Friday, 26 December 2014

2014: Quite a Gay Ol' Year

Well it was quite a year.

"Coming out" of a closet in 2014 was no big deal anymore, which in itself is a Big Thing.  Athletes, rock stars, actors, politicians.. it doesn't matter anymore.  We're lucky, we're special.. and if you don't want to respect that, it's your own damn problem.

We focused our microscopes on issues of race, religion, and sexuality like we never have before -- laser focus on single cases, the world around -- and that meant we had elevated ourselves.

If one single horror caused billions of people to take notice, then just maybe we'd done something right, at least in our ability to communicate.

And then there was The Interview -- a wacky movie that caught attention not for the gay antics (and there are sooo many of them) but for making a "Supreme Leader" cry, if just in fiction.

There is no doubt that everything has changed, at least in the Western World, with regards to LGBT rights and respect.  But it's going to get better, for that there is little doubt.

Instead of attempting to predict the future, I'd rather look back on what was in 2014:

I was fortunate enough to have visited Broadway for my second time in May.  And for Christmas Eve I watched Rent Live on video, and (like the Hollywood adaptation) I cried (I've yet to see this breakthrough musical in person).  Live performances represent some of the very best talent we have as a people. Enjoy and support live shows, wherever and they are, and however they are presented.
Don't get caught-up in "but I like this" when it comes to music.  Music is like smell + math to our brains, so embrace new songs, performers, and styles. Do not get stuck in a rut.  That's too easy.  Music is magic.
The Interview was a totally hilarious movie. Hope it paves the way to more live-to-internet releases, because many of us have better home theatres than the theatres have theatres.  
Take notice of every moment of hate, bigotry, violence, stupidity, and ignorance on this Earth. Every single one of us makes a big difference in the connected world.  I do.  You do.
It's a new world, there is no doubt of that.  But if we don't participate, we're merely one ant colony instead of what can be the impressive Milky Way travelers out there named "Human".

Friday, 21 February 2014

Date, Couple, or Stay Single ?



When I shot myself out of the closet I gathered some serious steam that led me right into the dating world, and things were, well, ok.  I learned quickly that I was picky and I shouldn't ever imagine what a guy might be like based on a quick online chat and a couple of pics.  It really doesn't work that way, pretty much ever.

But then I got caught-up in some of that crazy human drama and put any real romantic possibilities on hold for... well, a couple of years.  I've lived, I've learned, and I'm back, hopefully not much worse for the wear.

Apparently I had some excess analytical energy at the end of this short but potent work-week so I've applied it to summarizing my options as if they were business choices.  Here's what I've determined. 
 

Date


  • Meet new people, see different faces and new things and places too
  • Economies of scale: momentum builds relatively quickly
  • Usually a disappointing experience, lots of trial-and-error
Conclusion: Possibility for fun, flings, and maybe even a relationship.



Couple


  • Seeking a relationship can carry with it a whiff of desperation
  • Compromise may be more likely
  • Comfort and stability is possible
  • You may end up dating an "open relationship" kind of guy and everything gets confusing
  • Or, you might end up with a broken heart
Conclusion: Having someone adore you and want you home can't be all that bad, could it ?


Stay Single 


  • Anything you want, any time you want
  • You are revered by every Couple guy, but they can't spend any time with you worshiping you
  • Tends to turn into a mostly solitary life as you watch friends get coupled-off, start families, move away, etc
Conclusion: Freedom is great but it becomes increasingly difficult to shift into something else.


It's true in all parts of life, I suppose: freedom isn't free.

Although it may not have been the conscious goal, it seems I've analyzed myself back into dating and out of the solo single life.

Wish me luck, and a hearty "may we all live in interesting times" to all... blessing, or curse.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

The Scourge of Bullying Runs Deep



This is staggering.

A new breakthrough study has found that bullying may have a serious physiological impact on children, altering their DNA and affecting the way they deal with stress in later life.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2251882/Bullying-changes-genes-childrens-DNA-scientists-say.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

Not of interest just for gays, but for anyone wanting to understand the actual process of genetic change, ultimately helping to understand the mechanisms behind evolution.

Perhaps this is what the Mayan calendar predicted.

Gays know bullying.  I don't think it's a stretch to say that most of us were bullied.  I was very masculine but not totally in-line with the straights, and any step "out of line" in a straight crowd can bring instant and frightening repercussions.

"If you like him, go there now."

I overhead this in the Toronto subway last night, while standing with a group of young males.  It was a small, scrappy guy saying this to his "friend" who glanced from an advertising poster of a hot almost naked girl, to a picture of a hot, sexy male model (who was admittedly much more clothed but just as hot).

When he said "go there now" he was pointing at the subway tracks, telling his friend to kill himself if he liked guys.

As I struggle to understand the situation -- and recoil thinking I might have possibly said something equally as stupid at their age -- I wonder if it is somehow much worse that the homophobic friend didn't threaten to kill, but instead told his friend to kill himself if he thought hot males were worth a glance.

