Sunday, June 26, 2011

Way to go New York!!!

I just want to publicly thank (in this meager forum) ALL those who worked to get the same-sex marriage bill passed in New York State.  From the courageous Senators who said "YES!" to equality, to those making calls and getting involved in peaceful demonstrations. -- THANK YOU!!

I cannot begin to tell you how I felt when the vote was passed.  I'm not sure what was more exciting, the Governor stating he would sign the bill immediately or the MANY positive Facebook comments, posts and even text messages going back and forth all night.

Though I have been very blessed with a wonderful and supportive family and groups of friends who love me for who I am.. this is the first time in my life I feel like a truly equal citizen under the law.

Let me point out however, the passage of the bill may have been the easy part.  Finding myself a husband... now THAT will be difficult!!  :-P

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Fight for Marriage Equality in NY State

When my younger sister was a senior in High School, she had to do a project for her Government class on some sort of current event.  She chose the topic of gay marriage.  When asked by her teacher why she chose that topic she replied: "Because my brother is gay and I want to see him get married."  -- I'll always remember her telling me that for as long as I live.

My sister Kristy is six years younger than me and we went to the same local public High School.  When I was a senior, there was a big debate about two boys going to the prom together.  It was a big debate in our rather boring suburban High School.  In the end, each boy went with a girl to the prom.  The year Kristy graduated, I got a phone call from her one day with her on the other end of the line all excited.  "Guess what???  They voted a gay couple for the 'cutest couple' category in this year's yearbook!!!".  I couldn't believe how much had changed in just six short years.

Now, 11 years after I have graduated High School, we face another chance for positive change.  The New York State Senate will soon be voting on whether or not same sex couples can legally marry in this state.

For those who regularly read my blog, it will be of no surprise to you that I am still single.. moving ever closer to impending spinsterhood.  Despite my sister's desire to see me get married one day, my pessimistic sensibilities tend to get the better of me and convince me that's not "in the cards".  My chance to marry however, should be decided by whether or not I find a life partner, not whether or not I have the legal right to marry at all.

As children, we have a keen ability to latch onto certain people fairly easily.  Little kids will often taunt each other with the old rhyme: "Sarah and Joseph sitting in a tree... k-i-s-s-i-n-g.  First comes love.. then comes marriage.. then comes Sarah in the baby carriage.."  My personal favorite saying was usually used if you ever said you loved someone, like a best friend or a close relative: "If ya love him so much.. why don't ya marry him???" -- Even in the minds of little children, love and marriage go together.  "First comes love.. then comes marriage.."  But this is not the scenario for all of us.

Some people who are fortunate enough to find true love are forced to do without the legal recognition of that love and partnership and all the benefits it implies.  Inheritance, parental rights and hospital visitation eligibility are only a few. 

Gay and lesbian couples also lack the social benefits of a legally recognized marriage.  When two men or two women have a ceremony or wear weddings rings, they are "flaunting" their sexuality.  As long as they do it in the privacy of their own homes, people don't fuss.. but should they want to publicly celebrate their love and commitment to one another.. they have gone too far.  What kind of message does that convey?  Two men who love each other with their whole hearts and souls are "faulting" it if they want a public ceremony, but a man and a woman can have HUGE, elaborate weddings??  Hey -- I've seen "Say YES to the Dress" -- I know how much these shindigs cost!!  Talk about flaunting it! - And don't get me started on Anniversaries!

At a day and age when marriage seemed to be going the way of the dinosaurs, gays and lesbians have been serving as witnesses to the importance of marriage.. whether performed in a Church or by a Justice of the Peace.  That "little piece of paper" does make a difference for many people... and it should be available to ALL consenting adults. 

What I have found to be most frustrating when debating this topic with opponents of same-sex marriage is that it's a debate over feeling.  One of the hardest things to get another person to do is feel what you are feeling.  Heterosexual opponents of Gay marriage don't have the attraction and feelings we homosexuals do and therefor have a hard time understanding where we come from.  How do you prove feelings? How do you prove love?

I grew up admiring the close bond and intense love my maternal Grandparents had with and for each other.  Sure, they had their share of differences, but no matter what, that intense love and connection was always there.  I grew up wanting the kind of love they had for each other, and a similar life they had built together.... only no one told me way back then that I was to be excluded from sharing my life with someone in that way... through no fault of my own.  Different always equals bad, right?

Though I am easily angered by the politicians and Church officials who speak out so vehemently against same sex marriage (and yes.. I said Church officials!!), I can't help but feel sorry for them.  They don't realize that the very sanctity of marriage they are spending so much time and money  to "protect" is the same marriage we believe to be sacred too. 

I find that all I can do is pray.. pray to remove hatred from everyone's heart.. and pray that one day, those that spend so much time, money and effort to prevent people from getting married will one day invest that energy and those resources into promoting LOVE... which is what this topic is all about.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Shaping up!

I did decide to go to this year's pride parade after all.  My good friend Collin managed to convince me to make an appearance - and it's always nice to see so many of my friends out and about at the same time.  I never know who I am going to run into!

The parade's after party gave me the chance to mingle with some facebook friends that I rarely get to see because of our conflicting schedules.  It was also a great pleasure to see my friends Greg and Rob... my personal vote for one of the cutest couples in Buffalo.


