Take Action
Follow Us

 

Share your story with us. Click here for more details.

Wednesday
Feb242010

The Destruction of Self Worth

For years we have heard how the media's portrayal of women has caused an increase in anorexia.  Young girls see pictures in magazines and see actresses on television and believe they are not as pretty as those stars, so they starve themselves and tell themselves they are ugly.  Obviously this is not the entire population of women, but it is a definite segment.

The reason I bring this up is because of a conversation I was having this weekend.  The same way that we as a society destroy the self worth of little girls, we also crush the self worth of those in the gay community.  By the time many gay men and women come out they have had to overcome self-hate that for the most part is generated by societal norms.  Society dictates that homosexuality is wrong.  As a result people sit in the closet obsessing over their sexuality and how it is a bad thing.  Even after they have come out every day they are told they are less than others.  They aren't worthy of getting married, gay men and women are inferior to their straight counterparts, they are unfit parents et cetera.

I am no expert but I have talked to many gay men and women and can speak from my own experience.  In many cases the people I have spoken too tell me that coming out is like a weight being lifted off of their shoulders, and I too shared in that feeling.  What few talk about is the lingering effect of the self-hate that once dominated every fiber of their being.  When I came out it took me years to come to terms fully with my sexuality and be fine with being gay.  In the interim this affected the relationships I could build with a boyfriend.  I was worried about holding hands in public, about showing any affection whatsoever to the one I was in love with when someone was watching.

For some the feelings may linger for years if not forever, and who can really know what impact those feelings of guilt, and hatred have on a person over their lifetime.  Anorexia is a disease that one never fully overcomes, the physical and psychological damage inflicted can last a lifetime much like the self-hatred that many in the LGBT community feel.

What as a society are we doing to our children, to our future?  By criticizing your young men and women we are destroying their self worth, potentially robbing them and us of their greatness.  Abusing them psychologically, creating people who feel that they are less of a human being because they aren’t paper thin or because they love someone of the same sex.  You may think this dramatic, but I care very little.  I have talked to enough people and seen enough relationships fail because of self-hatred to know that this is a big problem not only in the LGBT community but throughout our entire society.

So, I have a message for everyone.  It is fine to be gay.  You are a good person; do not ever let anyone tell you that you are inferior because of who you love or because of how you look.



Monday
Feb152010

A Veteran's Take on DADT

On Friday we received an email from Michael Anthony and want to share it with all of you.  Michael Anthony is the author of MASS CASUALTIES: A Young Medic’s True Story of Death, Deception and Dishonor in Iraq (Adams Media, October 2009). The book is drawn from the personal journals of Anthony during the 1st year he spent serving in Iraq. It is a non-partisan look at some of the escapades that go on behind the scenes in Iraq.

As a point of reference for our readers Anthony is also straight.  His sexuality really does not matter except in this case, especially when you take into account that he is friends with gays in the military.  Shocking we know.  Enjoy...

Don’t ask…ahh…too late.

My name is Michael Anthony,  I am an Iraq war veteran and having spent six years in the Army, at the age of twenty-three, I have spent more than a quarter of my life in service to this country.  I have four older brothers and an older sister, all of whom have been in the military: Air Force, Marines and Army.  My father and both my grandfathers were in the military.

Hailing originally for a small sheltered town just south of Boston Massachusetts, I say this in all earnestness: the only gay people I know have all been in the military.  This is not a joke or some talking point, it’s literal.  Generals, Commanders and Civilians can talk all they want, but the fact of the matter is, the only gay friends I've had have all been in the military, in fact, my only experience of gay people(outside of the military) is when I once watched and episode of the TV show Will and Grace (it was kind of funny).

For the policy known as DADT, there is one thing people often forget.  People forget that the policy doesn’t preclude gay people from entering the military it just precludes them from talking about their homosexuality.  In short, someone can be gay in the military; they just can’t talk about being gay in the military.

