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December 5th, 2019

The Other Side Of The Door Is A Place Called Freedom

“It felt like a dirty little secret, it felt like I had chains wrapped around me, I couldn’t be who I was, I felt alone and trapped. Just telling one person made me feel so much better, just that one person took a weight off my shoulder. I told Sophie my best friend first as I knew she’d be really accepting of it. She’s been so supportive and there for me. Now that everyone knows, I have nothing to hide, those chains that I felt wrapped around me are gone and I can carry on with my life as normal and be happy. I felt like there was something wrong with me, I didn’t know other people out there felt that way, I felt so alone, so locked away and couldn’t say anything. Tell one person. Tell your story, how you feel. Everything is all pretty new so I don’t see any point in putting a label on it – gay, bi, straight, any of those kind of labels. All that I feel happy about at the moment is that I’m dating a guy and couldn’t be happier, it shouldn’t matter who I’m dating and I hope people can be happy for me.”

-British Olympic diver Tom Daley.

What makes me sad reading this: it was 2013 when he told the world this during an interview. I could see reading this as a message in a bottle from someone back in 1971 when I came out to myself. But…2013. Why was this still happening to young people in love in 2013?
Why is it still happening? To any of us in love?

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The Other Side Of The Door Is A Place Called Freedom

April 18th, 2018

What A Wonderful World I Missed Being A Teenager In…

In my newsfeed this morning…

Story Here.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on What A Wonderful World I Missed Being A Teenager In…

October 9th, 2017

The Rain, The Park, And Other Kids…

Posted to Misc Cartoons.  What it’s like growing up in a world where you don’t exist…


by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

August 4th, 2017

That Empty Place Where A Heartbeat Should Be But Isn’t

I came out to myself in December of 1971. I’ve been in this struggle ever since. When I got my first dial up Internet account in the early 1990s, I discovered Usenet newsgroups and for almost a decade engaged a spectrum of homophobic bigots and just very confused individuals on topics of gay people and our place in this world. There are very predictable patterns that keep emerging, certain expressions, mindsets, tautologies, circumlocutions that you just come to expect to see when some event, some pop culture thing suddenly takes hold, and gay people are seen for a brief moment as fully realized human beings complete with recognizable human emotions and motivations. For a brief moment the gutter seems a bit stunned and speechless.

But not for long. And then the usual tropes, the usual slogans, usual bile comes pouring out. And in the bedrock there is always this one, absolutely unmovable conviction, that homosexuals don’t love, they just have sex.

My new exhibit ‘A’ is In A Heartbeat. For most of the week since its Monday general release on Vimeo and YouTube the gutter was amazingly silent. I say amazingly because the howls of outrage usually come pretty fast and furious whenever something positive about gay people takes hold in the pop culture. But for almost the entire week the gutter was mostly silent. But it’s finding its voice now. Just this morning an article on the film from the Facebook page of People Magazine showed up in my newsfeed. Clicking on the link took you to the Facebook post complete with all the comments on it. I’d been expecting this sort of thing ever since Monday…


people magazine IAH comments-6

people magazine IAH comments-7

Produce a sweet little film about that first romantic crush, something that would provoke a torrent of how sweets how cutes how adorables if it was an opposite sex couple, but make it about a same sex couple, and the criticisms immediately fixate on sex, and a floodgate of sewage straight from the human gutter opens up.

Why are you introducing sex into a children’s cartoon? Why are you pushing sex on children? Stop trying to sexualize our children! The only thing about this routine that I’ve seen change over the decades, is nowadays it’s occasionally bundled with a Some Of My Best Friends Are disclaimer. We really have nothing against gays we just don’t want them flaunting it in front of the children. ‘It’ being sex.

What…you say there wasn’t any sex in that film? Yes there was. It was about gays, so it was about sex.

