Monday, August 31, 2009

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 127"

"Love and Life Is What We Share..."


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.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

"The Truth When I Dream..."



"I was reminded today of a rainbow I once saw that was like an omen... We were quietly amazed. Now, I look for rainbows in my sleep and when I dream they are there for us to see again."

"A Song for Stephen Christopher Harris..."



"Happiness comes more from loving than being loved; and often when our affection seems wounded it is only our vanity bleeding. To love, and to be hurt often, and to love again - this is the brave and happy life."
- J. E. Buckrose

"In The News Today..."

Other People’s Judgments
By John Corvino, columnist, 365gay.com
08.28.2009 10:54am EDT

“You don’t just want us to tolerate what you gay people do,” my skeptical questioner announced, “you want us to think that it’s RIGHT.”

Whenever I hear this point–and it’s pretty often–I always think to myself, “Duh.” Of course I want people to think homosexuality is “right.” Why would anyone think I wouldn’t?

Actually, the latter question is not entirely rhetorical. Even my fellow gays ask me why we should care about other people’s moral approval. Beyond the obvious pragmatic advantages - for example, more moral approval means more favorable voting attitudes means more legal rights means an easier life - why should we give a damn what other people think? And while we’re on the subject, why should THEY care? Why are our lives any of their business?

There’s a myth circulating among well-meaning people that “morality is a private matter,” and that therefore “we shouldn’t judge other people.” This is nonsense of the highest order. Morality is about how we treat one another. It’s about fairness and justice. It’s about what we as a society are willing to tolerate, what we positively encourage, and what we absolutely forbid. It is the furthest thing from a private matter.

There’s a story I always tell in my introductory ethics classes about a freshman who wrote a paper defending moral relativism. His paper was laden with references to what’s “true for you” versus what’s “true for me,” what’s “right for you” versus what’s “right for me” and so on. I gave the paper an F. Surprised and angry, the student came to my office demanding a justification.

“Well,” I carefully explained, “I graded your paper the way I grade all papers. I stood at the top of a staircase and threw a batch of papers down the stairs. Those that landed on the first few stairs got A’s…then B’s, C’s and so on. You wrote a long, heavy paper. It went to the bottom of the stairs. It got an F.”

“That’s not right!” he blurted out.

“You mean, that’s not right…FOR YOU,” I responded, grinning.

The moral of the story (aside from, tenured professors do the darndest things) is this: despite all of our talk of “right for you,” deep down we believe in public moral standards. We may disagree about what those are, and about what actions fall under their purview - but we still believe that right and wrong aren’t entirely relative. (For the record, the grading story is entirely fictional.)

One might object that grading affects other, non-consenting people, whereas relationships affect only the people involved. There are two problems with this objection.

The main one is that the latter point is just false. Unless one endorses a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” secrecy, relationships have a public presence and thus public consequences. Gays aren’t waging the marriage battle just so we can all go back in the closet. Like most people, we want to stand up before family and friends, proclaim our love, have it celebrated for the beautiful thing that it is. (At least, that’s what many of us want.)

We want to send the message to young gays and lesbians that there’s nothing wrong with them; that they, too, deserve to love and be loved, and that there’s nothing sinful or wrong about that. We want to be treated equally in the eyes of the law. All of these aims affect other people in various ways.

Second, the objection invites the response, “Says who?” Who decides that only actions affecting other people are appropriate targets of moral scrutiny? Who decides that that’s the right way to look at morality? And there’s no way to answer such questions without engaging in a bit of moralizing. Value judgments are inescapable that way.

Those who claim that they’re not taking any moral stances about other people’s lives are, by that very claim, taking a moral stance about other people’s lives - a “tolerant’ one, though not necessarily a very admirable one. Sometimes, other people’s behavior really sucks, and we should say so.

“Saying so” is part of the confusion here. There’s a difference between MAKING moral judgments and OFFERING them, not to mention a difference between offering them respectfully and wagging your finger in people’s faces. The latter is not just self-righteous; it’s generally counterproductive. I suspect when people say that “we shouldn’t judge other people,” it’s really the latter, pompous kind of moralizing they’re concerned to avoid. But we shouldn’t confuse the rejection of bad moralizing with the rejection of moralizing altogether.

In short, we should care what other people think, and do, because the moral fabric touches us all.

********************
John Corvino, Ph.D. is an author, speaker, and philosophy professor at Wayne State University in Detroit. His column “The Gay Moralist” appears Fridays on 365gay.com.

For more about John Corvino, or to see clips from his “What’s Morally Wrong with Homosexuality?” DVD, visit http://www.johncorvino.com/.

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 126"

"Our Son Makes Our Life Together Complete..."


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.

Friday, August 28, 2009

"The Poet's Corner"


"Real love is always fated. It has been arranged before time. It is the most meticulously prepared of coincidences. And fate, of course, is simply a secular term for the will of God, and coincidence for His grace." - Joshua Harris

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 125"

"Never Be Afraid 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.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

"A Love Story..."

"A love story and a lesson..."

"The Truth Is In The Scriptures"


There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. - 1 John 4:18


"Same Gender Loving People - No. 124"

"Happily Married..."


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.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 123"

"Love is Enough..."


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.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

"The Poet's Corner"


Sonnet 39
Oh How Thy Worth With Manners May I Sing
William Shakespeare


O, how thy worth with manners may I sing,
When thou art all the better part of me?
What can mine own praise to mine own self bring?
And what is 't but mine own when I praise thee?

Even for this let us divided live,
And our dear love lose name of single one,
That by this separation I may give
That due to thee which thou deservest alone.

O absence, what a torment wouldst thou prove,
Were it not thy sour leisure gave sweet leave
To entertain the time with thoughts of love,
Which time and thoughts so sweetly doth deceive,
And that thou teachest how to make one twain,
By praising him here who doth hence remain!

*****

"Fear Eats the Soul"

"Love Looks Like This..."

"Together Sharing the World"
"All our young lives we search for someone to love. Someone who makes us complete. We choose partners and change partners. We dance to a song of heartbreak and hope. All the while wondering if somewhere, somehow, there's someone perfect who might be searching for us. "
- Kevin Arnold (Daniel Stern) narrating in The Wonder Years (1988)

For Stephen Christopher Harris
"A life lived in fear is a life half-lived..."

"A Story to Share..."


Today, I talked with Stephen Christopher Harris for more than 2 1/2 hours this afternoon... He spent much of the time telling me of how he's changing his life for "good." He talked of how he is trying to have a relationship with God. He somewhat acknowledged his wrong doing towards me and others. But more importantly, for part of the call, he seemed to finally hear what I had to say... Moreover, when we talked about what I've posted here in my blog, he said he understood why I'd done it and he "thanked" me... He said it had changed his relationship with people who've discovered it, and that it had been the impetus for the "change" he says he is working for in his life now.

