Bruce Garrett Cartoon
The Cartoon Gallery

A Coming Out Story
A Coming Out Story

My Photo Galleries
New and Improved!

Past Web Logs
The Story So Far archives

My Amazon.Com Wish List

My Myspace Profile

Bruce Garrett's Profile
Bruce Garrett's Facebook profile


Blogs I Read!
Alicublog

Wayne Besen

Box Turtle Bulletin

Daily Kos

Mike Daisy's Blog

The Disney Blog

Disney Gossip

Brad DeLong

Dispatches From The Culture Wars

Epcot Explorer's Encyclopedia

Envisioning The American Dream

Eschaton

Ex-Gay Watch

Hullabaloo

Joe. My. God

Made In Brazil

Peterson Toscano

Progress City USA

Slacktivist

Slacktiverse

SLOG

Fear the wrath of Sparky!

Truth Wins Out Blog

Wil Wheaton



Gone But Not Forgotten

The Rittenhouse Review

Steve Gilliard's News Blog

Steve Gilliard's Blogspot Site



Great Cartoon Sites!

Howard Cruse Central

Tripping Over You
Tripping Over You

XKCD

Commando Cody Monthly

Scandinavia And The World

Dope Rider

The World Of Kirk Anderson

Ann Telnaes' Cartoon Site

Bors Blog

John K

Penny Arcade




Other News & Commentary

Lead Stories

Amtrak In The Heartland

Corridor Capital

Railway Age

Maryland Weather Blog

Foot's Forecast

All Facts & Opinions

Baltimore Crime

Cursor

HinesSight

Page One Q
(GLBT News)


Michelangelo Signorile

The Smirking Chimp

Talking Points Memo

Truth Wins Out

The Raw Story

Slashdot




International News & Views

BBC

NIS News Bulletin (Dutch)

Mexico Daily

The Local (Sweden)




News & Views from Germany

Spiegel Online

The Local

Deutsche Welle

Young Germany




Fun Stuff

It's not news. It's FARK

Plan 59

Pleasant Family Shopping

Discount Stores of the 60s

Retrospace

Photos of the Forgotten

Boom-Pop!

Comics With Problems

HMK Mystery Streams




Mercedes Love!

Mercedes-Benz USA

Mercedes-Benz TV

Mercedes-Benz Owners Club of America

MBCA - Greater Washington Section

BenzInsider

Mercedes-Benz Blog

BenzWorld Forum

April 3rd, 2021

The Heart Of A Coming Out Story…Not A Person, But A Time And Place

In October 2006 I put episode 6 of A Coming Out Story on my website. That would have been a month after I finally reconnected with the object of my affections in the story. I was probably working on it when that happened. It was over a year before I finished the next one. Before then I had no idea what had happened to him. I started doing the cartoon story in large part to try and process what had happened to me back in high school, and maybe make a statement about how it was to be a gay teenager in 1971. Fact is, I was beginning to believe I would never find him again, never know what happened to him.

He was a class behind mine. His family moved out of the country shortly after I graduated. It was very sudden, or so it seemed to me. I had no idea he was going. I was devastated. For decades I searched for him. I never stopped trying to find a boyfriend elsewhere, but that first love is something that strikes deep into you. I had to know what had become of him. Especially after the AIDS plague hit us. After that first viewing of the Names Project quilt on the Washington Mall, I had nightmares of walking among the panels and suddenly finding one with his name on it. Sometimes, oddly, I still have this nightmare.

So I kept looking. But after the years passed I figured that when I found him again he’d be happily settled down with a much more good looking guy…possibly some beautiful Brazilian guy and they’d be living in something like married bliss and I’d just have to accept it. He was a catch. Jaw droppingly beautiful, decent, good hearted, hard working, always a busy bee. I knew he would not have wanted for suiters. It’s what scared me about him. In the age of AIDS, he could easily  have been taken away by the virus. So many were. 

So I kept looking. When computers and modems and BBSs came about, I would occasionally toss little messages in a bottle out into the cyber void to see if he might reply…

Hello…are you out there…do you remember…

I heard nothing back. Later I learned he was on GeoCities but apparently not out in the larger net. So we never crossed paths that way.

I eventually found him again in a phone directory. He was here in this country, working at Disney World. Anxious, sweating profusely, I gave him a call. Thankfully what I got his answering machine instead of him or I might have just choked and hung up. And I heard his voice again for the first time in decades. It’s amazing how after all that time I knew instantly it was him, even before my brain processed the words on his answering machine, by the sound of his voice. It took me back decades. Suddenly I was that awkward geeky terrified teenage boy again.

