Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Pam from Pam's House Blend simply States:
"I’m living a relatively plain jane lesbian existence simply asking for my civil rights while closet cases like Curtis get all sorts of kinks on while railing against openly LGBT citizens. It makes me sick."
Thank you Pam.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Here we go again:
Eyewitness news is reporting:
"Twenty men have been arrested in a sex sting at a Westchester County highway rest stop, including a Catholic priest, a registered sex offender and a local Rotary Club president."
Now just sit back and watch how the gay community, people who are "out" and lead open and honest lives, get their name and community dragged through the dirt because of a few repressed and/or thrill seeking people.
I have no problem with cruising or public sex. I do have a problem with people thinking restroom sex is a trait of the gay male. It's obviously much more of a priestly trait, no?
UPDATE: According to this article by the Journal News
"With the exception of Mead, all of those charged are married, police said. Although most of the illegal activity takes place at night, the crimes occur throughout the day, Lutz said."
Go ahead, come on. I'm dying for it. Just go ahead. Tell me this is something "gay" men do. Again, as my previous post suggests: Gay men don't get caught in bathrooms, "straight" men do!
In the third week of the Big Apple Dodgeball league all teams showed up confident and ready to kick ass. Balls were being thrown harder than ever, teams disputed with refs and cheers and boos were heard louder than ever before. Yup, "the game" has finally begun.
As of last week, my team The Spread Eagles, were tied for third with the OB-GYM's. This week, after our 4-to-2 win against The Splashtastics and The Manhattan Catastrophes, we may still only be in third. Check here for last week's standings. They are updated every Thursday.
Last night, first place team Big Booty Ballers, may have slipped into second place as the Butter Balls reigned terror on them and Barton's Ball Busters . The first official injury of the season occurred last night too with the broken pinky finger of Eyal Feldman. Whatcha gonna do next week, big man? BRING IT!
As is becoming tradition many of the players headed to Gym Sports Bar in Chelsea to share pitchers and pizza while getting into several rowdy games of Flip Cup.
UPDATE: According to the BAD website official standings, The Spread Eagles are in 2nd place. holla.
Mark, the official organizer and hottie Referee for Big Apple Dodgeball
Refs dispute with The Spreads: "NO throwing balls at someone's head!!!"
Post game flip cup madness
Speaking of Josh Sparber, I totally just ripped this video from his blog. I can't decide what's worse this crazy chick who is deathly afraid of pickles or the fact that Maury Povich is exploiting her for ratings and laughs. So not kosher.
If you don't already have Halloween plans for Wednesday night drop by Eastern Bloc for DJ Josh Sparber's weekly party of hipsters, hotties and East Village locals. Cheap drink specials on Jager"monster" shots and witches "brew"skies. The suggested costume code is suicide chic (how East Village) and/or swimwear sexy. I am disregarding the suggested code and going as a Werewolf, also known as, any excuse for me not to wear a shirt. Mawhahahahaha! Happy Halloween!
PS: Don't be a stupid lame-ass and not dress up this year. If you're "too cool" or "not creative" enough to come up with a costume then don't bother showing up, loser.
If you were at Holy Sheet: The Official Gay Rosh Hashanah party then you know how rowdy and silly these parties can get!
Monday, October 29, 2007
An article featured in Southern Voice Online, an Atlanta based online publication for local and national news, discusses dwindling condom usage amongst young gay men. The article states possible factors such as: a change in attitude from HIV/AIDS going from terminal to manageable, the public school taught abstinence only program which excludes gays and lesbians by not having the right to marry, self destructive attitudes deep rooted in gay men/women because by the time we figure ourselves out society/religion has already told gay people they are pieces of shit, and lastly a shared cultural feeling that HIV is inevitable for gay men :
There was once a time, in the not too distant past, when many gay men — older men, teens, even gay porn stars — wouldn’t think about having unprotected sex, particularly with casual sex.
Times have changed. Jay Dempsey runs the P.O.O.L. program for gay men at AID Atlanta, and begins each new group by asking attendees whether condom use is still the sexual norm among local gay men.
“The answer’s always no,” Dempsey said.
The change in gay men’s views toward condoms is often associated with the onset of highly effective anti-AIDS drugs in the mid-’90s, when the perception of the disease transformed from an automatic death sentence to an almost invisible, manageable illness. Experts agree that no longer seeing friends suffer or die from AIDS has affected how gay men approach safer sex, but other factors have changed as well.
