Sunday, December 31, 2017

"Gay PDA Is Okay!"


"Hold Onto Love...  Live Fearlessly"




"Selfie Love..."


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



"The Poet's Corner..."


Love Is Enough
William Morris, 1834 - 1896

 Love is enough: though the World be a-waning,
And the woods have no voice but the voice of complaining,
   Though the sky be too dark for dim eyes to discover
The gold-cups and daisies fair blooming thereunder,
Though the hills be held shadows, and the sea a dark wonder
   And this day draw a veil over all deeds pass’d over,
Yet their hands shall not tremble, their feet shall not falter;
The void shall not weary, the fear shall not alter
   These lips and these eyes of the loved and the lover.



"A True Love Story..."


Gay Couple Celebrates 50 Years Together—Without a Wedding

Exceeding Expectations NYC
By Dorian Block

George Blomme, 82, and Doug McClure, 76, want to get married, but despite the legalization of same-sex marriage, they still can’t.

In 1966, George, then 32, and Doug, then 26, met at a mutual friend’s holiday party. George was smitten when Doug followed up with a hand-written card in the mail. They have been together ever since despite the challenges of being gay during years of rampant prejudice and discrimination.

Early in their relationship, they regularly hosted parties in their home, hoping to create a meeting place for others who were gay.

“When we got together, there were only awful dive bars on dark streets or gay bathhouses to meet people. We wanted to make sure there were alternatives to that,” George said.         


They built successful careers – George as a transportation planner and Doug in banking and finance. They lived in a dozen homes together, mostly in New York City, with short stints in California and New Jersey. They also supported and lost friends during the AIDS epidemic (“the plague”) – a devastating time in the gay community which also led to further homophobia.

In 1981, after they heard stories about housing and health care discrimination against gay couples, they discovered there was a legal loophole in New York (and other states) that would allow one adult to adopt another. They seized the opportunity for a legal relationship, and Doug became George’s father. The surrogate judge, who handled adoptions of children, gave George a lollipop as a congratulations the day she finalized their adoption.

The loophole in New York State was closed several years later. And George and Doug have had legal protection since then.

So, in June 2015, when the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, and it seemed all legal barriers came falling down, George and Doug thought it just might be their time for a wedding. While their love had endured for decades, they were concerned about several practical matters.

They worried about whether they would maintain access to each other’s benefits without being married now that same-sex option was legalized, and also whether they would face challenges in a health emergency.

“We’re not getting any younger. I thought maybe we should get married,” George said.

“As we age, we should be providing for each other the best that we can,” Doug said. “And we also think that getting married would be fun.”


Their 50th anniversary was approaching in December 2016, and it seemed like a perfect reason for a party. But within a few months of the Supreme Court decision, they determined that marriage was not an option.

Two attorneys who specialize in adoptions within same-sex families advised them that reversing their adoption would be a long and complex process without precedent. They said it would likely be impossible to undue their adoption so that they could get married without committing incest.

“While we would like to get married, it is more important to the community than it is to us. We know who we are and what keeps us together, and it ain’t a ring,” Doug said.

In December, George and Doug celebrated their anniversary with a celebration at Manhattan’s Le Parker Meridien Hotel. They were pleasantly surprised that Doug’s brother and his family and friends from around the country flew in to celebrate. Doug chose the flowers – white with some gold. They jointly chose the menu. They made carefully curated photo boards, documenting almost every year of their relationship with one photo, showing how they’ve aged and where they’ve traveled. They shopped for matching watches, an anniversary tradition they do every few years.

They asked for no toasts, no prayers, no political talk and no gifts in honor of the occasion, except for donations to the School of American Ballet, where Doug is a volunteer. Despite the promise of no toast, Doug couldn’t help but welcome their guests with a quick speech which elicited head nodding and some tears.

“When we started 50 years ago, it wasn’t a real easy thing to do for two men, and we’re really happy that it has become easier over the years, not only for us, because we are an ideal couple (this elicited laughs), but also because it has become easier for everyone in our community really to move forward together and have a life together without it being so difficult and packed with potential issues.”



Dorian Block is following George, Doug and 18 other older New Yorkers over two years through photos and storytelling at www.exceedingexpectations.nyc. She works at the Columbia Aging Center at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.



"We Were Always There..."




"The Views To 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 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.



"It's True, Lovers Do Start To Look Alike..."


Amongst gay couples, it's often referred to as "A Boyfriend Twin"

"While you may be familiar with the old saying, “opposites attract,” in reality, what the heart wants is someone who resembles its owner and that resemblance increases the longer two lovebirds stay together.

University of Michigan psychologist Robert Zajonc conducted an experiment to test this phenomenon. He analyzed photographs of couples taken when they were newlyweds and photographs of the same couples taken 25 years later.

