Josey Greenwell was an out gay male country artist. I say WAS because Greenwell tired of living in obscurity and now has emerged from a year of hiding as Nate Green, a dashing young country singer who is now straight and would still be living in obscurity if not for the sleuths over atWeHo Confidentialfirst made the connection earlier this month, noting that “Josey Greenwell” had mysteriously disappeared from the Internet in early 2013:
About 6 to 8 months ago, we noticed Josey Greenwell took down his Facebook profile and fan page along with all social media profiles. Even his Wikipedia profile was deleted. It was like he tried to disappear or erase his identity.
Then recently, we discovered why. Josey Greenwell resurfaced as Nate Green,a straight country singer.
Josey, er I mean Nate. originally tried to kick start his career by hooking onto LOGO’s former A-List-er Rodiney Santiago but that seemed sowmwhat useless. But it did result in a 2011 DNA photo-spread with Rodiney DNA asked Greenwell about being an out gay country artist and here’s what he had to say: “Music should be about talent and not sexuality, but I’m proud of mine nonetheless.”
Right Nate. Right.
So how long before his new “straight” fans realize that Josey doesn’t like pussycats
Today is National Coming Out Day which serves the purpose of showing support to those looking to finally come out of the closet and fully celebrate who they are. It’s a day where we remember the feeling of relief we experienced when we finally found the strength to stand up for ourselves no matter how difficult the journey became. It also provides you with an opportunity to see what happens after you come out and what you have to gain by accepting how you are. Because once you burn that metaphorical closet many changes take place in your world and within yourself.
But I want to speak more candidly on some of the things you may experience once you come out. So often when we discuss Coming Out Day we only focus on that moment we declare our sexuality to the world that we give so little attention to the things you may witness afterward. This will be an immense time of rediscovery because even though you retain so much of the person you will learn so much about who you are and how you interact with the world around you.
So the journey does not end of coming out of the closet. There will be much for you to discover about yourself when you announce to the world that you are LGBT. No matter how much you’ve observed of others like you it will not be the same. This is your experience and you will not always feel that things turn out as you had envisioned. At times it may feel completely overwhelming because you are constantly learning what the rules are for you more than any other time in your life. It will not always be easy and there are no guarantees that it’ll always turn out the way you planned. You may have family and friends that abandon you. Hate and disown you.
Some of them may actively work against your best interests and your rights as a citizen of our country. You may still be fired at your job for being LGBT. You may come up against discrimination and bullying you because those around you have not accepted that you have the right to not hide that you really are anymore. You may feel so overwhelmed by the transition taking place in all areas of your life. You may begin to question how normal your life can be as openly LGBT.
You may question the beliefs you had about this community that can sometimes appear too vain and uncaring. You may have experiences that are much to be desired with other members of this community when you discover that the same prejudices about race and ethnicity are still active forms of oppression with other members. Some will hold the same prejudices and hate about your looks and determine you’re too feminine or too masculine. They may even declare because of your preferred sexual role somehow depreciates your value because they are obsessed with status rather than substance. So you will come to realize that some of the misogyny and homophobia and racism still affects members of this community.
But the reward of being able to take a sigh of relief and no longer feel like you’re living a lie is worth it. You’ll come to find an even greater appreciation for the people who not only love and accept you but who also encourage you to explore who you are and how being LGBT is a part of who you are. You’ll find strength inside that you did not know existed giving you confidence to face other obstacles in your life more prepared. It will not always be as rose colored as you had hoped it would be but you will have opportunities to truly seek out the happiness in life you deserve. Make no mistake that even though there are members of this community that hold prejudices against you for trivial matters there are still people who will include you and welcome you no matter what.
Some will say that it is your responsibility after coming out that you should become an activist and you would do well to swiftly tell those people to kiss your ass and go straight to hell. You don’t owe that part of yourself to anyone and don’t ever let someone tell you otherwise. This is your journey. Your story. Your life. Would it be great if you added to the cause and actively contributed to help ending prejudices and discrimination against us? Yes it would be most welcome. Hate still exists towards us. You certainly should be aware of what’s going on in our world and how we are still denied rights and freedoms. But to me, living your life openly is being an activist because it shows despite the challenges we face we will not allow the archaic beliefs of our society stop us from finding our happiness in this world.
See the thing is when people come off with that ass backward logic are always the most hypocritical. They’ll laud about being a part of the solution while they themselves are part of the problem. It’s because they always feel entitled towards anyone that can serve their own initiatives which are always leaning more to their benefit than the welfare of all of us. They only focus on the G, with little mention of L, then laugh at the thought of B and completely forget T. This community can appear fragmented and hierarchical. The same rules of privilege apply to race and the complexities of being of more than one minority group that’s disparaged is too much of an effort for them to really care about.
But again do not be dismayed by the actions of those who seem superficial who only seemed to be focused on their own objectives. Seek out members that have your best interest at heart. Because the further you go the more you will discover that the stereotypes placed on this community are exaggerations of the truth. You will decide for yourself what defines you. And in m9ments when you feel lost and afraid of what comes next there are people out there willing to walk with you every step of the way. There are people out there who are willing to guide you while allowing you to make the best decisions for yourself without burdening you to their own agenda.
There is a support system here for you when you don’t feel strong enough to embrace who you are. There are people that will stay up all night with you and discuss how much your life has changed because we’ve all been where you are right now. There are people that will tirelessly work with you to find you shelter if your loved ones turn their back on you. There are people that will stand up for you if you’re discriminated against at work or bullied. People are here working to make sure you are safe. But only when you’re ready. So once you are ready to burn down that closet and walk into the world the same people who are ready and willing to hand you the match and walk with you along the way.
