Rick has avoidance issues…

OK so I’ve been avoiding my blog.

It’s not because I dislike it or anything… I don’t.  I just dread writing lately.  I worry that I may start a post and never finish it (because that’s NEVER happened before.  Ha ha.)  I worry that I may write too much and nobody would want to read it.  And I worry that I really have nothing to say, after all.

Well, that’s a lie.  I have plenty to say.  In fact, there have been numerous subjects on which I could have said volumes, including Proposition 8, Obama asking Rick Warren to do the invocation at the Inaguration, the holidays, New Year’s Eve and much, much more.  But as time wore on, those subjects either got old or compounded upon each other, and were relegated to the column of “old news.”  

So I’ve decided to sum up some of those things here, and maybe — just maybe — I can start 2009 with a clean slate and go on from here.  So here we go….

Proposition 8 – Clearly, this was a disappointment, and clearly, the GLBT community spoke up and spoke up loudly.  I was touched and moved by the uprising, but I did not participate in any of the protests.  Why?  Well, I missed the first one in Chicago because I already had plans to see my mom that day.  And the second one (which protested the Cinemark theatre in Evanston for its CEO’s contribution to the Yes on 8 fund) was right after the funeral of a dear friend and I just wasn’t up for it.  But the real reason is because, in my heart of hearts, I just didn’t feel the same.  All this clamoring for the title of “marriage” to be used across the board doesn’t sit well with me.  Yes, I want the same rights for all people, and yes I want that equality whether I’m gay, straight or anything… but I feel like we are so focused on the word “Marriage” that we can’t see any other possibilities.  I’m hoping that something good comes of all this in the future … and the possibility that Prop 8 (and the other props in Florida and Arizona) is overturned is still out there — but until then, I wish we could regroup and really think about what we want… and do it right this time.  

Rick Warren – No sooner than this announcement was made, GLBT people were shouting “FOUL” and “BETRAYED” and calling Obama a traitor, worrying that he would do to us what Clinton did with “Dont’ Ask, Don’t Tell.”  I, however, looked at it as a positive.  Yes, the man is evil and has said some terrible things about our community… but the fact that he is there, among Democrats who believe and want everything he doesn’t… is significant.  I truly think his presence there will not have such a profound effect on anything at all.  It is merely a presence.  It actually speaks louder to his ability to see other views than anything else.  Obama isn’t going to alienate what he believes in because of who he asks to give an invocation.  So I kept silent on the issue– until now.  I know my view is not popular amongst my peers… but that’s just how I feel.  

And now on to more fun things…

The Holidays were a joy.  Christmas Day with the twins was full of laughter and love, and the girls were absolutely adorable.  They’ve reached the age where they can actually laugh and enjoy the holiday… and to see them with their toys was so much fun.  For those of you on Facebook, I have pictures up of them opening their gifts and playing with them, here and here.  

And finally, New Year’s Eve was a great time.  I went to my friend Ricardo’s for dinner, and we all shared our goals for 2009 and what we learned in 2008… it was an emotional and sweet moment when each of us professed our love for each other, as friends and as family.  I’ve said it before – I have some of the most wonderful friends a guy could ask for.  I love them dearly.  Afterwards we proceeded to Sidetrack to ring in the new year — the first time I had been to a bar for New Year’s Eve in many years.  I had a great time, and I think 2009 will be a really wonderful year for all of us.

So that’s about it.  Here we are, the first Monday of 2009.  Everyone is back to work, and life continues on from this point.  I’m grateful to be employed, and thankful to be alive and well.  In this day and age, what more can you ask for?

So to all of you, a happy and healthy new year.  It’ll be DIVINE in 2009! 🙂

Obama talks about gay issues to Advocate

I’m not very shy in my support for Barack Obama.  I’ve discussed on the pages of this blog and on other blogs how I chose to support him for the Democratic nomination, and was (initially) chided and even derided for my choice because of his spotty public support for gay-related issues.