That’s the mindset. They can’t or won’t see the people for the homosexuals. And there’s a word for someone like that. Bigot. It’s not an ad hominem, it’s not an insult hurled at people for disagreeing, it’s a good old fashion English word and it means something. And a bigot’s mind is like an eye: the more light you shine on it, the tighter it closes. This sweet little film shines a light on gay hearts. Now see the eyes close tightly…tightly…more tightly…

So much, so obvious. But I’m not sharing this so you can go read the comments and stare into Nietzsche’s abyss. There’s actually some lovely sunlight in there. Because not everyone is a bigot, this sweet little film is getting all the how sweets how cutes how adorables from a lot of heterosexuals, many of whom are just now encountering that immovable denial of the humanity of gay people, and more specifically gay kids, for the first time and they are stunned.

I came out to myself in December 1971. I’ve lived under the cold icy gaze of that denial of my humanity ever since. Glad to see some of the rest of you are noticing it now. Oh…And you’re seeing it in people you might have otherwise thought were decent moral human beings too! Surprised? Appalled? Don’t take it too much to heart. If the human race was made of people like that there would be no civilization.

This is actually good. Let the gutter howl at this film. This is how things get better.

At the end of The Wonder Years the narrator, little Kevin Arnold all grown up now, says…

“Once upon a time, there was a girl I knew, who lived across the street. Brown hair, brown eyes. When she smiled, I smiled. When she cried, I cried. Every single thing that ever happened to me that mattered, in some way had to do with her. That day, Winnie and I promised each other that no matter what, that we’d always be together. It was a promise full of passion and truth and wisdom. It was the kind of promise that can only come from the hearts of the very young.”

There are people who will never see, no matter how often it gets in front of their noses, that this is something gay kids feel too, for the one that stole their heart. There’s a word for people like that. It isn’t an insult, it’s a description.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on That Empty Place Where A Heartbeat Should Be But Isn’t

June 1st, 2017

Young Pride

I can’t wait for them to finally release this short film. That kid…  He really takes me back…

in a heartbeat pride

Happy Pride, everyone!

The month of June is often considered LGBT+ Pride month to commemorate the Stonewall riots which occurred in June 1969. Because of this, many LGBT+ Pride events are held around the world during June to celebrate love, diversity, and acceptance.

Have fun, stay safe, and celebrate love this month!

In A Heartbeat – Animated Short Film

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Young Pride

May 17th, 2017

This Was So Much Me…


Teen Vogue posted an article about a new short animated film I’ve suddenly begun following closely…

“In a Heartbeat” Short Film Features a Boy’s Heart Chasing the Guy of His Dreams

Around a few weeks ago, the internet quietly fell in love with In a Heartbeat, a short film about a closeted young boy who falls into the treacherous situation of possibly being outed: by his own heart. In the production, the lad’s heart pops out of his chest to chase down the boy of his dreams.

It started out as the thesis project of two seniors, Beth David and Esteban Bravo, studying Computer Animation at the Ringling  College of Art and Design. They started a Kickstarter fundraiser so they could get money to pay for a music composer and sound designer.  The link to the Kickstarter was only posted on their personal Facebook page but it took off and they got funding beyond their wildest dreams, all of which they’ve been putting to use on their project.  

I can see why, just from the bits and pieces they’ve shown. The short won’t be released until next month…they’re hooking it to Gay Pride. But  the premise is something that…as  is being echoed all over  Facebook…gives you all the feels.

Even someone my age…or especially someone my age, who grew up in a time when gay teenagers were simply not allowed to have crushes, let alone see our  lives and our struggles to find that special someone reflected on the screen. I’ve been trying for over a decade now to put my own  Coming Out Story out there…in dribbles and drabs as I can find time to spend at the drawing board. These two filmmakers have captured the essence of it…all the terrifying joy of that first crush. A  closeted young boy falls into the treacherous situation of possibly being outed by his own heart  which pops out of his chest to chase down the boy of his dreams…

That is brilliantly clever, and it was so much Me…and probably lots of other gay folk of my generation as well, and also those that followed.  The closet isn’t just one door but many; and that first door out is often the hardest one to open.  As the subtitle to my cartoon story says:  The first person you come out to is yourself… I remember so very well that terrifying yet magical time when my heart was more ready than I was to know.


