Thursday, April 30, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
The mormon in me is coming out hardcore today! With all the news about this swine flu, and without any degree of panic, I thought it might be a good time to get a few extra rations of pasta, canned beans, dried beans and grains, juice, nuts, taco seasonings, bullion cubes, albacore, salmon, soup, peanut butter, etc. I know that this situation nationally seems very much under control, but Linda (Don's mom) is here and she had me look frankly up into my cupboard to see if I could last 3 days here in a possible lockdown. The cupboard wasn't exactly BARE, but I figured a few extra things is always a good idea regardless of whether an actual emergency arises. Another useful tidbit: in an emergency where water has been turned off, it is safe to drink the water in the toilet tank! (NOT the bowl where you do your business!!) However, it is not safe to use the tank water if you use those "cleaners" in the tank. They will make the water toxic obviously. If you are grossed out by that notion, you can always clean your tank on a monthly basis just to be secure.
I think some basic food storage is a good idea. I must say, however, that mormon concepts of food storage usually include an extremely unhealthy dose of fear. A lot of mormon food storage spaces also serve as a constant reminder to faithful or semi-faithful LDS everywhere that the end of the world is nigh upon us, and you better be paying your tithing and obeying the prophet's every command or else you will be BURNED CRISPY BITCHES. Get out that second earring, throw away your tank tops, and don't use any crrrrazy fingernail polish OR ELSE. I don't agree with fear tactics, but I guess if you are going to be scared shitless anyway, you might as well have a decent food storage.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
Probably anyone within the reach of my blog has heard about the now infamous Miss California Response to Perez Hilton's question at the recent Miss USA pageant. In case you missed it, here it is:
"As a pastor and a former Miss California, I am often asked to interpret what the Word of God has to say on a particular subject. I am quite confident that God prefers that we human beings stick to speaking for ourselves. And yet there are occasions when God’s Word is used as a weapon, and I feel compelled to speak.
In the past few days, much has been made of the words of Miss California USA, Carrie Prejean. She stated that marriage is between a man and a woman. I write not in response to her opinion, but rather about her comments that followed: that the Bible condones her words. She said, 'It's not about being politically correct, it's about being biblically correct.' While this sentiment is shared by many who seek to condemn gay people and gay marriage, citing pieces of the Bible to further one’s own prejudice fails to meet the Bible on its own terms.
Most people seeking to condemn gay people point to the Book of Leviticus, where we read that men lying with men is an abomination. However, we rarely hear of other verses found in the book of Leviticus that are equally challenging. For example, Leviticus also tells us that eating shrimp and lobster is an abomination. And that a person should not wear material woven of two kinds of material—an impossible mandate for a pageant contestant!
In Paul’s letter to the community in Corinth we read, ‘For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church….’ And yet these words have not prevented Christian denominations from ordaining women, such as myself. Sadly, the Bible has been used to further prejudice throughout history. We have used it to permit ourselves to enslave people; to conquer and kill; and to denigrate the earth.
The truth is that it is difficult to know for sure the intentions of the biblical authors, but we do know something about God. Those of us who know God through Jesus of Nazareth know that he went to great lengths to express God’s love to people who were labeled as outcasts. He spent time with children, prostitutes, and lepers, all of whom were labeled as outside of the grasp of the Holy. As we continue to seek God’s vision for us as a nation grounded in a love for justice, I pray that we might move closer to the cause of grace.”
I must say, this is the essentially the message that one of my favorite documentaries, For the Bible Tells Me So lays out: that the bible doesn't condemn homosexuality any more than it condemns eating shellfish, mixing clothing fabrics, or failing to keep a "kosher kitchen". I think it is utterly ludicrous that there are still people out there touting bible opposition to homosexuality. To me, as accepting as I strive to be of the viewpoints of others, I must admit that this particular viewpoint is one for which I don't have much respect.
As much as these 2 people have again polarized this issue in the media, I think we have to continue to focus on the human rights question at hand. Is it correct to deny full civil rights to a person who wishes to enter into a legal marriage with someone else? No. Its wrong to deny anyone a civil right based on race, creed, or sexuality? Certainly. That's what is important to me. I don't need my marriage to be sanctioned by catholics, mormons, or anyone else who has no wish to celebrate my happiness and my choice in partner. I just want the same rights any other tax paying adult in this country has. And to me, that's not asking too much of anyone.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Since I am in Chicago it is only natural that I would try to find a way to see Oprah. I DVR her show every day, and watch almost every episode. I like a lot of things about her show, but what I think I like the most is that she has created a place where people know that they should tell the truth. Celebrities cry on Oprah who have possibly never cried in public before.. people come forward and tell their sometimes brutally painful stories on national TV. I think that's pretty amazing.