The results showed that the couples had grown to look more like each other over time. And, the happier that the couple said they were, the more likely they were to have increased in their physical similarity."


Read more about this interesting phenomenon here...


"Fear Eats the Soul"



"Fan Art Is Fantastic..."




"The Truth About Who We Are..."


Pablo, Seoul, South Korea
by thegaymenproject
photos by Kevin Truong



Pablo, in his own words: "You know for Asian people to be a gay means everything will be difficult for you. Work, life, the societal relationships. But I'm proud of being gay, for me I have more freedom. I can face my real mind and to look for a true love. I think a couple doesn't mean a boy and girl! Two boys sometimes is Better Hahahha .


(With regards to successes) Three years ago I decided to leave my country then went to Spain alone. But I didn't know anything about Spain and the language. But I arrived there alone. I found all things and after 3 months I can write a text in Spanish and get points from people's sentence. Hahahha.


(With regards to coming out) It isn't a story. I just met my first boyfriend and I fell in love. Really really deeply, hahaha.


In seoul it isn't really good for gay people to live. You have to keep it as secret. Because it will bring some troubles to you, but I never mind it. I just want to be myself.


Advice?? Ummmm just be yourself. Don't think it's weird. You should proud of your sexuality. Enjoy your life! ( this is from an American friend. I got many advice from him )"



"Same Gender Loving People - No. 2918"


"Love Is A Celebration..."

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..."


"Miletus"
Oil on canvas
Shane Wolf



Thursday, December 28, 2017

"In Memoriam..."


Jonious P. Kitty
"Joni"
Sunset December 27, 2017

Devoted Companion - Beloved Friend

Yesterday was one of the hardest days of recent memory... We said goodbye to the littlest member of our family. Joni was about 14 or 15 years old.

In his old age, our kitty Joni had become quite frail... And although the spring had gone from his step, the glimmer of love never left his eyes. Early yesterday morning when I came down stairs, I found him quite sick and as I cradled him in my arms, I realized he was leaving us after so many years together. I sat on the floor with him and held him and cried for the better part of a couple of hours until it was late enough to wake my husband and the children.

As together we sat around our little friend trying to comfort him, you could tell by the looks on all our faces that we knew the dreaded day had arrived. I had been trying to prepare us for that day for the last year or so as we all watched Joni's slow but inexorable decline into elderly frailty. But around Thanksgiving this year, he'd rallied and even gained some weight and he had become more playful and affectionate with everyone. In hindsight, I don't know how missed that sure sign that his departure was eminent. I saw the same thing with my parents and when I worked in death care, I heard it recounted to me everyday, how just before the final rapid decline, a brief rally of strength and vigor returns, almost as if that last little bit of life had to get out and be shared.

But yesterday, Joni was telling us that his suffering was now too great to hide from us... It was time to make one of the hardest decisions of my life. My husband Ed didn't want to speak of it, but I knew it was the final act of love for our little kitty that he deserved... we needed to help him have a good death. I called around trying to get a vet to come out to our home as I knew Joni would not want to leave the familiar surroundings of home, but the earliest anyone could come would be late in the evening and we knew that was too long to let him suffer.

My husband Ed asked me to take Joni to the vet near our home and although I didn't want to do it, I knew it was the right thing to do for our dear little friend. I left my husband and children comforting Joni to go get dressed. As I did, I put on extra cologne to be sure Joni could smell me and know I was near and I hoped that would comfort him on his last journey. I brought down the new bed he'd gotten for Christmas and he stumbled into it as our boys wrapped him and it in his favorite blanket. I went out into the bitter cold of a bright but bleak winter morning to warm the car and when I returned we were all in tears as my husband and our 12 year old son, Dustin bid him their final goodbyes.

We put a second blanket right over him in his bed to keep the cold away and my 16 year old son, D'Mitris picked him up bed and all and carried him out to the car where he rode on his lap and I slowly drove the couple of miles to the vet's office. Although it was bitterly cold, and it was such a sad occasion, I realized that it was a bright and beautiful day and for a moment or two, Joni poked his head up to take a last look at the world going by. As we drove along through the snow, I played his favorite music (he loved Christmas harp music as much as I do, whenever I'd play it he'd come sit with me and listen too). When we arrived, I left Joni and my son in the car as I went in to make the arrangements and pay the vet's fee.

When the vet was ready for him, I went out and my son carried him in swaddled in his bed. We sat the bed down and when we pulled back the covers, Joni looked unafraid as he snuggled a flower from our Christmas centerpiece that I guess my husband had placed there when I went out to warm the car... the sight of our sweet kitty with that beautiful white flower reduced me to tears yet again as the vet examined him and agreed that indeed his time had come. The vet gave him a shot to sedate him and then left my son and I with him to say our final goodbyes. As we petted and nuzzled him, I don't know if it was my tear or his own that I saw run down Joni's cheek, but he looked relieved and at peace.

