Tag Archives: Special Guest Columnist

PRIDE 2011 GUEST POST – What Being A Straight Man In Gay Brazil Means To Me: By William K Wolfrum

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t Gay friendly. But it took coming to Brazil for me to become a full-fledged Gay ally. That change started almost immediately upon my arrival.

Marcelo – my Brother-in-law – is a Gay Brazilian male. I was one of the few that knew this about him almost 10 years ago, when even he struggled admitting it to my wife and her sisters – his closest allies.

Marcelo didn’t fully come out of the closet until a year ago. He had been trapped there by his fears for 30 years. His coming out was met with love, acceptance and hugs. As he said afterward, “It was like farting in the ocean.”

Grupo Gay da Bahia, the oldest gay advocacy group in Brazil, published yesterday their yearly report on violent deaths of gay people in Brazil. According to the report, the number of people who are murdered because they are gay is up, 198 murders in 2009, compared to 189 in 2008.

Brazil leads the world in homosexual victims of murders. Mexico comes second (35 deaths) followed by the United States (25 deaths), according to the GGB.

Among the murdered, 117 were gay men (59%), 72 were transsexuals (37%) and 9 were lesbians (4%). Most of the crimes go unpunished (more than 90%).

It has been a joy watching Marcelo become the man he was always supposed to be this past year. With a cadre of Gay friends, he has gone from hiding and sneaking, to being open and proud. Not long ago, I asked him a question, only to be ignored as he was lost in Facebook conversation (he quickly learned and joined the Gay communities that permeate social media.)

“Marcelo,” I said, jokingly imitating the show Intervention. “Your Gayness is affecting me negatively in the following ways: You just ignored me.”

We laughed, knowing that just over a year ago, that joke could never have been made within earshot of others.

“It’s not that a homosexual can’t play ball. If he wants, than play it. However, form his own team and start another federation. Schedule games with those that prefer to fight against themselves.”

“By the way, this popular saying is very precise: Each one in their own area, each monkey in their own branch, each rooster in their own coop, each king in their own deck of cards.

That is what I think, and because I think like this, in the condition of a judge, I say it!”

Brazilian Judge Manoel Maximiniano Junqueira Filho, in throwing out a defamation of character lawsuit filed by soccer player Richarlyson.

It has not just been Marcelo who has shown me the courage of being an openly Gay male in Brazil. In fact, the majority of my male friends in Brazil are openly Gay.

There is Paulino, a friend of my wife and her family for years. His life in Sao Paulo, where he is a well-regarded nutritionist. He told me of his first Gay experience, when his retainer kept falling falling out of his mouth.

“This is your first time, isn’t it?” His first partner kindly asked.

There is the flamboyant and wonderful Pedro – a successful businessman. Having never really spoken with a Gay male about how he learned he was Gay, I asked.

“All my fantasies were about men when I was young,”he said. “I thought it was a fetish or something. But then realized that’s all I fantasized about.”

My wife, sitting next to me, gave me a nudge, “You don’t have to talk only about Gay things, you know.”

Brazil’s 11-member Supreme Court decided that those in same-sex civil unions will have the same rights as heterosexual married couples.

The move is a landmark achievement for Brazil – a nation that has struggled with violence against the gay and lesbian community. That move also is a stellar achievement for new President Dilma Rousseff, who had her top prosecutor, Attorney General Roberto Gurgel fight for the verdictt.

“Homosexuality is a (the way people are), not a crime. So why can’t homosexuals have families? What has been preventing this is two things the Constitution finds abominable – intolerance and prejudice,” said Judge Luis Fux.

Brazil is often paradoxical when it comes to the Gay and Lesbian Community. There is an ingrained homophobia in many Brazilians, a homophobia stoked by the Catholic Church.

But it’s also a country that holds tightly to civil liberties. This was a nation under a military dictatorship not long ago, and this is something still in the minds of politicians and many Brazilians. There is a belief that the rights of all are of the utmost importance, and that belief has led to impressive actions.

Still, the horrifying specter of violence against Gay males is always hovering in my mind. I have fears for Marcelo, Paulino, Pedro and my other Gay friends. But they have chosen to live freely and openly, and if they are afraid, they don’t show it to me.