Beyond discussing our mutual failings and human frailty, Stephen shared some disturbing revelations with me that I'm not yet ready to believe... As I pointed out to him repeatedly, everything he says is suspect, because he is a pathological liar. Perhaps his revelations were merely a ploy to garner my sympathy (yet again), but if not, then I am very sad for him. From the morning of October 15, 2006 until the evening of July 12, 2009, I prayed for him no less than five times a day and often more. In the last week or so, I have been praying for him again. One of the things that I pray for is that he might "really" know and hear God. After I revealed this to him, although I now regret it, I shared with him what he already knew, that I still love him.

Although whoever reads this might not understand how... the truth I've shared here over these many months and years was done out of love and not hatred... As I told Stephen today, "a man cannot change if he knows not who he is." Stephen is just such a man, he has told so many lies to so many people that he can't separate truth from fiction even when he wants to.

After talking with him, I was left somewhat numb from the experience... but it was nevertheless a necessary and needed couple of hours. A part of our discussion surrounded Charles Kelly, who in my opinion is another of Stephen's victims. I've followed Charles' blog for more than a year now and he has followed mine for at least that long, including when it was on Yahoo!360. Charles cross-posted "Vanity, Thy Name Is Stephen" on his own blog, although he recently took that post down.


This Saturday, Charles posted a lengthy entry on his blog that he said was inspired by what I've written here (he has since taken it down, too). I talked to Stephen today about some of what I read in Charles' Saturday entry, this is it:






Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Truth will always come to the Light.....

I read Christopher Flournoy's Blog today and again, I was forced to deal with the Truth of Stephen Christopher Harris. As I saw the picture and read the email that he sent to him, I was suddenly aware of the level of deceit and dishonesty that I had lived with for the past year.

I always wondered why I did not want to believe the alienation of affection and the disrespect that was shown during the time we were together. The only thing I can come up with is that I loved him so much and I was willing to accept him for who he was. I have always been told that you cannot change people and that the only thing one can do is accept people for who they are. So here I was trying to accept the man I love for who he was and to let him be himself. Communication and honesty is at the root of all good relationships. I felt that the only way to get to a level of honesty and trust with Stephen was to let him be who he was and that he would see that I loved him for him and not what I wanted him to be.

This note on August 22, 2006 from "Chris Stone" who said he was from Tampa, Florida sort of shocked me and yet it should not have. Why Stephen would be reaching out to anyone when he was in what I thought was a happy relationship with me. It is so interesting that the week before he sent the note to Christopher, we were in Boston together. We spent 4 or 5 days together touring Boston and Maine. I thought we had a great time together. He was on an assignment and he was not going to come home for the weekend; so I decided to spend time with him in Boston.

I remember when I got to Boston; he was lost trying to find his way around the Boston Logan Airport. He was getting more and more frustrated trying to find the Terminal that I had arrived and therefore I was waiting outside for him to pick me up. When he finally found the correct terminal, he was so glad to see me that he got out of the driver’s side, gave me a hug and then he gave me the keys. He wanted me to drive because he had had it. It was always interesting, that when we went anywhere he wanted me to drive. He would sit on the passenger side and either talk on the phone or just hold my hand the whole time.

That trip to Boston was sort of telling because he had fallen into a routine together. He would go to the gym religiously and he would always want to eat some that he shouldn't. We would always have more food than he or I could eat. He was so happy that I was there with him. I remember our trip to Newport, Maine. He wanted to buy me a Lobster Dinner so I would be happy. Lobster is a wonderful delicacy, but I try not to eat too much shell fish because it might raise my cholerestol. He does not eat shell fish because he might break out in hives.

That trip to Boston was so interesting in many ways. He did not want me to leave, but it is hard to spend all ones' time with him. He wants you to hold him all the time and to just lie beside him. He had real issues with separation.

Things never seem to be as good as they use to be because of his tendency to hide behind things. Things like his emotions, his anxiety, his work, his secrets and his demons. After I left for home after that trip he was in a bad funk about a lot of things. What those things were I do not know. He hated his job and he hated the account that he was doing his auditing work. He was working for Datamatics at the time and talking to Welborn Preston on a regular basis as to what needs to be done at the account.

Stephen wanted to leave this project and he hated what he was doing so much that I was afraid he would walk on the project. I have seen him walk out of projects before, sabotage his work, avoid contact with managers and sort of do half ass work. This had become a pattern and if I am correct it is still the pattern today. He sort of gets by because no one calls him on his slack. Or others pick up his slack because they to protect him.

The next week, I was back in Michigan for another week on assignment. I was going to come in on Saturday and spend the weekend with him, but he did not want me to come that weekend because he was having one of his anxiety attacks or something that did not include me. I asked when he wanted to see me and he sort of pushed me to the back of the pack. Finally, I had to make air reservations and schedule my trip to Michigan. I decided to come in on Monday, August 21st. I rented a car and I met him at the public library in Southfield. Once I got there, he wanted to get a private room and talk to me. He said he was better now that I was there, boy could he play with my head.

He was trying to finish up the project in Boston and was having a block as to how to wrap up his findings. He was stressed out at the possibility of getting this project done. He wanted to spend time with me, but he also had to finish the project and I had to drive to Midland; and get ready for my week.

I talked to him the entire time I drove to Midland. I had to hang up because I had to spend some time with my family. After I got settled in, we talked some more until he fell asleep. The next day he got an assignment to go to New York on Wednesday for Hasbro Toys. He was all excited about going to New York and he needed a hotel to stay in close to the offices of the Toy Company. He called Frank who works for the Marriott and he got him in the Courtyard by Marriott in Midtown. We talked a lot on that trip to New York, however it was the strangest conversation I had ever had with Stephen Christopher Harris.

Thursday night, August 24th we talked about a lot of things. He finally told me that he wanted to end his life and that he was done. I was so concern about this that I forced him to talk to me more and more so that I could help him getting through this anxiety and stress. We hung the phone up around 1 am, which is very odd for Stephen because he likes to go to sleep early even though he will wake up in the middle of the night. However, as long as he was holding on to someone he was okay.

I was so concern that he was stressed and sad, that I made it a point to meet him at the airport and show him that he was not alone and that he had me in his life. When I got to the Detroit Airport, I waited until he came to the baggage claim area and I wanted to surprise him that I was there for him. Things seem strange right off the bat. He was on the phone as he always is on the phone and he mention that someone had promised to pick him up at the airport. I was deivasted and was wondering why he needed anyone to pick him up because he made decent money and we had left his car at long term parking before. He was only gone 2 days, so why did he need someone to drop him off, but he explains that Mike Fisher did this on regular basis.

In this case it was not Mike coming to pick him and he did not want to disappoint this person name Eric who I did not know and had never heard him mention before. He said he wanted so new friends and that he had met Eric and they were trying to become friends. That there was nothing going on with them except that he promised him that he would spend some time with him on that Friday. I was very hurt by these developments and wanted him to tell him that I was here now and he did not need him to pick him up. He looked liked he wanted to be with me so bad, and he was so glad to see him, but he left with whoever this Eric person was whom I did not meet.