I hung up on the answering machine. Then I wrote a script, practiced it several times, and called back. Thankfully I got the answering machine again and I spoke my lines and hung up. And waited. And waited. It was agonizing. On the walk home from work I noticed a call I’d missed on the iPhone and there was voice mail and OhMyGodIt’sHim!!!!  I waited until I got home to call back. He was glad to hear from me. We chatted for over an hour, catching up on this and that. It was the first of many calls in that first couple of years. I talked about my love for him back in high school and he remembered our times in the library and on the walk to his motorcycle. And he coaxed me into coming down to Disney World, a thing I’d had no interest in at all until then. I wanted to much to see him, but I wasn’t into theme parks of any sort. Come on man, it’s your heritage…baseball apple pie and Mickey Mouse…what’s wrong with you.  So I went the following spring. And we laid eyes on each other for the first time in decades, and it was like those high school days all over again. But that…that…turned out to be a two-edged sword.

For some of us, of a certain generation, it will always be a time before Stonewall. I know that a little better now.

It was October of 2006 that we reconnected. I published the episode of ACOS I’d been working on in November. It took nearly a year for me to wrest another one out of me. And it is still hard. The story doesn’t have a happy ending. But I’m still working on it. Because it needs to be told how that magical time of first love and awakening desire was stolen from so many of us, turned into a nightmare, so righteous people could make their stepping stones to heaven out of our hearts. Out of our lives.

I will never forget that first love. I tried afterward to find another. But what I was looking for, what I am always looking for, I would have probably found pretty quickly in a better world, at a church social, or a teen coffee house, or some social event organized by caring adults, where gay teens could meet and you didn’t have to worry about whether the one you were crushing on was straight and just not for you. Somewhere in some better world where I could have met a nice guy. But it was 1971, and all those nice guys were terrified. They didn’t want their families to hate them. They didn’t want God to hate them. They didn’t want to hate themselves more. And so it went.

I will never forget the awe and wonder and joy of that first love. And I will never forgive the ones who stole it from me…and from so many of us. You butchers. We were just kids. There was nothing wrong with us. There was never anything wrong with us. And you put knives into our hearts so you could be righteous. You monsters. I am an atheist now. It’s nothing to do with religious hatred against me and my kind. It was simply that belief just stopped making sense to me. But if there is a God Almighty, I would rather stand there at Judgement Day a proud homosexual, with every time I ever took another man into my arms laid out before me, than have to account for what you people did to so many innocent and pure hearts. You Monsters!

by Bruce | Link | React!

March 22nd, 2021

That Joke About The Man Whose Truck Left Him…

Speaking of that joke about how, with the advent of self driving cars, the day is coming when someone writes a country western song about a man whose truck left him…  It seems the gay mayor of Fort Lauderdale Florida has stepped into it…

Antigay Florida Activist: Same-Sex Marriage Like Marrying a Volkswagen

After Fort Lauderdale, Fla.’s gay mayor honored an anti-LGBTQ+ church on its 60th anniversary, an activist who has a relationship with the church has likened same-sex marriage to marrying a Volkswagen.

At Tuesday’s City Commission meeting, Mayor Dean Trantalis presented a proclamation recognizing the 60th anniversary of the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church and the 50th anniversary of its affiliated private school, Westminster Academy. Both were founded by D. James Kennedy, an anti-LGBTQ+ minister, and are located in Fort Lauderdale.

Kennedy died in 2007, but his D. James Kennedy Ministries continues spreading homophobia and transphobia…

You have to wonder what Trantalis was thinking. Well no…we know what he was thinking because he said it when it hit the gay news networks earlier…

It’s time to build a future based on love and not hate. And it’s time for those who still harbor resentment to let go of it. I know I have. And I know our community is better off for it.

And just who would that community be Dean? Anyone who never walked among the Names Project quilt, terrified of spotting one someone made for their high school crush? Someone who doesn’t bother to read the newspaper stories about gay bashings and murders by young heterosexual males all hopped up on the religious hate fed to them by churches like Coral Ridge, because they know it will never happen to respectible and discreet homosexuals such as themselves?

But it gets better. When the wholly predictable torrent of criticism from the rest of the gay community came rushing in, naturally Coral Ridge just couldn’t keep its mouth shut…

Wright claimed that gay activists are pawns in a socialist plot to destroy marriage and the family, and make everyone dependent on government. “I hate to break it to them, but many of our gay and lesbian friends, they’ve just been used by the left to destroy the historic definition of marriage and changed the criteria to only be that of love,” he said. “If two people love each other, or some guy and his Volkswagen, he loves his Volkswagen, he ought to be able to marry his Volkswagen.”

