Saturday, May 30, 2015

"The Truth Once Upon A Time In America..."


After 15 Years As 'Father' And 'Son,' Gay Couple In Pennsylvania Finally Marry


Cavan Sieczkowski
05/29/2015

After 15 years of living -- technically -- as "father" and "son," a same-sex Pennsylvania couple were finally able to marry this week.

Norman MacArthur and Bill Novak, both in their 70s, said "I do" in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, on Sunday, Yahoo Parenting reports. The two have been together since their 20s and registered as a domestic partnership in New York in 1994. But they moved to Pennsylvania a few years later, where their partnership was not recognized. The only way they could have a formal legal relationship, with all the rights that entailed, was if one of them legally adopted the other.

“It struck me as fairly unusual, but we looked into it and discovered that other couples had done it. [Without the adoption] we would be legally strangers," MacArthur told Yahoo. “Most importantly, it would allow us visitation rights in a hospital, and gaining of knowledge if one of us was in the hospital. With new HIPAA privacy laws, hospitals are very constrained in what they can say to other people. If we were legally related, I would be allowed into the ER and entitled to know what Bill’s condition was if anything should happen.”


Novak adopted MacArthur in 2000 -- "Bill is two years older than I am," MacArthur told Yahoo, "so that was the only reason" -- and the men were father and son, at least on paper, for the next 15 years. The ban on same-sex marriage was ruled unconstitutional in Pennsylvania last year, and the two submitted a petition to vacate the adoption decree. That petition was granted on May 14, allowing Novak and MacArthur to finally marry.

The moment when a judge agreed to vacate the adoption was an emotional one for the couple, and for the 30 friends who'd joined them in the courtroom.

"The courtroom burst into applause. I burst into tears," MacArthur told the Associated Press. "They were certainly happy tears. After months of investigating ways that we could do this and finally having the decision coming down in our favor, I'm still walking 3 feet above the ground."


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These are among the things we did for love when the world wouldn't understand our truth...

On a side note, I guess the haters were right, they said gay marriage would lead to all manner of evils including incest :-)  (Just kidding, I couldn't help myself).

Congratulations Norman and Bill!


"Fear Eats the Soul"



"The Artist's Corner..."


"La Tatouage"
("The Tattoo")
Acrylic on canvas
Jean Chainey



Friday, May 29, 2015

"Gay PDA Is Okay!"


"Love Adds Beauty To Everything... Live Fearlessly"




"We Were Always There..."


"When we looked at ourselves in the photo, we knew
that our secret wasn't a secret anymore..."



"Same Gender Loving People - No. 2029"


"Love At Home Is Beautiful..."

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 Disturbing Truth About Race In America..."


He Shows How The News Talks About Black People By Talking About White People Instead.

Just a heads-up: This is satire. This. Is. Satire. But that's why it's so freaking good.


Franchesca Ramsey



Just in case this segment left you scratching your head, let's break down what it all means. This brilliantly scathing piece was meant to show the hypocrisy in how news media talks criminal behavior in black and white communities.

And the takeaway is this:

Our media is incredibly biased when it comes to covering crime involving people of color.

How do we know? Let's look at three themes that play out over and over again.

1. Victim-shaming vs. killer sympathy

2014 was full of protests and demonstrations in response to unarmed black men, women, and children killed by the police without consequence. And while these stories were all over the news, too many focused on blaming the victims for previous unrelated criminal behavior.

When 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot and killed by a police officer in November 2014, a Cleveland news site ran the story "Tamir Rice's father has history of domestic violence" as if his father's past behavior was somehow relevant.

In April 2015, an unarmed Walter Scott was shot six times in the back by a South Carolina police officer. Although the incident was captured on film and the officer was charged with murder, NBC News ran a story following the incident titled: "Walter Scott Had Bench Warrant for His Arrest, Court Documents Show."
And after a police officer shot and killed unarmed John Crawford in August 2014 in response to a bad tip from a Walmart customer, multiple outlets ran headlines mentioning that Crawford had THC in his system.

All three of these incidents were captured on camera and suggest gross police misconduct, yet the victims in these cases were essentially put on trial.

Meanwhile, the news media is notorious for sympathetically portraying white men and women suspected of crimes (including murder). Take James Eagan Holmes. He was responsible for the 2012 Aurora, Colorado, shooting that left 12 people dead and many more injured — and was noted as a "brilliant science student."

Elliot Rodger, who killed six people plus himself and injured 14 others in Santa Barbara, California, in 2014, was described as "soft-spoken, polite, a gentleman."

See the difference?

2. Coverage of unruly crowds

Riots are never a good thing. But here, too, the media uses a certain spin when the crowd is white.

