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May 17th, 2017

This Was So Much Me…

heartbeat-lede 

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.

 in-a-heartbeat-sm

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 | React!

December 23rd, 2016

Understanding

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…

acos-19-sm

…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.

Enjoy!

 

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

August 18th, 2011

My Kids Know I Love Them And The Vomit Inducing Cesspool That Is Their Lives

Le Dance Pathetique…as choreographed by Jerry Buell, Mount Dora High School’s Teacher of the Year

Un…

Jerry Buell, a long-time Lake County social studies teacher, said during a recent Facebook exchange that he “almost threw up” in response to a news story about legalized same-sex marriage in New York.

Deux…

On the same July 25 Facebook post he said same-sex marriages were part of a “cesspool.”

Trois…

He went on to call the unions a sin.

Quatre…

“It wasn’t out of hatred,” he said in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel.

Cinq…

“It was about the way I interpret things.”

Six…

“I’ve had kids that I’ve known that have been homosexuals,” he said.

Sept…

“They know that I don’t hate them. I love them.”

  

Le Curtian…Applaus a vous…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on My Kids Know I Love Them And The Vomit Inducing Cesspool That Is Their Lives

March 23rd, 2011

A Coming Out Story – Episode 14, “The Face In The Yearbook”

Wherein our hero learns how useful the school library can be…

Click on the image to go directly to Episode 14, or click Here to go to the main page.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on A Coming Out Story – Episode 14, “The Face In The Yearbook”

January 13th, 2011

All Together Mouseketeers…You Too Tommy…You’re One Of Us Too…

This was a part of my childhood.  Not a huge one, but an important one…

I never became a member…even at that tender age I wasn’t much of a joiner…but I watched what Walt Disney put on my TV screen regularly.  Mostly it was for this…

And this…

His vision of the future was a big part of my kidhood dreams.  I wanted to be there, to grow up into that world where a great big beautiful tomorrow was shining at the end of every day.  Somewhere along the line I stopped dreaming it.  Somewhere past adolescence, somewhere after the country as a whole, tired of the war in Vietnam, tired of the race riots, fatigued by so much inter generational conflict, lost interest in the frontier of space, so terribly soon after we’d just put our footsteps on the moon.

Though I never stopped dreaming about it, I stopped believing in Disney’s great big beautiful tomorrow.  I put it down to fantasy…a beautiful story I was told as a kid that I wanted to believe in, but would never happen.  The world just didn’t work that way.  But I think there was something else that was missing from that dream.  Something that, had I seen it, might have made me hold onto it for a little longer…maybe even leave childhood behind with a vow to work a little harder to make it real.

That something, was me.  I was missing from that future.  And so were a lot of other kids just like me.

Disney Channel’s Strict ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Policy

In the original ‘The Flintstones’ series, the only characters of color to appear were natives of Africa who participated in a cave scout jamboree. Worse yet, far off into the distant future, on ‘The Jetsons,’ the universe seemed completely dominated by white people as well.

These were just signs of the times and while toon tones began changing in the 1970s, it’s almost blasphemous nowadays to have a television show that doesn’t include diversity, often to a point where it almost just seems forced.

So at four decades post-Stonewall and more than a decade into the age of ‘After Ellen,’ it wouldn’t be unnatural for one to wonder just where The Walt Disney Company draws the line at diversity. In all fairness, the company has teetered on the issue, having both progressive human resources policies for same-sex couples (which incited the infamous and rather seemingly innocuous Southern Baptist boycott) as well as just recently relenting on allowing same-sex commitment ceremonies at the theme park resorts under public pressure.

So where exactly does Disney draw the line when it comes to acceptance of gays in ‘everyday life’?

Well you already know the answer.  Yes, Disney has been very progressive when compared to other media and entertainment companies.  Behind the stage.  On it…well we’re all still in the closet.  And if we’re invisible on stage, we’re also invisible in the audience.  To each other.  To ourselves.

That’s a shame.  Disney wholesomeness isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and in fact it’s only mine provisionally.  I like it to be there, but a steady diet of it would suffocate me.  And it would have when I was a teenager too.  But that Disney-esq sensibility about life is more me then not. I like my visits to Key West, they relax and de-stress me nicely.  But my visits to Walt Disney World rekindle something inside of me that I had thought long dead.  That, it’s a small world after all attitude.  That idealized Main Street USA.  That Tomorrowland, where we would all live someday in a world where science and the pursuit of knowledge weren’t just good things, but a great adventure.  Sniff at it if you like, but there are worse visions to have become attached to as a kid, to keep close to your heart as an adult, to hand down now to the kids among us.