Yes…it seems to have worked out better for the kid in this animated short than it did for me. But that’s art, which as Picasso said, is a lie that makes you see the truth. Gay kids of my generation seldom got the happy ending. I sure didn’t. And yet despite all the heartbreak and disappointment I’ve endured since that first magical crush, I can still look back on it fondly and gratefully. It Was magical.

I can’t wait to see the entire thing. In the meantime…here’s the first official trailer. Their Facebook page is Here.



by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on This Was So Much Me…

December 23rd, 2016


Brought me to tears, this. Especially since the company that produced this ad, Kodak, has been such a big part of my life and they’re struggling now to hold on in this digital age (note that the filmmaker shot this in 35mm). They could have just kept silent but not only did they not do that, they went far beyond simply making a boilerplate statement of diversity: they showed us all a film about love. And now…when so many people need it so very much.



I think this may just be the best Christmas present ever. Thank you so much Kodak: from a gay guy who’s been an amateur/sometimes professional photographer since he was a teenager back in the 1960s-70s (who still loves his film cameras very much). I wish I could have grown up in the world your filmmaker shows us here…but I am glad that other gay kids will now…thanks to folks like you.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Understanding

October 12th, 2015

Without Compromise

without compromise

“If we took just five minutes to recognize each other’s beauty instead of attacking each other for our differences—that’s not hard, it’s really an easier and better way to live. And ultimately, it saves lives. Then again, it can be the hardest thing—because loving other people starts with loving ourselves and accepting ourselves. And I know many of you have struggled with this, and I draw upon your strength and your support in ways that you will never know.

“And I am here today because I am gay. And because maybe I can make a difference to help others have an easier and more hopeful time. Regardless, for me, I feel a personal obligation and a social responsibility. I also do it selfishly, because I’m tired of hiding. And I’m tired of lying by omission. I suffered for years because I was scared to be out. My spirit suffered, my mental health suffered, and my relationships suffered. And I’m standing here today, with all of you, on the other side of that pain. And I am young, yes. But what I have learned is that love—the beauty of it, the joy of it, and yes, even the pain of it—is the most incredible gift to give and to receive as a human being. And we deserve to experience love fully, equally, without shame, and without compromise. There are too many kids out there suffering from bullying, rejection, or simply being mistreated because of who they are.


Full text of her speech at The Human Rights Foundation conference Here.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Without Compromise

October 10th, 2015

A Coming Out Story – Episode 19 – What I Learned About Homosexuality (Part 3) “Aftermath”

Whew!   Finally…

A Coming Out Story Episode 19 is posted…


…wherein our hero discovers his inner strength.   And his inner prison.

I hadn’t initially thought of dividing this story into sections, but it’s a work in progress and now that I’ve finished this little three part story arc about why I’m so bottled up inside when I should be asking this beautiful sexy classmate out on a date, I see that it puts exactly the right closure to everything that came before it. So I’m calling this End Of Part 1.

Part 2 begins soon (I hope!), and we shall see how this gay kid and the object of his affections manage to deal with their angsty adolescent hormones in a world that would as soon push them off a bridge than give them role models, support and maybe even a prom to go to. This is 1971/72 we’re talking about here. I try to explain what that means in the first strip of this episode.

I apologize for the excessive delay in getting this one out. But I had to pull some stuff out of my guts I never did before.   Plus…everything I said a few posts ago.



by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on A Coming Out Story – Episode 19 – What I Learned About Homosexuality (Part 3) “Aftermath”

June 1st, 2015

Inappropriate Behavior

This came across my news stream just now…

gay valedictorian

Evan Young, a graduating senior at Twin Peaks Charter Academy High School in Colorado, was recently blocked from giving his valedictorian speech and outed to his parents.

