Category Archives: Gay

Shhhh.

So, first an update. I probably am going to have to give up the battle of the smoker. There are just too many of them. Seriously, every time I walk by that laundry mat, there is someone smoking at the front door. In fact, yesterday when I was walking by there was even someone smoking inside the laundry mat. None of the other places in my neighborhood have this problem. I suppose I can win this fight by just going someplace else. It’s just so close…(If you have no idea what I am talking about, read my blog post entitled Taking a stand one pair of undies at a time….)

I’ve been thinking a lot about rights this week. Mostly, why is no one concerned with mine? Maybe it’s because Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed a California gay-marriage bill for the second time this past week. Or, because a co-worker “shhhed” me at work when I was talking about my boyfriend Jeff. But, I’ll get to that in a second.

I admit, I am clearly too sensitive about this. I can’t help it. All my life, I have been a chronic people pleaser. My problem is serious. It really is the battle of my life. I’m winning this battle on small fronts, but, I will probably always struggle with this. For God’s sake (pun intended), I put myself through 6 years of Bible college and denied my sexuality for this reason! I wanted to make my parents happy, my church happy, God happy. And, I thought that if I could make them happy then maybe I would have a chance at being happy. It’s clear that I was wrong. I got the order wrong. I should have been first on that list. Perhaps, I should have been the only one on that list.

Damn. I can really get stuck on an issue, can’t I? My point is this, I spend waaaaaaay too much time worrying about how loud I am on my cell phone, the volume of my TV at night, am I disturbing anyone, etc. etc. etc. etc… It’s the struggle of the people pleaser. I don’t really want to become a selfish, narcissistic prick either. That’s not my goal. But, somewhere there lies a balance. It starts with me taking small stands for myself.

So, back to the work incident. Some background first…flight attendants do lots of talking. Too much, actually. They talk about the passengers. They talk about other flight attendants. They talk about the latest US Weekly. And, mostly, they talk incessantly about themselves. Being the chronic people pleaser that I am, I usually end up listening. And listening. And listening. You get the idea. So, when someone actually asks me anything about me, I jump on the opportunity. Last week my co-worker asked me if I was in a relationship.

Delighted to be asked, I responded, “Yes, I have a boyfriend. His name is Jeff. He’s a food stylist.”

My straight male co-worker said, “Oh, cool, do you live together?”

Amazed at his interest I answered, “Nope. But, he lives nearby…we spend a lot of time at my place of the weekends, though.”

“Shhhhh.” The straight guy said, “Prying ears are listening.”

“Excuse me?”

“Shhhhh.” He points and uses the international sign for me to be quiet.

Now, mind you, at this point in the flight I have already listened to him talk directly in front of passengers about his wife, her job, their arguments, the amount of sleep she usually gets, the amount of sex he usually gets, etc. etc. etc. etc. I was tucked away in the corner of the galley and not talking very loudly about anything racy at all.

So, told him, “Listen, you asked. And, I have every right to talk about my boyfriend Jeff. I have nothing to be ashamed of…”

To which, he turned and walked away. It’s just your typical “straight” male flight attendant arrogance–constantly trying to de-gayify the job. They usually feel that they have a lot to prove, working in a field dominated by women and gay men. They overcompensate.

I’m proud of myself, though. I’ve worked hard at not feeling shame for being gay. Especially, since it is a feeling mostly placed on me by others who are not comfortable with my sexual orientation. It’s interesting to me that he felt no embarrassment in trying to hush me. He just wanted me to feel shame in talking about the most important person in my life. It’s obvious where the real shame here lies.

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Seriously. Who Doesn’t Love Laura Linney?!?!

We’ve all had them. You know…those moments in life when you act out of sheer delusional temporary insanity. It’s kind of become the catch-all excuse for things otherwise unexplainable. How else can you explain the many extreme behaviors of humans. Now, lest you think I am speaking of something serious, like kidnapping or theft or murder, let me explain. This is more serious. Way more.

I’m speaking of the truly bizarre behavior that happens when one spots a celebrity in public.

I’m a serious Laura Linney fan. She rocks my world. There’s just something so adorable and lovable and endearing about her. I want to be her friend. Granted, I realize that many of you may not even know who Laura Linney is. It doesn’t matter. What matters is my love for her. I’m serious.

