Monday, January 6, 2014

Thoughts on current and recent gay issues

Well, I haven't been busy here, aside from those Babes in Toyland blogs. I still find it funny that at Christmas 2011, I published a number of blogs about the Nutcracker; 4 months later, "I'm gay." I did discover, however, that your brain doesn't fully understand love until you're 25, which was the age I was when I came out, so maybe it wasn't actually a bad thing that it took me that long. (There are, however, some things I've said in the past that I now really wish I hadn't...)

That said, the world surely has had some big movements in the areas of LGBTQ rights. Marriage equality made a major victory last summer (ah, Summer, I think, with a -6 degree temperature outside), and a number of states and countries have opened up to same-sex marriages. Good stuff. However, a currently developing case is Utah, which briefly allowed same-sex marriage over the past few weeks. Currently, it's blocked until it can be fully reviewed by a court, possibly the SCOTUS. Of course, my hope (and the hope of many LGBT folk) is that the SCOTUS will soon (rather than later) rule that the legal right of marriage is not to be restricted to a man and a woman, dissolving any bans on same-sex marriage.

Russia proved unreceptive, pretty much banning any public display of homosexuality. It's been a big issue with the Olympics planned to be in Russia in 2016 and the hosting country suddenly saying that they won't permit people to proudly and openly identify their sexuality. I definitely disagree with Russia's law and am curious as to what this says about the Olympic spirit. I hope Russia can change.

Speaking of the Olympics, Olympic diver Tom Daley recently revealed that he was in a relationship with a man, choosing not to label himself as gay, straight, bisexual, flexible or queer. He mentioned that he still "fancied girls." It's been more or less confirmed that his boyfriend is about 26 years his senior: Dustin Lance Black. Some have been critical of this pair, my thought is: I'm not in this relationship, I have no say in it, and personally, I would not mind dating an older man. (Though I do have to admit that if they're over 50, I'm a little disturbed because that's how old my parents are!) Good luck to Tom and Dustin!

And speaking of older men, there was no end to the Facebook chatter about Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson's being asked of his opinion of homosexuality and civil rights for a GQ profile. Basically, while I do find Phil's words bigoted and insulting, I'm a little more disturbed about his breaking down a romantic relationship to "what orifice would I prefer to put my penis into?"

Another person is not a place to put my penis. That would be my underwear. While I'm sure I would enjoy it, sex is not my prerogative in finding a partner. Having someone who complements my personality is more like it.

And what do I think of the controversy around Phil? GQ loves it because it got people looking at their magazine and website, A&E loves it because it got their show more publicity, and anyone selling Duck Dynasty merchandise (and it's just about everywhere, I kid you not, I saw Duck Dynasty cookies today) will appreciate hopefully moving some merchandise. This whole thing's pretty much been a publicity stunt. And don't say "freedom of speech," when the guy was "suspended" for about a week from a show that wasn't in production at the time and his words were spread everywhere. He was free to say what he wanted, just not while representing the hand that signed his paycheck. And others were free to disagree.

Transgender rights have become a topic of discussion recently. I have a transgender friend myself who has talked to me pretty openly about her transition. Fortunately for her, she lives in Canada where they seem to be a bit more friendly about this issue. In the US, it's a different matter. I have no idea what it must be like to identify as the opposite gender, but the thing is that I'm not transgender. But because someone is going through something I don't fully understand, it doesn't mean that I should devalue it, whether it's a transgender friend or a woman on her period or having discomfort with pregnancy. For those reasons, I support transgender people.

Speaking of pregnancy, next June I'll be the uncle to a new niece or nephew from my sister and her husband. (I already am one to my beautiful niece Amber.) And on the topic of family, my mom and I have been talking a bit more, and without me bringing it up, she's said she's becoming more comfortable with the idea that I won't have a wife and kids and might in fact be dating another man someday.

Dating? Well, I kind of tried to meet up with someone. My little brother met a guy on the bus and gave him my number, and after some texting and photo shares (faces only), I proposed we meet at a local coffeeshop. Note: I was just interested in making a new friend. We met up, I bought him a slice of cheesecake, and nine minutes later, he was gone. A month later, he texted me, wanting to meet at his place, "Maybe cuddle and kiss, I want u." Well, I'm not that desperate, so I turned him down. Besides, it seemed he had me confused for someone else, which is even more insulting. (I didn't even know where he lived.)

I recently got my first smartphone, and went ahead and got Grindr and a couple other dating apps. How many people have I met through these? None. I'm not really active on them, and when I am on them, it's typically just looking, due to my introverted personality. Which basically means that bars and huge social events aren't my scene, particularly when I'm alone, which is most of the time. Introverts like me find being surrounded by unfamiliar people exhausting and uncomfortable and would prefer to meet people one on one. Never say never to anything, though.

And yes, it's a new year. I want to make 2014 about moving in new directions in my life. I'm hunting for a new, better-paying job so I can move out to my own apartment again. I'm even considering finally learning to drive, though I do have certain anxieties about those that have led to some odd dreams. To try to help facilitate my mind for this, I've started to go by the name "Jay." (My first initial, spelled as a word.) People mainly call me "Jared," though. You can't break a name off after 27 years.

Unless you're in the Witness Protection Program...


Glenn Ingersoll said...

Here's to a year full of good things, Jay!

Nathan said...

The amount of Duck Dynasty merchandise they sell at Walmart is insane. Bigotry aside, I'm still not sure whether people like that show seriously or ironically.