There is an incredible LGBT community in Brazil. It is based on Pride and determination. And they have seen their hard work pay off. They will not be defeated. And they will never stop.

This is what being a straight man in Brazil means to me. It is a nation where I became forever connected to the Gay community.

It is a nation that has introduced me to some of the best men I’ve ever known. It is a nation where violence against Gay males remains at a horrifying level.

It is a nation where I need to do more to be part of the fight.

But in the end, this is for Marcelo. I love you. And I couldn’t be more proud of you. Thank you for sharing so much with me. Thank you for helping my eyes grow wider.

* William K. Wolfrum is an American writer/columnist/journalist for over 20 and currently lives in Brazil.  Bill’s work has been featured in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Seattle Times, Dallas Morning-News, Conde Nast Portfolio, Time, The Washington Post, and many others publications and was the key figure in outing Martin Eisenstadt as a hoax in 2008, as noted by the New York Times and also worked on debunking the CyClone Dairy/Ben & Jerry’s Hoax, as well as other new-media hoaxes and misinformation campaigns.

William K. Wolfrum is a strong and loyal supporter and advocate of and for the LGBT Community in both America and Brazil, a humanitarian, and save puppies too boot.  (@Wolfrum is also wildly chased after by legions of gay men on Twitter also!)

You can read more of WKW by visiting The Willam K Wolfrum Chronicals

IMO – What I’ve Learned From The Westboro Baptist Church – By Josh Hughes

One of the best things Josh Kilmer-Purcell ever did for me was open my eyes to the facts of the Westboro Baptist Church. I’ve learned many a ‘trick of the trade’ from Shirley Phelps-Roper, one of which is love thy neighbor. The other is ‘connect the dots’.

Here is my standpoint. I am a homosexual agnostic (only in as much as if you COULD prove it to me, I might bother to listen, otherwise i could care less) who FULLY and ADAMANTLY supports the Phelps Family, the Westboro Baptist Church and the work they do! Confused? Perplexed? You shouldn’t be… and here’s why.

No one organization has done more to further the rights of the LGBT community, or for that matter to bring this country together on any issue, than Fred Phelps and the WBC. 99.9% of Americans, and maybe the world, think they are a complete disgrace and don’t want to be associated with them in any way, shape, or form, and will go to great lengths to be disassociated with them, including re-evaluating their stand on LGBT issues. They do my cause a great service… now when faced with a homophobic conservative I get to use the argument “oh, so you follow the teachings of the WBC?” As you can well imagine, especially with the military funeral picketing, this gives everyone pause! As Shirley would say, ‘It’s the hypocrisy of it all that’s the worst’.

During a trip to Central Michigan University last fall, she rebuked a student’s anti-gay marriage stance by saying…“Well you stinking hypocrite. What kind of a pig are you? You mean they can be gay but you’re not going to let them marry? You’re going to deny them the… Why? WHY? You told them it’s okay to be gay but that they can’t get married? By what rationale, where do you get that standard? That stinking hypocritical standard?”

She comes back to the hypocrisy of it all the time, and this should give you pause. We know where they stand, they don’t hide it, and they are not a threat. The threats lurk in those that are hypocrites, who say one thing and do another. That “love the sinner and hate the sin” crowd, that are terrorizing us in secret via the voting booth, and denigrating us with their checkbooks via the PAC’s! It’s time to STOP THE HYPOCRISY!

While everything I’ve written thus far is true, and I defend it wholeheartedly, there is a much bigger issue that should make all of us very grateful to the Phelps family. I don’t know of any group of people in the history of this country that have done more to protect the First Amendment than Phelps Chartered Law Firm. I truly hope that they, and our rights, last long enough to picket my funeral. My advice… Offer them hot chocolate and thank them for their help… REALLY!

*Josh Hughes is a 30’s something non-typical accountant type. He spends his 9-5’s in the non-profit sector helping to solve the housing crisis one simple affordable house at a time in a chilly northern Michigan city. In the evenings, he helps small businesses get started, get bigger, and get better in northern Ontario Canada. In his “spare” time, he likes to think that all the classes he’s taking are leading to an MBA. You can follow his daily rants and raves on twitter at @joshhughes75. Aside from speaking his mind, his other hobbies include; music, reading and long walks on the beach… all with booze!  Josh’s editorial feature ‘IMO’ will be featured here on Back2stonewall.com twice weekly (when he’s sober)!

