Monday, July 30, 2012


A friend once told me that people in Mexico sometimes call gay people “butterflies”. I remember thinking Elton John’s lyrics about butterflies in “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” (look it up if you’ve never heard it) made since in that moment. But I also thought it was by far the least offensive term I’d ever heard given for gay people. To be honest, I actually kind of liked it.

In a world where so many of us are so often called fag, faggot, queer, dyke, homo, pussy, lezbo, fudge packer, poof, and fairy (among many others), I have to say I dislike butterfly perhaps less than any of the others.

I’ve actually gotten to like a lot of the names given to gay people. I don’t mind at all being called a poof. And since fairies tend to be rather pretty mythical creatures, I don’t mind that one so much anymore either.

It amazes me actually how the older I get, the less being called such names bothers me. I think it is because I know that the only people who would call me names are those who are immature, or not worth being around. I don’t care about those people enough to let what they say or do bother me. It’s not something worth doing.

This might be different if it was a person I did know and like, but those people who I feel that way about, even if they don’t necessarily feel that way about me, will usually show enough respect not to call me names or put me down like that.

I suppose this is sort of like when people say they are taking back something. I still don’t like being called a queer, and it amazes me when I hear other gay people call themselves that in a non-belittling way, but wearing it almost as if it were a badge of honor. And I have to admit that I do have some respect for them in that they don’t seem bothered by that name. It’s the same with fag. I was called that a bunch in high school, and I hated it and the people who called me that with a passion. But yet I see other gay guys call themselves that as if it’s nothing. I think this demonstrates a great deal of self respect and confidence.

I suppose the purpose is to sort of stand your ground and not let such things bother you; and to show that. Really, this is just a form of fighting bullying. Most people who call names or pick on you just do it to get a rise out of you. They like that it bothers you. But, if you don’t let such things bother you, then the names usually stop. And even if they don’t stop, you eventually become immune to them because of your greater level of maturity. Those names eventually don’t mean anything to you; they’re just words.

The way I see it, calling people names says more about you, than it does the person or people you’re attributing them to.

Just some random revelations to think about.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Dark Night in Aurora

As many of you know, last week, during a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises, a man named James Holmes walked into a theater in Aurora, Colorado and began shooting people in the audience. He killed 12, and wounded 58 others in this barbaric act.

I think what Holmes did was unbelievably evil, and my thoughts and prayers are with all those impacted by his actions. I can’t imagine what sort of thoughts were going through Holmes’ mind that would allow him to do such a thing. And I can’t imagine the level of horror those in that theater must have felt, nor the sadness and anger that the families of those who were wounded or died now feel. My heart aches for all involved.

It saddens me too, though, that so many have already brought politics into focus so soon after the shooting. I personally think it is shameful that the liberals and those in favor of more gun control laws would so quickly use this incident as ammunition for their cause. Since they have, I suppose there is little anyone can do in their opposition but to go ahead and get into such a debate in order to hopefully spread some sense of calm and reason before rights and freedoms start getting stripped away arbitrarily.

I’ve never been a very big fan of guns. I had a bb gun as a kid, and I did play with it out in the yard for maybe a couple of years. I still have it. And I do own a shot gun that my grandpa gave me a few years ago, which I’ve only fired once just after I got it. So, I am a gun owner. But I’ve never much cared for guns just in general. I do, however, care very much about my right to own and use guns. It is a right given by our constitution, which I will always choose to defend.

Using what happened in Aurora to justify abolishing this right, in my view, is not only uncalled for, but inexcusable as well. Guns are not responsible for what happened in Aurora. Nor were they to blame for what happened to Gabrielle Giffords, or at Virginia Tech, or at Columbine, or even in Norway. They are objects, no more dangerous than chainsaws, power drills, pick axes, crow bars, sticks of dynamite, knives, blow torches, gun powder, or even baseball bats, all of which can be used as weapons when put in the wrong hands. Even hands can do a lot of damage when their owner wants them to.

