Thursday, February 28, 2013

"The Imitation Of Life..."


"Hitchcocked" - A fantistic art film that blurs the lines between fantasy, fear and fun...


"Same Gender Loving People - No. 1265"


"Making One Another Happy Is The Truth 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.



"A Thought To Ponder..."


“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent” 

Victor Hugo


"The Truth About Love..."


"The longer the road to love, the keener is the pleasure."

Andre Maurois


"The Artist's Corner..."

"Study for Return"
Oil on canvas
Wes Hempel




"Gay PDA Is Okay!"


"Proudly In Love... Live Fearlessly"




"Black History Month..."


Openly Gay, Black Mississippi Mayoral Candidate, Marco McMillian Found Dead

Black History month draws to a close today... And although I didn't include as many posts as I had planned on, I think this post is a poignant reminder that on freedom and equality, were not there yet.

No cause of death has been released yet, but in light of the suspicious circumstances of the case, my mind can't help jumping to various conclusions about what may have taken place given that this occurred in the great and infamous state of Mississippi.  I have family roots in Mississippi, and yet I've never had any desire to visit there.  I've heard enough about Mississippi to believe it's not the greatest place.  I hope my suspicions are wrong about this case, but I doubt it.  Nevertheless, this is also part of Black (and GLBT) History in America.

"Fear Eats the Soul"


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

"Gay PDA Is Okay!"


"Love Is Beautiful... Live Fearlessly"




"The Imitation Of Life..."


"Summer" - A story of friendship, discovery and acceptance.


"The Truth Today..."


"Fear Eats the Soul"



"Same Gender Loving People - No. 1264"


"The Joys Of Life Are Found In Love...


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



"The Artist's Corner..."

"Anticipation"
Digital photograph
Unknown Photographer

"It's Not So Funny..."


"Fear Eats the Soul"



"The Truth About Love And Marriage..."

32 Years Together

"All my adult life I've felt drawn to ask long-married couples how they were able to stay together. All of them said the same thing: "We worked hard at it." 
- Randy Pausch


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 1263"


"Love Brings Passion To Life...


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 Imitation Of Life..."


"Hai Chú Cháu" (Uncle & Son) - A poignant story of family love, acceptance and sacrifice.


"The Artist's Corner..."

"Supplication"
Oil on canvas
Wes Hempel



"The Truth About Love..."


"The greatest pleasures of love are inseparable from its greatest pains: Love has the face of a god, but the talons of an eagle."*

- Ivan Panin



* The author's text has been modified to conform gender pronouns and ideas to this audience.


"Gay PDA Is Okay!"


"Let There Be Love Everywhere... Live Fearlessly"




"In The News Today..."



Republicans Sign Brief In Support of Gay Marriage

By Sheryl Gay Stolberg
February 25, 2013 | The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Dozens of prominent Republicans — including top advisers to former President George W. Bush, four former governors and two members of Congress — have signed a legal brief arguing that gay people have a constitutional right to marry, a position that amounts to a direct challenge to Speaker John A. Boehner and reflects the civil war in the party since the November election.

The document will be submitted this week to the Supreme Court in support of a suit seeking to strike down Proposition 8, a California ballot initiative barring same-sex marriage, and all similar bans. The court will hear back-to-back arguments next month in that case and another pivotal gay rights case that challenges the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Read the rest of the story here: The New York Times


Monday, February 25, 2013

"The Night Of The Lover's Moon..."



"Dear Heart, you and I are connected in ways that transcend anything we might have ever imagined."

- Stephen Christopher Harris



I am always remembering...

"The Imitation Of Life..."


"Eric" - A moving portrayal of coming of age, coming out and coming to grips with hatred and fear.


"Fear Eats the Soul"


"In The News Today..."


Apparently, where there's smoke, there is fire...



Cardinal Keith O'Brien Resigns As Archbishop

By Robert Pigott
February 25, 2013 | BBC News


Britain's most senior Roman Catholic cleric, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, is stepping down as the Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh.

It follows allegations - which he contests - of inappropriate behaviour towards priests dating from the 1980s.

The Vatican is expected to confirm Pope Benedict has accepted his resignation.

The cardinal is not now expected to take part in the election for a successor to the Pope - leaving Britain unrepresented in the election.

