Thursday, April 29, 2010

Gay activism

I'm really not much of a political activist.  I do have a very strong sense of where I stand on most political issues; although, I don't generally try to influence others to my political leanings.  If people ask me questions about a political issue then I'll answer them honestly; but, I don't generally bring it up.

That said, on the subject of gay rights, I've added a new gadget on the sidebar to show several gay news and commentary blogs that I follow so as to keep my finger on the pulse of what's going on in the gay community.  I certainly don't always agree with everything said; but, I like to read multiple points of view before forming my own opinion.

What I am sensing is that many in the gay community are increasingly feeling like the democrats are throwing them under the bus - that they gladly accepted their political contributions, but have since been sitting on their hands when it comes to gay issues, like DADT, DOMA, ENDA, and others.

I'm not trying to suggest that republican should be the party of choice for gay folk - there is certainly rampant homophobia among those of conservative leanings.  But, at least, we know where we stand with conservatives - instead of hearing nice words with no action behind them.  The unfortunate truth is, while the democrats may be throwing the gays under the bus, it's often the republicans driving the bus.

This is a bit dated; but, John Aravosis on AmericaBlog has an interesting oped in which he says
"When conservatives are standing up for gays, and Democrats treat us like we are an embarrassment, there's a problem."

"No one wants Sarah Palin to be President. But we're talking about our civil rights. I think a lot of straight Democrats don't get that. They see out and proud gay people, a lot of us have good jobs, nice clothes, get to travel the world (and a lot of us don't, but they don't ever meet them), so they think our civil rights battle is some kind of champagne party to us, as if we're doing it for fun because we really have everything we could ever want. Well, anyone who thinks that didn't grow up gay. They didn't grow up thinking they were a pervert. That they were sick. That they'd never find love, never get married, never have children or a family of their own - because God made them wrong. They didn't grow up thinking they'd have to kill themselves once they hit the age of 30 because they'd be single, and people would 'figure out' that they were gay, and then they'd lose all their friends and family and their job and career. And they knew they couldn't live with that."

"That last point is important. Pick any political issue, any political constituency, and ask yourself how many of those issues, how many of those people, considered killing themselves over their issue. Not a lot, I'm guessing. Now you're starting to understand why gay civil rights advocates, why gay people, care so fervently about their "issue." It's not just an issue for us. It's our lives."

"We're talking about our lives. And when the Republicans increasingly say the right things, like repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell now, and even supporting marriage, and all the Democrats show is political homophobia, gays get the message."
Now, I think asserting gay activism to be a matter of life and death is a bit over the top - but I do think he makes a good point in that gay rights, or lack thereof, generally has a more profound personal effect on it's supporters than other political issues.

I also think that, with a few exceptions, straight folk generally do not have much understanding of what gay rights is all about - which makes it easy for opponents of gay rights to spread so much FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) without having any substance to back up their claims.  I mean, seriously, do people actually believe all of that drivel about homosexuality that gets spouted over podiums and pulpits?  Sadly, the answer is 'yes'.

I don't know what the answers are; but, I will say that Harvey Milk's 'coming out' speech has haunted me ever since I saw the movie Milk
We will not win our rights by staying quietly in our closets... We are coming out to fight the lies, the myths, the distortions. We are coming out to tell the truths about gays, for I am tired of the conspiracy of silence, so I'm going to talk about it. And I want you to talk about it. You must come out. Come out to your parents, your relatives
- Harvey Milk in a 1978 speech
So why am I so afraid to step out of my closet?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I've been such a terrible blogger lately.  And I've got the blogging stats to prove it.  Hits to my blog have dropped dramatically.  If it weren't for people googling about Kris Allen being a Mormon, I probably wouldn't get hardly any hits at all these days.

Speaking of American Idol, they sent one of our Texas boys, Tim Urban, home last week on American Idol.  Can't say I was surprised; although, to be fair, he did improve the last couple of weeks.  I will have to say that he did make some nice eye candy.  I think our last remaining Texas boy, Casey James, will be safe this week; but, I doubt he'll make it to the final three.  Personally, I think it's going to come down to Crystal Bowersox and Michael Lynche - with the former being my personal favorite.

