Why I Don’t Wear A Button Anymore

Silence Equal Death   I wore a button just like this over my right breast for about 10 years.In reading Holly’s blog post the other day,  I realized that she was absolutely right when she called me a “rebel”.    I’ve come to realize that rebel is a good description of who I am and who I always have been.   I think I’ve finally become enough of a writer to put the years when I lived in the Boston area and wore a button very similar to the one pictured over my right breast for about ten years into the perspective of a difficult chapter in a story that while it was never a fairy tale,  is ultimately a story of courage and winning and not the early brutal death that was foreshadowed in around chapter 8 or 9.

I’ve always been a writer and I’ve always been gay.   I think I knew the first of these things around age 8 when I took first place in the 4th Grade English Essay Contest at elementary school.   The second I’ve known since about age four when I saw a picture of a middle aged, hairy man– naked with the most remarkable twinkle in his eye that I spotted in a stack of old Playboys my father had not really hidden.   Both of these things are intrinsic to who I really am.    They are perhaps often more important things to know about me than my wallet name.     Not that I am trying to hide behind a mask.  Not any more so than any copy/paste social media rockstar whose cheerful face pic showing his handsomely well-shaved face that hides more secrets than Hades.   I am all about being genuine and being me online.   And smart enough to know that this hairy faggot will be better served most of the time by a bland, familiar image that I’ve worked very hard to make come to stand for my real world integrity.

I’m always trying to get clients to understand that  while the advice they have been following is not actually WRONG  (“your face picture should be your avatar Everywhere on social media”)  it’s not actually applicable to your particular situation.    Any third grader should know that double negatives are incorrect.   As a precocious 4th grader I used just one  (my teacher wrote in red pencil– ‘double neg– but it’s for effect +++’) and took home the top prize trophy.    That I spent years talking to everyone I met about AIDS and gay rights does not make me feel as though I ‘wasted my years’.   The fact that Ron and I could legally get married in June if we chose (we don’t) it seems to me is a pretty huge thing to take away from those rather difficult and challenging years.

And if parts of this post don’t make all that much sense to you,   I can only urge you to stay tuned.   Next year,  after I have published 366 blog posts in every day of 2012  I’m going to edit those blog posts and some of those comments into a commercially successful book.    Please,  I beg you.  KEEP READING.   All plotlines WILL get neatly tied up and the catharsis on the last page will be HUGE.    STAY TUNED!!

 

Alan Jobe is the author of Walking Down The Avenue and consults with #indie writers and entrepreneurs about social networking and self-publishing.

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80 comments on “Why I Don’t Wear A Button Anymore

  1. Have I ever told you about the button I helped to design, and wore, in student government back in the 70s? It said, “Stamp it out!” The idea, being, that you would come up to me and say, “Stamp WHAT out?” or even “What the hell does that mean?” and I would reply something like, “Stamp out APATHY!”

    Only problem was, everyone on campus was too damned apathetic to bother asking.

    You know that all my comments are copyrighted and you’re going to owe me royalties if you publish them, right? 🙂

    • I am aware that I need to get permission from any commentators whom I wish to quote from blog to book. I will burn, err cross, that bridge when I come to it 🙂

      • this a chocolate peanut butter pie that an acquaintance was served at a diner. Look on the Alan menu for the About The Backgrounds page where I mention the guys name. (The rootbeer jello mold with mushrooms in it was striking but I found I couldn’t bear to keep looking at it while replying to Mandy’s comment.)

    • I _could_ tell you that the grasshopper pie on the lavender plate pic was in memory of an outfit I used to wear sometimes in my street activist days– lavender pants, green shirt, red and white tie– but I’ve come to realize that Everyone should be allowed to live down a few fashion mis-steps from their twenties.

  2. Strap in and get a coffee Alan, it’s going to be awhile.

    When I somewhat begrudgingly made the move from a print writer that dabbled online to an online writer that barely dabbles in print, I was told by many well meaning “gurus” I had to create a whole new image. I heard countless times “you can’t be gay online because it will alienate people.” “Don’t write about the gay stuff, and for God’s sake if you have to, do it under a pen name.” “You can’t tell people you were institutionalized, no one wants to work with a lunatic – particularly a gay lunatic!” Then finally, “If you have to keep writing the gay stuff, just keep it light and perky – don’t discuss the AIDS stuff and violence and all that discrimination. It’s depressing and no one wants to read it.”

    What none of them – not a single one – ever got was that while I could sit down and do well researched technical articles, I hated it. I left that when I left Gov. work. I could sit down and literally word vomit piles of highly optimized copy about spring fashions or some crap, and it would get traffic, but it was meaningless. Writing about the gay stuff was writing about me. It was raw and real. It was my anger, my love, my passion my hope and often my sorrow. Not sorrow or anger for being gay, sorrow and anger at the way others perceived me without knowing me based on that one thing about me.

    The things I wrote about being gay and having to be closeted just to hold my job and coming out and discovering life and love as almost a whole new person is timeless. It is just as real and relevant as it was 5,10 and 20 years ago. I think everyone of my generation on up remember the horror of the 80s and all the people we loved and lost to a disease we were terrified of. We remember when it became something that could be controlled to a real degree if caught early in the poor souls that became infected.

    We’ve seen so many changes both positive and negative. To deny that is who we are off or online is ludicrous because it some way it changed us all. I never wore the buttons. A tee-shirt maybe, my rainbow toque perhaps, but I never missed a march I could reasonably get to. I never missed a hearing at the state house that was going to impact the way I as a gay person was allowed to live. I signed more petitions, carried more signs, and stood perimeter at far too many funerals to count. Then I burned out. How long can you keep that up? Activism takes energy and energy is something I often lack and envy in the young.

    Coming back full circle, even in the last few months, some well meaning but ultimately dense people have suggested I clean up my FB wall. “Go easy on that abortion stuff. Go easy on that gay stuff. Not everyone likes it.” Are you sure you want that It’s OK to be Takei thing on your picture (As close to a button as I get) you use on all your platforms….It’s going to turn people off.” “Do you NEED to have that thing on your Twitter that you’re queer?” Prior to all the gee shouldn’t you sanitize things a bit to be friendlier to a wider circle of people talk is what made me leave it all. I was about to make some changes to my pic and some of my other stuff to be more current, but the prodding to do so by people that were obviously uncomfortable with it no matter how much they had to keep saying “I have tons of gay friends” or “It’s not that you’re a radical, but you don’t want to be lumped in with them just because” is what made me leave it all in place. I am a radical, just not as blunt and in your face as I once was.

    Being out and unapologetic about it is my activism. My feeling is, when you get me on or offline, you get all of me. The real me. Not a facade to make people I don’t care about feel more comfortable interacting with me. Not a sanitized version of a person, but a real person that has real emotions and opinions and will express them whether they are popular or not.

    I wondered, only a few years ago, if all the days standing in the rain picketing and all the letters to senators and governors and being a visible presence not just at Pride once a year but everywhere, everyday was worth it all. Did I waste all that energy? Did it make a difference? For awhile, I thought it was all for naught. Then I saw states slowly changing laws. Corporations changing policy.

