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June 3rd, 2024

Happy Pride (Day…Week…Month…etc…)

by Bruce | Link | React!

March 4th, 2024

Trolls

“In the wake of a two messy and malignant closet cases getting outed – one a Catholic anti-gay activist, the other a very gay “ex-gay” conversion therapist – I’m gonna re-up a piece about a messy and malignant closet case who got outed a while back…”

-Dan Savage, February 26, 2024 on Twitter

He’s talking about this guy…

He led an anti-gay Catholic site. Staffers say he sent them racy selfies.

At the far-right Church Militant, Michael Voris accused liberal Catholics and others he opposed of being gay until he resigned over unspecified ‘morality’ concerns. Staffers now say he had shared shirtless gym photos.

…and this guy.

Notorious ‘Ex-Gay’ Conversion Therapist Jayson Graves Reportedly Fired After TWO Investigation

Arizona Rehab Center Confirms That Graves No Longer an Employee

Here’s the Advocate article he links to…

No excuses for West

I have no sympathy for ousted Spokane mayor Jim West or other hypocritical closet cases. They didn’t miss out on these years of greater gay visibility. They opted out. 

By Dan Savage
January 17 2006 

Savage begins his article talking about feeling sorry back when he was an 18 year old, for all the middle age gay men hanging out in bars whose clientele was too young for them. In 1981 he realizes something his friends didn’t…

When those older men in the bars were 18, it was 1961 or 1951–and it might as well have been 1661 for all the difference it made. When they were our age it just wasn’t possible to be an openly gay teenager.

He would tell his friends to give these men a break…that they missed out. I can relate. Sort of.

When I was 18 it was 1972 and you could say I had it a lot better than those who came of age in the 60s or 50s. Yes, but no.

Luckily I grew up in a mostly liberal and prosperous part of the country, and went to school in a smallish expansion school in a nice middle class neighborhood of mostly government and private industry contractor engineers and tech worker families. I was bullied in middle school relentlessly, but in high school I was among my fellow geeks and nerds. Religion there was of the mostly liberal denomination sort, and almost never discussed at school. The older kids had largely worn down the adults by then over things like guys wearing their hair long and bell bottom blue jeans. We protested Johnson and Nixon and the Vietnam war, which was killing the ones who couldn’t go off to college (I would just barely escape the draft the year after I graduated). But you could still not call it a good time for the gay kids.

Maybe for some of the gay young adults it was getting better. But it was just barely post Stonewall and that event had yet to really trickle down from the big cities like New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. And even there it was still a struggle not simply for respect, but basic safety on the streets. Gay people still got static from every direction in the popular media….on TV, in the movies, in the newspapers and magazines…


Mad Magazine, #145, Sept 1971, from “Greeting Cards For The
Sexual Revolution” – “To A Gay Liberationist”


Jack Davis cartoon, Mad Magazine – July 1978

 

In the 1970s it was still coming at us from all directions. I spoke to this in my cartoon series, A Coming Out Story

 

If only to escape the disgust and ridicule of our peers, the tears of our parents, and gay bashing total strangers, we hid. We ducked. It was survival, even then. You got almost no support anywhere, you had to dig for gay supportive authors, like Mary Renault and their books. But don’t even bother trying to find your copies of The Advocate or The Washington Blade in your local newsstand or bookstore. I blogged several times about having to buy my newspapers and copies of Christopher Street (it was like a gay New Yorker), and The Harvard Gay & Lesbian Review (a literary journal) in the backroom of a seedy adult bookstore where they kept the hard core pornography.

When I was in high school I knew of no way to socialize with other gay teens, even in liberal Montgomery County Maryland. And as I grew into young adulthood it was still a challenge. The only gay bar I knew of, its name spoken among the other kids like a dirty joke, scared me to get anywhere near, lest someone see me go inside, or I get gay bashed the moment I walk back out. And a dark seedy bar wasn’t anywhere I reckoned I would find a boyfriend anyway. I didn’t want to simply get picked up and used as some sort of sexual junk food. I was looking for love in a time of Jerry Falwell and Anita Bryant.

I missed out, like the others. I wrote yesterday about the heartbreak of finding my high school crush after so many years, still terrified and full of all the same myths, lies and superstitions about being gay that I stubbornly rejected because I was in love with him. He missed out, I missed out, a lot of us who you might say came of age in a more enlightened moment, still nonetheless missed out. And I don’t think that is appreciated enough.

But Savage is absolutely right about this…

Jim West knew better. He knew he didn’t have to live a lie. He knew he could have lived as an openly gay or bisexual man–bisexual is all West has admitted to in most of his interviews, although no pictures of young women were found on his work computer–but he chose not to. Unlike the older gay men I met in 1981, West and other closeted middle-aged men today didn’t come of age at a time when no one could conceive of openly gay and lesbian people and communities. (Or politicians: Washington State has four openly gay members of its legislature.) Jim West chose the closet and shame and lies and hypocrisy.

So while I had sympathy for gay men who came out late in life in the 1970s and 1980s, I find I have no sympathy for Jim West or other men like him today. Their stories aren’t tragic, they’re pathetic. They didn’t miss out. They opted out. Fuck ’em.

I never found a boyfriend, let alone a lifemate. I am still missing out. I could have let myself become bitter (and maybe I am just a tad after all), or I could resolve to do what I could to make sure nobody in the generations to follow had to go through what I did, and miss out on that wonderful, life affirming joy of love and romance, desire and contentment. I dug in my stubborn heels and chose that path instead. Put it down, Rick Blaine once said, as a gesture to love.

I will go to my grave aching over that empty space inside of me I never found another to put at ease. But not in shame over what I did because of it.

 

by Bruce | Link | React!

March 2nd, 2024

Militant Homosexual

I saw an online post from a Hollywood person, someone who I absolutely consider an LGBT ally, hanging out at a comic convention with a lady artist and her husband, both publishers of a well known and well loved fantasy comic series, like they were all old friends. It got my hackles up. This particular comic book pair talk a good talk about being supportive of their LGBT fans, but when it comes to their story world they’ve a track record of, at best, gay vague…

Coined by Michael Wilke in 1997, ‘gay vague’ is the appearance of people who are seen by some viewers as gay, without it being explicitly stated or shown. When done intentionally, this allows brands to court two audiences: those longing for representation alongside those who would be put off by it.

Outvertising – 12 February 2022 “The vague vanguard: The story of one unintentionally groundbreaking 90s TV ad.”