The condom-friendly sex education of the ’90s has been replaced wholesale by the Bush administration’s devotion to abstinence-until-marriage, while, simultaneously, marriage has become a legal impossibility for most gay and lesbian Americans. And as gay people fight for rights and acceptance from society at-large, many continue to struggle with self acceptance, tensions with their families and creating healthy intimate relationships.
“If you have this feeling of yourself as not being worthy, perhaps you don’t really care about yourself, you don’t care about your health, and so you might not use a condom,” said Celia Lescano, a researcher at Brown University who studies condom use among young people.
And then there are gay men who believe wearing a condom is futile. “There’s a deep linkage in the minds of some gay people that if you’re gay, you’ll inevitably get HIV,” said Donna Futterman, professor of clinical pediatrics and director of the Adolescent AIDS program at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in New York."
The article goes on stating, that unless we show passion, intensity, and a modern view specific to the young generations in the wear-condoms-to-avoid-AIDS message the concept will not fit them.
"Companies like Coca-Cola launch new advertising campaigns every few years to capture new generations of youth, while the wear-a-condom-to-avoid-AIDS message hasn’t been modified in decades, Children’s Hospital’s Futterman said.
“Unless we give each generation the message with the same kind of passion, intensity and updatedness, [youth] are not going to get it, they’re not going to believe it’s for them,” said Futterman, author of “Lesbian & Gay Youth Care & Counseling.” HIV-prevention strategies must address “the interaction of so many forces” that prevent gay youth from using a condom, including various mental health stressors, Futterman said.
“We can’t isolate one factor [that causes unsafe sex] and so our approaches have to be multi-factoral,” said Futterman, who added that a societal taboo about condoms prevents them from appearing in commercials, movies, music and all other mass media. “If condoms are just in the public health sphere, and not in the real world sphere, why should young people think condoms are for them?” Futterman said."
I've always felt intensity is a key factor in "reinventing" the concept of safe-sex messages. I believe you have to establish a character which fits the roll of any person. It's not about who the character is but more about what the character is going through. The viewer needs to share the same commonality and emotions as the character they are viewing. It has to be something strong enough that causes people to say, "I never want to be in that position," or, "I've been there and I don't want to go there again. I am going to protect myself," "I respect myself. I am going to make choices which reflect that." In my opinion, you're never going to get anyone to listen by being soft on an issue. To me, being soft, is like whispering in a protest. Use the most informative and honest data and hit people below the belt.
Friday, October 26, 2007
The weekend is upon us! What to do? What to do?
Rich King and Co. bring you the every Friday fun, friendly, foxxy and fun hot-packed basement of Snaxx. (Westside Tavern 23rd St. between 8th/9th Ave)
Is the National Day of Action: Come celebrate with a rally against the War in Iraq starting at Noon at 23rd and Broadway.
Ric Sena and the what-used-to-be Crobar, now Mansion, opens their doors to legendary NYC Circuit Extravaganza: Alegria Halloween. Yes, tickets are expensive ($60 at the door) but men will be hot, and dancing will once again, return to gay New York. Dressing up is encouraged. Costume contest, loud music, lewd men. 28th st. between 10th/11th Ave. Doors open at 11PM.
Metrobears New York brings you Score, a bear dance party held at Bar 13. 2 dancefloors 1 roofdeck, all bears. 10 dollar cover, free for Metrobear members. 13th st. at University. 7PM-2Am. DJ Rich King. All proceeds go to God's Love We Deliver.
Have fun. Be safe. Enjoy your weekend.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
I often talk about the idea that activism needs to be "reinvented." Lifelube.org, a gay-politico/events website and blog that focuses on the, "sticky stuff that keeps gay men together," makes mention of the new Chicago based anti-crystal meth organization crystalbreaks.org. This organization features a video campaign that focuses on, what I believe is a, "reinvention" of getting people's attention. Go to crystalbreaks.org, click on "campaign" and view video #1. The video features a type of in-your-face, sneak attack performance that I believe sinks into the skulls of apathetic gay and ignorant gay men. It's definitely worth checking out.
I LOVE the idea of pieing people in the face as a form of activism. What a sweet, sweet form of activism it is, no? And hysterical to boot! In my opinion it's safe form of telling bonehead politicians and celebrities to eat it while making them out to be the clowns they really are. I don't care if the pie-in-the-face causes change or promotes solution, I just love the idea of pieing as a physical and more memorable way of giving the middle finger. Check out this video clip below. Yes, a little dated but still as powerful as ever. Click here for the history of pieing. Click here for information on who, pie-in-the-face victim, Anita Bryant is and what she stood for.