He said he was going to take him home and he would come to the hotel that we used when I was in Detroit. The Homewood Suites in Troy was our second homes. We would meet their all the time and the people at the hotel knew us by first names. I spent so much money at that hotel and so did he. He was going to let Eric take him home and change clothes and he would meet me at the hotel later. Later became 2:30 am. He finally showed up at the hotel with his gym bag full of clothes and again on his cell phone. When he walked into the room I could not sleep and I was on the computer. He startles me because I did not think he was going to come over. It was so late, and he had not called me to tell me what was wrong. He was talking on the phone when he got into the room and he was arguing with someone.

I had never had an argument with Stephen and I had never heard him argue with anyone. However, it is 2:30 am and he is arguing with someone on the phone about receiving too many phone calls in the middle of the night. I assume it was Michael, but he did not volenteer any information or tell him who he was talking too. He finally got into bed and said he was so glad to be there.

The next morning he said he had somewhere to go early and would see me later in the afternoon. He also said that he sleep well because he was with me and that his anxiety was gone. He left and I proceed to spend my time doing anything to keep myself busy until he got back. He did not call that evening at all and I had no idea what to make of the situation with him. He did not answer his phone and he did not answer the door at the house. His car was there, but he did not acknowledge me at all. Was he home or was he out with someone else. It was so disrespectful that I could not stand. Here is the man you love and he would not answer his phone.

I had every signal I should have needed to know that the man I love was cheating on me and he constantly disrespected me. All of Saturday, August 26th came and went and all of Sunday, August 27th came and went. I went back to Midland a broken man. I was so upset that I did not want to speak to anyone, but my family knew something was wrong. It was hard to not tell them what happen and it was hard to tell myself what happen.

I called him every day and finally he answered the Tuesday, August 29th which was the anaverisary of our meeting each other. I expressed to him that I loved him and that I wanted to see him. That I understood what he was going through and I would be there for him and I would give him the space he needed to get through whatever he was going through. If you love people sometimes you have got to let them go and see if they will come back to you.

The next two weeks was crazy. I do not remember what happen, but Stephen treated me like crap. He would not return phone calls, he would cry with me at times and he would blame me for everything. What he was talking about at times I did not know and eventually he decided that I was not the problem and that he was able to continue with a relationship with me. In short, he kicked me to the curb and then he decided that I was someone he could continue to abuse.

According to Christopher's blog, he was communicating and having dinner with Christopher in late August. I should have known something was up because if memory held true, Stephen's relationships sort of ran about a year and then he was ready for a new Adventure. I always felt that he and Michael had this understanding that they could date outside of their relationship and yes I always thought they had an Open Relationship, but the deal was they could never go pass a year. Or Stephen had him completely fooled and was playing him and many others at the same time.

Nevertheless, when I left Michigan on that business trip, I do not think I saw Stephen. He had disappeared from my view. Things got better, but according to Christopher's blogs, he and Stephen had connected and they were spending time together. I feel like such a fool. I sort of thought it was with this guy name Eric that he was having something with or this older guy name Chris. I thought this because once Stephen had to go back to Detroit to for some reason, a job interview at BCBS and when he got back I needed to used his camera to go to a meeting. When I looked through the pictures in the camera I saw this light complexion older guy, whom I think he said was Chris. Why his picture was in his camera, well Stephen was full of mystery.

So, when September rolled around I was convinced that he was not feeling me anymore and that he was ready to move on. His history stated this and everyone that I had heard of was over in about a year, if they made it that long. I was considered one of the lucky ones. But Carl, Dan, Leon, Ray, and a host of others that I cannot remember lasted less than a year. I did not think too much of this because a Black Male Gay Relationship is very hard to maintain and have. I did not know of but one that has lasted more than a few months.

Posted by Charles Kelly at 4:17 PM

*****

And as always... "Fear Eats the Soul"

Monday, August 24, 2009

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 122"

"Dinner for Two Is Never A Chore..."


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.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

"In The Beginning..."






Tuesday August 22, 2006 - 10:54 am EDT

Chris Stone has sent you a message

Tampa, Florida US

Sent To: Christopher



RE: Hey Christopher

Thanks for adding me to your list...don't know why I hadn't notice that you are also from Detroit. I was born and raised in Motown...graduated from both HS and college. Currently, I am planning to relocate from Detroit to the south. Professional, I work as a consultant for a public accounting firm based in Boston. Also, I attend grad school part-time.

I am kind of new to 360 and don't know what the first topic of my blog should be. Being passionate about so many things, I am not sure where to begin. There is the whole dynamic of liberals vs. conservatives, politics, religion, mental health (narcissism and misogyny), the plight of the black male etc….

Well, I am not always too serious. I actually have a great sense of humor. I love to laugh and sometimes I crack myself up.

Anyway man, I am looking forward visiting your page often and learning more about you and perhaps keeping you in stitches. I heard somewhere that people cross paths at least three times in life before they actually meet for the first time. I’m not sure if it’s true but, the concept is intriguing.

Thanks again,

SCH

>-------------Christopher wrote:

Hi Chris,

Thanks for inviting me to your page and welcome to mine... I'm glad you found my page interesting and I'm looking forward to reading what you'll add to yours as well.

As I'm always interested in making new friendships, I hope we'll have the opportunity to share some insights on life and maybe even a laugh or two along the way.

Well, thanks again for the invitation. I'll look forward to hearing from you again.

Warm regards,

Christopher

>-------------Chris Stone wrote:

I was reading through your 360 Page and found it to be interesting. I added yours to mine in hopes to maybe have some dialogue at some point in the future.

"In The Beginning..."






Tuesday August 22, 2006 - 8:37 am EDT

Christopher has sent you a message

Detroit, Michigan US

Sent To: Chris Stone




Hi Chris,

Thanks for inviting me to your page and welcome to mine... I'm glad you found my page interesting and I'm looking forward to reading what you'll add to yours as well.

As I'm always interested in making new friendships, I hope we'll have the opportunity to share some insights on life and maybe even a laugh or two along the way.

Well, thanks again for the invitation. I'll look forward to hearing from you again.

Warm regards,

Christopher

>-------------Chris Stone wrote:

I was reading through your 360 Page and found it to be interesting. I added yours to mine in hopes to maybe have some dialogue at some point in the future.

"In The Beginning..."






Tuesday August 22, 2006 - 12:56 am EDT

Chris Stone has sent you a message

Tampa, Florida US

Sent To: Christopher



Hey Christopher

I was reading through your 360 Page and found it to be interesting. I added yours to mine in hopes to maybe have some dialogue at some point in the future.

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 121"

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell...? Let Us Live In Truth"


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.

Friday, August 21, 2009

"The Things That Love Says..."


"Today I begin to understand what love must be, if it exists. . . . When we are parted, we each feel the lack of the other half of ourselves. We are incomplete like a book in two volumes of which the first has been lost. That is what I imagine love to be: incompleteness in absence."


