Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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

Actor Daniel Franzese Writes a Touching Coming Out Letter To His Iconic 'Mean Girls' Character Damian

Daniel Franzese
April 22, 2014

Daniel Franzese, who played openly gay Damian in "Mean Girls" -- which came out 10 years ago this month -- asked us to share this touching coming out letter he wrote to his character in the film.

Daniel Franzese in Mean Girls
Dear Damian

It’s been a long time since our last encounter.  Ten years to be exact.

I was twenty-six; you were sixteen.  You were proud of who you were; I was an insecure actor.  You became an iconic character that people looked up to; I wished I’d had you as a role model when I was younger. I might've been easier to be gay growing up.

You WERE beautiful in every single way and words couldn’t bring you down.

What you may not know…

When I was cast in the role of “Damian” in ‘Mean Girls,’ I was TERRIFIED to play this part.  But this was a natural and true representation of a gay teenager - a character we laughed with instead of at.  (You can thank Tina Fey and Mark Waters for that.  I can only take partial credit.)

When we first made this movie, I’m not sure any of us knew how loved and quoted this movie would become.  You certainly hope when you pour your heart into something, that people will respond - but to paraphrase Gretchen Wieners, “we can’t help it that we’re so popular.”

So, why the hell did it take me so long to come out of the closet?  

Here’s why:

When I first became an actor, I wanted to play lots of roles - Guidos, gangsters and goombahs were my specialty.  So, would I be able to play all of those parts after portraying a sensitive, moisturizing, Ashton Kutcher-loving, pink-shirt-wearing kid?  I was optimistic.  Hollywood?  Not so much.  I was meeting a "gay glass ceiling" in casting.

For example: 

One time I wanted to audition for a supporting character in a low-budget indie movie described as a “doughy, blue-collar lug of a guy.”  The role was to play the husband of an actress friend of mine who I had been in two movies and an Off-Broadway play with.  She and I had even moved to L.A. together.

I figured I was perfect for it.

They said they were looking for a real “man’s man.”  The casting director wouldn’t even let me audition. This wasn't the last time this happened. There were industry people who had seen me play you in Mean Girls but never seen me read in an audition but still denied me to be seen for “masculine” roles.

However, I did turn down many offers to play flamboyant, feather-boa-slinging stereotypes that always seemed to be laughed at BECAUSE they were gay. How could I go from playing an inspirational, progressive gay youth to the embarrassing, cliched butt-of-a-joke? 

So, there it was.  Damian, you had ruined my life and I was really pissed at you. I became celibate for a year and a half.  I didn’t go to any gay bars, have any flings and I lied to anyone who asked if I was gay.  I even brought a girl to the ‘Mean Girls’ premiere and kissed her on the red carpet, making her my unwitting beard.  

It wasn’t until years later that grown men started to coming up to me on the street - some of them in tears - and thanking me for being a role model to them. Telling me I gave them comfort not only being young and gay but also being a big dude. It was then that I realized how much of an impact YOU had made on them.  

Meanwhile, I was still in the closet.  Deleting tweets that asked if I was gay, scrubbing IMDB Message Boards for any indication, etc.  (It’s important to note that I was actually DISCOVERED singing in a Florida gay bar by casting director, Carmen Cuba, for my first role in Larry Clark’s ‘Bully.’) 

I had the perfect opportunity in 2004 to let people know the REAL Daniel Franzese.  Now in 2014 - ten years later - looking back, it took YOU to teach me how to be proud of myself again.  It’s okay if no one wants to sit at the table with the “art freaks.”  Being a queer artist is one of my favorite things about myself. I have always been different and that's rad. People have always asked if I was really gay? While my reps usually lied to protect me. My friends and family all knew the truth but now it's time everyone does. Perhaps this will help someone else. I had to remind myself that my parents named me Daniel because it means "God is my judge" So, I’m not afraid anymore.  Of Hollywood, the closet or mean girls.  Thank you for that, Damian.  (And Tina.)  

By the way…in June I am the Celebrity Grand Marshall of the Portland Gay Pride Parade.


We go Glen Coco.

With love and respect,

Daniel Franzese

P.S.  I hate it when people say I’m “too gay to function.”  I know you do, too. Those people are part of the problem.  They should refrain from using that phrase. It really is ONLY okay when Janis says it.


"Fear Eats the Soul"

"A Little Relationship Advice..."


