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August 12th, 2014
Depression, Madness, And Those Of Us Who Slip Between The Fingers Of Concern
by Bruce |
It’s not often another story of celebrity death makes me feel like the floor went out from under me, but that’s what news of Robin William’s death by suicide did. I was heartbroken in that instant, as were a lot of people. The word “celebrity” demeans someone like him. He was an artist, an actor, a tremendous creative talent. He could be the gifted stage comic, the manic genie in Disney’s Aladdin, and then you look and he’s the evil Walter Finch in Insomnia, and then you look again and he’s John Keating in Dead Poets Society, and then you look again and he’s Peter Pan.
Williams it seems, was battling depression. I follow a bunch of very talented and creative people on Facebook and Twitter who are also battling depression. That’s, the clinical depression, which is a thing unlike those bouts of sadness and loneliness and loss we all face at one time or another in our lives. It’s a thing, a real medical clinical thing. People who experience it speak of it as a gray cloud that hangs over everything and never goes away. They say it sucks the energy and joy out of everything. I have had my moments of grief, I’ve had it so bad I’ve stood at the threshold of suicide myself many times. But it’s never been like that. And what comforts me as I walk into old age and I find myself standing at that threshold once again is I’ve seen the darkness come and go over and over and over again and I know from experience that sooner or later It Will Go Away, and I just have to keep walking through it. So I am told, it’s not like that when you have clinical depression. For those folks, that gray cloud never goes away, at least not without medication. I know I can always count on time making mine go away. But I also know how easy it is for people like me to lose our balance, and fall into a pit we may or may not get back out of in time.
The writer David Gerrold wrote this on Facebook the other day…
I don’t know the details of what Robin Williams was dealing with and I won’t speculate.
I do know that when you have a mind that works that fast and makes that kind of connections, flashing from moment to moment, assembling new pieces out of fragments of old experiences, it’s exhausting.
Sometimes my mind does that, all the circuits firing at once, and it shows up in stories — and leaves me emotionally drained, sometimes for days. It’s hard to live inside a brain that active. (And no, I’m not comparing myself to Williams, I’m only noticing my own experiences and extrapolating from there.)
He gets it. Whenever someone so creative and talented kills themselves, you will always hear a bunch of people saying, to the effect, that madness and genius go hand in hand. I can’t begin to tell you how much I hate hearing that. I’m not about to wrap myself in the robes of ‘genius’ by any means. I don’t even like the concept of a single measure of intelligence. I think there are a lot of different kinds of intelligence. And I always flinch at calling myself an artist. But I am. There are many kinds of artist too. Some of us paint and draw. Some of us do photography, or music, or act. We are writers and poets. Some of us pursue the engineering arts. And it isn’t madness we have, it’s brains that contain a whirlwind…flashes of insight, connections, moment to moment, all firing at once. Constantly. Someone on Facebook I follow posted a graphic with the message on it that, (recalling it from memory) to understand how having a creative mind feels, imagine you’re a browser and you have 2,868 tabs open all at once.
Williams had that. He had to given that amazing, wonderful ability he had to mentally jump from one random connection to the next on stage So Quickly. He had to have that whirlwind going on inside. You could see it. It just delighted you. And you could see it delighting him even as he was doing it. It’s not madness, it’s art. I don’t know that this necessarily makes you unstable, but I know from my own experience how vulnerable it can leave you if you don’t have something to anchor you, something…someone…to always bring you back home.
For the artist depression has to be an even bigger hazard, one that multiplies the risk you already have of losing your balance if you’ve already got those 2,868 tabs open. I’ve never had that overarching clinical depression, so I wouldn’t know. All I’ve ever been is sad. Just…very very sad. But I know what it’s like living with a furious mental cascade that just won’t stop unless you apply some chemical brakes and getting lost in it is oh so easy and losing your balance…maybe it was sadness, maybe it was some sudden crisis that came out of nowhere…and then the whirlwind in your mind throws you into a place you may or may not make it back out of.
This is why a lot of us end up not as suicides but as overdoses. The lucky ones have that anchor. Others, too afraid of the overdose or blessed like me with bodies too timid to handle a lot of drugs without getting violently sick long before the overdose can even get close, dive into their work as a substitute for the anchor, the home, the place of rest. I know how that is too. But when work becomes less a passion and more a crutch then it can have the same effect as drugs in that it allows you to deny and ignore the central problem in your life until that one moment when the crutch can’t bear the weight and it snaps and there you are and you’re on your way to the bottom of a pit and you can’t stop falling.
Bunch of highly talented and creative people I follow who’ve been open about their fight with clinical depression, are feeling very sad now for Williams, but also afraid for themselves. If he lost the fight, then what chance do I have? They need to be told the are loved, and cherished, and not alone in their fight. I’m afraid of a different thing. I don’t have a fight with depression. I have a fight with a hoary old stereotype about artists and madness that I am convinced is getting a lot of us killed too. You can call what our brains do to us madness I suppose, but it adds a little something to the world, and the thing is, we don’t have to get lost in it. We just don’t. The problem is people seem to think we’re supposed to. It’s part of the deal.
The shooting star. The one who lived so miserably and died so tragically, but oh look at all the wonderful things they left behind for the rest of us to enjoy! We don’t all suffer from depression, but we could all use a little sympathy too, and a little help. Because that inner whirlwind makes it hard to find that anchor, that intimate other, or others, who can see what the others can’t because they’re used to you behaving like you’re not quite all there, that that can see that you’re losing your balance, and seeing it, can take you by the hand to that place of peace and quiet you need to be in to get it back.