There have been numerous speculations and rumors on whether a celebrity is gay and that is certainly true about That’s So Raven and The Cosby Show star Raven Symone. Many just presumed the actress was dating America’s Next Top Model contestant AzMarie Livingston as they were living together for some time. But nothing had been explicitly confirmed by Symone on her sexuality until she tweeted that she can finally get married and expressing gratitude:
This statement is after the country celebrated Minnesota and Rhode Island officially allowing same sex marriage as of yesterday. Symone went on to retweet followers expressing their support as well as addressing the rumors on the actress’s sexuality:
But is most important is that Symone did it in her own way and on her own time. Instead of addressing the rumors she did what anyone should do which is continue to live her life the way she chose to. And she decided to announce her sexuality in the same way. If only every one would take this and other instances of people, celebrity or not, being able to express their sexuality and who they are on their own time and no one else’s schedule. Too often people believe that you owe them your story but that isn’t true at all. This is your journey so anyone else that has the mindset of telling you when you should express that needs to have a seat and realize that it is your life. Coming out is about taking ownership reclaiming your identity, not pacifying what is expected of you from other people.
Now who says country music can’t be sexy. Damn sexy. At least the appeal of how sexy country music can be now that fast up and comer Steve Grand is now that he is being proclaimed the first openly gay male country singer. Though the music genre has not been too specifically associated with much anti-gay sentiment it is however apparent in the southern influenced good ol boy aesthetic mindset that being gay is not something country music does so often it at all.
Hopefully that is about to change very soon as Grand is getting a lot of attention, and not just for his looks (which if we’re being honest ar more than enough). The smooth, sultry tunes combined with a modern, authentic storytelling is grabbing a lot of attention. His latest All American Boy is becoming an overnight heat with music lovers (and hard, highly toned, muscles bulging body enthusiasts) wanting more.
And if you are not into the music or the incredible body (I don’t see why you wouldn’t want to see more) then maybe you should listen to more of his backstory. Grand recently shared more about his past and the obstacles he faced after he went “ex-gay” reparative therapy that claims it can cure homosexuality (it doesn’t) after coming out to his family. Here’s more:
But Grand tells ABC’s Good Morning America even more painful was trying to accept himself and be accepted by his parents.
‘I felt like there was no way I would ever make them proud,’ he said, barely holding back tears. ‘I felt like I was a constant disappointment.’
That is why he agreed, as a teen, to go into therapy to see if he could be cured of his gayness.
‘I was so consumed by the voices I grew up hearing, like the voices of my parents telling me I need to change — and I was in straight therapy for five years,’ he tells The Backlot.com in an interview posted today.
He explains: ‘Essentially I was just seeing a therapist, a clinical psychologist. I don’t want to bash my therapist even though I’ve come to really believe that homosexuality is not a bad thing, or sinful, and not something that God wants you to rid yourself of, because I still have a lot of respect for him. He was a good man.’[…..]
‘Some of [this therapy] was actually helpful — I was able to talk to someone, he was so compassionate, and he really believed in me. We just ended up having a completely different perspective.’
Grand has a compelling story that some artists don’t reveal about themselves in the decades long span that we hear their music. It’s real and authentic and something we can all learn and gain perspective from. And we can see how incredibly attractive this man is. And best of all he’s just starting.
So that means we have more of this
And this to look forward to! Good luck Grand! We look forward to hearing (and seeing) more of you in the future.
So today I came across the video that’s making the rounds in the gay community of the remarks made by television host and radio personality Wendy Williams. Known for a very blunt, sometimes crass commentary that seems controversial, today her comments about gay men that date women for years before coming out of the closet illicit a very strong and quite visceral reaction from Williams.
It all started after she was asked about the ex-fiancé of Jason Collins, the NBA player that came out of the closet and sparked a huge debate about being gay and being involved in professional sports. Williams felt that Collins had implied that Collins cheated this woman out of eight years of her life. Known to what many call a beard, or a woman that either knowingly or unknowingly is in a relationship with a gay man that is still in the closet, and in this case, Collins omission about his sexuality was hurtful. That even though the struggles he went through were important, he and any other closeted man should not involve other woman that want to one day have families into that situation.
During this sound bite there was one quote made by Williams that really stuck out for me and I haven’t been able to move past it because it angered it me as it seems so dismissive to what we fear as gay men:
“The one thing that irks the hell out of me is a deceptive closeted closeted man”
To sum it up Williams was making the argument that she was somewhat sympathetic to the plight of men still in the closet and the struggles that it has on an individual but we should know better than to bring someone else into it and deceiving them which results in them losing years of their life. Later on in this candid interview, Williams also inferred to the legitimacy of bisexuality as questionable and that it was not something she.
So is staying in the closet deception? No, I don’t or at least not in the way Williams referenced the term. I’d like to remind Williams that first off, there are no winners in the scenarios of closeted men that chose to be with women but that it is a very delicate subject. Because being in the closet is not only a psychological and emotional dilemma, but can manifest into a physical one as well. The fear of being judged, persecuted, even having your life threatened making you have to constantly be on alert to if anyone around can detect it.
Being in the closet is not about deception as the term is to maliciously withhold information to use against someone. Being in the closet is the time in which we deal with accepting our sexual nature and how society still wants us to conform to some form of heteronormative practices. Its basis has been and will always be about fear. Fear of what judgments can await us from our loved ones, security with our jobs/careers, and those that may try to harm us. This is about protecting ourselves, and in some cases that does mean our very lives.
