Friday, November 25, 2011

The joy of human love extends to all--even gays and lesbians

The Thanksgiving editorial in yesterday’s Deseret News spoke of the joy of human love. As I read the article, I couldn’t help but think with conviction that this joy extends to all—even to God’s children who may love those of their own gender.

My heart breaks for gay and lesbians who have been rejected by parents and siblings and as a result are unwelcome at family Thanksgiving tables. This tragedy is particularly prolific on the Wasatch Front where so many claim to be Christian, but through their behavior if not their words reject the central message of Christ’s message to love their neighbors as themselves. (And yes, their children are their neighbors.)

I can’t help but remember with hope the words of President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Because love is the great commandment, it ought to be at the center of all and everything we do in our own family, in our Church callings, and in our livelihood. Love is the healing balm that repairs rifts in personal and family relationships. It is the bond that unites families, communities, and nations. Love is the power that initiates friendship, tolerance, civility, and respect. It is the source that overcomes divisiveness and hate. Love is the fire that warms our lives with unparalleled joy and divine hope. Love should be our walk and our talk."

I have faith and believe that one day soon, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members will grasp the significance of these words and understand that love will ultimately triumph. In the end, families will understand that real love creates the tolerance, civility and respect that will reunite families and build Zion for all of Heavenly Father’s children, not just his heterosexual sons and daughters.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Alan Osmond's assertions undermine the Church

While surfing the Internet this morning, I ran across a blog post by Alan Osmond of the famous LDS Osmond family reassuring parents everywhere that, “families and friends can reach out to those with homosexual difficulties [see].”

And how can they reach out? First, by understanding that “homosexuality is not innate and unchangeable” and that “researchers whose studies have been used to support a biological model for homosexuality have determined that their work has been MISINTERPRETED [Osmond’s capitalization. Not mine.] What is clear is that homosexuality results from an interaction of social, biological, and psychological factors. These factors may include temperament, personality traits, sexual abuse, familial factors, and treatment by one’s peers [My italics. Not his.].”

Osmond then goes on to assert that “like most methods in psychiatry and psychotherapy, the treatment of homosexuality has evolved out of eighty years of clinical experience, demonstrating approximately the same degree of success as, for example, the psychotherapy of depression.” He then claims that “other researchers note treatment success rates that exceed 50 percent, which is similar to the success rates for treating other difficulties. “

You might be a great singer and dancer, Alan, but an expert on human sexuality you are not. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Will some parents ever learn...

A friend's mother has been sending him regular emails expressing her disappointment that he has chosen to "practice a gay lifestyle." Her emails, long on repentance and short on love, are beginning to weigh him down emotionally and spiritually. I asked my friend if I might write his mother a letter. What follows is my email to his mother and her quick response.... 

Dear Sister Jones:

Although we haven’t yet met, it seems as though I know you already. Bill speaks often of you and about his love and admiration for you. He is a fortunate young man to have such a mother and much of the good person he has become obviously results from your strong and caring guidance.

While I served as a bishop of a university ward a few years ago, I had nearly two dozen gay men out of 200 students in my ward. I came to love and respect each of them. They all were coping with their individual situations in different ways, but they were each doing his best to come to terms with what is to most an irreconcilable choice—to be true to oneself or to be true to the teachings of the Church.

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Mormon with a Catholic bend...

Since childhood, I have loved the beauty of the Catholic mass and enjoyed choice spiritual experiences kneeling in prayer before the image of Christ crucified and the Altar of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. As a Mormon whose worship tradition eschews high ritual, it is odd that I often feel closer to God within the confines of what many Latter-day Saints still deem to be the territory of the Great and Abominable, than I do in the chapels and temples of the One True Church.

While a friend believes me to be a “closet Catholic” and my former wife has expressed concern that someday I might convert, I’m satisfied with my current position. As I strive to remain faithful to my commitment to Christ and his supernal sacrifice, the instruments I might find along the path of life to make that commitment firm are worthy regardless of where they might be found. In truth, what I suppose to be lacking in Catholic doctrine, I find ennobling in its devotional expression.

I’ve discovered particular strength in the centrality of Christ Jesus in Catholic worship, both in the structure and decoration of the sanctuary and the design and content of the mass itself. The vastness of the worship space, the beauty and tragedy of the icons and glass recounting the Son of God, his ministry and his passion, the mystery of the crucifix and the altar, and the sanctity of the tabernacle which houses Christ’s body and blood awe and inspire.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Letter to a friend: buying furniture, pornography addiction, testimony and obedience (redux)

Last summer I wrote the following letter to a friend. I felt that today might be a good time for a repost of my ripost.