Gay Relationships - That Special Touch
Developing skill with touch is an important part of having successful relationships. Touch is critical to human beings.The love and support communicated through touch affirms our connection to others and has even been shown to contribute to the health of our immune systems. Many studies have shown that when infants are neglected and not held, they fail to thrive. Something similar seems true for us adults.

Too many men have limited skill when it comes to touch. Their experience with the way men make contact is limited -- a slap on the back from Dad, wrestling with friends growing up, the touch of a boyfriend during sex. For others, touch has too often been abusive -- being smacked around by schoolmates or parents, or uninvited and unwanted sexual touch.

Maybe you’ve found yourself in a bar talking with a friend, only to find someone rubbing up against you. This can be fun and a turn-on or annoying and intrusive, depending on your frame of mind and how you feel about the person initiating the physical contact.

Unfortunately, some men have the opinion that if you’re a gay man and I’m a gay man, then I automatically have the right to touch or grope you if I want to. And even more unfortunately, others of us have never learned that we have the right to say “no” to unwelcome touch.

Have you ever gone to a movie with a date and found him stroking your arm over and over and over again in exactly the same way -- almost as if he was a robot? You suspected that he meant to be affectionate, but pretty soon you were ready to run screaming from your seat! Touch that doesn’t have presence and attention behind it can create the same sensation as fingernails raking down a black board.

Physical contact that works and is welcome can have just the opposite effect -- calming us, drawing us closer to the person with whom we are sharing touch.

To increase the quality of your touch, think of your hands as an extension of your heart. Instead of casually brushing your hand over someone, bring focus to your touching; you are touching them with your heart. Imagine that this is the only person in the world who exists right now. He has your undivided attention while you are in contact with him. Take your time.

Not all touch is sexual. If touch equals sex for you, you may need to slow down and explore a bit. Friendly, inviting contact between people can be reassuring, comforting and enjoyable in its own right and need not be an invitation to sex. Some people are uncomfortable with touch when they assume that the person initiating contact has an unspoken erotic agenda.

Touch which is repetitive or constant becomes boring and easy to ignore. Vary the intensity and pressure of your touch. This is true whether you are touching a friend to make a point during conversation or whether you are caressing your partner to bring him to orgasm. Touch can be with finger tips or the whole palm. It can be quick and invigorating -- think of a back rub -- or slow and soft.

Learning new ways to make physical contact increases our “touch vocabulary,” and helps us communicate with others.

John R. Ballew, M.S. an author and contributor to GAYTWOGETHER, is a licensed professional counselor in private practice in Atlanta. He specializes in issues related to coming out, sexuality, relationships and spirituality. If you have any questions or comments you can submit them directly to GAYTWOGETHER or John R. Ballew, M.S. -

"We Were Always There..."

"It was our first home..."

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 1676"

"Love Makes You Silly And Happy Too..."

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..."

"The Beginning of a Day"
Acrylic on canvas
Steve Walker

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

"Gay PDA Is Okay!"

"To Be In Love Is To Be Together In The World... Live Fearlessly"

"The Imitation Of Life..."

"Jackpot" - It's 1994 and there's no internet, so when closeted 14-year-old Jack Hoffman hears about a stash of porno hidden across town, he decides to brave the bully infested streets of his small New Jersey town, in hopes of getting what he wants. What happens over the course of the day will change everything.

"Fear Eats the Soul"

"The Poet's Corner..."

All love is sweet,
Given or returned. Common as light is love,
And its familiar voice wearies not ever.
Like the wide heaven, the all-sustaining air,
It makes the reptile equal to the God;
They who inspire it most are fortunate,
As I am now; but those who feel it most
Are happier still.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

"A View To Love..."

Love and Marriage

"Finally, The Truth Out Of Africa..."

Gays And The Perverted Angels Of Africa

By Joseph Osei Oppong Brenya
April 22, 2014

Well guys today I am not on my best mood truthfully, I had this debate with my cousin about gay rights in Africa. Is it so bad to be gay? is it a curse ? , is it a disease? I mean common really!!?? I read many articles on the subject whether its surveys, religious publishing, newspapers, political reviews, Everybody in Africa is mad because gay people demand to recognize simply as people. Excuse my French but WTF?

To me it is pretty simple; let people do what they want as long as it causes you no harm period! I think we Africans are somewhat delusional , homosexuality has ALWAYS EXISTED ask your grandpa maybe he was gay (lol just kidding) ; no but for real it’s time to let go of this hypocrisy , talking about killing gays , putting them in jail and stuff like that. Will it make them LESS gay!? Really? They are human beings like any other person. It is an ugly taboo in African societies and it needs to stop.