    Everything and everyone have not changed overnight because I wielded my magic pen, but some things have gotten better and maybe in some small way I helped that along. maybe that blog post that was read only twice was read by someone that really needed to read what was in it and it helped them get through some issue they had.

    All the effort every one of us made by keeping ourselves visible and putting ourselves on the line and refusing to be ashamed or afraid to be the hairy fag or the Amazonian bitch dyke deluxe made a difference. It does make a difference. If we deny who we are for the purposes of appeasing a few or even many, we lose ourselves. It’s like saying we are ashamed. They are right, we need to change. Well fu*k that! Not me. Not now, not ever again. I’m more than a hugely proportioned dyke with a big box of attitude to use up, I’m a person with something to offer and if people miss out on that because it makes them uncomfortable to think about me bedding my partner – tough sh*t. Their loss.

    We are who we are because of what we’ve gone through. To not be that person everywhere would be sad. I’m glad you are who you are and that when I interact with you online it is you – not a social media persona to pacify the masses. That is activism – just being who we are in a world that would often rather we not.

    • mandyf, I do believe I hold a trademark on comments longer than the original post, and you’re horning in on my territory.

      But never mind… it was a good one, so I will, instead, leave a much shorter comment than is characteristic of me – just to say that I agree: To not feel free and comfortable to be yourself everywhere IS sad. I agree that it is shortchanging yourself, and others, to have to hide who you are, to be less than a whole person.

      Somewhere deep inside, we must really want the whole world to like us. That’s not ever going to happen – no matter what our beliefs or sexual orientation or gender or profession or hair/skin/eye color – so I’ll settle for “like me or leave me alone.” (Note: That doesn’t mean “agree with me or leave me alone” – my friends disagree with me all the time, and that’s cool.) People spend way too much time judging and trying to mold others to their worldview. It’s a little obsessive and weird, isn’t it? We ALL judge others – that’s okay. But unless those others are actually hurting other people, we should just remember how to mind our own business. For example, if Alan wants to wear his lime and lavender activist suit, that’s cool with me. If he tries to get ME to wear one just like it, we may have a problem. 😉

      Anyway, nice to meet you and get to know you a little better, mandyf. Thanks again for the happy birthday wishes on Saturday!

    • Wow, that is just inspiring to read, Mandy. I shouldn’t be surprised that people ask you to change so that they don’t feel uncomfortable but I still am.

      Maybe it comes from being from San Francisco, where I had gay friends who were out since the 1970s, but the banal prejudice (not the active homophobia but the seemingly polite discrimination) seems like such a throwback. All I can imagine is that these people have no loved ones, no friends who are gay or, if they do, they are still closeted. The fact that these folk couch their discomfort in the guise of trying to “help” you would be laughable if it wasn’t so insincere and disheartening. It would be hard for me not just to write them off because of their ignorance and intolerance.

      But I know that some people do change. Watching the civil rights protests in the 1960s changed my parents’ attitudes towards black people. Meeting and interacting with their children’s gay friends’ in the 1980s & 1990s changed their attitudes towards gays and lesbians. Familiarity and exposure to the truth can have a deep transformative effect on a person. Unfortunately, people don’t change according to a timetable and it happens organically, not when we wish it would happen. Until then, I guess we need to acquire a thick skin and not take their biased views to heart.

      • Liz, I think your remark that “…people don’t change on a timetable and it happens organically…” is spot on an a huge lesson that any successful activist or writer or social media person has to really learn. And you are definitely one of the people whose comments add so much to the discussion that I know I MUST secure your permission to include them in the book. Thanks so much for being in my circle, Liz.

  3. (sipping my fourth cup of coffee and thinking how glad I am that I am not your editor, Mandy) The thing that continues to challenge me is the fact that being a big hairy guy with a big errrr wick really is not the most interesting thing about me. It’s not what I most want to talk about, what I most want to share. What I have tried to do throughout my blogging both on this site and on the book review site is to just be myself but talk about the things that most interest me.

    When I take a few steps back and try to look at things objectively it seems to me that activists like you and me HAVE made huge changes to the world we live in. I note that in Massachusetts where I used to live queer couples have been marrying for years now (and civilization as we know it did not in fact fall). Here in Washington state, I may soon have the same marriage rights as anyone else. When I moved across country and shifted my focus from activism to earning a living my late huzband and I were treated by my employer much like any employees would want to be treated. It seems to me one of the hardest things about being an activist is recognizing the tremendous progress we have made, even as we read the n-th story about a gay teenager committing suicide or a gay parent not allowed at her child’s hospital bed.

    And the last sentence of your comment sums up activism as well or better than I’ve ever heard it summed up.

  4. An interesting story and a nice target to create one page a day in 2012. From your text I did get the following ‘(“your face picture should be your avatar Everywhere on social media”)’ and I agree with you that this advice isn’t always nice/correct. An other image can give more information about someone.

    • Mark, I am indeed having an enormous amount of fun with the post every day this year meme. And that lots of folks remember my handle and that I’m a guy who cares very deeply about books….is my social media success 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by today.

  5. I feel as a writer we must always be true to who we are. On my blog, I have commented on how I feel about many things and I have made some of my readers upset, but I don’t care. I got what I needed to say out and I felt better. Child abuse is something that I stand up against and will continue to do so because I was a victim when I was young and no one stood up for me.

    I get upset when I see a parent abuse a child in public and I will call them on it, Yes I will tell them that they are not to hit a child or slap a child and there are other ways to discipline. I told a man in a restaurant to stop hitting his child and I should have called the police, but my friend talked me out of it. He left with children in tow right after I told him to stop.

    Activism takes many forms and many of us pay a price for it, but if you feel the price is worth it then you are doing the right thing. When I discovered someone near to me was being abused, I stepped up and took every step to stop it. It cost me a lot of money and years in court, but I stopped it, and it was worth every penny and every tear that was shed. One day that book will be written when I feel that child, who is now a young adult is safe enough emotionally for the truth to be told.

    Being true to yourself is what is the most important in the end and keeping someone safe is what is the value of life.

    • Michelle, If this were a writing assignment I could crank out 500 well chosen words making an honest and persuasive case that your friend who urged you not to call the police had your best interests at heart and was not mistaken in any of her assumptions. Since I am not being paid a penny for creating this blog I will tell you instead that any adult who steps in stops another adult from hurting a child is a first class hero in my book. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing.

      • Thanks is from me, that i learn a lot from friends like you…who are experts in writing and expressing thoughts, and i am not that good, but will learn fast…Thanks again

  6. When I look at openly gay, lesbian, bi or transsexual bloggers, I see people who have a lot of courage and conviction to be who they are and they’re not afraid to show it. Too many people hide behind social norms and that can often lead to some of the difficult times people face for being different. If we encourage people to be who they are, almost overnight society would change for the better. Bullies would become a thing of the past and teen suicide rates would plummet. The world would absolutely become a pretty awesome place to live in.

    Kudos to you all for having that courage to be who you are and in the process making it easier for the next generations.