I see these two all the time at Pride events and comic cons, proudly hanging out with gay creators and fans, who I have to assume never ask them where the gay characters are in their world, like I did on a USENET forum once back in the 80s, to which I got the immediate response that “we don’t do pornography”.

Let me be blunt…gay vague is not support, it is erasure. Especially these days, if you are still sticking to gay vague as a way of telling us you’re with us…you aren’t. You’re still deeply uncomfortable with the possibility of our presence in your fantasy world. Because you still really haven’t made that connection that we are people just like you, with the same hopes and dreams of love, and all its joys and happiness, and not some strange and disturbing sexual behavior.

I can see fans of these two and their fantasy world getting a tad pissed off at what I’m saying here. And believe me, I know the feeling of wanting so badly, so very very badly, to see people like myself, see our lives, our hopes and dreams, represented in art, on TV and movies, that I’m willing to accept the occasional nudge nudge wink wink know what I mean know what I mean. But that was a long Long time ago, and now there is a lot of water under the bridge.

No…tears. A lot of tears.

So what made me such an intolerant militant homosexual? I’ll give you the executive summary. In bullet points. In reverse order of importance.

1: Vito Russo’s book, The Celluloid Closet.

You always knew there were the occasional coded homosexuals in the movies. Russo was the first to gather them all up…all the sissies, all the pansies, all the psychos, all the tragically damned…and present them to you all at once in one book. And when you saw it like that, it shocked you, and then it made you angry. Not just because you knew it was what Hollywood was telling everyone, your parents and family, your classmates and friends, how to think of you, but even more because it was how Hollywood told you to think of yourself.

2: In 2005 a 16 year old gay teenager was outed to his parents, who promptly forced him into ex-gay therapy. Before he entered the program, called Love In Action, he put out a cry for help on his MySpace page:

“Somewhat recently, as many of you know, I told my parents I was gay… Well today, my mother, father, and I had a very long “talk” in my room where they let me know I am to apply for a fundamentalist christian program for gays. They tell me that there is something psychologically wrong with me, and they “raised me wrong.” I’m a big screw up to them, who isn’t on the path God wants me to be on. So I’m sitting here in tears, joing the rest of those kids who complain about their parents on blogs – and I can’t help it.”

Then he did something brilliant. He found the LIA rulebook on the family computer and put the entire thing on his page for the world to see what they were doing to kids in there. And it shocked everyone. I was not alone I later learned, in not being able to sleep for days with worry for this kid. In joining the protests and activism against ex-gay therapy, I met a bunch of people who had been through it…survivors of ex-gay therapy…some who went in of their own accord, others who were forced into it…and through that I came to know them, made a few friends among them, and I listened to their stories.

3: (This could be a subset of #2) The Quiet Room. 

As I began documenting the protests against ex-gay therapy with my cameras, I was generously allowed to document some of the ex-gay survivor’s support group meetings. At one of these I attended, they’d established a “quiet room”. Mind you, these people were among Friends. They were there to tell their stories in a safe setting, and support each other as they tried to get on with their lives and past the trauma they’d experienced. And they still needed a quiet room. A spot where they could go and decompress when it all started getting too much.

And they’d covered one wall of the quiet room with some blank sheets of paper and set some Sharpies out, so the people decompressing could write whatever they needed to just then, to Get It Out…Somehow… on that wall.

I read those words. The writing on the wall. And when the conference was over I photographed it.

4: The night the closest thing I ever had to a boyfriend told me as we were having a quiet moment together, what his father did after he came out to his parents. He had just returned from a tour of duty in a Los Angeles class attack submarine and I guess his military experience had given him the courage and resolve to tell his folks. He sought me out and we had a brief fling. One night in a very quiet voice he told me about coming out to his folks, how they both said they still loved him, and how that night his father went into his office and made himself a small brochure with every biblical condemnation of homosexuality he could dig up, plus a bunch of others from who knows where. Then he printed up a bunch of copies and went around the neighborhood, putting one in the front door of every house for blocks around. Then he went back home and told his son what he did.

(I also got a copy anonymously in the mail and was pretty sure where it came from)

5: (Remember, these are in reverse order of importance). Listening to my high school crush tell me I should stay away, because the life he’d lived in the closet had so badly damaged him that some days he looked in the bathroom mirror and didn’t know who it was he was looking at.

I had a crush on him back in high school. Before that I didn’t want anything to do with all that dating stuff. But in the late 60s/early 70s, nobody told me that boys could fall in love with other boys or I would have been all about it. Then I met him. He was beautiful, decent, good hearted, outdoorsy, hard working. It wasn’t long before I thought the world revolved around him. I couldn’t take my eyes away. My heart would beat faster, I’d break into a cold sweat, but it felt wonderful. That first time you fall in love. It felt like a Disney movie. The birds sang a little more sweetly, the sky was a tad more blue, the stars shone more brightly, I walked with a lighter step. Everything was wonderful. I was twitterpated. I put him up on a pedestal. I thought he hung the moon and the stars. But it was 1971.

I’m pretty sure now it was when his parents found out he was talking to me that they put a stop to it. We weren’t doing anything…it was 1971. Gay kids didn’t exist in 1971. We’d only just begun flirting a little. But it came to a sudden halt. Then that summer they took him back to their native land and for 30+ years I had no idea what had happened to him, or where he was.

So I got on with my life. And so did the gay rights movement. I became a young adult, made attempts at dating other guys, nothing really worked. Every now and then I’d make an attempt to find him again, usually by looking through different city’s phone directories. When computer bulletin boards became a thing I would occasionally toss a message in a bottle out into the BBS spaces to see if he was there, and did he remember me. After a while I began thinking that if I ever did find him again he’d be settled down with a much better way more handsome guy than me and I’d just have to accept that.

So many years later I still had him up on a pedestal. I knew he would be braver than me. I wasn’t brave, just stubborn. He would be brave.

I got on with my life. I attended the first ever gay rights march on Washington, and the first ever showing of the Names Project Quilt on the Capitol Mall. It was pretty unnerving walking among all those quilt panels with birthdates bracketing my own. But I resolved to do my part to make it a better world for all of us.

That night the nightmares began. I would be walking among the quilt panels, and see one with his name on it. I’d be in the grocery store, or a bookstore, or just walking down a street in DC’s gay neighborhood, and I’d see him, his face covered in Kaposi’s sarcoma scars, his body shriveled. So I kept looking for him. I had to know what had happened to him. I was afraid. I had to know if he was still okay.

