Monday, September 21, 2015

Church of Imprisoned Identity.

I was reading about Caitlyn Jenner, and I'm one of those empathetic guys. I can empathize with someone who isn't happy with what they see in the mirror; with someone who can't reconcile their personality or identity with their outward visage.

I think many people are way too hard on the girl, and justify their illogic by saying things like, oh, she did it for the publicity, or she did it to make money...

It doesn't make sense, not one tit, what people say she did it for, because NO ONE changes their gender for a publicity stunt or a get-rich-quick scheme. Not one soul. Guaranteed.

When people say such things, it is my belief that they think too shallowly. It may be that they are angry over what they consider a betrayal by a favorite public figure turning out to be something or someone else. It may be that they harbor secret desires to make changes in themselves and resent that someone else actually could do it. It may be that they think rich people don't deserve happiness, don't deserve self-realization, don't deserve privacy in very private matters. All these types of thinking are shallow and shameful.

WE, the society that elevated Jenner to a celebrity status through our consumption of entertainment - WE owe Jenner an apology. Here's a person who sacrificed their privacy to tell a story, to make public a story that desperately needed to be told. WE consumed that story. WE cannot be unmoved, WE purport to be a compassionate people but WE treat the story like entertainment.

But it's all very real to Jenner, and people like Jenner all over the world.

Not everyone has the financial means to do anything about it. Not everyone can get their story told. Not everyone has people to listen to their story. Many people like Jenner have to be the victim in the story, and never get to be the hero.

Prejudice plays a vicious role in how the public reacts to Jenner. Is there such a word as "transphobia?" As usual, WE (the society) are piranhas about that which is foreign, that which is uncomfortable, that which is different. WE claim a moral stance from behind a mask and call it "religion." I call it the Church of Imprisoned Identities - complete with chains and manacles and torture devices and that incessant chanting.

Having known only a very few transgender folk in my lifetime personally, I feel under-educated. I know so little about the story they have to tell.

In one case, the person couldn't do anything about her situation until MUCH later in her life, and suffered much at the hands of employers, friends and family over the transition.

In another case, I knew a youngster who knew at an early age and found support in family and friends.

The only other case that I'm aware of personally was of a woman who took very nearly a lifetime to make the transition, due to money issues, lack of support, and outright opposition.

I do NOT confuse transgender with cross-dressing. I fully recognize there is a distinct and important difference between the two. But I do know of at least one individual who cross-dresses (in secret) only because transition is forever out of reach for his personal situation.

Under-educated doesn't have to be unenlightened. I can't imagine living my life not as my self. How horribly foreign it must be to be trapped into an existence that is brought about by the expectation of others, that is forced into necessity due to the hate by others. What prison could be worse than the one in our minds, our freedoms stripped by the attitudes and prejudices of others?

I have been fortunate enough to be free to be who I am at a fairly early age. In high school, I did not dare to be me. Shortly after high school, I can remember denying myself to people who I thought were my friends. In my twenties, I was able to be more honest with myself, and therefore more honest with others. I was lucky. I was just gay. It doesn't cost thousands of dollars to come out (unlike transitional surgeries for transgenders). I can be selectively closeted if necessary, to preserve career, relationships, perceptions.

Transgender folk have to start whole new lives. There's no hiding it - they either have to give up their existing lives and move elsewhere so their transition is not known; or they have to "come out" in a far more dramatic way in their current lives -  a far more visible way, a far more public way.

I propose that we all go easy on transgenders, because either way, it's a tremendous course they are taking. They need our support, our compassion, our empathy, our sympathy - our love.

See Jenner on the cover of Vanity Fair

(This has been a stream-of-consciousness which I will surely revisit for editing and completeness.)

Thursday, July 2, 2015


I never saw "Magic Mike." I don't expect to see "Magic Mike XXL."

There, I said it.

How can I resist, you ask?

The guys are hot. The guys in jeans are hot. There is no doubt.

But, inexplicably, I have no interest in the movie(s). I can't explain it. Please don't ask me to.

But since you asked, I postulate that it may be the simple reason that I may have seen exactly ALL of the best moments already through trailers and PR photos. Or, it may be that watching a bunch of (straight) women clamor over these very hot guys does little to veil a flimsy plot line. Or, it may be that guys like these don't REALLY exist.

Who knows? One thing for sure, it's not fair for me to hazard any guesses, because I haven't seen the material.

What is fair to say, though, is that, while these guys are hot (have I said that yet?), these guys don't satisfy my desire for REAL men. These guys are porn quality - the two-dimensional type hot guys I can see in every porn video who wouldn't give me the time of day in real life.