If people are already in the military and gay—from my former unit alone I know close to a dozen—what is it that people are afraid will happen with the repeal of DADT?  Are people afraid that the day after DADT is rescinded; gay soldiers are going to walk in wearing a feather boa and buttless fatigues?  The uniform policy will still be in effect so we can cross that option out.  Are people afraid that it’s going to hurt troop morale?   The Military suicide rate is at a thirty year high having consistently risen for the past five years, with eighteen veterans killing themselves everyday (according to the VA) so it seems like it can’t get any worse.

With everything said, there is a negative aspect to repealing DADT.  Having been in the military all my adult years, my peer group is filled with Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans.  Several of these war veterans having done two or three tours, have sworn that they will never go back to Iraq or Afghanistan.  Upon further questioning on how they plan to get out deployment if called, their answer is simple: “don’t ask, don’t tell,” expounding further, they say that if they’re called up, they will simply kiss a member of the same sex—in front of their commander.  So how is repealing DADT going to affect the military?  The answer is simple…my friends who jokingly suggested using DADT as a way to get out of a deployment are now stuck going to Iraq or Afghanistan.

And please don’t even get me started on the escapades that go on overseas.  But hey, what happens in Iraq stays in Iraq…ahh not quite.

On behalf of the Whatisyourgay.com team I would like to thank Michael Anthony for sharing this with us and for his dedicated service to the United States.

 

Related Links:

Mass Casualties

Thursday
Feb112010

Now Entering the Friend Zone. With Benefits? 

I was watching Real World Washington D.C. tonight (yeah that’s right, it is a guilty pleasure) and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was my life, and a conversation I have had a hundred times playing out before my eyes. I happened to be watching it with my mother and explained that I had been on dates just like what we were watching. In case you didn’t watch it (I am sure that is most of you) Mike who is on the show is Bi and met a Gay guy named Eric. While at dinner they began talking about sexuality and how Mike has had a hard time coming to terms with who he is. He has dated a guy for a year but does not yet consider himself gay. I say yet because in the teasers for next week it looks like he breaks the news to his family.

Meanwhile, Eric has been openly gay since he was 19. Later in the episode Mike and Eric discuss where their relationship stands (they have been hanging out for 3 weeks) and what it comes down to is that Mike wants Eric to be his buddy. Eric who clearly has feelings for Mike is visibly disappointed he has just been Friend Zoned, but worse than that Mike wants Eric to stand by him as someone to turn to for help and support.  I call this the Friend Zone with Benefits.

If you have read some of my previous blogs I am all about helping out a guy or girl who is struggling with their sexuality. However, when it comes to situations like this I always find it hard. I have been in this situation countless times. To the point where my parents and brother joke that I should start a service to help guys come out. Just as you are starting to develop strong feelings for someone they Friend Zone you and then on top of it ask you to stick around and help them find their way. That is all well and good but usually this will involve watching them develop relationships with others when you really just want to be the one they are falling in love with.

I may sound bitter but I completely identify with Eric on this one. I have been shot down just as I am developing feelings and then instead of just being able to walk away they play to my caring side and ask me to be their gay friend because “I don’t have any gay friends.” I can’t say no to that, hell I started a whole website dedicated to the gay cause and helping people to accept gays and help gays accept themselves. Perhaps I am too caring or maybe it is just that where I live there are a lot more people in the closet than out. Whatever the case, they all seem to find me and want my help not my love. From now on I hope they all find this site first. I am more than happy to help anyone who has questions find the answers.

I am happy to meet people in person, skype with them, email endlessly back and forth to help them, as long as I know going into it that I will be permanently in the Friend Zone. Lets face it, the person that is helping you out of the closet is rarely going to be the person that you end up in a committed relationship with. They are like your training wheels… once you learn how to balance on your bike you throw them away and ride off down the road as fast as you can.

Now, I know there are a good number of straight people that also read this blog saying, I get Friend Zoned too. But let me ask you this question. When was the last time you got Friend Zoned and then asked to help the person you had feelings for find themselves and someone else to be with?