A few minutes later, as the vet returned with what I want to be believe was a dose of mercy and release, I gently kissed Joni's sweet little head and whispered that I hoped to see him on the other side one day. The vet shaved a little spot on Joni's arm so that he could find a vein and in a moment the injection was done and in another moment, my son and I watched as Joni drew in one last labored breath and then fell still and silent while still nuzzling that little white flower in his bed.

We swaddled him in his bed and brought him back home. Getting out of the car, I took him from my son's arms and I carried him back into his home. I sat with him on my lap next to the Christmas tree and I cried and recalled in my mind all the times over all the Christmases that he'd sat with me there in that chair. When I had no more tears to shed, I rose, leaving him beneath his blanket in his bed on the chair and I called my son Dustin to come and help me.

As my husband Ed dug a little grave in the back yard, Dustin and I built Joni a study little pine box. I lined it with his favorite blanket and then alone with him, I lovingly placed him in it and gazed upon the face of my sweetest little friend for the last time before I screwed down the lid and brought him upstairs again.

My husband and I carried him out while our boys looked on from the windows. I finished digging the little grave my husband had started in the shade of the pear tree Joni loved to sleep under on summer visits to the yard. And as my husband lost his battle to hold back his tears and grief, I laid Joni in his grave as my husband said his final goodbye amidst the snow and the cold and the beauty of the clear winter's day. We went in and our home was strangely somber and more quiet than it had ever been in years. After a while, I cooked a meal for our family and when I served it, I put on the Christmas harp music in memory of our lost little friend.

Later, as dusk began to fall, it broke my heart as I watched my husband trudge through the snow to the spot where we'd laid Joni down to light a candle for our beloved little companion. Through the window, I watched that candle for much of the evening and into the night, and as the little flame flickered and danced in the biting winter breeze I remembered all the joy one little cat brought to my life and I prayed that if there is a Heaven that he might be there waiting for us on the other side.


*******


You won't know this, but Joni would sit with me most mornings well before dawn as I'd prepare the day's posts of this blog and so in his honor, I will be in mourning for Joni and on hiatus for the rest of this week... New posts will resume on Sunday. Until then, here are some posts mentioning and featuring my beloved little companion, confidant and friend.



"Fear Eats the Soul"



Tuesday, December 26, 2017

"Gay PDA Is Okay!"


"The Color Of Life Is Love...  Live Fearlessly"




"Fan Art Is Fantastic..."





"The Truth About Who We Are..."


Luis and Marco, Brussels, Belgium
by thegaymenproject
photos by Kevin Truong

Luis, in his own words: "L’homosexualité est l’attirance de de deux être de même sexe. Si on demande maintenant la définition de » gay » à un gay on en aura autant qu’il existe d’individu. Chacun vit sa sexualité, sa vie et ses sentiments de manière tout à individuelle. Certain parleront avec beaucoup d’aisance de leur sexualité. J’ai gardé une certaine pudeur par rapport au sexe. Je ne livre pas facilement et c’est pourquoi j’ai mis du temps à écrire ces quelques lignes Mon côté parfois extraverti masque une ancienne timidité. Le fait d’en parler aujourd’hui sur la toile fait partie de ma thérapie .

J’ai beaucoup de chance de vivre en Belgique qui a été avec les Pays Bas précurseur du mariage gay en Europe. Quand je vois les violences dans les dernières nouvelles que peuvent entrainer la légalisation du mariage gay en France, ça me fait peur. Le principe d’égalité et de fraternité reste à revoir par une partie de la société française qui se radicalise sur le sujet.


Je peux vivre librement à Bruxelles La communauté gay est pas extrêmement grande mais j’y trouve mon compte : je peux sortir en couple, se marier, aller boire un verre avec mes amis gays et pour les célibataires, il y a tout ce qu’il faut. La liberté est cependant limitée à certaines zones. Il faut faire attention à ne pas s’afficher sous peine de violences verbales ou physiques. Les extrémistes religieux sont très puissants dans certains quartiers.

J’ai mis beaucoup temps à faire mon coming out. Quand j’étais jeune, je n’avais pas beaucoup de référents homos ou des icônes gay dans les médias. Les choses ont bien changés aujourd’hui. Ca a pris des années avant de l’annoncer à mes amis, puis à mon entourage professionnel, enfin ma famille. Tour s’est déroulé de manière progressive et lente. Je suis originaire de la Méditerranée et il faut toujours plus de temps pour le coming out. Mon père n’a jamais accepté mon coming out.