I was stubborn. Eventually I found him, married to a woman, and somewhat closeted but at least not in denial. We reconnected for a brief period. He started flirting with me again. We would sit together after hours and talk and talk and talk. We talked on the phone. We tossed each other Christmas cards and emails. And then it suddenly stopped. I’m guessing because the family found out he was talking to me again.

And one evening as the silence descended, at the restaurant where he worked, he basically told me I needed to look elsewhere because living in the closet had damaged him so much. He tossed ex-gay tropes at me…that sex was no more substantial than a fart. That when I was on my deathbed it wouldn’t be all the times I had sex, but all the people I loved that I would be thinking about…as if the venn diagram of those two things had no overlap. And I sat there and listened to him telling me that some days he would look in the bathroom mirror and he didn’t know who it was he was looking at. The guy I put up on a pedestal when I was a teenage boy. The guy I thought hung the moon and stars. The guy who made my heart beat faster. The guy who made me believe that no matter what life did to me, it was worth living.

I kept going back to see him anyway. I figured a relationship between us was off the table…he was married…but I could at least set an example. But it was too much for him, and maybe we were never really all that compatible anyway. He told me one day by email never to contact him again in any way shape or form. I had to sit on my hands to keep from replying How do you contact someone with a shape? Please accept this dodecahedron in reply to your Octahedron of March 6…

I got angry. I said things to him that maybe I shouldn’t have. But I was hurt. I think the only thing that cut me deeper was when mom died. We haven’t spoken a word to each other in eight years. But I don’t blame him. Enough time has passed that I’m not angry anymore, just sad. I’ll never have that wonderful twitterpated body and soul love now…it’s too late. But my generation did what it could to make the world a better place for those who followed. There are others who need to be held accountable for what the hatred of the world has done, and still does, to us. 

And I know what an ally in that fight looks like.

Why I am a militant homosexual…as they say. Five points to hopefully explain myself. Not that I feel like I owe everyone an explanation, but here it is. And I have no fucks to give for anyone who thinks gay vague is enough to make them an ally. I do not care how well liked they are in the community, or who it pisses off. I have read the writing on the wall. I have seen the damage done to beautiful hearts. I have no fucks to give anymore.

 

by Bruce | Link | React!

February 19th, 2024

Repost…Once Upon A Time…

I’m still decompressing a bit from Valentine’s Day, which isn’t helped any by it coming in the dead of winter here in central Maryland. So I thought I’d just repost a little something I’d blogged about many years ago…

This is from an old Polaroid a friend probably snapped of me while I was sitting on the balcony of the apartment in Rockville (now North Bethesda!) mom and I lived in during the 60s/70s/80s. I would have been in my twenties. I would have still had the Pinto and probably was working at the Best Products just on the other side of the fence between them and the apartments.

I can tell a lot about the timeframe that this was taken because it has to be sometime in the mid 70s, before that awful couple years I wrote about yesterday. It’s in my face. I look at this and see someone still comfortable in the life he has, confident that even better times are just around the corner. A boyfriend. A good job that paid well (I was going to be a newspaper photographer). A place of my own. Everything was still possible.

As to why I had it taken…I’m not sure. This would have been before the microcomputer days, let alone the Internet, so it wouldn’t have been to post to an online profile. This is a Polaroid, I had no scanner then, and getting copies off a Polaroid wasn’t simple. So this was a one-off. I think I had it taken just to have a couple of me that I actually liked. There are a few other poses in the set but I liked this one best. Which explains why it’s a Polaroid: I could look over each one and decide if I needed another.

The problem was always that I didn’t have many of myself that I liked. By then I was well aware that I wasn’t very good looking, but every now and then I saw a good photo of me so I wasn’t overly concerned about my looks at that age. My teeth were very crooked though, and I was extremely self conscious about that. In every photo of me from that period I’m always smiling with my mouth closed. You almost can’t see the smile here, but it’s there in the corner of my mouth. That problem wouldn’t get fixed until I was in my thirties when a friend kindly financed some dental work for me and pointed me to a super good dentist.

This image is from a time before the Internet, personal computers, cable TV, and cell phones let alone smartphones. I’m pretty sure this was before 1977 and Anita Bryant’s rampage on gay civil rights in Dade County Florida. I had listen to my shortwave radio to get the result of the vote in Dade County because none of the mainstream network news companies bothered to cover it until much later. News for and about gay Americans was not fit to print in those days. If I wanted that news, and I didn’t want to drive into DC to the Lambda Rising bookstore, I had to go to a seedy adult bookstore in Wheaton and walk past racks of pretty hard core heterosexual pornography to get a copy of the Washington Blade and The Advocate. The subway wouldn’t be built out beyond the beltway in Montgomery County until 1978 when the station at Silver Spring opened. After that I could drive into Silver Spring and hop on the Metro to get to DuPont Circle and Lambda Rising. When the Twinbook Metro station opened in 1984 I could just walk from the apartment to the subway and it was a straight shot down the red line to DuPont Circle and back.

I was so happy not to have to go past those heterosexual porn magazines ever again. I mean…okay…whatever floats your boat. But…jeeze… And yet, in many quarters of American culture, not just the pulpit thumping churches, but also mainstream news media, TV, movies, and magazines, the youngster you see in this photo was regarded as a deviant threat to American society, family values, and civilization itself.

That is the world you are seeing in this image. TVs still had vacuum tubes, telephones had a wire connecting them to the wall, you got your news from the morning or afternoon newspaper, or the nightly network news broadcasts around dinnertime. Am radio played mostly music or sports, music came on vinyl LPs or cassettes, big box department stores were still a thing, and bookstores and newstands were everywhere, but you couldn’t get any gay publications in them because gay people like the kid in this photo were almost universally regarded with contempt and loathing. But the kid you see there was still pretty confident of his future. Bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to meet tomorrow. He never found a boyfriend.

 

by Bruce | Link | React!

December 22nd, 2023

“You are a half-blood, and half-bloods are not safe in the world.”

The thing about good fantasy fiction is it’s modern myth making that you can appreciate on many different levels.

I watched the premiere first two episodes of Percy Jackson and The Olympians on Disney Plus as soon as they were released, and all throughout the story I felt an intense kinship with the characters in it and their struggles, so distant in time, age, and circumstance though they were to me. I’m a gay man who came out to himself in December of 1971. I know how it is to become a target for monsters of the human kind when I reached a certain age. I know how it is to be part of a minority that is not safe in the world.  And I know how vital it is for us to have our safe spaces. And given my family background, I know just how it is to feel estranged from my own dad, although he completely accepted me once we were allowed to be together. I didn’t have to fight my way to it like Percy does. But my own dad had…his own issues. Like Percy, it was my mom who raised me, loved me unconditionally, and set a good example for me. At the end of the second episode, I knew just how he felt.