Sometimes to suppress my anger at current politicians and general celebrity idiots I often sit back, close my eyes and salivate at the satisfaction pieing would bring me.
Who would YOU like to pie in the face?
My current #1 choice is a toss up between: Perez Hilton and Chris Hanson from NBC's "To Catch a Predator."
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
from Collegehumor.com, snagged off Andrewsullivan.com
As some of you may or may not know my friends and I specialize in writing Broetry when we're bored at work. We then email our pieces to one another. Broetry is best described as poetry from a frat boy perspective. To read more Broems click here for my official Broetry Post. Do so, they're hilarious! Here are some of my favorite examples of our past work:
It's possibly your only album,
I'm not sure, I didn't check.
Though we never met
I feel like we're bros.
Because I have that poster,
where you are smoking that huge joint.
I bet it was 4:20 when they took
Up in heaven,
Rip a bong hit with Jah for me
(I bet he gets the kindest bud),
And remember to tell Jerry,
"You are missed."
it's like dave once said:
'crash into me'
but, seriously bro, if you bump me again
i will kick your fucking ass
It's important to remember that Lance Bass denied and hid his sexuality until he was forced out of the closet by celebrity blogsites and tabloid newspapers. It was only until then that Mr. Bass suddenly becomes "Out and proud." And, subsequently gets handed the HRC 2006 Visibility Award. Fuck that and fuck him! Save the, "ohh you're sooo brave, such a hero, such a leader," credit for the kid in high school who chooses to come out and not the post-celebrity trying to regain his 15 minutes after being forced out!
Last week, my team The Spread Eagles, tied for first place with the burly and boisterous, Big Booty Bread Ballers. This week, after a 2 to 1 loss to the Ballers and a 2 to 1 win against the David Barton's Ball Busters, the Spread Eagles have landed in third place. Taking the lead is Big Booty Ballers and taking second is The Butter Balls with their 6-0 win. Our team captain, Jason Saft, awarded the The MVP Hanky to, "none other than Stephen Osada (guy in harness) who was a force to be reckoned with last night."
As it was last week the night was incredibly fun, friendly and competitive. Not only does dodgeball offer a healthy alternative to meeting people outside the bar scene it also mixes men and women of all sub-genres of the gay and straight community together under one roof.
Afterward all the teams headed to Gym Sports Bar to celebrate our wins or drown our loses. I got involved in a heavily competitive game of flip cup, a college-esque drinking game, and found myself an hour later stumbling home.
Good games everyone!
The Manhattan Catastrophes
The Butter Balls
Flip Cup with 1 Splashtastic (red) 2 Barton Ballers (maroon) 1 Spread Eagle (black)
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
The inevitable next step of media evolution is upon us as MySpace.com debuts their first official web series. This is the first time the massive social networking site is co-producing a scripted show. "Roommates" is a scripted faux-reality show following the lives of a tightly knit group of post-graduate girls living their lives after college. The series includes 45 webisodes at three minutes each, with a new show debuting every Monday through Friday until December 2.
Despite the fact webisodes and web-media is nothing new per say, this does mark an exciting and interesting time in media history as websites now have the power to become production companies. Working in "the industry" myself this could potentially mean more jobs, new titles, a decrease in production costs and a larger platform to exercise creativity. Young, and often broke, filmmakers no longer have to wait and stand the bureaucratic process of network executives either green-lighting or passing a project, we can do it ourselves and use the power of free social networking sites to market our content the way we want want to do it. This is the new direction of media and it's limitless.
My good friends over at Test Pattern Media have already harnessed this power and created the IFC webseries "Getting Away With Murder," a pulp-comedy series about a Jewish kid living with his mother who moonlights as a hit man. Test Pattern does incredibly cool stuff and is a front runner of this utterly new wave of web-based media. Check them out at the appropriately named, EndofTelevision.com, where their motto is: "We write shit. We shoot shit. We put it on the Internet."
Monday, October 22, 2007
My friend Michael Crawford, author of Bloggernista and The Bilerico Project, included this great Crystal Meth PSA amongst his interview with Jim Pickett, the AIDS advocacy director for AIDS Foundation Chicago. Click here for the interview.