When riots broke out after the 2011 Stanley Cup, you'd be hard-pressed to find any media blaming "white culture" for the actions of a few hundred rowdy sports fans.

"Riot in Vancouver," 2011, by Elopde

Instead, incidents of mob violence involving large groups of white people in Vancouver, New Hampshire, and Huntington Beach (featured in the Chris Hayes clip) are presented as anomalies. It's also worth noting that in these instances, law enforcement makes efforts to de-escalate the situation and avoid excessive force.

This contrasts how news media and police responded when a handful of people began damaging property during 2014 protests in Ferguson, Missouri, and April 2015 protests in Baltimore over growing frustrating with police brutality. Not only did police show up to the Ferguson and Baltimore protests in full riot gear with military equipment and tear gas, news media continued to demonize protesters and lay the blame on the black community instead of addressing the root of their growing frustrations.

Violence of any kind is wrong. But there's a serious problem when white students rioting after the annual Pumpkin Festival are described as "rowdy" and "unruly" but black protesters rioting in response to police brutality are portrayed as "violent thugs."

3. Blaming black culture

Perhaps the difference in language and coverage is the perception, a la Bill O'Reilly, that "black culture" feeds and supports criminal behavior more than other cultures.

News flash: "Black culture" doesn't cause crime. Period.

Now let's have a quick history lesson.
It's true, African-Americans do make up a disproportionate amount of the U.S. prison population.
"Together, African American and Hispanics comprised 58% of all prisoners in 2008, even though African Americans and Hispanics make up approximately one quarter of the US population."

While this is no doubt upsetting, it'd be foolish to assume based on the numbers alone that black and Hispanic people are more predisposed to crime instead of examining the how and why that so many end up in prison.

It's no secret that crime tends to be more prevalent in impoverished communities. It would be nice to think that everyone has equal access to jobs, housing and education, but the reality is many people of color end up in impoverished communities with poorly funded schools as a result of systemic racism.

Throughout history, black people in the United States have been shut out of communities with good schools and jobs — starting in the 1800s with Jim Crow laws that prohibited renting property to black families, all the way up to the 1960s when the Federal Housing Committee instituted a policy that denied home loans to African-Americans and even people who lived near African-Americans (known as "redlining").

Throughout history, black people in the United States have been shut out of communities with good schools and jobs — starting in the 1800s with Jim Crow laws that prohibited renting property to black families, all the way up to the 1960s when the Federal Housing Committee instituted a policy that denied home loans to African-Americans and even people who lived near African-Americans (known as "redlining").

Sadly, the effects of the blatant discrimination African-Americans experienced more than 60 years ago can still be felt today. It's a domino effect. Think about it: If your grandmother was denied a home loan or employment in the '50s because she was black, that influenced where your parents grew up, which then affected where you grew up. Where you live determines where you go to school, and since the community's tax dollars support local schools, it's easy to see why poor neighborhoods end up with poorly funded schools.

Combine all those elements with limited job opportunities in communities of color (a common consequence of poorly funded schools) and it's no wonder many turn to crime as a means of support.

We haven't even begun to address stiffer prison sentences, racial profiling, and police aggression that are all too prevalent in communities of color! So yeah, it's way complicated.
Chris Hayes' spoof on "white culture" shines a spotlight on our media's blatant hypocrisy.

Before I continue singing Hayes' praises (whoa, that rhymed!), it's important to acknowledge that there have been tons of black activists and scholars who've pointed out our media's hypocrisy long before this segment. 

But I'm always happy when someone uses their platform — and, more importantly, their privilege — to talk about inequality. So cheers to Chris Hayes for this brilliant spoof!

The point is, there's no logical reason for our media to frame white suspects and criminals sympathetically and demonize black victims and suspects. It's not just painfully unfair, it's a gross display of racial bias.


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"Fear Eats the Soul"



"Selfie Love..."


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



"The Truth About Who We Are..."