I came to the Percy Jackson books by way of The Sun and The Star, which is about the same sex couple Nico and Will. I began reading the books, in a backwards kinda way, to find out more about the couple, how they met, how they have navigated the world Rick Riordan created. This production feels very much like the Riordan books that I have read so far, and the production values are top notch. Definitely watching the entire thing.

I got Disney Plus a bit over a year ago so I could watch The Mandalorian and the documentary about Disney song writer Howard Ashman. It’s been worth the money to me.

by Bruce | Link | React!

December 14th, 2023

Dick Pics

Back when I was a teenager and big box department stores were a thing, I used to go shopping, mostly for LPs at the E.J. Korvette’s across Rockville Pike. It was classic suburban car culture retail, with a massive, and I mean Massive, parking lot surrounding a huge store that sold everything from lawn mowers to blue jeans to jewelry and watches to TVs. They had a legendary record department, and I would go there often to browse the movie and TV soundtrack titles. In their day they had a bigger soundtrack selection than anyone else.

I would also browse the book department. One day I saw this paperback title on the shelves and my jaw dropped, completely taken by surprise and completely embarrassed.

 

I don’t think I was more embarrassed by the Sticky Fingers album cover when I first laid eyes on it. I could not believe a book with thAT title was allowed on the shelves, even if I knew it was obviously not, could not possibly be about…er…those kinds of dicks. I picked it up and looked at the back cover blurb and saw that it was, yes, a collection of pulp detective stories, which I wasn’t much interested in at the time.

I briefly considered buying a copy as a joke. But I was probably still struggling with my emerging sexuality and didn’t want mom seeing it because she was already questioning my lack of interest in girls and my stash of 16 and Tiger Beat magazines.

Time passes, the universe expands, and along comes the Internet and email and social media and and smartphones and this cover became something of a running gag with me whenever the topic of sexting and dick pics came up. The little inner Baptist boy in me will in no way allow the grown up me to engage in online conversations like that. But the Mad Magazine inner tweenager in me loved joking about it with photos of Dick Tracy, Dick Nixon, Dick Clark, and this book cover.

Once, a certain someone down in Florida told me during one of our conversations not to be sending him any dick pics (I’ve often wondered later if he wasn’t actually trying to give me ideas) and I made the usual jokes back at him. Maybe that’s what started our downhill slide. My sense of humor often irritated him, which irritated me.

So when the other day a friend joked when I was bellyaching about Facebook unilaterally removing one of my posts, that I was posting too many dick pics, and I replied with the cover of this book. He laughed, I laughed. And then I began thinking about it more.

I never really got into hard core noir detective fiction but I have loved some of the movies in that genre. After watching and loving the 1975 Robert Mitchum version of Farewell My Lovely, I decided to pick up a random Raymond Chandler book…he was said to be the gold standard of detective noir…and see if I might want to read him.

At the Crown Books in Congressional Plaza I saw and picked up a copy of one of his novels, I forget now which one, and I Just Happened to flip it open to a scene in it where Marlow is roughing up a young homosexual for some information. Chandler writes that the kid tries to swing back but those little queer boys just don’t have the muscle or the skeletal hardness to put up much of a fight.

The contempt was just dripping off the page and I put it back, and never picked up another Raymond Chandler book. But I still love that film version of Farewell My Lovely. I even bought a copy of the soundtrack by David Shire, which set the tone for the movie perfectly.

But the book I often joked about still intrigued me for, perhaps, a different reason: it’s alleged pulp fiction roots. I have long been a big fan of a particular pulp fiction character: The Shadow. I have a bunch of paperbacks, written by Walter Gibson under the pen name Maxwell Grant, with those amazing pulp art covers.

The only other artist to do the character justice was Michael Kaluta in that amazing series of DC comics that are now collector’s items, and really every time he does the character…

The Shadow was the only pulp character I ever enjoyed reading. For some reason I never got into Doc Savage stories, although those are also said to be a gold standard in pulp fiction. But given how much I’ve enjoyed pulp stories about The Shadow I knew I could actually digest pulp fiction…it just had to be good pulp fiction. If that’s not a contradiction in terms.

So after Yet Another dick pics joke about that book I thought, let me actually try reading it. It’s an anthology so maybe I end up hating some of it, but liking others. So I did a little digging and came up with this hardbound first edition in like new condition, for not very much money.

I posted a version of this to my Facebook page, because most of my friends and classmates still don’t seem to get blogs. Now I wait to see if Facebook deletes this post too. Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of social media…hahahahaha…

 

by Bruce | Link | React!

December 8th, 2023

Ich Bin – I Am

When I posted a link to the final (ish) episode of A Coming Out Story to my Facebook page, with its simple title I Am, I figured I’d get some snark. And I did. But that’s okay, I’m giving some sideways snark back to a certain someone (Hi!) with that title.

I had no idea what to title that episode, and now that I’m doing them completely out of order it didn’t make any sense to give it a number either. The title came to me almost at the moment I finished it and I had to rename all my digital files to match it. But it was worth it because that’s the right title for that retelling of that particular moment in my life. There is power in embracing your personal truths, in deciding once and for all to be your authentic self, despite the pressure to conform or hide. It is exactly the right title for that episode.

The snark comes from a t-shirt I bought in Epcot Germany with just the phrase Ich Bin on the front of it. That was all. Not I Am German or I Am A Disneyphile, or I Am Whatever, but simply I Am. I liked it for the simple declaration of self truth, whatever that self truth might be.

During an interview, Stephan Fry said…

Oscar Wilde said that if you know what you want to be, then you inevitably become it – that is your punishment, but if you never know, then you can be anything. There is a truth to that. We are not nouns, we are verbs. I am not a thing – an actor, a writer – I am a person who does things – I write, I act – and I never know what I am going to do next. I think you can be imprisoned if you think of yourself as a noun.

That’s a good way of looking at it, and it was sort-of what I was thinking when I bought that t-shirt with the words Ich Bin on it. I Am a gay man. I Am a software engineer. I Am a cartoonist. I Am a photographer. I Am Bruce Garrett. I Am.

So, happily, I wore it to my dinner at Biergarten reservation. And when that certain someone saw me arrive I pointed to the shirt, delighted to let him know that I’d learned a few German words and could even put them together into some sort of a sentence (if you’ve ever attempted German grammar you can appreciate how proud I was just then). “Ich Bin”, I said, pointing to the shirt, “I Am”.