Cardinal O'Brien missed celebrating Sunday Mass in St Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh, which marked Pope Benedict's eight years in office, ahead of the pontiff stepping down this week.

The resignation of Britain's most senior Roman Catholic cleric in the wake of allegations of improper behaviour creates a crisis for the Church in Scotland, and represents a heavy blow to the wider Church as it battles to shore up its reputation ahead of the papal election or "conclave".

The conclave is already expected to be difficult in the circumstances created by Pope Benedict's unprecedented resignation.

The Vatican is also struggling to deal with reports of internal corruption and mismanagement.

Read more here: BBC News


"Fear Eats the Soul"


"Gay PDA Is Okay!"


"Be Unafraid To Be Together In The World... Live Fearlessly"



"The Truth About Love..."

"To love is to risk, not being loved in return. To hope is to risk pain. To try is to risk failure. But risk must be taken because the greatest hazard in my life is to risk nothing."
- Bob Marley


"Same Gender Loving People - No. 1262"


"In The End, Life Has But One Reason... 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..."


My favorite... Car Crush Resuscitation at 3:01


"The Artist's Corner..."

"A Secluded Cove"
Oil on canvas
David Thompson



Sunday, February 24, 2013

"In The News..."

My first inclination regarding this story's recent appearance in the MSM was to leave it alone and not promote it.  But, having given it some thought, and noting that the story has some legs and is getting some traction, I thought I'd share it.  As far as whether there are gays in the Vatican, I have no doubt that there are... some of them have even visited these pages*.



Papal Resignation Linked To Inquiry Into 'Vatican Gay Officials', Says Paper
Pope's staff decline to confirm or deny La Repubblica claims linking 'Vatileaks' affair and discovery of 'blackmailed gay clergy'

John Hooper | The Guardian
21 February 2013



A potentially explosive report has linked the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI to the discovery of a network of gay prelates in the Vatican, some of whom – the report said – were being blackmailed by outsiders.

The pope's spokesman declined to confirm or deny the report, which was carried by the Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica.

The paper said the pope had taken the decision on 17 December that he was going to resign – the day he received a dossier compiled by three cardinals delegated to look into the so-called "Vatileaks" affair.

Last May Pope Benedict's butler, Paolo Gabriele, was arrested and charged with having stolen and leaked papal correspondence that depicted the Vatican as a seething hotbed of intrigue and infighting.

According to La Repubblica, the dossier comprising "two volumes of almost 300 pages – bound in red" had been consigned to a safe in the papal apartments and would be delivered to the pope's successor upon his election.

The newspaper said the cardinals described a number of factions, including one whose members were "united by sexual orientation".

In an apparent quotation from the report, La Repubblica said some Vatican officials had been subject to "external influence" from laymen with whom they had links of a "worldly nature". The paper said this was a clear reference to blackmail.

It quoted a source "very close to those who wrote [the cardinal's report]" as saying: "Everything revolves around the non-observance of the sixth and seventh commandments."

The seventh enjoins against theft. The sixth forbids adultery, but is linked in Catholic doctrine to the proscribing of homosexual acts.

La Repubblica said the cardinals' report identified a series of meeting places in and around Rome. They included a villa outside the Italian capital, a sauna in a Rome suburb, a beauty parlour in the centre, and a former university residence that was in use by a provincial Italian archbishop.

Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said: "Neither the cardinals' commission nor I will make comments to confirm or deny the things that are said about this matter. Let each one assume his or her own responsibilities. We shall not be following up on the observations that are made about this."

He added that interpretations of the report were creating "a tension that is the opposite of what the pope and the church want" in the approach to the conclave of cardinals that will elect Benedict's successor. Another Italian daily, Corriere della Sera, alluded to the dossier soon after the pope announced his resignation on 11 February, describing its contents as "disturbing".

The three-man commission of inquiry into the Vatileaks affair was headed by a Spanish cardinal, Julián Herranz. He was assisted by Cardinal Salvatore De Giorgi, a former archbishop of Palermo, and the Slovak cardinal Jozef Tomko, who once headed the Vatican's department for missionaries.

Pope Benedict has said he will stand down at the end of this month; the first pope to resign voluntarily since Celestine V more than seven centuries ago. Since announcing his departure he has twice apparently referred to machinations inside the Vatican, saying that divisions "mar the face of the church", and warned against "the temptations of power".