I know how difficult it must have been for you to break it to us Frank. On a scale of 1 to 10 how painful was it? Less than zero?

I swear there are days when you start thinking that everything old is new again. But no…it’s still old. This is such an old trope among the kook pews. If a man can marry another man, why not let him marry a car…or a TV set…or a toaster…or his dog…? You say you love each other? Well I love my dog but it doesn’t mean I can marry it. I’ve been hearing this one ever since my days on USENET. And never mind how it speaks to their total dehumanization of the homosexual Other. Pull it apart and you find that it’s instructive as to how they themselves perceive marriage. If love isn’t critical to marriage, as it turns out neither is consent.

Automobiles can’t consent. They’re not living things, as often as we owners anthropomorphize them all the same. Yes, I’ve even given my car a name. I’ve given names to all my cars. But…hear me out now…they’re cars. Machines. Machines can’t consent. Nor can any other inanimate object or animal or child. And it seems in that subset of American religiosity, neither do wives. What wives do is gracefully submit to their husbands.

Real men take wives…they don’t do something as sissified as ask for their hand in marriage. That is why love cannot be the central fact of marriage. The central fact of marriage is the authority of the man over the woman. Nothing else matters. Certainly not love.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on That Joke About The Man Whose Truck Left Him…

March 16th, 2021

Please Keep Safe

I learned a couple days ago that a fellow member of the LGBT BBS I was a part of once upon a time passed away due to COVID-19. I hadn’t heard anything so I went looking on his Facebook page and there it was, but I was dreading it for a while.

What scares me is how fast it happened. Three weeks ago he was in our usual Friday happy hour Zoom and looked his usual self. Then I heard he was in the hospital intubated. Then I heard his kidneys had failed. It seems soon after his heart also failed and that was that. I think he was maybe ten years younger than me. Not all that old, but not young either. But he had no health issues. He was fine. And then suddenly he wasn’t.

I’m so sorry this happened to him. There’s an impulse to ask if anyone knows how he caught it, and I understand completely. You want to know what happened so you can refine your own calculations of risk. But as any of us who lived through the time of AIDS, before the virus was as well understood as it is today, before the treatments and PrEP, in all those calculations is an irreducible element of chance. Yes you may have taken this or that precaution, and yes it would have improved your odds. But the fact is if you survived the plague, you were lucky. There is going to be a lot of free floating survivor’s guilt after this thing has largely passed (HIV is still out there by the way…), and all I can offer for it is turning grief and remembrance into activism, and not to let the usual suspects try to sweep what happened under the rug, like they will, because god forbid we ever learn that taking care of one another is actually something we the people can do via government, and should do, to keep civilization going when the going gets really really bad.

And as for myself, maybe next time some anti-masker sneers at me for wearing mine, and for getting my vaccination, I’ll punch them in the face in memory of those who aren’t there to do the job themselves.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Please Keep Safe

March 6th, 2021

The Stab That Bleeds

I post on my Facebook page about plans for a nice celebratory dinner today…someplace good…cost no object. Except of course it’s still a time of plague so it needs to be carry-out, not fabulous seated dining. A friend (who should know my history better than this by now) asks what is to special about March 6th. Oh goodness…here, let me tell you the whole sordid tale…and why I will never put anyone up on a pedestal, ever again…like teenage me did to a certain someone, once upon a time…

March 6, 2016. Walt Disney World.

I was becoming aware that if I told a certain someone I was coming down, when I got there he’d be all standoffish and wouldn’t come over and talk like he used to. But if I just showed up he was all happy to see me and became a chatterbox and we’d talk for long enough after closing time I might have to be walked out of the park by cast members lest the Langoliers get me. But by then our conversations via email were no longer just between us.

This trip I’d made noises about coming down, but I wasn’t sure I could get away from work. It would depend on the schedule at work, which seemed to be in a perpetual state of flux. So he starts sending me all these shots of him and others in the family Nachbarschaft having a Perfectly Wonderful Time at a ski resort somewhere and I shouldn’t bother coming down if I wanted to see him. By this time I was becoming skilled in detecting his bullshit. Losing the rose colored glasses helped. It disturbed me to see so much of it. But that is what a life spent burying your innermost self does, and why I swore I would never do that to myself.