SO. Things became really easy when I noticed on our bulletin board at work that our company manager had managed to get us passes to see Oprah- we just had to pick the day. So, Tia, the rest of the "el cuartel" and I all signed up. We are all huge fans, but especially my friend Kiara, so it was a date we were all looking forward to.
My alarm went off at 7 am. In actor-ese, that's basically like 3 am. But we all got there and waited in a long line outside Harpo studios, which is just west of the loop on Washington street. Shortly, a gorgeous woman of color with a clipboard came out and called our party and took us in ahead of a lot of people.... haaaaaaaay, special treatment! After that we all had to fill out a blue release form, and then did some more waiting in a holding room. Slowly, party by party, we were taken into the studio: where all the magic happens. Because we had all dressed in bright colors as instructed, we were placed in the second and third rows right smack dab in the middle. Then we waited some more, had an Oprah staff member "warm up" the audience, and then--- SHE CAME OUT.
To say that upon seeing Oprah I sincerely felt I was seeing a unicorn in the forest is a huge understatement. I am honestly NEVER someone who is star struck or at a loss for words. But Oprah is a total unicorn, and I knew I was in the presence of something great. Here's the thing. She looked pretty tired. She was wearing a tight dark wash denim pants obviously tailor made for her-- no pockets whatsoever, and a flowy sea foam green top and these FIERCE metallic heels. She sort of walked out from backstage very slowly like she had just dragged herself to the set. One of the first things she said verified this-- "I love doing this show y'all, but I am TIRED. I can't wait till we are done filming for the season!"
After she filmed the first segment for the show, which was entitled "Heroes in Hard Times", she started to warm up more and more. During the commercial breaks she started telling these amazing stories to the live audience. She told us about her very first car, which was a Chevette, and how much she loved that car. She said that years later while she was driving around in her Mercedes, she happened to see her old Chevette out on the road, and she got very excited about it and yelled to the guy who was driving it, "Hey! I love that car". He looked at her Mercedes and assumed she was mocking him and his Chevette, so he flipped her off! And Oprah flipped US off while telling the story. Amazing.
The show was really touching-- it was about people who, in spite of the economic downturn had found a way to give of themselves and help people. It was really amazing to see these stories. After the show finished filming, Oprah took some questions from the audience: just discussing what we could do to help, and what inspired us from the people who were highlighted during the show. I (of course) made a comment about how it seemed to me that most of these very giving people had taken inspiration from a something simple and prosaic. I said that it seemed like we don't need an earth-shattering moment to do good, we just need to be in the mindset to HELP, and then inspiration will come. Oprah agreed with me and said that she thought we all could look for those moments. I then said, I just find these people so beautiful, and she then said "beautiful" as she tends to repeat the last word of someone else's sentence as a way of agreeing with them. It was AMAZING!!!
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Well, Californians Against Hate is fighting back with an online ad campaign. Here it is.
Is it just me, but its the cadence of the poem off, like, A LOT? Well in any case, lets hope that the church is able to find a place in the world without trying to stop gay people from getting married. I hope that the general authorities and the members alike all learn from this experience. Stifling a minority group never really helps anyone out in the long run. You'd think they would know that. But I guess they forgot. If you want to see some of the letters from the generals that link them to anti-gay efforts, check out www.mormongate.com
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
"You're at home with your wife and children watching some television to end a wholesome fun-filled night of Family Home Evening when suddenly homosexuals are on the screen. What's that you hear? Homosexuals getting married? That's right. It's the nagging in your mind that causes you to question your love for your wife. What's worse, turning your head slowly toward little Molly and Peter you see your worst fears suddenly manifest themselves in your own home. Your children have probably just both turned gay.
The Storm isn't just coming, it has arrived. It's like a flood in the living room and the whole family is being washed away by the wiles of Satan and his dark army of homos. Peter begins playing with Molly's toys. Molly has decided she's a vegetarian. Your wife leaves the house a mess as she goes to back to college. And you? You're sucking dicks behind the local gay bar "The Cockpit" for meth.
This could happen to YOU. Stop gay marriage NOW before the fags get you too!!!"
ZANE YOU ARE MY HERO
Thursday, April 9, 2009
But right-wing groups are mounting a campaign to reverse the decision in Iowa with a constitutional marriage ban – just like California's Proposition 8. They have even launched a national TV ad, full of outrageous falsehoods, in the wake of these landmark victories:
The BEST part of all of this is that the AUDITION TAPES WERE LEAKED! It just utterly brilliant to watch these. For real. Get that sincere line reading honey! Get that national commercial and book that gig!!!!