Edmond de Goncourt (1822-96) and Jules de Goncourt (1830-70)
The Goncourt Journals - entry for 15 November 1859
Reprinted in Pages from The Goncourt Journal, ed. by Robert Baldick, 1962

"This Made Me Smile..."

"This is why I love the Brits..."

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 120"

"Why Are We Married...? Because We Love Each Other"


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.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 119"

"Never Be Afraid to Be Who You Are..."


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.

"A Love Story..."


"Fear Eats the Soul"

"A Truth Shared..."


From Gaytwogether.com

Gay Relationships: Making Positive Changes

Making significant changes in our lives is tough. Human beings don’t generally like change. Most of us would have remained in the womb if we had been presented with birth as an option.

It’s not that we lack hope. One of the most popular classes offered by a local self-improvement program is titled, “A Year from Today I Will be Married.” We’re full of hope! We just aren’t sure how to move from hope to reality. And the accumulation of years of unrealized hopes makes us doubtful about the possibility of change happening at all.

Most of us make changes most easily when the consequences of not changing bother us more than the hassle of trying to do things differently. If you’re not there yet, that’s up to you. Accept your decision to live with the status quo and stop nagging yourself. You can revisit your decision later when you’re ready. It’s much healthier to acknowledge to yourself that you’re not interested in making that change right now than to pretend you are to quiet the critics.

Want to make changes that stick? Here are some suggestions:

Be realistic about your commitment. Why do you want to change? Doing something because someone else (your doctor, your mother, your partner, your boss) tells you that you “should” makes it doubtful that you are committed to doing something differently. In fact…

Beware of the words should, ought to, need to. These words often indicate that your motivation is less about living your life more successfully than it is about getting the critical parent who lives inside your head to get off of your back. “I ought to get a better job” isn’t the same assertion as “I want a better job.” Ought is about nagging; want is about your desire to have things be different. Desires are powerful in making change happen. Nagging just gets you into an argument in your head.

Strategize. How will you get from where you are to where you want to be? Think of the change in positive terms – what affirmative change you hope to see, rather than what you want to stop. Think about what you need to do, including the smaller changes that will support your bigger goal. Taking small steps is usually a great idea. Making the steps too big just sets you up for failure.

If you slip-up, don’t give up. Remember, change is difficult. Monitor your progress and cut yourself some slack and get back to working toward your goal. Accept responsibility for your choices without getting self-critical. And celebrate successes when you make progress towards the change you’re seeking.

Get support. Friends can help. Know when to get professional help, especially if you’re having trouble making change happen on your own.

Know what success looks like. Don’t assume that this is obvious. How many people who want to stop smoking really mean “stop buying cigarettes,” while still bumming smokes from friends?

Change is perhaps the only constant in life. What better time than now to take responsibility for creating the life you want?


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. - www.bodymindsoul.org.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"In The News Today..."


"A wise, inteligent man who just happens to be gay..."

"Yes We Can"

Dear Rep. Frank,

Thank you for having the guts to call it like it is. Too many members of Congress have been reluctant to address the extremism of the right-wing, anti-reform mobs disrupting congressional town hall meetings. We hope your candor is emulated by your fellow members of Congress for the sake of honest and civil debate.

Christopher Flournoy


"Fear Eats the Soul"

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 118"

"We Know That Love Is Always Worth Fighting For..."


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.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 117"

"Our Son Makes Our Life Together Complete... We Are A Family"


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.

"That's All I Want From You..."

I gave this song to Stephen Christopher Harris about a year ago because it states so beautifully what I freely offered to him and what I sought from him... the love he'd promised me so many times and nothing more. For the first time in a long while, I listened to this again today. It's still a song that speaks to the precious desire of my heart.

"Fear Eats the Soul"

Monday, August 17, 2009

"A Truth Shared..."




Gay Relationships: Changing Your Point Of View

Want to change your relationship? Change your point of view. I enjoy being a therapist for many reasons, but mostly because people are just so darn interesting.We’re all the same in some ways, and yet so different in others. Someone told me once, “Always remember that you’re unique – just like everyone else.” And all that’s even more true in exploring relationships. Often a couple will sit in my office and describe something they did together, but from perspectives that are so different you have to wonder if each of them were actually there. What’s up with that? People cling to their stories like drowning men holding on to a sinking boat. Maybe they’ve seen too many television crime dramas where the job is to search for a truth that will stand up in court. Call it the myth of “objective reality.”

We imagine that if we were there when something happened (an argument, for instance), then our perspective is a truth that we witnessed. Any passerby who witnessed the event would come to the same conclusion we did. So why is the guy we’re in love with being so obstinate about seeing things our way?

For better or worse, human beings aren’t camcorders. We don’t just take note of what happens in our world, we filter it through our values, expectations, histories and experiences. That’s how we make the world an understandable place. And since your filters aren’t quite like mine, you and I can share an experience and yet have different interpretations of it.

What does this look like in relationships? If I’ve got my point-of-view and you’ve got yours and we’re equally sure our own is the correct one, we’re much more likely to get in a struggle about which of us is right rather than working toward a mutually-satisfying conclusion. We’re less interested in understanding our partner than we are in convincing him of something. His behavior just doesn’t make sense!
This approach is a great one if your goal is to have communication between the two of you deteriorate into a series of painful arguments. Doesn’t matter what the argument is about; trivial pursuits can be just as aggravating as substantial ones. What matters is that one of us must be right, and the other must be wrong. Right?

I think that one of the things that make such arguments so painful is that we feel hopeless to alter the course of them. We find ourselves headed for a fight over who said what last night feeling like we’re watching a canoe pulled inevitably towards a waterfall. We’ve traveled this route before, and we feel doomed to repeat it again and again. When it feels like our truthfulness is being questioned, it’s easy to get defensive

What to do, then?

The first step is to let go of the certainty that you know exactly what is going on, and that your job is to get your partner to give in. (Even if you win and he does give in, it’s not likely to leave you feeling better.)

The second step is to talk it through with your partner to try and understand what he’s feeling – not to convince him of your point of view. (You’ll likely find that this makes him less defensive, too.)

The third step is to explain what’s going on inside you. In a healthy relationship, you’ll find that this sooths feathers and calms the urge to argue, leading to greater understanding.

When that happens, you’ll find yourself working as a team to make each other happier rather than simply to prove who is right and who is wrong.

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. - http://www.bodymindsoul.org/.

"In The News Today..."

Corvino: The Right’s immoral take on gay marriage

By John Corvino, columnist, 365gay.com

08.14.2009 9:17am EDT

Anyone who knows Jonathan Rauch will tell you he’s not a sappy, emotional sort of guy. Rauch, a senior writer for National Journal magazine and a contributing editor of The Atlantic, is known for his measured, logical (and occasionally quite witty) prose; those of us fortunate enough to know him personally can attest that the prose matches the person.