The Mitt Romney smile he was wearing in those photos was very disturbing.

On a previous trip I’d asked him if we could just hang out together somewhere after his shift. Maybe some favorite restaurant or other place, just somewhere we could talk about…things…and maybe get a few things between us out in the open. I was still very disturbed by the long conversation we’d had years previously. He looked at me seriously and said that he’d made his allegiances, and he had to stay in his comfort zone.

Okay…fine…but I needed a Disney vacation and I like Biergarten because it’s one of the few places a single traveler like me can sit at a table and chat with the other guests. It’s expected. Oktoberfest eight to a table seating and all that. And you have a lot of ready icebreakers to start a conversation with. Hi…where are you folks from? This your first time in Disney World? He told me once that he would watch me and I was great at getting a table to open up and start talking with each other. So when the schedule at work opened up like I figured it would, I ducked down to Disney World.

He got really standoffish…actually more like angry when he saw me. And I reckon it was written all over my face that I knew he’d be there and not skiing somewhere. But this time he did something he hadn’t ever done before. There was a new German kid waiting tables…Disney brings them over to the various World Showcase spots for a year or two from the host countries and Disney gets work out of them and they get a visit to the USA. So he introduces me to the kid, Nico, (yes that was his name). Nico told me about his plans to do a big USA road trip and oh my goodness I was full of all sorts of suggestions, as well as photos of places I’d been on my various road trips. We talked for hours.

He was cute, and smart, and full of energy. He was really looking forward to his road trip and I felt him as a kindred road runner spirit. We talked. And Talked. And talked. Between his needing to take care of his customers. He’d go off to one of this tables, take impeccable care of his guests, and then come back and we’d talk some more. And as we did, I saw that certain someone getting more and more pissed off.

What the fuck are you getting jealous over…you’re the one who foisted me off on this kid…yeah I like him…he’s a nice guy…so what… Finally it was closing time and I wondered where a certain someone had gone, because he Never left without at least saying goodbye. Nico went to find him for me, came back saying he’d just walked out and it was so very much unlike him.

The next day I blogged about it. I’d asked him once straight up once if he ever read my blog or looked at my cartoons and he insisted he did not. So I figured he’d see what I wrote on the blog that day. He did. I checked my server logs.

Later I had a reservation at the Hollywood Brown Derby. I liked having one nice dinner on my last day in the parks. But before I checked into Hollywood Studios I went to his restaurant just to say goodbye like I always did on my last day in the parks. Usually it was a pleasant exchange of goodbyes, even if he’d been standoffish before. But that day you have never seen such an icy cold German stare. But he wasn’t rude, that isn’t the German way. It was all very formal. Kinda like how a Baptist might say I’ll pray for you, in that tone of voice that says burn in hell.

Okay. Fine. Then I went to The Brown Derby and for some reason I felt like ordering the best they had, which right then was the Kobe beef steak. You order something like that and when the waiter asks you how you want it, you just say “whatever the chef recommends” because that’s what you’re going to get anyway. Under no circumstances do you ask for well done.

On my facebook page that morning I wrote:

Few things in life make pampering yourself more sensible than hostility from your high school crush. So…I’m Going To The Brown Derby! To hang out with the other stars and have drinks and five star food and stuff…

It was magnificent. Halfway into it I got an email from a certain someone telling me I was creeping him out and never to contact him again “in any way shape or form.” And, “My peace and quiet begins Now!” Well whoever is disturbing your peace and quiet Deutscher it isn’t me because I live a thousand miles away and all I ever do is email you from time to time. But our emails stopped being private sometime in 2011, just after that disturbing conversation. And the three months you took off work for…some health related thing. No it was not torn rotator cuff surgery. Nobody fully recovers from torn rotator cuff surgery and is slugging plates full of liter mugs of beer around in three months. But it’s about the amount of time someone will typically spend in…well…

So I blasted back, again on the blog which he never reads anyway, and every March 6th since I’ve treated myself to the best dinner I can find anywhere, price no object. Some kind of meat. Beef some years, pork one. This year I’ll do the baby back ribs at Corner Stable…carry out because plague. But it has to be meat. The best steak, or the best ribs, or something like that absolutely stunning pork steak entrée I had a few years ago at Rocket To Venus here in Hampden.

Corpse food as the vegetarians call it. Yes. Quite.