Dear friend:

Getting the email from you yesterday made my day. Thanks for keeping this volley in the air. Now I guess it’s my turn to get the ball back into your court.

Yes, I did spend most of yesterday shopping for furniture. Thankfully I was able to find a bedroom set and a sofa and two chairs for the front room. I’ve still got to locate stuff for the dining room and second bedroom. Because I’m pretty picky about furniture, making a final decision can be agonizing. (Sounds pretty gay, right?) My wife told me last week that one of the things she’s looking forward to as a result of the divorce is selecting furniture without my input. She’ll tell anyone that that is one of the worst things about being married to a gay guy—no final say on what goes where.

I was interested to hear about your pornography addiction.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Getting through a hard phase...

Since seeing the light about TBM several weeks ago, I’ve been overwhelmed with feelings of loneliness and more importantly, this fatalistic fear that the remainder of my life will be spent enveloped in a dark shroud of isolation and meaninglessness.

These feelings are a result of a number of factors exclusive of TBM.

Since coming out and divorcing my wife, my relationship with my children who have all been an integral part of my world has become distant at best. While each child claims to love me and support me, there is no interest on their part in my life and the challenges and joys of being a gay man and little desire to discuss anything about their lives that is deeper than the superficial.

My business, which has historically been exciting and extremely rewarding, has over the last eighteen months crumbled. Economic factors including client bankruptcies, mergers, and significantly reduced budgets coupled with rumors about my personal life have led to an impossibly light portfolio of business—the smallest since I began consulting nearly twenty years ago.

My faith in Heavenly Father, the bedrock of my life, has turned itself upside down. While my testimony of core Gospel principles is as strong as ever, the autocratic, obedience driven religion promulgated by local and general church leaders today stands in stark contrast to Joseph Smith’s sharp focus on agency and the love of Christ, principles which are integral to my own faith. Being a person who prefers to find his way rather than follow a path dictated by men who know little about me and my life, I despair over the attitude that following blindly is more important than contemplation, meditation and personal revelation.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Keep your gay children close....

One of my favorite bloggers is Joanna Brooks. A self-described unorthodox Mormon, Joanna brings an interesting take on issues that often harmonizes with my own unorthodox devotion to the Gospel. Today in her "Ask Mormon Girl" post, she responded thoughtfully with more than a little inspiration to a mother wondering if she should allow her lesbian daughter to come home with her partner.

I was surprised (I guess I wasn't really surprised) by what seemed to me to be ill-informed and even bigoted comments left by several individuals who obviously considered themselves good Christians and exemplary Latter-day Saints.

While it has been difficult for me to write anything of substance lately, I couldn't help but respond to the woman with the honest question and the commentors with the narrow minds. Below is the text of my response.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Bloodied, bruised, but not beaten...


This coming out thing is not an easy process. In many ways, it’s like moving to a foreign country, one in which you are required to learn a new language, a new culture, and establish yourself in an environment that is a little disconcerting at best.

While the difficulty of my transition has been mitigated to an extent by friends who care for me and do what they can to make my life easy, there have been inevitable bumps along the way that have left me with a few scrapes and bruises and perhaps even a broken bone or two.

Fortunately, I have no permanent scars and am recuperating. I’m confident that one day I’ll be as good as new.

The source of my most visible injury is predictable and should have been preventable, but my naivety coupled with confidence (some say arrogance) led to a series of decisions that reminds me of the idiot man who keeps pounding his head, bloodied and lacerated, against the block wall simply because the block wall is there.

And what is my block wall, you ask?

A man. The Butterfly Man, to be exact.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My anniversary...

Today is my anniversary.

Two years ago today I decided that it was time to take the leap, time to crack the closet door, time to let a little fresh air into what had become my dark and stifling existence. Two years ago today I made the decision to step into a world that had beckoned for a lifetime, yet seemed a lifetime away.

Two years ago today I resolved to come out, to leave pretense and affectation behind me, and accept with all the ramifications and consequences life as a gay man.

That decision was the best decision I ever made. Although the transition from the straight world to a bent one was at times intimidating if not frightening, it was also enervating and enlightening. By facing my fears and realizing that in the end, there was actually nothing to fear, I found peace and I became a better man.

While my decision to live an honest life left no small share of shock and heartbreak in its wake, it became a force unto itself that propelled me forward as only inertia can.

And I continue to move forward.

My life today is not what I imagined it would be two years ago. As with all things of value, there is a price that must be paid for living with integrity. The investment, however, has had incredible returns.

I can breathe freely and live without fear. I can be a whole man, complete and unencumbered. I can finally fulfill the measure of my creation as God desires for all of his children.

I understand the meaning of joy.

Monday, July 18, 2011

On suffering and joy...