I've been fighting the "battle of the bulge" all my life... the bulge being my ever expanding mid section... and I have been gradually losing this battle for the past three year.  Each summer I have steadily had to go up in waist size to fit into shorts.  This year, I would need to squeeze my derrière into a 40 waist pair of pants.  Oh hell no!

I promised myself I would never again leave the 30's range waste size and I'm not about to break a promise.  I REFUSE to buy a pair of pants over a 38 waist!!!

Actually, a picture taken of me at pride drove home the point that something needs to be done.  There I was, in a pair of jeans (because I refuse to wear shorts) looking frumpier than a worn out bean bag chair.  This just will not do!!

Long ago I accepted the fact that I will always have a larger body size.. and even embraced the "bear-cub" image popular in gay culture.. but I don't like frumpy.  Grrrr....

For the past month or so I have been stepping up my exercise routine, but now I'm really focused.  For the past three weeks, I have been working out about 6 days a week.  Now I am focusing on changing my diet as well.  It has to be a gradual change so I don't lose control and binge eat... little steps towards a big goal!

I've done this once before and I can do it again.  I once managed to lose 125 pounds... I think I can make it to my goal of losing 30. 

Feel the burn! Boo-ya!

Saturday, June 4, 2011


June is the month designated as "Gay Pride Month".  I have often heard people comment that they didn't think it was fair to have a Gay Pride month when there is no Straight Pride month... so what's the big deal??

I shall tell you *gets on soapbox* -- For gays and lesbians, whether individuals accept us or not, we are still seen as an exception to the rule.  In most states we still don't have the right to marry the partner of our choice, some fear prejudice from their families or within their workplaces which could lead to the loss of a job (or at the very least a very uncomfortable work environment).

I can't imagine heterosexuals can fully grasp what it is like for a gay individual to live in a world of heterosexism -- assuming that everyone is straight until proven otherwise -- accepting that heterosexual is the standard while homosexual is at best simply tolerated.

97% (my own estimate) of the ads you see on tv - books you see on the shelves - and even movies are geared towards heterosexuals and their lifestyle.  I am invited to numerous weddings a year, see women showing off their engagement rings, giving shower gifts, baby gifts, anniversary presents - all geared towards straight couples.  When was the last time you went to a store and saw two men or two women holding hands on the advertisement for a wedding registry?  When was the last time you saw an Anniversary card at your local Target for a husband to give to his... husband?  Perhaps these concepts do indeed exist, but in specialty shops and websites.  We are certainly not proportionately included in the mainstream market.

It seems to be since the attitudes in the country assume people are straight until proven otherwise, then every day is straight pride day.  "You" (heterosexuals) have it all -- so "we" use one month out of the year to get together as a sign of support and unity - to stand up and be counted - and to show we are not ashamed for how God created us... nor are we ashamed of the way we feel and love.

But now that I have poked my finger at the chest of heterosexism, I now turn my sight towards my "own people".  When I first started attending the annual pride parade here in Buffalo back in 2003, I was overwhelmed by all the people who were there.  I saw same-sex couples openly holding hands with one another, gay and lesbian parents with their happy/healthy children playing together as a family in the park.  It wasn't until I started getting older and mingled more in the "gay sphere" that I realized that the happy couples and families were not goals easily achieved.

The luster of pride has begun to tarnish in my heart over the years as I have experienced the harshness and cruelty that can go on in the local gay community.  I have often said that gay men (not being a lesbian I don't feel it appropriate to comment on them) have the worst character flaws of both genders -- while women will often laugh and joke about the "fabulousness" of their gay best friends.. and discuss the love and support they find among gays, I don't think gay men can say the same of each other.  Gay men can be real bitches to one another.  Plain and simple.

Even when considering all the taunts and name calling I endured in school, I never really felt as insecure about myself as I do when I'm around groups of gay men.  Visitors to the Buffalo bars have commented on how cliquish Buffalo people can be... staring down new comers, but never going over to talk to them or include them.  Guys size each other up based on looks and tend to ignore those who aren't members of their gym or who don't fit the "jock" or "twink" categories.

Meeting people from online isn't much easier.  Profiles are very blunt about the high physical standards many men (many.. not all) have.  Here are a few quotes from random local profiles I have copied and pasted:

* if i don't get back at you, either you're old, fat, sissy or ugly.
* Absolutely NO ONE over 30.  Message me and you'll be blocked. (this person is 25 years old)
* I go to the gym and so should you. Don't bother me otherwise.
* Mainly here just looking at the hot guys, I might be interested in hanging out if you fit my criteria.

Certainly I believe there needs to be a physical attraction in a potential boyfriend/girlfriend.  I know we don't go 100% on personality, but come on!  Profiles like this are so easy to come by that it took me less than five minutes to come across the examples above.  So I'm thinking that I've been perpetually single and that's the way it's going to stay.

I don't fit well into any of the neat little sub categories of the gay "culture" and while I am grateful for my share of friends, I find myself hoping for something more (that damn hope!).  There are many nights when I feel very much isolated and alone... and sometimes being in a large crowd like the pride parade drives that loneliness home even more.

So while I do support the idea of Gay Pride month and the equality it stands for (in theory), I find that I personally do not feel I have much to be proud of.  So if any of you out there feel being gay is a choice, I have to ask you in all seriousness.. would you choose this?