Never love yourself less than you love somebody else.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The Stab That Bleeds

January 21st, 2021

Maybe I’m Finally Understanding This

I’m sure most of the population has other, more pleasant hobbies and blissfully tuned out for 4 years, but some of us couldn’t do that. I’m not overstating things and saying I WAS PERSONALLY IN AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP WITH DONALD TRUMP, but I think anyone who has had *that person* in their lives knows of the constant low level stress of wondering when they are going to wander into the room and just blow everything up with their latest nonsense. -Atrios, writing in his blog today

It’s odd because his tweet is about Trump, but this business about the constant low level stress of wondering when they’re going to wander into the room and blow everything up instantly reminded me of actually living that, and perhaps it’s knocked some sense into me that’s been long overdue. Something like fifty years overdue as a matter of fact. My entire childhood and a good part of my adolescence, and most of mom’s life I suspect, were spent in an abusive relationship with her mother (who I have often referred to here as my Bitter Baptist Grandmother) and I never really looked at it that way until just now.

It’s always been just…yeah that was her…she was like that. Now I’m thinking that lots of people see their abuser that way…not as an abuser specifically, but as just being like that. Someone who is always cranky and bad tempered. Someone who just seems to always be miserable, and wants everyone else to be miserable to. Someone you are always tip-toeing around, trying not to set them off, trying not to attract their attention. Because…that’s just how they are. Not abusers, just difficult people. And you avoid their gaze because you know what you’ll see in those eyes. People who are always making you tense up. People who make you feel small whenever they’re around. 

Yeah. Abusers. I’m sixty-seven years old and she still haunts my bad dreams.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Maybe I’m Finally Understanding This

November 27th, 2020

Coming Soon…

I’m finally getting ready for the next three episodes of A Coming Out Story (plus intermissions…). Here’s a peek at the next episode…

I’m going to be busy at my paying job all weekend long, but this episode, and the next two, are only three strips each so it should go quickly. The intermissions, which are the story of my reading The Truth About Homosexuality by Dr. Pompous J. Fraudquack are single strips interleaved with the rest of my storyline, leading up to the moment I come out to myself. I know…it’s crazy but hopefully easier to follow once it’s all done.

Stay tuned…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Coming Soon…

September 9th, 2020

Wreckage

Yesterday afternoon I took a wee excursion to a point in time

I had to go see it. I’m staying at Boardwalk for my birthday week, and it’s close enough I could go and see it for myself. He’s not living there in that city anymore, but somewhere further down the coast, and that’s okay because I don’t even know if he wants to see me anymore anyway and I don’t want to freak him out by suddenly appearing on his doorstep. Or rather, that unsettling halfway/shelter home he’s been put into. For a period of time he had a life of his own and a little one bedroom here that looks like it was nice back in its day.

Now it’s a derelict shell of concrete block emptiness and economic despair nestled in a corner of wealth, beach vacation dreams, and Trump 2020 billboards. And my heart is broken. But I knew it would be and I did it anyway. On the way back I pulled over and had a good cry. It’s not that life is unfair…the universe doesn’t hate us, it’s just indifferent…the dice don’t care how they fall. Life is coldly fair…coldly, indifferently fair. It’s that there is way too much darkness here, and so very little light.

You deserved better guy. Maybe if we hadn’t drifted apart I could have made sure it didn’t come to this. I just never thought back when I was a teenager, that this could happen to someone like you. I was the ugly weird kid they heaped low expectations onto. This shouldn’t have happened to you. I don’t think I care about anything now anymore. It all just seems so pointless.

I’m glad you’re still hanging in there. I’m glad you’re staying drug free. I wonder if the people who put you there really understand why people take drugs, or drink themselves into stupors like I did last night.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Wreckage

August 28th, 2020

That Road To Damascus Moment When You See Your Gay Neighbor As They Really Are

On banning conversion therapy: Listen with your heart

So, 50 years ago, I began listening to people.

The first 10 or 12 years, no one talked to me even behind closed doors about their attraction to people of the same sex. That changed in the 1980s.

One by one, people came to discuss this forbidden topic. At first, I was more shocked by who was seeking me out than I was what they were saying. It was some of the community’s finest students and most respected adults. They were smart, industrious, good-hearted, responsible, conscientious, law-abiding citizens…

This is something that used to stun a lot of people back in the day…and for all I know maybe it still does some. A lifetime of consuming one lie after another about homosexual people, suddenly runs head-on into the reality of us, and of our lives. And people are stunned.

They were smart, industrious, good-hearted, responsible, conscientious, law-abiding citizens…

There’s a second step to this that not enough people took after this revelation. Or perhaps just didn’t want to confront it. Why were we told these lies about all these people, for all this time..? What kind of person does this to them? What kind of person does that to us?

