of creative writing to elementary through high school-aged students.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Young and Gay

I guess, "Young and Out" would be a better way to put it. I read over at Peterson's blog about a story in the New York Times about a gay teen named Zach O'Connor who came out to his parents when he was in 7th grade and only 13 years old. The story follows Zach's story and his life since coming out.

The article is aptly titled, "Accepting Gay Identity and Gaining Strength." I say aptly, because looking back on my own coming out experience, that's exactly how I'd describe it. In fact, it's a bit odd reading Zach's story in the article because much of what he and his family recount of his life before, during, and after coming out mirror some of my own experiences even though I came out when I was nearly 10 years older than Zach was. The article is a touching and inspiring story that offers a nice break from the partisan war that normally floods the media. It reminds readers that there really are people involved in the gay debate.

It's great to see kids feeling comfortable enough to accept themselves so young. Looking back, I wasn't ready to come out, even to myself, at the age of 13, but I can't help but wonder how things might have been different if I felt like I was in an environment that was accepting from the get-go. Being gay and in the closet in high school meant I missed out on dating, having crushes (or at least telling anyone about them and enjoying them), and even being close to my friends and family. I wouldn't say I was miserable, I was just removed I guess.

Reading Zach's story reminds me of that time period, and I think it's a great story for anti-gay folks to read. It's easy for someone to tell us not to be gay, but for them to actually sit and realize what such a request can do to a person is quite another. One of my wishes is for anti-gay folks (both the activists and the regular people) to actually get to know a person that is gay and get to know their story. I'm convinced it'd bring amazing advances in the acceptance of gay people in this country. Stories like this aren't pro-gay propoganda, they just force people to realize what being gay really means rather than what some organizations want us to believe.

It's pretty amazing looking back how far I've come since coming out. Even more amazing is that kids these days can feel comfortable enough to come out so young. They get to experience every part of dating and socializing in high school. Let's just hope this trend continues.

**On a side note, congratulations to Peterson and Christine Bakke for their new venture, Check it out--it's very exciting (and for the record, both are already on my blogroll)!

Monday, April 02, 2007

F*g Ahead

Please pardon the language of this title and of the attached pictures, but I couldn't really think of any other way to write this post.

My friend and commenter on this blog, Shorty, and his partner, showed me two pictures they had taken with their digital cameras while driving down the street near their house last week. As you can see, the pictures are of a construction sign that someone has altered to say, "F*g Ahead" rather than, "Flagger Ahead." There isn't much space for the "L" in the word, so I'm not completely sure how the person responsible did this. Shorty and his partner said they couldn't really see where the sign was altered in person either.

The source of these pictures is trustworthy, and I can promise that these were really taken on the street and have not been altered in Photoshop in any way. This sign was really sitting like this in the street in one of Houston's most prominent gay neighborhood, near a small construction area. However, what I don't know is whether this was a case homophobia or an extremely inappropriate joke. Either way, I can't believe it was even up long enough for Shorty and his partner to take this picture.

I can't say that the sign really upset me at all. It might have a few years ago, but typically dumb things like this don't affect me anymore, thankfully. I really don't have anything else to say about this. Any thoughts?