Thursday, August 30, 2012

Spam fun

Anyone else getting this spam e-mail?
BABE... i guess your not getting any of my email huh? ive been
tryign to email u so many times but this dam laptop is such a piece of
garbage and keeps freezing.. anyways how u been?
Fine, just fine. Figured out I'm gay. By the way, with your spelling, are you sure you made sure to hit the "send" button on those past e-mails?
In case u dont know who this is its ME Adriana.. we used to chat a bit
on facebook and then I think u deleted me :( haha.. anyways guess what...
I got 2 things to tell u.. both good news.. 1) im single now.. yup me
and my bf broke up about 3 months ago... and 2) guess where im moving?
RIGHT EFFING NEAR U.. lol... ur actually the only person im gonna know
there.. well 3 cousins too but i cant chill with them lol..
I have never met anyone named Adriana. That's probably why I deleted you on Facebook. Sorry about the break up, guess sometimes things don't work out. And actually, no I won't be the only person you know there since I've never met you.
I remember when we chatted u told me u thought i was cute and u wanted
to chill so now we finally can HAHA! im kinda scared to move.. im hoping
this email addy is still the one you use and u can chat with me ebfore
i get there.. maybe even help me move my shit in...are u still on facebook?
i coudnt find ui was soo confused...anyways im gonna need someone to show
me the town and take me out so u better be around bebe...
I told you you were cute? I was likely just commenting on your looks. Sorry. This boy's got no interest in hitting the girls. Yes, I'm still on Facebook. I am curious as to why you moved to a location where you don't know anyone.
i  wanted to get ot know u better when i was single..and i thoguth u were
cute too but cudnt tell u cause i wasnt single lol...ok so more info about
me.. well im 23.. virgo.. love the outdoors and love to socialize, go out for
drinks, restaurants, movies etc.. travel.. i have a lil kitty named BOO and i luv
her to death... uhhh oh im a super horny gurl too but every gurl is they just wont
admit it. so ilove watching p0rn and all that.. love sex etc blah blah blah...who doesnt..
Ummm... Go find a guy who wants to bump uglies with you. You're wasting your time here. And actually, I do find that porn gives you an unrealistic expectation for sex. This is probably why you and your "bf" broke up. Please take good care of your kitten.
I really hope we get a chance to chat for a bit either online or on the
fone before i get there enxt week.. i hope u remmeber me and still wanna
chill and arent married yet lol.. OH YA also.. i need to find a job when
i get there..
Well, unfortunately, eight years ago we voted for a constitutional ban on gay marriage in Missouri. So, no, I'm not married. Now again, the reasoning behind this move? You don't know anyone here, and you don't have a job? The job market here is horrible, and judging from your spelling, your odds are really slim.
id LOVE to work in a bar or osmehting like that...really anythgin cause my current
job is fun and all.. and technically i CUD keep doign it but i want a change.. i
currently work from home and well thats cool but i need ot be out
meeting people.. oh wait. i dont think i ever actually told u what i
did? hmm shud i......???? ok WELLLL... and dont get all weirded out
on me.. i work on a webcam chat community site and i get paid to chat
with people and get naked HHAHA... BOMB right :)? I KNOW.. like i
figure iim horny anyways why not get paid to chat with people and play
with myself heheh...anyways i hope u dont look down on that and NO
help once i move and i remembered u live there so im reaching i
said before this computer is a complete piece of CRAP and freezes NON
STOP.. ive tried ot send this email to u maybe 3 times already and im
hopign this time i can hit SEND before i run into trouble lol..
... What you saying?
ANYWAYS.. heres the deal....every month natalie (my boss) gives each
of us 3 VIP codes to give out to whoever we want.. so with this code u
can lgoin to watch me at work for free and dont have to pay like
everyone else... the only way i can give u one of the codes (so we can
chat) is if you absolutey DO NOT give it out to anyone else and u ONLY
USE IT FOR URSELF... i only get 3 a month and she gets pissed if more
than 3 people use them so DONT SHARE IT MISTER... i figured u cud
always email me back instead but my email account doesnt even let me
login half the time.. so the bets palce ot chat me is my chat room...
Did you miss the parts where I said I was gay and don't know you?
if theres anyone else logged in when u sign in ill boot them out.. but
I TRUST U... im online most of the day now to try and save money for my move..
also since im in such a huge debt already form my student loan :( I
really thingk we need to chat before i get there and make sure u evern
remember me hahha.. anyways ive rambled on and on now and ur probably
soooo annnoyed with me so ill stop now.. im gonna go start work.. i
really hope u come chat me. it wud make my day and releive a lot of my
stress about the move... REALLY i mean that....anyways once i see u in
insdie ill shoot u myc ell number and u can gimme yours.. if u dont