They told you we were monsters. But we weren’t the monsters…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on That Road To Damascus Moment When You See Your Gay Neighbor As They Really Are

June 12th, 2020

We Must Turn Our Rage Into Action. . .

A Pulse survivor speaks…

I remember the thumping Latin music. The unbridled joy of a space safe for me to bring my whole self. A plastic cup teetering on the edge of a bathroom sink. Gunshots — endless gunshots. A panicked sprint for the exit. I remember waiting on a street corner for news, dialing my best friend Drew’s number countless times. I remember when I finally realized he would never pick up. By sunrise, 49 people, including Drew and his partner Juan, had been killed by a man filled to the brim with hatred and armed with weapons of war… – Pulse survivor: We must turn our rage into action, The Orlando Sentinel

Probably the most heartbreaking thing I read in the aftermath was from a homicide detective investigating the scene. He was new to the job and had always thought homicide scenes would be quiet as the detectives worked it. But this one had the cell phones of the victims constantly ringing, and he knew every ring was from a loved one desperately hoping for an answer that would never come.

Go read the whole thing. He links the shootings then to the police killings of unarmed black Americans now, and the bigotry and hate that fueled them both. We have work to do to honor their memories, and drag this nation inch by inch back to its promise of liberty and justice for all, and make it real.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on We Must Turn Our Rage Into Action. . .


There Is Before, And There Is After

Realizing this morning that all my Facebook Memories from today will front load with a torrent of posts about the Pulse massacre.

Happy Pride Month Bruce!

Anybody wonders why Disney became so gay friendly lately I can tell you because I saw it with my own eyes. I had a vacation planned for July 2016 and it seemed as if all of Orlando was stunned and shaken over what happened. I had my rainbow Mickey pin on (back then it wasn’t the gay rights rainbow but the Peace rainbow, but that was close enough you saw them everywhere during Gay Days) and cast members seeing it would tell me stories about friends, friends of friends, people they knew of that were at Pulse that day. Next year during Gay Days, after the last fireworks show at Magic Kingdom cast members were handing out those rainbow Mickey pins to guests leaving the park. The year after that you suddenly saw a bunch of different pins with the actual gay rights rainbow on them. Last year there was a torrent of Pride merchandise for sale everywhere in Disney World. And where Disney went, other companies followed.

It wasn’t that we’d suddenly become family, we always were family to begin with. We were sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, co-workers, friends, neighbors. The threat on our lives touched everyone. Well…everyone who wasn’t deep in the homophobic gutter. Those people will never be reached. Everyone else was shocked by what happened because if it wasn’t their gay sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, co-workers, friends and neighbors, it could have been.

June 12, 2016. There is before and after. I witnessed it. Nobody is pandering to the militant homosexual agenda. You only hear crap like that from people with empty souls. What happened was it scared people. From the line workers to corporate boardroom Valhalla, it scared them. Because we are part of the family too. I saw the faces.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on There Is Before, And There Is After

May 27th, 2020

Larry Kramer

This came in the news today…

Larry Kramer, Playwright and Outspoken AIDS Activist, Dies at 84

He worked hard to shock the country into dealing with AIDS as a public-health emergency. But his confrontational approach could sometimes overshadow his achievements.

Larry Kramer got a lot of static for his novel, Faggots, first published in 1978, but the line in it about how “The fucking we’re getting’s not worth the fucking we’re getting” is one I treasure for it’s righteous anger. Sexual liberation was good and necessary, but insufficient while politicians and the media continued to vilify us, and the system continued it’s relentless persecution of us. We were consigned to the gutter, the poetry of our lives and loves erased as though everything about us was perversion and pornography. Heterosexuals got prom night, the happily ever after story. We got the public toilets and bathhouses. Heterosexuals got an ideal to strive for in love and in life. We got a relentless torrent of vitriol and hate, so that we should hate ourselves at least as much if not more than they hated us. When Kramer wrote Faggots, too many people were too willing to accept sexual liberation as enough. But the fucking we were getting was not worth the fucking we were getting. 

Our struggle was for wholeness. Activist and media critic Vito Russo once said it was, “…an old stereotype, that homosexuality has to do only with sex while heterosexuality is multifaceted and embraces love and romance.” And it was a common complaint back then, that by simply living our lives openly we were flaunting “it”. If I heard it once I heard it hundreds of times in the media, in letters to the editor, to my face that they didn’t care what we did in the bedroom as long as we didn’t flaunt “it” in public. But it wasn’t what we did in the bedroom that mattered to any of them, because obviously we weren’t actually having sex in public.