I should have been a part of that vision when I was a kid.  All of us gay kids should have.  We were there in the audience, but invisible…even to ourselves.  So instead of Disney’s future, we got told we were mentally ill.  Instead of Disney wholesomeness we were taught that our desires were a sickness best kept hidden away from decent people, and especially children.  Our friends got the happily ever after.  We got the gutter.  The great big beautiful tomorrow we could all look forward too would be a better place because we would not be in it.  You can’t tell me that didn’t make a difference in the adults we all eventually became.

One of these kids will later come out of the closet…

I like to think that if Disney was alive today (yeah…he’d be 110 now…But if…), we Would be a part of that vision of the future.  Walt Disney was a pioneer, who revered the old days and idealized them in his Disneyland.  But he also never let the past keep him from moving forward.  The caretakers of his vision today alas, aren’t the visionaries he was.  But this world doesn’t get very many of those…

So according to [Disney Channel Worldwide President of Entertainment, Gary Marsh], if a character hasn’t had a crush on someone, it’s okay for the viewer to assume they character is implicitly gay and that should simply be enough. At least until the character develops an attraction for the opposite sex anyway.

Perhaps the correct answer is “we just aren’t ready yet.”

“A man should never neglect his family for business.”
-Walt Disney

Gay kids need to be brought into the Disney “family” audience too because they are part of the family too and there are worse examples out there to set for them then Disney.  “Someday” should come sooner rather then later.

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”
-Walt Disney

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on All Together Mouseketeers…You Too Tommy…You’re One Of Us Too…

January 25th, 2010

Do You Have A Place For Hate Lite Program…?

Le Dance Pathetique…as choreographed by Wheatland Wyoming School Board Member Joe Fabian

Platte County School District 1 trustees voted 4-3 to keep the Anti-Defamation League’s “No Place for Hate” banners down at Wheatland High and West Elementary.

The schools were two of 25 in Colorado and Wyoming taking part in the program.

One of the sponsors listed on the banner is the Gay and Lesbian Fund for Colorado. Wheatland board members and parents took issue with that, according to the district.

Un…

Joe Fabian, [another] board member, said he believes the Anti-Defamation League is pushing an “agenda that is pro-gay marriage”…

Deux…

…and that the community of Wheatland is not supportive of that.

Trois…

“They wouldn’t want the organization, the Anti-Defamation League, dictating to their children that an alternate lifestyle is a normal lifestyle,” he said.

Quatre…

He implied students who were not supportive of the banner suffered discrimination.

Cinq…

He spoke of a “moral attitude by the community” and indoctrination of students.

Six…

“I don’t believe (homosexuality) is a normal lifestyle…

Sept…

…but I don’t have anything against them,” he said.

Le Curtian…Applaus a Voux…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Do You Have A Place For Hate Lite Program…?

October 2nd, 2009

And Since When Did You Care About The Sexual Abuse Of Kids Mr. Hannity?

GLSEN, The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, has struggled since 1990 to make schools safer for gay kids.  Here’s their mission statement:

GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established nationally in 1995, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community. 

They started as a local group in 1990, when there were only two Gay-Straight Alliances in the nation.  Since then they have helped nurture more then four-thousand in schools all over the county. They also sponsor the national Day of Silence, to draw attention to how anti-gay bullying shuts gay kids out of the education they need and deserve.

Predictably…all too predictably… they’ve been facing an onslaught of political attacks by the right since day one.  In a world where all children can learn in safe, nurturing environments, where does that leave people…kids and grown adults alike…who think bashing faggots is one way of telling Jesus you love him?  Worse, if kids are taught to respect their gay peers in grade school, they might also respect them in the adult world too.  That simply cannot be allowed to happen.

So GLSEN has been for many years, a major target for various right wing propaganda machines…

Behind its promotion of "tolerance" and "safety," however, are the sordid realities of what GLSEN actually supports. Just about every type of sexual practice imaginable is "celebrated" and even graphically described in first-person stories by students in GLSEN’s recommended literature. GLSEN also supports gender distortion through cross-dressing, even in books recommended for elementary school children.

Criminal, underage sexual contact between adults and minors is a frequent, casual theme in these materials…

-NARTH – GLSEN and Its Influence on Children, by Linda Harvey

Old-timers naturally recall Communist, Fascist and Nazi youth brigades as severing children from their parent’s religious traditions and beliefs.

Such American classroom indoctrination is now found in "hate" and sexual diversity training and in 3,500 nationwide Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN) school clubs. Under color of a "Safe Schools Movement" battling alleged "bullying" of so-called "gay" children (K-12), some see GLSEN as a modern version of the Hitler Youth and as preparing the ground for a larger, sweeping, schoolroom Youth Brigade.  

-World Net Daily – GLSEN And The Hitler Youth, by Judith Reisman

GLSEN, which stands for Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, proudly claims that its goal is to promote safe schools for people of all sexual orientations.  Many of its programs are billed as "anti-bullying."  GLSEN presents itself as a benign organization devoted to tolerance and understanding.
 