I know from experience that when I get lost in a whirlwind of grief or loneliness or sadness I can just wait it out. But I also know that it’s not a sure thing. I have come so very close to it. One of these days you might find yourself reading right here about the one time I couldn’t walk myself out of it. I told my brother once that if I died alone and especially if it was by my own hand, I wanted him to burn everything…all the artwork, all the photography. I was at a point in my life where it sickened me to think of people enjoying the artistic spoils of my miserable life. He flat out refused, and I’ve moved on to a place where I don’t care anymore.
[Edited a tad...]
August 4th, 2014
The Militant Homosexual I Became Was Nurtured By Hollywood’s Homosexual
by Bruce |
A friend on Facebook turned me onto this…
I have both editions of “The Celluloid Closet” published while he was still with us. If any one thing could have been said to have radicalized my attitudes toward gay equality it was this one, even more so than “And The Band Played On”. The book opens with a story about how a gay friend of his was telling another gay friend about a new movie that had a gay character in it, and the other friend immediately asks how the character dies. In a nutshell, that’s how it was.
I ordered the DVD of Vito and it came Friday and I had housework to do so it just sat for a while. Last night before bed I watched the first two thirds of it. It filled in a lot of blanks for me because I only knew of Vito Russo from his groundbreaking film history The Celluloid Closet. I didn’t know, but I should have guessed, how the activist predated the historian. The part showing him struggling to pull together all the hidden threads of our presence in the movies really brought back home to me that sense of isolation and cultural invisibility I hadn’t felt in decades.
Back in the 1970s, that homosexual characters were occasionally included in movies, either for laughs if they were flaming sissies or as the embodiment of unnatural evil, was something probably everyone knew. Russo was the first person to actually gather all the pieces together, all the little walk on toss off parts along with the major roles, all the sissies, all the evil psychos, all the tragically dammed, and look at all critically. And the book he produced hit gay people everywhere who read it like a ton of bricks, because you knew the scapegoating and stereotyping weren’t just how your heterosexual neighbors were taught to look at you, but also how you were taught to see yourself. Heterosexuals could dream of the happily ever after, could see that dream on the silver screen, could picture themselves there, having that life, or something like it. Hollywood flushed our dreams into the sewer from the moment we first walked into a movie house. We weren’t lovers, we were sissies, we were dangerous sexual psychopaths, we were the butt of dirty jokes, we were the personification of unnatural evil, we were pathetic, we were terrifying, we were not human. But you really didn’t see it all that clearly because the one thing we were most of all was something not to be discussed in public among decent normal people.
Then Vito Russo gathered it all together and put it in front of us. And it just took your breath away…to see it all there, laid out in front of you.
And it made you angry…
July 31st, 2014
There Was Never A Cure Because There Never Was A Sickness
by Bruce |
Two years ago in a post here I wrote…
There is nothing wrong with homosexuals. That is a simple statement of fact. Not opinion. Fact. Well researched, well established, scientific fact. And it has been well established fact for quite a very long time. If you were born in the 1960s or later, then this fact is older then you are.
The science that shows there is nothing psychologically wrong with gay people has a pedigree going back at least half a century now. But it wasn’t until 1973 that the American Psychological Association removed homosexuality from their catalogue of mental illnesses. In that same year, the very first ex-gay ministry, Love In Action, was founded in San Francisco. And soon after that, the first ex-gay suicide. Jack McIntyre wrote the following just before he killed himself…
To continually go before God and ask forgiveness and make promises you know you can’t keep is more than I can take. I feel it is making a mockery of God and all He stands for in my life.
So to keep himself right with God he killed himself. Others simply retreated into a living death of the soul. They went deep into the closet, married against their nature, lived lives of quiet desperation. Or they embraced the lie and threw themselves into the sexual gutter. Human filth they believed they were, they consigned their sex lives to the public toilets and back alleys. There are many ways to put the knife into your own heart because you can’t bear its pain, but then tomorrow comes anyway and you have to do it all over again.
We were taught to hate ourselves. And the more we hated ourselves, the more painful our lives became which we were constantly told was proof that homosexuality was a sickness and to be homosexual was to be broken. But there was nothing wrong with us. There was never anything wrong with us. Science proved it decades ago. Perhaps science could have better served us all by discovering what it is that makes a person a bigot rather than what it is that makes someone homosexual. But now at least, the grotesque dance of hate is coming to an end…
Nine former ex-gay leaders, from organizations like Exodus International and ministries like Love in Action, have signed onto a letter in partnership with the National Center for Lesbian Rights calling for a ban on gay conversion therapy and saying that LGBT people should be celebrated and embraced for who they are.
“At one time, we were not only deeply involved in these ‘ex-gay’ programs, we were the founders, the leaders, and the promoters,” they said in the letter. “Together we represent more than half a century of experience, so few people are more knowledgeable about the ineffectiveness and harm of conversion therapy. We know first-hand the terrible emotional and spiritual damage it can cause, especially for LGBT youth.”
You can read their full letter at the link above. These are among those who inflicted the wounds and now ask forgiveness and I can appreciate that forgiveness for some may be impossible. This is why I can’t stand people that like to yap about how Christianity has made their lives so much Easier. Christianity is goddamn hard and I am no Christian. But I know this: it isn’t faith the size of a mustard seed that redeems, it’s love. That’s all you need. When the roll call of the dead and wounded is read, remember kindly, if it is in you to, the ones who could not at long last silence their heart’s voice, because the ones who can say “enough” despite their own guilt are civilization’s final hope. Keep them apart in your thoughts from the ones who kept on doggedly with it to the bitter end, because there was no heart to silence within them, just that empty void which is the end of the world.