But we cannot be unsympathetic or dismissive to how it affects the women in these relationships once the man they once believed was straight, a man they once believed desired them sexually, may not have been sexually attracted to her. That she may feel that she was being used as a protective shield around this man’s life all the while whatever dreams she had of commitment and family was not the same schematic blueprint of family that he envisioned. It’s true that he could have had some sexual desire as sex does not always equate to attraction, or that he too wanted to build a family the same way she did and truly wanted to make the relationship work. He may have even loved her but sexual orientation was the thing that made it not work.
And these women have the right to feel sad, hurt, even cheated out of time because in truth that is what has happened. It’s not easy to say but they too are a causality of these circumstances that compels a man to stay in the closet. But I won’t call this deception so much as I see it as two people that were unable to make it work because they are too different. Because this man felt like the only way he could have a family was to subscribe to what our society tells a man how he should act, who he should be sexually attracted to, and who he can love.
This is a touchy subject, but the one thing that I feel Williams and others with opinions like hers need to take into account that instances like this are driven by a deep sense of fear that is sometimes so crippling you do everything in your power to mask any signs of it. One may even begin to convince themselves that you can be sexually attracted to a woman and have sex, that you can build a family, and that you can fall in love until you one day are finally able to see that it is not enough to pretend to believe just to make it so. It’s fear.
Williams also made a snide reference that Collins partner should have been able to pick up on his sexuality, like some animal that is roaming for prey and that frustrated me as well. Because of this busybody mentality, she’s no better than any other bigot shouting slurs at us from across the street. It infers that gay looks or acts a certain way when it does not. Sexual identity is more than any stereotypical paradigm to be identified. And inferences like this puts blame on the woman because it says “she should have known better” when none of this is her fault. So incredulously, Williams insulted the very gender she so flippantly tried to defend.
What would be beneficial in preventing things like this from happening is talking more about our experiences and to stop shaming homosexuality. Comments about the legitimacy of bisexuality don’t help matters at all. It is not about “easing your way into being gay to hold on to some masculinity It’s biology and the one thing we’ve learned from that is that it is all shades in nature. Just like skin color, sexual identity comes in all different shades with varying degrees.
Williams should also remember that since she herself is a part of the problem as she loves to sensationalize the potential sexuality of some of the celebrities she talks about. She makes endless speculations on whether or not someone is gay adding the note of scandal for her viewers to buy into and she profits from it. She may not know it, but doing this infers that it is somehow wrong and shames the men and women that may be struggling in this situation.
None of this is fair to anyone in the situation. I hope that those of us who are out and proud can show the men and women that are still in the closet, still living in fear that they don’t have to be trapped anymore. That our community is growing with love and support that will stand by them. Hopefully those that make scandals out of homosexuality like Williams can see that they’re only adding to a very difficult situation.
One of the most profound changes that occur after we realize that we are LGBT is how we begin to analyze every other facet of our lives. As a result of realizing our sexual identity and nature, we question the validity of everything we’ve been told to believe throughout our lives. From rules set by our caregivers that guide and discipline us to what our religious and spiritual leaders tell us about God, this becomes a time of great introspection and discovery. Most notably the time is marked by a series of questions and what religion and our faith are able to bring to our lives. We question if we can still believe in a religion or rather teachers of that religion that being gay is wrong.
Faith is believed to be blueprint to our morality as it sets to guide us through all aspects of our existence. To an extent, faith is believed to be the figurative parent to our morality. We know that this construct of what faith means is different for everyone. As we have our own unique experiences and upbringings we discover that no two people believe in the same way. So when I was asked a while back to discuss religion and sexuality I had a hard time collecting my thoughts in a way that made sense.
Luckily through social media I had the great privilege of getting to know author and interfaith leader Chris Stedman and he was able to shed some light on how our beliefs growing up may effect how and when we come out. And as time went on he agreed to have a phone interview to learn about his latest book, Faitheist. This narrative work that is both biopic and applicable principles to today’s society chronicles Stedman’s journey of self-discovery as a result of initially wanting others to come together and share differing ideas all the while building a sense of community and acceptance. This serves as a steady bridge for me to approach the subject of faith and sexuality.
I knew that discussing Stedman and his principles would provide clarity of my own thoughts on religion/faith in this discussion and how it could relate to the LGBT community. Let’s face facts; this is a sensitive issue regardless of your stance because our beliefs are always associated with our morality. We are passionate about what we believe in and too often when the subject comes up, especially when it relates to members of the LGBT community, emotions are heightened to a state where emotions overcompensate for reason. Facts are misconstrued and beliefs are treated as vengeful weapons against any opposition. I don’t want this discussion to go in that direction. That’s why reviewing Stedman’s position on the matter shows how differences in beliefs can come together.
Within the first five minutes I learned initially as we discussed atheism and group identity how different my own beliefs are from Stedman’s principles but still related to so much with what he advocates. Always at the ready to having meaningful dialogue, whether that be on his blog or his twitter account, I know that we can discuss this without conflict. When he explained pluralism and how Faitheist demonstrates inclusion of all beliefs it helped erode this stoic, detached persona so erroneously associated with atheists because of their beliefs. Even when Stedman admitted he feels that most of those that have a belief in God or deities are wrong that does not prevent us from knowing one another. His belief does not condemn me or anyone else and we can still relate to each other.
To further advance the reasoning behind his principles, Stedman brought up that while growing up he felt that he couldn’t be both gay and a Christian. He then told me about a religious cross he wore as a symbol of his faith and how he received a lot of teasing and criticism. Of course he was not suggesting that this lead him to atheism but it is something we need to observe because it shows an example that as LGBT men and women we do not belong to just one identity or community. Dichotomies exist within our community that we often enough do not discuss and duality can affect many aspects of our lives. Not only in faith but in racial/ethnic minorities, and even gender and socioeconomic status… Stedman believes that when we talk about this it creates an ethos that will foster experience.