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I pride myself at work with not overreacting to celebrities. Since I work a lot of flights in and out of California, I see them all the time. I’ve greeted Maria Shriver with a nice calm, “hello.” I’ve served Sofia Coppola and Quentin Tarantino Bloody Mary’s with a nice, very sane smile. Even after a few moments of thinking to myself, “oh my God, oh my God, oh my God,” I helped Juliette Lewis find her seat as she twirled her hair, smacked her gum, and said, “oh…thanks.” But none of that prepared me for seeing Laura Linney in the 2003 San Francisco Gay Pride Parade.

You see, I was enjoying the parade with a few of my flight attendant friends. We were laughing and having a perfectly sane time when it happened. I was talking to a friend when I looked up and saw her. It was as if the heavens parted and blessed my dear star with a perfect ray of sunshine. The angels sang. And… I screamed. Not so much like a little girl, but, more like a stalker screaming “why???” to their obsession for turning them in to the police. Only, I was screaming “Laura!!!!!!!!” Being my gut instinct, the wail came from the deepest part of me. It was the type of scream that you have to sit down after; it just wears you out.

Now, for those of you who have ever been to the parade, you know that there is a lot of commotion. It’s crowded. And, that’s why Laura didn’t hear me. I know that’s true because she would have never ignored me on purpose. That’s not the type of person she is. In reality, once I regained my composure, I knew that no one in their right mind would have responded to the kind of crazed lunatic I appeared to be. So, like any other self-respecting gay man, I wiped off the drool, picked myself up off the ground, and tried to appear “normal” to the stunned people around me.

Although, in remembrance of that splendid moment, I like to believe that as Laura Linney was riding in the back of that convertible, she saw me and knowingly winked at me. It was a special moment for her. And, I know that we will always remember it.

Boys Will Be Boys

In retrospect, living in an all-male dormitory while I was in Bible College was not altogether a bad experience. In fact, as most of you are aware, when you get a group of guys together alone, odd behavior usually erupts. My college days were no different. I would even go a step further…homoerotic behavior usually erupts.

Take your typical male locker room. Although many will deny it, you have to agree that it is a little “gay” to snap another naked man with a towel. I mean…come on. That is just one example of a multitude of flirtatious, gay locker room activities. Wrestling naked. Pinching one another in the privates. Comparing/commenting on penis sizes. I could go on…maybe I will. If you are shocked or appalled, now may be a good time to stop reading, if you can.

I realize that this topic may be a little uncomfortable for some guys. And my theory is that the more a person protests, the more closeted they are. Those that have no problem talking about these activities usually have nothing to hide. They are either totally out and gay, or are straight with no hidden issues. The latter have no problem talking about it because they have nothing to hide. It is what it is…guys messing around. I always get this feeling that those who balk at this subject are hiding something…

I remember several instances in the dorm involving a group guys and entire family-sized containers of lotion. What ensued was a gay man’s dream. A little man on man lotion wrestling. Participants wearing only a greasy pair of underwear. I mean…come on. There also was a group of guys that called themselves the sock posse. They would run throughout the dorm wearing only one strategically placed sock. (wink wink) For some reason, some guys love to show what they have. My first roommate in college spent more time naked than clothed. He slept naked; walked all the way down the hall to the community shower naked; studied naked. I have my theories about what this was about, but, I’ll just save that for myself. 😉

My point is this, I don’t think that all this behavior is actually that strange. I think it is playful and natural to be curious. We spend so much of our lives repressing certain thoughts and actions that we start to think they are wrong. I also really don’t think that checking out another guy’s penis makes a person totally gay. In reality, I don’t think sexuality is that black and white. I really appreciate the Kinsey Scale of Sexuality. It places everyone on a spectrum. One end being totally gay, the other totally straight. Most people fit somewhere in the middle.

So once again, I should thank Ozark Christian College for giving a closeted gay boy a little male on male entertain to help him through an otherwise rough time in his life.

The Long Road to Where I Am–Part 3

I tell you what: I can hold a grudge. And, not just the kind of grudge where you dislike someone, but can still be “friends.” I’m talkin’ ’bout the kind of grudge where it is impossible to even look at the person, much less, talk to them. For example, when I was in high school, I didn’t talk to my “best friend” Danny for over a year because of a fight we had over a piece of gum and a girl. Not my most mature moment, but come on, I was a teenager.