July 28th, 2014
Should We Not Have Done That…?
by Bruce |
A soldier in the war against the homosexual menace has a road to Damascus moment…
As she sobbed over the breakup of her parents and family, an errant thought darted through my head: If we as a society didn’t condemn homosexuality, gay people wouldn’t feel pressured into marrying heterosexually, against their true attractions, and families wouldn’t be torn apart when the gay spouse could no longer continue the ruse. I had seen a number of gay Christians marry an opposite sex partner, only to leave when they couldn’t pretend any longer. It wasn’t fair to the spouse, the kids, or themselves. My doubts about the efficacy of change and the evangelical Christian stance against gay rights of any kind nagged at me.
July 24th, 2014
We Knew What You Are Even Before The Speech Began You Jackass…
by Bruce |
Marco Rubio wants to be the new look of an old song and dance…
Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio acknowledged Wednesday that American history was “marred by discrimination against gays and lesbians.” But in a speech at Catholic University in Washington, Rubio drew the line sharply at marriage equality and accused supporters of same sex unions of “intolerance.”
“I promise you even before this speech is over I’ll be attacked as a hater or a bigot or someone who is anti-gay,” Rubio said. “This intolerance in the name of tolerance is hypocrisy. Support for the definition of marriage as one man and one woman is not anti-gay, it is pro-traditional marriage.”
And David Duke wasn’t anti-black he was pro white. Let’s talk for just a second about hypocrisy, starting with that laughable MSNBC headline. You can almost hear the headline writer wondering if anyone would buy into “defends gays by attacking gay marriage”, and then deciding they’d taken the bullshit far enough as it was.
If it’s bigotry to call bigotry bigotry, and discrimination to call discrimination discrimination, and hypocrisy to call hypocrisy hypocrisy then those words have no meaning at all. Of course, Rubio doesn’t see it as bigotry, because homosexual relationships really are deserving of scorn. It’s just hard to say so in the same breath as wringing your hands about American history being “marred by discrimination against gays and lesbians.” It just wouldn’t hit the right note to say we need to mar our history a little less please. I am saddened by discrimination against gays and lesbians, except when I’m not.
Never mind all that. I’d like to point out one small detail that I’ll bet a lot of heterosexuals who heard him or read this didn’t catch…certainly not the ersatz reporters covering him…but which I’m sure every gay person saw immediately, like a slap in the face…
The 43-year-old senator preached tolerance for gay couples and advocates of gay marriage and spoke about the United States coming a “long way” in its treatments of gays and lesbians. He said all Americans should acknowledge a history of institutional discrimination against gay people and that “many committed gay and lesbian couples feel humiliated by the laws’ failures to recognize their relationship as a marriage.”
If you’ve been in this struggle for any length of time it just jumps out at you. Here it is again…
“many committed gay and lesbian couples feel humiliated by the laws’ failures to recognize their relationship as a marriage.”
Humiliation. Humiliation. We feel humiliated. On Facebook the other day I said something to the effect (I’ll repost it here later) that there aren’t very many arguments in the homophobe toolkit, that all they ever do is rephrase the same old crap you’ve heard a zillion times before, as if the problem with a crap argument is one of presentation and not that it’s a crap argument. This is one of them: Gays only want marriage for social approval.
That’s what Rubio is saying there, oh so patronisingly, and what you need to see in it is how strong the reflex is to trivialize our relationships. This is how bigots think…homosexuals don’t love, they just have sex…and even when they’re trying hard not to say what they think, they get to talking long enough and it just starts coming out. Hello, I can’t see the people for the homosexuals. The gays are feeling humiliated because the law doesn’t treat their relationships as marriages. Their relationships. Their relationships. Their relationships. He probably had to practice for days to keep from saying their sexual liaisons.
Let me tell you about humiliation. Back in 2009, a mere five years ago in the struggle, Donald Carcieri, the homophobic governor of Rhode Island back then, and member of the National Organization For Marriage (surprise, surprise), vetoed a bill that would have simply provided burial rights to “domestic partners” on the grounds that it was part of an ongoing process of eroding the institution of marriage. The Providence Journal reported at the time that…
In his veto message, Republican Carcieri said: “This bill represents a disturbing trend over the past few years of the incremental erosion of the principles surrounding traditional marriage, which is not the preferred way to approach this issue.
“If the General Assembly believes it would like to address the issue of domestic partnerships, it should place the issue on the ballot and let the people of the state of Rhode Island decide.”
The legislation was prompted by one of the more heart-wrenching personal stories to emerge from the same-sex marriage debate.
At a hearing this year on one of the stalled bills to allow same-sex marriage, Mark S. Goldberg told a Senate committee about his months-long battle last fall to persuade state authorities to release to him the body of his partner of 17 years, Ron Hanby, so he could grant Hanby’s wish for cremation — only to have that request rejected because “we were not legally married or blood relatives.”
Goldberg said he tried to show the police and the state medical examiner’s office “our wills, living wills, power of attorney and marriage certificate” from Connecticut, but “no one was willing to see these documents.”
He said he was told the medical examiner’s office was required to conduct a two-week search for next of kin, but the medical examiner’s office waited a full week before placing the required ad in a newspaper. And then when no one responded, he said, they “waited another week” to notify another state agency of an unclaimed body.
After four weeks, he said, a Department of Human Services employee “took pity on me and my plight … reviewed our documentation and was able to get all parties concerned to release Ron’s body to me,” but then the cremation society refused to cremate Ron’s body.
“On the same day, I contacted the Massachusetts Cremation Society and they were more than willing to work with me and cremate Ron’s body,” and so, “on November 6, 2008, I was able to finally pick up Ron’s remains and put this tragedy to rest.”
There are people within whom what this man went through simply does not register. They can’t fathom why Goldberg was so determined, other than it must be some sort of homosexual narcissism. That he loved Ron Hanby seems preposterous. Homosexuals don’t love, they just have sex. And they’re the ones who think all this is about is a fight for social recognition.