Stedman helped me realize again how cooperation and acceptance are paramount as he discussed how his experiences shaped this principle. When he talked about him growing up in what he described as an irreglious home, he became a born again Christian at age 11 after his parents separated. Before he recommitted to the church he read about different cultures and perspectives and it taught him a greater depth of empathy. Shortly after his parents separated he sought out religion for normality and structure, and a community that was willing to support him all the while giving guidance from a position of authority. Felt their rigidity would provide clear answers.
As I write this I remember a song by George Michael, How you gotta have faith. The video was expressive about sexuality and having faith in your ability to love yourself. Looking back on it now I know the reason I was so drawn to this music video at 8 years old was because George Michael had a nice smile was doing throughout it was because of my developing sexuality. But it also made me question what faith was because I remember asking my mom after watching it what faith meant. She simply referred to it as “something you know to be true”. At that time I wanted faith because I thought it was cool. But I did begin to seek out comfort from it.
Both of our narratives, though completely different in our youth were looking for answers to faith with different environments and outcomes but the stories do reflect how we search for meaning at a young age. Looking for answers to why we feel the need to belong and what that means for ourselves. I think one of the greatest lessons we learn is deciphering what faith means to our self-worth. No matter what one’s own beliefs of faith or non-faith you have to reach a point in which you rely on the strength that resides inside you. A willingness to trust that we are indeed made this way naturally as it was meant to be, by biology or God.
We know that there can be many obstacles that we face before, during, and sometimes even after we come out of the closet. One of the things that we question most is our belief in God. We begin to speculate if we were truly meant to be LGBT because of what we’re taught about homosexuality and wonder if our sexuality is natural. Faitheist is a narrative of someone’s own journey that is continually seeking a sense of community and a celebration of our various differences. The concept of pluralism the respects the differing opinions, beliefs, and philosophies without the need of ostracizing. It gives the reader a relatable account of coming to terms with faith and sexuality.
I loved how inclusive his work is in both his literary work and his ability to apply that people of all walks of life. Faitheist is at its most general definition a story of inclusion. I truly marvel out how when there is conflict of beliefs, whether it’s critics or social media can be done diplomatically. As we delved deeper into this interview I asked Stedman about if the nature and principles of atheism makes it easier for LGBT men and women to process and accept their sexuality and come out. Detailing later in a humble response noted that the issues that face as we process our sexuality and our experiences are not that simple:
Once I began to question certain norms, it opened me up to questioning others, including the normative religious beliefs I had adopted. But I wouldn’t say that I became an atheist as a direct result of coming out, since I was a Christian for the first number of years that I was out of the closer as a queer person. Whether a queer person is religious or not, and whether or not that changes in conjunction with the coming out process, I think that there is a common experience of challenging assumptions and traditional ideas that most of us experience as we come out.
This is one of the reasons that I discuss the topic of coming out so much. Because so often when a person surprises one aspect of themselves, they are likely suppressing their ability to actively question other aspects of who they are. During our conversation I was completely fascinated with the empathy and compassion expresses throughout his work and his pluralistic approach. Onward as we discussed more about the principles he felt necessary like open dialogue are necessary to bridge understanding between belief and non-belief:
Sometimes it isn’t always clear which came first, but they necessarily inform and support one another. Meaningful dialogue, where all parties listen and strive to understand, engenders compassion and empathy; likewise, a compassionate approach enables dialogue in the pursuit of common ground, making it more accessible and more effective.
It takes people out of these their comfort zones when we discuss differences. When we hear stories about conflicts driven by media that are divisive “conflict is the exception to the rule” he stated which suggests that instead of defending their own beliefs we are simply arguing to see who’s right. So we need to approach of our own stories, our own identity as a whole, and not just about what we believe. It’s all about humanizing our differences. Options that both Stedman and I did were not afforded growing up.
But this made me think about the process more and how difficult it can be as a result of religion so I asked if he felt this would eliminate prejudices. We know how religion is used against this community so it’s understandable why many feel that if religion no longer existed that we would have an easier time processing and accepting our sexuality. However, during our conversation this assumption was the one thing that Stedman disagreed with most.
Stedman did not feel that the elimination of religion would lessen our issues as we are naturally have the dynamics of tribalism and a feeling of wanting to fit in with the majority. After thinking about it for a while I see why he came to that conclusion. We will always want to feel like we belong and as a result any inherent differences would potentially stagnate acceptance. It’s also important to note that Stedman expressed that the first people to accept his sexuality were his brothers and sisters from his church before realizing he was an atheist. He hadn’t accepted atheism until years after he came out.. So it is not about beliefs in God, it’s about tribal natural need to belong.
Attempting to think in even more abstract terms I asked Stedman if he felt that atheism was more a philosophy than a grounded, secular belief. When he decided he didn’t believe in God it was sadness and the way he expressed this epiphany felt to me that he was describing the loss of a loved one. Letting go of a concept that you have believed in your entire life has to take some time to process. But atheism brought comfort to Stedman because it taught him fortitude and a faith in himself because no one else could accomplish his goals and overcome any challenges. It motivated and empowered him to become more active.