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
I really love that this man, who is in a position of leadership, is able to think about and care about a group of people that he doesn't himself belong to. I also wholeheartedly believe that this idea of tolerance and love, and recognizing as valid the way that others innately love will only expand the love of all those involved in that transaction. As this Senator said.. he hugged his wife and it meant something more.. his love had been expanded, and because of it, his attachments became more meaningful and powerful. I've always said that all those parents who refuse to let their gay children come home, or bring their partners home would be SHOCKED by the overwhelming love they would feel if they would just say "YES". Please come home. We love you. We will love your partner. I think they would be extremely surprised by what a change would take place inside of their bodies. Instead of upholding a principle, they would be showing LOVE to another being of light. My philosophy has always been people over principles. Furthermore, love always expands the soul of he or she who bears it. Its a universal law. Other ways of treating people are more risky.
In any case, Meredith Willson had it right when he wrote: "You really ought to give Iowa a try!"
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Yes, this is going to be one of those posts.
In 1998 when I returned home from my LDS mission to Mexico, I felt such a powerful sense of strength and accomplishment. After all, so many of the gay men I met before my mission told me I would never be able to survive the 2 year commitment of being a mormon missionary. Ever the rebel, I knew I could prove them wrong, and I did. As I knelt down by my bedside the first night back in the USA, I felt inspired to close my time as a missionary with a final missionary prayer. This was a powerful experience for me-- and though I knew I had not "overcome" my attractions toward men, certainly I had proved that I could control them easily and gracefully. I assumed that being home would be the same, that I would continue being able to control everything about my sexuality, and funnel it into "appropriate" channels. Woah was I in for a shock.
Shortly after I closed my prayer, I felt a rush of homo sexual desire. I felt overwhelmed with wanting a boyfriend, a husband, a man I was in love with to share not only sex, but EVERYTHING. This was extremely confusing considering I had just breathed out a prayer of gratitude for the experience of my mission, and all that it had taught me about myself. Suddenly I felt that I didn't know myself at all. Why were these feelings back with such a vengeance? I thought I had learned to control them! Equally disconcerting was the idea now that as a returned missionary, I would have to start courting women, and eventually marry one. Being a self declared full blown 6 on the Kinsey scale, this was even more daunting than having to avoid boys. How could I do that to a girl? How could I do that to myself? And so I mummified myself. I made an extremely logical decision that I would stick to quite faithfully over the next 7-8 years. I decided that I would date whoever I wanted to date, regardless of gender. If I liked a boy, I would date a boy. If I liked a girl, I would date a girl. I would be as honest as possible about this, (even at BYU) and I would obey the law of chastity 100%. In truth, it was the only way I could fall asleep that first night home from my mission: I had a game plan that I could sustain.
My game plan did get me through BYU quite well. I hardly dated any girls, but that's because I am a 6. I felt like asking out one girl, and we had a brief courtship, but she was even more closed off than I was at the time because of her own personal issues. I did date several boys, and I was just an absolute boundary whore. I would NEVER let my hormones get the best of me. I worked really hard to stay as morally clean as any other BYU student was asked to-- albeit with guys instead of girls. I would totally make out with guys I was dating, but I'd never let clothes come off. It was a dirty job, but my survival demanded it. I didn't want to be living a double life, and even though BYU would kick me out for even dating guys, I figured that God would understand that I was keeping the law of chastity-- I wasn't having sexual relations. Most of my close friends just thought I was crazy and deranged. They didn't understand how I could let myself feel okay about kissing boys. Kissing boys was a sin like unto murder! Or at least drinking coffee.
I moved to New York in 2002 and was TERRIFIED of what would happen to my soul. I really re-wrapped my mummy cloths to make sure the ship of my virtue would not be dragged asunder by the gorgeous and sexually liberated waves of men of Gotham city. But that's exactly what started to happen. After college I slipped into this terribly damaging cycle of behavior. I would hook up with some guy (mind you I still would not do anything too serious, ie no oral or beyond- but I would let the clothes come off now-- standards slipping!!!), go into a stupor of guilt, seriously try to repent, and then rinse and repeat the cycle within 3 months. This went on for almost 2 years before I was able to clearly identify the pattern.
I remember one experience in particular-- I was in Florida doing a National tour and I met a guy at this karaoke bar we went to as a cast. He was a little older than me, stable, extremely attractive, and very interested in me. As if in a trance, I somehow found myself alone with him at his beautiful house, sitting in his hot tub with an expectant boner. Afterwards, I remember being so unresponsive and guilt-ridden that this poor guy thought something was seriously wrong with me. I almost always had that response internally, but I think that this was the first time I actually let anyone see me like that. He was SOOO sweet to me and so tender and affectionate that it made my despondency worse. To have someone treating with the love and compassion that I could not give to myself just broke me down. But I still wasn't ready to break that self destructive pattern. So like clockwork 3 months later.. rinse and repeat.