Which is why it’s all the more impressive that his recent National Journal article on gay marriage , “A Moral Crossroads for Conservatives,” is one of the most moving things I’ve read on the subject in a long time. If you haven’t read it yet, skip the rest of this column and read that instead. Seriously.

Opening with an account of a medical emergency and closing with a marriage-proposal scene, the article weaves together a very personal case for marriage equality with deft analysis of conservatives’ moral failure vis-à-vis gays and lesbians. Faced with the reality of gay and lesbian lives - of our love and commitment, our sacrifices, our joys and hardships - the right wing offers…silence. In Rauch’s words:

“If gay couples can’t be allowed to marry, what should they be able to do? Asked this question, cultural conservatives say, in the words of Tom Lehrer’s song about the German rocket scientist Wernher von Braun, “That’s not my department.”

Via a moving account of his cousin Bill’s sudden hospitalization and Bill’s partner Mike’s bedside ordeal, Rauch underscores how the “Not my department” response is not merely lazy; it’s morally unconscionable. I’ll quote here at length:

“[W]hat happened in that hospital in Philadelphia for those six weeks was not just Mike and Bill’s business, a fact that is self-evident to any reasonable human being who hears the story. ‘Mike was making a medical decision at least once a day that would have serious consequences,’ Bill told me. Who but a life partner would or could have done that? Who but a life partner will drop everything to provide constant care? Bill’s mother told me that if not for Mike, her son would have died. Faced with this reality, what kind of person, morally, simply turns away and offers silence?”

Rauch concludes: “Not the sort of person who populates the United States of America. If Republicans wonder why they find themselves culturally marginalized, particularly by younger Americans, they might consider the fact that when the party looks at couples like Mike and Bill it sees, in effect, nothing.”

Optimistic? Perhaps. But virtually undeniable by anyone with both a brain and a heart. (Factor in the shameful lack of moral courage, and perhaps a trip to the Wizard is in order.)
Another valuable aspect of Rauch’s piece is that it shows why powers-of-attorney (which are extremely important for couples who live and travel in states without marriage equality) are no substitute for marriage.

Contrast Rauch’s account with Robert George’s recent Wall Street Journal piece on the same subject. George writes:

“If marriage is redefined, its connection to organic bodily union - and thus to procreation - will be undermined. It will increasingly be understood as an emotional union for the sake of adult satisfaction that is served by mutually agreeable sexual play.”

To George, Mike and Bill’s union appears essentially no different from that of a couple of frat buddies who occasionally get off together. “Adult satisfaction that is served by mutually agreeable sexual play?” Only through willful blindness can one sustain such distortion.

It is stories like Mike and Bill’s that we must keep in mind–and keep telling–as we head into this fall’s election. In November Maine voters, like California voters last year, will decide whether to repeal marriage equality in that state.

Now is a good time to go to http://mainefreedomtomarry.com/and make a financial contribution.

Maine is one of six states that embrace marriage equality (not counting California, which recognizes the roughly 18,000 same-sex marriages performed before Prop. 8 passed, and Washington D.C., which recognizes same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions). If you want that number to grow, not shrink, then get behind the Maine fight early.

But don’t just give money; give witness. Reach out to the skeptics and let them know why marriage matters. One thing we learned from the California Prop. 8 campaign is that abstract platitudes about discrimination won’t cut it. We need to make the importance of marriage rights concrete. Stories like Mike and Bill’s do that, powerfully.



*****



John Corvino, Ph.D. is an author, speaker, and philosophy professor at Wayne State University in Detroit.

For over 17 years he has traveled the country speaking on homosexuality and ethics. His writing has been featured in regional and national periodicals, at the online Independent Gay Forum, and in numerous scholarly anthologies. His column “The Gay Moralist” appears Fridays on 365gay.com.

For more about John Corvino, or to see clips from his “What’s Morally Wrong with Homosexuality?” DVD, visit www.johncorvino.com.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

"And This Is What You Said..."


5:45 PM, Saturday, August 15, 2009

"This Is For You... Done Out of Love and Not Fear"


??? "Mr. Stephen Harris" ???







"Same Gender Loving People - No. 116"

"And Now, We Are One..."


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.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

"The Truth Today..."

"An Old Love Turned Memory..."

Stephen Christopher Harris has charmed so many of us...

"Fear Eats the Soul"

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 115"

"Love is 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.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"The Truth Tonight..."


"Fear Eats the Soul"

"The Truth Today..."

Rev. Morlon Harris
Gospel Tabernacle Seventh-day Adventist Church
Lima, Ohio


Some thoughts for you and your brother, Stephen Christopher Harris to ponder:

“The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression...”
W.E.B. Du Bois

“Your silence will not protect you...”
Audre Lorde

"Fear Eats the Soul"
Ali

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"Friends and Lovers..."

The Slave and His Master
Stephen Christopher Harris and Michael Fisher

"A life lived in fear is a life half-lived..."
"Fear Eats the Soul"

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 114"

"First Came Love, And Now With Marriage, Our 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.

Monday, August 10, 2009

"In The News Today..."





August 10, 2009

How do you spot a liar?Expressions Can Convey What Words Do Not...
By Amber Hunt
Free Press Staff Writer

Kwame Kilpatrick sits before the judge, his hands clasped in a triangle beneath his chin and his finger tops pressed to his lips.

It's a photo snapped during one of the many court hearings the ex-Detroit mayor appeared at during the text message scandal. And, according to an expert in body language and facial expressions -- who also is the inspiration behind the TV show "Lie to Me" -- it was a clue that Kilpatrick wasn't telling the whole truth.

As Kilpatrick faces new allegations that he had yet another affair -- this time with the federal monitor overseeing the city's police department -- Fox is gearing up for its second season of the TV show.

Michigan law-enforcement officials say there is some fact to go along with the show's fiction.

"There's a lot of behavioral clues in body language," said Detective Sgt. Eric Schroeder of the Michigan State Police. "People say how they feel about a lot of things without using words."

Doctor says Fox TV show blurs the facts

The suspect speaks firmly. His voice does not falter. He had nothing to do with the crime, he insists.

Then, in a move so subtle nearly everyone in the room fails to see it, the corner of his mouth twitches.

"You're lying," announces Dr. Cal Lightman. And 30 minutes later, the case is solved.

Such is the premise of "Lie to Me," the latest hit in the parade of law-enforcement TV shows. The show begins its second season in September on Fox.

Of course, that's just television, said Dr. Paul Ekman, a psychologist whose groundbreaking studies in human emotion -- as portrayed in facial expressions -- have earned him the title of "human lie detector" and served as the real-life inspiration for Lightman.

But the show, which aims to highlight the mix of science and subjectivity that goes into spotting liars in police interrogations, has a tendency to blur the lines of fact and fiction. Part of the effect is accomplished by using real photos of famous people to illustrate the array of emotions people express.

An image of Kilpatrick with his fingers pressed to his lips that flashes at the beginning of the show was used to show someone hushing himself.