Yesterday I read a wonderful post by my dear friend Invictus Pilgrim containing an essay by Callan Williams about crucifixion people and resurrection people. I found the article thought provoking.

As Latter-day Saints, we subscribe to Lehi's aphorism, "Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy." Unfortunately, we all too often place the emphasis on the "fall" rather than the "joy".

While suffering as a result of the fall is an essential part of our experience ("...there is an opposition in all things. If not so...righteousness could not be brought to pass."), joy is central to our divine nature and our eternal mission.

Just as the resurrection ultimately triumphed over the crucifixion, so joy must ultimately triumph over suffering.

When we learn to find joy in the trials, tedium and minutiae of our lives, we begin to sense that spirit which makes us whole and transforms us and our nature to that which God actually desires for all of his children.

Heavenly Father, I think, intends that each of us endure from time to time our own sense of crucifixion, but if we are to become like him we must ultimately transcend the suffering of the cross and open our hearts to the light and hope of the resurrection.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Utah Pride: Redux

Basking in the after-glow of an amazing Pride Weekend, I am compelled to share one more post about this truly awesome event. The sense of community and, yes, PRIDE, I felt and feel after having participated in the parade and festival has left me soaring. At the same time, I am humbled by and grateful for the experience.

Utah Pride reinforced in a very real and powerful way what I knew already—that life, especially my life—is good; that being true to myself and to the God who created me brings completion and fulfillment, joy and happiness, satisfaction and peace. After years of merely surviving in a colorless world bound with the chains of fear and self-loathing, I am now thriving in a limitless universe of color and space.

When I think of the path I’ve traveled the last two years, I’m astonished. When I consider the love I feel for those who led me and sometimes carried me along that path, I am overwhelmed.

My life as a gay man is life worth living—every single second of it. It is precious, treasured, a pearl of great price.

In the brilliant light of truth, I now see that my closet never really was a closet. It was a prison, a cell, small dark and fetid, into which I will never return.

I can now sing with every fiber of my soul the words of gratitude that can only be understood with the emancipation of the spirit, "I'm free at last, I'm free at last. Thank God Almighty I'm free at last."

Monday, June 6, 2011

Pride is a time to be PROUD!

This past weekend I attended my first Pride Festival. I was more than a little intimidated at first, expecting the stereotypical lasciviousness and debauchery that usually graces the front page of the Salt Lake Tribune the day after the event (true to its sensationalist instincts, today’s Tribune article about Pride leads with a picture of a hot twink in a Speedo).

Pride turned out to be one of the most affirming, uplifting experiences of my life.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

To young gay men--"It is not good for [a gay] man to be alone."

Yesterday as I was skimming my in-box for an interesting post, I happened on one by Andy, a BYU student struggling to reconcile his faith and his nature.

Andy recounted a recent visit he had had with his elder's quorum president, his desire and commitment to do the right thing, and his overwhelming sense of isolation and loneliness. Specifically, Andy told the EQP that he had confidence there were other gay men in the ward; he just wished he knew who they were so he could meet them, talk to them and perhaps enjoy their support.

The elder's quorum president responded that it was good for Andy to avoid other gay people, that forging his way alone was the right thing to do, and that he admired Andy for his strength to resist.

My heart broke for Andy. Just like so many well-meaning, but misguided leaders of the Church, Andy's EQP believed the best way to help Andy and other gay members of his quorum was to isolate them, keep them away from one another, ensure that they had no contact. This in his mind controls the contagion, keeps it from spreading, and maintains the moral integrity of the Church.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Building a gay Mormon theology: First steps

Joseph Smith received revelation within the context of the culture of his time. This directly impacted the translation of themes and ideology that came from God and subsequently served as the underpinnings of the restored gospel.

For example, the organizational paradigm that drove society during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was that of hierarchy based on a monarchical model. As a result, the primary metaphors and stories used to teach revealed truth centered around movement from bottom to top, with the greatest blessings reserved for those who climb the pyramid the best. Hence, the celestial kingdom is at the top of the "reward" pyramid while the telestial kingdom is at the bottom. The prophet is at the top of the "authority" pyramid followed closely by other General Authorities, stake presidents and then bishops. Women, who hold no priesthood, are at the bottom.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Greater love hath no man...

This is one of a continuing series of lessons prepared from the 2011 Gospel Doctrine Manual: The New Testament. The lesson today includes material found in John 12:1-8. This lesson is also posted here.