In fact, GLSEN is anything but benign or tolerant.  What GLSEN actually opposes is "heterosexism."  In other words, GLSEN wants schools to rid children of the outrageous notion that heterosexuality is the norm, and make sure they’re clear that gender is merely a man-made construct.  They’re not really about stopping bullies.  They’re about bullying schools into adopting their radical pro-homosexual agenda.  Not only do they want to teach your kindergartener that it’s okay to be gay, they want to teach your middle-schooler how to be gay.

-One News Now – Mr. Biden Goes To GLSEN

Both GLSEN and PFLAG are activist groups that promote acceptance of homosexuality, bisexuality and cross-dressing even in elementary schools. They help students organize homosexual clubs with or without parental knowledge; advocate job protection for openly homosexual teachers and ministers; and attempt to partner with schools and churches. Both groups have taken political stances in favor of "gay" marriage and against the Boy Scouts’ moral beliefs on homosexuality.

-Mission America – How You Can Help Stop P-FLAG And GLSEN

The homosexual monster has always been after your children.  That is still one of the most potent means of hate-mongering the struggle for gay equality, and it continues to make the gay community at large gun shy about reaching out to, and supporting gay youth.  GLSEN boldly and proudly stepped into the breach and not only reached out a hand to struggling gay youth, they have energetically taken up their cause.  They say you can always tell who the pioneers are…they’re the ones with the arrows sticking out of them.

Because their outreach is to youth, GLSEN is among the easiest of gay rights groups to smear with the accusation that their only purpose is to give predatory adults access to children.  It is a bedrock trope of the right that homosexuals are not born they are created.  As the slogan goes, Homosexuals don’t reproduce, they recruit.  In the context of gay youth, support, honest facts about homosexuality and sex education become a means to turn your children into homosexuals.  This is the accusation that is usually employed against GLSEN, if not outright, then as a barely concealed subtext.

The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) is holding its annual homosexual recruitment effort on April 9th at several hundred public schools nationwide. It bills this event as the "Day of Silence," which is an attempt to dramatize the alleged plight of "homosexual" teens who are fearful of going public about their sexual behaviors.Day of Silence, however, is nothing more than a clever propaganda campaign designed to silence opposition to the homosexual seduction of children-and to lure more sexually confused teens into a lifestyle that is fraught with physical and mental health dangers.

-Traditional Values Coalition – Homosexual Recruitment Programs May Face Legal Challenges

Radical activists foresee a time when homosexuals literally rub elbows with children in an effort to alter their views. Lesbian author Patricia Nell Warren wrote in The Advocate of “the bloody war in our high schools and colleges for the control of American youth.” Part of what was needed to win that war, Warren said, was that homosexuals “need to be mentoring, teaching, canvassing” both gay and straight kids.

Homosexuals are not fighting this “bloody war” in a haphazard manner. Instead, homosexual groups like the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), are organizing and developing a national strategy to get into public schools. Based in New York City, GLSEN has been enormously effective since it was formed in 1990. Some 7,500 GLSEN members now promote their agenda in more than 80 chapters throughout the U.S., and the number of Gay-Straight Alliances in public schools registered with GLSEN now stands at 400. 

-The American Family Association – Homosexual Agenda: Targeting Children

The homosexual monster has always been after your children.  It should come as no surprise that this is the first thing the right jumped on, when President Obama nominated GLSEN founder, to head his Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools…

He wants homosexuality to be taught in American schools — in his book Always My Child, Jennings calls for a “diversity policy that mandates including LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] themes in the curriculum.”  But he wants only one side of this controversial issue to be aired, and apparently believes in locking sexually confused kids into a “gay” identity. That’s the implication of his declaration, “Ex-gay messages have no place in our nation’s public schools. A line has been drawn. There is no ‘other side’ when you’re talking about lesbian, gay and bisexual students.”

Jennings does not limit his promotion of homosexuality in schools only to high schools or middle schools. He wrote the foreword for a book titled Queering Elementary Education, which includes an essay declaring that “‘queerly raised’ children are agents” using “strategies of adaptation, negotiation, resistance, and subversion.”

Perhaps the most dramatic illustration, however, of Jennings’ unfitness for a “safe schools” post involves an incident when he taught at Concord Academy, a private boarding school in Massachusetts. In his book One Teacher in Ten (the title is based on the discredited myth, now abandoned even by “gay” activist groups, that ten percent of the population is homosexual), he tells about a young male sophomore, “Brewster,” who confessed to Jennings “his involvement with an older man he met in Boston.” But at a GLSEN rally in 2000, Jennings told a more explicit version of “Brewster’s” story. Jennings here quotes the boy and then comments: “‘I met someone in the bus station bathroom and I went home with him.’ High school sophomore, 15 years old. That was the only way he knew how to meet gay people.”

