Sunday, November 23, 2014

"Gay PDA Is Okay!"


"Love, Happiness, Freedom... Live Fearlessly "




"The Views To Love..."


Let love have its sway with you...



"The Journey To Truth..."


Michael Sam Talks Coming Out, Troubled Childhood And His NFL Future In GQ

Curtis M. Wong
11/21/2014

Michael Sam capped off an incredible 2014 when he was named one of GQ's Men of the Year alongside Chris Pratt, Steve Carrell, Ansel Elgort and others.

Still, the 24-year-old, who became the first openly gay player to be drafted by the NFL but is currently without a team, reveals many personal struggles in the interview the accompanies the GQ cover.

Looking back on his history-making coming out, Sam tells GQ’s Andrew Corsello, “If I had it my way, I never would have done it the way I did, never would have told it the way I did. But the recruiters knew, and reporters knew, and they talked to each other, and it got out."


Noting that he "thought others would join me," he added, "I have no regrets ... It looks good to see me in the position I’m in now, because I can show the world how good I am and rise up the ranks. I’m at the bottom now. I can rise up, show I’m a football player. Not anything else. Just a football player.”

Sam also takes the opportunity to open up about his troubled childhood in Texas.

"We called the cops on my brothers so many times I can’t even count," he recalls. "They’ve both written me letters from prison. For them to dare to call themselves my brothers -- I can’t live with that.”

Responding to controversial media reports and statements made after the NFL drafted him, he adds, "I’ll say this: I want to become a distraction! And what I mean is: by making big plays and doing good stuff on the field. Although nobody would print that, because that’s not a story. Gotta keep bringing up the locker room situation because he’s gay.”

Click here to read the full GQ interview with Michael Sam.


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"Fear Eats the Soul"



"The GIFt of Love..."


A Kiss Will Warm His Heart



"We Were Always There..."


"Our love preserved us..."



"The Truth Of Love In A Song..."






"A Sad Truth, But I Agree..."


Why I No Longer Want To Be Gay

Luis Pabon
November 17, 2014

I no longer want to be gay. I know that on the surface this statement reeks of the denial, self-loathing and internalized homophobia commonly associated with accepting and integrating ones gayness but truth is, I just don’t want to be gay anymore. It has outlived its usefulness. I have experienced all aspects of the life and can safely say that it no longer speaks to the person that I am or want to become. I didn’t always feel this way.

Initially I came to this community searching for love, intimacy and brotherhood. In return, I got shade, infidelity, loneliness and disunity. The self-loathing in this community forces you to encounter a series of broken men who are self-destructive, hurtful, cruel and vindictive towards one another. I have struggled to adapt my moral code to fit the behaviors concomitant with the lifestyle but it seems that the lifestyle is forcing me too far away from everything I love and value. No matter how many times I try to purge my perception of its firmly held beliefs and skewed biases, the same classic stereotypes of gay men keep rearing their ugly heads. The indiscriminate sex, superficiality, unstable relationships, self-hatred, peter pan syndrome, closeted connections, ageism, shade, loneliness, preoccupation with sex, prejudice, aversion to intimacy all seem to come out of the ground I thought they were buried under. Gay men just seem to find it difficult to transcend the stereotypes and clichés attached to the life and it is becoming disheartening.

It has been seven years since I decided to live my life as an openly gay male and it has not been an easy road. It has been fraught with much pain and misery that I initially tried to mask with alcohol, drugs, sex and parties. In the beginning it was hard to admit that I liked other men. But I did and it was a very freeing experience. It gave me the opportunity to assert my identity when for years I struggled with this. It gave me a chance to be my own activist and stand up in the face of opposition from family, friends and society as a whole. I took pride in my gay pride and felt as though I were apart of something greater than myself, a movement of men who loved other men and who were unafraid to show it. Our love was supposed to be a revolutionary act. But the truth is, we didn’t love each other; we were just infatuated with the idea of belonging and going against the grain. We loved the freedom and taboo of rebelling against societal mores. The love that we thought was intricate to the spelling of our revolution was just a knife that we turned in on ourselves under the guise of fun and good times.

Personally I believe that love is sacrifice and not many gay men are willing to sacrifice for their brethren nowadays. Initially this spirit of self-sacrifice was salient during the AIDS crisis in the early 80’s and 90’s when resources were scarce and people were afraid. But now, there seems to be a preoccupation with the seduction of risk, as gay men play with matches, hoping to ignite meaningful connections in their never ending self-discovery. The grand prize of intimacy is often forfeited for the immediate gratification of a casual encounter on craigslist or a geo-social hook up on Grindr. Cars have become the new bedrooms and sex is not followed with pillow talk but rather phrases such as: “Blo and Go,” “Pump and Dump” and “Skeet and Leave”. The life is starting to look a lot like a slow death simmering on low heat and it doesn’t hold the same appeal that it once did to me. It is a life in serious need of renovations.

