Not the Proud Gay Man

I know I’ll lose a few of you. Forgive me for speaking my mind,

So I pinch myself.

I wander over to write something, slip back, biting the nails and recoil. “No, I can’t say that.” The truth is, in this world we’ve candy pumped for ourselves, one false move on the internet, one strange statement can kill you. And that concerns me. It terrifies me that if I should write what I want to say, there will be a legion of people that will not only no longer follow this blog, but will tell others, “destroy him….”

We’ve been doing too much of that of late. Too many calling for the heads of those that disagree with us.

I’m not proud of being a gay man for a number of reasons. To begin with, it’s not something I had to aspire to, nothing I had to fight for, nothing I accomplished. Being a gay man is no more impressive than my having brown eyes. I was born with it, there it is. No work needed on my part. Another reason could be one that is mired in the political sphere that everything seems to fall into these days.  A cavernous, jagged place where no one can return from uncut, unscathed, despite what side of the cavern you fall. My sexual interests do not determine my personality, nor do they define my politics. I’m too smart for that.

And all it took for me to realize that I have to say what’s on my mind was the issue in Indiana (see your favorite facebook share to see whom says what and why), and of all people, Elton John.

How dare he decide to call a boycott against someone who disagrees with him. I’ve hated his music since he sobered. I’ve hated his music since he was Disney-fied. I’ve hated his political ideas. Doesn’t mean I want people en masse to destroy him. No, I’ll listen to his music on the radio and hum, but I won’t buy it. But, you see, in this community, this gay community, you’re supposed to follow the leader. Don’t you dare go astray.

I’ve never been fond of calling myself “a gay man.” I’m so many more impressive things. I’m a slew of wonderful amazing accomplishments….and at the bottom of the list, is a disclaimer. “Oh, by the way, I happen to be….” I’m not a gay writer, not a gay knitter, not a gay anything….I’m a man who happens to be…..hopeful, tolerant, caring. And those things that happen between the sheets? Well, as a matter of respect, because I was raised that way, those things are private.

I’m not fond of what the gay community has been doing to people who don’t approve of gay marriage. Our venomous turn has moved into the mainstream, into facebook and twitter, into the hellish removal of all those who don’t agree. And I don’t subscribe to that. I don’t admire those who wish to destroy those who have a different opinion. That’s not what we do. We listen, we hear, we disagree….we freely move on.

Simply because you and I don’t agree doesn’t mean that I should take to the wire and have you destroyed, your livelihood, your income taken from you. What manner of compassion is that? What example of tolerance is this? Not one that I can readily hold and claim and shame someone else with. I won’t do it.

So, I’m not proud of the way the gay community has been behaving of late. I don’t want it to be the singular issue we cling to, to separate us with, in order to claim equality.

I am a man. Done. You need to know nothing more. A tolerant man. A creative man. A caring man. A hopeful man. And if you were to ask me how I’d scream of my need for equality, my first choices would be that you were also tolerant, creative, caring, and hopeful as me. That’s equality…… and not a thing about your sexual interests.

 

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60 comments

  1. Well said Gregory. It takes courage to stand up for what you believe in this society these days. People are crucified for having their own opinions. I’m proud to “know” ya!

  2. Spoken perfectly. I’ve said the same thing over and over. My sexuality is such a minute part of who I am and involves so very few people, it’s the last thing I want identifying me. I love your honesty and your writing. Keep it coming!

  3. Wow! I’m totally blown away by how well you’ve expressed your truly feelings, Gregory. You’re so right too when you say that there’s entirely too much of this calling for people’s heads on a platter when their opinion is different than our own. People should be able to disagree with each other respectfully, without tearing down everything that they stand for. I also believe that everyone should be able to express their opinions freely, without fear of reprisal. Any person, no matter what their sexual orientation happens to be, is so much more than just that. I’m also old-school like you in that what goes on in the privacy of people’s bedrooms is really none of my business and I’d rather not hear about it in great detail. It’s something that should be kept private.

  4. wow. christ himself couldn’t have expressed it more clearly. you may not be proud but i am proud of you that years and years of fear and bigotry and hatred have not changed you. kudos

  5. My son is also gay, and we love him dearly and are proud of him for all he has accomplished in his life. I have known all along that you are gay, Gregory, and it makes no difference , if anything it strengthens my support for you, for all gays suffer, or have suffered discrimination . To me you are a lovely, creative person. Don’t let the opinions of others deprive you of your self esteem….or anything else. You are a unique, one of a kind person, loved and respected.
    Dee

  6. What I hear from the gay community is that they want equality. As a straight woman, I never have to confess that I’m straight. I’m just me. Just like you said. I honestly don’t believe there will be any equality until we drop the need for labels and just be. Just regular folks. You’re right. Somethings are just better left private. 🙂

  7. Thank you for speaking your heart like that. You are so right, thank you. My brother, my son, my nephew and Great nephew would agree; they are men.Done. We all want to be recognized for our contributions to the world we live in, be them small or big. Not all about our sexuality, that is too much the focus.