I agree with Pickett and applaud him on the majority of what he says like promoting clear and honest information about drug use and STD rates, a greater focus on mental health, equal rights, and going beyond HIV and meth. However, Picket drops the word "fear-based" several times and I am left to ask what is the meaning of "fear-based?" Pickett goes on to say there should be equal attention focusing on alcohol consumption amongst gay men, which causes more damage in the majority of gay men opposed to the small minority using crystal. However this is where "fear-based" ads come into play. Other than stating the facts how are you going to curb alcohol use in any community? For instance: Everyone knows smoking cigarettes is bad for your health and causes cancer. Yet people still smoke. Nobody says to themselves, as they pull a cigarette out and pops it into their mouth, "this cigarette will kill me." We still smoke even when we pull a cigarette from a pack which states in huge black bold lettering, "Smoking kills." We all know smoking is bad but we do it anyway. There needs to be something stronger, something more striking and devastating other than just presenting the facts if we want people to strongly reconsider their choices.
Punch me in the face or give me the finger, either way I'm the first to admit that many gay men have very thick skulls. I know in my own experience I've told my recreational crystal using friends the facts and dangers associated with the drug, over and over, with compassion, communication and care yet they do it anyway. There- I've presented the facts and allowed them to make their own choices. They still feel as though they can "handle" crystal. And maybe so, but still, we all know the one person, or two or three, that couldn't and before they knew what hit 'em, they're addicted, jobless, or positive. Or all three.
And then what? When they come to us as addicts do we shrug and say, "Well the facts are out there, clearly stated on paper, we told you the information, but you made your own choices, bummer." Sorry, but a little too passive-aggressive for me. Tell me my facts are wrong, tell me I'm not speaking from a statistical standpoint- fine, go ahead. But out of the 5 people I know who have been involved in Crystal, 2 are recreational users or "non addicts," 2 are in recovery and both positive (one sero-converted while in the midst of meth use and the other doesn't know,) and 1 is consistently in and out of recovery. So do we present these facts or is that "fear-basing," Mr. Pickett, because in my mind it's a sign of a potential and often occurring reality.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
...At 4:57AM everything is blurry. I'm listening to Radio Head's “National Anthem” and I'm buzzing on both teeth-grindedness and anxiety. Saturday night turned into an absolute slosh fest and now I find myself, on the rinds of the evening, typing away at my keyboard trying to describe the indescribable I always dream of describing.
I met Scott out at Andrew's house party. Upon my close-to-midnight arrival the party was packed and the apartment, stuffy. There was a easy-mix of both muscle guys and hipsters, a cup in everyone's hand and the presence of light just absent enough. I see Scott, as animated and zestful as ever, arms flailing in the tightly squeezed room. I tap him on the shoulder and we catch up on the day over drinks. He introduces me to the current gaggle of people entranced by his presence until we detach and head over to the window for a smoke. Gregg's there, squeezed into the corner by the usual suspects of furry faces fuzzed into unfamiliar names. We greet, we smoke, we drink. The three-bedroom apartment is packed and my head, mixed with an Indian summer's humidity, begins to sweat. Droplets form, like dew to a blade of grass, upon the skin of my forehead. I remove my hat. Run my hands through my hair. My fingers aggressively wipe my beard, put my hat back on and resume composure for company.
I swivel out of conversation and head to Andrew's bedroom with the hopes of seeing him. I duck into the room and, low and behold,there he is, arm slung over a friend's, chatting away, bright eyed and gleaming. He greets me with a warm hug and I hug him back, adding a few jabs to his rib cage in that I love you so much want to grab-you-touch-you-hurt-you-fuck-you type way. It's a sign of affection and respect more than an intention toward heavy flirting. I'm glad to see him. He's good people and I'm letting him know. We quickly chat, cheers and drink up until I grab another beer roam around and look for Scott.
“We're going to Eastern Bloc,” he states with confirmation and leadership. “Ok,” I shrug and drink what's left of my beer.
Eastern bloc is three avenues and seven streets southeast of the party we were leaving and we used the walk to talk nonsense and smoke cigarettes. Scott's two friends are visiting from LA and I gabbed them up about where I lived and where they lived and the inevitable NY vs. LA conversation which always leads to nothing other than apples vs oranges solution. In any event the journey went quickly and before my second cigarette was out we were flipping our ID's for a bouncer.
Eastern Bloc is as lit as an American version of a real red light district. There's hardly any light, but just enough red bulbs glow so you can see the amount of money your spilling out on to the bar. It's narrow and packed, part of the gropey-get-wasted galore of it all. It's a real elbow and snuggle crowd until you form your own space with the posse you walked in with. I found a corner of the bar and spit dollar for liquid and ended up with a vodka-tonic. I picked the lime off the glass and chucked it onto the floor. Shoved the straw in my mouth and swigged to a survivor's Saturday night.