And he gives me this look of pure disdain and says “The hilarious thing is you trying to teach me German.”

I wish I had a picture of the look on my face at that moment. But that was when I finally had to admit that we were probably never really very compatible.

What I am is what I am
Are you what you are or what?
What I am is what I am
Are you what you are or what?

by Bruce | Link | React!


Last (ish) Episode

I’ve uploaded the last(ish) episode of A Coming Out Story to its pages here. It wasn’t the last episode that I’d planned but it was always intended to be a critical turning point in the story and it works as an ending. 

I choose the subtitle of this cartoon story, The first person you come out to is yourself, to make it plain that this isn’t a story about coming out to family and friends. It’s about when you finally face up to it. That moment can be excruciatingly painful, and was mostly that for lots of us of my generation. But I got lucky in one critical way: I came out to myself by way of realizing I was in love. Probably that saved my life.

I began this story almost two decades ago. I didn’t expect it to take so long when I began the work, but I have no professional art training and everything I do at the drawing board is a struggle. Also, about a third of the way into it I was able to reconnect with “TK” after about thirty years of wondering what had happened to him, and that very seriously upended my feelings about the story I was telling. I began it as a way of trying to understand what had happened to me back in high school, and how that led to the adult I eventually became. Then after the heart attack a few years ago I began to seriously worry I might not ever finish it the way I wanted it finished. Then I turned 70 and felt my energy levels beginning to plummet. So I skipped ahead (again) to what I’d always intended to be a climatic point in the story, and now that I’ve uploaded what can be seen as the last episode, I can feel a bit more comfortable that, whatever happens to me age and health-wise, at least there is an end to my story. My readers won’t be left hanging. Somewhat. I know there is still the question of What Happened Next? I’ll get to that in the epilogue, but what I write below probably tells how it went.

I said at the very beginning that the story I was telling was one-third what happened to me, one-third artistic license, and one-third cartoon fantasy. This last (ish) episode is mostly what really happened, but with artistic license on the exact location. I didn’t say it to my mirror reflection in the dresser in my bedroom, but in the mirror in the bathroom.

What happened was, bearing in mind I had just come out to myself but the object of my affections hadn’t yet moved away so I wasn’t just then in the throws of grief. I tuned into a radio program on the subject of homosexuality. I wish I’d taken notes about what it was and who was being interviewed. But some alleged expert in the field was dispensing all the usual bullshit I’d already dismissed because I was in love and it was all so wonderful. But being the geek child I was I kept digging for information.

So I tuned into this program, and somewhere during the interview the expert was asked some question, I don’t remember what. But in reply he said (I still remember this part clearly) that “the worst thing a man could admit to is being a homosexual.”

And at that moment I could feel the closet trying to grab onto me and drag me in. I’d done enough research by then to see pretty clearly what the closet did to people and I swore I wouldn’t let that happen to me. But at the same time, in 1972, I also knew I couldn’t just be out with it without losing most of my friends, possibly getting kicked out of the house, and possibly getting my head bashed in.

But one thing I could do was acknowledge my own personal truth and deal with it as honorably and as best as I could given the world I lived in. So what you see in the episode is what I really did and said…apart from the location. I knew if I could do that then I could, somehow, navigate the rest.

And I was in love. It put things into perspective.

I know others had a very Very rough time of it. I was lucky that it hit me just that way, just at that point in my life. Yeah…in retrospect things could have been lots better, but they could also have been lots worse. I could have crushed on an abusive manipulative lout and ended up actually killing myself instead of just seriously considering it when “TK” and family suddenly left the country. He was actually a very decent person, and in a better world I could have taken him home to mom, and said “This is my boyfriend” and she’d have approved and made a place at the table for him. But neither one of us lived in that world and I reckon he had his own family issues to contend with. I suppose all that is grist for the epilogue when I get to it. The story of that one time I called his house because we’d agreed to go to Great Falls with our cameras is one that I can’t decide where to put just now.

Putting this episode up allows me to feel comfortable that the story of my coming out to myself is “complete” and I don’t have to worry about how much time I have left to finish it. There’s a bunch more I can add to it to the degree I have time to do that. But I can rest a bit easier now. My story has it’s ending. I actually scripted this episode almost two decades ago and it’s exactly as I wrote it back then. I’ll add an epilogue and then fill in some more of the story as time and energy permit.

There is lots more I had scripted, and I don’t intend to just scrap all that because I still think a lot of it is good material and worth having in the story. Especially where Left Brain confronts the gym teacher who taught that horrible sex-ed class, which is where I was leading things after episode 37 before I got really badly sick and decided I needed to put this “last” one up. So even though I’ve posted a “last” episode, don’t go away thinking there is no more. There’s lots more and I intend to keep on filling in the space between that first episode and this one. Also, there is an important epilogue I need to add after the “final” one.

So thank all of you who have stuck with me on this over the years. I deeply appreciate your repeat views. You helped give me the energy to keep on with it.

And…stay tuned…

 

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

November 23rd, 2023

The Homosexual Trope Behind Ex-Gay Therapy

Wow…they weren’t kidding when they called Peter and Barbara’s book Growing Up Straight a veritable encyclopedia of homophobia. And yes, from what I’ve read of it so far it draws very heavily on the work of Irving Bieber (he of the Mothers Did It school). Every wee passage in the book where they take notice of others in the field who were beginning to realize that homosexuals were not necessarily mentally disturbed and that those mental issues homosexuals face could largely be laid at the feet of the profound social and legal stigmas they face, which the authors freely acknowledge, is dismissed with a wave of the hand to the effect that Bieber disagrees. A better title for the book might have been What Irving Bieber Told Us.

They practically catalog every aspect of the social stigma that homosexuals endured in that period, and then go on to assert that nearly all homosexuals wish they weren’t and would do practically anything to get free of it, as though one had nothing to do with the other. It is the central premise of the book: that homosexuality is a dangerous practice, that homosexuals are inwardly miserable, that adult homosexuals are desperate for a cure, and this is why it is essential that parents nip it in the bud.

There are case histories that I haven’t done much but glance over now, but in their dry yet voyeuristic tone they remind me of all the case histories I read back in the day. These are not people, they are homosexual tropes that only exist to serve the narrative. But that was all we had to see ourselves by in 1968. I still remember vividly when that curtain was lifted for me, and it wasn’t the Internet that did it. It was FidoNet.

To look at how FidoNet worked from the perspective of today is to be stunned at how primitive and rickety it all was. And yet in the early to mid 1980s it allowed me to witness something I never had before, after a kindly sysop gave me private access to a gay echoboard called “gaylink”: gay men talking about their lives to one another, unfiltered, unedited, simply chit chatting away in their own voices. And in that moment, all the case studies fell away.