With a 4.5 GPA and a scholarship to Rutgers University, Young was selected as valedictorian of his graduating class. Although he had agreed to edit his speech according to Principal BJ Buchmann’s revisions, Young refused to exclude his admittance to being gay.

After Young refused to remove the statement from his speech, Principal Buchmann called the student’s father, Don Young. Don recalled the conversation to the Daily Camera:

“Mr. Buchmann called me and said, ‘I’ve got Evan’s speech here. There are two things in it that I don’t think are appropriate. One was he had mentioned another student’s name. And then there was his coming out that he was gay.'”

Evan was not allowed to give his speech and was not recognized as valedictorian at his May 16 graduation.

Look carefully: They didn’t just tell him he couldn’t give his speech…they denied him his honors as class valedictorian too. It was a rank the kid had achieved by virtue of his 4.5 GPA.   But he was proud.   And worse, he was a gay kid who had achieved.

There’s the problem. Gay kids have to hate themselves at least as much as they are hated, if not more. They must know they are unworthy. So they silenced Evan and took away his class rank. If they could have, they’d have erased from human memory the fact that he’d ever been his school’s valedictorian. They had to. The problem wasn’t that he would have told other gay kids that it was okay to be gay, but that he would have shown them by his example that they could rise themselves up and achieve too. That was the unforgivable sin.

by Bruce | Link | React! (3)

June 26th, 2013

Too Young To Know?

This came across my news feed this morning…

Gay teens? Pew survey confirms gays may suspect their sexual orientation by elementary school

Joshua’s mother, Beatrice Padilla, said, “I always knew in my heart he was going to grow up to be gay.” That didn’t mean, however, she was prepared to learn that day had arrived when her son was in just the fifth grade.

When the boy timidly asked, “Is there something wrong with me?” though, she rallied:

“You eat like everyone else, you sleep like everyone else, you go to school like everyone else. You’re no different,” she said.

He’s now 15 and says that while he never doubted his mother would be supportive, “I don’t think telling a parent at any age gets any easier.”

This is such an old story and I have heard it told and retold among gay people ever since I can remember:   I knew I was different in some fundamental way even then, I just didn’t have the words to express it… I don’t think there is a single one of us who hasn’t heard it over and over and over.   It’s my truth too.   In first grade I knew I liked guys in some distinct way that set me apart from the others and that if I talked about it too much I would get in trouble.

But blabber mouth little young me couldn’t always keep it in.   I remember being teased once by my other classmates about a girl and getting pissed off about it I blurted out that I didn’t like girls, and one of the girls said, “Oh, then you like boys I guess.” and everyone laughed.

I blushed.   Fiercely.   Which only made them laugh more.   Everyone has these school days memories they would rather forget.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Too Young To Know?

February 11th, 2013

If We Didn’t Love You We Wouldn’t Be Stabbing Your Heart To Ribbons

I began these Valentine’s Day reminiscences to shine a light on how love is systematically taken from this poor angry world, denied not just to gay people, but to everyone, lover, friend, family, they might have also loved.   I began it with a quote from a vicious screed published in Harper’s Magazine back in 1971, by one Joseph Epstein, who said homosexuals were “condemned to a state of permanent niggerdom among men”…

His howl against the homosexual in that Harper’s article almost certainly became a dagger in the the hopes and dreams of young gay men and women back then, reassuring parents, teachers, clergy that it was no sin to put a knife in the hearts of teenagers in love, that if they were condemned to live their one life in loneliness and heartache that was merely the Curse Of Homosexuality, not their own bar stool arrogance and cheapshit prejudices that did it to them.   Bobby and Johnny are getting just a little too friendly aren’t they…let’s pack them off to the psychiatrist quickly now…or to some nice church camp somewhere far away, where they can pray their unspeakable sin away…