The incentive of taking ownership becomes stronger and more rich. This concept reminds Stedman to live in the moment as time is finite. It suggests that at some point when we are accepting who we are that we have to take the initiative to persevere no matter what. We have to take control of our challenges and look at our actions in how they will affect that outcome. Being LGBT teaches us that it is up to us to make our lives and our environment better. It may not always come easy or in the time of our choosing but when we hold ourselves accountable for the direction our lives are going it truly invites us to be who we are. It encourages us to live. This point is what resonated with me the most during our discussion. You become appreciative of time when you know it is limited.
It’s important to note that Stedman and I are not suggesting that this discussion was meant to suggest we believe people who are LGBT and in the process of coming out would have an easier time if they became atheists. Far from it. But I do believe those that are going through this process should be ready for how this aspect may have on a subconscious level affected many other facets of their lives and personality.
I believe what Stedman expressed both in his book, and in our conversation, is that examining our beliefs in all areas of our lives gives us a greater sense of self. Throughout this process that we go through in coming to terms with our sexuality and our beliefs we have to trust ourselves more than anyone else, regardless of whether or not you believe in God. Homogeneity is celebrated in our community more than individuality and Faitheist provides examples of how we can approach our different outlooks with diplomacy.
The biggest advantage to reading Faitheist or starting any discussion about faith is that dialogue will allow you to process your opinion and your beliefs openly. No matter those beliefs, with an open mind you can be honest about them and I will always advocate for that. We need more dialogue and opinions and beliefs not only in this community but society as a whole. You can have meaningful relationships with people of different backgrounds and beliefs with respect. This interview along with Stedman;s book accurately and passionately demonstrates that faith is not synonymous with morality. Morality should always be met with humanity and respect. We have to always remember that when we talk about faith, no matter what you believe. But we have to be willing to make that first step. So reach out. Talk.
Snoop Lion (who inexplicably has changed his rap moniker from Snoop Dogg) had some words on whether or not the rap genre would ever welcome openly gay artists in the industry. And quite honestly, the message is confusing. Here’s more:
The newly-christened Snoop Lion, who previously spoke out in support of same-sex marriage in an interview with HuffPost Entertainment, tells the publication that the “masculine” aspects of hip-hop music create unique challenges for gay musicians.
“It’s like a football team,” he said. “You can’t be in a locker room full of motherf**king tough a** dudes, then all of a sudden say, ‘Hey, man, I like you.’ You know, that’s going to be tough.”
Of Frank Ocean, the Grammy-winning hip-hop artist who came out in a blog last year, the rapper noted, “He’s a singer. It’s acceptable in the singing world, but in the rap world I don’t know if it will ever be acceptable because rap is so masculine.” Still, Snoop’s personal take on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community is far more open-minded: “I don’t have a problem with gay people. I got some gay homies.”
I don’t think what Snoop is saying that he himself doesn’t welcome gays in rap but feels they would not be accepted in the community. He does make the connection of how the LGBT community has been treated and related it to oppression and discrimination the African American community has faced. He has in the past given support for same sex marriage.. But something is gnawing at me about this interview.
Here’s where I have the issue; it’s not that I think that Snoop is homophobic so much as I think he just does not get that being gay does not mean we are sex crazed deviants always on the prowl for our next sexual conquest. The analogy of having gays in rap would be as problematic as an openly gay football player proves that he does not know gay men and women as much as he believes. Because if he truly had people in his life that are openly gay he would know that they are not constantly inspecting every crotch they see with an unstoppable urge to flirt with any and every man they see.
It shows that Snoop as well as many of his rap colleagues only know a stereotype rather than a person. It’s a job, not a social dating app so conduct is going to be evaluated. Do you think players would be allowed to say that to any women that work for the team like publicists, managers, physical therapists? The player would without question be suspended fr harassment so what makes it different for the gay men?
i will give him points as this doesn’t feel like it was done out of malice and hatred towards gays. But honestly how masculine can rap be when it is so easy for them to do collaborations with Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus who are the personification of sugar pop feminine girl power! songs that are heavily bought by gay men? That is a contradiction in and of itself and a sign that the rap genre is still ignoring a potential fanbase that has money to spend making them richer and more relevant in mainstream music.
Snoop, at best in the rap genre and society as a whole, masculinity is subjective so please get to know some of the gay friends you say are already in your circle. Because if you truly knew them , you’d see that they are people and not these ignorant stereotypes you seem to be holding onto.
Okay I’m back here again. After I said that I had written the last tale of growing up gay I realized that the story didn’t end there for me. Nor does it end for the rest of us when we come out. Why? Because we continue to grow and change. Evolve. Most notably this all happens within the first couple of years. You discover so much about what being gay means to you. All the existential introspective listening to music while pondering your life occurs in this time period.
So I wanted to again write about the experiences I’ve had and to the best of my ability generalize it as I feel many gay men may have at some point experienced these stages. Because we reconcile those experiences and learn from our past when we talk about them. This isn’t so much a tale as it is just an exercise in random, yet meaningful, assortments of different stages/aspects we go through.
This is the term given to gay men the first year that they are officially out of the closet. It’s generalized that way because in a sense you’ve been born again. The world is new, and this is the time when you can actually celebrate who you are openly. Everything in the world seems so big. More real. You could definitely compare it to the first time Mary Tyler Moore walked the streets of New York City. You feel so revitalized and aware of pleasures, both simplistic and deep.
There are so many firsts that occur when you step out into the world as a gay man. No more trying to hide the fact that you love men and want to have sex with them. You openly talk about sex. Some of us during this stage just want sex. Lots and lots of sex. One of the many advantages of being a member of this community is that you’ll find out is that sex isn’t hard to find. And I certainly will not begrudge anyone that partakes in this behavior (safely).