La Repubblica's report was the latest in a string of claims that a gay network exists in the Vatican. In 2007 a senior official was suspended from the congregation, or department, for the priesthood, after he was filmed in a "sting" organised by an Italian television programme while apparently making sexual overtures to a younger man.

In 2010 a chorister was dismissed for allegedly procuring male prostitutes for a papal gentleman-in-waiting. A few months later a weekly news magazine used hidden cameras to record priests visiting gay clubs and bars and having sex.

The Vatican does not condemn homosexuals. But it teaches that gay sex is "intrinsically disordered". Pope Benedict has barred sexually active gay men from studying for the priesthood.


*******

* I have logged multiple visits from the following Internet Address:
 IP: 46.36.192.2
Hostname: benedict.network-isp.com
Service Provider: network-isp.com
Country Code: VA
Country:  Holy See (Vatican City State)

"Fear Eats the Soul"


"Sometimes In Advertising..."


Back in the day... We were there.



"Same Gender Loving People - No. 1261"


"This Is Real Love...


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



"The Truth About Love..."


"A supreme love, a motive that gives a sublime rhythm to a one's life, and exalts habit into partnership with the soul's highest needs, is not to be had where and how one wills: to know that high initiation, one must often tread where it is hard to tread, and feel the chill air, and watch through darkness. It is not true that love makes things easy: it makes us choose what is difficult."*

- George Eliot



* The author's original text has been modified to neuter gender specific pronouns.

"A Hard Place To Be Gay..."

It's pretty clear that it's hard to be gay in "Mother Russia."  Anti-gay laws being passed at the local and national level, violent street protests against gays and a culture of hate and fear pervade the country.  Last week, one man on the inside dared to come out... This is his story:



Gay Russian TV Personality Reflects On His Firing And His Country



By Sergei L. Loiko | Los Angeles Times
February 23, 2013

MOSCOW — The day last month that Russian lawmakers gave initial approval to a bill establishing fines for spreading "propaganda" supporting homosexuality among minors, leading Russian media personality Anton Krasovsky was fired after publicly revealing that he is gay.

While anchoring a late-night TV show on Jan. 25, Krasovsky, 37, said that not only is he gay, he is also "as human as President [Vladimir] Putin, Prime Minister [Dmitry] Medvedev" and the members of the parliament.

Krasovsky, who served as editor in chief of Kontr TV, an Internet and cable television network launched by the Kremlin in December, said in an interview recently that human rights and liberties are violated more and more and that "mutual hatred and resentment is being instilled in the Russian society from above."

Read the rest of Anton's story here: The Los Angeles Times

"Fear Eats the Soul"


"This Made Me Smile..."


The Midshipmen of the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis go Gangnam Style...


"Gay PDA Is Okay!"


"A Kiss Warms Both The Heart And The Soul... Live Fearlessly"




Saturday, February 23, 2013

"The DOMA Truth..."



"Gay PDA Is Okay!"


"Love Knows It's Time And Place... Live Fearlessly"



"The Truth Is Ironic..."




"Fear Eats the Soul"



"The Truth About Traditional Marriage..."



Kirby: Gays Not Alone In Defying ‘Traditional’ Marriage Definition

By Robert Kirby | Tribune Columnist
Feb 22 2013

I used to believe traditional marriage was a union between a cat and a dog. Proof could be found in the books I read. Fairy tales mostly, but also more contemporary works.

In these books were pictures portraying cats as female and dogs as male. You never saw a cat husband married to a dog wife. It flew in the face of nature and, more importantly, tradition.

Note: Horses (male) also traditionally married cows (female). It was right there in no less an authority than a checked-out library book: A horse read a newspaper while his wife — a cow in an apron — made cupcakes.

So it came as a bit of a shock when I discovered dogs and cats could not get married. They were two distinct species that shared nothing more than the fact that both were covered in hair that rubbed off on the furniture.

Of course I was more mature when I learned this. Second grade, I think. But it still took a long time for the information to sink in.

By third grade I was wrestling with more important traditional marriage ideas, namely the fact that a kid in my class, Myron, could never marry Deborah even though his mind audibly labored whenever she skipped past.

Again the problem was law based on tradition rather than actual sense. Myron was a boy. I knew this because we took swimming lessons together. Meanwhile Deborah was … well, not to put too fine a point on it, a "Negro."

