Monday, January 31, 2011

"This Made Me Smile..."

"Never Be Ashamed Of Who You Are..."

Click on the image to enlarge for printing

"A Truth Shared..."


This interview from several years ago tells us why being open and honest about who we are is so important and it also highlights the risks involved in doing so... Nevertheless, the world is changing and beginning to understand that we are "normal" and only human...

I have to say that I am amused by the expert in the video, he somewhat destroys his credibility by consistently referring to "Africa" (a continent of many nations) as a "country". But this is entirely consistent with most American's understanding of Africa, hence the term "African-Americans", I've never heard anyone calling themselves "European-Americans."

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 564"

"The Look 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.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Saturday, January 29, 2011

"This Made Me Smile..."


One of my favorite comedians...

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 562"

"Unafraid 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.

"What's It All About...?"


This morning I was thinking about this blog... "What exactly is it?" And as I tried to answer that question for myself, I realized that its many things to me and now to some others who regularly visit. But perhaps its mostly a reflection of my personality... the things that I find important, and most especially it's about love.

It began as the story of my quest to love and be loved by a man who promised me that he'd make a lifetime of my secret dreams come true. Although that wasn't what happened, in a way, everything I post is still a message for that man who failed me so terribly that he stole my heart and more importantly a part of my soul that I've not been able to regain.

If you visited during the early days of this blog, then you know that I'm a pretty fair writer. Yet, that being said, of late I very rarely write anything myself besides some brief commentary in what I post here. But, I do think that those of you who visit me here gain some insights into me by what I do and don't say here, by the things that I do post, and by the types of things that I don't...

Nevertheless, I was thinking about my writing abilities this morning, and why I don't write more often. I remembered the only sexually explicit and graphically depicted story I've ever written. I stumbled across it and re-read it last week and at the time I thought, maybe I'll post it as a "Things Love Says" entry. While it's not entirely fictional, (it was written for someone I was in love with) I wrote it during those earliest days of my own acceptance that I am a "same gender loving" man. But because of that, it's a rather personal insight into what at least at the time were the romantic and sexual desires bottled up deep within me at the end of a lifetime of self-imposed celibacy and denial about the truth of my heart. Although it will stand out amongst the things that I've written, I will probably post it someday, and with it, another facet of the person that is me will be revealed.



"Fear Eats the Soul"

Friday, January 28, 2011

"In The News Today..."

J. Paul Oetken

Obama Nominee for Judge Could Be First Openly Gay Man on the Federal Bench



By Benjamin Weiser
January 27, 2011

President Obama has nominated a former Clinton administration lawyer to be a federal judge in Manhattan; he could become the first openly gay man to serve on the federal bench in the United States.

The lawyer, J. Paul Oetken, 45, is a senior vice president and associate general counsel of Cablevision.

He is one of two openly gay men whose nominations are pending to the federal courts. The other is Edward C. DuMont, a lawyer who has been nominated to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington.

Mr. Oetken was originally recommended to the White House in September by Senator Charles E. Schumer, who described him as having “sterling legal credentials” and a “distinguished career in private practice and public service.”

His nomination on Wednesday came about a year after Mr. Schumer recommended that the president nominate Daniel S. Alter, a former assistant United States attorney in Manhattan, who is also openly gay, to the same court.

But Mr. Alter was not nominated. He has said he believes it was because of statements attributed to him relating to the use of the term “Merry Christmas” and to the Pledge of Allegiance, which he denied having made.

Senator Schumer said on Thursday that Mr. Oetken fit his three criteria for federal judges: legal excellence, moderation of views and diversity.

“I am looking for people who fit the three criteria, and I was shocked to learn there were no openly gay male judges on the entire federal bench.” Mr. Oetken “fit the bill,” he added.

Mr. Oetken, a graduate of the University of Iowa and Yale Law School, was a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun and worked in the Justice Department and in the White House counsel’s office.

Before joining Cablevision, Mr. Oetken was in private practice in New York.

If confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Oetken, who lives in Manhattan, would fill the slot previously held by Judge Denny Chin, who has been elevated by President Obama to the federal appeals court in Manhattan.

Mr. Schumer declined to comment on the matter involving Mr. Alter, whose recommendation he announced last February at a dinner of the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay rights group. At the time, he called Mr. Alter “a brilliant attorney,” adding that he would be “a history-maker who will be the first openly gay male judge” nominated to the federal bench.

Mr. Alter, a graduate of Columbia and Yale Law, was an assistant United States attorney and later national director for civil rights for the Anti-Defamation League.