They had to on first contact with the reality of our lives, because they were never meant to illuminate, to raise awareness of the people we are and the lives we lead. They were self serving stereotypes propped up to prove a point. You never saw any case studies that didn’t prove the point. There, in my first exposure to the authentic voices of other gay men, I saw many.

I’ve blogged before about the young teenager from the Netherlands who said he thought he might be gay and asked the group how they knew it about themselves, and how from all over the world the kid got coming out to yourself stories, the breadth and depth of which you never saw in the case studies. It was stunning. If the wonks of the ex-gay industrial complex seem perpetually bewildered and frustrated that few people take them seriously anymore this is why. They never really looked at us, only the scarecrows they made of us, and ever since the early 1980s we could see ourselves no matter where we lived, if we had a computer and a modem.

A couple links to critical reviews of Bieber below…

The Bieber study: A review revisited (Warren Throckmorton)

A Half-Century of Conflict Over Attempts to ‘Cure’ Gay People (Time Magazine February 12, 2015)

 

by Bruce | Link | React!

November 12th, 2023

Wrapping It Up…But Not Totally…

I’ve got all the pencils done now on the episode of A Coming Out Story I’ve been calling “The Mirror Episode” for a while, since I couldn’t give it an episode number just yet. But it looks now like it will be episode 38 and that’s the end of the story.

Kind of. 

Not to put too fine a point on it, I’m way too damn slow at this because I have no taught skills. I’m just hunting and pecking my lines and every panel is a struggle to get it where I want it. Four years after the heart attack and feeling weirdness in my chest more often lately, I’m not sure how much longer I have to work on this story. So I want to get it into a state of completeness such that when the warranty on my ticker finally runs out the story is out there in a state that I can feel satisfied doesn’t leave my readers hanging, and I can feel like I got it out there, even if I didn’t get it all out there.

So what I’m going to do now is a little different than just tacking on an ending and leaving it at that. I can see that if I put the mirror episode up right after episode 37 then you could say the story I meant to tell (The first person you come out to, is yourself.) was the story I finished. But this is serendipity. #37 just makes it work that way. I had two more, possibly three planned after 37 and that was only after cutting out a bunch more. But I can tack the mirror episode after 37 and now it appears to be “done.”

Except it will still need an epilogue. So that’ll have to come next. But then what I can do is begin a kind of in-filling process, putting back all the stuff I cut out piecemeal just to get it finished (call it The Director’s Cut). Some of it is just little slice-of-1970s teenage high school life that I scripted in there and I cut out after the heart attack. That stuff will be easy to put back in piece by piece. Other cuts will take a bit more work to put back in.

I had a big story arc after the mirror episode about how, after I’d come out to myself, the object of my affections, TK, and I kept circling around each other, flirting but carefully, because in 1972 that line between ambiguous and blatant was very Very dangerous ground.  Then I discover he’d taken summer school and it didn’t dawn on me until afterward, when I suddenly discovered his family moved away, that he did that so he could graduate early.

And then suddenly he was gone. I had an entire story arc about what that sudden lurch from twitterpated bliss into heartbrokenness did to teenage me.

That’s the darkest part of the story. Maybe it’s for the best I don’t do the artwork about me sitting on a bridge over the railroad tracks near the apartment where mom and I lived, waiting for a train to come along so I could jump off in front of it. Or maybe I will someday, or at least write about it, because it wasn’t just that he was suddenly gone. That wasn’t the worst of it.

Understand I went from hating the idea of dating to suddenly falling in love being surprised, delighted and awe stricken over how wonderful it was after all. And then suddenly it was over. Bang, Gone. Without that love struck bliss all the filthy lies about people like me suddenly came crashing back into my consciousness and all I could think was maybe I am just damaged goods after all, maybe this is all I have to look forward to, and I began to hate myself.

People should think about what they’re doing to gay teens when they bombard them with lies about themselves. Most of us get that first big heartbreak shortly after that first big crush, except maybe the very lucky ones. To tell a vulnerable heartbroken kid they deserved it because they’re trash is about as depraved as it gets.

But I don’t know if I have the time to tell all that in a cartoon graphic form.

This is a webcomic and I dove into it ready to exploit all the flexibility that give me. I started by not giving every episode a standard number of frames, but allowing each to have as many as it needed. Eventually, as I began to see it was going to take me much, Much longer than I’d thought to do this thing, I began splitting some of the episodes I had scripted apart and moving things around. That first “Intermission” (TK and the Taco Stand) was supposed to be part of that post out to myself story arc. I moved it forward after I started getting impatient with my slow rate of progress and I just wanted to do something fun. Then later I took what was originally going to be the mirror episode, and split it apart into a bunch of random “intermissions” wherein I’m reading that ‘Truth Of Homosexuality” book by Dr. Pompous J. Fraudquack.

(That was a shout out to Howard Cruse that I wanted Howard to see because I had an intuition that I might not have as much time for that as I’d hoped, so I split up the episode so I could but that part out there and show it to Howard. Alas, I was right…he passed away shortly after I sent him the link, and replied with the cheers and encouragements he always gave me.)

So…yes…this is a web comic. When I “complete” the story with the mirror episode it’ll be finished…but that doesn’t mean I can’t finish it more. I can still infill all the stuff I’d planned, to the degree my health holds out. Eventually I might even gather up the book intermissions and put them at the beginning of the mirror episode as I’d originally intended.

What I wanted is for this to be my testimony about what it was like to be a gay teenager in the beginning 1970s, and how that first love hits you when everything you were told about being gay was wrong, and all the other kids are having their coming of age according to the script and you’re not and you can’t tell anyone what’s happening to you because…well…read those intermissions. They’re actually quotes lifted from actual articles and books about homosexuality sold back then. And besides you are a clueless teenager because that’s where all the lies about people like you left you, so really what would you have to say anyway.

And there was not a teenage boy alive back then that wanted to see the looks of contempt and disgust in their classmate’s faces, let alone their parent’s.

This is my testimony as to what it was like being a gay teenager in the early 1970s. I tried to do it in a mostly humorous cartoon kinda way because that’s how I can look back on all of it now. Somewhat. But this is my testimony. I want it to not be left hanging. I can fill in some detail later.

There’s lots. I’ve had most of it scripted for decades.

 

by Bruce | Link | React!

November 2nd, 2023

Who Are You Going To Believe…Me, Or Your Beating Heart?