It’s all exciting and you want to soak up every catch phrase and whatever the in thing to do is at that time. Go to every gay bar that you can get into. The rush of excitement every time you write down the words “I’m gay”. You take a deep breath every time you say it to someone who doesn’t know the truth yet and are either greeted with a displeasing reaction so you can give a quick rebuttal that you’ve rehearsed a thousand times mentally. Or take a huge sigh of relief when they are welcoming and loving.
But this stage isn’t all fun. Just with everything else in life this time period teaches you that there is a darker side to just about every community. More notably, this is when you find out about rejection. Scathing, brutally honest rejection. I’m not talking about when a crush says no thank you after you have finally worked up the courage to ask them out. It’s when you walk up to a prospective guy to show interest in you will flat out tell you whether they like you or not.
They will unabashedly tell you everything that’s right or wrong with you. Wrong hair, terrible shoes, lame accessories, ill-fitting clothes, dieting tips and workout routines they think would help you look better. That’s just in the first minute of talking to him. We also quickly learn about the social hierarchy of sex and how many will immediately size you up within 3 seconds and label you a top, bottom, verse, dom top. power bottom, vers top, vers bottom or anything in between. You will also be categorized based on size and body hair as if you are a new produce that needs to be bagged tagged and shelved until ready for use,
It could range from gym rat, otter, bear, leather daddy, twink, cub, “straight acting” gaypster (gay hipster) gaymer (gay gamer) bromo (gay dude bro) manther (gay cougar), a bunch of other lame inane adjectives or the ever so dreaded “average”. In my first year of being out, I’d say the labels is what I struggled with most because I outright abhor them. As many gay people of color will tell you, we’ve already had enough with being categorized just by your natural appearance. I’m in no way knocking it if you feel like they embody your personality. But my free loving nature resists any attempts to categorization or labels. .
Anger/Rejection of Perceived Gay Norms
After your gayby year, you feel like you’ve got the hang of it. Because this is most likely the most self-indulgent superficial year of your life. At least it was for me. I took full advantage of all the gay world had to offer and more. But I came down hard to reality after that year. Because we learn about how we are truly affected by society and what is really going on with us. Our problems as a community. This can result in a lot of anger.
The reality of the world may lead to this stage of anger because as both an outsider and eventually an insider you see vanity and self-absorbed tendencies to the max. After that much self-indulgence you become frustrated because that has been your world for such a long time. Failing to realize the true complexity the gay community could appear to have a total disregard for feelings or a total lack of acceptance to any differences. There’s more than likely frustration that accompanies this because you felt that it was different. Then you learn that it is all about the places you go and the people you associate.
This time is also marked by, depending on your perspective, harsh realization that people don’t always equate sex with love. Or maybe you’re angry because you are just fed up with the archaic labels and shallow pace the gay community seems to be set in. You may see the majority of gay men as superficial egotistical airbags.
This is the time where you may become outspoken and angry at society. Angered how religion and God’s Word is twisted to fit man’s image when it’s fueled by greed and power. You begin to reciprocate the anger that is directed at you because you remember all the times you were afraid of being who you were before coming out. You are angry because you feel like you always have to be on guard to protect yourself from those incensed with hate and bigotry.
Introspection of Gay Lifestyles
This is when we look inside for answers because we want to make sense of this community. All the things that you have learned and all the feelings of anger and frustration build to a point where you quietly back away from all things gay. It’s not so much that you don’t want to be gay it’s your way of searching for answers. You ask yourself how you can find contentment in so much chaos. You speculate and theorize about how you can coexist with this pace. Then you begin to question your outlook.
This is the time that you learn the true nature of your sexuality. You learn the mechanics of having sex with another man. And now that you’re listening and asking real questions about life, you learn and hear the real personal impact of HIV/AIDS from the people you meet. You realize they are not the virus, that they are people.
This is also when you question everything that you had to push back out of your mind because being gay was the only thing that mattered. But now you’re learning that it’s only one aspect of who you are. You question the very notion of faith and what you believe to be truth or creature comforts.
You’ve learned about activism and how to get involved in fundraisers for hospice care and youth centers. You donate to the cause and let your actions speak for you rather than heated emotions taking over. You reconcile so much of the anger you had both with yourself and with society. Sometimes, after years of being in this community, the sad, detached, distrustful, and overall apprehensive feelings of expecting anyone of real value coming into your life has merely been the result of your outlook.
All this time you’ve spent thinking, wondering who you are and what gay means, you come to a serene, clear moment that places all of these emotions that you’ve had about the gay community and about yourself. Again you learn to not look at any person or situation by the few superficial aspects that commonly define them.
This is when you’ve finally and completely accepted yourself and your sexuality. No longer do you feel like you have to declare how masculine you are to prove your worth as a man No longer are you concerned with how gay you look because you know that you can only live your life. Instead of being angry and having resentment towards those that do have it all together or all the advantages of society. this is the time where you just take action accordingly.
Getting involved to help when and where you can. By this time in your life you realize that maybe you shouldn’t look at movies or base finding love off of sitcoms. That true genuine people are around that will share your interests and concerned for your well-being. At this point when you write the words “I’m gay” you see it as just a part of who you are, like hair color or height. This is the time marked by when you’re looking for someone to spend your life with, you aren’t too concerned with him being a top or bottom as chemistry will work that all out, You’ll care more about if he’s genuine, engaging, and considerate to who you are and building your lives together.
These are when you have friends in your life that instead of picking you a part because of their own neuroses will always pick you up when you fall. You are finally able to see a plethora of loving, caring men that truly want to help you gain your identity that’s separate from all the inane sometimes uninspired labels. All visible from the beginning that maybe you overlooked. You will learn that you’ve learned that you are not just a letter to the acronym of LGBT and neither are the rest of the men of this community. You recognize that gay is not the subgroup in this community. This the moment that you truly are a complete, actualized being.