wanna come chat i understand but its really the only palce to find me
now days.. if u email me abck ill probably get it once i get there
after my internet is setup so about 2-3 weeks fomr now.. but im hopign
to see u in my chat room.. rmemeber its 100% free with this code im
INSTEAD OF LICK U IN THE BALLS WHEN IS EE U hahahahha...k babe im out
for now... chat ya soon.. kisses xoxo Adriana
 You didn't listen, did you? Those student loans sound wasted if all you do for work is play with yourself on a webcam. I'm going to guess you probably have viruses on your computer making it freeze.

Stay away from my balls.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Out at Work

I didn't make a big deal about my sexual orientation at work. I figured that this does not affect the job I do, so what's the issue?

However, it did come up a couple times. I was "out" to the current managers, but they left and were replaced, so it was like starting back at square one. With a high turnover, the point of being open with all your coworkers seems insignificant.

However, July 21st this year, I wound up getting a ride home from a coworker, who was also taking another coworker home so we wouldn't have to take the bus. The driver was Amanda, and the other coworker was Amy.

While we were driving, we were discussing things and I happened to mention that I lived with my brother in a small apartment, when this exchange took place:

Amy: "So, are you trying to move out from your brother's place or are you waiting to find Mrs. Right and start a family?"
Amanda: "Jared, married?"
Me: "Uhhh... no..."
Amanda: "Yeah, I couldn't see Jared with a bunch of little Jareds running around anyway."
Amy: "He's probably married to his video game, or Facebook, or his books."
Amanda: "Which one is it?"
Me: "None."
Amy: "It's your books! You're always reading."
Me: "It helps my brain grow."
Amy: "Admit it, you're married to your books!"
Me: "Okay, girls, you put me on the spot. I'm gay!"
Amanda: "WHAT?"
Amy: "Seriously?"
Me: "Yep."
Amy: "I'll see. Jared, are you gay?"
Me: "Yes!"
Amy: "Yep, he's telling the truth, and he's comfortable with it."
Amanda: "Help me keep on the road, Amy! Wow! I guess you never know somebody!"

So, that was it. I told two people at work.

However, this also happened to be the last day I'd work for a bit. I was leaving for the Winkie Convention and they'd given me eleven days off in a row. I enjoyed them, came back, and it was business as usual.

Today, however, one of my coworkers was telling me how he'd be working with an almost 50 coworker, and when I said "Be nice to her," he joked that I was in love with her. I said there were a few reasons why I wouldn't be after her.

I later told Amy what he'd said, when he walked up and said, "I know everything."

"So you know I'm gay?" I asked.

"Yes," he replied.

Amy explained that Amanda had told everyone while I was gone. She'd told her to stop, but everyone knew, and no one was really bugged by it! In fact, by the time I got back, it was already old news and no one even asked me about it.

I'm not mad at Amanda at all. I'm amused by the turn of events, really.

Shortly before I left work today, the manager said something about her being dumb, and I commented, "Oh, come on, you're not dumb."

She smiled and said, "I wish I could have ten of you, Jared!"

I looked at my coworker and asked, "She knows I'm gay, right?"

He joked, "I don't think so..."

Guess I'm also "gay friend" material...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Plus One

My family's never been one for being completely traditional. When I was in my teens, I came up with the term "psuedo-adopted." (It seems so have others, but at the time, I didn't know.)

Probably it came from having so many siblings. I'm the third of seven kids. I have two older brothers, two younger sisters, and after them, two younger brothers. With this many people to consider your family, friends weren't people we knew: they were extended family. And considering we rarely saw our actual extended family, we felt we needed more family sometimes.

There was an elderly lady who lived next door who was very kind to us. We almost considered her a grandmother, except we were very respectful of her property. She wouldn't mind if we happened to be in her yard, but we wouldn't disturb her flowers or anything.

As we moved into our teen years, we'd often invite friends over. Normally my sisters' friends from church. Quickly, they became our "psuedo-adopted sisters." Notably, I never had any guy friends I'd invite home from church. Don't know if it should have been a sign that I was gay. My mother just assumed I was introverted. (I might be, but I don't think it was that so much as that I didn't embrace my own personality.)

As we moved from teens to young adults, our friendships with these girls remained much the same. We'd invite them over to our apartment once the oldest of my sisters and I moved out together. (We were pretty close.)