I do understand that most religious beliefs condemn homosexuality, and people often use the Sodom and Gomorra example in the bible; but I have a question for you: Is your religion perfect? Do not forget that it is forbidden in most religions to: lie, steal, fornicate before marriage, kill, dishonor your parents, blaspheme etc. Now tell me, which one of these sins you have not done!? Pleaaaaase tell me!!!! I feel like we going back to the slavery era, but this time we are enslaving our own brothers and sister. How can a government pass a law against its own people based on sexual orientation?? What of human rights huh!? Ooohhh it makes me mad!!!

In most comments I read, people are talking about keeping our African cultures and traditions intact, that is so far the stupidest excuse I have heard on this subject. Who you fuck, and the way you do it has nothing, nothiiiiiing to do with culture or tradition. Do You really think gay people chose to be gay? And please don’t try to tell me that it depends on the environment you grew up in because that is simply not true.

Quick story - One of my best friend is a proudly African gay male , and I am very proud that he owns it 100%. He grew up in very religious Muslim family. His dad is actually an El Hadj with many wives and kids. My friend grew up with his brothers, all tough guys, hard workers, passionate about sports and women; but even though my friend tried to fit in, he never succeeded. Here’s a guy who even tried to date girls but never was sexually attracted to them. So after years of suffering in silence he had to come out of the closet.  Of course it has been hell, till today his family is barely speaking to him, but at least he is free to be him! They say when you know yourself good enough, what you stand for, your flaws and qualities; it is very difficult for other people to bring you down. Today he is a successful young man running his own company and even founded an orphanage in his country.

I am trying not to judge anybody, but I strongly believe everything is a matter of perception. All gay people do not dress or act like the opposite sex, I actually do not think it is the best way to make your point, it’s rather annoying than anything else. Lots of people ask me about my opinion on gay marriage and adoption; well it is a little more delicate and here’s why: It is ok for two grown ups to decide to be together because they are not influencing each other. They are fully aware of what they are doing, it is their choice. When it comes to adoption, it is another debate. Kids do not get to chose and that is why I am not pro adoption! As for marriage it is a civil right so I absolutely have no problem with that (although I am not a strong believer in marriage in general).

There is so much to say on this subject really that I cannot wrap it up in just one article, but here’s my final thought: It is not our responsibility to judge one another, unless your name is Jesus you have no authority on how people should or should not live their lives.

Journalist: Ultimate Radio 106.9/


Finally, some common sense out of Africa... I agree with most of what the author said here. But on the issue of adoption, I would suggest that if you asked most orphans (especially in Africa) if they'd prefer to remain orphans or be loved and cared for by a same-gender-loving person or couple, they wouldn't hesitate to choose a same-gender-loving home.  And as for Jesus Christ, I'm forced to remind everyone that His advice was this:

 Judge not, that ye be not judged.

 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

I doubt that many of this author's countrymen will agree with his position here, but I do know that this is how change begins... His common sense appeal renews my hope for Mother Africa and the millions of my GLBT brothers and sisters who are forced to live in fear and oppression there.

"Fear Eats the Soul"

* Minimal grammatical corrections were made to the original text for clarity and ease of reading.

"We Were Always There..."

"Yes, we were always there..."

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 1675"

"We Knew The Moment We Met It Was Real Love..."

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.

"Selfie Love..."

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

"The Artist's Corner..."

Acrylic on canvas
Steve Walker

Monday, April 21, 2014

"Gay PDA Is Okay!"

"Love Is Beauty... Live Fearlessly"

"Adam and Andy..."

I love James Asal's "Adam and Andy" strip
Married life really is like this.

"The Truth About Kisses..."

"The Poet's Corner..."

"What Love Is"
Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Love is the crown that glorifies; the curse
That brands and burdens; it is life and death.
It is the great law of the universe;
And nothing can exist without its breath.

"This Made Me Smile..."

What happens when a gay guy asks random guys on the street for their numbers and a date...?

Are you as surprised as I am by the reactions?

"The GIFt of Love..."

"The moment when romance becomes love..."

"We Were Always There..."

"When we saw the photo we'd taken, we knew everyone
could see what we thought we'd hidden..."

"The GIFt of Love..."

"Kisses reveal the truth of passion..."

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 1674"

"A Family Is Made Of Love..."

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..."

Oil on canvas
David Paynter


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