Ah…Valentine’s Day…when all the lonely hearts ponder writing new songs about the one that did them wrong.   I have a different thing in mind.   How about stories of that which might have been, but for the cheapshit prejudices of the world we were thrown into.   I have a few stories of my own to tell.   Pull up a chair.   Sit a spell.   Love is in the air.   Let me pour you a drink.   There is a box of Valentine’s Day candy over there on the table, pieces of the moon rattling hollowly inside…angry, angry candy…

Let us pause in our (my) reminiscences to acknowledge that however better it has become for gay kids just discovering what all that love and desire stuff is all about, many of them still get the knife in the heart, with LOVE engraved on its blade…

Local Students And Staff Want Gays Banned From Prom

Several parents, students, and others who believe gays should be banned from the Sullivan High School prom met Sunday at the Sullivan First Christian Church.”We don’t agree with it and it’s offensive to us,” said Diana Medley.

So now they’re organizing their own Gay Kids Not Allowed prom…

“If we can get a good prom then we can convince more people to come and follow what they believe,” said student Kynon Johnson.

“We want to make the public see that we love the homosexuals, but we don’t think it’s right nor should it be accepted,” said a local student.

Feel the love, as Dan Savage says, because nothing says love like “you’re not wanted and God hates you.”   The people organizing this “traditional prom” had a Facebook page up about it, but took it promptly down when their efforts suddenly became an Internet news item.   Here’s what a couple of them had to say for themselves…

An issue has been raised in the Southwest School Corporation where a same sex couple or couples have requested acceptance of their marching together in the Grand March for the High School Prom. There have been a number of students, along with their parents, that have expressed their dislike over this venue for demonstrating this kind of behavior, which is offensive to many in Sullivan County.

Our first suggestion would be that the school administration ask the same sex couple or couples not use this venue (the Grand March) to demonstrate their sexuality because it is offensive to many and would be demonstrating before minors. So our wish is that the school officials and board return to the traditional couple stance in the same way Indiana only accepts traditional (man and wife) marriages.

We encourage you to show support for the teens in our community that are standing up for what they believe is right. Their position is based on the Bible’s stance against homosexuality and its acceptance in society and in our schools. It is very difficult for many of our high schoolers to stand up against peer pressure, our permissive culture and main stream media and yet many teens are standing up concerning this blatant demonstration that is not in accordance with God’s Word.

Please keep in mind that we love those who participate in homosexuality but that does not mean that we love homosexuality. Just as it has become their civil right (according to our society today) to attend the Grand March as a homosexual couple, it is our teens right to speak out against such a public demonstration. Many believe, as our teens do, this is not the venue to demonstrate a homosexual lifestyle.

A meeting for those in support of these efforts will be on Sunday, February 10, 2013 at the Sullivan First Christian Church at 1:30pm. This event and these efforts are not being organized by the Sullivan First Christian Church but the building is the gathering location for the meeting. Students and parents who support this effort are encouraged to attend. May God bless you as you pray over these efforts.

And this…from another member…

We would like to stress to everyone that this is not a hate group. We do not hate anyone, we are not judging anyone. We are choosing to stand on the word of God. The bible says the truth will set you free. All we can do is stand for what we believe and let God do the rest. We will not judge or hate anyone for their choice. We simply choose the entire word of God. The unchanging living word of God. God is the same yesterday, today and forever.

[emphasis mine]   Those who participate in homosexuality.   Those who participate in homosexuality.   Those who participate in homosexuality.   Do these people ever listen to themselves yapping?   Oh…and there’s Homosexual Lifestyle, right on cue.   And the ostentatious avowals of love for those who participate in homosexuality.   We are not a hate group, we only want those who participate in homosexuality to know they are not welcome at the prom.   Because homosexuals don’t love, they participate in homosexuality.

Feel the love, because the gay kids who go to that school sure are.

Worse though than a bunch of bigot parents, are the bigot teachers.   And especially bad if their job is caring for the kids who are among the most vulnerable among them…

Teacher Says Gays Have No Purpose In Life, Wants LGBT Kids Banned From Prom

A teacher of special needs children in Indiana is speaking out with other Christian parents and students by demanding LGBT kids be banned from a Sullivan High School prom.