For me, I fell away from really "pseudo-adopting" people as family. Generally, the girls who'd visit were there to meet with my sister. I never had friends over, with one exception: the one time one of the girls came and visited me after church after my sister had moved away to live with her boyfriend, now husband. I liked having the company, but knew it wasn't quite right for me, a single man in my 20s, to have a teenage girl with him alone in his home. Of course nothing happened (well, I did give her a sweatshirt I couldn't wear since it was a cold day and she'd be walking outside, there's no excuse for not being a gentleman), but when the youth pastor heard about this, he did ask me to leave the youth ministry. (I have a suspicion that if I knew I was gay then, I probably would have been out of it sooner.)

My sister, from what I can tell, isn't so free in "pseudo-adopting" anymore. I recently "pseudo-adopted" a girl on Twitter as a sister, since I tell her everything, including things I haven't told my real sisters.

The one who's done this on a large scale recently is my mother, except she doesn't consider it "pseudo." She and my dad have befriended a young woman who was made to live away from home and was staying at a homeless shelter. She now calls them "Mom," "Dad," and considers myself, my older (but not oldest) and my second-youngest brothers her brothers.

I don't. I respect my parents for being a surrogate family to someone in need, but I only see this young woman as a friend personally. Most specifically, my mother's friend. It's not like I won't be nice and polite (since she is a fan of The Wizard of Oz, I have given her a few Oz gifts), but she is not my sister.

However, I have no problem with my mother seeing her as a daughter. That's just the person my mother is. And I do feel that my mother misses her actual daughters, since they both live in Texas now, and she misses having a young woman she can advise in young adult life.

So, what do I care if my family gatherings in the future may have a "plus one" from my mom? Perhaps someday soon, I'll be bringing a gentleman along as my "plus one."

Sunday, August 5, 2012


So, the fast food restaurant Chick-Fil-A has been under fire for supporting groups with anti-gay stances, even supporting the US not speaking against Uganda's "Kill the Gays" actions.

In the past couple months, Chick-Fil-A CEO Dan Cathy said he supported the Biblical version of marriage. (Simply: the Bible only refers to a man and woman being married, never two men or two women.) People got angry over this. I didn't. Chick-Fil-A is a Christian company, so it comes as no surprise that they wouldn't be supportive two people of the same gender entering a committed relationship that would be accepted as a normal marriage by a state.

Intolerance of homosexuality is sadly a thing that doesn't look like it's going away soon. People who aren't gay can't seem to understand why you would look for a companion for life in the same gender. I think I addressed my stance in my coming out blog. Simply, most people are predisposed to want a life partner of the opposite sex. I, and many others, am for an unknown reason predisposed to want a life partner of the same sex.

People have been saying "The next generation is noticing this is wrong, and they will start changing things." To which I say, "Don't think this applies to all of them." There are still children being raised to believe that the extent of a love between two guys should just be "buddies."

In America, we're split on it (some states even allow employers to fire an employee based on sexual orientation), while countries like the UK and Canada have been more forward to accept that sexual orientation is a mysterious and beautiful thing and we don't fully understand it. Other countries are much more hostile, with violence towards homosexuals being condoned, and in some countries, you can be killed or imprisoned just for being gay.

Considering your sexual predisposition is something you cannot control, it is without question that it is unfair to kill, imprison, or discriminate because of it.

On the other hand, I've tried being a decent human being, and I hope I'm doing well at that.

Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor, encouraged people to support a company with strong Christian values by eating at Chick-Fil-A on August 1st. (Coincidentally, the day I returned from my trip to the Winkie Convention, where I met with a lot of gay friends and a transgendered friend.) Record sales were reported. (You do have to wonder why someone who cites health as a strike against homosexuality would endorse fast food.) So were counter-protests by the LGBT community, and some gay Chick-Fil-A employees felt quite torn about going to work that day. (EDIT: More employees' stories.)

Social media sites were all in a hubbub, for and against Chick-Fil-A. I opted not to say anything about it. As a gay man, I disagree with their stance on gays. As a decent human being though, they are a business, and like my miserable job, there are people who work for this company (some who are gay) who just want to get by. However, these specific people won't get any more money if they get busier, unless they have to stay late, which is irritating. Needless to say, I didn't go. (Those restaurants are too out of the way anyway.)

Sadly, some of the money they make goes to support causes I don't agree with, some of which challenge my rights as a citizen, and the message they send about gays cause some to even disrespect my basic rights as a human being.