  7. Nice to meet you!

    I’m happy expressing myself online the way I do, it gives me a freedom I would not otherwise have. I’ll never truly be Emma in the physicle world, no matter how much I dream or how many tiers I shed but at least if given her a life.

  8. Buttons always seemed to miss the point and other then a “question authority” I kept pinned to the stick boot of half a dozen cars I never would wear one, not even in my activist days in Boston. A uniform, now that was a different story. I had a drawer full of dark blue shirts that I pared with jeans, a jean jacket along with brown fry boots. This is who I was (angry, in your face anti establishment guy) for so long I nearly (permanently) bought into my projection.

    One day while visiting friends I bought a pair of basketball shoes and left the boots behind along with a huge weight of being the caricature of a button….

    I’ll look forward to your 366 posts Alan, and the “commercially successful book” that I’m sure some young rebel will carry around on campus in lieu of a button.

    • Craig, my problem was even when I was an activist in Boston (man isn’t That a cliche) I frankly refused to wear the uniform or trim my beard or do any of the other things I would have to have done to have fit in with the other activists. (I wore an Act Up button and talked about aids for years but managed to sit through only two or three meetings and one work group). I was a rebel even from the rebellion 🙂

  9. Thanks for the post. I hope everyone in our society could feel free to be gay or whatever they like and everyone else to accept them since it’s your choice… the same choice as that of wearing a blue or a green coat!

    • But Sam…I don’t believe being gay is a choice. One of my points is that it is something I have understood about myself from a very early age, long before I had the experience or vocabulary to even begin to understand what sex is.

  10. AHHH!!! I’m so confused! *wink*

    I had to read this twice to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

    As a “newer” reader to your blog, every time I collect your eves, I have no doubt I’m going to read something that causes my brain to actually have to function for more than 23 seconds.

    First…I really miss my buttons. I had this FABULOUS acid washed jacket that was filled with Bon Jovi, Duran Duran, Def Leppard, Metallica, Queensryche…blah blah blah…pins, and I freaking loved it!

    God Bless the 80’s…

    As for being you in your blog, I kinda thought you already were 🙂

    OMG! You’re a gay man? I thought you were a straight woman! LOL

    I think everyone’s gonna love you for you…the rest is fluff stuff. Ever read my blog? I’m the fake! 🙂

    Sharon

    • I try to read your blog every week Sharon. (Like Mandy you didn’t get or ignored the memo about ‘blog posts are Supposed to be 300–500 words’– that is about the ONLY rule I myself usually follow 🙂 IMHO there is a huge difference between “being honest” and “telling everything you know”. And good fiction….lies somewhere in between 🙂

      • If I tried to keep my blog at 300-500 words, the world would cease to have any meaning.

        I’ve tried and I just…can’t….do it! So I keep it at less than 700. Cause it’s my blog

        And I can say this about my stories, the TRUTH…is stranger than fiction 🙂

  11. I haven’t took your eaves yet, after reading the accompanying warning(s) I might be brave enough when you have read and replied to this post.

    ‘Why I Don’t Wear A Button Anymore’ this headline brought in thoughts of a man that has turned to clothing that has only zips or Velcro to afford fastening. You see a button as used in your case is a badge in England, buttons hold your shirt together or do up your fly on your jeans. We have another use of English that differs too, a ‘hairy faggott’ would be a large meatball, made mainly with parts of the cow not normally regarded as the best cuts, that has fell off the plate and rolled on to the floor and into the moultings of a cat or dog.

    From reading your post and the replies ‘the button’ has a place in US society not found in England.

    As to being a rebel it is my personal belief that such people are the interesting part of society conformity makes one bland. Being gay well so what! I have interacted with you over a number of weeks without this knowledge – has now knowing made any difference? I believe, no I know, it hasn’t.

    I have also enjoyed the little mystery added by your image being one of books rather than the more traditional face this has implied that to you books or writing are/is an important part of your life.

    I doubt I have fully understood the meaning of your post but continue to wish you well 🙂

    • Jon, you say that you don’t fully understand the meaning of my post, yet your comment explains pretty much exactly the points I was trying to make while providing a bit of speculation on how the US and the UK are very different cultures separated by a common language. Bravo!

      • Shhhh. I wasn’t going to tell you Holly, but Empire Avenue missions are one of the ways I have been driving traffic and comments to this blog 🙂 I remarked to Ryan yesterday that part of me thinks I should be re-investing my eaves and increasing my net wealth, but the fact is I am having SO much fun with this blog that my eaves are merely a means to an end 🙂

  12. The first thing that impressed me about your blog post is the assertion that you were aware of your sexuality at the age of four – Wow!

    But I take your word for it – I agree with michellegilstrap that Polonius’s advice (this above all, to thine own self be true. And it follows, as night follows day, thou canst not then be false to any man) is the first rule to obey in writing. Everything I have read of yours so far strikes me as true, and of a piece. You told us the other day you were gay, and it didn’t surprise me, but nor had it previously leapt off the page. So I would say you have got it about right.

    I write from England, which did not legalise homosexual acts until 1967. This may explain why, until very recently, most of my gay friends were metaphorically wearing buttons declaring their sexuality. This bothered me, not that they were gay, but that their sexuality defined them and that they seemed to think it the most interesting thing about them.

    Now everyone seems more relaxed and we are on the verge of getting the Church of England to be a truly inclusive church at last and admit gay priests and allow gay marriages in church. When I say ‘on the verge’, I admit that may be optimistic, but there are grounds for hoping something we had not dared to hope until the last few days, which is that the Anglican Covenant (essentially an anti-gay measure) will be defeated by the Church of England dioceses before even reaching the next meeting of General Synod in June. I should declare an interest: I am a member of the No Anglican Covenant Coalition – see http://noanglicancovenant.org/ – which has been campaigning for this result against an obdurate Anglican hierarchy.

    • Laura,

      I find myself wanting to clarify that I did not by any means understand what sex was or have a handle on my sexuality at age four, though I am certain that the earliest time I ever “lusted in my heart” (as former US President Jimmy Carter was famously quoted as saying) it was at that very early age when I happened upon that picture, long before I had an inkling of what sex or sexuality was about.

      One of the things that has concerned me most (throughout my life) is not being mis-understood, at least not by people who have earned enough respect from me that their opinions matter. Your mentioning that I seem to have gotten it about right, is for me the best of any replies I have or will receive to this post. I am so grateful to you for being in my circle, Laura, and wish you every success in your activism in your faith.

  13. Wow, reading your post just shows how much I have changed, and how much more tolerant I have become over my 60 odd years. I did not find it controversial or divisive, material for some very long and interesting debates yes but controversial no.

    I don’t want to rain on mandyf, Holly or Liz’s parades by writing a longer comment than theirs so I won’t. I’ll save my more controversial and divisive bits for a post on the subject on my own blog.

    Just to set the scene for my opening remark. I was brought up in a very macho culture (respect for women was drummed into me) and a time when male gay-bashing was considered both heroic and one’s duty. Specifically male because any mention of any female sexual activity was confined to the same illicit copies of playboy you mention. I had not heard the term “lesbian” until I was about 20.