Moment of Truth

What they told me, versus what I knew in that moment…

  • They told me that homosexual men think they’re really women. I didn’t think that.
    (I’ve met transgendered people. Yes, it’s a real thing. But it’s different from being homosexual. I have always felt completely comfortable in my own body.)
  • They told me that having sex with one is what makes you one. I was a virgin.
  • They told me that being molested makes you one. I was not molested.
  • They told me that homosexuals like to have anonymous sex in public restrooms and parks. I had zero interest in that. I thought it was creepy and disgusting. (Sometime later I began to understand that was oppression, especially bathroom sex: we’re taught to see ourselves as human garbage, and so we flush our sex lives into the sewer)
  • They told me that homosexuals were fixated on sex and were only interested brief anonymous sex. I was in love. Body and soul. I wanted to be part of his life, and for him to be part of mine.
  • They told me that homosexuals preyed on teenage boys. Well, I was a teenage boy, in love with another teenage boy. But there was nothing predatory about it. I was twitterpated. At a word he could have had me body and soul. I was ready to walk through fire for him.
  • They told me that homosexuals lived in a constant state of shame and self loathing, and desperately want not to be one. What I was feeling just then was the most wonderful thing that had ever happened to me. I wouldn’t have traded it for anything. All the love songs I’d ever heard on the radio suddenly began to make sense and I realized I’d never really understood them.

Today, I feel like pleasing you
More than before
Today, I know what I wanna do
But I don’t know what for

To be living for you
Is all I want to do
To be loving you
It’ll all be there
When my dreams come true

They told me a lot of things. I believed them once. Then I fell in love.

I realize many of us have had a painful struggle with this. I hear you. I stand with you. Mine wasn’t entirely free from fear and anxiety. I still had to navigate a world full of contempt, loathing, and hate every which way you turned. We can make this world a better place for kids like us to come of age in by telling our stories, our truths. This one is mine. It is also a way of healing the kid within.

I can look back and see there was a lot of luck in how it finally hit me. I’d already walked a good distance away from the religious fundamentalism I was raised in. I’d grown up in a part of the country that gave me a good public school education, during a time when the cold war and the space race put an emphasis on teaching kids science. But if I could wish a happy, wonderful coming out story on everyone, it would be through that wonderful magical first love.

Today, you’ll make me say
That I somehow have changed
Today, you look into my eyes
I’m just not the same…

When all is said and done, it was love that saved me.

 

by Bruce | Link | React!

November 1st, 2023

Who Are You Going To Believe…?

I’m getting a bit stuck working on episode 38 of A Coming Out Story, and I’m so close to finishing the thing that I’ve started working on what I’ve been calling The Mirror Episode, which I think will be the last one in the story. Except I still need to do an epilogue after that one for completeness.

38 and 39 are my way of expressing how it was I was able to simply discard everything I’d ever been told about homosexuals once I saw that I was one myself. I’ve been ruminating about doing a blog post while I get those last two in the story arc out…something along the lines of How hard is it really to see bullshit for what it is when it’s staring you in the face?

There was some luck involved…by then I had already started discarding a lot of what I was told to believe in church. That had to do with my coming to better understand that concept of original sin, and my getting static all through childhood from some of the family over being my dad’s son. By the time I was a teenager I’d already adjusted to the idea that there would be people in my life that would always give me static over something I could not help being. And I was already easing myself out of the fundamentalism of my childhood, into a more blissful agnosticism.

So when the moment came, I could compare the person I knew myself to be with the things I was taught about homosexuals, and see that nearly all of it was wrong. Every time I hear that crap now I think about the scene in Duck Soup where Chico tells his wife after finding him in bed with another woman, “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?”

I hadn’t originally intended for the mirror episode to be the last one but I’m not sure how much time I have left to work on this so I’ve cut a bunch of stuff out. Maybe I’ll put some of it back in after the fact. My thinking now is I wrap it up with an epilogue and it’s officially done.

by Bruce | Link | React!

August 26th, 2023

Approaching 70

Facebook memories this morning brings me back to a Pearls Before Swine cartoon I riffed on briefly a couple years ago. Rat is harassing Stephan about how old he is, asking him if he was alive during World War 2, and Stephan says he wasn’t born until 23 years after that war ended, at which point Rat brings up the fact that his prom was 34 years ago.

Ha ha. Yeah…

My prom would have been 52 years ago now. I’ll be 70 shortly. Oddly enough, still regretting I didn’t get my prom. Or those first dates. Gay teens didn’t exist back in 1971.

Could have been worse I suppose. I could have been born right after the war instead of eight years after and had to be a gay teenager in the late 1950s/early 60s. I’m trying to slug through “Hoover’s War On Gays” by Douglas M. Charles. It’s a Very difficult read. My generation, just barely post Stonewall, had it pretty good all things considered. One of my high school teachers, Bill Ochse, actually brought a group of gay activists to his class to talk to his students, and the mob didn’t burn the school down.

I had him for a class but I wasn’t in that particular class that day. So I watched from a distance as they left his classroom, still talking to Bill and a few of the other kids. How I wished I could have sat in and listened to them. I’ve ached at the memory ever since. But at least I could know back in 1971 that there was such things as gay activists. I could at least know that I wasn’t alone, even if it felt like it.

I didn’t get my prom. It was 1971. Not even Woodward would have been ready for gay teens stepping out onto the dance floor back in 1971. Are you kidding? And even in a better world I probably wouldn’t have been able to take the guy I was crushing on to the prom. He was a catch, stunningly beautiful, smart, decent, lived in the nice neighborhood, and I was a weird kid from across the tracks, unhandsome, crooked teeth, unruly hair, living with a single divorced mother, preoccupied with his artwork and photography. Didn’t get my prom. Didn’t get a boyfriend either.

I’ll be 70 soon. I’ll die having walked from one end of an adult life to the other single. And the fact is there was more stacked against me than the treachery of a few I believed to be my friends (We’ve seen the guys you look at. People who look like that want people who look like that.). Back in 1971 even Mad Magazine thought our claim to having a common humanity with out neighbors was ridiculous (You shout that you are victimized by bigoted attacks. Forgive us if we’re more concerned with Indians and Blacks). The scale of what was taken from us so righteous people could build their stepping stones to heaven out of pieces of our hearts is nearly impossible to grasp. And the teenager I was stopped hoping long ago.

70. It isn’t quite the milestone I was thinking it would be. I really don’t want any more birthdays. But I need to get A Coming Out Story finished.

by Bruce | Link | React!