Another note: I’m embarrassed to admit it took another year for me to figure out it wasn’t spelled "knee grow." Hey, it was the ’50s. Also, I’m slow.

Regular guys such as Myron and me (white boys) could not marry complete angels who just happened to be black or even dark brown.

Never mind. The point being that it was against all kinds of laws — civil, familial, religious, social, moronic — for Myron and Deborah to marry.



Why? Well, because their children would be biologically, socially and legally zebras. Everyone in my third-grade class (and an astonishing number of adults as it turned out) believed some version of this nonsense.

It got worse. I later came to understand that tradition-based laws at various times forbade marriage/sex (and even just making out) even between people of the same color.

For example, had I been born in Germany in the years leading up to World War II, it would have been illegal for me to marry a Jew. It would have been a crime (or at least a beating) for me to even date one.

Still later I was sternly cautioned by my own church, under penalty of celestial sanction against our children, not to marry Pam "Foxy Brown" Grier.

Because Pam, who is black, wouldn’t answer my letters and calls, there was little danger of this happening. However, I did have a deeply religious uncle who freaked when he learned I dated a Mexican girl.

Traditional science and religion were cited to support these laws and beliefs, all of which claimed something horrible would happen to the world and to society if such nontraditional unions were allowed to become legal.

Well, except for dogs and cats, they all have. And nothing bad has happened. The world keeps plugging along even though Aryans marry Jews, blacks marry whites and humans marry Klingons (I’ve heard).


The current debate regarding traditional union is over gay marriage. Should two people of the same gender be allowed to get married? Will something horrible happen if they do?

Probably not. Given how often society and government have gotten this sort of thing wrong to the point of idiocy, maybe tradition is something we should reject out of hand.

I’ve always believed marriage should be based on love rather than society and government. But that’s just me. I married a Canadian and nothing bad happened.

Robert Kirby can be reached at rkirby@sltrib.com or facebook.com/stillnotpatbagley.

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 1260"


"Love Faces Every Challenge For It's Own Sake...


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 DOMA Truth..."


Although "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is no more... There is still much more to be won.


"The Artist's Corner..."

"Hoops"
Acrylic on canvas
Joe Phillips



Friday, February 22, 2013

"In The News..."



Turkish Court Rules Gay Sex Is Natural

February 19, 2013
By Dan Littauer

An Istanbul court of the first instance delivered a landmark ruling saying that gay sex is natural, contradicting a previous ruling by Turkey's supreme court.

Read the whole story here.


"Fear Eats the Soul"




"Friday Night At The Movies..."


"Aaron... Albeit A Sex Hero" - A suprisingly entertaining full length feature with just enough twist and turns to  captivate you.  Not the best writing, production values or acting, but still, very entertaining.


"The Truth About Love..."



"Fear Eats the Soul"




"Sometimes In Advertising..."


"Fear Eats the Soul"





"The Imitation Of Life..."


"Eu Não Quero Voltar Sozinho" (I Do Not Want To Go Back Alone) - A beautiful and touching short film from Brazil about discovering love's awakening.

Click on the "closed captions" button for subtitles.

"Fear Eats the Soul"


"Same Gender Loving People - No. 1259"


"Let There Be No Doubt... 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.



"Gay PDA Is Okay!"


"Now There Can Be Love And Honor... Live Fearlessly"




"The Truth Requires Bravery..."


"I]t’s difficult to get people even to consider your reform ideas if they think, with good reason, you don’t like or respect them. Building a winning coalition to tackle the looming fiscal and trust deficits will be impossible if we continue to alienate broad segments of the population. We must be happy warriors who refuse to tolerate those who want Hispanic votes but not Hispanic neighbors. We should applaud states that lead on reforming drug policy. And, consistent with the Republican Party’s origins, we must demand equality under the law for all Americans…

Today we have an opportunity to do more: conservatives should start to lead again and push their states to join the nine others that allow all their citizens to marry. I've been married for 29 years. My marriage has been the greatest joy of my life. There is nothing conservative about denying other Americans the ability to forge that same relationship with the person they love."

Former Presidential Candidate, Jon Huntsman
Morman, Republican Governor of Utah

"This Made Me Smile..."


Summer's Coming...


"It's Not So Funny..."


"Fear Eats the Soul"



Thursday, February 21, 2013

"The Poet's Corner..."