  8. Gregory, I am of the same mindset as you. I don’t agree with the legislation that was passed, but I think I understand why they felt that they needed to do it. The LGBT community has been quite pushy recently in the attempt to be treated equal and I feel that it has put a bad taste in a lot of mouths. Like you, I do not feel the need to describe myself as gay. If I am asked, I will tell people I am, but it is not something I feel I need to shout from the rooftop, nor do I feel the need to correct everyone I meet when my son says something about mommy (my wife, not me) and they think he is talking about me. I am not ashamed of who I am, but I am simply want to live my life. I am many things besides gay and I am proud of that. I love the way you expressed your feelings as they are almost exactly the same as mine, which can be hard to express tactfully. As a member of the LGBT community it is not exactly “acceptable” to say that I still eat at Chik Fil A sometimes and would not sue someone who refused to make me a cake because it is against their beliefs. I would simply find someone else who would be happy to make me a cake. I am not out to make a quick buck because someone else does not agree with me.

    Long winded, sorry, but I support you and think very highly of you for expressing yourself so well. Don’t change, you are a good person.

  9. I Love the way you put that. As of late I don’t like to post anything on Facebook. Afraid of offending someone afraid of making myself vulnerable to attacks. All kinds of stuff. I almost feel like I have lost my identity by trying to be careful. Stereotypes can suck. Like the fact I’m a Mormon. And no it wasn’t something I was born with. I did choose it, I live it, I love it. But I also understand there are people who believe different than I do. So freaking what. You listen you ponder and you move on. They or society doe not define who you are. We define who we are. We choose we live and we aspire to be great people. My stereotype isn’t what I m all about. I love reading your words. I always find some sort of inspiration in there. 🙂 so thank you for being uplifting and truthful without being judgmental. We Shouldn’t be afraid to be who we are and we shouldn’t be defined by what we are!

  10. Glad to see you’re not confined to a label that precedes and hyphenates everything. But I do thank you for your eloquence and straightforwardness in expressing your opinions.

  11. I would not say anyone deserves to lose their livelihood because they disagree – but if someone is being DISCRIMINATORY, they don’t deserve my money. If THAT causes them to lose their livelihood, that’s on them.

  12. Well said, as always, Gregory! I’m a firm believer that what happens behind closed doors stays behind closed doors. I am not gay & I could care less that you are. You are my friend, plain & simple!

  13. That’s the problem with labels, most of us don’t fit into them nor do we wont to. They limit our perception and usually do more damage than good.

  14. Thank you, Gregory. Well said. I have to agree with you. It helps no one to destroy someone else because they happen to believe something different, or they refuse to serve you in their business. When I had my business there were a couple people who were refused service and requested to not return to our store, their behavoir was very unacceptable and the requests came from our other customers who found the treatment they received from those people unbearable. I would far rather have a tolerant person to deal with, someone who may well disagree with me yet who is not out to see me deprived of my livelihood. And yes, it’s far better to be a person, with accomplishments, hopes, dreams, and so on first and worry about ones sexual orientation later.

  15. Well said. It says a lot about our society that people can now feel comfortable in their own skins and express their true feeling. But …

    … We are of similar ages (although from different sides of the Atlantic) and I grew up being told how wrong my sexuality was. Pride in myself and all aspects of my life, including being gay, had to be relearnt after years of bullying. Finding a gay community where I could express myself was helpful. And later I found different gay communities away from the bars and clubs, where I could develop interests in loving and caring groups where there was no fear from the bullies. Pride in ourselves led to the development of those outlets.

    I know the message from the “Alpha-Gays” can be dogmatic and I find the pressure to conform distasteful. But I know there are other messages out there, and it takes confidence to listen to all sides of an argument. I have developed that confidence over time. Pride in myself and Pride in my sexuality play a big part in that confidence.

  16. You’re right – people’s sexuality doesn’t define them and people who think it does are sad and, I guess, insecure themselves. I did think that Elton John had a point though. On this side of the pond we regard him with amused affection and he was responding to some pretty offensive comments by the Dolce or Whatsit guy. IVF children are not ‘synthetic’ – their conception has been achieved despite lots of pain and disappointment and they are very precious to their parents. All parents are very touchy about anything that may appear to denigrate their children! So I understand why he said what he did.

    Yes – you should be proud of being who you are, no matter what your sexual orientation, your race, your religious beliefs. Keep on keeping on!

  17. I have always wondered about society’s obsession with individual’s sexuality. Surely it doesn’t matter, unless one is attracted to a person and interested in getting to know them better?