The Friend Zone sucks, but the Friend Zone with Benefits is the worst place to be. Here is to hoping I can break my current trend and meet someone who doesn’t Friend Zone me. To Eric from The Real World, I am sorry you got put in the Zone.

Monday
Feb082010

Looking for a Gaycation? Skip South Beach

As we move deeper into February many people especially those in the upper northern hemisphere are probably getting ready to jump ship.  Trading in boots and winter jackets for bathingsuits and sunscreen.  We want to know where you are going, but before you book your tickets and hotel you might want to give this a read.

Once a bustling hub for scantily clad men and women, particular of the gay persuasion South Beach has fallen from grace.  In the 80s South Beach was not known for being gay friendly but like so many less attractive areas, the gay’s moved in, setup shop cleaned up the area and made it their own.  Sadly the gay community has become a victim of its own success.

Since the mid 90s real estate prices in South Beach have increased and forced some gays to head northward.  More recently with hate crimes on the rise (75% of all hate crimes in Miami-Dade county take place at Miami Beach) have forced the LGBT community to move up the coast to Fort Lauderdale.

While the prices of real estate rose, gay clubs increasingly needed to bring in more profit, which included courting straight clientele and in many cases closing down gay clubs in favor of straight clubs.  As Miami Beach became a tourism hot spot the very people who made it that way were turned against, being beaten up and verbally assaulted.

The Miami New Times recently reported on this gay migration and while Miami Beach tries to bring the LGBT community back, it seems the hay day has passed.  So, as you plan out your vacations you might want to re-think booking that hotel on South Beach in favor of one on Pompano Beach.

What is your vacation hot spot?

 

Tuesday
Feb022010

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell on the Road to Repeal?

Today in congressional hearings we heard statements from Robert Gates and Admiral Mullen and then senators were allowed to ask some questions.  After watching all 75 minutes of the hearings I can tell you that this is going to be an issue that is taken down party lines.  Without a doubt the majority of the Republicans asking questions or in some cases making statements about this issue are in favor of keeping the discriminatory policy of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in place.  There was however what seemed to be on exception in the form of Maine’s Junior Senator Susan Collins (see clip below) who asked perhaps the best questions of anyone at the hearings.

Meanwhile Senator John McCain stood by his hate speech and waved around a document holding the signatures of over 1,000 former service members who oppose lifting the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy.  McCain simply ended up looking like a petulant child (see clip below), but what can we expect from someone as close-minded as this man who is happy to use members of the LGBT community to defend a country that does not accept them for who they are.

This policy is of particular importance to me as I have had many members of my family serve in the military and have friends serving now.  To the point that some of the senators made in today’s hearings about gay and lesbian soldiers serving openly in foreign militaries I have an interesting inside perspective.  In 2006 while I was studying in London I had the great fortune of meeting and entering a relationship with a man who now serves in the British military as an openly gay man.  From the conversations that we have had it is for the most part a non-issue.  While he sometimes feels a bit lonely because he is the only openly gay man in his unit, his sexuality does not impact how his unit functions in the least.

There was one other moment of today’s hearings that struck me as particularly interesting and enlightening into how some of the Republican’s are approaching this issue.  From listening to Jeff Sessions the junior senator of Alabama it seemed that he was not at all concerned with the number of service members who had been discharged under the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy.  Sessions said that the number of soldiers who have been discharged add up to a fraction of a percent.  Now, call me crazy but at a time when the United States is involved in two wars (as Senator Sessions’ colleagues pointed out numerous times) and now that we are involved in the relief effort in Haiti, wouldn’t we want as many service members as possible?  Even if we are discharging a fraction of a percent of our service members I think losing one capable soldier to this policy is one too many.

Senator Susan Collins

Senator John McCain

Senator Claire McCaskill

 

For an unedited version of the hearings please click here