Here’s a direct quote from that interview, courtesy of Dan Savage…

PAIGE PREUSSE: A gay person, um, do you consider them, maybe, do [you believe] they have some sort of purpose in life?

DIANA MEDLEY: I don’t. I personally don’t. I’m sorry.

Imagine you are a gay kid and you are hearing your teacher, or someone else’s teacher, say that your life has no purpose.

I notice this morning that the headline on that Wabash Valley Channel 2 page has changed from “Local Students And Staff Want Gays Banned From Prom” to “Local Students Want ‘Traditional Prom’, Gays Banned”, and I strongly suspect that’s at the request of the school that doesn’t want any of its knuckle dragging staff caught in the backwash of all this, let alone the school facing a lawsuit when a gay student takes Ms. Medley’s  opinion their life has no purpose to heart and kills themselves.   And of course you just know that at the end of all this, the homophobes will be bellyaching that they were the bullied ones.   Certainly not the gay kids who wanted to bring their dates to the prom, just like any other kid does, and were told they weren’t wanted, that God hates them, and that their lives have no purpose, condemned as Joseph Epstein would have said, to a state of permanent niggerdom among men.

Oh, and happy Valentine’s Day.   We love you.   Can’t you tell by the knife we’ve stuck in your heart?

[Edited a tad…  Edited some more to correct a name…]

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on If We Didn’t Love You We Wouldn’t Be Stabbing Your Heart To Ribbons

May 18th, 2012

Denial: Not Just A River In Egypt

A Facebook friend’s status post and subsequent comment thread tosses me back to a memory of my pre coming out to myself days that is both funny and cringe inducing at the same time.   Funny how often memories of our teen years are like that…

A friend is posing for an underwear fashion shoot and he’s asking for advice on getting a nice pair of black briefs because black is the specified color of the shoot and all he has are a pair of AussieBums that he doesn’t like.   He points to a link to the AussieBum page and I take a look.   They’re nice, thinks I. I have a thing for briefs and find it regrettable that they’re not the fashion in the younger set anymore. When I was a kid, boxers were what the old men wore.   Now I’m getting old myself and boxers are what the young guys wear and they think briefs are old guy underwear.   But briefs are still out there, gay guys at least still like wearing them, and the AussieBums I’m looking at are very nice…except like a lot of underwear companies these days, the waistband is like a damn billboard with the company name occupying almost as much real estate as the material below it.

I can appreciate a company wanting to get its name out there…but I really hate it when the branding on clothes demands more attention then the body wearing them. I am not your walking billboard. Plus, when I see an attractive guy, and especially if he’s not wearing very much, I don’t appreciate advertising getting in the way. My Facebook friend merely replies that it’s all about the branding, and that normally it’s only a glimpse of the wasteband that’s visible. A company has to get your attention when and where it can.   Okay.   Fine.   I get that.   But I’m still annoyed by it.

And then suddenly I’m remembering myself as a teenager, and those first confusing, thrilling times when getting that glimpse of an elastic waistband peeking out above a guy’s   belt line would make me all hot and bothered for some reason I really didn’t want to explore just then.   I touched on it in Episode 10 of A Coming Out Story…

There’s a toss-off line in John Fox’s The Boys On The Rock, where the young protagonist Billy takes note of the different kinds of underwear he and his new boyfriend are wearing as they are undressing each other.   It’s the kind of detail, that the kid even knows how some brands of underwear are different from other brands, that tells the reader this kid has been looking at guys in a sexual way for a while now. I suspect some of my straight peers back then could tell just by glancing at a girl’s tight shirt who made her bra, and whether it had hooks or snaps. They’d have probably been surprised to learn that men’s underwear differed from brand to brand in anything more then just price. Had I told them I could tell what make of underwear they were wearing just by looking at the waistband they’d have known more about me then I was ready to tell anyone. Including myself.