Did Jennings report this high-risk behavior to the authorities? To the school? To the boy’s parents? No — he just told the boy, “I hope you knew to use a condom.” Sex between an adult and a young person below the “age of consent” (which varies from state to state) is a crime known as statutory rape, and some states mandate that people in certain professions report such abuse.

-Human Events – Kevin Jennings — Unsafe for America’s Schools

This story that Jennings had looked the other way at a case of statutory rape ran like an angry mob with torches across the right  wing noise machine…

Sean Hannity: "As The Washington Times said, ‘At the very least, statutory rape occurred,’ and he didn’t report it." On the September 30 edition of Fox News’ Hannity, host Sean Hannity said: "We have the safe schools czar, a guy by the name of Kevin Jennings, OK? And he writes this book, and he gives information to a 15-year-old — ABC News and Jake Tapper write about this tonight — a 15-year-old sophomore, and his advice to him when he’s having a gay relationship is, you know, ‘Did you use a condom?’ He knew it was an older adult. Now, as The Washington Times said, ‘At the very least, statutory rape occurred,’ and he didn’t report it. Now he’s saying that he made a mistake, only because it’s been reported on. My question is, where’s the vetting process? Why was he even put in this position?" Hannity went on to call for Jennings to be "fired."

-Media Matters For America – Fox, right-wing media claim Jennings covered up "statutory rape"

But there is a problem with this.  First, Jennings now says the boy was 16, not 15, which is the age of consent in Massachusetts.  That would mean there was no statutory rape.  But that is beside the point.  The problem the right has with Jennings isn’t that he looked the other way when an older man had sex with a kid.  Here’s the problem:

In a 1994 book, he recounted his experience as an in-the-closet gay teacher at a private school, and he described a 1988 episode in which a male high school sophomore confided to him his involvement with an older man. Jennings was 24 years old then, and as he wrote, "I listened, sympathized, and offered advice. He left my office with a smile on his face that I would see every time I saw him on the campus for the next two years, until he graduated."

In a 2000 talk to the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, which Jennings had started, he recalled that this student had been 15 years old, had met the older man in a bus station bathroom–for that was the only way he knew how to meet gay people–and that he (Jennings) had told him, "I hope you knew to use a condom." Jennings’ best friend had died of AIDS the week before his chat with the student. According to Jennings, the student replied, "Why should I? My life isn’t worth saving anyway."

-Politics Daily – The New Right-Wing Hit Job: Kevin Jennings

Emphasis mine.  Jennings told this kid his life Was worth saving.  That’s the problem.  Make no mistake…that is Exactly why they are whipping up the standard right wing feeding frenzy over Obama picking him to head the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools.  Jennings told a gay kid his life Was worth saving.  That is the wrong message to give to gay kids.

This incident happened in 1988 and both Jennings and the kid were in the closet.  Here David Corn almost grasps it:

The right is vilifying Jennings because he didn’t tell the student’s parents or the authorities that this closeted gay student was having sex with an older man. That is, he didn’t out this student, who was clearly troubled by his inability to be open about his sexual orientation.

Conservatives who oppose gay rights generally don’t display much sympathy for people who have to keep their homosexuality hidden–and don’t show much concern for how that affects their lives. But I can imagine the difficult situation both Jennings and the student were in. The student needed a confidante, and Jennings had to worry about the students well-being, which included protecting his secret. (Had there not been so much anti-gay prejudice, of course, the two would not have been in these respective positions.) It’s possible that Jennings helped save the kid’s life by encouraging him to think about condoms. It’s possible that outing the student may have led to terrible consequences. There’s no telling. But only someone blinded by ideology would refuse to recognize that Jennings was contending with thorny circumstances. Perhaps he didn’t make the right decision. It was a tough call. But the go-for-his-throat campaign being waged against Jennings is mean-spirited and fueled by an any-means-necessary partisanship.

Well…no.  Partisan it surely is, but the fuel on this fire is hate, pure and simple.  Jennings should have brought the police into it, not to look into a case of statutory rape, but to have the kid locked up for having sex in a public place, where he would likely have been raped by older inmates. The kid should have been outed to parents and family and peers and everyone he knew.  His life should have been made so miserable that the only smile to grace his face would be the one he made as he slit his wrists.  That instead the kid walked out of Jennings office with hope instead of despair was unforgivable.  That is what this is all about.

It is grotesque to take at face value the word of bigots who have opposed with scorched earth political warfare even the smallest efforts to stop the bullying of gay youth in schools, that they are appalled that Jennings looked the other way at a case of child abuse.  If they are appalled at anything, its the prospect of real work being done now at the federal level to insure that schools are actually made safer for kids…all kids…and that gay kids can get an education too, and grow up healthy and strong and walk proudly into their future.  That must never be allowed to happen.  Because our hopes and dreams are their stepping stones to heaven.  Because if we don’t bleed, they are not righteous.

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

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