J’ai l’impression de devoir faire tout le temps mon coming out avec les gens qui sont dans mon chemin. Mes amis me diront que ça se voit de loin. On aura toujours à faire à des personnes qui mettent des ornières à leurs yeux par rapport à l’homosexualité. Elles se cachent d’une réalité qui est présente depuis la nuit des temps. Pourquoi devoir toujours se justifier ou mentir sur sa personnalité ? Plus je vieillis et moins j’use de politesse par rapport à ma sexualité."


In English:

"Homosexuality is the attraction between two of the same sex. It's not a question of defining "gay" but rather the individual. Everyone lives his sexuality, his life and his feelings in an entirely individual way. Some speak very fluently about their sexuality. I kept a certain modesty about sex. I do not easily share and that's why I took time to write these few lines. My extroverted side sometimes masks a former shyness. The fact that I write this today is part of my therapy.

I am very lucky to live in Belgium, which with the Netherlands was the precursor for gay marriage in Europe. When I saw violence after the legalization of gay marriage in France, it scared me. The principles of equality and fraternity remain to fight the part of the French population that is radicalized on the subject.


I can live freely in Brussels. The gay community is not very big but I found one: I can go out together, get married, have a drink with my gay friends and singles, there is everything that is necessary. Freedom is limited to certain areas. I am careful not to appear under penalty of verbal or physical violence. Religious extremists are very powerful in certain areas.

I put a lot time into my coming out. When I was young, I did not have many gay references or gay icons in the media. Things have changed since. It took years before announcing to my friends and to my professional colleagues, and then finally my family. This took place gradually and slowly. I am from the Mediterranean and it takes more and more time for coming out. My father never accepted my coming out.

I feel like I have come out all the time with people who are in my way. My friends tell me that it is visible from afar. We always have to deal with people who put ruts in their eyes with regards to homosexuality. They hide a reality that has been present since the dawn of time. Why should I always have to justify or lie about this part of myself? The older I get the less I am polite over my sexuality."


Marco, in his own words: "Dear Kevin, I think all is in the perception of happiness.

Eltern sollten wissen, dass ihre schwulen Söhne glücklich sein können, so wie sie sind, weil sie so sind. Das dies seine Zeit braucht, habe ich unterschätzt; ich hatte damals geglaubt, es wäre genug, wenn ich meinen Eltern zeigte, dass ich glücklich verliebt war. Sie dachten aber zuerst, dass dies meine Selbsttäuschung sei, und sie mich vor meinem Unglück bewahren müssten. Mit der Zeit haben wir dann alle gelernt – dass sich Mut auszahlt, für sie und für mich.

Wenn ich etwas bedauere, dann dass ich nicht früher entspannter sein konnte: als ich noch mit mir haderte, und keine Menschen aus Fleisch und Blut, sondern nur Figuren aus Romanen, Filmen und Skandalgeschichten der Presse als unmögliche Vorbilder kannte. Hätte ich so etwas wie diesen Blog gefunden, wäre mir vieles leichter gefallen. Wenn er auch nur einigen Zweifelnden wo auch immer auf der Welt das Leben einfacher macht, ist er ein fantastisches Geschenk Kevins an die, die noch heranwachsen."


In English:

"Parents should know that their gay sons can be happy the way they are because they are so. That this takes time I underestimated; I had at before believed it would be enough if I showed my parents that I was happy and in love. However, they thought at first that I was self-deceiving myself, and that they would protect me from my misfortune. Over time, we have all learned then - that takes courage for them and for me.

If I regret something, it is that I could not be more relaxed earlier: when I knew of only myself, and knew not of other men in the flesh, but only characters from novels, movies and scandals from the press it made it impossible to find role models. If I had found such a thing as this blog, I would have likely had an easier time. If it is possible to make the lives of those who doubt in themselves easier, this is a fantastic gift to those who are still growing."



"It's True, Lovers Do Start To Look Alike..."


Amongst gay couples, it's often referred to as "A Boyfriend Twin"

"While you may be familiar with the old saying, “opposites attract,” in reality, what the heart wants is someone who resembles its owner and that resemblance increases the longer two lovebirds stay together.

University of Michigan psychologist Robert Zajonc conducted an experiment to test this phenomenon. He analyzed photographs of couples taken when they were newlyweds and photographs of the same couples taken 25 years later.

The results showed that the couples had grown to look more like each other over time. And, the happier that the couple said they were, the more likely they were to have increased in their physical similarity."


Read more about this interesting phenomenon here...


"Fear Eats the Soul"



"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 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.



"This Made Me Smile..."


And bitch, next time you better have all my money...!



"The Views To Love..."














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