Other famous people -- including former Vice President Dick Cheney, disgraced former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer and prostitute-paying actor Hugh Grant -- also have been used to illustrate scorn, shame and, well, more shame.

Just as the case with the popular "CSI" shows with forensic investigators, crimes involving liars are never neatly tied up the way "Lie to Me" depicts. But the show does highlight something that many law-enforcement series don't, Schroeder said: the oh-so-crucial interviewing process.

"You have to go in there and pay attention to all of the little things -- not just what they're saying, but how they're saying it -- to narrow down the suspect pool," Schroeder said.

Small actions hold meaning
Ekman, a clinical psychiatrist based in San Francisco, founded the Paul Ekman Group LLC, a company that produces training devices "relevant to emotional skills," according to his Web site, www.paulekman.com. The group works with law-enforcement agents worldwide.

Ekman is considered the trailblazer when it comes to understanding fleeting expressions, or "micro expressions."

Notice a slight downward turn in the corners of the lips, and you're likely seeing sadness. A subtle upward twitch in a shoulder could indicate uncertainty. And contrary to popular belief, steady eye contact is more often an indication of lying than truth-telling.

They're tendencies that Ekman began spotting about 40 years ago when he was asked to evaluate patients hospitalized with psychiatric disorders before they were given weekend passes to go home. "Sometimes such patients killed themselves immediately after release from hospital supervision," said Ekman, who spoke via e-mail while working in London.

He watched films of the clients in slow motion and began recognizing the despair behind their cheery facades, he said.

That sparked several books, including "Telling Lies." To date, Ekman said he has helped train thousands of law-enforcement officers, including those with the FBI, the Secret Service and the Transportation Security Administration.

Earlier this year, Ekman inspired Lightman, the fictional lead in "Lie to Me," as portrayed by actor Tim Roth.

The show regularly uses photos of famous people, as selected by Ekman, to illustrate the array of emotions that reveal lies. In March, the image of Kilpatrick was used to illustrate self-hushing -- suggesting the former mayor was keeping himself from speaking the whole truth.

Kilpatrick pleaded guilty to perjury months after the photo was snapped and admitted to an illicit affair with his then-chief of staff. Text messages surfaced last week that indicate Kilpatrick had yet another inappropriate relationship, this time with the federal monitor who had been overseeing the Detroit Police Department's compliance with federal mandates put in place after the Free Press revealed police brutality and abuses. The revelation prompted the monitor to resign.

Cops' methods aren't a mystery
In Michigan, would-be cops learn interviewing and interrogation techniques as they work their way through police academy training, Schroeder said.

"Micro-expression, body language -- they're tools in a toolbox," he said.

But those tools could be misinterpreted and misused by law enforcement, said Steven Drizin, a Northwestern University law professor who studies false confessions.

Drizin, who directs the Center on Wrongful Convictions in Chicago, said reading body language might be useful, but "I still don't buy the science of it."

"I worry that it is far more often misused by police officers to make erroneous judgments of a suspect's guilt and could play into public perception that police officers have some mysterious ability to detect truth-tellers from liars," he said.

Ekman said that he worries about that, too.

"Sometimes they show things that are contradicted by my findings, because they think it is very useful for a dramatic point," he said of the TV show.

He wrote a blog each week during the first season of "Lie to Me" titled "CAVEAT," warning that the fictional Lightman solves problems more quickly and with more certainty than is possible in real life.

But Schroeder -- by no means a "Lie to Me" devotee -- said he gives the show credit for focusing on the interrogation process. "Anything that shows someone interrogating a suspect is a good thing," he said. "It doesn't all come down to science. You have to spend time with the suspect."
*****

For Stephen Christopher Harris

"If you're going to be a skilled liar, you need to learn to control your face..."
"Fear Eats the Soul"

"It's About Equal Rights..."


Eight Words and Phrases to Avoid in LGBT Communications

Language is key to our battle for equality and acceptance. Below is a list of eights words and phrases to avoid when discussing LGBT topics.

Lifestyle or “the gay lifestyle” – Referring to someone’s inherent characteristics as a “lifestyle” demeans that person by referring to who they are as a person as something that is only a “way” of living that they “choose” to follow rather than an immutable characteristic of their being (such as having blue eyes). Anti-gay people and organizations refer to “the gay lifestyle” in their comments about the community and use the term in outreach efforts designed to raise money for their anti-gay attacks by raising public fears about “those people.” Unfortunately, media sometimes fall into the trap of using this word or phrase and marketers have been known to use it as well, even in materials designed to attract LGBT consumers to buy a certain product or service.

Sexual preference or preference – this term brings up all kinds of conversations about whether or not LGBT people “choose” to be LGBT. By inferring that we do "choose" to be gay, anti-gay people and organizations can (often subtly) imply that we’re not deserving of equality because it’s just our “preference” that we’re LGBT and not an immutable characteristic of our being. It’s a really offensive term when used in this manner, but media and marketers still make the mistake of using the term in coverage and outreach.

Choice, choose or “choose to be gay” – this is often the word or phrase that follows usage of the term “lifestyle” or “preference.” As with the latter, using this word is a signal that we “choose” to be who we are and are therefore able to “choose” to be someone else. This kind of thinking is more than just obnoxious, it’s dangerous. By telling someone that it is not okay to be who they are, you tell them that they are less than human. Words do have consequences.

Homosexual – the term “homosexual” is often used by anti-gay people and organizations to refer to our community with an “accepted” term. In fact, the term has been so abused that its usage now seems more clinical than contemporary and it is, to most people, a way to slyly denigrate our community. By referring to “the homosexual community” or the “homosexual agenda,” anti-gay people and organizations attempt to make LGBT people sound like some odd/strange/uncomfortable “other” that is neither good nor acceptable.

Alternative – this term is one of the most overused in the marketers’ toolkit. Used to describe things as varied as music, energy or people, it generally means “not like the other” or “not normal.” While generally viewed as less offensive than other anti-gay code words such as “preference,” the term “alternative” as used in LGBT communications contexts is negative and unnecessary.

Tolerance - this term is increasingly seen as antiquated as social mores change and the general population becomes more engaged and involved with LGBT people. In the past, talking or writing about “tolerance” was fine because there was so much intolerance towards LGBT people in the world (it was an improvement at least). Now, with changes in society, the idea of “tolerating” LGBT people is becoming anachronistic. LGBT people don’t want to be “tolerated” (like a headache or other nuisance), we want to be accepted for who we are. And as equal members of society, we ought to be.

Special rights – this term is frequently used by anti-gay people and organizations to position LGBT advocacy for equal rights under the law as a negative, selfish attempt to secure “special rights” that LGBT people clearly do not deserve. The right to have access to a partner during medical procedures or the right to be recognized as a married couple is not “special,” it’s just human. Unfortunately, this term is often included in media coverage of LGBT issues, often without any challenge to its patently false nature and anti-gay connotation.

