Tuesday, March 30, 2010

That's Gay: Ac**kalypse Now

President Obama promised that as soon as he fixed the economy and got the health care bill passed he would get right to work on DADT. Un-huh, I wasn't born yesterday, I'll believe it when I see it. But we all need to laugh more, and this show with Brian Safi is one of my favorite internet shows. Brian always makes me laugh. That's Gay for all of his videos. If you keep watching after this one ends, more That's Gay videos will play.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Help! I like boys! (girls?) (both?!) by Roger

Biki asked me to write a little about my situation in life, my sexuality, and how I got here, mainly to help or guide some of you younger readers and bloggers.   I guess a little explanation is in order.  I am married, to a woman, and have been for nearly 18 years.  I have 3 kids, 2 of them  teenagers, that I am trying to raise to be happy, friendly, well developed adults.  It's hard!   Oh, I am also gay.  There are a lot of gay bloggers living the gay life and going about a typical gay life out there; I'm not one of them.  After you read my story, you may want to carefully consider before going down my road.
I guess everyone has their early memories of seeing others nude, both male and female.  It might be taking a bath with your siblings, or a friend sleeping over and changing together, jumping in the splash pool in the backyard with out a suit, etc.  I remember playing with a girl down the street when I was in 2nd grade and we both decided to take off our clothes and keep on playing whatever we were doing.  Our Moms were both surprised when they came out back to get us!  My brother and I met another pair of brothers in the woods and wanted to compare dicks when I was in 3rd grade.  In 4-6th grades, I would always take a really long shower in the pool changing rooms just watching everybody get changed and getting showers.  I remember getting an erection when I was in the changing room with my friend and my brother one time.  I didn't think a whole lot about it.  I loved to see anyone naked, men, women, boys, girls; it didn't matter.  (I love nudity and I am now a nudist, but that really has no connection to my sexuality)  I don't have a sister, so most of my opportunities for viewing were to see boys, of course.  I always preferred males; they just seemed more interesting, I guess because there are more moving parts.  lol   One exception to this was in 6th grade.  There was a crawl space under one of the 6th grade classrooms that, over the years, people had expanded into a small area where teens went to hookup.  I didn't know this exactly, but I had been all through there and found the areas people had equipped with blankets and candles.  A girl named Stormie approached me and wanted to go under the building together!  Cool!  I was pretty sure this would involve undressing of some sort and it did.    We had our shirts up and our pants down in about 15 seconds and were rubbing everything together.  If I hadn't been so naive and (semi)innocent, I think we would have gone all the way.  I'm not sure either of us really knew what to do, but it was still memorable!  I got some mileage out of telling this to my buddies; that was a lot for a 6th grader in my day.  Did I think I was gay at this point?  I didn't know what that was, but I liked naked girls some and boys a lot.
Moving on to 8th grade, we had moved and I was the new kid at school.  I was making my way as best I could and trying to make friends, but they were all boys.  Where I moved to, kids started showering in gym in 6th grade, and it was your typical open bay, gang showers with all the towel snapping you could stand with kids from 6-8th grade all mixed together.  I secretly loved it and did a lot of ball watching.  I thought I was real clever about it, but probably not.  I had a crush on a boy that I dared not reveal.  He was beautiful, but I could hardly talk around him.  Then it happened; I got a raging boner in the shower and someone noticed!  Was I gay?  I at least knew what that meant now.  I thought my social life would be over after the shower scene, but it did blow over.  In 9th grade, someone called me gay in a group setting.  One of the "A" list socialite girls in my grade jumped right in and defended me to everyone (Roger is not gay!).  I was highly grateful and told her in private.  What did she see in me to do that?  At some point when I was 14 or 15, I thought about committing suicide and had the rifle in my mouth.  I ended up crying over my gun and my parents never found out.  I had been praying my a long time, "God, please don't let me be gay".  We all know this doesn't work; you are how you've been made by God.  I kept on fooling myself even after this.  I didn't date much in HS, but I had dates at the crucial events I attended.  I had some looks and traits that girls wanted to date.  I could just drop a hint in their clique and then shyly ask a giggling girl out.  Did I enjoy these dates?  Yes, but I was nervous as hell, just like anybody (straight or gay) on new date.  I didn't pursue deeper relationships because the social "cover" was enough at the time.  I really wasn't interested in being good friends with a girl.  I looked at girls, talked about them with the guys, admired boobs and butts and, along with everyone else, liked to see Farah Faucet posters.  I remember waking up from a wet dream involving a girl.   Because I didn't have much experience dating, I think I was socially delayed.  The dating level I was at in college was where most people were at in HS.
College was memorable for me and it should be for anyone.  Living away from home for the first time, no one to check your comings and goings, able to do what you want, and meet who you want; what's not to like (there is no one to force you to study either, so have some self-control)?  I went to a public school with a full-time corp of cadets (ROTC).  (See my blog for more details) Many decades ago, it was an all male school and corp, but when I was there, it was coed.  There were gang showers, nudity in the single sex dorms (probably in the mixed ones too), the works, just like the movies.  It was fairly easy for me to not have to date anyone in college but I did date a few girls and did some range of sexual things with them.  I remember having to run and get a condom from a buddy in a big hurry.   Was I gay?  I still lusted after guys but couldn't say anything.  My fantasies involved boys but my dates were with girls.  I jacked off in the showers (a lot) almost hoping to get caught.  Hey, it would have been a conversation starter!  The military can be a very homophobic place (at least back then I thought so).  It can be really hard to admit you are not like anyone else.  Looking back, I was just fooling myself. 
In the military, all I really thought about was what the guys looked like nude, and when I could roam around the barracks.  Deployments with field showers were also a treat.  I was asked in a round-about way if I was gay at one point.  I still wasn't ready to admit it.  I ended up getting married to someone my age and I think both sets of parents were surprised that their son or daughter actually got married.  We probably shouldn't have, but we really were in love.  I have finally admitted to myself that I am gay (some of you may be thinking bi).  I have kind of condensed things down here at the end of my story as I want to get to the main points about liking or maybe lusting after both boys and girls.
In the world of sexuality, there is a range of totally straight to totally gay and everything in between.   It is called the Kinsey scale.  There are very few people who are exclusively straight or exclusively gay or even exactly in the middle.  Most people are somewhere in the middle with a leaning (maybe strongly) to one side or the other.  Despite 90% of my sexual experience being with females, I much prefer sex with males.  That doesn't mean that I don't like seeing good looking women.  Sex can be good with either gender, it just really depends on your frame of mind and what naturally turns you on.  How do you know which you prefer and should you try both to sure?  Even while pursuing sex with girls, I was always thinking about guys.  Who you think about when you masturbate is a good sign of a preference.  Maybe you can remember the person in a wet dream you had.  Given the free availability of any kind and style of Internet porn, what do you choose?  Who do you think about living with long term, maybe for life?  Relationships have many components to them, including emotional and sexual.  "Friends with benefits" can be a great way to experiment with female sex.   I think it is nice to be able to say you have tried both, unless you really have no interest.   I know of a guy who's prom date wanted sex, and he managed it, but only by thinking of another boy!  He is probably way over on the gay side, but not entirely, and that is OK.  I have also heard someone described as "Straight as a Roman road" and he wouldn't even kiss a guy on a dare. I guess the main thing about trying sex with others (male or female) is don't lead anybody on.  If you just want to have sex, make that clear; don't hurt anyone to get an experience.  Being attracted to both sexes can have benefits but can also be confusing.  Am I gay?  Am I straight?  You'll figure it out eventually, but don't lie to yourself about your sexuality.  It can lead to a life of "What ifs" and regrets.
Now it's time for a shameless plug:  My blog is "A Nexus" at nexusdodger.blogspot.com.  I am happy to answer or follow up with any e-mails or comments you have.  If you are a younger guy, I might refer you to some of the other bloggers out there closer to your exact situation.  I can probably tell you a bunch about being married and gay, and there are more bloggers out there like me also.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Suicide Among LGBT Youths By Aek