    For years I didn’t realise my son was bi. I realised he was a clever, funny, good-looking young man who was kind and sensitive and untidy and who shared odd music with me, but not that he was bi. Being utterly honest, it was a surprise. But it wasn’t about me, it was about him, and it didn’t stop him still being clever, funny, kind etc. Whom he loves is besides the point, except to show him as a loving person.

  18. Until this post I had no idea what your sexuality is,was, will be. It honestly never crossed my mind… and here’s why.. you said that (and i paraphrase here) that what happens in private is just that…private.. it isn’t something that needs to be out there for the world to know that you slept with whomever. I wish more people would be like this.

    the whole Indiana legislature thing amazes me. I totally do understand why they felt it necessary to make it? I also think that common sense should have dictated long ago. The first time i heard about the “christian hetero” bakery owner that refused to make a cake for the guys wedding? and they *SUED* him? C’mon!!! Why are they forcing that baker to go against what he believes, when they could go to the next bakery and get it done with no issues? Why would anyone want to for their opinions on someone like that. AND!!! Why is it ok for them to force their opinions, and its NOT ok for the Baker to stand by his beliefs? Seems a very crappy, very sharp, double edged sword.

    Anyway, I digress….

    at the end of the day… you, me, and joe down the street are all HUMAN.. we’re all AMERICAN… and if you cut us we all bleed the same color. Who gives a flying $#%* about what happens in private. Don’t share with me and I wont share back. I just wish more people(Gay AND Straight!) would adopt that thought process…

  19. I have to agree with you on this. People out there, as far as I’m concerned, have WWAAYYYYY to much time on their hands in this technological world and have become “idle”. And as the old saying goes,”idle hand are the devil’s workshop.” Hang in there, you won’t lose those of us who are important. LOL 😎 You don’t want those narrow minded people bothering you anyway.

    1. You are doing the very same thing here: you judge people who might not share your opinion, the people who might not wish to continue reading this blog are ‘not important’ and ‘narrow minded’. Same intolerance!

  20. if you don’t mind,i shared your post to fb and twitter–simply stating,”someone who wants to build a bridge to join us,not a canyon to divide us…bravo,well done.” well said,eloquently put,excellently written….i can hear your voice in my mind(having listened to your brief audios),reading this piece out loud to mario as you were writing it,apprehensive as to how it would be received,but strong in your conviction that it needed to be said.thank you so much for having the courage to press the post button,so that we all had the opportunity to share your integrity and humanity and just plain old good common sense….bravo,well done gregory,bravo…(grannysticks on ravelry)

  21. Well said. Thanks for your post. It is a sad time when we all have to agree or we are condemned. As well as being judged by our sexuality. My sexual preference is my business just as yours is your private business.

  22. While I try to understand your approach, we don’t live in this utopian society. the Indiana issue is not simply a matter of others disagreeing with me or you and we having to accept it. I accept that ignorant people have the right of disagreeing with others’ life style or orientation. But this Freedom of Religion Law can’t be taken in such naïve way. It’s a matter of denying service to people solely based on their sexual orientation, it’s denying their rights as citizens, and setting a precedent to even worse decisions, like denying medical service to gays, cowardly putting lives in danger; it’s dangerous and quickly leads back to dark ages where people would have to pretend not to be themselves, which is absolutely nobody’s fucking business, in order to receive assistance or services in stablishments. It’s going back to separate seats in public transportation, separate restrooms, separate neighborhoods, allowing an apartheid to be the rule. It’s allowing despicable little Hitlers to decide who lives or die, ultimately, and not as a metaphor. It’s the most outrageous lack of respect to human rights in plain 21st century. So yeah, wherever these bigots decide not to open their doors to citizens based on their prejudiced tiny ignorant narrow minds and beliefs, I’ll fiercely hope their income go down the drain until they learn to respect that life comes in all colors and shapes and ways.

    1. There’s a real dilemma here, isn’t there? Over here we have had two ‘interesting’ cases. One concerned a married couple who ran a Bed & Breakfast establishment (don’t know what you call them in the States). They would not let a homosexual couple stay in their place because they deeply felt that homosexuality was wrong. Now – they were sued and fined a lot of money which is what our laws say should happen. But are people not allowed to follow their conscience? We had the same sort of issue with the Catholic Adoption Society. They wouldn’t let gay couples adopt the children on their books and, again, were forced to go against their beliefs and consciences. They closed down, to the detriment of the children. So why would a gay couple go to the Catholic A.S., knowing what the outcome would be? Just to cause trouble? Should secular laws ride roughshod over people’s sincerely held beliefs? Oh – this is getting philosophical! Read the Greek tragedy ‘Antigone’ which illustrates this dilemma brilliantly. My heart tells me Antigone is right, whilst my head tells me she is wrong! My heart wins every time! Not that I believe bigots should win – they shouldn’t, and if we all loved the rest of humankind as we should, none of this would be an issue.