Scott bought a beer and his LA friends were easing in with vodkas and sodas. We were handsy and drunk and the place was rowdy. The DJ was spinning a mix of bubble-gum pop classics and rock remixes. It was both easy to dance and easy to stand. There was a guy dancing in his underwear who could have easily been a go-go boy as much as a local East Village boy gone wild on a Saturday night. He danced as if he accepted either outcome of the equation and reveled in his sacred moment of performing. The music is loud enough that you have to bend into somebodies ear to understand what they're actually saying, which became difficult as conversations flew from huddled-circle mouth to huddled-circle mouth.
Eastern bloc was supposed to be a last night drink but I was well into my second when Scott told me he was leaving. I hugged him tightly. Thanked him for a wonderful night,which unspoken, translates to a: it's always a pleasure seeing you- I'm glad you're my friend, sentiment and he was on his way.
I finished off my beer while having a conversation with a studly guy about whether his HRC hat was just a hat or an organization he supports. More or less, it turned out to be just a hat, but I enjoyed his warm energy, tightly fit tee shirt and his ability to keep up in conversation. I tipped the last foam-froth of beer into my throat and put the hollow bottle on the bar. I was thinking it was late and my hunch proved correct as the lights flicked on, turning what was once red and dim, to blaring and unforgiving. The man I was having a conversation with and I ducked out on to the sidewalk. The mass of nothing-to-do and nowhere-to-go but still-want-to-party crowd was on the sidewalks blabbering and smoking. I fished my pocket for a cigarette from a pack of Camel Lights I happened to come upon after someone left them at Andrew's party. I plucked one out and socialized for a light. I got one, said some goodbyes, offered my last remaining heart-felt smooches on the cheek and headed east to my apartment.
Friday, October 19, 2007
...Thought I'd start this weekend off with a laugh. Here's a Daily Show Larry Craig piece by the always fantastic, John Stewart. I found this clip on The Bilerico Project by contributing writer Alex Blaze. Have fun!
And one of my favorite daily show episodes:
Oh ok, some Sarah Silverman too
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Recently a contagious strain of get-pregnant hit a group of middle school girls in Portland, Maine and school officials decided to have birth control on supply as a healthy alternative. The article states, "After an outbreak of pregnancies among middle school girls, education officials in this city have decided to allow a school health center to make birth control pills available to girls as young as 11. King Middle School will become the first middle school in Maine to make a full range of contraception available, including birth control pills and patches. Condoms have been available at King's health center since 2000."
In the video link accompanying this article one parent says, "We are not educating our kids. We are avoiding our responsibilities, and that's sad." You know what? He's ab-so-lutely right! Birth control doesn't prevent kids from having sex it just prevents them from having babies. When are people going to wake up and realize this isn't the 1700's anymore and it's actually in fact, 2007? It's just SEX. Talk about it. Communicate openly and honestly with youth about sex, safety, self respect and waiting until they feel they're making the best decision for themselves. Coach the youth on other sexual activities and alternatives outside of intercourse. I agree with having birth control on hand at the school so girls who feel as though they can't talk to their parents can have access to it. But the problem is with the parents and the system, not the girls. As a parent in this day and age it is your responsibility to allow your child the freedom and confidence to approach you with anything. You cannot assume the children will come to you. YOU have to go to them first! The girls affected by this are potential victims of a dishonest, dated system of non-communication and misinformation. Sex and sex communication classes are a necessary component of modern life. Teach, educate, communicate!
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
I was having a conversation with a friend of mine last night and we got to talking about same-sex marriage. First and foremost I am a huge supporter of same-sex Marriage. But what does this mean? Does it mean I support same-sex marriage because it stands for equality? Yes. Does it mean I support same-sex marriage because two consenting adults have the right to do what they want? Yes. Does it mean I support same-sex marriage because it validates the next progression of love and understanding? Yes. Does it mean I support same-sex marriage because it injects moralistic norms within the gay community. NO!