I do believe in Christian morals myself. And by "Christian," I do not mean "in the Bible," but following the words of Christ. He said not to judge, criticize or condemn, because the same measure we use will inevitably be used against us. (And not necessarily by God, but by other people.) He also said not to judge before you have walked a mile in another man's shoes (know where the person is coming from). (EDIT: I have found this is not a statement by Christ, or even Biblical. Still, it is an excellent rule, though it is not of Christ.) And, most of all, He commanded us to love one another.

Looking through the words of Christ, I have to question some of the causes Chick-Fil-A supports. How are you not judging without knowing who you are judging when you tell gays their basic desire to have a companion of the same sex is sinful? (Human companionship is one of the first issues God attempted to rectify, according to the Creation story in Genesis.) How are you loving a gay person by telling them "God hates fags!" or blaming them for the country's problems? Simple: YOU AREN'T.

I try not to judge, but yes, I did right there. But I know where anti-gay people come from. Years before I realized I was gay, I had anti-gay sentiments myself that quickly melted when I actually started talking to gay people.

My sister weighed in on the issue on Facebook:
With all the Chick-Fil-A talk on Facebook, I have only seen one post that I actually want to agree with.

There were a lot of you that poured into the restaurant today, and all that did for Chick-Fil-A was boost their sales for today. They may not support "being gay" "gay rights" or "gay marriage."

While I am a Christian and and love chicken, I didn't feel the need to go to Chick-Fil-A today. Now it doesn't mean that I don't support their stance. We all have the option to express our opinion. But are we forgetting the "not judging" part of our faith? What is making us better than Westboro with all our condemnation upon the LGBT community? Biblical standards, which one of us is without sin so we can cast the first stone at them?

I come from a family of 7 children, and out of those 7 children, 5 are boys and one of them is gay. Is it my place to judge or condemn him for being what he is? No. You can argue with me that that isn't the way God made him, but until you show me otherwise, why is it my right to judge him? Doesn't that just put us in the same spot with God if what he is doing is truly wrong? Am I against Chick-Fil-A for not supporting human rights? No. Am I against my brother because he's choosing a lifestyle that is different than my own? No. Why should I choose sides? Its really food for thought.
That got comments, including a couple from the man from my church who had messaged me with condemnation after I came out in April. One person weighed in with, "Why should I care what anyone else does if they don't hurt anybody?"

Finally, I commented. With a 12-paragraph comment.
I wasn't sure if I should comment, being the brother mentioned. A lot of people don't understand LGBT folk, and generally, individually, they stay quiet because it's controversial and most people just want to be left alone and live in peace.

I am sorry to say that the Church has really been lacking in God's love when it comes to people of differing sexual orientation. They are told it's a choice that they are the way they are. Too often, we assume someone identifies as gay because they participated in an act of sex with someone of the same gender and enjoyed it. This isn't the case. It's attraction, and the only choice is how you live with it. I decided to openly say it.

People have been uncomfortable with their orientation and have tried to change it, but it's been noted as impossible. Even the leader of Exodus International mentions he still deals with same-sex attraction on a day-to-day basis and has begun to drop the company's attempts to "cure" gay people.

There has been a lot of debate on homosexuality and the verses in the Bible in which it talks about what appear to same-sex relations. There have been interpretations that say that quite possibly these verses are about people acting outside of their natural orientation, or about rape, prostitution, or promiscuity. However, others dismiss these as people simply trying to find justification for "sin." Personally, I believe my sin is between me and God. If He convicts me of it, then I need to prayerfully consider what His will is.

It has been proved by science that orientation is not a choice, and just about any homosexual (including myself) will tell you they didn't choose it, they realized it. Saying it's a choice is a groundless statement versus one based in science and affirmed by the personal experiences of many people throughout the world. If indeed this is how God made certain people, why would He want them to hide who they are, even going so far as to lie about it? To me, marrying a woman just to make myself look like a straight man would be a big fat lie to that woman, and I have too much respect for the opposite sex to do that.

I have not been in a romantic relationship period, nor have I had sex. When I tried to think about what I desire, it is not sex but companionship, and I suspect this is generally what anyone looks for in a relationship. I can't deny that it's weird that I've realized I would prefer to look for this companionship with another man when most guys (including my brothers) look to women.

Because of the many times the Church has decided not to walk in the shoes of the LGBT community before judging them, people who realize they have same-sex attractions often fall away from their faith, even if they don't tell anyone in their church that they're gay. It's not the ostracism (though that doesn't help) but the thought instilled that "God doesn't love you because of how He made you." That makes no sense!