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

Percy Bysshe Shelley


"The Truth About Love..."


This is how love happens... Sadly, this Italian couple couldn't marry in their own country, so they traveled to New York to unite their lives forever on Valentine's Day.


"Fear Eats the Soul"


"Gay PDA Is Okay!"


"Love And Marriage Is Beautiful To Behold... Live Fearlessly"



"Same Gender Loving People - No. 1258"


"Life Is For Loving...


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 Artist's Corner..."

"Rain"
Acrylic on canvas
Steve Walker



Wednesday, February 20, 2013

"Same Gender Loving People - No. 1257"


"Love Is Cool...


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 DOMA Truth..."




"Fear Eats the Soul"



"A Love Story..."



"Fear Eats the Soul"


"The News From Detroit..."

Metropolitan Detroit (centered on it's suburb of Dearborn) has the world's largest population of Arab people outside of the Middle East, so it's no surprise, that we also have a large population of GLBT Arabs here... They've begun to speak out.


Outcast Gay Arabs Struggle with Backlash in Dearborn


The Arab American News
Natasha Dado, Feb 19, 2013

DEARBORN, Mich. — “I’m not afraid. Somebody has to start the conversation,” said Chris Ramazzotti, who’s Lebanese and agreed to reveal his name while discussing homosexuality among Arabs here.

Other gay Arabs didn’t disclose their identities citing safety risks as a reason, and to prevent their families from being criticized by Dearborn’s close-knit Arab community.

Ramazzotti is the executive director of Al-Gamea, a group formed in 2006 to address the growing needs of local gay Middle Eastern Americans. In 2009 it became a 501c3 nonprofit organization.

Ramazzotti says the Arab community’s progress towards having more tolerant attitudes about lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender (LBGT) people has been slow.

Arab Americans comprise more than 40 percent of Dearborn’s population, which according to a 2010 U.S. Census report was 98,153.

Two Arabs from Dearborn said in parts of Beirut, Lebanon it can be less difficult for an Arab to be openly gay than it’s here. Lebanon is one of the few Arab countries on the forefront of organizing for LBGT rights.

Ryan, a 23-year-old gay Arab from Dearborn who was kicked out of his house after coming out to his family, says there haven’t been any real conversations among community leaders about gay Arabs.

“People are afraid to step up, and then there’s people like me who are out and ready to start the conversation, but the question is where do we start? We don’t know who supports gay Arabs, and sometimes I am afraid for my safety,” Ryan said.

Ramazzotti says a lot of people living in Dearborn follow conservative customs and beliefs they brought with them when emigrating from Arab countries to the United States, making it more difficult for second generation Arab Americans to come out.

He says Dearborn’s religious Arab community has got in the way of progressive attitudes about the LBGT community moving forward.

It’s hard for Arabs here to be openly gay because they’re afraid of being judged, and disowned by their families, neighbors and friends in the community.

Ryan says people who support gay Arabs often fear speaking in support of them publicly because conservative Arabs and Muslims will commit hate crimes, or incite riots against them.

Faisal Alam, a nationally known Muslim gay rights activist spoke at the University of Michigan Dearborn last month where he presented the program, Hidden Voices: The Lives of LBGT Muslims.

The lecture was interrupted by a false alarm, and Alam along with other activists were escorted to their cars by security after their views were challenged.

The program attracted more than 200 people, including several Arab Muslims.

Ramazzotti has been threatened because of his sexual orientation. He says one gay Arab woman from Dearborn had to move out of her house after her brother went through text messages and emails and learned she had a girlfriend. He threatened to kill her. She’s in college, and now on her own struggling to make ends meet.

The founders of Al-Gamea also wanted to reach out to Chaldeans, who’re Iraqi Catholics, but don’t identify as Arabs. Several gay Chaldeans have found refuge in Al-Gamea.

There are more than 120,000 Chaldeans in metro Detroit. The community is very close knit and conservative as well, making the challenges of gay Arabs and Chaldeans parallel.

Al-Gamea hosts weekly gatherings, and every month has an Arabian Night social event where gay Middle Eastern Americans gather.

In 2011 Al-Gamea raised money for eight Arab men and women who were disowned by their families after coming out.

The group provided money, food and shelter to all eight who were from Dearborn except one.