In the 1960s, long before they’d come out with such things as designer underwear for men, you had maybe four major brands of underwear.   There were Fruit of the Looms, Hanes, BVDs and Jockeys. Back then your choices were white cotton, high in the waist and cut such that the leg openings didn’t rise up the thigh much.   Not terribly sexy by today’s standards. All the same to a gay kid whose hormones had tentatively started percolating the underwear pages of the various catalogs suddenly became pretty riveting reading. I started ogling them when I was nine or ten I think.

I can hear the snickers now.   A catalog? Given the level of open sexuality these days, gay and straight, it’s probably hard for people who didn’t live that period to get how sexually repressed it was, and how shocking the free love morality of the Beat and Woodstock generations were to their elders.   My peers and I grew up in their shadow and in the 1960s even my heterosexual peers had to resort to the catalogs to get their fix, though they could also at least find the occasionally discarded Playboy in the trash bins.   I remember a friend finding one of those and gleefully passing it around as we gathered in one of our secret hiding places. There was an article about a nudest camp and I remember being completely riveted by the few naked guys I saw in the pictures. My companions were all making admiring comments about the women and parrot like, I mimicked them. But I never took my eyes off the naked guys. That was discovering sex when you were a kid back in those days. You and a bunch of the other guys, in your treehouse or fort or secret hiding place, passing around a Playboy someone had found in the trash.   There was no Internet you could browse alone in your room when your parents weren’t looking.

I was careful to ogle the catalogs when I knew I was alone in the house, knowing full well at some level what I was doing and yet at the same time not admitting it to myself. And true to form the budding little geek in me began around then to critically analyze the object of my fascination. It wasn’t long before I could spot the difference between a Hanes and a BVD at a glance. The catalog retailers, Sears, Montgomery Ward, J.C.Penny, used to buy from one of the big companies and rebrand them with their own names. I could tell just by looking at them.   These are made by Fruit of the Loom…these are really BVDs…

Most spellbinding of all were the Jockeys. The first time I saw another kid in the gym locker room wearing one of those Y fronts my jaw almost hit the floor. I’d never seen anything so…alluring. Particularly on that one kid who had a body that looked like it had stepped out of one of my anatomy for artists books. It was junior high and I was fourteen or fifteen.   Being careful not to gawk in the locker room wasn’t usually a problem though. It was so embarrassing to have to undress, let alone shower naked with a bunch of other guys, that I became adept at tuning everything out and just getting on with it (I joke sometimes that it’s a trick I learned in Vacation Bible School). Plus, even at that age when you are busy becoming all hormones and nerve ends my libido was very low key and persnickety. But there were close calls. When the other guys my age began rhapsodizing about advertising for bras and woman’s lingerie I knew I had to keep my mouth shut. But I wasn’t ready to admit to myself why.

In high school, in the early 70s low riser bell bottom jeans started coming into fashion and I began seeing other guys my age wearing them in school.   Not every guy who wore them really had the body for it, but those who did drove me nuts every time they walked by.   The best of these really showed off a guy’s…attributes…nicely.   And if the shirt wasn’t tucked in you might see a glimpse of elastic peeking up above the belt line.   By the time I was 17 I had become I became expert at telling the brands apart just by the waistband because the stitching each company used was different. Fruit Of The Looms had a small blue stripe with a yellow stripe below it. BVDs had a black dotted line, sometimes with a red dotted line below it.   Nowadays on a lot of brands the elastic waistband is a damn billboard.   Back then it was something you decoded stealthily, like a secret message.