Mr. Alter declined to comment on Thursday, but told The New York Law Journal in October that his nomination appeared to have run into trouble because of “certain false attributions” to him of statements that he denied making.

The Washington Blade had earlier reported that Mr. Alter, while working for the Anti-Defamation League, was quoted in a news service article as recommending against merchants using “Merry Christmas” instead of a more generic greeting and in remarks in a magazine suggesting the group favored legal challenges to the use of “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Mr. Alter told The Law Journal: “Neither of the quotations attributed to me are accurate or in any way reflect my personal reviews.” The White House has declined to comment on the issue.

Last summer, 66 of his former colleagues in the United States attorney’s office wrote to Mr. Schumer, urging the senator to fight for his nomination.

“We stress that if Mr. Alter’s nomination were derailed by these false allegations, the loss to the federal judiciary and to the public would be significant,” the letter said. The signers included two former United States attorneys, James B. Comey and David N. Kelley; Mr. Comey was later a deputy attorney general in the Bush administration.

Another of the signers, Gideon A. Schor, said on Thursday that the failure of Mr. Alter to be nominated “was crushing.”

“It was a real loss, I think, for the public and the bench and the lawyers and the parties,” he said, adding, “For all of our sakes, I hope he gets another chance.”

"The Artist's Corner"

"Saint Sebastian"
Oil on canvas
Anthony Gayton

"A Thought To Ponder..."


If you have it [love], you don't need to have anything else. If you don't have it, it doesn't matter much what else you have.

- James M. Barrie

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 561"

"Love Makes Life Better..."

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, January 27, 2011

"The Truth Is Awkward..."


Corvino: When my grandfather learned I was ‘queer’

By John Corvino, columnist, 365gay.com
01.14.2011

A diversity speaker I know (who also happens to be a dear friend) is fond of saying, “People do the best they can with what they have.”

When I first heard her say this, my immediate reaction was, “Well, that’s obviously false.”

In fact, I still think it’s false. Some people make more of the hand they’re dealt than others; some put in considerable effort, others very little. Some, frankly, are just lazy callous bastards.

But I’ve come to understand that her aphorism isn’t best read as a description. It’s a guideline. When interpreting others’ actions—especially hurtful ones—adopt a principle of charity. They’re not trying to hurt you: they’re doing the best they can with what they have.

The principle reminds us that there are often causal factors beyond our knowledge. And it can sometimes save us needless and counterproductive bitterness.

I was reflecting on this aphorism recently as I recalled an incident that happened nearly two decades ago. It involved my paternal grandfather, the man after whom I was named.

Grandpa John was the only one of my grandparents I did not come out to directly. When I came out to his wife (my Grandma Tess, with whom I was especially close), she told me that she would break the news to him herself.

Her decision was both compassionate and prescient: as I learned later from my father, my grandfather cried for days when he learned that his grandson was, to use his preferred term, “queer.”

After the revelation, I detected a slight stiffening in his manner, especially when he observed me with male friends. I’m sure he imagined us being “queer” together. But Grandpa was a gentle man, and he remained so with me. We never discussed the issue.

One day, as my extended family was gathered at the Christmas dinner table, my two grandfathers were having a lively conversation about the “old neighborhood” in Brooklyn. The conversation turned to a favorite restaurant, Tommaso’s.

“But Joe,” Grandpa John interjected, “you wanna hear something funny? Did you know that Tommaso is queer?”

My sister and I happened to be sitting across the table from each other. We looked up and locked eyes for several seconds.

“Yes,” she seemed to telegraph to me, “he just said what you thought he just said. Try to stay calm.”

I quickly turned my attention back to my plate, determined not to look at my grandfathers. Meanwhile, Grandpa Joe innocently responded that he had no idea about Tommaso. (I had not yet come out to my maternal grandparents, though I would eventually do so.)

About five minutes later, while waiting for the next course, my sister noticed Grandpa John with his elbows on the table, holding his head.

“What’s wrong, Grandpa—do you have a headache?” she asked.

“No,” he responded quietly. “I said something I shouldn’t have said.” He was slouched, and his hands obscured his face.

People sometimes wonder how I can ever give the benefit of the doubt to “homophobes.” One reason is simple: It’s because I have loved, and have been loved by, some.

My paternal grandfather was a high school dropout who, aside from military service, never traveled more than a few hundred miles from his birthplace. He collected tickets at the racetrack and worked for the NY Sanitation Department. He was a good man, a hardworking and loving provider. But he wasn’t what you’d call worldly.