I want to know where there are more "Full Monty" type guys in modern entertainment. All we ever see in movies, it seems, are these "Magic Mike" types - the guys who CAN "get the girl" with absolutely no problem. For that matter, they surely can "get the guy," too, if they are so inclined.

Me? I root for the underdog - the "normal" guy with a few more curves and imperfections that make him REAL. I'd rather spend my ticket money on helping THAT guy feel sexy and desirable. Hell, I AM that guy. I want to feel desirable and sexy, to know that my technique of muscle-concealment is appealing to someone (anyone!).

However, having said all that, if any of the "Magic Mike" guys showed up at my party and asserted how REAL they are, I might be convinced. Please try.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Never Forgotten

So many good things in life are tenuously anchored and it only takes a good quick current to carry them away.

I always discover this the hard way.

That's me, there, clinging to the branch that has the potential to save my life, but even greater potential to snap and take me with it over the edge of the fierce waterfall.

Today I watched a documentary on people with Bipolar disorder called Of Two Minds. I remember thinking to myself that these people can't be bipolar - they don't have enough cats.

One of the characters in the documentary said she preferred a natural method for controlling her disorder, versus pills. She called it a change in lifestyle. She seemed perfectly normal to me.

Recently I lost a tooth, and I cried over it. Recurring nightmares prior to the occasion sometimes feature scenarios in which all my teeth fall out, possibly fueling the emotional reaction that caught the dentist by surprise. "Oh," she assures me,  "lots of patients cry over teeth that have to be removed." But her initial look of surprise gave it away. No one cries over a tooth.

There are little things we get emotional over, and there are big things.

I recently received an email entitled "Creative Non-Fiction Project: On Life." It absolutely floored me. Decimated me. Made me realize that I had tremendous power over someone I love... And yet I have none.

We all do. There is no one we have more power over than the people we love, while simultaneously having absolutely no power over them.

What's more vicious is the power they have over us.

Two words, just two written words, on any other day might have been said, or taken, in jest.

But on that day, they were savage. Cry-worthy. Devastating.

A wise friend once told me some fantastic advice. "Assume Positive Intent," he said. You see, too often I assume the negative - usually because I don't have enough information and am too non-confrontational to ask. And usually I find out after-the-fact that I was wrong to assume the negative at all. "There's more to the story - and two sides to every story," my wise friend says.

But how much, exactly, can I read-into two words? Spoken words have inflection, expressions, body language, volume, and sometimes spittle, to provide clues of intent, meaning, emotion...

But written word - it must be carefully crafted - and even more carefully read. Written words can take on new life, new meaning, new character, when heard in our head. That voice in our head can be merciless, suspicious, biased, and way off base. That's the power of written words.

I therefore respond to those two words with these carefully crafted two words: "Never Forgotten."

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Body Motivations - Part II

A while back I posted a casual entry called Body Motivations, which touched on the right of businesses to advertise to their target audience using male almost-nudes in their campaigns and in-store advertising. Of course, I used that premise as an excuse to post various advertisers ad campaigns as examples, a visually pleasurable tour, to say the least.

As I grow older and struggle with maintaining personal fitness, I find it necessary to inspire myself through any means available. A good dance song that makes me want to move (exercise), or a good visual stimulation such as a great male nude photo. Such pictures are not just for "gentleman's time," but are good for goal-setting and comparisons.

In my quest for inspiration, I have run across some more examples of photos that inspire, and I just thought I'd share:

Yes, that's Mark Wahlberg - one of the few that managed to survive teen-idol status and graduate into someone who is still very handsome and respected in the Arts/Entertainment community. And he still inspires, even today:

There is no shortage of Underwear makers who utilize the male form to advertise their product (for which I am grateful):

In particular, I am grateful for Andrew Christian, who is NOT afraid to cater to the gay male as their target audience.

Sorry, that picture was uploaded in error, as it it obviously has very little to do with body motivation.  THIS is the picture I meant to post: 

There's just something about anatomically correct underwear, football, and men that's just, well, um, inspiring. And I say, three cheers for Andrew Christian, because they have inspired millions, in print media, as well as in streaming/internet content!
Of course, the general public, at least in America, shuns male nude models in advertising, especially in public. There are many excuses, but the bottom line seems to be that either puritanical ideas of "religion" or "the-children-might-see" mentality tends to discourage the use of male nudes in advertising. However, it does seem perfectly okay to display women in various forms of undress in everyday advertising!  (Don't worry, women are NOT the subject of THIS blog entry...)

In other parts of the world, it would appear that people are far less uptight about showing body. The Leopold Museum, housed in the Museumsquartier in Vienna, Austria, home to one of the largest collections of modern Austrian art, featuring artists such as Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka and Richard Gerstl, had an exhibition (if you'll pardon the pun) of "Naked Men" by Ilse Haider in 2012. The posters they used to advertise the show caused controversy, causing a requirement of a "red stripe" to conceal the man bits.