What happened in Aurora was not the fault of any particular weapon, useless on its own. Rather, James Holmes, a very sick and immoral person, should be held solely responsible. What happened is on his shoulders alone. I say this, because he obviously had intent to cause harm to others. Having that intent, it wouldn’t have mattered if guns were banned or not. He would have still attacked others, one way or another, gun or no gun.

People seem to forget that explosives and tear gas were also used to terrorize in this situation. Why do the ones who dislike guns not also care about getting rid of these other things? It seems a bit curious to me, but that aside, I say that we have to look at Holmes’s intent. He planned murder, pure and simple. He planned on shooting people, as well as blowing people up. It was his intent to cause harm to others. And the question we should ask, before banning guns and overreacting, is that if guns had been banned, would he still have ended up doing something to hurt others? Instead of shooting people, would he have planted explosives in the theater? Would he have went in there and just began stabbing people? Would he have run in there all Texas Chainsaw Massacre like on everyone? Seeing the harm he caused and the total lack of respect he had for human life, I’d say yes. But that doesn’t seem to matter to some. Their response is just to put a band aid over the problem, throw blame in the wrong direction, and lock the restroom doors.

Let me explain that last part.

When I first started high school, students were allowed to go outside to a designated area out back of the school to smoke. Laws later changed which prohibited all smoking on school grounds. When that happened, the designated outside smoking area was no more. But, people still wanted to smoke, so they took up smoking in the restrooms. To put a stop to that, school officials began locking the restroom doors and put up cameras outside. You couldn’t get into the restrooms without first going to the office, getting a key, and being timed. But, people still wanted to smoke, so they took up smoking in the hallways instead, using groups of friends to hide them from view of the teachers, which led to the hallways being constantly full of smoke. What I learned from this was that no amount of prohibition worked. Those who were intent on smoking always found a way to do so. But, instead of them smoking in public, in a safe, teacher monitored, outside smoking area, they were smoking in hiding, out of view of teachers, right in the middle of the school. Getting rid of smoking areas did absolutely nothing to stop students from smoking. In fact, all that I saw it accomplish was to anger those who smoked and to threaten the health and safety of all those who didn’t smoke. It just didn’t work.

If you want to prevent people from smoking, you have to do more than just lock the restroom doors. You have to teach and convince them that smoking is wrong. It is the same for evil acts like the shooting that happened in Aurora. Taking away guns will not prevent gun related crimes, and most statistics prove this. Doing that is only a band aid to the problem. Teaching and convincing people that shooting and killing others is wrong might actually make a difference though.

Instead of talking about banning weapons, we should be talking about teaching morals. We put violence in everything these days, from movies to video games, even in songs, and yet so many of the youth in this country never hear that it is wrong to actually commit such evil acts, and, even if they do, they know there is usually little or no real accountability for what they do. In fact, we almost glorify evil by the way we excuse it. But when do we ever teach that these things are wrong? Teachers are told not to teach morality, a lot of parents are too wrapped up in themselves to ever teach their kids anything valuable, politicians can’t tell the truth without being accused of being politically incorrect, and so called role models tend to be far less than ideal for kids to look up to. We do not do a very good job of teaching people the difference between right and wrong these days, nor do we adequately teach the consequences of such actions.

Find a liberal willing to admit any of this.

The problem is not that we have weapons. Weapons will always be around, in one form or another. The problem is that we do not teach proper values and morals anymore. We’ve pushed both of those things to the side in our society, glorifying so much that is wrong, and putting band aids on all of our problems hoping that they’ll cover the sores underneath.

And then I don’t believe we do nearly enough to help those who are disturbed or troubled. For some problems a person can face, there really is very little, if any, help that is ever offered for them. And if help is offered, they don’t know where to get it.

