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May 17th, 2020

The Closet Is An Evil Place

…and not just for the ones in it.

My guilty pleasure during quarantine (or lockdown if you prefer) is watching re-runs of Forensic Files. It’s basically a procedural crime solving series that mixes documentary footage with sometimes disturbing reenactments. If I take anything away from it, besides the fact that the science is such now I don’t see how anything can think they’ll get away with murder, it’s how often women are killed by their husbands or boyfriends. It’s pretty sickening.

Occasionally, very occasionally, the victim is gay. Since their murder is being profiled on this series, you know in advance the killer will be caught and sent to prison. That relieves some of my stress watching one of these episodes. Once upon a time I and another user maintained a news section on our local gay BBS, and I saw a torrent of stories flash across the wire services about gay bashings and murders that happened here and there all across the country, nearly all of which never made the local newspapers or news broadcasts. We were the dirty secret best not talked about in family newspapers. Which was why we were so diligent about maintaining our BBS news section: back then there were very few ways of knowing what was happening to us. I’ve told the story before about how back in June 1977 I had to start up my shortwave radio and listen to the BBC to find out what the results were of Anita Bryant’s campaign to overturn gay equality laws in Dade County Florida, because none of the national or local news broadcasts even bothered to say one word about it.

So the other day I’m watching Forensic Files and see the episode Cop Out, about the murder of Jesse Valencia, a gay college student, by an older man, a police officer no less, who’d essentially been using him for sex. The cop met the kid after (I think) a traffic stop. Or maybe it was a loud party. The ticket he wrote for the kid was a piece of evidence used after the cop said he’d never met the kid and didn’t know him. It was a mutual thing until the boy found out the cop was married. He was young, proud, out, and he decided to break it off. And the cop killed him for it. The speculation, and that’s all it could have been, was he threatened to out the cop if he didn’t stop coming around, and that’s what provoked the murder. That’s the obvious motive…I can see why a lot of people might assume that was it…but I think seeing that self respecting pride in the kid telling him to go away because he didn’t want to be involved with a married man was what did it.

The forensic evidence against the cop was slight, but they nailed him. To this day he denies killing the kid, despite the fact of his body hair being found on the kid’s body, in the kid’s blood. 

Kids…don’t get involved with an older closeted gay person. Step by step they will try to drag you into their closet too. And if you refuse you may end up being a sacrifice to the empty mask the closet makes them wear every moment of their day.

 

Jesse Valencia

by Bruce | Link | React!

August 11th, 2014

Life’s Little Ironies Only A Gay Person Of A Certain Age Will Fully Appreciate…

#1: Having “Dude, Get Real!” hurled at you by someone who will probably be buried in his closet because not even the Grim Reaper will be able to pry him out of it.

you wish

…collect the entire series!

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Life’s Little Ironies Only A Gay Person Of A Certain Age Will Fully Appreciate…

January 2nd, 2014

To Whom It May Concern…

born_in_a_cage

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on To Whom It May Concern…

December 8th, 2013

The Persistence Of The Closet

Via John Becker at Bilerico, I see this New York Times article on that age old preoccupation of the heterosexual majority, How Many American Men Are Gay?

What percent of American men are gay? This question is notoriously difficult to answer. Historical estimates range from about 2 percent to 10 percent. But somewhere in the exabytes of data that human beings create every day are answers to even the most challenging questions…

While none of these data sources are ideal, they combine to tell a consistent story.

This is probably where the answers come from, finally. Because it was true before Stonewall, it was true in the post Stonewall gay lib phase, and it’s still true now, that many gay people will simply not tell even anonymous surveys the truth about themselves, let alone tell themselves the truth…

Additional evidence that suggests that many gay men in intolerant states are deeply in the closet comes from a surprising source: the Google searches of married women. It turns out that wives suspect their husbands of being gay rather frequently. In the United States, of all Google searches that begin “Is my husband…,” the most common word to follow is “gay.” “Gay” is 10 percent more common in such searches than the second-place word, “cheating.” It is 8 times more common than “an alcoholic” and 10 times more common than “depressed.”

Searches questioning a husband’s sexuality are far more common in the least tolerant states…in fact, in 21 of the 25 states where this question is most frequently asked, support for gay marriage is lower than the national average.

This is unbearably sad. I’ve said before that for a lot of gay people in my generation it will always be a time before Stonewall.   But it’s Still happening.   And unsurprisingly, it’s happening where the ideal of married life is being systematically denied to gay people.