“It” was the holding of hands, the public declaration of love and romance, that our essential humanity, and our human needs of companionship and the longing for more than simply sexual intimacy, but body and soul communion…”It” was the public visibility that our desires and needs were little different from anyone else’s…that we did exist and that we were human beings that outraged the bigots. Because of course it did. The hated other cannot be allowed to be human. We had to be monsters, so that sticking their knives in our hearts could not be a crime against humanity.

Our struggle was for wholeness. Larry Kramer was a fierce warrior for that wholeness. He will be missed. ACT-UP, the AIDS activist organization Kramer founded, said today, “We are all orphans now.” But we carry on. We persist. For the honor and the dignity of our lives, and our loves.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Larry Kramer

May 18th, 2020

Some Days The Only Way You Know You’re Alive Is By How Much It Hurts…

The more I read about schizophrenia the more I just want to curl up into a ball, cry my eyes out for a few hours, then go retire to some Ted Kaczynski cabin in the deep woods where I have no connection to the rest of the world and I don’t have to know what has happened to anyone I ever knew or felt anything for…in friendship or love…and I can imagine they all have wonderful lives and they’re having that happily ever after.

Don’t even bother asking me why I don’t believe in an almighty god anymore. But I still believe in love. It’s a real thing. I can tell by how badly it hurts.

So many things this human race needs to find a solution to, a cure for… Schizophrenia. Cancer. Cardiovascular disease. HIV. Loneliness. Death… We still have our work cut out for us…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Some Days The Only Way You Know You’re Alive Is By How Much It Hurts…

May 7th, 2020

It’s In The Wiring

When I was a young man, and out to myself and mostly comfortable with it, I was invited to go on a motorcycle ride with a friend’s girlfriend, to see her father’s place. It would be, so she said, of interest to an artist such as myself. And so it was. She was rightly proud of him, but also a tad reluctant to let people meet him. He was of the sort of random creative genius whose artwork could not be contained. He’d made himself a house inside an old airplane hanger the interior of which seemed like an art museum. A haphazard yet fascinating art museum.

‘C’ invited me on a drive to see him on her BMW motorcycle. It was only the second motorcycle I’d ever taken a ride on, the first one being her boyfriend’s Harley. Her boyfriend and I were pals going back to when we were both teenagers and by that time he’d let me have lots of rides on his hog. I loved it. Plus, the design of the seats on a hog were such that the passenger on the back rode a tad higher than the driver, allowing you a better view.

‘C’s BMW had a seat that left the passenger staring into the back of the driver’s helmet unless you were taller, which I wasn’t. I got on and she started out and I put my hands on her hips because that was the only place I had to keep a grip on. She didn’t seem to mind.

As I said, by then I was out to myself, had been for years, and fairly comfortable with the idea of being sexually attracted to men. I knew at some deep down level that it wasn’t a matter of being afraid of women like the couch psychiatrists said. I wasn’t afraid of them, I was never sexually abused, nobody turned me homosexual. I simply had no interest. Women were not on my radar the way guys were. Some guys. Cute sexy guys (see my recent art posts). I wasn’t repelled, I just had no interest.

And just then all I wanted was to make sure I wouldn’t fall off the back of ‘C’s BMW. So I reached around and held onto her hips. It was the first time I’d really put my hands on and held onto a woman in my own age group. I had plenty of hugs from mom, and maybe though I don’t recall some of my other older female family and the other church women. This was a young women who, had I been a heterosexual male, I should have found myself attracted to, at least to some degree. She was lithe, physically fit, beautiful according to my left brain. My friend was head over heels in love with her.

My hands instantly discovered how soft and…well…squishy her body was. And my instantaneous reflex deep down inside was along the lines of Oh, that’s…odd…

This was a fairly outdoorsy, athletic young woman. And yet her body was…soft. Well defined, shapely even, according to my left brain anyway. You wouldn’t look at her and see anything overweight about her. But her body was…soft. Which I understood to be how it was with women. Logically I supposed this was something that excited heterosexual males about a woman’s body. But that was the first time I’d actually felt it. And it seemed strange. By then I’d had my hands on the hips of her boyfriend, ‘B’ many times while riding with him. For a short time I even had a crush on him. But if he wasn’t a perfect Kinsey 0 he was close to it. 