    Over the years, my philosophy improved to one of live and let live. I have no problem with same sex relationships. It is not for me to judge whether any relationships are right or wrong, good or bad. That goes for male / female relationships too.

    Now here comes a taste of my own controversial and divisive bit.

    I do not approve of same sex marriage, why? Because I believe marriage is the foundation of the family unit and an important (but imperfect) attempt to provide children with love, security and protection. I have no problem with any other legally recognised union to protect one or both partners and to allow them to enjoy the same benefits as married couples.

    For the record, my first marriage of 21 years ended in divorce (more my fault than hers) my current (opposite sex) partner and I have been together for 18 years in happily unmarried bliss. Unmarried for three reasons, We don’t want to rush things, we don’t want to spoil a perfectly good relationship and we have a healthy distrust of both big government and organised religion.

    We have survived death threats, huge upheaval, the loss of our home and all our assets and a move to a new country just fine without being married. Read my blog for the whole story.

    The one thing that irritates me intensely about the gay rights movement, is its need to trumpet its members sexual preferences and intimate details where and whenever possible. Most heterosexual people do not parade down city streets drawing attention to their sex lives.

    My opinion for what it is worth is that while drawing attention to unfair treatment of gays, this blatant showing off is counter productive. It certainly tests the elasticity of my “live and let live” philosophy.

    I am in danger of writing a longer post than the 3 ladies so I will wrap up with 3 more things that concern me.

    I think it is wrong for same sex couples to adopt children.

    I am concerned that the move in (Canadian) schools to teach very young children details about sex in general and gay sex in particular, that they are not old enough to understand is not only dangerous but criminal. It is the parents duty to handle that. I believe that too much information too soon could lead to unnecessary heartbreak and confusion for some of those kids.

    Lastly, without the majority of humans being heterosexual, the future of the human race is doomed. Yes I know the arguments for sperm donation, surrogate mothers etc. But we need a huge number of male/ female couples producing kids who will continue to produce future generations. It is wrong for schools to encourage kids to think otherwise.

    • Peter,

      First, let me just state that I don’t believe sexual orientation is a “choice.” I think science has proven it’s not – so you and I are no more wired to be gay than Alan and mandyf are wired to be heterosexual. And I’m okay with that. I do believe homophobia stems from either a fear that the Devil can tempt you to sin (and you believe gay sex is a sin) or a fear that being gay is a disease one might catch by exposure to it. Both notions are nonsense, in my opinion, and to the best of my knowledge.

      I used to think that “marriage” (in the religious sense, as a sacrament) ought to be between a man and a woman. Society views it as a way to ensure the legitimacy of children, but we all know how well that’s working in our society today. If we give up the notion that innocent children are damned by the sins of the parents (I do not believe a rational, loving God would really do that) then we’re left with reality – and reality has shown that gay, same-sex parents can provide a loving home and upbringing for children – straight or gay children. If you missed this, Peter, you really need to watch it: http://youtu.be/yMLZO-sObzQ

      In short, I’ve changed my mind. As you, yourself, pointed out – many heterosexual marriages fail, for a variety of reasons. Many heterosexual couples enter into marriage unable or unwilling to procreate, by choice. If it’s the word “marriage” that gets the Church’s knickers in a twist, then a religious denomination should (as they have always done) be free to not recognize it in a religious sense. Others may. That’s “religious freedom.” But the State has no legitimate interest I can discern in failing to permit and recognize same-sex marriage.

      Children deserve love and care and guidance. I don’t know of any gay parents who adopt in order to try to convert or indoctrinate a child into “gayness.” I’m sure they know, better than most straight people, apparently, that trying to change, “fix,” or even influence a child’s sexuality is a futile endeavor. But making an unwanted little person feel safe and secure? They’re probably as good or better than most at doing that.

      I believe statistics have shown that more pedophiles are straight than gay, and that rape of any sort is primarily an act of violence and a usurpation of power – not a “sexual act” per se. See http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/666571?dopt=Abstract

      I know the irritation whereof you speak, but you are wrong when you say “Most heterosexual people do not parade down city streets drawing attention to their sex lives.” Well – maybe not wrong, exactly (maybe not “most” – just “a lot of”), but you are simply more used to it and likely not to notice. Watch TV, Peter. From 7 PM to 11 PM, and during family dinner hour. You grew up in another era, and that era has vanished. Not only can straight married characters now share a bed, they can say most of George Carlin’s words you can’t say on TV or radio. They can show an appalling amount of skin. We have to watch ads for Viagra and feminine hygiene products.

      What do you think of when I say “No PDAs!” Do you think “this venue is inappropriate for public displays of affection” or do you wonder why a handheld organizer would be banned? Do you immediately think “PDAs? There’s a term I haven’t heard in a while – I haven’t had one of those since I bought my iPhone!”?

      Lastly, the human race is doomed if we believe we need “a huge number of male/female couples producing kids” to keep it going. We’ll have plenty. It’s a strong, primal instinct that we’d be better off putting the brakes on (for a bit – certainly assisting those who WANT to put the brakes on, to do so, rather than denying them the right to choose whether they want to procreate or not). See http://www.economist.com/blogs/dailychart/2011/05/world_population_projections

      I don’t think we need to worry about running out of little people, Peter. We ought to worry far more about how to feed, clothe, shelter, and educate/train those little people to have happy, productive, and safe lives on this planet.

      • LMAO. Color me not surprised that Holly had to go and show Peter what a LONG comment looks like. Peter is a genuinely nice guy whose politics I suspect is probably about 180 degrees opposite of my own. But he is always a gentleman and has shown himself to be capable of disagreeing without being disagreeable and so I am genuinely thrilled to have him comment here and share a perspective that clearly is not part of any “amen chorus”.

        Mr. Everything often drums up an amen chorus. That isn’t actually hard to do. And my only other reply to Peter is that in my humble opinion, writing a blog post that inspires multiple people of different backgrounds, ideas and persuasions to expend more words than you did in replying to the thoughts that you expressed is the best definition of successful blogger (writer/social media guy) that I can think of.

      • Alan, I consider Peter a friend and have had a delightful time introducing him to some of my other friends, elsewhere. BECAUSE he is always a gentleman about it, he can persuade me to read and carefully consider other points of view – for example, his take on buying cheaply made goods from overworked factory workers in China gave me pause – and I’m still not sure whether he’s right or wrong (a bit of both, like the rest of us, I suspect) – or what we can do about it. But conversing with Peter never fails to make my brain feel well exercised and happy about that.

      • Exactly. Talking only with people who agree with you does rather little to advance anyone’s thinking. While I certainly treasure my friends who agree with me about most things, what I treasure far more are the friends who never hesitate to disagree with me on anything at all. Any idiot can attract an amen chorus of folks applauding and agreeing with everything they say. I like to see this eclectic personal blog as more of a salon where great minds come to interact and disagree.

      • It is always a pleasure to read your wise words Holly, and I cannot think of a nicer person with whom I could engage in debate.

        There are a number of points in your reply that I will argue at a later date, for now let me just clarify one.

        I am not for a moment saying that a couple of gay parents are by definition bad parents and should not be allowed to adopt kids for that reason.