      1. Nicely put ,Sue!! It is a really, really sticky one. It’s almost like deciding who is allowed to be offended the most. In the gay couple/bakery anecdote is the baker to be less offended by going against his Christian/hetero beliefs than the gay couple who are refused a cake for their nuptials? Because that is the line that the “Alpha -gays” (love that line! Thanks to whoever above coined it) push.

        But I also think this legislation has the potential to be a slippery slope and not just involve frivolities such as cake! And I would hope (to my shame not very generously) that perhaps less inclusive business people don’t prosper as well as the tolerant ones.

  23. Beautifully written. I never understood labels. if I ever met you I’d see first that you are a man….I don’t care about your sexuality. It impacts me in no way at all.

  24. This was so beautifully said and I agree 100%. I love that all the comments to this point support you, too. Posts like this make me glad that I know you, even if it’s just this little corner of the internet. *hugs*

  25. Love your perspective, I feel exactly the same way. Just love and help each other, that’s equality! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. You’re not alone.

  26. Eloquent, articulate and inspiring. If this causes you to lose any readership, it’s their loss. I’m fairly certainly it just might gain you a few new ones too.

    I’ve noticed that often it seems to be “human nature” to turn the tables. When a person or group of people feel they have been treated unfairly and have had to work tirelessly and painfully to change that, too often they at least temporarily become almost villains themselves. It seems to take time for the pendulum to moderate it’s swing.

    All the best to you and please keep do keep sharing your thoughts.

  27. Beautifully said, Gregory, you are a rare gem amidst the detritus. I’m honored to know you and to share a small part of your life.

  28. Bravo for saying what is on your mind. You should be proud of who you are. I value your compassion, creativity and thoughtfulness. The world would be such a better place if some other people would value these traits more than their sexuality. Peace!

  29. I’m always so blown away by how powerfully you can write when you write from the heart – and what a beautiful heart it is . . .

  30. Thank you for speaking up. Your words always lift me up and elevate the tone of the public conversation. I am grateful to know you through your blog.

  31. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. I stand for traditional marriage, but I am not a homophobe. I adore every gay person in my life. I fight for the dignity of every life, gay or straight, whether it’s providing assistance to women in crisis pregnancies or caring for the elderly in my job as a geriatric nurse. Life is precious, regardless of sexual orientation. Please stop demonizing us. We may disagree, but we are not the enemy.

  32. Wow well said, I am just a normal woman full of tolerance, yet you have said what needs to be said so beautifully, you said it all I think you are awesome for being who you are way to go

  33. As an autistic adult, I hate labels of any kind, ‘but if your x you should do/be Y’ meh we are people, and every one of us is different. By you, even if that means those sheeple out there feel threatened cause you can’t be predicted by your labels…
    I am a what seems to be a WASP but I can assure you that is not me, and not my life. Live to be you, not gay you, or male you, just you, the person you see in your mirror and the one you feel good about when you go to sleep at night, the others who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.

  34. Howdy Mad Man :),

    I want you to know that I totally respect and am happy you have the courage (whether you had to summon it or not) to write what you genuinely feel and think. And I agree with your criticism of the tendency in today’s online world to crucify and destroy others on the basis of emotional whims.

    Also, I agree with your take on just “being” and letting your sex life be a private, a matter that is truly between you and whomever you choose to be with. I won’t go into length about my own journey, but I would have you know that I’ve made the same set of statements at varying levels of volume over the years, and even included “stay out of my bedroom” as well :).

    Now as for the fight for the fight for civil rights such as marriage equality and the like, I wanted to comment with a different, but not necessarily adversarial perspective. I happen to be a Black American. And I feel the same in terms of just being who I am and so many other things that a shade or tone of skin. I wake up a man every day, as human as everyone else. I put my clothes on the same and go about my day the same as everyone else. However, over my years in this life and those of my ancestors, we have all experienced the oppression of others who want to point out a defect of some kind because of the thing that makes us different, in this example, color.

    As I’m sure someone of your intellect knows, the history of bigotry and racial drama hasn’t ended, not even by a long shot, despite the fact that we have someone from our community and heritage who has ascended and remained at the highest office in the land. And it is because of the continued efforts of those who would seek too keep this culture of hate alive and functioning well, that civil rights organization are not yet out of business.

    Now I as well, in terms of the black community, social trends, and the like you have mentioned, do not agree with everything that is popular or every effort to vilify others on the basis of the color of their skin, etc. as well. But just because I don’t judge others and treat everyone as equals doesn’t mean they do in return. And the basis of the civil rights movements are about ensuring that the playing field stays accessible, level, and free of discrimination. And that is the reason for advocacy, identification, involvement, and support.

    Again, let me applaud you for your courage and encourage you to continue to boldly say what’s on your mind without fear.

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