Truth be told, it has been rather hard to pinpoint Obama’s views on some of the more “hot-button” issues.  He hasn’t done interviews with the gay press, save for an appearance on Logo’s Democratic debate; and the mentions he has made have been vague, at best. 

Still, I sensed a truer honesty coming from Obama, rather than the “Rah-Rah, I’m in your corner” tactic used by Hillary Clinton.  To me, her overly vocal support borders on pandering.  It’s almost TOO much.  I certainly appreciate her support, and recognize that she has done good things in her time as a Senator, but really, saying things like “I want to be first U.S. president to march in gay pride parade” just seems a bit forced to me.

Obama, however, has a more honest approach.  While he doesn’t believe that gay marriage is the answer, he supports civil unions.  He supports equality in terms of benefits for partners of gay people.  He supports the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” and gives very good reasons why it should be repealed.  To me, his views and beliefs seem much more realistic and doable than those of his opponent.  As a gay person, I expect the Democratic candidate to represent me, but I also expect him or her to be realistic about what they can do.  A president can have all the great ideas in the world, but the president doesn’t make all the end decisions– despite what Bush may want us to believe.  Obama is thinking about this, and knows what can pass and what can’t.  Rather than make empty promises, he’s giving realistic promises.  I like that.

Obama sat down for an interview with The Advocate recently, where he discusses these issues and many more.  That interview was published today on their website.  If you haven’t read it yet, it’s worth a look. 

Two different weddings, one common perspective

I’ve been to two different weddings in the past month.

One was a traditional wedding: Bride and groom, church, reception, dinner, dancing, etc. etc.

The other was a gay wedding: Groom and groom, non-denominational minister, held outdoors at a museum, reception, dinner, dancing, etc. etc.

Both were decidedly called “weddings.” There were rings and vows. There were promises made to each other and to their families and friends. There was advice from each of the ministers on how to make their love survive in this world.

I attended the gay wedding as a member of the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus. We sang during the ceremony and left afterward. I knew the groom — ok, groom #1– because he used to sing with us. It was held at the Museum of Contemporary Art– a very fancy affair, but with an air of casualness. Both grooms wore modest suits, not tuxes. And the minister was fabulous– a big swath of blonde hair and a bigger personality. The ceremony didn’t mention religion, God or Jesus once. It was purely about love and how true love is a challenge that not only the couple has to face, but all of us. It was completely inspirational and beautiful, without being too over-the-top or in-your-face about anything. Best of all, it was short and sweet. I just wish I got to stay afterward for the big party.

I attended the traditional wedding this past weekend in Michigan. The bride is a co-worker of mine, and I’ve heard so much about her wedding plans (she sat across the hall from me) that I felt like I was co-contributer to her plans. And although it was a far drive for a wedding, I didn’t mind. The ceremony was decidedly more religious, but also short, sweet and to the point. Again the celebrant had words of advice for the couple and his words were quite inspirational. It was a lovely affair overall (though the use of the organ was a little dirge-y for my taste).

The reception, however, was amazing. It was held at a country club, overlooking the grounds in all of their autumnal splendor. The room was beautiful, modestly decorated, and full of people ready to celebrate the big event. And celebrate we did. I actually had fun.

Which brings me to the next point about all of this. When I returned home, I had a chat with someone about my weekend activities and he asked me, “Don’t you feel like you’re being cheated when you go to their weddings?”

I thought about this for a second and said, “No.”

He retorted and said “But… we can’t get married.”

“Yes,” I replied. “I am fully aware of that.” We went back and forth a few times on this, and I then informed him I would be writing a blog post about this soon, so hopefully he’s reading this now.

I am fully aware of the marriage fight being waged on behalf of GLBT people. But that doesn’t stop me from wanting to celebrate with those who choose to marry.