        It is generally accepted that a happy, conventional family of mother, father and kids is the most stable environment to raise children. Yes, I accept that many of these “ideal” families break down and children end up with one parent or in care. I also accept that in many cases, a gay couple could offer a better alternative to an unwanted child than a life in care.

        But I do not believe it can be considered the best solution for a straight child to be brought up in a same sex parent home. Boys and girls needs to learn male stuff from a male role model, female stuff from a female and the interaction between the 2 in an environment still considered to be have the best prospects of raising a well balanced young adult – the nuclear family.

        It seems that there are not enough children available for adoption in North America to satisfy demand, that is why many couples adopt from overseas. Is it fair on kids to let them be adopted by same sex parents when they could find a place with a loving straight couple?

      • But what if the child needing adoption is gay? So far as I know there is no evidence that sexual orientation is passed from parent to child. So I’m not clear on the objection you raise.

      • Alan, I am not objecting on the grounds that the child will be unduly influenced as to his future sexual preferences. Although that is something that does cross my mind. My main concern is that the child will be brought up in an environment that is not the best to prepare him or her for a future adult life.

        It seems to be accepted that a child with an abusive father is more likely to be an abusive father himself, the child of an alcoholic or drug addict at more risk of perpetuating the addiction than a child without that experience. That has little to do with genetics and more to do with environment.

        So my objection is that being raised by same sex parents might be good training for a child destined for a same sex relationship but not for a child heading into his or her straight realationship, marriage, parenthood.

      • But Peter, where is it said that children ARE brought up in an environment best suited to…..what was it you said “to prepare him or her for a future adult life”. It seems to me that all of us (and I refer to all of the 7 billion or so human souls currently operating this spinning blue/green ball in an otherwise largely lifeless corner of space) are each on our own journey. That some parents will be better suited to their children than others seems to be inevitable and the sort of luck of the draw thing that it would do no good ever to rail against. We can, if you wish, debate “what is the best environment for any child to grow up in” but that to me seems an entirely separate debate from, say, “should gay people be allowed to parent”.

      • Children who are loved, educated, and cared for (basic needs met) will grow up just fine, Peter. One interesting point that was raised when I was in law school is that children are usually better off with a poor biological parent than with a foster parent. By poor, I don’t mean impoverished nor do I mean abusive – I mean someone with fairly lousy parenting skills who might be considered a crappy parent by most people’s standards. Neglectful, perhaps, but not to the extreme. Maybe not even particularly affectionate, but not someone who would beat a child. I thought that was interesting, and a part of me wanted to debate it. But then I realized that my FAMILY is my FAMILY – flaws and all. We don’t get perfect little idealized families in real life, and most of us wouldn’t trade ours in for one if we had the chance. So I stand by what I said – a child who is ADOPTED by a gay couple who loves them and wants them is likely to be better off than a child in foster care. And to Alan’s point, a gay child may well be better off in a home where he is loved and accepted for exactly who he is (regardless of the parents’ sexual orientation) as “preparation for adult life.” We’re so intent on labeling people and making arbitrary judgments. I started college when I was 12. Accepted wisdom says “that’s too young!” and assumes that it would somehow scar me for life on a social level, if not an academic one. What do you think? Has it? 🙂 My point isn’t that I’m some sort of genius (I’m not) – it’s that my parents did what was best for ME, not for some idealized 12 year old. They knew me and talked to me, and really put some thought – not objective statistics – behind it.

    • You are not what you claim to be. You claim your mantra to be live and let live, yet you dictate how those different than you can live, or even what word they can use to describe their union. I wonder, why it is that if you are truly, “live and let live”, you fell that need to control. There is a psychological reason for it and if you’d like to sit on the couch (And have excellent insurance to pay for it) I’d be happy to deconstruct you.

      For someone that has no problem with same sex relationships, you sure do your best to be as contradictory possible. You are for HUMAN rights, which is what we are talking about here, or you are not. You, by your own admission, are not. You are not actually about true equality, you are about the facade of separate but equal – which I assure you is anything but equal.

      Why do we have Pride where we parade once a year – because we damn well can! Heterosexuals have the other 364 days a year – we just want our one. How inconsiderate of us. Maybe the Irish (which I am) need another day to get fall down vomiting drunk in the streets and the horrible homos have usurped that. Mea culpa maxima on behalf of us all. Maybe the Catholics (which I once was as well) want another day to close down the streets and parade the cross for two damn blocks while faux Jesus is mock whipped for all to see – like it or not. See the point – everyone loves a parade – including gays. How unusual!

      As for adopting children – you best be glad there are tons of gay couples ready and willing to adopt children that a bunch of heteros made and then abandoned because they decided they weren’t ready after all, or it was going to be too expensive, or too hard, or it just didn’t fit in with their plans or lifestyle at the moment. It really must be so much better to leave them all bouncing around foster homes, many of whom will never be adopted, so they can learn to love their temporarily assigned court appointed care provider – as opposed to the embrace of loving parents. How ridiculous! Even if it was proved and reproved through a trio of double blind studies conducted over a quarter century that lesbians raise better adjusted, more intelligent and social children than heterosexual parents. #justsaying

      No. lets focus on you. How seeing gays makes you uncomfortable – and I ask of sheer curiosity – if seeing gay people at Pride makes you so uneasy – why do you go to Pride? Do they parade past your house? Are you forced to watch? have gay ninjas been kidnapping you each year and making you go? You must go otherwise you’d have no basis for your statement about such a thing. Oh….you saw a picture on the internet from a Pride event and that made you uneasy. Yes, best to judge everything based on such solid evidence as that. Empirical research at its finest!

      And the future of humans is doomed? Dude, put the hash pipe down! There are too many damn people on this planet as it is! Just be thankful that gays help keep that number down by largely not reproducing and caring for the abandoned offspring of heteros. Get a grip, for real….

      Now – I’m glad to see you’ve progressed from the mentality of physically bashing gays to your oh so tolerant views expressed here. I just ask you though – take a real critical look at yourself, and ask yourself how much you really have changed. Saying you are okay with gays on one hand while subjugating them on the other is not being okay with it – it is hypocrisy.

  14. I’m a bisexual (which many straights AND gays apparently think means I am wishy-washy, indecisive, and unable to “choose” a side – and OMG the fact that detractors can insinuate that I ‘choose’ who to be attracted to sadly makes me a liability).

    I’ll be honest. I like boy parts, unlike my partner who finds them repulsive. I recently found out I like girl parts too – or at least, I like my partner’s girl parts. 🙂 It’s not always about the bits, though – it’s about loving the person.

    I was completely surprised to find myself falling for my best friend. I was already a strong LGBT supporter, finding it reprehensible that people would be so hateful to others based on who they loved. Falling for Mandy wasn’t in my game plan, and I can honestly say I fell for HER, not her bits.

    Th ongoing confusion around gender identity, sexual orientation/attraction, etc continues to foment, and it’s always simpler for many people to be able to put people in easy to label boxes. I’m not an easy fit in any of them. I’m not gay. I’m not straight. I’m not Republican. I’m not Democrat. I’m me.