I only support same-sex marriage as an additional option for the lifestyles of gay men and women. There is a fear I have pertaining to my support for same-sex marriage that, if and when we ever get it passed on a national level same-sex marriage may create an "us vs. them" complex amongst members of the gay community. That is to say that those who get married or find relationships are "right" and those who choose to stay single, exercise sexual freedom and/or have multiple sexual partners are "wrong." Same-Sex marriage should only be used as an additional aspect in our freedom to choose and should not be mistaken for the future shaping of gay life. The worst thing that could possibly happen would be for same-sex marriage to pass, people pair off, and those who remain single or even choose to not get married suddenly get served with a backlash of judgment and criticism for not doing what the new cultural moralistic norm demands of them. The statement should be: If you choose to get married, fine. If you choose to not get married, fine. There is no right and wrong regarding gay marriage; it is only an additional option to the lifestyles we already lead. Let's fight for same-sex marriage because it stands alongside equality and our freedom to choose, not because it's the new standard for who we should be and how we should act.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
The other teams are:
Boy Butter's "Butter Balls"
Manhunt's "Manhunt Misfits"
Splash's "The Splashtastics"
David Barton Gym's "Ball Busting Bucks and Beauties"
Gym Bar's "OB-GYMs"
Manhattan Cat Specialists: "The Manhattan Catastrophes"
Afterward, all the teams headed to Gym Sports Bar and proceeded to get loaded. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet and greet the other players and teams. I would have amazing shots of the festivities of both the Dodgeball games and Gym Bar, had my camera not get STOLEN last night. (grumble!) I'll have pics next week.
Monday, October 15, 2007
My good friends over at the Queer Justice League are throwing a big action on Tuesday Oct. 16th at 5:30PM. Here's is the QJL's info (you can also click on the flier to the left):
"On Tuesday, October 16th at 5:30 pm, there will be a large community-wide picket on the sidewalk outside the Caliente Cab Company Mexican Cafe (located at the corner of Seventh Avenue and Bleecker Street). The restaurant ejected a lesbian patron.
A federally funded study being lead by Chicago area researchers are using 1,000 biological brothers who both identify as gay in hopes to discover the origin of homosexuality and whether or not sexuality is determined by genetic make up. Click here to read the article. It's quite interesting.
It looks as though Producer/Director Gus Van Sant has a new project up his sleeve. If one fishes around movie sites long enough you'll find that there is an untitled Harvey Milk film in the pre-production works. Gus Van Sant is scheduled to direct with Sean Penn playing the role of Harvey Milk and Matt Damon playing Dan White. I'll update this further when I get more info.
Ramone Johnson, gay lifestyle columnist for About.com and author of the column "What would you like to know about Gay Life" was gay bashed outside of the wildly famous and popular Splash Bar New York. Read Johnson's personal account of what happened here. After being punched in the face and kicked in the stomach Johnson retreated to the bathroom of the club to collect himself until a bouncer had found him and told him to leave. Yup, that's right. Leave. On his way out Johnson spotted one of the managers and pleaded with him not to make him leave. The manager's response: "I don't know anything about that!" and sent him back out onto the very streets where Johnson had been physical assaulted only moments ago.
That's right Splash Bar, continue what it is you do best, doing absolutely nothing for the gay community. I'm glad your establishment proved itself completely uninterested in the protection of your own clientele. You're only interested in our money. Your club sucks, it always has. Fuck you.
Gay men of New York do yourselves a favor and boycott this piece-of-shit establishment.
Friday, October 12, 2007
In honor of National Coming Out Day I thought I'd shed some light on my own experience.
My family consists of five members. My Mother, my Father, My two older sisters and myself. I had come out to all my family members the summer after my freshman year of college and had hoped to come out to my father as well but missed the opportunity on my brief summer vacation from school. I head read somewhere, in some gay publication, that if at all possible, one should refrain from coming out to close friends or family members over the phone. The article stated that by coming out over the phone, one loses the interpersonal eye-to-eye connection that two people share when sitting and communicating with one another, and it many cases coming out over the phone can lead to greater misunderstandings, confusion and frustrations that may not otherwise exist when coming out in person.
I took this article to heart and understood the point it was making. So I waited as did the rest of the knowing members of my family. Christmas break came but I was only home for a week and something about the timing just didn't feel right. Then, another summer break came and I'd be home for 10 full weeks. The perfect opportunity.
The summer after my sophomore year I worked as a pizza delivery boy for a local Italian Restaurant. It was a fantastic summer. The weather was gorgeous. I had a good amount of free time and was making money in between. My friends and I hit several music festivals, raves, Phish concerts and I, being 19, was secure in my sexuality and began venturing out and meeting guys on my own free will. Throughout this time it was always on my mind to check "come out to dad" off of my summer to-do list but I hadn't yet had the right time to do so. I had just kept waiting for the perfect opportunity.