In my grandfather’s limited experience, queers were an object of ridicule. (“Joe, you wanna hear something funny?”)

At the same time, in his world, the last thing you would want to do is hurt your own grandchild. (“I said something I shouldn’t have said.”)

On that day, two deep-seated impulses in my grandfather’s world collided. He disliked queers. He loved me. Although my gayness pained him, the realization that he had hurt me pained him even more.

That was the closest we would ever come to discussing his feelings on the matter. He died just a few years later, felled by a sudden heart attack after shoveling snow for an elderly neighbor.

He did the best he could with what he had. I still admire him for it.

John Corvino, Ph.D. is a writer, speaker, and philosophy professor at Wayne State University in Detroit. Read more about him at www.johncorvino.com.

"This Made Me Smile..."



Another super funny Doritos Superbowl ad that won't be aired... It's amazing to me how upset some people, (both supporters and homophobes) have become by the notion of Pepsico/Frito Lay including us (albeit in a fun and playful way) in the annual celebration of America's winter holiday, "The Superbowl" (read some of the comments on YouTube).

To my mind the funniest thing about all of this is that the furor has achieved the ads ultimate goal even without them airing... Everybody's thinking "Doritos."

In the end, many GLBT people will see Frito Lay and their brands as inclusive and supporting companies (which they and their parent Pepsico are). The anti-gay homophobes will claim victory since they won't have to be reminded that we exist during their annual celebration of "big burly men in skin tight uniforms grabbing, chasing, tackling, and falling on top of one another." To my mind its the irony of all ironies...

Now I think I'll go open a bag Doritos and have a Pepsi!

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 560"

"Happy to Come Home to the Arms 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.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"This Made Me Smile..."



One of several gay themed contenders competing for airtime on Superbowl Sunday, this ad is apparently out the running due to some furor from several GLBT advocacy groups who say this ad plays to outdated stereotypes of gay men...

Personally, I found it amusing and fun and not at all degrading of anyone in particular. Quite to the contrary, it seems to depict a gay couple living in suburbia who are friendly neighbors to the mixed race hetero couple next door... What could be more "All American, Melting Pot" than that!

Having been a persecuted minority for so long, I think sometimes we are a little too sensitive. It's a good thing that more and more we are being included in media and especially advertising (being the consumer driven culture that we are). This is a good thing... This made me smile.

"In The News Today..."

Jack Evans, left, and George Harris are celebrating their 50th anniversary by going on a cruise in April. The portrait behind them was taken on their 40th anniversary.

True Romance: Fifty years together, lived out loud



By Kathleen Green
23 January 2011

Jack Evans and George Harris reminisce about their 50-year journey, amazed that it’s gone so fast.

As they recall their accomplishments together — from running a successful real estate business to starting their own networking group to serving on numerous boards — it’s little wonder that half a century has flown by.

Jack and George have been together since they first met at a friend’s bon voyage party on Jan. 19, 1961.

“After three days, there was never any question,” says Jack, now 80.

They shared a love for travel, the arts and community involvement. Jack was in the banking business and George worked in the trucking industry before they decided to join forces in the real estate business.

For nearly a decade, they worked in their own office on Lomo Alto, then moved to Adleta Fine Properties, eventually switching to Ellen Terry Realtors. Spending so much time together might be daunting for most couples, but they’ve made it work.

“We work together and live together, which creates its own challenges,” George says. “Relationships are difficult because we’re all different people, but it’s what you want and what you want out of life. {ellipsis} It takes commitment and you have to care.”

They both agree that hard work and mutual admiration have made it work. George says he admires Jack’s varied palette of interests, from art to photography. And Jack knows that a good book is always a perfect gift for bookworm George. But in their earlier years together, the two had to keep their relationship under wraps.

“Back when we got together, everything was underground,” says George, now 77. “There was no fraternizing. {ellipsis}They only had a couple of gay bars back then. Most of the entertainment was at home. I can’t believe we have gone from getting arrested in bars to dancing at the Anatole at the Black Tie Dinner.”

Times have changed in Dallas and in metro areas across the United States and, as Jack points out, it does get better.

When George was hospitalized for three weeks in 2006, Jack stayed by his side and was pleasantly surprised by how accepting the staff was.

“Not one time during all of that did I have a doctor, an intern or nurse or anybody question what I was there for,” says Jack. Over the years, they both say they’ve worked hard to gain wider acceptance in the world.