How I could become such an expert on men’s underwear and at the same time remain clueless about my sexual orientation is something I’ve been trying to delve into in my cartoon, A Coming Out Story.   It was a combination of the horrible things I was taught about homosexuals back in my ninth grade sex-ed class, and the relentless stereotypes of that time. On the one hand I knew I could not possibly be a homosexual because I was none of the horrible things that I’d been taught homosexuals were.   On the other, I knew perfectly well what would happen to me if it became common knowledge that I was one.   Already through most of my grade school life I’d been tormented and bullied severely because I was small, scrawny, and I hated sports.   Faggot was a routine insult kids like me got whether we were actually thought to be queer or not.   I didn’t need the extra added threat of the other kids knowing for certain that I was, in fact, a queer.

So I kept it all inside. But sex is an instinct older then the fish, let alone the mammals, let alone the primates, let alone humans, let alone teenage boys. You can try to bottle it up inside of you, but it will find its way out no matter how much you’d rather it just went away. Even such a tame little apologetic libido as my own.   It just kept…insisting that I look at all the beautiful guys.   Especially the ones with a tempting bit of skin showing between the belt line and the shirt.   Insisting that I look as they walked by.   Oh…look over there…that one…well now, his hips move very nicely as he walks don’t they?   Long legs…   Nice jeans…   Oh look…he’s wearing Jockeys…

I count it as a blessing that I was able to avoid the years of self loathing other gay guys of my generation endured.   I fell in love and in that wonderful glorious rush of teenage first love was able to finally come out to myself and not see myself as perverted, mentally ill or an abomination in the sight of God.   But I understand completely how it is that some people, strident cultural conservatives getting caught with rent boys, politicians getting caught soliciting vice cops in parks or public restrooms, can do the things they do, things that fairly write I Am A Homosexual on their foreheads in neon lights, and still resolutely not consider themselves to be gay.   All I have to do is remember back to when I was a kid alone in the house with one of the big mail order catalogs, gawking at the men’s underwear pages, one part of me completely entranced, the other just keeping its mouth shut.


[Edited a tad…]   I had to add the words “advertising for” to the end of one of the paragraphs there to make it clear my childhood friends weren’t transvestites.   I’m not saying any of them aren’t…just that back then they were ogling advertising for bras and women’s lingerie like a lot of boys that age did back then, not fantasizing about wearing it.   A couple wise guys here apparently thought I meant otherwise…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Denial: Not Just A River In Egypt

January 28th, 2012

Postcards From The Gutter

Behold, the human cesspool of righteousness…

Tennessee Lawmaker Compares Homosexuality To ‘Pedophilia, Prostitution, Murder’

The so-called “license to bully” bill…would allow students to share any “religious, philosophical, or political views” that are “unpopular,” regardless of their consequences to the learning environment, and limits educators’ ability to curb such harassment.

Equality advocates lodged an email protest campaign against the measure, but were particularly surprised by the reaction of state Rep. John Ragan (R). In a long letter to one opponent of the bill, Ragan replied that gay “feelings” can be controlled by “mentally healthy adult human beings,” and concluded by stating, “Should society avoid disapproving of pedophilia, prostitution, murder, etc., because practitioners of those behaviors may commit suicide at higher rates?”

(Emphasis mine) What you have to understand about the human gutter is it has no bottom. Here is a man who wants to enable the very bullying that causes gay kids to kill themselves, saying the fact that gays are more likely to commit suicide is proof that there’s something wrong with them. Nice way to prove a point huh?

No bigot, there’s something wrong with you. Something profoundly, terribly wrong with you. Mentally healthy adult human beings? I’m laughing in your face. What do you call an adult who can abuse kids, can create a climate where kids can be easily abused, and does not see anything wrong with what they’re doing?

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Postcards From The Gutter

Our Excuse

In Tennessee they’re now considering two bills that would do little more then put another knife into the hearts of gay kids in the Tennessee public school system. The Don’t Say Gay bill is back again, along with another, even more insidious if that’s possible, which would allow a religious exception to the current anti-bullying codes. A perfect excuse then, for kids to torment their gay peers to death under the guise of freedom of religion. If you can’t make gay kids hate themselves to death, then obviously your religion is being discriminated against…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Our Excuse

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