Suburban New Jersey doesn't offer many options in terms of gay nightlife. And, when you live twenty minutes west of Manhattan, the majority of the local suburban gays just head into the city. Despite the fact that I had a beard, looked older and even had a fake ID (which I never really had to use) going to New York City wasn't always the easiest option for me. Thus, I was forced to go online and seek those around me. I often cruised the same sites, BigMuscle.com, BigMuscleBear.com, MuscleBear.com, and the occasional Bear411.com. The computer was my parent's and my excursions online would only occur late at night when I'd come home from work or a friend's and they would already be asleep. Every time I was finished using the computer I had a ritual of making sure to clear the Internet history, delete my cookies and any other folders, pics or movies I had downloaded in an effort to prevent my parents from accidentally stumbling on a picture of two naked hairy men kissing one another. I just didn't think they were ready for that, just yet, and having used this article about coming out in person as a bible to live by, I certainly didn't want my father finding out his only son was gay via a website. So every night I would check, double check and retrace my steps every time I would shut down the computer- or so I thought.
One humid July morning I awoke earlier than usual and sat down at the kitchen table to eat breakfast. I heard my father's footsteps come up from the room which held the computer.
"Morning Dad," I said casually. He seemed despondent, in a daze, and looked passed me as he entered the room.
"Oh...Hi Eric," he mumbled.
"Something the matter, dad?"
"Yeah," He took a deep breath and then blurted out, "Eric, what's with all these Bear sites? What's a bear?"
"Oh shit!" I screamed to myself as my heart jumped through my microwavable Eggo Waffles and to the other side of the kitchen. I forgot to clear out the Internet history! I retraced my steps from the previous night. My friend showed up unexpectedly. She invited me out. We smoked a bowl in her car. I came home. Flicked on HBO and shit, shit, shit, shit! Never cleared out the computer! "Ohhhhh No!" I groaned under my breath.
My father looked down at the ground a sad look in his eyes. "Poor guy," I thought. I got up from the table and walked him over to the kitchen counter. I took a deep breath and looked him in the eye.
"Well Dad, I've been waiting to tell you for awhile now. I'm....gay....and....bears.....are the types of guys I like."
"Yeah, I've known for awhile now Eric. I guess I was just waiting for you to confirm it."
I thought, "awhile? He's known for awhile? How many times must I have forgotten to clear that damn history. Why doesn't it clear itself?!" I side-stepped those thoughts and responded to him.
"Dad, I'm sorry things turned out this way. But I want to let you know I've never been happier. Things are going to be OK." I smiled.
On the verge of tears, something a father never wants his son to see, he said, "I know they will be, Eric." Stunned and taking a pause, he resumed himself, "Well, I've got to get to work."
"Alright Dad, I'll see you later."
And that was it. I had come out. Just like that. My father had found what I tried so hard to protect and keep secret. But in the end these sites and my accidental negligence had been a catalyst to something I continually procrastinated. I respected my father's reaction and his distance from me during the next few days. I waited until he was ready to approach me about it. Which he did. Eventually.
I forgive him and anybody else who needs some time to themselves after I come out to them. Hell, it took me four years to come out to myself and be comfortable with it! It is only fair I allow others to have their own time with it, too.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Dennis De Leon, an HIV+ member of the Latino community speaks out about the HIV/AIDS rate amongst Hispanics/Latinos in New York City. In Metro New York Newspaper De Leon states, "...HIV/AIDS has disproportionately affected Hispanic/Latino communities. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Latinos comprise approximately 14 percent of the U.S. population, and yet the CDC estimates that nearly 20 percent of the 1.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS are Hispanic/Latino."
De Leon blames obvious but overlooked factors like limited access to testing, prevention education and care, cultural and language barries and immigration status as to why the numbers are as high as they are. In fact, 28% of the 94,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in New York are Latino/Hispanic. He goes further urging people to go out and get tested because people who do not know their HIV status are spreading the virus without knowing they're doing so.
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Michael Crawford, author of Bloggernista, took notice of my HIV/AIDS Prevention PSA sometime last week and contacted me to get my point of view on things. I was honored to be recognized and answered Crawford's questions honestly and openly. He also tagged me to a big LGBTQ Blog entitled Bilerico.com of which he is a daily contributor. It feels good to know my efforts were not consumed by a black hole and his recognition only makes me feel as though I've got to keep going. Thank you, Mr. Crawford.