Friend – this term is often used to refer to the partner or spouse of an LGBT person in place of the term partner or spouse. In that context, it carries the unfortunate stigma of discomfort and/or lack of respect for an LGBT person’s relationship. A significant part of engaging us as individuals is based on acknowledging the people in our lives, including our partners or spouses. Far from being polite, half-acknowledging someone’s relationship by referring to their significant other as a “friend,” is rude and disrespectful (not to mention socially awkward).


Saturday, August 8, 2009

"Fatherhood and Stephen Christopher Harris..."



Early in our relationship, Stephen revealed to me his desire to be a father… and although this is problematic when you’re gay, it’s not impossible.

He knew at that time that I had adopted and raised a son on my own. My son, Marvin had gotten married the summer before I met Stephen. As I listened to Stephen talk about wanting to know the joys of fatherhood as we lay in bed on a crisp fall morning, I knew that I too wanted to again know the happiness of being called father and the joy of loving and raising a child. When I finally spoke to what he was saying, I told Stephen of all the ways his dream could come true… I said we could adopt a child. I told him he could also be a biological father if he wanted that as there were many women willing to be surrogate mothers for gay couples. I went on to tell him of my own struggles in being a single parent to an adopted son and how much easier and more joyful I thought the experience could be for two.

As we talked about this, I marveled at the gentleness of his tone and how he seemed to be in deep reflective thought about what we were discussing. As I gazed into his eyes, I could see they were becoming heavy with wet tears which were about to fall. When I asked Stephen what was wrong, he told me he was thinking about his own child. He had never before spoken of a child and I was in shocked silence while waiting to understand what he meant… He went on to explain about a woman from his past that he’d gotten pregnant. He said she aborted his child when he refused to marry her. He said he’d been wracked with guilt about it ever since, and he said he wondered if God would forgive him for allowing his child to die.

As I softly stroked Stephen’s cheek and brow, I shared with him more details about my own marriage and desire to have children. I told him how well I understood what he was feeling and my thoughts about how I believed God viewed what had happened to his unborn child. As we lay in each other’s arms, a tear or two fell from our both of our eyes as I comforted him and assured him that together, we’d have children of our own to love and to love us. Finally, he began to smile as he looked into my eyes saying, “Yes, we’ll have children, I love you, Christopher…” That was late in October of 2006, just before we decided we’d get married.

Thursday, Stephen called me for the fourth time this week and we talked for a while… He again asked me for my forgiveness of his wrongdoing and even asked for me to show him mercy… As I listened to him talk about being a “broken man” and of conversations he says he has recently had with God, I was remembering that chilly October morning almost three years ago. Although I thought to remind him of his promises to love me always and that we’d have children someday, I didn’t, I just listened and wondered in my mind if he remembered.

Today at work, as I was thinking about these things, I remembered something that occurred on Sunday, July 29, 2008. Stephen had promised to call me early that evening, but didn’t… Around 7 p.m. I sent him a text message expressing my disappointment and my hope that all was well with him in Charlotte. I told him I was “waiting by the phone” for his call. At 7:40 his reply came: “Ok dear, I am in class.” I wondered about that, as he’d not told me he was taking any classes and I wondered what kind of class he could take on a Sunday evening. Around 9:30 he finally called. I asked him how his class went thinking he’d tell me what type of class he was taking. He said, “It went well.” and he said nothing more about it. I realized that there was no point in asking more, because although I didn’t know why, I could somehow tell he was going to lie to me about it.

When it came to Stephen Christopher Harris and secrets, I had learned to accept that this was simply his way and because I loved him, although it was very hard to do, I simply let it be… That day, I forgave his keeping of another secret as I had so many others... Secrets, lies and deceptions from Stephen were nothing new to me. I ended our call that night as I always did with my renewed declaration of true love for him and the promise of my abiding faith in his heart. In December 2008, his secret was revealed to me when I discovered what class it was that he’d taken.

I talked about this in part today with a client… My client and I were talking about “house husbands” and I told her of how when I was in Charlotte with Stephen, I’d clean the “Dream House” every day from top to bottom. I told her of how I’d vacuum the carpets at the end of the day after doing the laundry, and cleaning the bathrooms and other housework and then not walk on them so that they’d be pristine for the arrival of my “beloved one.” I wanted things to be so perfect that his footsteps would be the only ones he’d see when he looked about him when he came home from work each day. I talked about how I’d also worked hard to make the “Dream House” a home by painting, fixing and repairing things, buying decorations, plants, lamps, shades etc. And as I was speaking of this, it reminded me of a day in December last year when I decided to unpack some boxes that were in the closet in the study. One of the boxes had school papers of Stephen’s in it… As I looked through the papers, there was a certificate of completion from a state mandated parenting class for potential foster and adoptive parents. Looking at it, I took note of the date and I realized that that was the class he’d been in that Sunday evening in July.

Although, Stephen’s was the only certificate in the box, I nevertheless knew without knowing that he’d not taken that class alone. In my mind’s eye, I clearly saw Stephen and Alonza in class together. And at the time, I was deeply hurt to know yet again that another of the promises he’d made to me was being kept with someone else. After thinking about what I’d just learned, I put the certificate away in one of the kitchen cabinets, knowing at some point, I would ask him about it. Then I faithfully cleaned the house and cooked his dinner. Later, as I did every day, I turned on the outside lights at dusk and I sat near the door on the hardwood floor (so as not to leave any impressions on the freshly vacuumed carpet) to wait for his arrival. I greeted him at the door with, “I love you, Dearest” and I didn’t mention what I then knew about the class he’d taken.

It was several weeks later, after our mutual suicide attempt on December 10th that I finally took the certificate from the cabinet one day and I asked him about the parenting class. Before I showed him the certificate, I asked Stephen if he remembered the many times we’d talked of having children. He said he remembered. I asked him if that was still a promise he was going to keep… After a lengthy silence, he finally said he didn’t know. I showed him the certificate and I asked him why he’d taken that class. At first his face was awash with the very familiar look of fear that overcomes him when he’s confronted with the truth. Then he said he had considered adopting a child, but decided not to for fear that the child might prey on the other neighborhood children if he had been molested himself. I reminded him of that Sunday in July and I asked why he’d not told me about it… He was silent until I asked, “Who did you take the class with?” At first, a shocked look flashed across his face and then he put on his most innocent look as I saw his mouth poised in an all too familiar stance as he prepared to tell me another lie. Before he began to spin his tale, I said, “You took the class with Alonza didn’t you?” The innocent look on Stephen’s face faded away like snow on a summer sidewalk. He said nothing, but his now guilty look said everything. I didn’t say anything more to him that evening until we went to bed, when I said, “Good night, Stephen, I love you, Dear.”

As I drifted off to sleep in his arms that night, I was thinking about how much it hurt to acknowledge that another promise had been broken, and another dream was now deferred and perhaps lost forever. Yet I still loved him, and I believed that somehow, someday, he’d keep his promises and we’d know the happiness he promised would be ours. As I listened to him over the phone on Thursday, almost sounding as if he were in tears, I again wondered why there is no truth in Stephen Christopher Harris... "Fatherhood would suit him well, if he could only learn to tell the truth. "


"In The News Today..."