**The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the various authors and forum participants on this web site do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of Back2Stonewall.com or official policies of Back2Stonewall.com.

IMO – Getting Back to Basics! – By Josh Hughes

Getting Back to Basics!
by Josh Hughes

The fight for civil rights in the gay community has changed drastically since the days of Stonewall in the East and Harvey Milk in the West. Foremost is the community itself. It is no longer just a “gay” community. We’ve, for the most part, broken down some of the smaller barriers inside our own community to include lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender, and virtually any other group that in the past we may have marginalized ourselves. For this I say stop right here and pat yourself on the back.

We’ve also made much progress at the local, state, and national levels all over the United States, and have affected or effected change in many other countries. At the risk of causing a repetitive stress injury, I say kudos are in order yet again. But where are we headed, and what is our direction, and who is leading us? In the information super-age, where we can, with the click of a button, see where to vacation, where to get married, and what complete stranger to do both with, it’s easy to get inundated with local, regional, and international causes and missions. It’s easy to “like” this or “re-tweet” that, and urge your friends to do the same, and all of that is very harmless, and in fact does a lot to increase awareness. Sadly, it’s doesn’t really do more than that, and it can easily lull us into thinking we’ve helped the fight for the day.

Stonewall was NOT about a nation of queers that had had enough, it was about, essentially, a neighborhood. Harvey Milk wasn’t interested in making the US safer for homosexuals; he was worried about the safety of his friends and neighbors. When we talk about the history of gay civil rights, this is the first name, and the first event that come to mind, and for good reason. When it’s time to take to the streets, it’s Main Street we should be focusing on, not Pennsylvania Avenue.

In a sleepy Northern Michigan city (pop 15,000), where former republican governors retire, and current ultra-conservative politicians rule the roost, local organizers have managed to pass a sexuality-inclusive, anti-discrimination law, as well as a sexuality-inclusive, anti-bullying rule for the local school system. The Traverse City war cry? “Do the right thing”.

In a tiny little town (pop 2,400) in the foothills of the Ozarks (Yes, Arkansas), they knew that protecting their community was the job of the community, so they started a domestic partnership registry so that all members of the community could be protected to the extent that they could provide. They weren’t interested in what was happening in Washington, or even in Little Rock, Eureka Springs would protect their own!

All around the nation people are setting their sights back on city hall, where the fight can actually be won. Where are you fighting?

*Back2Stonewall.com would like to welcome Josh Hughes as a new addition to our blog!

**Josh Hughes is a 30’s something non-typical accountant type.  He spends his 9-5’s in the non-profit sector helping to solve the housing crisis one simple affordable house at a time in a chilly northern Michigan city.  In the evenings, he helps small businesses get started, get bigger, and get better in northern Ontario Canada.  In his “spare” time, he likes to think that all the classes he’s taking are leading to an MBA.  You can follow his daily rants and raves on twitter at @joshhughes75.  Aside from speaking his mind, his other hobbies include; music, reading and long walks on the beach… all with booze!

***Josh’s editorial feature ‘IMO’ will be featured here on Back2stonewall.com twice weekly (when he’s sober)!

Back2Stonewall.com Sunday Special Guest Contributor: Award Winning Novelist, Author, and Poet Perry Brass

Back2Stonewall is proud to announce that this Sunday August 22, 2010 Award Winning Author Perry Brass will be posting a Special Guest Column exclusively written for Back2Stonewall.com

Poet, novelist, and gay activist, Perry Brass has published 15 books including erotic classics like Mirage, Angel Lust, The Substance of God, and Carnal Sacraments, as well as How to Survive Your Own Gay Life. He’s been a finalist 6 times for Lambda Literary Awards, and won two IPPY Awards from Independent Publisher. As an activist, he joined the Gay Liberation Front in 1969, right after Stonewall, and became an editor of Come Out!, the world’s first gay liberation newspaper. His newest book is The Manly Art of Seduction, How to Meet, Talk To, and Become Intimate with Anyone. and Perry is also involved with the popular blog “Queer New York”

Sp please stop by on Sunday to read Perry’s column as he takes us on a walk down memory lane with his piece:  Another Part of Lost Gay New York: Riis Park, a.k.a, “Screech Beach.”