I grew up in a Christian home, attended church at least once a week, often multiple times. I was involved in church ministry. And yes, I believe God wanted me to do that. If the Christian faith is a guard against homosexuality, then it has not worked. In fact, there are many cases of people in good, Godly homes, realizing they had same-sex attractions.

I'm not suggesting anyone here be perfectly okay with me or anyone else being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. All I want to ask is that you reconsider how you are displaying God's love. Because I realized that some people are lacking in that respect, I have been attempting to question what I do every day when I'm around people. Am I displaying God's love by scowling at the old woman across the street who is apparently upset that I take the bus and don't just walk down the street? No. Am I displaying God's love by holding the door open for people who are about to enter the same building I am? Maybe.

Would I be displaying God's love by saying Chik-Fil-A deserves to go out of business because the CEO doesn't think homosexuality is right? No.

Now apply this to yourself: if you tell a person who has identified themselves as gay that they are a bad person, does this display God's love?

This shouldn't be a ground-breaking notion. This is simply thinking "What would Jesus do?" It's not about being gay-friendly. It's about following Christ's example. He loved so unconditionally, He even asked that His executioners be forgiven.
If you're wondering that guy commented right after, called my desire for same-sex companionship "sinful" and compared it to adultery. (Which baffles me: adultery is being unfaithful to your partner. I'm single.)

Now, in preparation for this blog, I read some other perspectives. Silence on an issue may just as well support it. But frankly, all I have to say is I'm a human being. So is this guy:
So are the two people who make up this handsome couple:
So is this guy:
And, like me, all the guys in those pictures are gay.

If we're ignoring the simple, basic fact that we're all human beings, that we are all deserving of at least common decency, then we are becoming dangerous. And the insane thing is, people who claim to be Christians, who should have this as a basic part of their faith, are the ones who are ignoring this the most. You'll support the rights of an unborn child, but not of a mature adult who just wants to love the person they love?

Those men in those photos? I could easily talk with each and every one of them (and many others) during the Winkie Convention. As far as I know, none of them claim to be Christians. Now, when I walk into the church I attended for over a decade, I have to stop and think "Gee, can I be myself around this person?" And the more I realize I think that, the more I realize I shouldn't have to think that.

If you have a problem with who I am, that's it. You have a problem.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

"I heard a strange story"

You may have noticed that I tend to preserve the anonymity of people I know when I talk about them. This is because I am not talking about them with their permission. In other cases, I don't want anyone taking a militant stance and hunting these people down.

I was at the 2012 Winkie Convention this weekend, and Saturday, I got a Twitter notification from my sister by text message:
Unbelievably shocked. I would have never guessed. I'm so proud of you, Linda. Words really don't express how much I admire your strength.
Disclaimer now: the woman's name is not "Linda." I am changing names to protect people. "Linda" was an active woman in our church's ministry and before I stopped regular attendance, was part of the youth ministry with me.

I can recall a class we gave in which we discussed with the youth the topic of homosexuality, taking the stance that it was not God's design and was thus wrong. I regretted helping teach this class long before I realized I was gay.

I sensed something was up and I needed to know what it was, so I called my sister immediately.

"I'm at a wedding," she explained. "Linda was here, and told me, 'I guess you know that Brian (her husband, again, name changed) and I are separated.' Well, I didn't know, and she explained to me that Brian had come out of the closet publicly. She'd known for years. I mentioned you to her and she was shocked."

To be honest, I did feel a little bit of wicked glee at hearing this. If there's such a thing as karma, it had gotten back to both of us. But on the other hand, despite Linda's poorly-informed stance on homosexuality, she is a good person who honestly cares about other people. During that infamous class, I even brought up the point, "I don't want you to think homosexuals are bad people" and she agreed with it.

But since that class was years ago (I left the Youth Group in 2008), how long did she know her husband was gay?

It's not like this was a young couple. Linda and Brian had two children who have grown up and they are now grandparents. How many years had Brian been in the closet?

The more I thought about it, the more I think the answer is quite a long time. The few times Brian tried to speak to the Youth Group (he worked with Linda in her first year, then left), it was about inadequacy. Sometimes, when we'd be made to work on a project together, he'd make me feel inadequate, often unfairly. I was unsure how to do a task and had no one to ask for help, and he'd return and belittle me for having done three things while I did nothing.

Was he really just frustrated about not being at terms with his sexuality? On a selfish note, it makes me feel a little satisfied that I was able to come to terms with mine so quickly. But on a loving note, I'm glad he finally found the courage to do so himself. I can't imagine what his family is going through with this, but I can only hope they'll continue to love him.

However, it doesn't seem they think they can go on living their lives as usual. My little brother informed me that they moved away.