How I escaped this trap is part of the story I’m telling in A Coming Out Story. But I came out into a world where the soulmate, the beautiful lifelong love story, was almost impossible to find. I still haven’t found it and now I’m 60, and looking at the end of a lifetime of being alone, not having that intimate other.   And that was not, as the stereotype would have you believe, because gay culture was and is obsessed with casual no-strings attachment free sex, but because so many gay men who would have been searching for the same things I was, were instead desperately searching for a way not to be gay.

We were taught…By The Righteous…to believe that homosexuals don’t love, they just have sex.   And for many gay men as it also is for many heterosexual men, that’s just dandy. But for others it meant, and still means, “a huge amount of secret suffering”.   We believed because we were taught…By The Good People, the Decent Upstanding Citizens we looked up to…that homosexuality was a tragic psychological perversion, a denial of normal healthy functioning heterosexuality.   We were taught, not by gay culture but by heterosexual culture…that to be a homosexual was to be trapped in a hopeless cycle of empty sex searching for fulfillment we would never find.   We were weak contemptible faggots, or we were dangerous sexual psychopaths.   What we never were was people in love.   The first crush, the first date, the prom, the Big Question. None of it was ours to have. Homosexuals don’t love, they just have sex.

For some people that life of casual sex and serial loves is just fine. They live, they love, they go their separate ways, they remember fondly and are remembered fondly. But other hearts have other needs.   And for those, to be told that the One Love, the soulmate, the intimate other, is not possible, is a heartache that never heals. It is always there, just below the surface. You would do anything to make it not so. Because without that intimate other, life is so very very desperately lonely.

…in 21 of the 25 states where this question is most frequently asked, support for gay marriage is lower than the national average.

So many hearts that could have found their beloved other, instead locked themselves in the closet and watched their love lives wither away to graveyard dust all the same. But at least nobody knew their terrible secret…that their desires were foul, that they were unfit for love.   So many hearts turned finally to stone, so the righteous could make their stepping stones to heaven out of our dreams of love.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The Persistence Of The Closet

September 25th, 2013

The Closet Will Not Avail You!

Gandalf The Pink confronts a closeted homosexual and warns him sternly, You shall not pass!

I’m looking at you Mr. I’m a piece of work…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The Closet Will Not Avail You!

August 17th, 2007

The Quality Of Mendacity

Tom Shales is a tad upset about all the badmouthing of Merv Griffin going on amongst the gay hoi polloi

It took only a few hours after news circulated that entertainer and entrepreneur Merv Griffin had died (at 82, Sunday, in Los Angeles) for a drumbeat of wrath—yes, wrath—to begin on some of the Internet’s fringe Web sites, where Griffin was assailed by various contributors for allegedly having been a "closeted" homosexual who should have announced he was gay to the world—though at which stage of his career he should have made the declaration was not specified.

Well…actually one place he could have done it was spelled out.  And as it turns out…Shales knows damn well where and when it was, that Griffin could have made a difference…

Whatever, the vehemence and fury in the attacks was disheartening. "A bloated pig like that should burn in hell," wrote one anonymous assailant. Michelangelo Signorile, who runs a Web site called The Gist, wrote that Griffin could have helped prevent the AIDS epidemic if only he had spoken to his friends Ronald and Nancy Reagan about it, but that "it is highly unlikely" he ever did, preferring to remain "shockingly silent" even as "his own people were dying."

No benefit of a doubt for poor old Merv.

The Reagans, let it be long remembered, had no trouble laughing at AIDS jokes

The Reagan administration’s reaction to AIDS is complex and goes far beyond Reagan’s refusal to speak out about the epidemic. A great deal of his power base was born-again Christian Republican conservatives who embraced a reactionary social agenda that included a virulent, demonizing homophobia. In the media, people like Reverends Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell portrayed gay people as diseased sinners and promoted the idea that AIDS was a punishment from God and that the gay rights movement had to be stopped. In the Republican Party, zealous right-wingers, such as Representative William Dannenmeyer (CA) and Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC), hammered home this same message. In the Reagan White House, people such as Secretary of Education William Bennett and Gary Bauer, his chief domestic advisor, worked to enact it in the Adminis- tration’s policies. 

In practical terms this meant AIDS research was chronically underfunded. When doctors at the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institute for Health asked for more funding for their work on AIDS, they were routinely denied it. Between June 1981 and May 1982, the CDC spent less than $1 million on AIDS, but $9 million on Legionnaire’s Disease. At that point over 1,000 of the 2,000 AIDS cases reported resulted in death; there were fewer than 50 deaths from Legionnaire’s Disease. This drastic lack of funding would continue through the Reagan years. 