Brad Pitt: "I don't care if my child is gay"
By Ramsey Dehani • August 6, 2009 - 17:05






Hollywood star Brad Pitt has said that he doesn't care if any of his children are gay, saying: "I hope I teach my kids to be who they really are".

In an interview with Parade magazine, Pitt, 45, said having a gay child wouldn't bother him "one bit".

“Would it bother me if a child of mine turns out to be gay? No, not one bit. I want my kids to live the lives they want to live. I want them to be fulfilled. I hope I teach my kids to be who they really are,” he said.

Pitt, who has six children with partner Angelina Jolie, including three who were adopted, also defended the couple's decision not to get married, saying they won't do it until "it's legal for everyone else".

“When someone asked me why Angie and I don’t get married, I replied, ‘Maybe we’ll get married when it’s legal for everyone else."

He continued: "I stand by that, although I took a lot of flak for saying it - hate mail from religious groups.”

"I believe everyone should have the same rights," he continued. "They say gay marriage ruins families and hurts kids. Well, I've had the privilege of seeing my gay friends being parents and watching their kids grow up in a loving environment".

The actor said that his views stem from his position that all people should have equality.

In September 2008, the star made a $100,000 donation to the campaign against Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in California.

"It's Not So Funny..."

Still, at least we're not invisible anymore...

Friday, August 7, 2009

"In The News Today..."


Corvino: Robert George’s Reality

By John Corvino, columnist, 365gay.com
08.07.2009 9:00am EDT

Robert George’s recent piece in the Wall Street Journal, “Gay Marriage, Democracy, and the Courts,” contains both sense and nonsense-but more of the latter.

George, a Princeton professor of jurisprudence and founder of the American Principles Project, is a preeminent conservative scholar. In the op-ed, he considers the federal lawsuit challenging California’s Proposition 8 and claims that a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality would be “disastrous,” constituting a “judicial usurpation” of popular authority and inflaming the culture wars beyond repair.

First, the good points: George is quite right to insist that the Court’s role is to interpret the Constitution, not to make policy. He’s also right to argue that marriage law has been, and should be, tied closely to the needs of children. And he exhibits a refreshing “don’t panic” attitude, asserting that “democracy is working”-although by democracy, he seems to mean only voter referenda, and not our more complex representative system, with its various checks and balances. On the latter, broader understanding, I’d agree that “democracy is working:” in the last year, five additional states have embraced marriage equality.

But the misunderstandings in George’s piece are legion.

(1) George provides a lengthy analogy with the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, which recognized abortion rights. But while this analogy may be relevant to the culture-war angle, it says absolutely nothing about the legal merits-since rather different issues were at stake in Roe.

What’s more, it’s not even clear how relevant it is to the culture-war angle. Most abortion opponents believe that abortion involves large-scale killing of innocent babies. Compare that to Adam and Steve setting up house in the suburbs. Whatever your view of homosexuality, there’s no comparison in terms of moral urgency.

(2) George also considers-and summarily rejects-an analogy with the 1967 Loving v. Virginia. He writes,

“The definition of marriage was not at stake in Loving. Everyone agreed that interracial marriages were marriages. Racists just wanted to ban them as part of the evil regime of white supremacy that the equal protection clause was designed to destroy.”

Seriously? Perhaps “everyone agreed” that they were marriages in some sense-as one could say equally about same-sex marriages-but they certainly didn’t agree that they were valid marriages. When the Loving trial court judge declared, “The fact that [God] separated the races shows that he did not intend the races to mix,” he expressed the widespread view that interracial marriage violated a divinely ordained natural order.

George’s reference to the “evil regime of white supremacy” is also telling. In order to undermine any analogy between racial prejudice and homophobia, right-wingers often paint all those who opposed interracial-marriage as angry KKK types. But most opponents of miscegenation sincerely believed that the Bible condemns it, that it’s unnatural, and that it’s bad for children. In other words, they cited the same “respectable” reasons as modern-day marriage-equality opponents.

That these two groups cite the same reasons doesn’t show that their arguments are equally bad or their motives equally flawed. It does show, however, that religious conviction doesn’t secure a free pass for discrimination, and that friendly, well-intentioned folks can nevertheless be guilty of bigotry.

(3) George, a noted natural-law theorist, asserts that marriage “takes its distinctive character” from bodily unions of the procreative kind. By “procreative kind,” George doesn’t mean that procreation must be intended, or even possible-oddly, sterile heterosexuals can have sex “of the procreative kind” on George’s view. He means penis-in-vagina. According to George,

“This explains why our law has historically permitted annulment of marriage for non-consummation, but not for infertility; and why acts of sodomy, even between legally wed spouses, have never been recognized as consummating marriages.”

“Historically” is the key word here-as in “not any more.” There’s a reason consummation laws have been almost universally discarded (and were seldom invoked when present). Such laws reflected, not the law’s majestic correspondence with Catholic natural-law doctrine, but an outdated mixture of concerns about male lineage and female purity.

(4) Finally, George asserts the standard false dilemma: Either accept the traditional natural-law understanding of marriage, or else have no principled basis for any marriage regulation:

“If marriage is redefined, its connection to organic bodily union-and thus to procreation-will be undermined. It will increasingly be understood as an emotional union for the sake of adult satisfaction that is served by mutually agreeable sexual play. But there is no reason that primarily emotional unions like friendships should be permanent, exclusive, limited to two, or legally regulated at all. Thus, there will remain no principled basis for upholding marital norms like monogamy.”

No principled basis? How about the fact that polygamy-which historically is far more common than monogamy-is highly correlated with a variety of social ills? Or that the stability provided by long-term romantic pair-bonding is good for individuals and society-far more profoundly than typical “friendships”? Or that the state legally regulates important contracts of all sorts, and the commitment to “for better or worse, ’til death do us part” is a pretty important contract? Here as elsewhere, George seems incapable of recognizing any principles beyond those prescribed by a narrow natural-law theory.

Ultimately, the trouble with George is that his theory-which is supposed to be rooted in “nature”-is in fact divorced from reality. The reality is that gay people exist, fall in love, pair off, settle down, and build lives together-sometimes with children, often without. When we do, we seek the same legal protection for our relationships that other Americans take for granted. If the denial of such protections is not an appropriate subject for judicial scrutiny, I’m not sure what is.


*****
John Corvino, Ph.D. is an author, speaker, and philosophy professor at Wayne State University in Detroit.

For over seventeen years he has traveled the country speaking on homosexuality and ethics. His writing has been featured in regional and national periodicals, at the online Independent Gay Forum, and in numerous scholarly anthologies. His column “The Gay Moralist” appears Fridays on 365gay.com.

For more about John Corvino, or to see clips from his “What’s Morally Wrong with Homosexuality?” DVD, visit http://www.johncorvino.com/.

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