August 13th, 2023

Back When Guys Could Be Sexy And Beautiful And Not Worry About Being Queer Baited

It was an all too brief period of time in young American male fashion. But I look back upon it fondly, and reminisce about the life I once had, before the heart attack, before I found myself suddenly knocking at the door to 70 and realizing that dating and mating part of my life is all in the rear view mirror now, and I didn’t even get to partake because back then gay teenagers didn’t exist and gay men were all better off dead than in love.

I have this theory that the fashions and styles we find attractive as adults are what were in vogue when we were coming of age. We glom onto that period and all those first crushes and first heartbreaks, and forever after it’s what gets the heart beating.

The problem for me (artistically and…otherwise) is that while “retro” fashions seem to have made a comeback, it’s only among the ladies. Long hair low risers and cutoffs haven’t made much headway among males young and slender enough that, IMO, they could benefit from them. Okay…so I could benefit from them.

It’s a shame. So when I get an itch to do some sexy sketching I usually end up riffing on photos of pretty young ladies I see online or in magazine fashion ads. When you know the basic skeletal and muscular differences between the sexes it’s not hard to convert female to male if you really, really like what they’re wearing or how they’ve done their hair. This drawing I posting some months ago being a good example…

I actually sold a print of that one.

I have a folder in my NAS of pose material that maybe I’ll get to someday and make a drawing from. Stuff I’ve got from various online sites and Facebook pages. Like the one I just started following a few days ago of 70s memories.

 

That photo was labelled Teenagers hanging out on Van Nuys Blvd. Obviously from the styles and the cars it was taken in the very early 1970s, or maybe even the late 60s. The time of my sexual awakening and that first magical crush. I’m thinking it’s a night shot under very bright street lamps, otherwise why would the sky above that store in the background be so dark. The comments on it are mostly about how street racing at that location was a thing back in the day. Mostly.

I take one look at this photo and instantly the longhair leaning up against the foreground car (check out the mag wheels) gets my attention. Nice jeans, thinks I…okay…I can do something with that. No smirking, please…I didn’t realize at first…. Anyway, it definitely speaks to that time in my life. Those low risers. That long beautiful hair. The floppy sleave shirt. I don’t think many people nowadays get how wide belts were back then, and the huge belt buckles that went with them. You can’t see the feet, but I’m pretty sure those are bells.

So I immediately grab a copy of the image for my “poses” folder. And I’m already thinking about what I need to change around a tad to make her a cute long haired guy…

I’ll have to adjust her pelvis a tad…oh…wait…

Nope. Don’t have to adjust anything.

The pose was just enough to make it unclear which sex you were looking at. What clued me in was figuring out how to change the curve of the hips to the thighs and then realizing that work had already been done for me. I wish I had his jeans too. And the 20-something body I had once upon a time that fit into them.

And…a boyfriend back then.

I wish I had more beautiful guys like that in my world now. Even if, as I said, that part of my life is in the rear view mirror. It would still be nice to have some beauty in my life, even if it’s just to look at now and then. But American males don’t like those styles anymore because HEY ARE YOU SOME KINDA QUEER OR WHAT!? I’m not even all that pretty, and wasn’t back in the day, and I got cat-called lots just for wearing my hair long. I Still get those cat-calls. HEY HIPPY…ARE YOU A BOY OR A GIRL…HAW HAW HAW…

But what’s refreshing about the comments on that photo on that page is there wasn’t any of that. If you remember those days fondly enough to be following 70s memories pages, then you remember that was how guys dressed and wore their hair back then.

And it was all good. At least it was to coming of age gay teenager me.

So…anyway…if I do something with the figure in that photo I’ll post it here. Probably not use the shirt though.

 

 

by Bruce | Link | React!

August 2nd, 2023

Why Bother?

I’ve been working on A Coming Out Story for a couple decades now. I’ve not been promoting it or advertising it anywhere, largely because I am terrible at self promotion. I’m sure the reason for that lies buried somewhere under all the static I got growing up, first for being my father’s son, and then more generally for being gay in the late 1960s and early 1970s. But it’s been a project that, while it began simply as a one shot slice of life cartoon, then turned into something like a self analysis project, it’s become something dear to my heart. That said, when I posted a link to the new current episode on Facebook and a post about my first try at a Flowbee haircut got orders of magnitude more responses, I got a little depressed. Well okay…more than a little.

The visitors here to this website specifically to look for any new episodes have been very gratifying. Also the random visitors who either read an episode that a search engine somehow delivered them to, and then they binge read all of it. That is Very gratifying. And it helps keep me going. But I have other reasons for sticking with this besides artistic recognition.

I dove into this project for several reasons:

  1. To help me understand what happened to me back in my senior year of high school, and how it brought me to the adult I eventually became.

    This part has been pretty well successful. It helped that around episode 11 I reconnected with the object of my affections and I was able, with difficulty, to better understand what happened between us and why it went the way it did. Maybe that’s material for a whole ‘nother story.

  2. To let other gay people of my generation know they weren’t alone. We all pretty much went through it. Some had it lots worse than I did, some much better. We were all damaged, but we survived. We should be proud of that.
  3. To show heterosexual adults, in a mostly humorous way, how it was to be a gay teenager back when gay folk basically got static from Every direction in the popular culture, and hopefully show them that the world really needs to give gay kids a break. We go through all the same stages of first love and first heartbreak everyone else does, but with the added torment of all the cheapshit bar stool prejudices, plus all the myths, lies and superstitions of the pulpit thumpers. It isn’t fair. What should be one of this life’s most magical wonderful times, the discovery of love and desire, gets turned into a long drawn out nightmare so some righteous creeps can make their stepping stones to heaven out of our hopes and dreams.
  4. To let gay kids today know what the struggle was like back when we were kids ourselves. The horrible sex ed class I sat through wasn’t anything out of the ordinary back then. What I was taught was what most people blindly believed about us. I’m planning on concluding this story by imploring the generations to come to delve into our history and keep fighting, or for certain the bigots will bring it all back down on us again.
  5. To tell my side of the story.

That’s it. I’ve begun work on episode 37. This little story arc has three more episodes, then the story comes to it’s main climax/conclusion after than. Maybe another year working on it and it’s done. To give you an idea of how hard it’s been to get this out of me, I had the current episode completely scripted back in 2005 and it finally appears here with only minor changes to the dialogue. I have the rest of it done too, except for the very last episode. I’m still thinking about how to end it.

by Bruce | Link | React!

Visit The Woodward Class of '72 Reunion Website For Fun And Memories, WoodwardClassOf72.com


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