Men also used to be men and approached you with a modicum of chivalrous courage. Now they hide behind electronic masks or position themselves in close proximity to you at clubs hoping you initiate contact only to arrogantly dismiss your advances in an attempt to project their own discomfort. I have noticed that a lot of gay men seem to only want a challenge and live for the elusive. They want men who do not want them, men who resemble the emotional distance or absence of their fathers.

I am too young to long for the good old days but this life makes you miss what it meant to be gay. It makes you long for the times when a guy would greet you and offer you a drink as opposed to his cock size and sexual stats. The middleman of courtesy has been eliminated and replaced with an immoral devil who chaperons your destruction daily. It just isn’t worth it anymore. And while I recognize my attractions to men, I choose to no longer associate myself with a life that lives outside of morality and goodness. The gay life is like the love of a bad boy whose attention and love you initially covet but eventually outgrow. It’s just not where I see myself anymore. 


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I agree with the author's point of view.  I don't want to be 'gay', the truth is I never really did... By this I mean I don't want to be identified by the stereotypes that the 'gay' label cannotes.  This is why if you must label me according to my sexuality, I much prefer the term "Same Gender Loving" as this speaks to the truth of my heart.  I want to love and be loved, not use and be used.  I want the happiness that I dreamed of as a child... a mate and marriage, a house and a home, and a family and the freedom to love openly.

I have begrudingly used and allowed the use of the gay label, but it's not because I can identify with it, but because sometimes it's just easier for others to get the general gist of my truth and my reality. But the more the stereotypes of being 'gay' change, the less inclined I am to allow that label for myself, even if it's just for convenience.


"Fear Eats the Soul"



"Same Gender Loving People - No. 1854"


"Love, Marriage, Happiness..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.



"The Truth Of The Dance..."


Tango (possibly from Latin tangere, meaning "touch") is a partner dance that originated in the 1890s along the Río de la Plata, the natural border between Uruguay and Argentina, and soon spread to the rest of the world.

Early tango was known as tango criollo (Creole tango). Today, there are many forms of tango extant. Popularly and among tango dancing circles, the authentic tango is considered to be the one closest to the form originally danced in Argentina and Uruguay.

MEN DANCING TANGO WITH MEN

The impetus for this article arose from stumbling across one of the most beautiful tango videos I have ever come across - containing two men (brothers no less). The fact that it is tango milonga is already a big plus, as that genre is my favorite... but I digress. Before this topic is discussed, I attach the said video for your viewing pleasure.

Enrique and Guillermo De Fazio dancing to the Reliquia Portenas

The Myth

The myth of how men started dancing tango with men has two variations; both around the theme of bordellos - aka 'prostibulos' - most likely because this theme sounds so damn good. The first variation relies on the boredom factor, a la whilst men were waiting to be 'serviced' they had nothing else to do other than to refine their dancing skills. The second variation (only slightly less fanciful) has bordellos providing the waiting men with tango bands for their casual dancing amusement, while they waited.

The sad truth is that whilst both variations undoubtedly did happen, it does not account for the large numbers of men who danced together, nor for the wide-scale acceptance of same-sex dancing, which is quite rare in other dancing cultures.


The Origin of Him-and-Him

So indeed, what is the principle origin of men dancing tango with each other? 

In fact there are three completely separate reasons - which interestingly worked together.

Reason 1: No Access To Women

The first reason derives from where tango was initially danced. It must be remembered that tango, foremost, was the dance of the poor, the underprivileged - the 'lower class'. This group of people had less access to venues where tango was danced, and furthermore had less cultural 'finesses' or boundaries. As a result of these influences there evolved a culture in which it was acceptable for tango to be danced in the streets. Hence even before tango was danced between men, we must imagine in our minds a culture where it was quite common for couples to dance out in the open. In fact a specific style, Tango Orillero, was even evolved out of outdoor suburban tango dancing.