photo by Kevin Truong

Justin, Student, New York City

by thegaymenproject
photos by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
Justin, in his own words: "In the most literal sense, being gay is just an attraction to someone of the same sex. And, in one regard, for me at least, being gay is just that. But when you consider how much our sexuality dictates how we act and dress and speak and live, I think that being gay (or sexuality, in general) becomes something more. So on one hand, I think that being gay is just a fraction of who I am as a person. That is, I’m not just gay; I’m also a brother, a son, a friend, a student, etc. and I have goals and aspirations and wants and needs that have little to do with my sexuality. But on the other hand, that small part of me has had a significant impact on my person, and I’m always mindful of that.
The challenges that I’ve faced being gay have been largely internal. I’ve only come out in the last two years and, in that time, I struggled with what being gay meant for my identity. I think that there is a pretty generalized notion of what gay men look like or act like, and because I didn’t conform to those standards when I first came out, I felt like I wasn’t “gay enough.” And I think that this notion is even more pronounced in the black community; straight black men seem held to a standard of hyper-masculinity while gay black men (the inverse of straight black men) seem held to an opposite standard of hyper-femininity. Because I don’t see myself as either incredibly masculine or feminine, I’ve found it difficult to strike a balance between these two and present myself in a way that reflects this balance, so that I’m not trying to be super flamboyant and “twinky” in order to fit in with the gay community or so that I’m not trying to “butch up” to fit in with everyone else.
I guess that, in a way, this is my coming out story, since I still haven’t come out to some friends and family members, and I left some to infer that I was gay without making an official declaration.
But I first came out in my freshman year of college, after a friend of mine confided in me and told me that he was gay. It seemed cheap to keep my secret from him after he had been so open with me. So I told him, and I remember feeling free and relieved and secure. And I wanted to replicate that feeling, so I told everyone: my ex-girlfriend, my best friend from home, all of my friends at school, my brother, and finally my parents (all of whom claimed that they already knew). Nothing made me surer of my relationships than the outpouring of love and support from my friends and family after my coming out, and my only regret is that I had not told them sooner."



*********


"Fear Eats the Soul"



"The Artist's Corner..."


"Gathering After The Storm III"
Oil on canvas
Iain Faulkner



Thursday, May 28, 2015

"Gay PDA Is Okay!"


"Love Is The Only Thing That Truly Matters... Live Fearlessly"




"It's Not So Funny..."


"Fear Eats the Soul"




"The Views To Love..."


Everything is a part of the journey to love...



"A Little Sane Advice..."

Guys on the ‘Side': Looking Beyond Gay Tops and Bottoms


Jan 30 2015 





Gay men are constantly referring to and defining themselves as “tops” or “bottoms.” When they consider dating or simply hooking up, gay men typically ask the other guy whether he’s a top, a bottom or “versatile.” It’s important to find this out as soon as possible, because if you are planning to date or get into a relationship, it’s vitally important that you and he be sexually compatible with each other.

The whole issue of tops and bottoms came up recently with the release of a new study that looked at whether or not people can determine whether a gay man is a top or a bottom just by looking at facial cues. The study revealed that judgments made about whether an individual is a top or a bottom are based on perceived masculine and feminine traits.
There’s so much talk and discussion about who gives and who receives. I’ve had straight people tell me that they assumed that most gay guys simply take turns. Yes, some do, but most don’t. But what if a guy isn’t a top, a bottom or even versatile? What about gay men who have never engaged in anal sex and never will, ever?
I think they deserve a name of their own. I call them “sides.”


Defining a Side

Sides prefer to kiss, hug and engage in oral sex, rimming, mutual masturbation and rubbing up and down on each other, to name just a few of the sexual activities they enjoy. These men enjoy practically every sexual practice aside from anal penetration of any kind. They may have tried it, and even performed it for some time, before they became aware that for them, it was simply not erotic and wasn’t getting any more so. Some may even enjoy receiving or giving anal stimulation with a finger, but nothing beyond that.


Sexual Shame and Masculinity

Sides typically struggle with tremendous feelings of shame. They secretly believe that they should be engaging in and enjoying anal sex, and that something must be wrong with them if they are not. Often they won’t publicly admit to not engaging in anal sex, because of the judgments that other gay men might (and most likely will) make about them. I have heard gay men (and even straight people) say that if they aren’t penetrating or being penetrated, they aren’t having “real” sex.
If a man has undergone prostate surgery that caused nerve damage to the penis or suffers from hemorrhoids or other issues that make anal penetration impossible, uncomfortable or unappealing, then that physiological or medical reason takes most of the shame out of being a side. These men may be genuine tops or bottoms but become sides out of necessity.
The gay male community has its own preferences that often slide into prejudices, and a great many look down on anyone who’s not a top. Bottoms get talked about, even dismissed, as if they were women. As the joke goes, “Who pays for a gay male wedding? The father of the bottom.” While that may be funny, it shows a cruel contempt for femininity. It makes the insensitive presumption that a man “takes the woman’s role” by receiving, and that there’s something wrong with him for it, namely that he’s not masculine.
Straight men labor under the same misconception. If they enjoy anal stimulation for pleasure, they often worry that they might be gay. In my office I’ve heard straight men admit that they enjoy receiving anal penetration from sex toys, or by having their female partners strap on a dildo and give it to them. The slang term for that is “pegging,” and many straight men love it. I jokingly tell the straight men who are insecure about enjoying anal play that, as a sex therapist, I am obliged to tell them that the human anus has no sexual orientation. The opportunity for anal pleasure exists in men and women alike, whether they are gay, bisexual, straight or of any orientation in between. Whether a man enjoys anal sex or not is no reflection on his sexual orientation, and if he’s gay, it doesn’t define whether or not he’s “really” having sex.
Historically, lesbians were told that with no vaginal penetration, they were not having “real” sex (and even today, some still are told this). These erroneous judgments come from a heterosexist and patriarchal definition of the only “right” way to enjoy sex.
One problem with this rigid model (pun intended) is that as males age and begin to lose their ability to achieve a full, strong erection on demand, they fear that they will never have “sex” again. They must learn other ways to satisfy their partners. But in order to do so, they must first work through the misconception that the only good sex is penetrative sex.