Rubio probably thinks himself very enlightened because he is willing to grant some small portion of human status to the gays. Yes, our history is marred by discrimination toward them. Perhaps we should not have done that…quite so much. He might even have signed a bill to allow the gays to bury one another. But that he sees us as being humiliated by the lack of equal marriage rights says it all.
It is not humiliation we feel, and fighting for the honor and the dignity of our love, and to protect and secure our households, something any of you would do for your own, is not intolerance. You’d know what it was if you could see the people for the homosexuals.
Noting President Obama didn’t declare his support for gay marriage until 2012, Rubio said, “If support for traditional marriage is bigotry, then Barack Obama was a bigot until just before 2012 election.”
Actually what he did was prove he wasn’t a bigot. That takes more than words. It certainly takes more than words about how humiliated the gays feel.
July 21st, 2014
by Bruce |
This came across my Facebook stream just now…
We all face a deficit for growing up LGBT in a straight world. Admitting it is the first step in making sure the next generation gets a better deal.
Like the writer, Neal Broverman, it surprises me that this is controversial. It shouldn’t be.
It sometimes takes a harsh circumstance to remind us how different our lives are. In The Case Against 8, HBO’s powerful documentary on the defeat of California’s antigay ballot initiative, lead plaintiff Kristin Perry had an “a-ha moment” while testifying in front of a federal judge. Defense attorney Ted Olson asked Perry if she thought granting marriage equality to gays and lesbians would have an effect on other forms of LGBT discrimination. Perry said her whole life would have been different, and better, if the biggest choice she made in it — marriage — was given the same weight and respect as everyone else’s: “So, if Prop. 8 were undone and kids like me, growing up in Bakersfield right now, can never know what this felt like, then I assume their entire lives would be on a higher arc, they would live with a higher sense of themselves that would improve the quality of their entire life.”
Reflecting on that moment later, she said, “It was powerful to connect the dots spontaneously on the stand and realize you’ve been living under this blanket of hate everywhere you turn…
Every crush I’ve ever had, every gay guy I’ve ever tried to date, every perfect match I thought I’d found, they were all wounded. And I have to suppose they looked at me and saw the same, good as I had it compared to a lot of other gay guys. I didn’t get sent to a camp, I didn’t get thrown out of the house, I wasn’t told by my own parents that I wasn’t loved. But you don’t grow up in a world that tells you from every direction that you are despised without taking it to heart.
Mad #145, Sept ‘71, from “Greeting Cards For The
Sexual Revolution” – “To A Gay Liberationist”
“The thought of turning…of turning involuntarily into one of them frightened me…and made me sick with anger.”
Jake shows the kids how to deal with a limp wrist faggot in Larry Weltz’ “Gearjammer”, Bakersfield Kountry Komics, 1973
And the worst of it is you grow up accustomed to it all, and you forget the wounds are there, always defeating you and you don’t even know it anymore, because you’ve accepted that as your lot in life. But it is rust on the soul.
It is a constant struggle to live the life you should have had all along. But it is a noble one…
Later in the documentary when Perry is discussing the discrimination she experiences, she says, while tearing up, “The sad parts [of being an LGBT person], I feel like I’m OK with because I’d rather be who I am today than somebody who never felt challenged and never had to find out who they really were. And I know who I am.”
Oscar Wilde, who suffered his own terrible wounds, once said that we are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. I’d put it differently. We are all damaged, but we have survived and we are not cowed.
May 28th, 2014
What Fear Steals From So Many
by Bruce |
This came across my Twitter stream the other day…
@taramurtha: “It’s incredibly odd how rarely we discuss that women in the U.S. generally can’t feel safe walking alone at night.”
It was accompanied by a link to this…
ISLA VISTA, Calif. — A deadly attack by a gunman obsessed by grievances toward women near the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara, has touched off an anguished conversation here and on social media about the ways women are perceived sexually and the violence against them.
Years ago, when I was still making a living as a freelance architectural model maker, I worked often for a firm located in a business park located between Rockville and Gaithersburg, two big and growing suburban cities in the massive Montgomery County Maryland sprawl. I had no car at the time but the Metro subway had a stop I could get off at and walk to the firm’s offices easily, if I cut across the King Farm.
Anyone who grew up in the Rockville area in those days will remember the King Farm. Developers ate it some years ago and now it’s all ugly rowhouses, condos, parking decks and a faux town center. Back then it was this wonderful anomaly of wide open green space tucked between a growing busy sprawl. It was so huge that at night, it created its own dark sky. I used to love working late at the firm’s offices and then walking in the dead of night down a little access road that cut across the King Farm to the Metro on the other side of Route 355. There were little worker’s shacks off to one side of the road…four of them I think…and the main farm house and barns not too far from them. You could feel the history of the place. And the sky above was bright with all the stars you never saw at night in the city.
One day while working on a model, I was talking with the architect, a young Turkish woman who designed one of the most beautiful art deco buildings in Silver Spring. This one…
She asked me how I managed to get around without a car and I told her how I did it, and then went off on a tangent about how beautiful the sky was at night over the King Farm, and how lovely it was to walk down that little road at night at the end of the day…just you and the stars and the quiet, peaceful night…
…and she looked at me sadly and said, “I could never do that.”
April 30th, 2014
Le Dance Pathetique…
by Bruce |
We gay folk are in that Some Of My Best Friends Are stage these civil rights struggles seem to always go through. Le Dance Pathetique… is a series I’ve been doing here for years, because sometimes you just gotta laugh. It’s about the rhetorical dance you see the bigots doing more and more frequently when challenged. The basic dance goes like this:
The gays are filthy dirty disgusting sexually perverted disease spreading child molesting family and America destroying menaces to civilization and everything we hold dear, and we must fight their gay agenda with all our might or else civilization will collapse and god will smite us all down…but I have a lot of terrific gay friends so I’m not a bigot.