Scriptural Background
This lesson finds Christ preparing to enter Jerusalem to suffer his passion and fulfill his ultimate mission through the sacrifice of his blood. He knew the awful ordeal that awaited him and in all likelihood viewed its impending horror with trepidation. He understood the adulation of the crowds that followed him; that ultimately they would leave him and he would stand alone, shouldering the sins of all mankind as a final act of love and surrender. The burden of the coming days weighed heavily on him and he suffered. In his suffering, as any man might do, he longed for solace and support, for the companionship and association that comes only from those that know him well and love him as a result of that knowledge. It was this desire to be with friends one last time that led him to the home of Lazarus, Martha and Mary.

Friday, May 20, 2011

President Packer's false teachings: An explanation

Since my post yesterday in which I stated that in my view Elder Packer's teachings on homosexuality are in fact false, I have had a number of friends ask if my testimony of the Gospel has changed. These friends find it impossible for a committed Latter-day Saint to question the teachings of a member of The Twelve.

Suffice it to say--no, my testimony of the Gospel or of President Packer's prophetic calling has not changed.

Another rant against MOM's and Elder Packer's false teachings...

It's been nearly three weeks since my last post and I hadn't had the urge to write during that entire period. A close friend of mine recently posted a series of essays that resulted in a number of responses by those who tend to believe and espouse vociferously the gospel according to Evergreen International, a gospel that is based on lies, distortions and false hope.

After reading a series of lengthy responses from a young man who calls himself "A Peculiar Light," I could stay quiet no longer. Below is my response to APL's ongoing argument.

"Young men like APL are not just frustrating. They are DANGEROUS.

Friday, April 29, 2011

A First: Friday Night Home Alone...

The first Friday night in nearly a year--home alone. No party, no date, no friends, no prospects, no nothing.

I should be feeling a little lonely and discomfited, I think, but I'm not. Life is still good.

It will be kind of nice just lying around, being natural with no one to please, but myself.

Who knows? I might actually make this into some some sort of a habit...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Gay Cinema: My favorite gay chick flicks....

Today, I would again like to share some of my favorite gay-themed movies. As I've mentioned before, I consider myself a bit of a connoisseur of this genre, possessing a collection of several hundred movies dating back to the 1970's. While most of the movies are low budget films with acting and production values that accurately reflect the idea that you get what you pay for, some of these movies are actually quite good. In my previous post, I recommended the following five films:
  • Brokeback Mountain
  • Maurice
  • Latter-days
  • Get Real
  • Bent
Today, I would like to add five more films to the list of movies every gay man should see. This list is comprised of what I term "gay chick flicks"--those romantic movies that will make you want to grab the closest man you can find and engage in a little bi-labial interdigitation (if you know what I mean). Some have happy endings; some not so happy. They all send a clear message that life with love has meaning that life without love can never have.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Message: Love, Christ's Great Commandment...

A talk I gave in Sacrament Meeting this morning...

I want to thank the bishop for asking me to speak today. He knows who I am and accepts me for what I am. His love, brothers and sisters, is Christ-like.

I am grateful that my children and their families could be here today. I love them very much and appreciate their support and the efforts they have made to be here this morning.

I am also thankful that so many of my friends and acquaintances are here, especially those who are members of the Family. For some this is a difficult and even painful experience, and your attendance comes at tremendous personal sacrifice. Thank you. In return, you have my love and tremendous respect.

I’m grateful on this Easter morning to stand before you and humbly bear my testimony of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that he was born of the Virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He willingly descended into hell where he ministered unto those who were bound and on the third day He rose again from the dead. After concluding his ministry, He ascended into heaven where he sits on the right hand of the Father to judge the quick and the dead.

This is the good news. This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that through him you and I may be saved.

While we Latter-day Saints possess those keys, principles and ordinances that make it possible for man to walk the path that leads to exaltation, we do not possess a corner on Christianity. Today millions, tens of millions, hundreds of millions of people are gathered to recognize each in his own way the life and supernal sacrifice of Jesus—a sacrifice so awful and yet so magnificent that it caused him, even God, “to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore.”

And why did he do this. Why did he give his blood and his life in our behalf?

The answer is simple—he loves us. As Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God.” (5:2)

This love that he has for us, this love that he had for those who persecuted and tormented him, is complete—whole, like him, it is unspotted without blemish.

With regard to love, Christ was clear about its necessary centrality in all that we do. He boiled down the myriad of laws that governed Jewish life to merely two: Love God with all your heart, might, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. I like to think that when Christ said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” he in fact was referring explicitly to these two commandments of love upon which hung the entire Jewish law.

Christ taught the principle of love by example.

I find it interesting that during his earthly ministry, he spent much of his time surrounded by those who were outside acceptable society…those who failed by circumstance or decision to keep the detail of the law. Instead Christ stood with outstretched arms, filled with love, and made place for them within his heart.