    If I occasionally wear a “Some kids are gay. That’s OK” shirt, it’s not because I’m in your face about anything, it’s because a struggling kid might see it and be given a modicum of comfort. It’s in case one of my children comes to me one day and says they are gay, lesbian or bisexual – I want them to always know that whatever they are, THAT’S OK.

    I want everyone who finds themselves standing in front of open doors they didn’t know existed in themselves to know it is OK to step through and look around! It’s OK to have your world view tipped a little. It’s OK to admit things to yourself based on facts instead of preconceptions, and to challenge the narrow mindedness of others and even yourself.

    I’m Bi and that’s OK. My partner is gay, and that’s OK. We are all human beings, with unique personalities and the sum of who we are is so much more than our bits and what we do with them 🙂

    • SHHHHH! Grace, don’t tell anyone but in all honestly I’ve had lots of sex with both men and women over the years of my life. I tried out LOTS of items from the buffet and (here’s the real secret part) never did decide that I liked one thing so much better than all other things. I am a writer. I am a bear. These are the only two “identities” I would be willing to expend intellectual energy to explain, though I try real hard not to care what boxes anyone else puts me in. TYSM fro another great comment!

  15. Thanks for posting this . It makes me happy that there are real people out there behind the blog posts that actually want to connect. It also makes me realize my own path is the right one. As I get more in tuned in my business ventures, it’s important to stay true to who I am and to connect with others that feel the same spiritual and emotional shift as I do.
    In addition, I work hard daily to be vulnerable because, it really is what connects us in our hearts. So Hairy dude, keep on, keep on and thank you for reaching out. Just my way of saying, I think we are both on the right track.

  16. Annnnd to the post above.

    I applaud your attempt to seem openminded about gays. I feel you fail when you start trotting out the rhetoric that anti LGBT groups harp on consistently.

    Excuse this link, Alan? it’s easier than typing the whole article out. http://www.helium.com/items/872930-marriage-should-be-a-sacred-institution-between-only-a-woman-and-a-man

    (A) The heterosexuals are the ones who constantly made homosexuality all about bedroom activity. The Pride parades are a reaction to that. (See article)

    (B) The institution of marriage is an outated inheritance protection agent, bolstered by the questionable “morality” of mainstream religion. The ability to provide a safe, loving, and protective environment is not determined by the sexual preference of those providing the safe, loving and protective home, and marriage was never about this anyway. Marriage has been recognized as a legal contract between two people at a government level, and should be available to all. Marriage at the religion level is completely beside the point. Unfortunately, the very word has been co-opted and used to deny people of the same sex from having the same rights. The word marriage should be stricken completely from this country’s government affairs and used ONLY to designate religious ceremonies that mean nothing in the eyes of the law. (See article)

    (C) The human race is not doomed. This is probably the most ridiculous argument, as if somehow the homos will wipe out the heteros. Homosexuality is like being left handed or having red hair. The southpaws and gingers are not taking over the world.

    (D) Educating children about different types of sexual orientation is not promoting one over the other. This is another beaten horse argument that needs to stop being trotted out at every turn.

    I’m sorry, but saying you have a “live and let live” policy then making the statements you did doesn’t work for me.

    • Holly, this thread is developing into so many rabbit holes that it is going to need a whole series of posts to keep up and in the process we will all be writing Alan’s book for him.

      Just a quick reply on the adoption issue, yes I agree that children could well be better off being adopted by a loving gay couple than spending their childhood in a foster home.

      Yes I agree that kids are resilient and are better off left in a somewhat neglected environment (but not abusive) with their natural parent(s) than suffering the trauma of being placed in care.

      Throughout my life in Africa I have seen probably better than most the depths of resilience kids can find. From poverty stricken African kids scavenging for food in garbage dumps, to the very young sons and daughters of parents murdered in front of them by terrorists, and in my own boys spending their early childhood in a war situation and then having their lives turned upside down in a move to a different country.

      I really do believe that our current over protective society is causing more problems for children than it is preventing – school bullying being a prime example. But that is yet another rabbit hole.

      What I am trying to say and perhaps I did not express myself clearly is that whether you, I or any other commentator here likes it or not, same sex parents are a minority. No matter how tolerant we in this forum may be, the majority of people out there (I think particularly men) are not nearly as tolerant. There is still a lot of anti- gay sentiment that no amount of legislation will remove. That is also the background to my earlier comment about gay pride parades – that they stir up dislike and are counter productive, another rabbit hole.

      So a child adopted by gay parents is going to be seen as outside the mainstream, similar I guess to a child from a different racial background, religious group or even a child with a substantially different accent or style of clothing.

      That child is going to experience taunts about his or her parents and rumour and assumptions about him or herself, an added burden for a child who by virtue of being adopted already has a few cards stacked against him or her.

      Is it fair to subject a child to that potential discrimination? I don’t know, but it worries me.

      • Peter your question “is it fair to subject a child….” can only be meaningful in some fairy tale world that neither of us is ever likely to visit. I personally do not see a world where we have the luxury of even attempting to provide an ideal environment for every child. As I mentioned elsewhere, we can argue about what might be the ideal best for any child, but in the world we here in North America live in today, it seems to me any worries about what would be ideal for “any” child are mis-placed from the important work of making sure that every child gets the things Holly mentioned– food, shelter, love, care, education etc. Worry about the sex lives of otherwise competent parents….seems wrong to me.

    • Grace Alexander,

      I seem to have stirred the pot a bit much for your liking too.

      My comment to mandyf about tolerance might be worth reading.

      We might actually come close to agreement on one or two of the points in your comment. Unfortunately, I cannot spend the time right now to reply in detail, but I will be back tomorrow.

      Don’t worry, I have broad shoulders and am enjoying the debate, thanks Alan for starting it.

      • Peter– I think your comments did particularly strike a chord with Grace and Mandy who are btw a couple and who are raising a child. I don’t think your remarks were unfair and I don’t believe either of these women are mortally offended. (and I LOVE it that this debate has inspired Mandy to post a fantastic image on her Facebook and a new post on one of her blogs). It’s all good I think 🙂

  17. thanks for your entertaining, often very personal writings and also your generous attitude in an increasingly intolerant world! I will keep reading and commenting!

  18. Grace, Mandy, Peter,

    Posting links in these discussions if fine. I am a bit inclined to step back and let Peter reply to my women friends if and how he chooses. And I will just mention again here that I do consider Peter a friend and ask that everyone show him full respect, even if they choose to eviscerate his positions in their comments– which is also most welcome 🙂

  19. I don’t know specifically what you want for a substantial comment, but I loved this post and the openness to it especially on the types of social networking cross roads we are standing on, do we become the ultimate super crass hyper expressive individual and splay every aspects of our persona on the walls of the nets, or settle and become a neo victorian web society, where every aspect of the image is prim and tailored to represent a model citizen, worthy of your interest and business. This blog had a very heartfelt and indirect approach to that question. good luck on the blog idea, and dont you dare stop writing or stop the #definethis games. Cheers.

