Archive for the ‘coming out’ Category

>Influencing people

January 26, 2011

>1.) President Obama

The president gave his State of the Union speech last night, and despite the third grade seating arrangement and the anticipated followup by the divided Republican Tea Party, the message from the president was loud and clear:

We can win the future

He called our current place in time “our Sputnik moment.”

That means we need to quit lollygagging and get to work. China is pulling ahead in education, energy, infrastructure and more. We can catch up and pass them, like we did the Russians after they put Sputnik into space. We must.

He stressed the importance of education.

“We need to teach our kids that it’s not just the winner of the super bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair; that success is not a function of fame or PR, but of hard work and discipline.”

He urged increasing math and science teacher training and urged a redo of the failed and unfunded No Child Left Behind act.

A CBS poll reveals that 91% of those who watched the president approved of the speech.

A CNN poll indicates that prior to the speech 61% of respondents thought that Obama will move the country in the right direction. After the speech that increased to 77%.

You can watch the entire speech, with enhancements (charts, graphs, etc.).

2.) Kathy Bates

Kathy Bates plays an attorney in “Harry’s Law” who is changing careers going from a highly paid patent attorney to a “poor but changing neighborhood” criminal attorney. In this week’s episode, she represented an elderly black woman accused of armed robbery.

In her closing statement she made a great case for a change in attitude about how we care for the poor, including a statement about Health Care Reform.

http://www.hulu.com/embed/t0INia4OQK0ZjFBKGFzRNw/2060/2282/i2262

Watch the entire episode here.

3.) Oprah Winfrey

And Oprah had Gay Day yesterday on her show. 25 years of coming out stories. This was the promo.

Oprah does a great job of influencing public opinion, and her show yesterday confirmed that. One of her guests was an Indian prince who came out on her show years ago, was disowned by his mother, but the event began a change in India and more acceptance for gays in that country.

One of her guests, Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis, came out and wrote a book in 1995. He was a huge influence on my decision to accept who I am, which I did later that year.

I met Greg at the Books-a-Million in Hoover and got his book, Breaking the Surface, signed. I also wrote a letter to him, and had received a postcard back, but the words he wrote in my book planted the idea in my head.

Believe in yourself!

He could probably tell I was a troubled, closeted gay man. I can sometimes recognize that trait in people now. He wrote just enough to get me started, and I am so thankful.

So President Obama, Kathy Bates, and Oprah Winfrey (and Greg Louganis); thank you for the messages that you send. You are making a difference in people’s lives and attitudes and beliefs.

>Coming out

October 11, 2010

>

Coming out as a gay person, or a lesbian, a bisexual, or transgender, is not an event, it’s a process. A series of events, actually, because one must choose whether to share that information again and again and again.

One might be out to friends and not to family. Or out to friends and family and not at work. Or out to friends and family and at work but not at church.

Today is National Coming Out Day. That is a day, according to Wikipedia, for civil awareness for coming out and for discussion of LGBT issues.

It’s also Columbus Day, but that’s a bit controversial since Christopher came over here as what may be called an illegal immigrant and as a result the Native Americans had their land taken away.

So I’ll avoid controversy and write about being gay and coming out.

I came out to a co-worker (an employee of mine actually) 15 years ago on this day, by coincidence. I didn’t know it was National Coming Out Day until the next year. What a relief, to finally be able to say what I had bottled up inside for years. Of course, I knew that this person I told would be OK with it.

But in actuality I had come out a couple of months prior to that when I(figuratively) knelt before God and asked forgiveness for lying to Him and others about my sexuality and for strength as I sought to finally become the person He wanted me to be). That is when the big burden was lifted off my shoulders.

Then I came out again; to my family. At 40 something years of age that was difficult enough. I can’t imagine doing so at 13 or 17 or 20 like kids are doing these days. My hat is off to them and I offer them all the encouragement in the world.

But for some of them, in fact, even for some who do not come out, things are not rosy. Some are harassed. Some are bullied, some think they have have no where to turn, some take their own lives.

Such must have been the case for 19 year old Zach Harrington in Norman Oklahoma, the most recent young gay person to be in the news for taking his own life, reported yesterday.