I remembered something much later after our ride…how ‘B’ had given me a ride on his hog one hot summer day. We had on our helmets, jeans and light summer shirts. His was opened in the front. Suddenly he told me to hang on, because he was going to punch it…something he knew I loved. That Harley might not have been race track material, but it had massive amounts of torque. When you got those flywheels going and banged it up a gear it was stunning. So I reached around and this one time my hands connected with the bare flesh over his stomach, felt the muscle under his skin, and instantly this electric sexual thrill shot right through me.

I never told him.

But there it is. In a nutshell, the difference between a male body and a female’s. It’s not just genitalia. It’s the physical totality of it. One is exciting. The other is…meh. That isn’t something you learn like a bad habit. It is how you’re wired.

When I was a teenager this was something the heterosexual majority didn’t seem to want to know. But we knew. To a more limited degree I knew the moment I came out to myself, while crushing on a male classmate. It was how I was wired. Nothing else made sense to me. And if you’re ever wondering why the secular and religious right have been on a scorched earth culture war against science and education, here’s a data point about that…

Dr. Richard Friedman, Who Debunked Homosexuality Myth, Dies at 79

In an important book, he challenged the widely held Freudian notion that same-sex attraction was curable, finding it instead rooted in biology.

We have been telling them this since Stonewall…those of us not so badly damaged we desperately sought out a cure for something that needed no cure. But science has been telling them this same something about us for decades now, that they’ve never wanted to hear: That human sexuality, let alone reality, doesn’t not care what their religious and moral dogmas say. It is what it is. And what it is, is older than the fish, let alone the mammals, let alone the primates, let alone us. We bear within us every waking moment of our day the living history of hundreds of millions of years of life on earth. And those ancient tides will pull and tug on his whether or not they make sense to the lives we live now. We can be our best, only when we honestly try to understand how those threads move within us. Only then can we learn how to honorably live with them.

His 1988 book, “Male Homosexuality: A Contemporary Psychoanalytic Perspective,” showed that sexual orientation was largely biological and presented a case that helped undermine the belief held by most Freudian analysts at the time that homosexuality was a pathology that could somehow be cured.

When the bird and the bird book disagree, believe the bird. We are not that different from our heterosexual neighbors. We can make our contribution to civilization. But we have to be allowed wholeness. Damaged humans, do damaged things. To themselves. To each other. 

There is nothing wrong with us. There was never anything wrong with us. Science has been telling them that for decades now, and that is one reason why science, reason and education became the number one enemies in their scorched earth culture wars. We were just the convenient scapegoats of men who hate existence, and beauty, and the awe and wonder of love and desire, and everything fine and noble a human can be, that they cannot. 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on It’s In The Wiring

April 25th, 2020

Not Cancelled. Posponed.

The Advocate informs me this morning, that the parade that started it all has been canceled due to this year’s plague…

New York City Joins List of Canceled Prides

Pride organizers and the city government came to the decision together, according to a Heritage of Pride press release. Mayor Bill de Blasio has canceled all in-person gatherings in New York City through June due to the pandemic, which has hit his city particularly hard.

It is the first time since the Stonewall Riots that the parade has been cancelled. But this time there was no other way. I’m sure there will be online celebrations. This was always a parade about defiance against the darkness, survival, and love. And we will go on, defying hate, surviving, and loving and taking care of each other, as we did before, while they that say plagues are gods wrath come on us are packing their stadium churches and sharing their viral loads with each other more recklessly than what they accused us of during the AIDS crisis, and drinking bleach.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Not Cancelled. Posponed.

April 18th, 2020

In Which The Abyss Gives Up A Ray Of Sunshine And Hope

Per my previous post…not so afraid now. Concerned yes, but lord have mercy the ray of sunshine I just got was very much appreciated, after so many weeks of worry.

Now I need to send a letter to a friend from long ago. I’ll say more later, maybe, when I get a reply.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on In Which The Abyss Gives Up A Ray Of Sunshine And Hope

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


What I'm Currently Reading...




What I'm Currently Watching...




What I'm Currently Listening To...




Comic Book I've Read Recently...



web
stats

This page and all original content copyright © 2015 by Bruce Garrett. All rights reserved. Send questions, comments and hysterical outbursts to: bruce@brucegarrett.com

This blog is powered by WordPress and is hosted at MomoWeb. Some custom design was done by Winters Web Works. Some embedded content was created with the help of Adobe Photoshop for MacOS and/or The Gimp. I proof with Firefox on either Windows, Linux or MacOS depending on which machine I happen to be running at the time.