To Zachias, the tax collector, Christ called him to come down from a tree and in contradiction to law and custom, and to Zachias amazement, supped with him that evening. To the woman caught in adultery, he stated simply, gently after her accusers slunk away steeped in guilt, “Neither do I condemn thee. Go thy way…” To the leper, so vile and unclean that to even approach another person violated the law, Christ brought healing with his word and his touch. Throughout his ministry, Jesus ignored custom and law by showing that his custom and his law required love of all God’s children regardless of their standing in the community or synagogue.

It is important, brothers and sisters, to remember this in our own lives. How willing are we to reach out to those on the outside, the person who feels unworthy to join the body of Christ--the drug addict, the adulterer, the Sabbath breaker, or those who for one reason or another are unable or unwilling to follow the commandments in totality. How willing are we to reach out to those who feel unwelcome among us—the single parent, the divorcee, the homosexual.

Brothers and Sisters, Christ’s love is universal. Christ’s love is unconditional. It was Christ who said, “Come unto me, ALL ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” This invitation is offered to all, not just the obedient. Not just the orthodox. As we look to Christ, regardless of our circumstance or condition, his arms are outstretched still.

Brothers and sisters, how like the Pharisees do we sometimes tend to be. How easy it is to find ourselves struggling to keep the commandments with exactness, while missing the opportunity to show our love to God, our families, our neighbors and the strangers who sojourn in our midst.

Let me share two contrasting stories to illustrate my point.

Several weeks ago, a friend and I were riding public transportation to a restaurant in the western part of the valley. At one of the stops, a group of teenage boys obviously homeless boarded the bus. As is our custom, my friend and I began a conversation with the boys—a conversation that ultimately would break our hearts.

These boys came from various parts of Salt Lake County. Each had been raised in good LDS homes attending primary and young men’s—one boy’s father was a stake president and another boy’s dad had been a bishop.

Why were these boys on the streets? Tragically, each had been driven from his home by parents who refused to accept that he was born with certain perspectives and desires which the parents viewed as deviant. Rather than try to understand, support, and accept these young men for the sons of God that they are, their fathers and mothers demanded conformity as a pre-requisite for granting parental love.

As a result, the boys were lost to their parents and lost to God, rejecting all that would make their lives rich, safe and joyful. Instead, these young men were lonely, angry and afraid.

As Paul taught, it is only perfect love that casts out fear. It is the perfect love of a father and mother, patterned after the forbearance Christ shows us, that would give these young men and others like them the courage to face life rather than flee from it.

In contrast, I have a friend, John Netto, with whom I serve on the Utah Pride Center board. John and his wife are successful entrepreneurs and devoted to building a better gentler community. Despite arduous demands and responsibilities weighing on John’s shoulders, you can find him most evenings wandering among the homeless, providing food to those who are hungry, securing shelter for those who are without.

Last Sunday, in the middle of a meeting John and I were both attending, his telephone rang. After a few minutes, he excused himself, returning sometime later. At the conclusion of the meeting, I pressed John in a light hearted way about what could have been so important to have allowed him to interrupt our meeting. Eventually, John confessed that one of his homeless friends, a schizophrenic woman who also suffered from seizures, was stranded in a bus station in Sacramento. She was confused, agitated, and afraid. John spent an hour getting her the help that she needed and a bus ticket back to Utah. Through John, Christ’s hands are outstretched still.

I love the poem by St. Theresa of Avila that begins: “Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours."

During this Easter season, as we meditate on the mystery of Christ’s great sacrifice, let us feel and be the instruments of God’s love as St. Theresa suggests, by being the body of Christ, the hands of Christ and the feet of Christ. If men are that they might have joy, it is only through love, the love of God and the love of our fellow men, that joy will be found.

Monday, April 18, 2011

UPDATE: Resolution of a painful problem...

As you all may have noticed, it has been nearly three weeks since my last post. While I can claim that I was too busy to post anything meaningful, the reality is that I was just a little too confused about my life to think straight (pardon the pun)--too many conflicting feelings and thoughts kept forcing themselves to the fore making it impossible to write with any real coherence...And so, I decided to follow my father's advice that "it is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you're a simpleton than to open it unnecessarily and prove the point."

I believe I'm gradually finding my way back to the real world. The process of getting here has been a little painful, but "no pain, no gain," right?

The source of my confusion is the proverbial "boy problem" which I think I've finally resolved. I'm actually going out tomorrow with someone a friend has arranged for me to meet and have another date set up for the weekend. I might even head out to Jam on Friday for a night of fun and frolic--something I haven't done for weeks. Then there are my friends. Thank the dear Lord for these wonderful guys. I don't know what I'd do without them.