In my eyes, we can celebrate a union any way we wish. If that means getting married in a church– fine, go ahead. Find a church that is open to gay weddings and do it. If that means professing your love in front of family and friends, without a minister or a judge to make it ‘legal,” fine.

How we choose to do it is completely up to us. It would be nice if we could get the same thing as everyone else, but in my eyes, I don’t need the ‘blessing’ of a church or a government seal of approval to celebrate that union.

I realize this goes against popular opinion on both sides of the debate, but that is simply how I feel.

Love is a personal and extremely powerful thing. No certificate; no seal of approval is going to change that feeling.

I do want to state that I believe the fight for marriage equality is worth fighting. But to close ourselves off from the supposed “enemy” (straight couples) in the fight for equality is completely absurd. Straight couples are not the enemy in this war. Refusing to attend a wedding on the simple basis that “because I can’t get married, I can’t celebrate your marriage” is being bull-headed and stupid.

Grow up, people. We’re all in this together. If we can’t be supportive of each other, how can we expect them to be supportive of us?

Naturally, I don’t have anything to lose or gain in this fight at the moment anyway. I don’t have anyone to marry, and I certainly don’t have anyone waiting in the wings.

But if I did, and I found myself ready to commit myself to him for the rest of my life; I would do it… whether or not a church or our government decides it’s legal or “right” to do so. Because in my eyes, it’s right. And as far as I’m concerned, that’s all that matters.

YouTube Homophobia

I love YouTube.  It’s the easiest way to waste a few precious hours of each day– aside from hanging out on various “Men for Men” or personal ad websites. 

But over the course of the last year or so of perusing YouTube’s video clips, I have seen homophobia displayed in the comments area.  At first I just brushed it off as the typical ignorance of small-minded individuals, but lately I’ve noticed a marked increased in this type of behavior, and now it’s getting a bit out of hand.  Take, for example, this clip– titled “Homer Goes Gay” from “The Simpsons.” 

Some of the comments that follow this clip include the following:

”That was the best kiss I’ve had tonight!” (Or was it?)
”Homer what are you thinking?”
”MANLY THOUGHTS!” ROTFLMFAO!!!

*gasp* my spices!
hilariousness (^_^) i love it!

I remember I shouted out a really loud “No way!” when that dude kissed Homer. This is a great episode, I like the Pet Shop Boys’ song they use.

Grady: He’s gay, He’s gay, gay, gay, bye! Gay, gay, gay for pay.
Homer: Tennese Williams? But how did he survive in the world of theater?
Grady: Homer, puh-lese! Anyone who’s acted in, produced or even seen a play is gay.
ROFL! LOL! This is awsome!

But then they are followed by comments such as these:

your fuckin sick u bastard

If a guy kissed me like that…i would knock the shit out of him. But, this is a funny episode, lol. Good old simpsons

Yuck! He just kissed Homer >.<

seein two guys kiss meh w/e works for them but a guy trying on me HELL NO sorry but I’m straight I dont mind gays its just that they shouldnt try to be gay towards me if they just hang around they can act gay all they want

It’s yuck always to see a man kiss a man.

Homophobic? Sorry but i don’t support gays i got a girl so that’s why.

being gay is a choice and noone has the power to say its right or wrong. it would be hard being gay and being constantly judged for your sexuality and its not fair 

shut the fuck up. God says it’s bad so it’s FUCKING BAD. 

i hate that gay guy that kisses Homer
Homer is gay in 2 episodes 

i never seen this episode either b4,>< i just got sick from when that fag kisse homer, GROSSE!!. I wanna see the full episode. i love the simpsons 😀

gggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggg
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy idiots iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii hate gggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggg
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy
ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

it’s funny but i don’t like gays… 

hehe typical simpsons ^^ but I don’t like gays too

There are a TON of comments on this video, and quite a few of them support– and some even defend– the gay content of the video.  But these neanderthal views, if they do nothing else, stand as just another reminder that there are still a good number of people out there with an awful lot of hate in their heads.