I survived the water heater fiasco.  After the plumber left (taking his cute assistant with him [sigh]), I took a picture of the new hot water heater with my phone and texted it to my wife and children - confirming in their minds that I am, indeed, totally weird.  The new one sits higher due to newer city codes that weren't in effect in 1983 when the old one was installed.  So, I also lost a shelf in the process since it had to be removed.  I think I need to call the plumber back, however, because the hot water pressure seems lower than it was before.  Maybe he'll bring his cute assistant back with him :)

My wife is back home from California where she was visiting with our daughter who just had our 5th grandchild.  I think the hardest part about the water heater incident wasn't the money or the hassle, but was having to deal with everything by myself.

My temporary job at Walmart came to an end last week.  The grand re-opening was last Friday.  They offered a few people permanent jobs; but, nobody has said anything to me.  But, I'm OK as it's not like Walmart was my dream career; plus, most of the jobs they offered were for night shift stocking or maintenance.  So, now it's back to unemployment.

In other news, Glee is back!!!  As is Modern Family, Fringe, and Stargate Universe.  I'm not a big Madonna fan; but, I will have to say that the Glee Madonna episode was, musically, one of their best.  I wasn't as excited about last nights episode; but, it's still one of the best shows on TV.  Speaking of Glee, one of our very own Mormon Queerosphere members is auditioning for Glee - David Baker.  Visit his blog for more info, and then go view his video's, vote, do whatever it takes to help him be noticed.

I'm not completely caught up on RuPaul's Drag Race season 2.   I was saddened when they my personal favorite, Pandora Box, home. I was also sad when they sent Anthony home on Project Runway.  But, I do agree - he needs to grow a bit more.  Personally, I think Emilo should have won - but what do I know?!?

Not much else going on in the life of Abelard.  My vegetable garden is doing well.  I'm especially excited for the strawberries which wintered over and have strawberries on them - now if I can figure out a way to keep the birds from eating them when they ripen.  Most of the herbs in my herb garden also wintered over - it was nice being able to use fresh herbs throughout the winter months.  The only herbs I had to replant was basil - which was expected.  Well, I should clarify that basil was the only herb I HAD to replant - I went on a quest to find some Mexican Oregano which resulted in me now having 4 kinds of oregano:  Italian, Cuban, Hot & Spicy, and (finally) Mexican - which isn't even a true oregano, being more closely related to verbena.  Anyway, if you find yourself driving through Texas and have a need for some fresh herbs - give me a holler.

Monday, April 12, 2010

From bad to worse

Last night I walked past my front door and happened to notice that there was water running out of the garage.  "This can't be good" I thought - upon checking it out, there was water running out from the hot water heater.  Apparently, it sprung a leak and was flooding the garage.  I got the water intake turned off which stopped the flow.

So, this morning I had to stay home from work to deal with having no hot water for a shower, calling a plumber to come replace it, and cleaning up the mess in the garage.  It's the original hot water heater for the house, making it 26 years old.  So, I guess we got good service from it.   But, it's $1,000 expenditure to replace that I really cannot afford right now. 

Not to mention that I am moving to the day shift at Walmart starting this week.  Not showing up for work is such a great way to make a good first impression with the new boss.  I did call in, but still ...

Mind you, our microwave started smoking a couple of months ago and the broiler in our oven no longer works.  I find myself wondering which major appliance is next.

I was finally reaching a point where I was starting to feel like I really need to lift myself out of this funk that I'm in - and then BAM! - something else slams me down again.  I just don't want to do this anymore.  I want my old life back - the one where I had a job that pulled in enough money to pay the bills and handle little emergencies like this.

My only consolation was the plumbers young assistant ... who ... um ... was some nice eye candy.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


I am such a big Coward.

First, I guess, some background info is necessary . . .

About 3 years ago, when I was first coming to terms with being gay, I was once searching to see what sort of gay culture existed in the Dallas/Fort Worth area; and, lo and behold, I found a gay photographers club.  I love photography and I wanted to meet other gay people - so I joined.  But, this was at a time when I wasn't yet able to utter the words "I'm gay"; so, I never told the other members of the club that I was gay too (their bylaws said they were open to gay and straight photographers).  Being married and Mormon, I'm sure they all just assumed that I was straight.  The club meetings were sporadic at best and attendance dropped off significantly - until it was just down to two of us, Carlos and me.  Essentially, the club no longer exists, but Carlos and I have continued to get together every two or 3 months for lunch and to discuss what we've been doing with our photography.