When they bought their first home in 1964, they couldn’t get a mortgage under both names, Jack says.

“The first two houses we bought had to be in my name alone because mortgage companies would not allow two people who were not married to borrow money to buy a house,” he says.

Despite all this, Jack and George have made inroads elsewhere. They have been high-profile in both the business and gay-lesbian community, launching the Stonewall Professional Business Association. Their networking group started with a handful of friends at lunch in 1992 and now touts more than 400 members.

“When I got to Dallas and we met up, I said, ‘I want to try to make a difference,’ ” says George, who is working on a book about his ordeal with the military back in the ’50s, having been kicked out because of his sexual orientation.

“I want to set a good example for these kids and that’s what we’ve tried to do with being on these boards.”

But as they head into their golden years, Jack and George have scaled back on such endeavors to make time for art-museum outings and trips, such as an upcoming cruise down the Mexican Riviera to mark their anniversary milestone.

“It’s gone so quickly,” says George. It’s just unbelievable. We’ve had a great time. We’ve had some wonderful houses and good careers. If we can keep our health going, we don’t have any complaints.”

********


"A life lived in fear is a life half-lived..."

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 559"

"Home Is Where Love Lives..."

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, January 25, 2011

"The Things That Love Says..."


"I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you. I love you not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me. I love you for the part of me that you bring out."

- Roy Croft

"The Artist's Corner"

"Touched"
Acrylic on canvas
Steve Walker

"This Made Me Smile..."

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 558"


"Love Is Wonderful..."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, January 24, 2011

"A Thought To Ponder..."


"How on earth are you ever going to explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love?"

- Albert Einstein

"This Made Me Smile..."

"The Artist's Corner"

"Blue Pillow"
Acrylic on canvas
Douglas Simonson

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 557"

"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.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

"The Things That Love Says..."


"For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul."

- Judy Garland

"The Artist's Corner"

"The Shy Model"
Oil on canvas
Nebojsa Zdravkovic

"This Made Me Smile..."

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 556"

"Spending Sunday With The One You 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.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

"The Artist's Corner"

"Clouds"
Oil on Canvas
Cody Furguson

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 555"

"Love Is The Only Truth Worth Knowing..."

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.

"This Made Me Smile..."

"The Things That Love Says..."


"If you press me to say why I loved him, I can say no more than because he was he, and I was I."

Michel de Montaigne

Friday, January 21, 2011

"The Poet's Corner"


I, being, poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

William Butler Yeats

"This Made Me Smile..."

"The Power of Truth..."

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 554"

"Young Love... Sweet as Cotton Candy"

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, January 20, 2011

"The Power of Love..."

"Fear Eats the Soul"

"The Truth About Love..."

"I met in the street a very poor young man who was in love. His hat was old, his coat worn, his cloak was out at the elbows, the water passed through his shoes, - and the stars through his soul."

Victor Hugo

"This Made Me Smile..."

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 553"

"We Uphold The Greatest Law of All... 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, January 19, 2011

"Unintentionally Gay...?"

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 552"

"This Is The Joy And The Promise 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.

"This Made Me Smile..."

I love my British cousins' and their wickedly dry sense of humour...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"The Poet's Corner"


Doubt thou the stars are fire;
Doubt that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be a liar;
But never doubt I love.

William Shakespeare

"A Story to Share..."

"Ernesto was impressed with the tiny apartment. Flex’s music collection was eclectic but mostly all Black: jazz, blues, R&B, hip hop, and some gospel. The art on the walls was amazing and inspecting further, he saw that most were signed with the name Flex. Because the place was so small, every square inch of space was utilized. Oddly enough, the place didn’t look cluttered at all; it might have been small on space but it was big on style. The timer on the oven went off and Flex was still in the shower so he decided to take out whatever was in there. Opening the oven door, a fantastic aroma came wafting out. He pulled out the dish and it was some sort of dip that had been heated to go with the tri-colored chips that had been put out on a platter. Ernesto was blown away. “This guy can play ball, he can quote James Baldwin, he has a great apartment, he’s creative, he can cook, and he’s sexy as hell. Damn, I think I just met my future husband,” he said under his breath."

This is an excerpt from one of the best same gender loving stories I've read in a long while... although it contains explicit sexual imagery, its premise is clear from the excerpt above, its a love story.

Read this great story in its entirety here: AfroerotiK

"The Artist's Corner"

"Truth and Beauty"
Mixed Media
Jack Balas

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 551"

"Live And Love, These Are The Years To Remember..."