When health and support groups in the gay community instigated education and prevention programs, they were denied federal funding. In October 1987 Jesse Helms amended a federal appropriation bill that prohibited AIDS education efforts that “encourage or promoted homosexual activity”(that is, tell gay men how to have safe sex). 

When almost all medical opinion spoke out against mandatory HIV testing (since it would drive those at risk away from being tested) and the ACLU and Lambda Legal Defense were fighting discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS, Republicans such as Vice President George Bush in 1987 and William Dannenmeyer (in a California state referendum in 1988) called for mandatory HIV testing. 

Throughout all of this Ronald Reagan did nothing. When Rock Hudson, a friend and colleague of the Reagan’s, was diagnosed and died in 1985 (one of the 20,740 cases reported that year), Reagan still did not speak out. When family friend William F. Buckley, in a March 18, 1986 New York Times article, called for mandatory testing of HIV and said that HIV+ gay men should have this information forcibly tattooed on their buttocks (and IV drug users on their arms), Reagan said nothing. In 1986 (after five years of complete silence) when Surgeon General C. Everett Koop released a report calling for AIDS education in schools, Bennett and Bauer did everything possible to undercut and prevent funding for Koop’s too-little too-late initiative. By the end of 1986, 37,061 AIDS cases had been reported; 16,301 people had died. 

The most memorable Reagan AIDS moment was at the 1986 centenary rededication of the Statue of Liberty. The Reagan’s were there sitting next to the French Prime Minister and his wife, Francois and Danielle Mitterrand. Bob Hope was on stage entertaining the all-star audience. In the middle of a series of one-liners, Hope quipped, “I just heard that the Statue of Liberty has AIDS, but she doesn’t know if she got it from the mouth of the Hudson or the Staten Island Fairy.” As the television camera panned the audience, the Mitterrands looked appalled. The Reagans were laughing. By the end of 1989, 115,786 women and men had been diagnosed with AIDS in the United States—more then 70,000 of them had died.

Emphasis mine. If the Reagans epitomized Truman Capote’s remark that "a faggot is the homosexual gentleman who just left the room", Shales epitomizes the person who looks the other way when they see it.  But Griffin had a chance to put a human face on that joke, and he ether didn’t, or he allowed the illusion of friendship persist, let himself be the "some" in "some of my best friends are…" 

One commenter on the TV Week site avers that Griffin, "…was under no obligation to share his sexual preference" and "the GLBT community must realize that, just as they have a right to "come out," they have no right to "out" anyone else- unless that person says one thing and does another."  True enough, generally.  The struggling gay teen…the poor working stiff who’s just barely making ends meet…the closeted solider torn between the needs of their heart and the needs of their country…the closeted middle manager, struggling to hold on to their career dreams…most all of us need to be left alone to deal with the closet on our own terms, in our own way.  But with power comes responsibility.  In the face of social indifference to a staggering death toll that many then (and even now still) were saying was nothing more then what homosexuals were due, closeted celebrities like Griffin, people whom pop culture fame had blessed with status and wealth had an obligation, not only to their own people, but to their country, and to humanity, to raise their voices.  And Griffin didn’t.

You can’t take it with you…not even your closet.  But something that remains behind, long after we’re gone from this good earth, are the things we did to make a difference, that made our world better for our having walked in it.  Those remain, long after our names are forgotten.  And also, the things we didn’t, that we could have.

by Bruce | Link | React! (2)

February 6th, 2007

Well That Was Fast…

Even John Smid says he needs at least eight weeks…

Haggard says he is not gay

The Rev. Ted Haggard emerged from three weeks of intensive counseling convinced he is "completely heterosexual" and told an oversight board that his sexual contact with men was limited to his accuser.

[Rev. Tim Ralph of Larkspur] said three weeks of counseling at an undisclosed Arizona treatment center helped Haggard immensely and left Haggard sure of one thing.

"He is completely heterosexual," Ralph said. "That is something he discovered. It was the acting- out situations where things took place. It wasn’t a constant thing."

Why Haggard chose to act out in that manner is something Haggard and his advisers are trying to discern, Ralph said.

I’ll hazard a guess…because he’s gay. This is the guy after all, who said he didn’t even know the guy he was paying for sex, right up to the moment the answering machine tapes came out. Not your most trustworthy source, this guy.

On the other hand, this could also just be the usual ex-gay double-speak too. Haggard isn’t gay, because according to ex-gay dogma nobody really is anyway. He’s just in therapy to control his acting out behavior. But the human identity isn’t a blackboard anyone can scribble their will upon. His acting out was on the order of seeking sex under less then wholesome circumstances. But that was because of denial, not homosexuality.