This is a particularly important health topic to address.  Mental health is too often tabooed by society.  And while I have no intention of (eventually) becoming a psychiatrist, all physicians must be sensitive to mental health issues.  The first time I heard the following it shocked me, but now I repeat it in hopes that it helps someone – perhaps someone who’s reading this or knows someone who could benefit.

To begin, a few statistics.  The Report of the Secretary’s Task Force on Youth Suicide published in 1989 by the US government found:
“A majority of suicide attempts by homosexuals occur during their youth, and gay youth are 2 to 3 times more likely to attempt suicide than other young people.  They may comprise up to 30 percent of completed youth suicides annually.” (Gibson, pg. 110)
Troubling is that I heard this data was suppressed for several years after being initially published in 1989 before it surfaced to light.

Suicide ideation (thoughts of suicide) is estimated at between 50% and 70% for LGBTQ youths with actual suicide attempts ranging from 30-42%.  Some studies further suggest that for LGBTQ youths who’re also racial minorities, the rates of “suicide activity” may be even higher.  Interestingly, some studies further suggest that bisexual and/or questioning youths maybe at higher risk for suicidal behavior than homosexual youths.  There is a lack of data on transgender youths, as much of the data is on transgender people of all ages.  In one survey on TransActiveOnline.org, 45% of transgender youths have seriously thought about suicide.

Now some caveats on such studies.  First, it’s difficult to truly assess who is and isn’t at risk for suicide; thus, suicide risk can be underestimated or overestimated.  Second, non-heterosexuality is often hidden during the adolescent years (read: closet).  Third, co-morbid/covariate factors (variables other than the primary variable that contribute to the outcome of interest) haven’t been well researched.

Study flaws and limitations aside, the numbers remain worrisome.  Being LGBTQ certainly appears to be a risk factor for suicide, but being LGBTQ isn’t causal.  That is to say, the increase in suicide risk among LGBTQ youth isn’t because they’re LGBTQ in and of itself, but because of all the socio-cultural baggage that comes with it all.  So what do we do with this knowledge?  To be honest, I’m not entirely sure as I don’t know enough yet myself.  But awareness is certainly the first step – consider this my PSA for the month.