Every dancer has their own style, but the basic dance never changes. There are so many gay friends of bigots out there you’d think Kinsey got it all wrong and we’re something like half the world’s population. Either that or there is one magnificent bastard out there who has been fucking with the heads of a whole lot of bar stool jackasses…probably for free drinks.
April 7th, 2014
Excuse Me Officer…What’s The Statute Of Limitations On All The Robberies I Haven’t Yet Commited?
by Bruce |
Oh shoot me now…
What is the statute of limitations for donating to support Prop 8 before that individual can no longer be fired from his job?
As though nobody in a position of leadership has ever lost their job because some skeleton came laughing out the closet door. Lord have mercy. Ask Pete Rose what the statute of limitations is on sports gambling.
But it’s worse than Pete Rose. This, you need to understand, is a little like Dexter asking what the statute of limitations is for all the murders he hasn’t committed yet, and besides who we kill on our own time is our business. Read the damn post Eich made when the controversy blew up in his face and tell me this man isn’t still willing to put his money where his bar stool prejudices are. He not only states flat out that he won’t discuss the matter, but very deftly let’s someone else speak about diversity for him, and that only by way of saying “Mozilla’s diversity is a success condition.” Yes, yes…success condition. Every time you think you’ve heard the worst mangling of the English language the IT profession can manage they find a way to mangle it a little more. Success condition. Success condition. What he’s saying there is it’s about the money. Like that store I read about some years ago…can’t recall just now if it was an ice cream store or a little boutique cookie shop…in a liberal neighborhood that had a little welcoming rainbow sticker in its window, and the owners were busy giving money to anti-gay politicians. Let’s put it another way…
Mozilla’s diversity is a success condition that will allow me to donate even more money to fight the homosexual agenda!
What he did say for himself was, “Ignoring the abusive comments, I’m left with charges that I hate and I’m a bigot, based solely on the donation. Now “hate” and “bigot” are well-defined words. I say these charges are false and unjust.” Well that’s the first time I’ve ever heard someone who stuck a knife in our hearts say that they don’t hate us. I’m sure Jim Burroway’s never heard that before either. Blessed are they who love the sinners, and only hate the sin.
It’s as though Eich’s transparently evasive response to the revelation that he’d dropped a thousand bucks on the Proposition 8 fight had nothing to do with the rising tide of anger that followed. It’s as though the reason he was stonewalling about his beliefs was some sort of impenetrable mystery of the ages and not staringly obvious. And now that it’s over very few it seems are taking note of the fact that his ducking out the exit came almost right after The Guardian posted its revelations that Eich has a long history of giving money to the gutter. Ask a survivor of the holocaust what the statute of limitations is for giving money to Pat Buchanan. You have to figure Eich saw the skeletons were about to conga line out of his own closet and he figured playing the role of right wing martyr to the Militant Homosexual Thought Police was the better part of valor.
Burroway says on the other hand, we should do unto others as we would like them to do unto us…
We say that LGBT people shouldn’t be fired for something that has nothing to do with their job performance. I think that principle is good enough to apply to everyone, including Eich.
That is not the principle. The principle is we are not child molesting disease spreading nation destroying abomination in the eyes of god monsters, we are human beings, stop persecuting us simply for existing. Look at this…
Last summer, McMahon, 62, was fired as music director at St. Agnes Catholic Church in Arlington after news of his marriage reached the pastor, the Rev. Lee Roos.
McMahon said his meeting with Roos was less than half an hour. Church employees had verified that McMahon had married his partner in February, and he could either resign or be fired, McMahon said Roos told him. He opted to be fired and was told the dismissal from the part-time position was effective immediately, he recalled recently.
“He called HR and asked them to walk him through what he had to do. Then we walked over to the church where my stuff was. We walked to the parking lot, he gave me a hug and that was it,” McMahon said of the exchange with Roos.
A hug…oh how sweet! And the reason for his dismissal…why of course it was…
“This public act is unmistakable and verifiable and serves to cause scandal in the church and confusion among the laity,” said Michael Donohue, the spokesman. “The church can’t let a diocesan employee, especially one who has a significant and public role in the liturgy of the Mass, and other ceremonies, to stand in open defiance of church teachings.”
Yes, yes…freedom of religion and all that. Being gay not only had nothing to do with his job performance, it had nothing to do with his being fired. It was about defiance of church teachings. You know…that freedom of religion stuff…
“I am proud to sign the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act today, which will protect the individual religious freedom of Mississippians of all faiths from government interference,” said Gov. Bryant.
And especially from having to employ let alone serve a homosexual. We can work to pass anti-discrimination laws from now until the heat death of the universe and they will simply slither in some other direction, turn it around, and figure out a different way of accomplishing the same thing. Now it’s we’re discriminating against them for not letting them discriminate against us. Who knows what it will be tomorrow. And we’ll be dancing that waltz forever if we’re not willing to drill down to the root of it. We are not monsters, we are human beings, stop persecuting us.
What’s the statute of limitations on contributing to Proposition 8? How’s this for one: you stop kicking gay people in the face and we’ll stop fighting back. There is no truce here, no live and let live possible absent our oppressor’s willingness to let us live side by side with them in equality and peace. Hell, they don’t even see it as persecution, they keep yapping about how much they Love us right after they’ve twisted the knife in our hearts one more time. They’ll show us the door and give us a hug on the way out. But it’s all an excuse, a way for them to look in the mirror and not see a bigot staring back at them.