In 2010 the group helped two Arabs who were kicked out of their homes. Ramazzotti says Al-Gamea was able to help more people last year, because the fundraising was more publicized.

Many gay Arabs involved in intimate relationships with their partners live double lives.

“They have to sneak a kiss here and there, or a card. They have to even be cautious about accepting a flower from their lover,” Ramazzotti said.

He says people who’re secretly gay have to constantly make up stories and lies to their families, and friends.

“A lot of gay Arabs live a double life,” said James, a Lebanese college student from Dearborn who’s openly gay. “It makes me sad. It’s not easy to live a double life. I never wanted to live a double life.”

He was never thrown out of his house, and says his family accepts his sexuality.

Although he’s openly gay, James didn’t use his real name, saying he wanted to protect his mother from becoming the subject of ridicule in the community. “There’s a lot of pressure,” he said.

He says a lot of gay Arabs date outsidetheir race including him, and he knows two Dearborn Arab women who’re romantically involved.

Both James and Ramazzotti say it’s much more difficult for women to come out than men. Women face greater challenges because Arab families are more strict on them, and they’re expected to remain very conservative.

During the program, Alam discussed what led him to become a prominent voice for LBGT Muslims.

While attending an Islamic school at age 14, he had a two-week course about how Islam condemned homosexuality, with no exceptions.

“It didn’t make sense why God would give me these feelings only to send me to hell, it just didn’t make sense logically,” Alam said.

By 16, Alam had already won several awards from Muslim organizations, and was a youth leader in the community, all while struggling with his sexuality.

“So every aunty and uncle wants his or her child to grow up and become like Faisal,” he said. He thought that if he prayed and fasted enough it would go away, but it didn’t, and he started living a double life, but not for long.

The pressure of hiding his sexuality gained control of him, he lost 30 pounds in six months and was hospitalized for two weeks.

“I couldn’t live like that anymore. I had to figure out how I could be gay and be Muslim. The two have to somehow come together. I didn’t want to leave my faith, and I couldn’t change my sexuality. I knew I couldn’t be the only gay Muslim because I literally thought I was the only gay Muslim on the entire planet,” Alam said.

After being hospitalized he vowed to make helping other struggling gay Muslims his life’s mission. “I made a promise to God that I would never let what happened to me happen to other young people especially in my community,” he said. Alam now tours the country speaking about Islam and homosexuality.

After coming out his mother initially stopped speaking to him, saying she had to pick Allah (God) over her son.

In college Alam started an email list to help and find other gay Muslims. “Several thousand people started to join in minutes, because that’s how much silence there is about this issue in the community. That’s the level of fear that existed and continues to exist,” he said.

Within the last 15 years there’s a growing movement of LBGT Muslims who are coming to the forefront and acknowledging their sexuality and saying they can be LBGT and Muslim, with no contradiction between the two identities.

Alam says Islam is going through a reformation, and in five to 10 years a major shift in it towards greater tolerance for LBGT Muslims around the world; Muslim women being allowed to lead prayer at mosques and openly gay Imams being more welcomed is expected.

Alam says there are already several mosques in the United States that are safe and accepting of the LBGT community.

The organization, Muslims for Progressive Values believes women should be allowed to lead prayer. Alam says the first few public prayers led by Muslim women at mosques in the country were controversial.

Gay Imams have also emerged as leading voices for LBGT Muslims, such as Imam Daayiee Abdullah of the Masjid An-Nur Al-Isslah in Washington D.C. Abdullah has been counseling gay Muslims for more than 12 years.

Ramazzotti says people are afraid of being affiliated with Al-Gamea because the community could find out they’re gay, and a lot of its board members and volunteers have distanced themselves from the group for that reason.

Ramazzotti was living in Dearborn when he first came out to his family. His brother chased him three blocks after finding out, and tried to attack him. He didn’t return home until eight years later.

“Being gay was the last thing I wanted to be, I tried to suppress my feelings and make them go away, but they wouldn’t,” he said.

Ramazzotti says he’s witnessed gay Arab men and women marry the opposite sex, and still struggle with their sexuality.

He’s never regretted coming out, or met anyone who has. Over the last decade Ramazzotti says there’s been a major shift towards gay Arabs coming out and being more accepted, but there’s still a great deal of progress that needs to be made. “It doesn’t happen over night, but it’s getting there," Ramazzotti said.

*******

"Fear Eats the Soul"



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