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, January 17, 2011

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 550"

"Freedom to 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.

"A Song For A Hero..."


"We remember and honor him because he gave everything for a cause greater than himself... Love, Freedom and Justice"



Performed live in concert on April 7, 1968
Three days after the assasination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"The Truth Is Eloquent"




Today is "Martin Luther King Jr. Day" and as I reflected upon this yesterday and in the early hours of this morning, I wondered to myself what Dr. King would tell his GLBT brothers and sisters if he could speak to us today. Then I recalled a speech in which he did just that...

There are those who would lie and say that Dr. King was no friend of GLBT peoples, but the truth is that he understood that we are just another glorious manifestation of God's most wonderfully diverse creation, humankind. What proof do I offer, just this, never far from Dr. King's side was his friend, openly gay and openly proud to be a black man, Bayard Rustin (although mostly out of the frame, he's standing just behind Dr. King's left shouder).

Not only was Bayard Rustin, Dr. King's close friend and confidant, but he was the one man who was most instrumental in bringing Dr. King's message of love to a world weary from bearing the chains of prejudice and oppression and crying out for a standard bearer to hearld freedom. Dr. King acknowledged many times that without Bayard Rustin, there could have been no "March on Washington" in 1963 which was the turning point in the fight for civil rights.

And so, again, what would Martin Luther King, Jr. say to his GLBT brothers and sisters today? Exactly what he said to those who braved the bombs, the dogs, the billy clubs and the firehoses to march on the state capital at Montgomery, Alabama to proclaim that "I am a man!" He would remind us as he reminded them:

"How long? Not long!"
"Because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice."


"Fear Eats the Soul"

Sunday, January 16, 2011

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 549"

"Getting To Know Him..."


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

"The Truth Is In The Scriptures"


“If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.”

- 1 John 4:20-21

"The Truth About Love..."


Opposite Or Same Sex, Male Or Female
Romantic Love Is All The Same To The Brain
11 Jan 2011

Heterosexual or homosexual, male or female, it's all the same as far as the brain systems that regulate romantic love are concerned, according to a new study from University College London (UCL), where researchers examined functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) brain scans of volunteers while they looked at the faces of their lovers.

Drs Semir Zeki and John Romaya from the Wellcome Laboratory of Neurobiology at UK's UCL published their findings, which followed from earlier work on differences between romantic and maternal love, in the 31 December 2010 issue of PLoS ONE.

In their introduction they explain that this study is a continuation of previous work on brain systems that appear to be critical for romantic love. Their inspiration came from reading world literature on love, both Western and Oriental, where characters in love appear to have the same sentiments, whether male or female, and regardless of sexual orientation.

Zeki, Professor of Neuroesthetics at UCL, told the media that:

"Passionate romantic love is commonly triggered by a visual input and is an all-consuming and disorienting state."

He said previous research has shown that although the emotion is complex, when you look at brain images of a person who is viewing the face of someone they are passionately in love with, the patterns occur only in a few, though richly connected, regions of the brain.

"This limitation made it plausible to suppose that we could detect any differences relatively easily," he and Romaya write.

Other studies have described physical differences between homosexual and heterosexual brains, for example in the size of the hypothalamus and the degree of asymmetry of the two hemispheres.

But these have been described in the context of sexual arousal and not in response to the "sentiment of love", they add, going on to propose that given the profound similarities in the expressions of the sentiment of love, then one would also observe "no differences when females or males, or heterosexual or homosexual subjects, viewed the face of their loved partners".

For the study, Zeki and Romaya invited 12 women and 12 men (6 heterosexual and 6 homosexual in each case), aged 19 to 47, to look at pictures of their lovers and pictures of friends of the same sex as their lovers but to whom they reported feeling romantically indifferent, while they took fMRI scans of their brain activity.

All the participants said they were passionately in love with their romantic partners and were in a sexual relationship with them. The length of the relationships varied from 4 months to 23 years.

(There were originally 28 volunteers, but the researchers excluded 4 for various reasons, for instance one reported deep underlying problems in the relationship and another fell asleep during the scanning).

After the scans, participants gave a Kinsey rating of their sexual orientation on a scale of 0 (exclusively heterosexual) to 6 (exclusively homosexual). Of the 24 subjects, half were either exclusively heterosexual or homosexual, while the other half, whose rating fell in between, nevertheless declared their relationship to be either heterosexual or homosexual, wrote the researchers.

The participants also completed Passionate Love Scale (PLS) questionnaires, to attempt to quantify their feelings about their lover.