Sex is one of the strongest of all instincts, and you can’t bottle it up inside a person without damaging consequences. Haggard’s adventures with the prostitute were eminently predictable. You see that kind of behavior all the time in married, closeted homosexuals. The ex-gay solution is merely to bottle it up even more. So it looks like Haggard’s first step out of therapy is taking him right down the same old road he was on before he got caught with his back being rubbed. No wonder they were encouraging him to stay out of the ministry.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Well That Was Fast…

November 3rd, 2006

The Spirit Warrior Who Defeated Himself

Via 365Gay.Com…

Anti-Gay Pastor Steps Down After Hustler Alleges They Had 3 Year Affair

(Denver, Colorado) Evangelist Ted Haggard, one of the leaders of a proposed amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Colorado, stepped down from the ministry of his 14,000-member New Life Church in Colorado Springs after a male escort alleged he had a three year pay-for-sex affair with Haggard.

Haggard denies the affair, but in an afternoon news conference said that he was stepping down to allow church elders to conduct an investigation.  Haggard also said he was voluntarily resigning as president of the multimillion- member National Association of Evangelicals.

And this…via a friend on the MySpace FreeZ group…

Church Leader Says Haggard Admits To Some Indiscretions

After a day of whirlwind controversy surrounding New Life Church and its leader Ted Haggard, who went on administrative leave earlier Thursday, the acting Senior Pastor, Ross Parsley tells KKTV 11 News that Pastor Haggard has admitted to some of the indiscretions.

Thursday morning, Mike Jones went on a Denver radio talk show and said Pastor Haggard paid him for sex over the past 3 years. Jones also claims Haggard did drugs with him. Pastor Parsley says Haggard admitted that some of the allegations are true, but not all of them. The church is not saying what Haggard admitted to.

That’s the way this dance usually goes.  First, denial.  Then what Nixon aid John Ehrlichman once called the modified limited hang out.  Coming next…the tearful confession and rehab.

Harper’s Magazine did a profile of Haggard in an article back in May 2005, titled Soldiers Of Christ

The city’s mightiest megachurch crests silver and blue atop a gentle slope of pale yellow prairie grass on the outskirts of town. Silver and blue, as it happens, are Air Force colors. New Life Church was built far north of town in part so it would be visible from the Air Force Academy. New Life wanted that kind of character in its congregation.

“Church” is insufficient to describe the complex. There is a permanent structure called the Tent, which regularly fills with hundreds or thousands of teens and twentysomethings for New Life’s various youth gatherings. Next to the Tent stands the old sanctuary, a gray box capable of seating 1,500; this juts out into the new sanctuary, capacity 7,500, already too small. At the complex’s western edge is the World Prayer Center, which looks like a great iron wedge driven into the plains. The true architectural wonder of New Life, however, is the pyramid of authority into which it orders its 11,000 members. At the base are 1,300 cell groups, whose leaders answer to section leaders, who answer to zone, who answer to district, who answer to Pastor Ted Haggard, New Life’s founder.

The picture that emerges of Haggard isn’t of just your usual babbling pulpit thumper, but an archetype of the new breed of confrontational, militant and coercive Dominionist.  Haggard fancied himself, a Spirit Warrior

He was always on the lookout for spies. At the time, Colorado Springs was a small city split between the Air Force and the New Age, and the latter, Pastor Ted believed, worked for the devil. Pastor Ted soon began upsetting the devil’s plans. He staked out gay bars, inviting men to come to his church; his whole congregation pitched itself into invisible battles with demonic forces, sometimes in front of public buildings. One day, while he was working in his garage, a woman who said she’d been sent by a witches’ coven tried to stab Pastor Ted with a five-inch knife she pulled from a leg sheath; Pastor Ted wrestled the blade out of her hand. He let that story get around. He called the evil forces that dominated Colorado Springs—and every other metropolitan area in the country—“Control.”

Sometimes, he says, Control would call him late on Saturday night, threatening to kill him. “Any more impertinence out of you, Ted Haggard,” he claims Control once told him, “and there will be unrelenting pandemonium in this city.” No kidding! Pastor Ted hadn’t come to Colorado Springs for his health; he had come to wage “spiritual war.”