Sometimes it really does seem that America is awfully uptight, especially when we can see naked Hindus in public events:

Or bike rides that would NEVER happen in America...

Except I'm wrong. THIS happened in Chicago:

But from the looks of that photo, most of those guys NEEDED body motivation. So, here's some body motivation to my fellow cyclists:

And, of course, if you need motivation to be fashionably dressed, this may be motivation enough:

I've never been into sports, and especially not wrestling, but Chris Weidman makes me want to wrestle something: 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Perspective Changes Everything

Felony Arrest Of Student Who Bought Water Riles Many In Virginia


It's night time in a parking lot and six people approach a young lady's car and bang on the windows and shout at her. I'd be scared too.

My position is simple: Why six people?  Why plainclothes?  I'd be skeptical of anyone not recognizable as police approaching my vehicle, whether they flash "badges" in the dark of the night or not.

Maybe I've seen too many movies or read too much "Crime Blotter."

But doesn't perspective change everything? Here's a young lady buying perfectly innocent items at a grocery store - no reason at all to think she's in trouble.

So why would there be cops?  Isn't probable cause called for?  Shouldn't a cop have been present at the purchase and therefore be able to see what was being purchased?  Were they guessing, outside, in that parking lot?  There doesn't seem to be any real police work here.

Here's a young lady in a parking lot, getting into her car, after visiting a grocery store for actual groceries, around 10pm (therefore it's dark and presumably scary), and a person, or persons, approach her vehicle. Why would she think they were police? 

No uniforms? A quickly flashed badge in the dark? This sounds like how all the stories of rape and muggings and assaults begin... 

I'd get the hell out of there, too!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Gov. Nikki Haley Issues Budget Vetoes

The Governor's veto #18 cuts all operating funds - $417,750 - for the S.C. Arts Commission, eliminating their ability to function/administer any programs and services, including grants. She also vetoed the $25,000 in one-time funds for a plan a Cultural Districts Designation Program in her veto #56. More details to come but now is the time to urge your House and Senate members to vote to OVERRIDE VETO # 18 AND #56. The House is scheduled to take action Wednesday at 1PM and the Senate at 11AM on Thursday. Please act now!

Gov. Nikki Haley issues budget vetoes 

In other news of things I care about: The US Supreme Court decisions about California's Prop 8 and the so-called 'Defense of Marriage Act' (aka DOMA) will come on Wednesday, June 26 at 10am. 

Where can we learn about the decision? 

Minute by minute updates are posted live Wednesday morning on SCOTUS Blog. You can log-on to watch for free. Also, if you have Facebook, sign-up to join this ONLINE Event page. 

What can we do once we have a decision? 

Many credit the beginning of our modern LGBT movement to the Stonewall Riots on June 28, 1969 which started at one of New York's LGBT bars. 

In that spirit we will gather Wednesday from 5-6pm at PT's 1109 (1109 Assembly Street, Columbia) to organize a march through the streets of Columbia. 

- At 6pm, we will march up Gervais Street past the State House which continues to deny our equality. 

- We will turn down Main Street where the first SC Pride March was held in 1990 and pass the county courthouse at 1701 Main Street where many loving same-sex couples have been denied marriage licenses in the past. 

- We will end our march out front of Columbia's City Hall, one of the places in our state which has granted equality to our state's residents and visitors through inclusive Human Rights Ordinances. 

- From there we invite you to return to PT's 1109 with us so that we can spend time together as a community, processing the court's decisions and brainstorming ways to move forward for South Carolina. PTs 1109 will be offering Happy Hour specials till 8pm.

The results of the court's ruling will signify if this will be a celebration march or a march to call for more equality. We will have posters and supplies for you to make your own signs if you'd like. We will adjust the message of our signs based on how the court rules so come early to get ready. If it rains, bring your umbrellas!

Things you can do on Wednesday:

Wear RED to symbolize love and commitment of marriage equality

Tell all your friends about the march and ask them to join you in support of equality

Post this information to Facebook and Twitter so everyone will know about the march

Remember no matter the outcome, we will march peacefully and respectfully

If you belong to an organization or business, bring your signs and banners so that the public will know you support equality 

Change your Social Media profile image to reflect LGBT equality in South Carolina.

If you don't live in Columbia but are organizing an event in your town, post those events this page to share with other residents of South Carolina.

United we will stand no matter the decision and we will move forward to advance other issues of LGBT equality till Equal Means Everyone. 

If you haven't already, be sure to sign-up for South Carolina Equality action alerts to stay updated on the cases.