It’s OK to Be a Side!

It’s high time for sides to come out and feel proud and secure about their sexuality. Not being a top or a bottom doesn’t mean that one is less gay or less masculine. It doesn’t make anyone any less of a sexual human being.
The Internet is showing us that people get into a wide variety of sexual pleasures, and whatever you get into is exactly right for you.
Given the freedom to experiment and explore new techniques, being a side becomes equally hot and exciting as being a top, a bottom or an aficionado of any other position or practice.
Come out and be the side queen you were meant to be!
 Joe Kort, Ph.D., LMSW
Certified Sex and Relationship Therapist
www.JoeKort.com


"We Were Always There..."


The First Doc on Homosexuality Was Considered Lost. Now It's Online.


The Rejected first aired on September 11, 1961, in San Francisco. Today, it's digital thanks to DIVA — naturally.

Les Fabian Brathwaite
May 26, 2015


What do other homosexuals think about these so-called "queens"?

The narrator of KQED's The Rejected poses this question to three members of the Mattachine Society, one of the earliest gay rights organizations in the United States.

Debuting on September 11, 1961, The Rejected was notable for not only being the first ever televised documentary on homosexuality ever aired in America, but for its inclusion of homosexuals in the conversation. This conversation often took place between ostensibly straight experts on the subject rather than with the subjects themselves, who are often blamed for their "condition." The Rejected takes a progressive — for the time — view, often placing the onus on society and its treatment of homosexuals.

Mattachine President Harold Call, executive secretary Donald Lucas, and treasurer Les Fisher appeared publicly as homosexuals — essentially donning a Scarlet Gay, if you will — in hopes of debunking gay stereotypes, including that of the "queen."

"We think the swish, or the queen, represents a small minority within the homosexual grouping," Call responds. "These people in most cases are not even liked by their homosexual brethren because they have perhaps rejected themselves and they feel society has rejected them."

Call calls for a change in laws and restrictions that put the lives and livelihood of gay people in danger, while Lucas emphasized the number and ubiquity of homosexuals living in America, not just clustered within large cities.

Though groundbreaking for its day, The Rejected is still a product of its time — it was filmed eight years before Stonewall, 12 before the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder. To wit, Call asks Fisher — who was previously married — if marriage was good for homosexuals. Not in the sense that we've become familiar with and on which the Supreme Court will soon decide, but as a "cover-up."

"A good many homosexual people would not be homosexual had they had a heterosexual experience earlier in life," Fisher begins, "but I certainly wouldn't recommend it as a cure for homosexuality."

Lucas (who chain-smokes the entire time, like he just dropped in from a scene in Mad Men) has a little fun with Fisher's comment, asking if that might bring about a "challenge" for some girls to "change a homosexual." He barely gets it out without smiling, but when Call tries to turn it into a valid response — he just can't and neither can I:


Yas, queen, YAS!

The Rejected also features interviews with Dr. Karl Bowman of the APA, Bishop James Pike, and Rabbi Alvin Fine to offer a religious perspective, along with anthropologist Margaret Mead, who had her fair share of secret lesbian affairs. But over 50 years later, it's Call's closing remarks that resonate most deeply:

"The homosexual is no different than anyone else except perhaps in his choice of a love object. He desires the same kind of right to live his life freely and without interference, to pursue his happiness as a responsible citizen and to receive the benefits of constitutional rights, due process and protection of the law that all of us enjoy."

You can watch The Rejected in its entirety here.


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"Fear Eats the Soul"



"The Whisper Of Truth..."


The Whisper app allows users in anonymity to share secrets.


"Fear Eats the Soul"



"Same Gender Loving People - No. 2028"


"This Is The Comfort 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..."


"Eros"
Oil on canvas
Giulio Durini



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