A couple of years after that I was finally able to identify the pattern and recognize the truth: my emotional and sexual needs were not being met by the choices I was making in my life. I was 28 at the time, almost 29 actually, and I had to recognize the sad fact that I was not allowing myself to fall in love with anyone, be truly intimate with anyone, and for what?? Was I happy? No. Was I actually even keeping the law of chastity anyway? No. Is it possible that I was truly building some imaginary reward for myself in heaven by living this way?? REALLY? I had been in therapy already for a total of about 5 years! Still no "improvement" in my condition. I knew in my heart it was time to stop living this way. I was a mess. I was living in utter emotional and spiritual chaos. I was holding on to an idea of righteousness that I could not sustain happily. I was choosing to see myself as broken and inadequate. There had to be another way.
There is. I found it.
What surprised me most about finally allowing myself to be in a fully committed adult relationship with Constantine was that I did not lose "the Spirit". That was my biggest fear besides having the earth open up and swallow me. In fact I discovered that I could have that inner peace and beauty more frequently because I was not constantly in crisis. I also discovered that I could cultivate a real inner life after choosing to live a life that I could sustain from day to day. And with that, I finally was in a place to be able to help myself, and others. I did experience a lot of authentic guilt during my sexual experiences, but I finally realized that the guilt was because I was being dishonest, living in darkness, and behaving in ways that I vowed I would not. Since liberation from these deceitful behaviors and these negative self fulfilling prophesies, I have no guilt whatsoever about my sex life. It is spiritually, emotionally, and sexually fulfilling.
When I think about relationships, activities, hobbies, or just about anything we do in life- I think we need to choose things that are fulfilling enough that we can sustain them long term. If we get into friendships or relationships where we give give give and get no joy or fulfillment in return, then that relationship will eventually shatter. If we commit to do something that makes us resentful, and does not generate fulfillment and joy then we will eventually either quit and let people down, or worse we will stay and become a hollow shell of a human being: a person living without joy and driven by fear of failure. Love and relationships, especially our romantic relationships should generate joy. They should give us so much that day after day, through compromise, hardship and strife even, we want to keep going. We can keep doing what we promise to do, because we only promise to do things that generate authentic happiness for us. When someone else tells us that we must promise and commit to things that don't generate that joy and fulfillment within us, then we pay a heavy toll over time. I had to finally admit that though I loved the church, being a semi-chaste single person with no opportunity for fulfilling sex, connection, or authenticity was just not a sustainable lifestyle for me. I kept living on non-renewable energy.. and eventually it ran out. So I looked up at the sun and said.. I need to learn to plug into my joy-- a renewable energy source: one that fills me up almost every day.
The tricky thing about life is this: That joy-- that renewable source of love may be exactly the same for all of us. We are the only experts on what we can sustain, and what we cannot. But love is love, and when someone is plugged into it, its pretty easy to see. Conversely, its pretty easy to tell when someone is living in a way that is generating little joy. There's no formula that everyone can follow except maybe this: you have to listen to yourself and believe yourself over anyone else regarding what you need in your life. But that's tricky too, because when you listen to YOU and only YOU, then YOU are solely responsible if you make a mistake.
But then again, is that such a bad thing? I think its the best thing actually. Because that mistake is YOURS. You have no one to blame, and you have the power to try something else tomorrow. And that power is what helps us to discover in what soil our unique seeds of love will flourish for life.
Monday, April 6, 2009
I saw you, you saw me. We were there for that so-called spiritual
guidance by the higher powers
but it doesn't matter that I pray or fast or what I do, my desires for
another man remain and I can't help
but think there is some reason that God wanted me to see you tonight. I
was the one in the white shirt
and tie. You had the other white shirt and tie on. Tell me what row I
was sitting in so I know it is you.
* Location: Conference * it's NOT ok to contact this poster with
services or other commercial interests
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Friday, April 3, 2009
BIG NEWS today in America's heartland. Rather than recap this whole story let me direct you to one of my favorite gay news blogs: click here
This marks the 4th state in the US where gay marriage is now legal. According to reports I've read, gay couples will be able to legally MARRY in Iowa within 21 days. Out of state couples will be allowed to marry in Iowa, though most states will not recognize it, some do and others will certainly follow. Its also significant that Iowa is not seen as a "liberal" state, or a state on one of the coasts. This is America's heartland were talking about. Apparently the first time this could be challenged is in 2012, and at this moment it seems legislators are opposed to raising a challenge to this ruling. The ruling overturns a 1998 ruling in Iowa which defined marriage as only between a man and a woman.
Iowa gays, GET IT!!