A well-known hotline for LGBTQ youths concerning suicide and depression is the Trevor Project.  The 24/7 hotline is: 866-4-U-TREVOR (866-488-7386).  They also have on their site some warning signs of suicide here.

Monday, March 15, 2010

In Africa, a step backward on human rights, By Desmond Tutu

Friday, March 12, 2010

Hate has no place in the house of God. No one should be excluded from our love, our compassion or our concern because of race or gender, faith or ethnicity -- or because of their sexual orientation. Nor should anyone be excluded from health care on any of these grounds. In my country of South Africa, we struggled for years against the evil system of apartheid that divided human beings, children of the same God, by racial classification and then denied many of them fundamental human rights. We knew this was wrong. Thankfully, the world supported us in our struggle for freedom and dignity.

It is time to stand up against another wrong.

Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people are part of so many families. They are part of the human family. They are part of God's family. And of course they are part of the African family. But a wave of hate is spreading across my beloved continent. People are again being denied their fundamental rights and freedoms. Men have been falsely charged and imprisoned in Senegal, and health services for these men and their community have suffered. In Malawi, men have been jailed and humiliated for expressing their partnerships with other men. Just this month, mobs in Mtwapa Township, Kenya, attacked men they suspected of being gay. Kenyan religious leaders, I am ashamed to say, threatened an HIV clinic there for providing counseling services to all members of that community, because the clerics wanted gay men excluded.

Uganda's parliament is debating legislation that would make homosexuality punishable by life imprisonment, and more discriminatory legislation has been debated in Rwanda and Burundi.

These are terrible backward steps for human rights in Africa.

Our lesbian and gay brothers and sisters across Africa are living in fear.

And they are living in hiding -- away from care, away from the protection the state should offer to every citizen and away from health care in the AIDS era, when all of us, especially Africans, need access to essential HIV services. That this pandering to intolerance is being done by politicians looking for scapegoats for their failures is not surprising. But it is a great wrong. An even larger offense is that it is being done in the name of God. Show me where Christ said "Love thy fellow man, except for the gay ones." Gay people, too, are made in my God's image. I would never worship a homophobic God.

"But they are sinners," I can hear the preachers and politicians say. "They are choosing a life of sin for which they must be punished." My scientist and medical friends have shared with me a reality that so many gay people have confirmed, I now know it in my heart to be true. No one chooses to be gay. Sexual orientation, like skin color, is another feature of our diversity as a human family. Isn't it amazing that we are all made in God's image, and yet there is so much diversity among his people? Does God love his dark- or his light-skinned children less? The brave more than the timid? And does any of us know the mind of God so well that we can decide for him who is included, and who is excluded, from the circle of his love?

The wave of hate must stop. Politicians who profit from exploiting this hate, from fanning it, must not be tempted by this easy way to profit from fear and misunderstanding. And my fellow clerics, of all faiths, must stand up for the principles of universal dignity and fellowship. Exclusion is never the way forward on our shared paths to freedom and justice.

The writer is archbishop emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Bilerico Project and the US Census

Today's post is about a website that I love, and I think you might just fall in love with it too.  The Bilerico Project  tag line is daily experiments in LGBTQ.  Every day there is something new to read, running from personal posts to LGBTQ news.  Today one of the stories is about a high school that cancels prom to keep two female students attending as a couple.  Yes, they canceled prom after ACLU got involved and found out their polices were illegal under the anti-discrimination laws.  Also was a call to contact Nancy Polosi and demand that she move on ENDA.  Also a very good article on why the ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.  This is a link to the first part, the second part posted today, and the third and final part will post on Friday.

While I read most of the articles on Bilerico, my main focus on this site is transgender articles.  To be quite honest, transgender topics are usually not covered in most of the more mainstream sites.  The T is included in the listing, but in my view, only the LGB issues are deemed important in many peoples minds.  And sadly transgenders are the "blondes" of the gay world, we are made fun of and sidelined.  But not on Bilerico Project.  There everyone that falls under the inclusion umbrella, all are welcome, and none are made fun of.

Stop on by and give this wonderful site a read, I don't think you will be disappointed.

Queer the Census is a grassroots effort to tell the federal government that we are here, and we deserve to be counted.  If the federal government is going to spend money to count us, to find out how many are married, if we own guns, have indoor toilets, how much money we make, they shouldn't they count how many LGBT's there are?  And how many of us have partners, or married in the states that allow us to marry?  I signed the petition, and sent for my pink sticker to attach to the back of my census form, telling the feds if we are LGBT or a straight ally.  This site is ran by the national Gay and Lesbian Task Force.  Go, sign the petition, send for you pink sticker, and if you are a Facebook person, add it to your page.  I did, in fact, I added it twice!  Why? I wanted people to understand that to me it was very important!