Well, April is when the Texas bluebonnets are in bloom (our state flower) and I've been wanting to get some good bluebonnet pictures.  The town of Ennis (about 45 miles South of Dallas) is the self proclaimed bluebonnet capital of Texas  Not wanting to go alone (since my wife is in California visiting our daughter who just had a baby), I contacted Carlos to see if he was interested in going.  So, yesterday, Carlos and I loaded up our gear into my Nissan Cube and drove down to Ennis and then spent all day driving around back country roads looking for fields of bluebonnets to photograph.  It was a fun day, I think I got some good pictures (including the one I attached to this post), and I was exhausted when I got home last night.

The thing is, I want to tell Carlos that I am gay.  Maybe he suspects already, I don't know, but I doubt it.  The married to a woman thing makes it easy to hide in plain sight.  But, I just can't seem to get the words out of my mouth "hey Carlos, guess what, I'm gay too."

I really don't know why I want to tell him so bad. On one hand, I think it's a good thing that we have two gay guys with a common interest getting together and we don't discuss anything gay. We're gay, but that doesn't rule our lives.

On the other hand, I want him to feel comfortable talking more about his personal life with his partner (with whom he's been together for 7 years). I want to be able to talk to him about gay life in Dallas, how his family handles him being gay, and that sort of stuff.

So, why is it so hard to tell him that I'm gay too?  It's not like I'm afraid he's going to be homophobic.  I just don't know how to bring it up.  How can I ever hope to be open with my straight family and friends if I can't even tell my gay friends?

Hence, I'm just a big coward!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April theme: Rules to live by

Over the centuries society has established certain rules - a code of conduct - pertaining to relationships.  Rules that govern proper behavior - rules created with a heterosexual mind set.

For example, it's generally accepted that a happily married man does not fraternize with other women lest he be guilty of impropriety.  But what if the man doesn't view women in "that way".  What if she really is "just a friend" with absolutely zero chance that the relationship could lead to inappropriate behaviors?  Is it still wrong for him to spend time alone with her (just as a straight guy might spend time alone with his male friends)?  For that matter, is it wrong for a gay man in a mixed orientation marriage to spend time alone with his male friends?  Does it matter if said male friends are straight or gay?

Another example:  My wife and I were out driving around when I pointed out a new restaurant called "Bone Daddy's" as one I'd like to try some day.  My wife replied that she had heard that it was like "Hooters" except they served ribs instead of chicken wings.  To which I countered "if I ever go there - trust me, I really am there for the food."  Good Mormon boys don't go to places with scantily clad voluptuous women - but what if you're a Mormon boy who is impervious to womanly wiles?  Should the same rules apply?

On the flip side, there are situations that are completely innocuous for a straight guy - but which might prove challenging for the gay guy - such as a weekend camping trip with a friend..

This illustrates a problem we have in the homosexual community - the old established rules don't always apply to us in the same way.  It's like trying to play Parcheesi on a Chess board.  The problem we face is that it's only in recent history that homosexuality is beginning to be recognized as a valid human condition. 

This can leave us feeling like we are stuck between a rock and a hard place.  We are expected to comply with societal rules that make sense for straight guys - but, at the same time, there are other things we should be careful with because they present valid temptations that could lead us to making bad choices.  It's a double standard - we are expected to comply with all of their rules - but they are immune from compliance with our rules - rules which we often have to make up as we go along.  We get the worst of both worlds.

I recall once watching a documentary on Logo TV about a Christian summer camp - for gay kids.  One of the challenges they faced was with sleeping arrangements.  Summer camps normally segregate boys and girls - but what if you have a bunch of boys who like boys and girls who like girls?  Their solution - they had all the kids slept together in one room, boys and girls.  Different rules for a different situation.

For the April theme, consider your own personal situation (out or closeted, single or in a same sex relationship, in a MOM, etc.) - what rules does society set for you that seem extraneous or inappropriate?  What existing rules should apply to you and others in a similar situation?  What new rules might apply to your situation?