To prepare the images the researchers used Cogent 2000 and Cogent graphics, a system developed at UCL for helping researchers design experimental stimuli for brain imaging and psychophysical studies.

To make all the images as uniform as possible, so the only differences between them were the people portrayed, the photographs, which the participants provided themselves, were digitized, converted to grayscale and edited to remove features like earrings, scarves and background, which was replaced by a flat mid-grey tone. They were then also normalized in terms of visual area and average brightness.

The fMRI results showed:
A very similar pattern of activation between the different groups.

The pattern showed that both the cortical and sub-cortical areas were active.

The main areas of activity were areas known to be rich in dopaminergic ("feel good") neurotransmitter activity.

These areas included the "hypothalamus, ventral tegmental area, caudate nucleus and the putamen, as well as the insula, hippocampus and anterior cingulate cortex".

There was also extensive de-activation of large parts of the cerebral cortex when the participants viewed images of their lovers, and this was independent of gender and sexual orientation.
Dopaminergic activity is strongly linked with the activity of other neurotransmitters, such as those involving oxytocin and serotonin, which scientists believe play an important role in regulating emotion and bonding in relationships.

The de-activated areas included parts of the temporal, parietal and frontal cortex, and other cortical areas that scientists believe play a critical role in judgement, and this finding may explain why we often appear less judgemental about those we love, lending support to the old saying "love is blind".

Zeki and Romaya concluded that:

"The pattern of activation and de-activation was very similar in the brains of males and females, and heterosexuals and homosexuals. We could therefore detect no difference in activation patterns between these groups."

They commented that the world of literature is also "very uniform in this regard", both Western and Oriental literature, and regardless of whether the relationship is same or opposite sex.

Central to the sentiment of passionate love are two recurring themes, they write:

"... the desire to be united with the lover and to be annihilated with, and in, the lover."

The themes are "forcefully there" in "Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, in the Farsi poetry of Rumi and Hafiz, the Arabic-Azeri legend of Majnun and Leila, the Rime of Michelangelo and in the double suicide shinju tradition in Japan", and they also list other sources including Hindu legends, Sufi love literature, and Shakespeare's sonnets.

It was the presence of this "profound ambiguity", whereby the sentiment can be read in the context of same or opposite sex, "regardless of the authors' intentions", that prompted the researchers to carry out the study and find in conclusion a similar pattern in brain images:

"Here we have shown that, with the methods currently available to us and using perhaps overly conservative criteria, we could not detect any differences relating to the expression of the sentiment of love in the same or opposite sex context, either in the areas activated or in the intensity of activation within them."

However, they also pointed out it does not mean that differences do not exist, but they are perhaps best "sought elsewhere than in the experience of the sentiment of love when viewing the face of a loved partner", such as in the sexual counterpart to love.

"The Brain Reaction to Viewing Faces of Opposite- and Same-Sex Romantic Partners."
Zeki S, Romaya JP
PLoS ONE, 5(12): e15802; published online 31 Dec 2010

Written by: Catharine Paddock, PhD

Saturday, January 15, 2011

"A Thought To Ponder..."


"Love me without fear. Trust me without wondering. Love me without restrictions. Want me without demand. Accept me without judgement."

- Unknown

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 548"


"Stephen and Leon... The Sky Was Blue"

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.

"What Once I Believed..."


"Yes I will Dear, I'm more scared to live without you."

- August 13, 2008 9:57 PM

"Remembering Love's Journey"


Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden.

T. S. Eliot



Four years ago today... There was no truth in you.


"Fear Eats the Soul"

Friday, January 14, 2011

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 547"

"Love and Marriage... It Made Our Lives 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.

"Unintentionally Gay...?"

Can't you just hear 'em saying, "No Homo!"


Surprisingly, I find that I can once again, on occasion look at life with a whimsically curious eye... With this in mind, I thought of this new feature that I will be posting from time to time. When I run across images like this in my work, or while online and sometimes just on the street, I always ask myself, "Do they realize how 'gay' that looks?" Then I laugh and think to myself, at least I can recognize it and its funny to me.


"Fear Eats the Soul"

"A Song For 'Us'..."

End Hate


"Fear Eats the Soul"

Thursday, January 13, 2011

"A Thought To Ponder..."


"And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course."

- Kahlil Gibran

"Because Fear Eats the Soul..."

In case you missed it...


"A life lived in fear is a life half-lived..."

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 546"

"There Is No Safer Place Than In The Arms 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.

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