They need to see that bigot, or they will never stop finding new ways of putting in the knife…and perhaps giving us the occasional hug to let us know they’re sorry it hurts. Please don’t hold this against me…and if you do that makes you the bigot not me…
No stream as Frank Lloyd Wright once said, rises higher than its source. The problem with Burroway’s principle good enough to apply to everyone is someone’s beliefs about gay people, religious or otherwise, are not equally as valid as the reality of our lives. The problem with Burroway’s principle good enough to apply to everyone is you can’t elevate a lie to the level of a fact. The problem with Burroway’s principle good enough to apply to everyone is you can take the prejudice out of the gutter, but you can’t take the gutter out of the prejudice. What has to happen is we stop being monsters and we start being neighbors. We can’t be both. It’s ridiculous on its face to suggest we can make a workable social contract on the basis of our being both neighbors and monsters. Brendan Eich in his public statements never said anything about why he donated, what his beliefs regarding same-sex marriage are, or even whether he’d not throw more money into campaigns against our rights in the future. How hard is that to fucking understand?
April 5th, 2014
Can’t We All Just Get Along…You Miserable Child Molesting Perverts?
by Bruce |
Via Dan Savage this morning, I get a link to this excellent article by Mark Joseph Stern over at Slate…
The view that Eich was just expressing his opposition to marriage equality, a common stance at the time, strikes me as naive. Because Prop 8 is now dead, and because its passage was largely overshadowed by President Barack Obama’s election victory, it’s easy to forget the vicious tactics of the pro-Prop 8 campaign. Or, I should say, it’s easy to forget them if you’re not gay—because almost every gay person I know remembers the passage of Prop 8 as the most traumatic and degrading anti-gay event in recent American history.
(Emphasis mine) On the one hand, you can look at this and say the bigots are merely counting on the short memory of the American voter. But it’s more likely that Eich and his comrades in arms didn’t figure that the wounds over that fight would still be so fresh in the minds of the gay community, because after all they’re homosexuals and homosexuals don’t have normal feelings like the rest of us. When you hear them babbling about political correctness that’s not them attempting to trivialize our feelings about what they did to us, it’s them telling everyone they can’t see the people for the homosexuals. When you run a multimillion dollar smear campaign and you don’t expect the objects of that campaign to remember what you did to them, it’s because you don’t think the people you smeared have any human feelings at all, or you simply can’t be bothered to care.
Stern’s Slate article helpfully refreshes the public’s memory of what kind of campaign the Proposition 8 folks ran by showing everyone the ads they used to get people to vote yes. Look at them and tell me it’s time for gay people to forgive big money donors like Eich and put it all behinds us…
The tactics used by pro-Prop 8 campaigners were not merely homophobic. They were laser-focused to exploit Californians’ deepest and most irrational fears about gay people, indoctrinating an entire state with cruelly anti-gay propaganda. Early on, Prop 8’s supporters decided to focus their campaign primarily on children, stoking parents’ fears about gay people brainwashing their kids with pro-gay messages or, implicitly, turning their children gay.
Oh but it was a tad more than that. The eternal trope of the bigots is that to be gay is to be a child molester. You’re gay because you were molested and now you’re out to turn other kids gay by molesting them. That’s what homosexuals are, that’s what homosexuals do. Homosexuals don’t reproduce, they recruit… That’s what was being dog whistled in Each And Every Proposition 8 Ad. And Brendan Eich bought a thousand dollar share in that ad campaign.
And when his one-grand contribution came back to haunt him, instead of even making a minimal effort to distance himself from that massive, slick, professional The Gays Are After Your Children smear campaign he just clammed up and said it was his personal business. Well, when you throw a multi-million dollar smear campaign at me and thousands like me, designed Specifically to arouse the most primitive fears adults could have about their children and make us a target for violent passions…well…that’s my personal business too.
In his one and only public statement about the affair, Eich bellyached…
There is no point in talking with the people who are baiting, ranting, and hurling four-letter abuse. Personal hatred conveyed through curse words is neither rational nor charitable, and strong feelings on any side of an issue do not justify it.
This is such a hoot. The Gays Are Coming For Your Children message is Exactly what you trot out when you Don’t want a rational discussion, you just want to push people’s buttons.
Forgive and forget? At least say you’re sorry. Not that you’re sorry we got angry, not that you’re sorry we felt hurt, but that what you did was wrong. And if that’s too much to ask of you then, let’s face it, you’re still in the fight aren’t you…you’re still waiting for your next chance to arouse the old hatreds, the mindless passions, against me and other’s like me, and what you want isn’t for me to put it all behind me and let’s have a fresh start and all be fellow Americans again, but for me and others like me to let our guard back down so you can kick us in the face again.
What happened in California in the summer and fall of 2008 will go down in history in the annals of anti-minority hate mongering. Gay people have been brutalized, jailed, medicated, lobotomized, tortured, burned at the stake, beaten to death, murdered, for so terribly, terribly long, all the way back to when the first scribe wrote that god hates fags in what was to eventually become the bible. And the lies spread by the Proposition 8 campaign have been the tools by which hate has traditionally excused itself, and incited even more hate. They say that history is written by the victors, but the history written in blood never forgets. If you don’t want your name written in the roll call of hate, the time to make amends is always now, not tomorrow, not some day.
