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Entries in Gay Life (18)

Tuesday
Mar162010

Turning the Rainbow Green

Tomorrow marks St. Patrick’s Day.  A day set aside by many to drink and be merry while wearing green and proclaiming their Irish history.   Boston, a city known for its large Irish community has already held its parade, but something was missing.  Since 1737 Boston has been hosting the oldest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the United States and some believe the world. With the first Parade in Ireland not being held until 1931.

You might be thinking, a parade that has been around this long surely must be easily coordinated.  What could be missing?  What is missing from the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Boston and indeed in many other cities is the voice of the gay community.  In 1995 the highest court in the United States voted that parade coordinators may deny entry of any groups they choose into their event.  There was hope that when the longtime organizer of the Boston parade retired last year that things would be different.  Sadly that was not the case.

It seems odd for a state like Massachusetts, one of the few states in the US to allow gay marriage to block this group of people from a parade.  Even in the Roman Catholic bastion that is Ireland the idea of homosexuality, and gay marriage has steadily been progressing.

In 1981 the European High Court of Human Rights struck down Northern Ireland’s criminalization of homosexual acts between consenting adults.  Six years later the people of Ireland elected the first openly gay person to public office in the form of David Norris.  A year later Norris won his case Norris V. Ireland and the European Court of Human Rights struck down a law that criminalized male-to-male sexual acts.  Today same-sex couples are allowed to marry in Northern Ireland as they are in the United Kingdom, but Ireland remains unmoved in its definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman.  In recent years public opinion polls have shown a greater percent of the population is open to the idea of same-sex marriages. In fact, the group MarriageEquality reports that 62% (as of February 2009) of the population now supports allowing gay couples to marry.

It seems odd then that gay groups are still being denied the chance to participate in St. Patrick’s Day parades.  After all there are many gay people who count themselves as Irish citizens or being of Irish heritage.  Indeed Ireland has enough gay history that author Brian Lacey has written a book about it.  For a holiday that seems to be less and less about the celebration of St. Patrick and more and more about drinking to excess, who really care’s if some of the gay community puts away the rainbow flag for a day and dons their finest green to take part?

Links of Interest:

Terrible Queer Creatures: A History of Homosexuality in Ireland by Brian Lacey

Gay Ireland

St. Patrick's Day

Tuesday
Mar092010

Man on Man Action at the Vatican

The story broke on Friday, which may have been one of the best things to happen to the Catholic Church in a longtime.  You see, not many people watch the news on a Friday.  Luckily, though it was buried in other news stories over the weekend I stumbled upon this gem.  For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, on Friday it was announced that one of the Pope’s ceremonial ushers (or Gentleman of his Holiness) has been having sex with men.  Through a contact in the Vatican Choir, the Gentleman of his Holiness named Angelo Balducci was arranging to have sex with other men.  Balducci is no ordinary usher mind you.  He had the honor of carrying the coffin of Pope John Paul in 2005.

I honestly don’t care if two men are having sex.  As we all know this is a blog about being gay and about gay life.  I do however think it is great that this scandal has landed right on the doorstep of the Catholic Church.  For so long Catholics have preached about the evils of homosexuality (I know, I had to sit through the sermons) yet we are everywhere.  Organized religions make a huge stink about gay’s being members of the clergy but lets face it, there are already gay pastors and priests.  Just as there are gay soldiers protecting freedom, so too are their priests spreading “the good word.” When are religious leaders just going to accept that homosexuality is part of nature and not something that needs to be feared? 

I think it might be time for the Catholics to let Priests marry again.  Yes, you read that correctly I said again.  Until roughly 1022 Priests were allowed to marry if they so chose.  It wasn’t until Pope Benedict VIII came along and decided that Priests should live celibate lives that marriage among the clergy was forbidden.  Not that being married stops men from having sex with each other, but that is another story for another time.

More Details:

Article on the Scandal

Info. on Priets Getting Married



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.