Yesterday, as vigils were being held, across the country and in Birmingham, to highlight the problem of anti-gay bullying and teen suicide. Read about the Birmingham vigil and view pictures of the speakers here.

So here we are urging people to come out, but with the knowledge that some will put their relationships, their jobs, their lives, in jeopardy.

I admire those brave kids like 16 year old Garrett Hopkins who attends Vestavia Hills High School, where I graduated way back when, who has been a target of bullying at his school, yet bravely attends last night’s candlelight vigil in memory of bullied kids who took their lives and speaks to the media with no apparent reservations.

I’ve been urging kids by telling them “It Gets Better,” and for me it certainly did. Who knows what my life would have been like had I come out at 16 years of age. But at that time in Vestavia there was nothing to come out to. No support groups. No Equality Alabama, no Trevor Project, no cell phones to text my friends, no facebook and no internet and not even a cordless phone where I could get out of the kitchen to talk to someone on the phone. How was I to learn that being gay is OK?

Everyone is in a different situation and each individual must take many factors into account when deciding who to confide in. But as far as confiding in oneself goes, the first very important step, that can, and should, be done by anyone.

Now a word to the parents out there. If you have a child, that child could be gay. “Gay” here means any sexual minority. Go ahead, regardless of the age of your child, and tell yourself, “I will love my son or daughter regardless of who they chose to love or who they are attracted to.”

And let your kids know at a young age that you are accepting of all people and they will feel more comfortable if and when they let you in on the secret they’ve been hiding.

Like most gay people, I knew as a kid that I was somehow different.

Maybe not quite this young, but a couple of years after this picture was taken I knew. I love that shirt by the way, think I could find one in my size? And I realize there’s a little phallic element to the picture with the rocket and all…but I digress.

But even after I went off to college, I still could not admit to myself what I actually knew. Does that make sense? It will to some of you.


I immersed myself in religion, Campus Crusade for Christ to be precise, while submitting to secret urges on the downlow. I was as big a hypocrite as Pastor Eddie Long, I guess. Well, not really. I didn’t preach or speak against homosexuality, I just shared the Four Spiritual Laws.

I only share this information in order to let questioning people of any age know that where ever you are there are steps you can take to gain self confidence and eventually to come out.

And I hope that when you do, it does get better, just as it did for me.

>Coming out. Justin. Ricky.

April 8, 2010

>”Only you will know when the time is right.”

Those were the words heard by Justin as he was contemplating coming out last night on Ugly Betty. Of course, everybody else knew he was gay already, and was accepting, but he had to accept himself.


He was finally convinced that he had nothing to worry about, and that, yes, everything would change, but the change would be for the better.

So he took Austin’s hand and led him to the dance floor.

Watch the entire wedding scene here.

And

Likewise, singer Ricky Martin took the same step last week, realizing the importance to be honest with himself and his kids, a familiar story if I do say so myself.

These two examples, one a fictional character and the other a heartthrob to millions; one a teen in today’s world surrounded by the fashion industry, the other a bit older but having grown up in a culture and time when being gay was not so accepted – both show what all gay people have to go through. Accepting one’s self, admitting that one is different, is no easy task.

People of my generation often speak of how “easy” young people today have it.

But if that were so, why do gay kids, or kids accused of being gay, still kill themselves, a scenario (true) powerfully told in the movie, Prayers for Bobby?

Why do gay youth, or kids perceived to be gay, still get beat up and/or killed?

Why do gay teens, upon telling their parents they are gay, still get kicked out of their homes?

It is never easy. One never knows what the immediate and distant future will bring.

But, one can be assured that accepting the fact that you are gay, or lesbian, or bisexual, or transgender, will give you an immediate sense of relief, and is the first step in developing the confidence you will need to deal with whatever follows.

Enjoy some Ricky.