March 25th, 2014
by Bruce |
Death only closes a man’s reputation and determines it as good or bad. -Joseph Addison
I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it. -Mark Twain
I’ve lived through such terrible times and there are people who live through much worse. But you see them living anyway. When they’re more spirit than body, more sores than skin, when they’re burned and in agony, when flies lay eggs in the corners of the eyes of their children – they live. Death usually has to take life away. I don’t know if that’s just the animal. I don’t know if it’s not braver to die, but I recognize the habit; the addiction to being alive. So we live past hope. If I can find hope anywhere, that’s it, that’s the best I can do. It’s so much not enough. It’s so inadequate. But still bless me anyway. I want more life. -Tony Kushner, “Angels in America”
In his book African Genesis Robert Ardrey wrote one of the more eloquent analogies for the grandeur of time and the curtain death places between us and the past, so often overlooked when pondering the origins of life. He asks the reader to place themselves on a lonely narrow California beach where foggy mountains slope down into the sea…
…let us make two assumptions. The first, not difficult, is that the visible horizon is just ten miles away. And secondly, we must assume that our sea is death, and that it is rising. This is not too difficult an assumption either, thanks to the lonely beach with the muted cries of a few distant gulls, and no other living thing. It is a sea of death that we face, stretching beyond the visible horizon to the other end of the once-living world. The death-sea rises, slowly and eternally as it has always been rising, covering all things that it touches. It laps now quietly at our narrow beach, the present.
Where the little waves fall back not twenty feet across the shining sand, we see revealed the rotting, moss grown, Spanish hulks of the Great Armanda…A gentle trough between two incoming swells reveals for an instant not a hundred feet from where we stand a cross…Hammurabi’s Babylon is lost beneath the water amidst shifting sands. We cannot see it, for the sea has risen too high. Eighty yards from our little beach, however, what seem to be three rocks break the incoming swells and make white water. They are, of course, the pyramids at Giza.
Nothing breaks the surface of time’s ocean beyond the pyramids…Had we the courage to wade out into this sea of no return, and to swim out a few strokes, we should find a sandbar just below the surface. These are the fields and pastures of those Middle Eastern peoples, nameless and forgotten, who domesticated wheat and barley and cattle and sheep… All that we call civilization stands between the sandbar and the shore…
…the beach we stand on is the precarious present. It will be swallowed before long as other beaches have been swallowed, and a new one will form just behind us…
I think of this image often when confronted by death. In Ardrey’s sea the ten mile horizon becomes a million years, and each one after that another million, and not many horizons do we travel before the short distance between the sandbar at the beginning of civilization and the shore seems almost laughably, terrifyingly small, let alone our lonely little beach. The joke I heard once is that it isn’t that life is so short but that we’re dead for so long.
I strongly doubt there is an afterlife and the concept seems awkward anyway. If you’re still there then there is no after, only metamorphosis of some sort. And even then the question becomes, of what sort. Do we still have anything left of us that can be thought of as human? In the end, what Tony Kushner said is true; what we want is not so much an afterlife as more life. But I don’t think there is even that.
But there is something. Our lives are as though little pebbles tossed into Ardrey’s sea of death. At the moment they hit the water and disappear we are gone. But there are ripples that fan out and away from our lives: The reputation we leave behind. The things we did to our neighbors in this life. The good and the bad.
There is no point in doing unto Fred as he did unto the rest of us because he won’t be bothered by it, he’s gone. You could think of picketing his funeral as a poke at the little tightly wound church of hate he left behind, but the point is without Fred that little ball of bile would not be. Fred was the problem and now Fred’s gone and he won’t care what you have to say about him now. His last chance of earthly redemption is gone. He done passed the Last Chance station and now it’s too late to get off. He will always be Fred God Hates Fags Phelps. Perhaps that was how he wanted it in the end anyway, to be remembered for what he hated, not what he loved. But at the end, could he even remember anything he had once loved?
There is nothing wrong with being angry at Fred. There is nothing wrong with that feeling of contempt for the man. He earned it, worked hard for it, and probably right up to the very end was immensely proud of it. But stand quietly at his grave, respectfully because this is your destination too someday, and let the life that once was be a warning. Hate does not share power within a heart. It will systematically kill every other thing you have in there, everything fine and noble you ever were or ever could have been, and take from you all the smiles and all the laughs and all the love you might have shared, until there is nothing left inside of you but hate itself. To picket a grave is pointless, there is nothing there anymore, only the ripples of what once was spreading gently across the sea of death. For all his picketing of the dead, and all the obscene hatred he vented at the mourners, he was powerless to stop or alter the ripples of their lives, and all the smiles and all the laughs and all the love that were shared, gently spreading outward in time. All Fred had within his power was to change the nature of his own reputation, his own life’s ripples and he did not. He hurt a lot of people, but he destroyed himself.
Stand quietly. Say a prayer if you have one in you. Will this world be better for your having walked in it? Then let him go. Don’t bury yourself along with him.
[Edited a tad for clarity...and some additional thumping...]
January 20th, 2014
A Coming Out Story – Episode 17: What I Learned About Homosexuality (Part 1)
by Bruce |
In which it is made clear that our young hero is growing up in the 1960s, not the year 2014…
Episode 17 of A Coming Out Story is Here…or go to the main page Here.
This is part one of a three part mini story arc about the horrible sex ed class I had back in junior high, and why it badly skewed everything I thought I knew about myself and about all that sex and love stuff. The rest of the story going forward will touch back on this repeatedly, as I begin wiggling my way out of the straightjacket of what I was taught in this one week of sex ed.
January 14th, 2014
by Bruce |
All in all, I had it pretty good compared to a lot of other gay teenagers back in the day. I need to remind myself of this from time to time. It wasn’t the best, not by any means. But I never doubted that mom loved me. Even so, we had an unspoken don’t ask, don’t tell agreement almost right up to the day she died. It was okay for me to read gay novels and bring gay newspapers into the house. It was okay for me to not date girls. It was okay for me to draw sketches and take photos of beautiful guys. It was okay for me to march in gay rights protests. I just had not to say it. Sad to think, but this was actually a pretty good deal for a gay kid back in the early 1970s. But not every gay kid had that deal. Not by a long shot. And even now, for some gay kids of my generation, it will always be a time before Stonewall.