But in the early 1900s, tango was changed forever by the advent of European immigration. One of the outcomes of this cultural shift was that it became unacceptable for women to dance on the streets. The proximity of men and women in public was considered to be a scandal - even touching slightly, let alone embracing. Many women, especially the young, were not allowed to go to practicas or milongas, except if accompanied with their parents. However men being men, they still wanted do what they men wanted to do - dance! A certain percentage of the men went to venues where it was acceptable to dance, but many others - due to limited means or access - had no option other than to continue dancing in the streets. At that point, if a man wanted to dance in the street, there was not much choice; his only option was to dance with other men, which is precisely what occurred.


Reason 2: Courting

The second reason for sam-sex dancing is the fact that dancing was seen as a means to a woman's heart. This was further exacerbated by the fact that men outnumbered women in Buenos Aires in the early 1900s, so competition was fierce, and every edge counted. From this perspective, the fact that men could dance with men away from women was actually an advantage: young men could tune their skills for a long time by going to men-only prácticas, until they were ready and confident to enter the floor of couples - where inevitably only very good dancers were accepted. This further reinforced the need for male-only dancing. It should be noted that the process for a man to learn tango would first start with the man going to a practica, and watching. Eventually one of the older men would teach him how to follow. Then when he was proficient, he would be promoted to leading another young man. Normally it would take about a year until a man was promoted to start leading. Then, when the man was ready - and this took often 3 years! - he would finally be escorted with another more experienced man to a milonga for an arranged dance with a woman.


Reason 3: Suppression of Tango

The third reason for men dancing tango with men is that tango was considered immoral by the upper class and the authorities. So much so that there was a formal initiative to close all cafes and ban tango music from being played on the streets. For example, in 1916 a law was passed in Buenos Aires that banned dancing between men in dance establishments. An attempt was made to slowly eradicate it from Argentina, and we find an account in 1919 by Joaquin Belda, who in his visit to Buenos Aires for 6 months wrote that most of the cafes were either closed or empty.

This of course resulted in even further reduced access to couples dancing tango, so to dance tango, men had to to dance with each other.

******

And of course, there was one more reason... 


Some of these men were in-fact same gender loving men and dancing the tango together afforded them a rare freedom to express their affections (even if guardedly so) in a public venue where their dance skills would even be applauded.  

As always, "We Were Always There..."


"Fear Eats the Soul"



"The Artist's Corner..."


"A Song for the Lonely"
Acrylic on canvas
Steve Walker



Saturday, November 22, 2014

"Gay PDA Is Okay!"


"Love Travels Well... Live Fearlessly "




"The GIFt of Love..."


Passion - When love and desires collide



"The Power Of The Truth..."

Barilla  Chief Executive Officer Claudio Colzani

Barilla From Worst to First on HRC's Corporate Equality Index


Winnie McCroy
November 20, 2014


Last fall, Barilla's chairman got into some hot water when the chairman said they company would never feature an LGBT couple in its ads, and if gays didn't like it, they could eat something else.

But after a toxic boycott of the company drove away customers and profits, the company was forced to eat its own words. They reached out to HRC, and made such dramatic changes in the course of one year that they received a perfect score from the prominent gay rights group.

The Washington Post reported today that the company has expanded health benefits for transgender workers and their families, contributed money to gay rights, and featured a lesbian couple on a promotional website.

"It is very unusual for a business to take on the full spectrum of CEI criteria in one year," said HRC's Director of the Workplace Deena Fidas. "Some people may certainly speculate about the motivations here, but at the end of the day it's irrefutable that at Barilla, you have LGBT-inclusive police and practices... that were not there a year ago."

For a complete look at all the changes Barilla made to get from a -25 to a perfect 100 in one year, check the HRC's CEI here.

Barilla's Chief Diversity Officer Talita Erickson said that the company has demonstrated its sincerity with actions like transgender-related health care, a thorough diversity training and a broader anti-discrimination policy. They even donated money to the Tyler Clementi Foundation, an anti-bullying organization founded by the parents of the gay Rutgers student who committed suicide. But don't expect to see gays in their TV commercials anytime soon.

"My understanding is we're absolutely open to having the LGBT community represented in our ads in the future," said Erickson. "It's going to happen gradually."

Back in September 2013 EDGE reported on the president of Barilla's statement that he wouldn't use same-sex couples in advertising.

At that time, HRC even urged the LGBT community to choose from five other LGBT-friendly pasta brands that support equal rights, saying, "should you find yourself without the taste for a piping hot plate of Barilla pasta tonight, here are a few LGBT-friendly pasta companies that practice corporate social responsibility."

If vocal boycotts were this effective with a company that unapologetically denied the LGBT community any representation less than 400 days ago, could similar strategies work with other anti-gay companies? One can only imagine the pastabilities.


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This is the power of truth... 
When you call out irrational hate and prejudice for what it is, it can't survive.