      • I am very acid tongued, usually far worse than I have been here, but my intent is to get a response as to how Peter reached his conclusions and then provide a chance to defend them. I’m sure he is a decent guy – disagreeing with me does not make one evil, just wrong 🙂 I’d like to dig into it. He seems like a smart guy, so it confuses me when he, or any other smart person, can be so contradictory and not see it. If we get to the bottom of that here, we’ve begun building bridges because then I can understand the thought process that someone different employs. If I understand that, I can understand them better and actually connect. Ultimately, I think that is what we all want, to connect.

      • mandyf, it’s largely due to people’s upbringing (oh, the irony!) and the attitudes they’re surrounded with in their community. I know very nice people who do not believe that being gay is not a CHOICE and is not a SIN in the eyes of a God they very much believe holds the key to their eternal salvation and ultimate happiness. I simply don’t happen to share their belief; if I did, I’d be very conflicted and have a hard time reconciling myself to acceptance and tolerance of things I deeply believed were fundamentally wrong and immoral and yes, even dangerous (because IF being gay were a choice, then it’s something others could influence). I, however, don’t believe I could choose to be gay any more than I can flap my arms and fly. Therefore, I assume most gays could no more choose to be straight than to flap their arms and fly. Human sexuality is a spectrum that encompasses those who have NO interest in sex and those who don’t much prefer one gender over another and want sex as often as possible. We spend far too much time thinking about the sexual drives and preferences of people we, ourselves, don’t want to have sex with, don’t you think?

      • Holly, I believe I agree with you that one’s upbringing has a great deal to do with how one turns out and what one believes. Your comment about nice people who genuinely believe that being gay is a choice (quoting I think Armistead Maupin ‘yea, I woke up one more and Chose to join the most despised minority in America’) reminds me of something I used to talk about all the time. It is easy to hate an idea. When, oh for the sake of argument lets say “Chinese people” (or more colloquially “Chinamen”) are exclusively people you’ve never met, rumored to live on the opposite side of the planet where they eat dogs….it’s not hard to convince anyone to hate Chinamen. It is very hard to convince someone to hate your friend Jane, when they can see for themselves that she is a nice person and see for themselves how much her life is just like their lives. It’s easy to hate an idea. It’s much more challenging to hate someone who does little to show themselves worthy of hatred. (Years ago I would have added a ‘so that’s why we need YOU to come out now, etc. etc.’ And no, I rarely warned anyone that coming out is a life long process 🙂

  20. WOW! Alan – thank you for a thought-provoking post on SO many levels.

    I remember growing up in my small west coast community (mostly loggers and fishermen -and don’t get me started on “fishers”) when our very first “hippie” moved to town. He had long hair and blue jeans and was a decided oddity. He lived on the beach and scrounged the living he wanted to have.

    Then, a fair number of young people (some who had income from trust funds or other supports) showed up, and it became popular to be a “hippie” and hang out on the beach in a driftwood shelter.

    My friend cut his hair and beard, moved in to town and got a job. He was never going to do what the crowd did just to prove a point.

    It taught me a lot about “rebellion” and following your own path. I try hard not measure a person by their first appearance (whether it be online or face to face). No matter how open we want to be, or appear to be, a person, as Emma says, has many layers.

    There can be great pleasure in uncovering and revealing them.

    To my mind, we have become increasing siloed, segregated and simplistic in our approaches to personality. I CAN hold contradictions in my character. So can anyone.

    I am thankful for online community – some of which has translated to offline too (a bonus)- as it gives me the opportunity (if I so chose) to meet people I would never have the chance to meet normally – people who hold views that are VERY different from mine. Civil debate about these differences is enlightening.

    As for buttons – if I wear a button, but don’t take meaningful action – is this enough? For some people, it’s a start; for others, it’s all they can do.

    • Janis! Thank you so much for stopping by and for leaving such an excellent comment. I very much enjoyed your anecdote about the hippy at the beach, who shaved and moved to town the moment it became popular. I have at times been deeply critical of people who seemed to be claiming (hippness, gaynesss, bi-sexuality) just because it was currently cool and they had to be so IN on the most au courant thing. These days I am genuinely trying to broaden my circles and expand my horizons and learn a bit of the world that I think I can only learn from people who profoundly disagree with me about the most basic questions, like who we are and why we are here. And I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your perspectives.

  21. As I said to Alan in a different forum, I am more than happy to do my bit of pot stirring, seems like I have brought most peoples to a gentle simmer but perhaps put a bit too much heat under mandyf’s.

    I will get back for a longer reply later, but can’t resist two quick barbs.

    First for someone who rages against my supposed intolerance and hypocrisy (which would still be considered weakness by millions in many parts of the world), you certainly seem to have been polishing yours too.

    If my 60 odd years has taught me anything in life in addition to tolerance (however distorted you might judge it) it is that none of us have a monopoly on being right or wrong. As Holly said in her reply most of us are a bit of both on many things.

    So I am happy to accept that some of my views might be outdated and even wrong, just as I find some of yours dangerous to the future of a balanced and fair society.

    Secondly, no I do not attend gay pride parades nor any others that I can recall. I dislike living in cities, preferring to be closer to nature in rural areas so I am not in much danger of accidentally being exposed to parades of any type.

    As far as discrimination and intolerance go, if you take the time to read my story, you will see that I have lost more through discrimination than most people in North America, and through that experience certainly do not have the luxury of any type of insurance.

    So my version of live and let live, is you live your life as you want and with whom you want. If I choose not to get excited about it, that is my right. I will live my life as I want to, neither asking for nor expecting special treatment from any one.

    Where I do agree with you is that there are far too many people on this planet already. My point was that “unless the majority of humans are…….”

    What an interesting debate.

    • Sadly, the very statement: “I can’t resist two quick barbs” shows exactly what you hope to get out of this conversation, Peter. Also, the time honored tradition of crowing “Oh, I’ve made the little ladies angry!” or accusing the person who objected to intolerance of intolerance to intolerance, doesn’t impress me. (<– not a typo). It's typical behavior, and I know how the rest of the dance goes. No time for it, I'm afraid.

      You've cited your age and upbringing as an excuse for your prejudice. I understand. I make the same excuses for my grandfather, a retired Church of Christ minister. You can't really help it – admitting that all people are – well, people! – and should be treated fairly cuts too close to home for you and would force you to re-examine your entire life. I don't blame you – few are strong enough to admit they are wrong at your stage of the game.

      The blacks suffered the same intolerance when they were considered unfit to marry whites. Women faced the same when they wanted to be able to vote. What audacity – expecting special treatment! Today it is the LGBT people who are discriminated against using theology, fake science and meaningless statistics to try and prove why they should be denied the same rights as anyone else.

      Alan, I'm glad you've stepped off the activist table and manage to maintain friendships with people like Peter. I'm in the David Gerrold camp – I have very little time to waste on those who are anti human rights, so I'll bow out of this discussion as it really is pointless. Love the pie picture, BTW.

      Grace out.