Der Spiegel asks the question…
A gay couple that was seeking to open a restaurant near the Bavarian town of Freying received an anonymous letter early last year. “Stay away. We don’t need people like you here,” it read. Additional threats followed, including a faked obituary and an open, though anonymous, letter claiming that one of the two was HIV-positive and that there was a danger that diners could be infected. The restaurant was never opened.
That it’s still hard for a gay kids in Bavaria even now is unsurprising. It’s…Bavaria. And it was probably a lot harder to be a gay kid in Bavaria, or from a Bavarian family, back when I was a teenager. Probably still pretty hard for those gay Bavarian kids, even now, all grown up though they may be. Impossible even.
Secondary school teacher Gabriel Stängle is likewise concerned about public school students in Baden-Württemberg. The 41-year-old, lives in the Black Forest and launched an online petition in November of last year that had been signed some 90,000 times by last Friday evening. His campaign is entitled: “Future — Responsibility — Learning: No Curriculum 2015 under the Ideology of the Rainbow.” Stängle’s primary concern is what he describes as sexual “reeducation.”
Stängle is angry with the state government — a coalition of the center-left Social Democrats and the Green Party — which is currently developing an educational program for public schools which will include the “acceptance of sexual diversity.” Students are to learn the “differences between the genders, sexual identities and sexual orientations.” The goal is to enable students to “be able to defend equality and justice.”
Stängle sees this as being in “direct opposition to health education as it has been practiced thus far.” Completely missing, he writes, is an “ethical reflection on the negative potential by-products of LSBTTIQ (which stands for “lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals, transgender, intersexuals and queer people) lifestyles, such as the increased danger of suicide among homosexual youth, the increased susceptibility to alcohol and drugs, the conspicuously high rate of HIV infection among homosexual men, the substantially lower life-expectancy among homo- and bisexual men, the pronounced risk of psychological illness among men and women living as homosexuals.”
Most of the petitions’ signatories live in the rural, conservative regions of Germany’s southwest…
That would be Bavaria…
…and the majority wishes to remain anonymous. Some signed with handles such as “The Gay-Hater.”
And probably a lot of them have gay kids of their own. Who they love very much. Conditionally.
Stay in the closet…get married…don’t disgrace your family…or we won’t love you anymore…we’ll hate you for disgracing us… Still hard for a gay kids in Bavaria even now. Probably a lot harder back when I was a teenager. Just saying.
January 2nd, 2014
To Whom It May Concern…
by Bruce |
December 10th, 2013
The Persistence Of The Closet…(continued)
by Bruce |
Slate today runs an article riffing on the New York Times article I linked to yesterday. They headline theirs The American Closet Is Bigger Than We Thought. I assume the ‘we’ in that headline is “heterosexuals’, with maybe a side of ‘those of us also in the closet’, because you don’t live in this country as a gay person without seeing or at least glimpsing that vast nation of the closeted first hand. No kidding there’s more of them than you thought…
But if that Times article helps the heterosexual majority to see, really see, the damage that was done, and is still being done, then good. Seems a lot of folks are noticing that bit in the Times article, about wives in less tolerant states checking Google for advice on whether their husbands are gay. But there was also this…
Craigslist lets us look at this from a different angle. I analyzed ads for males looking for “casual encounters.” The percentage of these ads that are seeking casual encounters with men tends to be larger in less tolerant states. Among the states with the highest percentages are Kentucky, Louisiana and Alabama.
Back in the 1980s, what I think of as the BBS days, I did volunteer work for a gay community BBS whose creator intended it not to be a hookup site but a serious information and educational resource for gay people. He realized back then, as I did when I connected to those first primitive amateur computer networks, what they could do for us as a people. The BBS advertised in the local gay newspaper, and I think in one of the alternative City Papers, and the ads included a phone number for help getting connected. He told us he would get desperate phone calls on that number in the middle of the night, from men who’d been caught in police vice stings…trolling the parks or some public lavatory…needing emergency legal advice. He said without exception, without exception, those men were all married, and none of then identified as gay. At least, they wouldn’t over the course of that phone call. That was the 1980s.
It’s still going on…
One could leave these findings angry at all these men for not coming out, but Stephen-Davidowitz’s concluding anecdote—about a retired professor who has been married to a woman for 40 years and “regrets virtually every one of his major life decisions”—articulates my overwhelming emotion: sadness.
That’s fine, but anger is still a good reaction to have and I hope the heterosexual majority cultivates it…not at the closeted, but at the Righteous and the Upstanding who keep teaching young gay people to hate themselves, so that they can have scapegoats, someone to gloat over, so they don’t have to look at their own failures of moral character. Be angry at them. Ask yourselves what kind of person turns anyone’s basic human need for intimate companionship against them, makes them deeply ashamed, even fearful, of their own human heart…
Sometimes even I get tired of looking at aggregate data, so I asked a psychiatrist in Mississippi who specializes in helping closeted gay men if any of his patients might want to talk to me. One man contacted me. He told me he was a retired professor, in his 60s, married to the same woman for more than 40 years.
About 10 years ago, overwhelmed with stress, he saw the therapist and finally acknowledged his sexuality. He has always known he was attracted to men, he says, but thought that that was normal and something that men hid. Shortly after beginning therapy, he had his first, and only, gay sexual encounter, with a student of his in his late 20s, an experience he describes as “wonderful.”
He and his wife do not have sex. He says that he would feel guilty ever ending his marriage or openly dating a man. He regrets virtually every one of his major life decisions.
He regrets virtually every one of his major life decisions… What kind of person does this to another, takes pride in doing it, and can look in a mirror and see a righteous person? Look at that. Really look at it. It’s okay to get angry after looking down into that Pit. But don’t look into it for too long, because Nietzsche was right about an abyss gazing back into you. Just remember what you saw the next time you hear one of them yapping about their sincerely held religious beliefs.
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