So Haggard, there in the shadow of Cheyenne Mountain, built himself a command base of his own from which to wage spiritual warfare…

The Prayer Center—a joint effort of several fundamentalist organizations but located at and presided over by New Life—houses a bookstore that when I visited was called the Arsenal (its name has since been changed to Solomon’s Porch), as well as “corporate” prayer rooms, personal “prayer closets,” hotel rooms, and the headquarters of Global Harvest, a ministry dedicated to “spiritual warfare.” (The Prayer Center’s nickname in the fundamentalist world is “spiritual NORAD.”) The atrium is a soaring foyer adorned with the flags of the nations and guarded by another bronze warrior angel, a scowling, bearded type with massive biceps and, again, a sword. The angel’s pedestal stands at the center of a great, eight-pointed compass laid out in muted red, white, and blue-black stone. Each point directs the eye to a contemporary painting, most depicting gorgeous, muscular men—one is a blacksmith, another is bound, fetish-style, in chains—in various states of undress….

In the chapel are several computer terminals, where one can sign on to the World Prayer Team and enter a prayer. Eventually one’s words will scroll across the large flat screens, as well as across the screens around the world, which as many as 70,000 other Prayer Team members are watching at any point in time. Prayers range from the mundane (real-estate deals and job situations demand frequent attention) to the urgent, such as this prayer request from “Rachel” of Colorado: Danielle. 15 months old. Temperature just shy of 105 degrees. Lethargic. Won’t eat.

Remember that passage from the Bible, where the devil tempts Jesus with kingdoms of the earth, and all the worldly power therein?  There is no poor sucker more vulnerable to the temptations of power, then someone who wants to save the world.  Particularly one who needs desperately to save the world, because they’re utterly unable to save themselves.  Control won, and it wasn’t much of a contest.  The hook was already in him when he arrived aimlessly in Colorado Springs, and when he saw that vision of a glittering city of spirit warriors his own magnificent redemption in the making of it was too much to resist and Control just reeled him in.  It was his own spirit he needed to worry about.  But you have to know yourself to win that battle, and Haggard, apparently, didn’t want to know.

This is from an interview with Haggard, quoted on Ex-Gay Watch

The biblical argument could be made, but not in this particular case. In Washington, D.C., our argument has to be the fact that the greatest benefit to society and to our culture and to the children of our nation would be to instill in our Constitution that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. It would be devastating for the children of our nation and for the future of Western civilization for us to say that homosexual unions or lesbian unions or any alteration of that has the moral equivalence of a heterosexual, monogamous marriage.

So that needs to be inculcated into the Constitution, otherwise we run the risk of a Supreme Court decision that will say that a gay couple living together and a heterosexual couple living together have the same standing under the law.

If the only same sex intimacy the man ever permitted himself to experience was secretly with anonymous call boys, then it isn’t surprising that he’d feel that heterosexual coupling was a superior, more wholesome form of human union. You see the same thing happening over and over with these closet cases. Consider Mark Foley

In 1992, as a Navy lieutenant, Thorne-Begland announced he was gay during a nationally televised interview, helping to lay the groundwork for the military’s "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy. Four years later, after Foley voted for the Defense of Marriage Act, Thorne-Begland called to complain.

"I said, how could you vote against me, my family, your own self-interest?" recalled Thorne-Begland, now an attorney for the city of Richmond, Va. He said Foley responded, "I could never compare any relationship I have ever had to the nature of my mother and father’s relationship."

When you see your sexual nature as something innately broken and unwholesome, then you’re going to seek out broken and unwholesome sexual encounters. It’s not a matter of proving to yourself that being gay means having nothing but brief, barren assignations. It’s because you don’t believe down in your gut that it could ever be anything more.

And when you see other gay people fighting for equality…well…you just know in your gut that those kinds of relationships aren’t equal, can never be equal. Because that brokenness inside of you is all you know. But you’re not broken because you’re gay…you’re broken because you threw your sex life into the gutter. Just like the gay haters told you to.

And when you see other gay people holding on to their spirituality, steadfastly insisting that God does not condemn them, or their love, you just know in your gut that they’re deceiving themselves.  God condemns them, because you condemn yourself.  Just like the gay haters taught you to. 

I have a YouTube posted in the previous blog, that’s a satirical salute to all the closeted gay people in Washington working to deny equal rights to gay Americans. The list is amazingly big, and as the film makers go through one name after another, with Judy Garland singing "Over The Rainbow" in the background, you really realize how much damage these people are doing, not only to the gay community as a whole, but to the American Dream as well. At the end of it, a banner on the screen reads, "It’s okay, boys…  A closet is just a bedroom, with no self respect."

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The Spirit Warrior Who Defeated Himself

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