Again this is a very rough assortment of some of what we experience. Some of us go through all these aspects and stages one at a time, all at the same time or none at all. This was basically to show that we are in fact always growing no matter what stage.
Anderson Cooper. Need I say more? Instead of boring you with filler I’ll just let you all read the entire article of this impeccable human being expressing that being gay is a blessing:
The award-winning CNN anchor, 45, joined Signorile’s SiriusXM OutQ programfrom Rome, where he is covering the Vatican conclave. In what was deemed as Cooper’s only full-length interview ahead of his scheduled appearance at the 2013 GLAAD Media Awards in New York on March 16, the CNN anchor spoke at length about coming out both personally and professionally, being honored with the prestigious Vito Russo Award and the pain of his brother’s suicide. (Scroll down to listen to the full interview)
I’ve always known I was gay from the time I was a little kid,” Cooper, who came out in an email to Andrew Sullivan last summer, recalled. “I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t aware of it, even before I knew what it was or the name of it.”
Of receiving the Vito Russo Award, Cooper noted the honor has “tremendous meaning,” adding, “I certainly don’t think I’m worthy of it, but if it helps GLAAD and if it helps have more people know who Vito Russo is, then I think it is certainly worthwhile.”
After touching on a number of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) relevant stories he’s covered throughout his career, Cooper also opened up about his brother Carter’s 1988 suicide, saying it influenced his own decision to pursue journalism as a profession.
“If you feel like an outsider, you tend to observe things a lot more,” he said. “Early on I felt very much like an observer, because I knew I was gay, I knew I was somehow different.”
He continued, “If you learn the language of loss early, I think you seek out others who have experienced the same thing, who speak that same language of loss.”
See? you didn’t want to hear a lot of fluff from me. I will say that it does help when people of this stature not only embrace their sexuality but to an extent cite it as a source of strength. It does help. So whenever possible willing to share need to vocalize those stories after we come out. And look at this baby sloth pick!!!! Ugh, this man is with my favorite animal. Told you he’s perfect.
It’s 2:05 in the morning and I can’t sleep. It’s been a long day like any other Monday but I’ve been feeling off. Completely tense, short tempered and just all around moody. So I wanted to catch up on current events and decided to read some of the latest LGBT news to see if there was anything I missed. Then I came across the story of Bailey O’Neill, the 12 year old boy that died this weekend after being beaten into a coma by some schoolyard bullies and the story of Marco McMillian, the openly gay mayoral candidate beaten to death in Mississippi.
My heart sank for them and their families and it made all the feelings of this day feel even worse because of the emotional quicksand I felt I’d been in the entire day. And then I remembered that it’s the first Monday in March, and all these memories came flooding back on why this particular Monday is so important to me. In 2005 on the first Monday in March was the day I almost died and the day I finally came completely out of the closet. So I decided to finally follow up with the firsttwo in this series by adding the last part of the growing up gay stories with the one that was the most defining moment in my life.
This all took place it was my first year off campus and it was a rough emotional one for me. It wasn’t the course load or tensions with the professors. It was because I had been deeply affected by the events of last year on campus. I was full of brooding and angst because I wasn’t out yet and so many times I had come close. Even though the most important people in my life, my parents, knew that I was gay I still felt the entire time that I was not living authentically. And with as much as a Resident Adviser and a friend that I always advocated for others to live in this example, I felt like a hypocrite because I was not doing the same.
My friendships with some became strained and I was steadily distancing myself from everyone. Maybe I did that on some conscious level to prepare myself for any potential fallout from anyone, though I felt like many silently knew. The year progressed and I became somewhat stabilized until Valentine’s Day, when I lost an old friend of mine. Her death devastated me and I was completely heartbroken and an emotional wreck because I felt that I should’ve been able to prevent it somehow. I went through the remainder of my last year on campus in a fog of disbelief instead of savoring the last few months until “real” adulthood.
I carried some of the numbness and pain of that year onto my first year off campus but with all of that my not formally being out was the biggest thing on my mind. It had all but consumed me to the point that I welcomed any distractions that did not pertain to my dilemma. I was angry and sad all the time because I keep stalling this all out. It didn’t help matters because I felt that things had not been resolved with the man I had been seeing off and on since my freshman year of college. He had moved away and I missed him terribly but we still were in touch. But that only seemed to make the pain of us not being together even greater, And when he came to visit I was speechless that he had already came out since his graduation.
He questioned me on why I hadn’t done so, and as the nature of our relationship I still wouldn’t confirm it. So all his questions were met with a longing stare as a few tears strewn down my face. Again I tried to reconcile why I couldn’t do it. Maybe it was because I felt I had to embrace my race because of the covert, institutionalized racism that exists in the south. I feared that being of both two minority groups (African American and gay) would result in me being bombarded with acts of hate and judgment. That no matter who much I tried to show how I was so many other things than my race and my sexuality, it wouldn’t be enough.
Instead of not giving a damn what everyone else thought I felt that I had to sacrifice and suppress one aspect of myself in order to be seen as a real person beyond stereotypes and labels. The dichotomy would be something I would treasure later for the unique perspective it gives me but back then I still felt it wasn’t enough. At least that was the excuse I was using. So I thought if I waited until I was in a more diverse place after school would be better. But I wasn’t lying about it anymore by pretending to be attracted to women and become a pro at playing the pronoun game. So I was taking my time and doing it my way, as usual. But I didn’t have much time left as my health started to decline. I’d only eat a portion of what I used to and I kept losing weight.