Spring is the time of new beginnings. It breeds optimism, hope and ultimately the beauty of rebirth. It couldn't come for me at a better time.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Riding TRAX as a gay guy...

Last night TBM and I had another interesting evening. Instead of driving, we decided to make it a public transportation activity. We jumped on TRAX at the 2100 South station, rode it to the Regional Medical Center and then caught a bus to “Little Mexico”, about 5400 West.

It was one heck of a trip. More than just a ride on public transport, it was an eye-opening experience on a variety of levels. For a guy who has spent most of his adult life sheltered by a cocoon reserved for the Mormon upper middle class, meeting real people, learning about their real lives, and doing it all with an open mind and no judgment was an education of fundamental proportions.

The first person TBM and I met was a middle aged woman who sat next to us on the first leg of our trip. Our conversation was brief, but revealing. After saying hello and introducing myself, I asked the woman how many gay people she thought were in our car.

Her response surprised me. “Well, I know there are at least three of us,” she said with a smile. TBM and I broke into a laugh that she quickly joined. She then spent our remaining time together telling us about her partner with whom she had lived for seven years, their children and their remarkably normal lives. Her commitment to her family was inspiring. When we left the train some time later, I felt hope that long term gay relationships aren’t just possible, but with work might actually last forever.

After an amazingly delicious dinner of fish tostadas and chicken enchiladas at a grubby little Mexican restaurant in an area that seemed more like Tijuana than Utah, we decided to share a leche dulce at a nearby supermarket, El Rancho.  The store, like the area, was Latin top to bottom. We couldn't find anyone that spoke English. Of the hundred plus customers cramming the aisles, TBM and I were the only Anglos—until an elderly man approached us who was obviously more northern European than not.

“What are you two doing in a place like this?” he asked incredulously. We smiled. He smiled. And then we began to talk. The course of the conversation inevitably turned to the fact that TBM and I are gay. The man was respectful and incredulous, especially when TBM recounted my history of church service. “How,” he asked, “could you serve in the Church as a gay man?” When TBM volunteered that I had even been asked to speak in my ward Sacrament Meeting on Easter Sunday, he was stunned. “You must have a very kind bishop,” he said.

“I have an inspired bishop,” I responded.

Then he added with more than a little thought, "Sometimes bishops are more inspired than church leaders. I think the Brethren are no different than the rest of us. They're just trying to do the best they can."

I nodded sympathetically. The man handed TBM and me a pass-along card about the resurrection, wished God’s blessing upon us, and went his way.  

Again boarding public transit, we continued to meet interesting people with interesting stories, a bus driver who wished he could carry a handgun, a pool tournament organizer who is marrying his mail order bride in a matter of weeks, and a cardiac ultrasound technician who is saving the world, one life at a time. Each person we met had a story and each was anxious to hear ours. When we parted, we parted as new found friends, uplifted, enriched, and a bit more sensitive to the burdens we each are required to carry. 

As TBM and I sat on the last leg of our journey recounting the remarkable events of the evening, reveling somewhat in the uniqueness of our experience as homosexual men meeting the world, the man sitting in front of us turned, smiled, and said, “ Isn't being gay wonderful.”

“Yes it is,” I replied. “Yes it is.”

Monday, March 28, 2011

Our visit to a blue collar bar: "There's a pair of fags..."

Last Friday night TBM* and I joined several guys at the Magna--yes, Magna--community theater production of Man of La Mancha. I hadn't seen the musical since playing the padre in my high school senior year and thought revisiting Spain during the time of the Catholic Inquisition somewhat appropriate given my current situation. Besides, the friend of a friend directed the play, so attending was sort of a holy act of obligation.

And Magna...visiting Magna was like visiting 1975. It reminded me of Happy Days with a rougher edge. (I actually expected to see Richie sitting across the theater and was more than a little disappointed when he didn't show.) Anyway, I doubt much has changed since the mid-70's--the narrow main street, the brick storefronts, the line of bars one after the other.

Suffice it to say that Magna is the most blue collar town I've ever seen--in my life (?).

After La Mancha, TBM and I were walking back to the car when one of the bars we approached began calling our names, louder and louder the closer we got. Having never frequented a bar in a blue-collar town, we decided against our better judgment to investigate.

Opening the door confirmed everything I imagined a blue collar bar would be. The dark, run-down saloon was crammed with cowboys, miners, and their women knocking back one drink after another. As my eyes skimmed the room, I instinctively noticed TBM and I had suddenly become the focus of everyone's attention. To underscore the general discomfort of the bar's patrons, a woman some twenty feet away mouthed to her drinking partners, "A pair of fags."

The cowboys at her table stared at us in a most threatening and unwelcoming way.

Well, I thought, this could be interesting.

