Wednesday, May 28, 2014

"The Truth Is Not Over..."


I am taking a break from "The Unbearable Truth..." so that I can deal with some personal issues.  I'll be back soon, but in the meantime, enjoy more than 8,000 posts featuring, my story, art, poetry, and images of same-gender-loving people.

Some of my favorite posts:

"A Song About The Moon..."    "The Imitation Of Life..."
"The Poet's Corner..."    "Same Gender Loving People - No. 1708"
"The Truth About Love..."    "The Poet's Corner..."
"This Is A Love Song..."    "The Truth About Being Gay And Black In America..."
"Love And Life's Journeys..."    "This Made Me Smile..."
"Gay PDA Is Okay!"    "A Thought To Ponder..."
"This Is A Love Song..."    "I Am Always Remembering..."


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

"Gay PDA Is Okay!"


"Love Is Comfort... Live Fearlessly"




"We Were Always There..."


"We were not afraid of love..."



"The Poet's Corner..."

 
WHAT LOVE IS
Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Love is the only thing that pays for birth,
Or makes death welcome. Oh, dear God above
This beautiful but sad, perplexing earth,
Pity the hearts that know--or know not--Love!



"Selfie Love..."


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



"The Truth About Love..."


"If love does not know how to give and take without restrictions, it is not love, but a transaction that never fails to lay stress on a plus and a minus."

- Emma Goldman




"Think About It..."




"Fear Eats the Soul"



"A View To Love..."

We first met in 1973, our courtship days...

By 1974, we are a couple living life together...

Celebrating 35 years together in 2009

"Fear Eats the Soul"



"A Thought To Ponder..."



"Fear Eats the Soul"



"Same Gender Loving People - No. 1709"

"Love Is Life's Only Reason..."

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




"The Artist's Corner..."





"The Truth About Yesterday..."

 
"The First Decoration Day"
by David W. Blight, Yale University

Americans understand that Memorial Day, or "Decoration Day," as my parents called it, has something to do with honoring the nation's war dead. It is also a day devoted to picnics, road races, commencements, and double-headers. But where did it begin, who created it, and why?

As a nation we are at war now, but for most Americans the scale of death and suffering in this seemingly endless wartime belongs to other people far away, or to people in other neighborhoods. Collectively, we are not even allowed to see our war dead today. That was not the case in 1865.

At the end of the Civil War the dead were everywhere, some in half buried coffins and some visible only as unidentified bones strewn on the killing fields of Virginia or Georgia. Americans, north and south, faced an enormous spiritual and logistical challenge of memorialization. The dead were visible by their massive absence. Approximately 620,000 soldiers died in the war. American deaths in all other wars combined through the Korean conflict totaled 606,000. If the same number of Americans per capita had died in Vietnam as died in the Civil War, 4 million names would be on the Vietnam Memorial. The most immediate legacy of the Civil War was its slaughter and how remember it.

 
War kills people and destroys human creation; but as though mocking war's devastation, flowers inevitably bloom through its ruins. After a long siege, a prolonged bombardment for months from all around the harbor, and numerous fires, the beautiful port city of Charleston, South Carolina, where the war had begun in April, 1861, lay in ruin by the spring of 1865. The city was largely abandoned by white residents by late February. Among the first troops to enter and march up Meeting Street singing liberation songs was the Twenty First U. S. Colored Infantry; their commander accepted the formal surrender of the city.

Thousands of black Charlestonians, most former slaves, remained in the city and conducted a series of commemorations to declare their sense of the meaning of the war. The largest of these events, and unknown until some extraordinary luck in my recent research, took place on May 1, 1865. During the final year of the war, the Confederates had converted the planters' horse track, the Washington Race Course and Jockey Club, into an outdoor prison. Union soldiers were kept in horrible conditions in the interior of the track; at least 257 died of exposure and disease and were hastily buried in a mass grave behind the grandstand. Some twenty-eight black workmen went to the site, re-buried the Union dead properly, and built a high fence around the cemetery. They whitewashed the fence and built an archway over an entrance on which they inscribed the words, "Martyrs of the Race Course."

Then, black Charlestonians in cooperation with white missionaries and teachers, staged an unforgettable parade of 10,000 people on the slaveholders' race course. The symbolic power of the low-country planter aristocracy's horse track (where they had displayed their wealth, leisure, and influence) was not lost on the freedpeople. A New York Tribune correspondent witnessed the event, describing "a procession of friends and mourners as South Carolina and the United States never saw before."

At 9 am on May 1, the procession stepped off led by three thousand black schoolchildren carrying arm loads of roses and singing "John Brown's Body." The children were followed by several hundred black women with baskets of flowers, wreaths and crosses. Then came black men marching in cadence, followed by contingents of Union infantry and other black and white citizens. As many as possible gathering in the cemetery enclosure; a childrens' choir sang "We'll Rally around the Flag," the "Star-Spangled Banner," and several spirituals before several black ministers read from scripture. No record survives of which biblical passages rung out in the warm spring air, but the spirit of Leviticus 25 was surely present at those burial rites: "for it is the jubilee; it shall be holy unto you… in the year of this jubilee he shall return every man unto his own possession."