On a happy note, this means that Maggianno's is back on!


"Fear Eats the Soul"



"Applications...A Comic About A Guy His Phone, And A Dating App"

Part 2
(click panes to enlarge)

"APPLICATIONS" tells the story of Xavier, his new phone, and the dating application that is consuming his life.

Grindr, Scruff, and other such apps are ubiquitous these days. But are they a real solution to finding romance or a time trap laden with shallow connections? Xavier has similar questions.

Author Josh Trujillo is a comic book writer and dodgeball champion based out of Los Angeles. His current series, LOVE MACHINES, tells stories about how romance is impacted by technology. Collected editions of LOVE MACHINES are available digitally on Comixologyor in print on Etsy. You can follow Josh's work @LostHisKeysMan or visit his websiteJoshTrujillo.com.

Dave Valeza is an illustrator based out of Savannah, Georgia. His debut, An Elegy for Amelia Johnson, was named one of USA Today's Best Graphic Novels of 2011. "Applications" is Dave's first comic with Josh Trujillo since their contribution to Northwest Press' Anything That Loves: Comics Beyond Gay & Straight. Dave is inspired by fashion, science fiction, and human relationships. You can follow Dave's work@BrainVario or visit his website DaveValeza.com.






"And The Truth Shall Set You Free..."


Country Singer Billy Gilman Comes Out As Gay

Curtis M. Wong
11/20/2014


Country singer Billy Gilman, who shot to stardom at age 11 with "One Voice," has come out as gay.

The 26-year-old Rhode Island native spoke apprehensively, but at length, about his sexuality in a new YouTube clip posted on Nov. 20. The singer says he was inspired by fellow country musician Ty Herndon, who came out as gay in interviews with People magazine and Entertainment Tonight the very same day, in his decision to come out.

Discussing his struggles to be taken seriously as an adult country performer by record labels, he says, "It's pretty silly to know that I'm ashamed of doing this knowing that because I'm in an genre and industry that is ashamed of me for being me."

Gilman, who says he's been with a partner for about five months, went on to note, "I want to say that all of the country artists that literally I grew up with -- Keith Urban, Vince Gill, Lee Ann Rimes and all of these wonderful friends of mine have been nothing but supportive. Not that they knew but they've just been such wonderful people."

Before offering fans a sneak peek at a forthcoming music video, he adds, "I've been an advocate for so many things in my life that I thought, why not now be an advocate for me and for the cause that I believe in with my whole heart?"

GIlman now joins Herndon, Cheyl Wright and "All-American Boy" singer Steve Grand in the ranks of country music's out and proud performers.



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"Fear Eats the Soul"



"The Truth About Love..."

Japanese Dictionary Alters Definitions Of Love And Sex To Be Gay-Inclusive
The definitions were altered to be less heteronormative

Joseph Patrick McCormick
November 21, 2014
PinkNews.com

A leading Japanese dictionary has altered two of its entries to make it more gay-inclusive.

The edits were made in the latest edition of the Sanseido Kokugo Jiten, the National Language Dictionary. It revised the way it defines words relating to love and sex, and removed restrictive definitions referring specifically to men and women.

In the 7th edition of the dictionary, words like “love”, “romantic chemistry”, “carnal desire” have been altered to remove those references, reports RocketNews.

The definition of the word “koi”, which is used to describe romantic love, now reads: “To have unquenchable feelings of affection for a person, of wanting to see them, and always wanting to be with them.”

In previous editions, it said: “Unquenchable feelings of affection between a man and woman, of wanting to see them, and always wanting to be with them.”

The definition of “shikijou”, which refers to carnal desire previously read: “Feelings of sexual desire between a man and a woman,” but has been simplified to just: “Feelings of sexual desire”.


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"Fear Eats the Soul"



"Not The Imitation Of Life..."


Our "Jack" got married!

Out actor, Sean Hayes from the series "Will & Grace"
married his longtime partner Scott Icenogle


Congratulations Sean and Scott!


"Fear Eats the Soul"


"Selfie Love..."


"Selfie Love" - those beautiful, grainy, out-of-focus self-pics that capture the truth of true love...



"Same Gender Loving People - No. 1853"


"Real Love Is Responsible..."

Positive images of people like me... The truth of the matter is that we all need to see people like ourselves. So everyday, I'll post a photo, drawing or some other artwork that depicts Same Gender Loving People as what we are... Only Human.



"The Artist's Corner..."


“Wood’s Quarry”
Oil on canvas
Walter Stuempfig



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