And then I got the flu or what I thought was the flu. I couldn’t keep anything down. I lay in bed for nearly two weeks thinking I had the same bug going around. But eventually it started to hurt, a lot. the pain was dull at first, then cramping, then sharp agonizing pain. So my roommate took me to the hospital and after a two hour wait they gave me some Milk of Magnesia and sent us on our way. I cried for most of the night because this was by far one of the most painful things I had ever felt. I think I somehow drifted off to sleep from the sheer exhaustion of this ordeal. It was early that morning that I woke up and the pain was prolific. I could barely breathe and my stomach was protruding so far it looked as if I were in my third trimester of pregnancy. I ran to roommate’s room and as soon as he saw my stomach he grabbed his keys not needing anymore explanation.
We arrived at the hospital and they went to examine me. My blood pressure was dropping so they rushed me to another examination room that had an x-ray so that they could see what was going on. I remember looking at the clock as it said 915. They took me back to the previous room and I kept hearing doctors being paged. They brought in more fluids and a bag of blood because apparently I was too low. More nurses rushed in and I noticed there was a group of doctors all talking to my doctor. Then he came in and told me I had to have surgery immediately. I asked why and he said my organs were shutting down and handed me a phone to call my parents. I asked why again and he said “just in case” and darted out to prep for surgery.
I couldn’t focus and was too afraid to dial the phone so my roommate did. He tried to explain but my mom insisted that she talk to me. I tried masking my voice so she wouldn’t think I was scared, but mothers always know better. She told me to stay strong and that she loved me and it took everything I had not to lose it. Seconds later they said it was time to go and the machines were making more noises but when the nurse said that I couldn’t hear anything else. it was 922. This was serious. As they were wheeling me down for this surgery I stared up at the fluorescent lights and thought about how much I loathed them. time slowed and all of these never-ending questions about being gay popped into my head.
Why was this haippening. Why didn’t I pay attention to all this. What if I don’t make it. What if I die right here. What if I never see him again to tell him I love him and always will. What about my mom. What if..this is punishment…if it is then why did God make me this way. Why didn’t I live my life the way I wanted to. What if people never knew the real me. Why didn’t I tell everyone who didn’t already know I was gay. Why did I wait so long..Why
Then the next thing I knew I was waking up. I looked around and wondered if the surgery had taken place and then I wondered if I was having some out of body experience and then I let myself wonder if I was dead. and I freaked out. I started pulling at the sheets and screaming out of being so scared and disoriented. The machines were violently screaming as loud as I was and the nurses appeared from nowhere with several needles and within seconds I was out; I woke up looking at florescent lights as I was being wheeled down the hall. I started thinking I was dreaming again and everything that just happened was some drug hallucination and I was crying again and calling out for my mom and we turned the corner and she was there with my dad and my roommate.
I have never cried so hard in my life seeing her blue green eyes look at me, telling me that it was okay and to calm down. All it did was make me cry harder. They wheeled me to my room and hooked up more machines and gave me more drugs to calm me down because I was aching all over. The doctor came in to tell that my appendix had ruptured and because it become septic my organs began to fail but I didn’t care about what he was saying. The fact that I was alive and with the people that loved me most was all that mattered. I didn’t care how close I came to death because I was alive.
After some time had passed I grabbed my mom’s hands and told her that I was going to be open to everyone else about being gay and she was of course fine with it. I told myself that if I pulled through this I was going to completely be who I was. And if. When people asked I would tell them. I asked my roommate to give me my phone and while he and my parents went to go get coffee I checked my voicemail out of habit and found out about another friend that had killed himself because he was gay. we were the same age and both of us had to face the darkest parts of humanity. But he was gone.
For a moment I felt so guilty because moments ago I was so elated about being alive in that moment. I sat there and let a few tears fall before collecting myself and scrolled down to the man that I had been unable to confess the truth to several months ago. Since death had been trying to say something to me twice in one day I finally decided to listen. It gave me the courage to be open publicly about who I have always been. Gay. And I have never felt so free in my life. I called the man I had loved all of my adult life at 1137pm on that first Monday in March and told him that I had almost died that day, that I was gay, and that I loved him.
Even with how hard it is to write all this down and share my most personal story it’s even harder for me to think of people suffering and feeling that they don’t belong in this world because of who they are. That maybe if I share my story, all of my story, it will encourage others to do the same so that people that are gay will avoid the missteps that I took and never have to endure what I went through. That they read stories like this and it makes them think of the kids that have it even worse than I did. That it may speak to those that felt like they have no support and are relentlessly bullied. So maybe those that feel insecure about who they are don’t feel the need to torture other kids for something they hate about themselves that they shouldn’t hate.
So maybe give that one kid perspective that even when you literally have no reason to believe that it will get better that if you hold on, that it does get better. You see today could have also been a very sad day for my parents. Instead of them talking to me on the phone they could’ve been laying some anniversary flowers at a gravesite and that makes me think of all the parents like those of Bailey, Tyler Clementi, Matthew Sheppard, and so many others that do or will now have these sad heartbreaking anniversaries. I don’t want us to lose another human being this way.
I do not want another soul to feel fear that they cannot embrace and love who they are. And if sharing our lives can get one person that is going through this to think then they will have served their purpose. The only way we can change the world is when we are willing to look at our own lives and question what we could be doing differently. And I am grateful that I was able to have the opportunity to tell others to ask themselves to realize that we do not have forever to be who we are today. And how much strength and love is waiting for you when you are ready to embrace who you are.