I can use myself as an example here. I went for years too scared to ever admit to anyone that I was gay, and yet being gay was eating away at me. I didn’t know how to process and manage all of the feelings I was having, and yet I didn’t know who to trust, who I could talk to, or what I should do in order to get help. I honestly just thought there was no help and I was all alone. Thankfully, after some time, I did manage to find help. I found Exodus International and a counselor through them who helped me more than I could ever have imagined. Looking back though, I wonder why I couldn’t have found help in any of the local churches, from a good school counselor, or even from family. I think, to a great extent, it is because too many people—Christians included—would rather bury their heads in the sand and pretend that there aren’t any real problems in the world (out of sight, out of mind). And when people do this, those who need help don’t get it. I needed help so badly that I nearly killed myself. I was suicidal for about a year, contemplating ending my life to the point I was literally making myself sick. That was how I handled my problem at the time. I knew things were bad, I couldn’t figure them out on my own, I couldn’t find help, I felt all alone, and so death seemed like the best way out of it all. I just thank God for grabbing hold of my steering wheel and guiding me back to a better place in life.

But you know, not everyone deals with their problems the same way. I didn’t blame others for my problems when I was considering suicide. The weight fell solely on me. I wanted to take out my anger, frustrations, loneliness, stress, and misery on myself. Others may want to take theirs out on others.

I’m reminded of the students at Columbine. Both were described as loners and outcasts. I think it is obvious that they were troubled. And, I wonder, did either of them ever try to get help? If they did, were they unsuccessful? Did they get help and it not matter? Did they just finally decide that they’d had enough and couldn’t take their problems anymore? Was that why they decided to murder their classmates?

You see, we never talk about these things. Because if we do, then we have to admit that we have some very real, deep seeded problems, and that we might actually have to do some work as a society to improve things.

There again, as long as people continue to exist, evil will always exist. It is in us to commit evil acts. There will always be some mad man out to destroy the world (or watch it burn). Some people just get off on such things. And that being the case, no degree of weapons bans will ever prevent them from bringing about some form of harm to others.

Now, let me make something clear. I’m not saying there shouldn’t be waiting periods and background checks and other regulations regarding the purchase and usage of guns. I’m also not saying that we shouldn’t probably ban or limit the usage of certain very dangerous weapons, such as AK47’s and the like, which are really designed for nothing more than combat use. But I will never be in favor of doing away with a person’s right to own and use guns, be that for self defense, hunting, or for just outright enjoyment. Here is where I draw the line.

Again, I think what happened in Aurora was a really terrible thing. It shouldn’t have happened. I just wish that people would actually worry more about the people than playing politics. I wish they’d learn from this experience that, yet again, all of their previous band aids have failed to actually take care of a problem. And that this problem will continue to happen so long as people would rather turn a blind eye instead of doing something right that might honestly create a more solid prevention—guns or no guns.

I feel saddened by the whole thing.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Single Gay Male -- Take Your Pick

Regardless of what people think and however we all actually are, surely we can have a bit of fun in the stereotypes every once in a while. I remember seeing this a few months ago and thinking about how funny and yet true it is (for the most part).

I have no real interest in going to the clubs, but I know several friends who certainly think that is where “the gays” spend most of their time, always partying and looking for the next hook up. My mom seems to think that my being gay has more to do with my love for design and certain other stereotypical gay interests than in actually and honestly wanting to be in a relationship with another man. My dad, although I’m sure he’d never admit it, probably does think of gays in terms of bondage and submission—of course, no man could ever really want to be gay unless forced to be (a little bit of what dad thinks really wouldn’t be so bad right now, come to think of it). Society views gays in images depicted most commonly from the pride parades, as I mentioned a few weeks back, which, again, I have no real interest in. I certainly would love to think of myself as very clean cut, polished, and sophisticated; though I know more often than not I am really just a slob who’d rather spend most nights at home watching TV with a drink in hand and a bowl of chips in his lap.

So, which picture would you say most accurately describes you?  :)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Hermit

Well, just I feared I’d do, I have, for all intensive purposes, become a hermit. Being out of school for the summer, I have found myself pretty much staying at home every day. I’ve not even ventured to talk or write much to anyone outside of those family members whom I live with. I have a real knack of isolating myself in such a fashion. In the past, I’d have called this a sad time.  Maybe it has been, but it has been one of want and, to a certain extent, necessity. And, throughout it, I really don’t know that I can say I’ve felt that sad.