After taking a deep breath, I made a bee line for the woman's table and immediately struck up a conversation with everyone drinking near her. Initially, the group was a little reticent about talking with a "fag", but as the conversation progressed, their natural affability kicked in to overdrive. Before we knew it, we were discussing  the weather, the bar and Magna in general. Much to the consternation of their male admirers, the women were cooing over TBM in particular, praising his "beautiful face and nice ass."

When the band struck up a song, two of the women asked us to dance. I have to admit that this made me a bit uncomfortable. Despite the fact that they obviously knew we were "batting for the other team," I didn't want to incite any jealousy on the part of their attending barflies. Although TBM tried to maintain his distance and particularly tried to avoid dancing, the women found his handsome demeanor irresistible and within minutes we were both on the dance floor boogying with a pair of inebriated bar gals, much to their delight and our consternation.

After a couple of dances, I helped my wobbly partner to her table. Finally regaining her balance, she put her arm around my neck and held me close. Then she said, "You know, I really like gays. I teach Sunday School at the Magna Bible Church and I know what the Bible says about you. I really do worry that you're going to burn in Hell. I don't even like to think about it." She then began weeping and collapsed in her tears on the drink-laden table.

This was the signal for TBM and me to make our escape. As we bid our farewells, our new friends seemed honestly disappointed at our departure. They each gave us hugs and demanded we return soon. As we walked from the table to the door, I heard one of the women ask her male companion with more than a little disappointment in her voice, "Why can't you be more like them? And why are all the best guys gay?"

*To understand a bit about my relationship with TBM, see the following posts: February 19, 23, March 1, 3, and 5. We continue to see each other 3-4 times a week. Why? For my part, it's because I enjoy his company as much or more than anyone I know. For him, I have absolutely no idea.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Gay cinema: My favorite movies...

As a closeted gay man, I had little opportunity to relate to the gay world in any meaningful way. In fact, much of my emotional energy was spent ensuring that my public connection with homosexuality remained seemingly nonexistent. The entire experience, as I've blogged before, was emotionally and spiritually devastating.

The one source of relief during the last ten years of my "heterosexual" life was gay cinema--not pornography, mind you, but films that were made to actually tell a story and move the viewer.

Interestingly, I saw my first gay-themed movie when I was young. I was in Amsterdam on business and had some time to kill. I walked past a theater and saw a billboard of two young and beautiful men holding each other tenderly. The movie was Maurice, an Ivory/Merchant film based on the EM Forster novel by the same name. I was immediately captivated, entered the theater and watched the movie three times.

Through the last years of my marriage I collected nearly every gay-themed movie I could find. Some of them are beautiful visually and emotionally like Brokeback Mountain and Maurice, and some are so inane that even typing their names on this blog is a waste of effort.

All in all, however, these movies served as a window into the world in which I wanted more than anything else to escape. They gave me hope that it might just be possible to one day find myself free from the bonds with which I was bound. They taught me that being gay is good and noble and that I had nothing to fear about swinging wide the closet door.

Because many readers of this blog appreciate and find value in gay cinema, I thought it helpful to provide you a summary of those movies that I have most appreciated. While I'm sure you have probably all seen my favorites, one or two might be new to you and worth your time.

Today, I will share with you the five gay-themed films that I found particularly enjoyable.

Brokeback Mountain. This movie was the story of the direction my life might have taken had I remained in Wyoming as a boy. Although BBM was actually filmed in Alberta, the mountains and prairies, the towns and people, evoked a vivid reminder of the place where I spent some of my happiest moments of my childhood and youth. To me this is no mere movie, but an actual glimpse into a world that might have been. Ennis and Jack aren't mere characters in a movie, their the guys I grew up with. As a result, I still can't watch BBM without being moved at the deepest level.

Maurice. This Ivory/Merchant adaptation of EM Forster's book is a moving story of two young men who meet, fall in love, and then struggle with their relationship within the moral constraints of post-Victorian England. While Clive Durham (my alias for this blog, BTW) chooses to follow the traditional path, his lover Maurice continues to struggle with his sexuality, eventually finding happiness in living an honest life. As with many Merchant/Ivory productions (Room with a View, Howard's End, The Bostonians, etc.) the film's rich texture and amazing cinematography make movie watching a true delight.

Latter-days. I love this movie simply because it is about a gay Mormon missionary. My "best two years" was one of the most difficult times of my life. I identified with Aaron at every turn. The truth is that had I had a neighbor like Christian, I probably would have made the same decisions Aaron made. Speaking of Aaron, Steve Sandvoss may not be the best actor in the world, but in this movie he is appealing. Between his humble, shy, devoted demeanor and his amazing backside, he's worth watching regardless of his acting ability (or lack thereof).