Friday evening Nick was in town from Los Angeles and we caught up over dinner at some Hell's Kitchen joint called HK. There was lots of concrete and lights in the floor and straight lines and lagging service. Nick and I spit the details of our latest life back and forth and traded stories of our days in LA. It was nice to catch up, he's a good friend, it almost covered up the lackluster service and mediocre food. I got the bacon cheeseburger and while the presentation was good the meat didn't hit home. Craving something sweet and wanting to get the hell out of HK we hopped a cab downtown to Billy's Bakery. Billy's is an explosion of yellow and icing. Just smelling the place can give you a cavity. Everything is moist and soft and caked with I-just-gotta-lick-it frosting. Nick got a slice of the Red Velvet cake and I the blueberry cheesecake. Needless to say, five minutes later we were sitting outside, stomach bloated spitting sugar out of our teeth and I dying for a cigarette. We remained there for awhile before Nick was meeting a friend at the Eagle. I escorted him there had a beer and split. The cheesecake had done me in.
Saturday I woke up and grabbed brunch with Eric the roommate and Randee at a new Italian/Mexican fusion restaurant across the street from my apartment. This place serves a brunch like no other. It's not your typical omelet and French toast fare. In fact, New York Time's Magazine says, "What do you get when a Tuscan chef marries a Mexican one? In the case of Matilda, a quirky new Alphabet City restaurant, you get wood-burning-oven-baked focaccia with your guacamole, prosciutto and basil in your quesadilla, and filet mignon alla Fiorentina in your tacos.." The brunch menu alone had so many interesting choices that it became the first time in a long time I had tothink further than eggs or pancakes. Check this place out.
Afterward Eric went home and I Randee and I jumped to Mud Cafe to say hi to Brooklyn and borrow her long board. Soon enough Randee and I were thrashing our way over to the West side where we spend many weekend afternoons. The weather was gorgeous and we took our time heading over and up. We started at 9th st. and 2nd Ave. Headed up 5th to 20th and skated over to 8th where our friend Sasha just moved in. We stopped by, met her parents, wished her luck on unpacking and headed back out to the West Side Highway bike path and down to the Christopher St. Pier. The sun was just hitting that early autumn 4pm peak giving way to a golden-pink sunset and a breeze which made us feel sedate. We went out on the pier skating a few yards in and spotted a fur patch of friends. Frank, Tony, Danny, and Andy greeted us with smiles and made room for us on their sheet. Something about those piers, the weather, Jersey City sparking across the river and probably the feeling of soft green grass under my toes makes me incredibly energetic and I pounced on my friends like a kitten to cat nip. Soon enough we were all rolling around, throwing grass and piggy-backs at each other. We enjoyed ourselves and the particularly odd warm weather until the sun grew tired and Randee and I hungry. The gang split apart, Randee and I jumping on our boards once again and eventually finding dinner of nachos and fajitas with Eyal and Brendan. It was just the perfect cap for a Saturday so filled with warmth.
Sunday started off pretty lazy. I didn't get up until noon and started answering some questions Michael Crawford a contributor from Bilerico.com had asked me after taking an interest in my HIV/AIDS Public Service Announcement. They were questions based primarily on my experiences in the community as a young gay man, what influences motivated me to be outspoken and whether or not I have any answers to solving the HIV-still-matters issue and the generation non-communication gap. I had fun answering his questions. I answered in complete honesty and really reached within myself to find the root causes of why I care. Can it be simply that I just do? It's hard for me to conceptualize the idea that some people don't. I finished half the questions and got ready to head out, after all it is New York Leather Fest. I strapped on a Sam Brown, picked up Randee and we jetted to the West Village to check out the leather fest, not because I'm particularly even into leather, but because I care that events like these continue having the right to exist. Randee and I got there and I introduced her to my posse and other fellow tribesmen. I met up with Alex, one of my fiercest buddies, who was assigned the role of Leather Weekend Photographer and we bought some drinks and enjoyed the leather strapped, snap, crack and whap exhibitions. The crowd was mostly tame, easy going and the street wasn't even packed but it still ended up being fun day in the sun. A new reason to just get together with friends and people once again before the autumn officially begins. Before late, low and behold, the Dugout was packed to the walls with men enjoying themselves. Randee grew tired of being a delicate seashell in the ocean of men and retired to her board and a peaceful night. I ran off with Alex, uptown to the Eagle to finish off another night and another week.