Following the solemn dedication the crowd dispersed into the infield and did what many of us do on Memorial Day: they enjoyed picnics, listened to speeches, and watched soldiers drill. Among the full brigade of Union infantry participating was the famous 54th Massachusetts and the 34th and 104th U.S. Colored Troops, who performed a special double-columned march around the gravesite. The war was over, and Decoration Day had been founded by African Americans in a ritual of remembrance and consecration. The war, they had boldly announced, had been all about the triumph of their emancipation over a slaveholders' republic, and not about state rights, defense of home, nor merely soldiers' valor and sacrifice.

According to a reminiscence written long after the fact, "several slight disturbances" occurred during the ceremonies on this first Decoration Day, as well as "much harsh talk about the event locally afterward." But a measure of how white Charlestonians suppressed from memory this founding in favor of their own creation of the practice later came fifty-one years afterward, when the president of the Ladies Memorial Association of Charleston received an inquiry about the May 1, 1865 parade. A United Daughters of the Confederacy official from New Orleans wanted to know if it was true that blacks had engaged in such a burial rite. Mrs. S. C. Beckwith responded tersely: "I regret that I was unable to gather any official information in answer to this." In the struggle over memory and meaning in any society, some stories just get lost while others attain mainstream dominance.

 
Officially, as a national holiday, Memorial Day emerged in 1868 when General John A. Logan, commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, the Union veterans organization, called on all former northern soldiers and their communities to conduct ceremonies and decorate graves of their dead comrades. On May 30, 1868, when flowers were plentiful, funereal ceremonies were attended by thousands of people in 183 cemeteries in twenty-seven states. The following year, some 336 cities and towns in thirty-one states, including the South, arranged parades and orations. The observance grew manifold with time. In the South Confederate Memorial Day took shape on three different dates: on April 26 in many deep South states, the anniversary of General Joseph Johnston's final surrender to General William T. Sherman; on May 10 in South and North Carolina, the birthday of Stonewall Jackson; and on June 3 in Virginia, the birthday of Jefferson Davis.

Over time several American towns, north and south, claimed to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. But all of them commemorate cemetery decoration events from 1866. Pride of place as the first large scale ritual of Decoration Day, therefore, goes to African Americans in Charleston. By their labor, their words, their songs, and their solemn parade of flowers and marching feet on their former owners' race course, they created for themselves, and for us, the Independence Day of the Second American Revolution.

The old race track is still there — an oval roadway in Hampton Park in Charleston, named for Wade Hampton, former Confederate general and the white supremacist Redeemer governor of South Carolina after the end of Reconstruction. The lovely park sits adjacent to the Citadel, the military academy of South Carolina, and cadets can be seen jogging on the old track any day of the week. The old gravesite dedicated to the "Martyrs of the Race Course" is gone; those Union dead were reinterred in the 1880s to a national cemetery in Beaufort, South Carolina. Some stories endure, some disappear, some are rediscovered in dusty archives, the pages of old newspapers, and in oral history. All such stories as the First Decoration Day are but prelude to future reckonings. All memory is prelude.

David W. Blight teaches American History at Yale University where he is the director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition, the author of the Bancroft prize-winning Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory, and the forthcoming A Slave No More: Two Men Who Escaped to Freedom, Including Their Narratives of Emancipation.



Monday, May 26, 2014

"Gay PDA Is Okay!"


"Love Is Freedom... Live Fearlessly"





"The Truth About Who We Are..."

Lemuel, Student, New York City

by thegaymenproject
photo by Kevin Truong
photos by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
Lemuel, in his own words: "(Being gay) means that I'm happy and don't feel bad that I am a man that likes men.
It used to be a challenge to socialize in gay scenes because I was not 21 yet. Now that I'm 21 that challenge is over!
I first came out through a very close friend at the time, during my senior year of high school. She made me feel comfortable to explore my sexuality.
I don't have much expertise in the gay culture of NYC. I'm just now beginning to live in it as a 21 year old. What I can say though is everyone wants to feel free and comfortable living their lives socially, just as any straight person.
(Advice I'd give my younger self is to) Take chances, be safe, and don't be so defensive."


******

"Fear Eats the Soul"

"Selfie Love..."


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



"We Were Always There..."


"Whenever someone asked, I always said, yeah, he's mine, what of it?"



"The Imitation Of Life..."


"Hearts and Hotel Rooms" - Is love a matter of fate or merely a chance meeting.



"Fear Eats the Soul"



"In A Brave New World..."




"A Thought To Ponder..."

"There is a worldwide language that everyone understands: the language of enthusiasm, of things made with love and desire, looking for what you want or what you believe."

- Paulo Coelho



"A Little Sane Advice..."





"Fear Eats the Soul"


"Same Gender Loving People - No. 1708"

"The Truth Of Love Is 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.




"The Artist's Corner..."