Forgiveness has not really ever been something that came naturally for me. I can hold a grudge for so long that I forget the most important part of a grudge–the why. I just know that I am mad at you, and that’s that. So there it is, just put on your big girl panties and deal with it. I will forget this, but I sure as hell won’t forgive it.

But, as difficult as it is for me to do, I just have to do it. Because as long as you don’t forgive, you hold onto all of that shit. And, my mind is crowded enough as is, so, I can’t afford to be a pack rat. I believe that a good mental spring cleaning begins with forgiveness.

For me, this process starts by not allowing silly situations to escalate to the point where they need forgiveness. My mantra these days really has become: be kind, be generous, be honest…be kind, be generous, be honest… And, I have been using it often. I tend to need a lot of reminders. So, when someone is acting like a real jackass I start chanting the mantra (…to myself, of course. I don’t want to come across as the head case I really am…) And, it really works! Instead of my usual gut reaction of holding a grudge and not talking, I press through and communicate. Nine times out of ten I discover that they are not a real jackass at all. They were just giving their gut reaction to the situation. One out of ten people really are jackasses, which is fine. I just don’t have room for them in my life.

I also have been working on cleaning out the dusty corners of my mental attic. This requires forgiving people that didn’t even know I was holding a grudge–including myself. Doing all of this has freed me up to simply live in the now. It makes it easier to revisit the past when I don’t have all of these pent up negative emotions still attached to everything. I can start to enjoy the humor in it all.

So, this is the last in this series of serious posts. They may not have been the most exciting articles to read, but, I had to write them. If you’re gonna read my blog, you’re gonna get the good, the bad, and the ugly… 😉

The Long Road to Where I Am–Part 2

It’s been over a week since my last post. I have been working way too much. I am finding that these posts in my “The Long Road to Where I Am” series are both difficult and important for me to create. Meaning, they take a lot out of me, but I need to say these things. These “things” have been brewing for a long time and need to be expressed. I appreciate the response that I have received following my first post…keep those comments coming.

I want to clarify a few things, however. The last post dealt a lot with my journey through college. I would like to clarify where I am…now. First, I am no longer trying to de-gayify myself. It’s not possible. And, more importantly–even if it were possible–I have no desire to do that. I would even take it as far as saying that I was wrong for even trying to do that to myself in college. However, I do still believe the whole process of going through that made me stronger and more sure of myself. So, maybe I did need to go through it. Who knows…

Although I still consider my college days a struggle, I no longer consider being gay a sin. In fact, I no longer even think of my actions in those terms–sin vs. not a sin. My morality is not based on the Bible or any particular religious group. It is based on proven human experience. For example, murder is wrong because it has consistently been proven harmful to society (not to mention the individual being murdered). This is just one example. To avoid getting too philosophical, which may be too late at this point, I am going to move on. Which is where I am right now. The whole purpose of writing about my experiences is about moving on. I am mostly choosing to view that time of my life through humor. Because in life you have several choices: you can laugh, you can cry, or you can kick someone. And, right now, I am choosing to laugh.

My mantra has become “be honest, be honest, be honest.” And so, when I reflect on certain things in college, I have to say that I was a flaming queen. Very effeminate. At least that is what I was told my freshman year. And, when I watch the videos, I think I have to agree. You see, I was part of a touring music group called Impact Brass & Singers. We performed multi-media programs that consisted of a mixture of songs, skits, and slides (set to the music). Kind of like “Up With People.” It was during a rehearsal my first year, that one of the directors pulled me aside and said, “Brother, you are doing a good job, but can you tone it down a little. You are being a little too effeminate.” Whaaaaaat? (for the appropriate effect read that with a rising screech, a hand to your chest, a hand on your hip…get the picture??)