      • fwiw, I once hung out for Years in a forum wtih David G….he is on my personal list of people that life is too short to have him in it. And I know it was Holly who mentioned peach pie, but I thought you and Mandy might like it too, since (omg can I get away with saying it) yall are Georgia belles these days. (g, d & r)

    • I tolerate your intolerance, you have every right to be intolerant. That however doesn’t mean I won’t point out that you are being intolerant and ask you to explain how you arrived at the conclusions that you have. That is not intolerance, that is holding someone accountable for their words.

      Still your live and let live isn’t what you seem to think it is – in the words of Inigo Montoya. If you are telling a group of people they can not have the same rights as you – even something you may view as being trivial like the right to use the word marriage to describe a legally bound union between two people – that is not living and letting live. That is dictating your own personal beliefs on a group of people just because you don’t understand them, and yes, from what you’ve written here, have a fear of them on some level.

      Personally, I don’t really care if you agree with most issues surrounding LGBT people. What I do care about is your making blanket judgments about them and the child rearing abilities of them and insinuations – actually outright worries – that we somehow persuade our children to be gay? I have no problem debating you, but you need more than opinion and speculation on this. Give us actual data. How many gay parents turned their straight kids gay?

      You said there is a shortage of children awaiting adoption in North America which is why adoptive parents go overseas – wrong! There are currently about 134,000 children of the 500,000+ on the US foster care roles awaiting adoption. The number is up yet another year. Most won’t be adopted. As one group ages out, another fresh group replaces them in a never ending cycle. The reason parents go abroad is it can in some cases actually be cheaper than using a US based agency and they can usually get very young children under 6 months old which are the most desirable. Once a child reaches 2 years old, their odds of adoption drop significantly. There are no loopholes in the laws abroad allowing bio-parents to come back later demanding visitation or litigating for custody. That is why people go abroad primarily – that or they can’t qualify for adoption under US regulations.

      And to insinuate we want or expect special treatment…get real.

  22. Hi Alan,
    Wow. I am becoming such a huge fan of your blogs. I think this it the third one I’m commenting on in the past few days. Your blogs always trigger lots of memories and thoughts in my already overcrowded Gemini-esque brain.

    First things first. I first knew I wanted to be a writer when I was in second grade and wrote my very first play for the neighborhood kids. It was very rough, but somehow we managed to get the moms to donate sheets so we could have the play which was about a young girl wanting to escape to New York. It was definitely a raw work, but I had so much pride at writing a whole play.

    Speed ahead to sixth grade and I was the first grade school reporter assigned to the band beat. It didn’t hurt that I played clarinet in the band and could get on-the-spot interviews. I took it all very seriously and continued to write every single day from that point on.

    I still write to this day, but mostly about hair, beauty and fashion. Not that I don’t appreciate those topics, but to be honest I felt more fulfilled when I was 18 and nabbed my first paying job writing astrology columns for a teen magazine. Somehow I felt that I was helping people more so than helping someone recover from a bad dye job.

    Knowing that writing was a major component of my life I have always made peace with that part of me even though I have struggled in my own eyes to define myself as a successful writer. Somehow I feel that if I’m not writing like a modern Papa I’m falling down on the job in a major way.

    Secondly, as far as the sexual orientation. I’ve always known I loved men even though I was very open of other choices. They just never clicked. I was brought up in a very conservative and Catholic part of St. Louis at a time when non-traditional roles were no-nos but that’s not why I was drawn to men.

    I was totally oblivious to all the sexual preference politics and opinions so I was shocked when my own parents reacted with displeasure when one my best friends from high school came out during senior year. It was very brave of him at the time, but shocking to many due to the times (early 70s). He was my hero and it didn’t impact our friendship one iota.

    Just as I didn’t think anything of my high school friend’s partner choices I thought nothing of my brother-in-law’s preferences. I adored him and couldn’t have cared less who he loved or married. Buttons and labels be damned.

    When he died of AIDS in a Houston hospital in the mid-1980s it was a major tragedy for the family. Some friends of the family reacted with raised eyebrows and it was thought to be slightly scandalous at the time. What was more horrible than the opinions of others was the fact that he was in his early 40s and his brilliant life was cut so tragically short.

    I totally admire you Alan for being so open, honest and willing to share about everything in your life for the world to read. Your blogs always made me stop and reflect. I appreciate that so much.

    Thanks for giving all of the opportunity to travel down your path with you.

    ~Karen

    • Karen,

      I believe I was 19 years old in 1983 when I read an article in Newsweek magazine talking about the horrible new disease that was sweeping through the population of gay men. I honestly did not think I would live to see age 29 never mind the 47th birthday I celebrated last June.

      The thing is I do know how very scary it can be to “come out” and I totally “get” how angry people can feel when they are confronting the realities of being second class citizens for the first time. Like all of those It Gets Better spots, a huge part of the point I’m trying to make is that we are ALL of us fortunate to live in a world where gay people have options and opportunities that were completely unimaginable to me, growing up in a closet in the 1970’s.

      Thank you so much for sharing your memories and perspectives, Karen.

  23. Hi

    (My culture is quite different and when young we were showing ourselves on a different way. Anyhow I have to agree with you on many points. This short text will show how.)

    Cool. At least you know why.
    I know why I’m wearing button too.

    As I consume fantastic Herbalife food and I feel better than anytime in my life, my health is the best as it was even when I was 2x, when it’s easy for me to maintain good shape and fantastic energy every day after I have lost 20 kilos. Yes I wear button – I feel wonderfull . ask me how? As I want to tell all the people round me that they can help themseves. And at the same time – I have at least 3 hours more daily for my life as I don’t spent it for preparing food and ‘quick nap’ in the afternoon.

    (oh, I wish to be better in english)
    Wish you a fantastic moment – every moment

    Kind regards and thank you

    Vojko J. Kalan

      • Honestly, Holly, I’m not certain what Vojko’s comment is getting at either. But I know he has been a regular visitor and commentator, and that he is almost certainly doing his very best to communicate with us in a language that is as foreign to him as say, Hungarian might be to you or me. I appreciate that Vojko has tried to show good will towards me. That is why I did not flag his comment as spam.

      • Nope, didn’t think it was spam – was just looking for a better understanding. I think maybe he means that he wears an Herbalife button so that he can try to help people around him feel as good as it’s made him feel. Maybe, like me with my “Stamp it out!” button, he doesn’t get enough people asking about it, and it makes him sad. And maybe we all try to communicate and risk being misunderstood – whether it’s about sexuality or diet or beliefs. And maybe we should all try harder to listen (or use Google translate, or something) and seek first to understand, then to be understood. 😉

  24. Who are we really?

    is it a matter of hereditary that we cannot control or choices made within the conscience of the moment and beyond? This is an age ole debate. What I can say is the pain relief I found when turning to the Internet for writing has unleashed avenues that were not available elsewhere.

  25. A post everyday that is something I try to achieve but the laziness in me overpowers everything else! We all are rebels in our own way; but it depends on how comfortable we are with ourselves.

  26. Pingback: Hippo Birdie Two Ewe, Holly | Libdrone's Thoughts and Musings

  27. Pingback: It’s MY Life or Writing About The Gay Stuff | Libdrone's Thoughts and Musings

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