As much as this caused emotional turmoil in me -- should I have said something ?  Should I have at least made a face and stared at the hot guy in the poster and nodded in appreciation ?  -- my many years here on Earth have taught me that eventually we must move on from the horrors that human society can conjure.

For those like me who are interested in science, this study is simply mind blowing.  Do random mutations cause evolution ?  Does nature have its own subtle ways of flipping switches and writing code ?  Is it possibly a combination of these and other methods ?  Is Monsanto and their ilk endangering our ecosystem with irresponsible DNA mutations ?

We still don't know, but if this study really does prove that a most horrible behaviour can cause changes in a person's genetic code, then we certainly have the most ideal foundation possible, both from a scientific and a humanistic perspective, to build a model for understanding and growth.

Too bad the views of science and society are often so very, very divergent.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Toronto Mayor Ford: High School Football > Gays

Any time I've asked folks in the Toronto Gay Village for opinions on Mayor Ford, people have been very, very verbal in their disdain for the man that vice.com lovingly calls "the Andy Kaufman of Canadian municipal politics."

The sad fact is, Mayor Ford has historically exhibited a serious "ick" factor for "us kind" of people.

At the same time, he's been spending his spare time hanging with high school football players.

It was, in fact, his love of coaching high school football that led to his downfall.

Yes, the running joke in the classic hit sitcom "Married... With Children."

High school football.

Canadian politics were already a big steaming pile of mess -- our conservative national leader hates big cities, the province of Ontario is flat broke because our transfer payments go to support poorer provinces (like, cough, Quebec), and the City of Toronto has historically been duped into taking-on the costs of managing resources that should actually be the responsibility of the province.

The sad fact is, Mayor Ford's ideas to expand the subway system were totally in-line with the gay community's most important need: getting more of us into the city.  Until someone convinces me that gay dating sites can work, the best method of acknowledging another's possible interest and proceeding to interact in a safe and comfortable environment is to head downtown.  For Toronto gays who want to "get out" that usually means the original Gay Village at Church and Wellesley.

 It's tough enough for straight people to find love.  Reduce the chances of finding a match by 50 to 90 percent or so and you can easily learn to appreciate why gay villages exist in the first place.

While downtown dwellers might feel entitled to the fruits of our Village, the truth is the community is much stronger with better access to our "natural resources."  Better subways into the 'burbs would expand our community by opening up the downtown village(s) to more people.

That means more Church St. eye candy... and more boyfriends and girlfriends for our GLBT teammates.

Go, team, go.  Just remember: adults don't play with high schoolers, unless it's their job.

Mayor Ford, coaching high school football wasn't yours.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

What Price, Gay Paradise

Major combat operations appear, at times, to have ended.

It feels like gays have won planetary liberty, at least at a soul-felt level, across the globe.

At the same time, there are far too many tragedies playing out and in many ways the war is in no way anywhere near over.

Even in the few countries with universal human rights -- including, one would hope, sexual privacy as all Canadians since Prime Minister Trudeau have shared -- battles remain fought, many with horrible endings.

GLBT rights are spreading slowly throughout the world.  Even in faraway, unlikely places like Malawi.

Most often the fights that remain are started by foolish warriors.  GLBT battles are rarely, if ever, these days perpetuated by anyone except hyper-straight-acting juiced-up male goons, conservative politicians, or religious fundamentalists (of any faith).

Folks who are concerned about The Rise of the Gays causing their brethren to suddenly turn are themselves deeply confused.  In our modern times, the internet has provided free and easy access to as much gay information, including pictures, stories, and videos, as can literally be imagined (and beyond).  But this just hasn't caused a massive increase in the gay population.  Dick pics aren't just a dime a dozen, they are pretty much completely free (no links necessary).

As much as the freedom of the internet has benefited the GLBT community, our population hasn't exploded because of it.  This alone proves that efforts against the "promotion" of GLBT rights won't prevent gayness in anyone who isn't already.

Perhaps most sinister are the people who accept that homosexuals exist, but instead of accepting gay folks for who they are inside, would prefer to have gays seal their feelings inside and live a conformist's life in a miserable "traditional" marriage, or in religious-style celibacy.

No links are needed to demonstrate that a pile of religious conservatives have themselves been a part of gay scandals, or worse -- and mostly unrelated -- child molestation.  As always, it's important to note that most child molesters are male, and most are straight, but who knows if being closeted and self-hating doesn't work to make some lash-out in the most horrible ways.

Being totally honest with myself and others has certainly made me a happier person overall, but at the same time I have felt obligated to take-on the battles of our community.  Even in the proverbial land of Freedom, the United States of America, battles are fought every day for respect, safety, and basic civil rights.

There will always be hate in the world.  Humanity is chock full of it.  But at the same time, having an out-of-the-closet gay in your family, group of friends, neighbourhood or at workplaces everywhere encourages everyone to carefully consider their outward expressions of hate towards our community.

"Where are you going, out with your boyfriend ?"  Amazing how something as innocuous as this somehow means something so completely derogatory when hetero guys throw it at each other.

It's time for the other side to bottle-up their feelings, for a change.  We're tired of it.

And we're winning.