>Wins and Losses

October 11, 2008

>

You win some, you lose some.
Here’s a win.
October 11 is National Coming Out Day, and is a good day for men and women to evaluate their lives, and if they are gay, to come out, at first to themselves, and later to others.
Coming out is a difficult process for many, but acknowledging one is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender is the first step. Hey, it’s OK. You’re OK.
But don’t think that once you come out, it’s all over. It’s a continuing process. As you meet new people, some may be interested, some may be offended. You may choose not to tell some people because it could cost you, you may choose to write a book and tell the world.
Those are just some thoughts. I am not a counselor or therapist and am not really giving advice. Well, yes I am. My advice is: Feel good about yourself. You are who you are.
Here’s a loss.
Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has refused to issue a proclamation recognizing National Coming Out Day. After her remarks in the vice presidential debate, in which she said “If there’s any kind of suggestion at all from my answer that I would be anything but tolerant of adults in America choosing their partners, choosing relationships that they deem best for themselves, you know, I am tolerant, and I have a very diverse family and group of friends.” So Alaskans Together for Equality asked her to proclaim. But, alas, she refused, even though in October she has issued proclamations for Careers in Construction Week, 10th Annual Christian Heritage Week, Biomedical Technician Week, Alaska Taiwan Friendship Week, World Farm Animals Day, Breastfeeding Awareness Month, and Grand Opening of Rilke Schule Day.
Here’s a win.
The Supreme Court of Connecticut has ruled that same sex marriage is legal. Now there are three states offering full equality in marriage. Which state will be next?
Here’s a loss.
McDonald’s caved in to the anti-gays and will no longer support the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. Well I can live without a Big Mac.
Here’s a win. It’s good to end on a win.
Newsweek has Obama 52 McCain 41 in a national poll as of October 10.

Cheyenne Jackson

April 3, 2008

Now I really want to see Xanadu. Cheyenne stars as the leading man… struggling artist Sonny Malone in the Olivia Newton John remembrance. He’s part Native American and 100% handsome. He spoke about his gayness in The Advocate and his story, of coming out to his family at 19, of getting turned on by Popeye and Brutus bondage at 7, and of being in a loving and understanding relationship for 9 years is nothing but sweet and uplifting.

Of course he went through what we all do, whether we come out at 7 or 19 or 40, but of particular merit is the importance that celebrity or well known role models hold for young gay people. One teenager asked for a picture, and later clutched it as he told his parents he was gay “because it gave him strength.” He even loaned the picture to a friend a couple of weeks later when he coming out.

I might even watch the Tony’s this year…well, if he’s nominated.

At least click on the link and read the first of the article. What he says about Popeye will crack you up.

I probably won’t make it to New York to see Xanadu, but I did see this on Thanksgiving Day and did leave the oven unattended for a few minutes:

Here is Cheyenne’s web site Cheyenne Jackson

My other connection (yeah right, like that was one) to Xanadu is:

In Xanadu did Kubla Kahn
A stately pleasure-dome decree :
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground

With walls and towers were girdled round :
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree ;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfoldingsunny spots of greenery.

The link takes you to the entire poem. I wrote a term paper in high school about Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s drug use and how it influenced his poetry.

Nice pictures (of flowers and such) are due Friday.

>Cheyenne Jackson

April 3, 2008

>Now I really want to see Xanadu. Cheyenne stars as the leading man… struggling artist Sonny Malone in the Olivia Newton John remembrance. He’s part Native American and 100% handsome. He spoke about his gayness in The Advocate and his story, of coming out to his family at 19, of getting turned on by Popeye and Brutus bondage at 7, and of being in a loving and understanding relationship for 9 years is nothing but sweet and uplifting.

Of course he went through what we all do, whether we come out at 7 or 19 or 40, but of particular merit is the importance that celebrity or well known role models hold for young gay people. One teenager asked for a picture, and later clutched it as he told his parents he was gay “because it gave him strength.” He even loaned the picture to a friend a couple of weeks later when he coming out.

I might even watch the Tony’s this year…well, if he’s nominated.

At least click on the link and read the first of the article. What he says about Popeye will crack you up.

I probably won’t make it to New York to see Xanadu, but I did see this on Thanksgiving Day and did leave the oven unattended for a few minutes:

Here is Cheyenne’s web site Cheyenne Jackson

My other connection (yeah right, like that was one) to Xanadu is:

In Xanadu did Kubla Kahn
A stately pleasure-dome decree :
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground

With walls and towers were girdled round :
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree ;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfoldingsunny spots of greenery.

The link takes you to the entire poem. I wrote a term paper in high school about Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s drug use and how it influenced his poetry.

Nice pictures (of flowers and such) are due Friday.