"Holding On, Letting Go"
Acrylic on canvas
Steve Walker



Sunday, May 25, 2014

"Gay PDA Is Okay!"


"Life Is Too Short Not To Be Happy... Live Fearlessly"


"A Holiday Thought To Ponder..."


Enjoy some quality time with the one who matters most in your life...

"Fear Eats the Soul"



"This Made Me Smile..."


"She thought she had a chance with him..."




"Selfie Love..."


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



"We Were Always There..."


"With war and death all around, we knew how precious love was..."



"Same Gender Loving People - No. 1707"

"Love Is Simply Our Nature Fulfilled..."

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..."

"Green, Green Grass of Another Home"
Acrylic on canvas
Steve Walker



Saturday, May 24, 2014

"Gay PDA Is Okay!"


"It's Only Love, Be Happy... Live Fearlessly"



"When Haters Appear..."


"Sometimes they just make it way too easy..."



"The Truth About Love..."

 
We're all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness—and call it love—true love.

- Robert Fulghum



"The GIFt of Love..."


"Lost in their own world of love..."




"Love And Life's Journeys..."


From the work of Chicago born photographer Richard Renaldi. Over the course of more than a decade, Richard has recorded images of himself and his partner Seth Boyd in their hotel rooms across the country and around the world for his project "Hotel Room Portraits."

I fell in love with these images from the very first time that I saw them.  There is something incredibly familiar and comforting in recognizing not only the love between Richard and Seth, but also the rigors of travel and the occasional weary eyes and tiredness that we all fall prey to.  Moreover, these photos reveal an intimacy and comfortableness that one finds only when two people are truly in love... They reveal "love and life's journeys."


Richard RenaldiRichard Renaldi was born in Chicago in 1968. He received his BFA in photography from New York University in 1990. Exhibitions of his photographs have been mounted in galleries and museums throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe. In 2006 Renaldi's first monograph, Figure and Ground, was published by the Aperture Foundation. His second monograph, Fall River Boys, was released in 2009. Richard Renaldi is the founder and publisher of Charles Lane Press.


"We Were Always There..."

Just Me And Allah is a photography project and Tumblr that features intimate portraits of LGBT Muslims.

“Just Me And Allah” Photography Series Documents Queer Muslims

“We have always been here, it’s just that the world wasn’t ready for us yet.”posted on May 23, 2014, at 3:38 p.m.
The idea to start a photography project featuring queer Muslims came to Toronto-based photographer Samra Habib a few years ago. “I wanted to show everyone the creative and brilliant LGBTQ Muslims I identified with the most and would hang out with at art shows, queer dance parties, and Jumu’ah prayer,” she explains.
Although the Tumblr account was created only a few days ago, Habib is already receiving requests from Muslims all over the world to take her project on the road. She will show her exhibition in Toronto starting June 18th in coordination with World Pride.

In the words of one of her photography subjects, “We have always been here, it’s just that the world wasn’t ready for us yet.”

In the words of one of her photography subjects, “We have always been here, it’s just that the world wasn’t ready for us yet.”

In her own words, Habib describes what the “Just Me And Allah” project means to her:

“Mainstream Islam isn’t always welcoming of LGBTQ Muslims, yet a lot of the Muslim traditions and rituals bring queer Muslims comfort and provide a sense of belonging.”

"Mainstream Islam isn’t always welcoming of LGBTQ Muslims, yet a lot of the Muslim traditions and rituals bring queer Muslims comfort and provide a sense of belonging."

“Whether it’s through celebrating Muslim traditions in queer spaces or incorporating aesthetic elements and symbolism in their everyday lives…”

 

“… the work explores the ideas of community and personal expression that are inspired by Islam but are the individuals’ personal re-interpretations.”

"... the work explores the ideas of community and personal expression that are inspired by Islam but are the individuals’ personal re-interpretations."

“I’ve been getting ‘thank you’ emails from LGBTQ Muslims from around the world and it’s reaffirming my belief that this project is important.”

"I've been getting 'thank you' emails from LGBTQ Muslims from around the world and it's reaffirming my belief that this project is important."

In addition to updating the Tumblr with photographs from the project, Habib is also publishing some short interviews with the subjects she captures.

In addition to updating the Tumblr with photographs from the project, Habib is also publishing some short interviews with the subjects she captures.
Samira (photographed above) on why she joined the project:
“I had made a conscious decision about a decade ago to live my life out loud. By that I mean, to not shy away from any of my identifications, be they sexual, political, cultural and/or religious. Naturally, I felt it necessary to do so because I had met so many youth who were quite conflicted and closeted and in fear of living their lives. This is a small token or gesture on my part to let them know that they should not underestimate their families or their communities.”
Dali (pictured above) on why she decided to participate in the project:
“When I first brought up the topic of queerness back home, I remember I was in class. My philosophy professor said that being homosexual is a “western” phenomenon, and that, in the Arab world, such “debauched people” do not exist. My participation is mainly to encourage queer visibility in the Muslim community. Through art, at least, we’re saying that yes, we’re here, and we do exist.”

See more photographs from the project here.



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