When the school year ended though, I found myself experiencing a very real emotional turmoil. To my knowledge, this is the first that I’ve mentioned this, other than to a couple of close family members. I was under so much stress subbing those last few weeks of school, and then worrying about finding a job teaching this next school year, and wanting a boyfriend but not knowing if it was okay or not, and not wanting to live at home anymore, and trying to get over my grandma’s death, and even questioning some aspects of my faith. That last day of school, I found out I’d been overlooked for two teaching positions for this next school year, and it happened in a way that was (to make a long story short and from getting into any great detail) very dirty. Most teachers at the school seemed to have wanted me, but the principal had his own picks. That’s fine, but the way it happened infuriated and frustrated me to the point of near incomprehension and rational thought. It was just the last straw on top of a series of really awful things that had happened in the last several months before it.

My response has been to just simply get the hell away from everyone and everything. Be this right or wrong (I’ll admit it has probably been a wrong response), I think it has done me some good. It has allowed me to calm down a bit and to have more time for doing things I really enjoy. It has just helped me to think a bit more clearly. But I know it has also kept me from staying in touch with some friends, and I want to apologize for this. In all honesty, I haven’t known what to say or write, or just how to be around any of you. I guess it’s just that it takes me some time to figure certain things out and get back on some sort of a right track in life. Being around people usually just seems to get in the way somehow. It’s just always been hard for me at times to be around others.

And so I have become a hermit. I would, however, like to change this, and I feel that it is time to make such a change. Therefore, I’ll be working on it. Again, I apologize for any lack of care, interest, concern, or want in any of my friendships that I’ve conveyed. None of that was my intention; just a consequence.  I truly am sorry for that.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Anderson's Gay

As most of you probably know by now, Anderson Cooper, host of CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, recently admitted to being gay.  His sexuality has been a subject of question for many years now.  I’m sure that this had nothing to do with images of him giggling like a little school girl at times or having every drag queen’s favorite role model, Kathy Griffin, as a regular New Year’s Eve co-host with him.  At least, these are the two things that made me wonder about him at times.

Frankly, I really couldn’t have cared less if he was gay or straight.  I’ve watched his program on and off for a long time, and it was never his sexuality that attracted me to his show; it was just a decent news show.

I’m glad Anderson was never publicly outed, but instead came out in his own timing and own way.  And this is how I think it should be.  Even if people have their suspicions, I think it is ill-advised, unless the relationship is a very close one, for them to ever ask about the sexuality of another or to try to push the person to come out if they are gay, and especially to ever out them against their wishes.

I remember going through school always being scared to death of other people finding out I was gay.  For a long time, even though others thought I was, I really wasn’t even sure myself.  I always hated when others asked me if I was gay, or whenever they’d insinuate it, and certainly whenever they’d talk about me (usually so that I’d hear them) in a way to convince others that I was gay.  Dancing around these constant things was a bit tiresome at times, and I hated the people who did this to me.  I just wanted to be left alone.

Most teens trying to figure out their sexuality just need space to figure themselves out.  They don’t need people pushing them, calling them names, making accusations, or talking about them.  Neither do adults who are still trying to figure themselves out.  And even if they have figured themselves out, they still don’t need this.  A lot of gay people don’t want to be out to everyone.  I’m in my late twenties now, and this is still something that I don’t want.  I just don’t feel like it’s everybody’s business.  Now, this isn’t to say that at times I haven’t wished or thought that it might be better to be out to everyone.  But it is, and should only be, my decision to make (whether or not I’m going to be out or not, and to whom).  This is how it should be with everyone going through such things.

I was not surprised to find out that Anderson Cooper is gay.  But I will say that I have been pleasantly surprised by the number of people who seem not to care.  Here is one of media news’s biggest stars coming out, and yet everybody hasn’t freaked out about it.  Go back just a few years and I remember how everybody freaked out when Ellen Degeneres came out.  But this has been different, and I have to say that I think it is a good sign.  My hope is that in the future, people won’t mind if a person is gay or straight.  This isn’t to suggest that I think they shouldn’t think or feel certain ways about it, but that whether or not a person is gay will just no longer matter so much to people; that it will just be what it is and nothing more, like finding out a blond is a natural brunette, or a person who looks thirty is actually in his or her fifties.  Whether or not this will happen, who can say, but this is my hope.