I worked really hard from that moment until the moment I began to come out at being masculine. (i.e.-lowering my voice, watching my hand gestures, trying not to purse my lips…) I am happy to say that I no longer edit myself like that. It does make for a much happier me. But, anyway, while we’re on the topic, I would like to discuss this a little further. It is interesting to me that although I hate the f-word, (no…not “fuck”… you dirty birdies. ;-)) there is a reason I was called the f-word a lot in high school. To those misguided homophobes, I was a fag. The interesting part is the denial of this on both sides of the fence. First, there was the my self-denial. Me trying not to be gay, “I can’t be gay,” etc. etc. And, then, there was the denial from my friends and family. Oh, Tyler….he’s just a special, sensitive, creative type…he couldn’t be a homosexual. Oh, but he could…and he is

This all supports my theory that people will believe what they want to believe. Despite all evidence to the contrary. And, you can’t really change that. They have to change it. Just like I had to change my beliefs about being gay. The perfect example of this is my family. When I came out to them, I told myself that it took me 24 years to come to terms with being gay; so, I would have to give them some time as well. And after almost ten years, they are in a much better place with it. I think most importantly, they actually believe it is true, finally.

Although, I am sensitive and creative, that’s not the only reason that I enjoy to watch Lifetime, television for women (and gay men), and I have a special affinity for musical theater…

The Long Road to Where I Am–Part 1

I have purposefully avoided blogging too much about my days at bible college. Or, about the process of my coming out. I know that a lot of people I went to school with read my blog. So, I’ve tried to avoid those subjects in order to make most everyone happy. But, I have to be honest, my college days not only were rife with personal strife; but also, they were rife with some seriously funny shit. Well, at least, it’s funny nowto me…anyway. And, I will get to that funny shit in future posts. I’m sorry to offend anyone. But, I’m writing these blogs more for myself than anyone else. 😉 I’m happy if you enjoy them, but this is therapeutic for me. And, I’ve got to tell ya that I love therapy. Sometimes…anyway.

Therapy for me is all about growth and self-improvement. And, I’ve always been a bit obsessed about self-improvement. I love the “idea” of becoming a “better me.” Despite all of my best intentions, though, I haven’t always been that good at actually seeing certain things through. For example, my bookshelves are full of self-help books. I especially love the “…for Dummies” series. I have “Nutrition for Dummies;” “Bartending for Dummies;” “MySpace for Dummies,” etc. etc. Most of them, as you might suspect, have been only partially read. I have ordered “life-changing” products from numerous infomercials. All of which, either have been thrown away, or are still in a corner waiting for that special day, when I will finally discover with great confidence that they do not solve my issues with working out. I haven’t truly succeeded in most of these attempts at improving myself–except for one. And, I feel like it’s the one that matters the most to me. I, with great effort, have come to terms with myself. Meaning…I love me for who I am.

It was several trips to a therapist during my fourth year of college that changed everything for me. I decided to go to a local pastor who was also a licensed therapist. You see, this was when I still believed that a person could change their sexual orientation. Let me clarify–I never have believed that being gay is a choice. Even while I was trying to change it, I didn’t believe that I chose it. Put the “nature vs. nurture” argument aside. Either way, I did not choose my sexual orientation. But, I used to believe that with enough prayer and counseling, it could be changed. Which is why I went to this particular therapist. I can’t say that I regret going; because, my few sessions with him really were a turning point for me. Obviously, this is not what he intended to do.

I don’t need to rehash my short stint in homosexual recovery. It should suffice to say that I have never felt worse about myself or about those around me than while I was with that therapist. Although, it did take me a little longer to officially come out, that was the last straw. It was after my second session with this pastor that I realized I wanted and needed to love myself. And, in order to do that, I had to be true to all of myself–which included being gay.

It’s also taken me a long time to admit it, but, I don’t regret going to bible college. I did for a long time, though. I’ve always thought that I would have been so much better off at a regular school–not having to “go through” all of that personal turmoil. I now believe that the experience of being a closeted gay man in that environment, although being tumultuous and painful, eventually made me stronger and more sure of myself. And, I should thank Ozark Christian College for that.

Tammy Faye Messner (Bakker) Passes

Tammy Faye Messner (Bakker) passed away on Friday. I remember watching PTL as a kid and simply being enthralled with her. (I did find her husband Jim a little annoying) In many ways, she was the first drag queen that I enjoyed watching. And what gay kid wouldn’t love watching someone who dresses and does their make-up like a drag queen. Not to mention all of the drama and tears, which was always fascinating. When the PTL show was taken off the air and the shit hit the fan (tax evasion and sex scandal) the christian community turned their backs on them.

Tammy Faye was not judgemental, and accepted every person regardless of who they were. She is one of the few christians I have seen publicly reach out to the gay community. I know that many people think of her as a bizarre, over the top, circus act. I see her as love.