Get Real. There is something about watching a high school hotty falling for a school newspaper nerd that I find very appealing. This British made for TV film is surprisingly well acted with an interesting, though at times contrived, story line. While the hotty is definitely a hotty and the nerd more than a little nerdy, they actually create chemistry that makes you feel good about them and their relationship. Admittedly, the whole issue of coming out was not handled in the most realistic manner; it gave me tremendous pause about my own life of duplicity.

Bent. This is a deeply moving film about two gay men who find love amidst the horror of Dachau. With a stellar cast including Clive Owen, Ian McKellen, Mick Jagger, Jude Law, and Lothaire Bluteau, this beautifully crafted movie is a lesson in contrasts--love and lust, decadence and decency, devotion and indifference. If the closing scenes do not leave you emotionally drained, you honestly don't deserve your gay card.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thank goodness the atonement is universal...

Over the last several weeks I have enjoyed Invictus Pilgrim's ongoing reasoned response to what I believe was a disingenuous question posted by Anonymous/Bryan, a Latter-day Saint zealot intent on defending outdated doctrine, much of which the Church itself no longer officially accepts. (To read IP's posts, which I think are wonderful, go here:

While Invictus Pilgrim continues to explain in clear simple terms the issues that those of us who are gay and Mormon must confront on a daily basis, Anonymous/Bryan with closed-minded determination refuses to bend. He is committed to his beliefs that homosexuality is a choice, that homosexuals are "impure and unnatural", and that unless we remain in the closet, denying our true selves, we are destined for...

Destined for what, Anonymous/Bryan? That's the question I would like to ask you. What are we who choose to live our lives as honest, open, good, gay men and women destined for? Hell, brimstone, Eternal punishment?

Hate to say this AB, but if that's what you're thinking, you need another year of seminary.

Last night as I read one more of AB's predictable, tedious diatribes, I had a bit of a revelation. I came to the remarkable understanding that we gay people need to cut Anonymous/Bryan a little slack. My suspicion is that he is an earnest young gay man devoted to the Gospel, just trying to do his best to "support the Brethren."

Weren't nearly all of us MOM guys and gals like him when we were 25 years old and naive about ourselves, our lives and the world in which we were doing our best to survive undetected?

One day, Anonymous/Bryan will wake in the morning like most of us have done and realize that the pain and anguish of living a lie is too much to bear.

It's then that he will remember with horror his comments on this blog and realize that what he wrote as a message of enlightenment and faith was actually nothing more than regurgitated hate and bigotry.

Thank goodness the atonement of Christ is universal. That means there is hope for those of us who are "impure and unnatural" as well as for bigots and hate mongers like Anonymous/Bryan.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Speak the truth...

Yesterday the Gospel Doctrine lesson focused on Christ's effort to teach truth and his use of parables, his favorite teaching tool. It was through parables that Christ taught truth in a way that those who heard his words best understood and believed his message.

And how does this apply to you and me? I think, like Christ, we gay men and woman have an obligation to teach the truth. We must help the world see us for who we are. Through teaching truth, ignorance, fear, and bigotry are overcome by knowledge, love and acceptance.

Like Christ, we must stand as witnesses of that truth about ourselves and our lives at all times and in all places. We must be willing to kindly yet clearly spread the Good News that being gay is a gift from God, that we are worthy men and women who are created in His image, that He loves us and answers our prayers, and that this knowledge brings us joy.

As Christ used parables, we must find the right way to spread the truth, perhaps through parables, allegory, or analogy; perhaps directly, simply, sincerely. The important point is that for the Spirit to bear witness of this truth to those we teach, it must be shared with kindness, meekness and love, avoiding contention, anger and conflict.

I believe it is good for us to step from under the shadow of complacency and fear. It is good for us to stand in the light of day and speak clearly, thoughtfully, with the conviction of our cause. There are many among us in our community who have long shouldered the burden of truth and to them we owe a great debt. As a result of their efforts, the world has changed from the way it was.

But more change is required. It is time for all of us to step out forcefully, fearlessly, united in our conviction. As the world sees our numbers and our virtue, it cannot help but appreciate our value.

If we fail to take up this challenge, the Destroyer will continue to spread misunderstanding, falsehood, bigotry, and hate--unopposed. In the end, evil will triumph.

This alternative is unacceptable for us and for those who come after us. How much better a world built on a foundation of truth and love. It is possible.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The universal nature of the Gospel...

Over the last week, my friend Invictus Pilgrim, has responded thoughtfully, sincerely and logically in a number of posts to what I believe was a disingenuous question left on his blog. (To read IP's posts, which I think are wonderful, go here:

In my frustration at the ongoing contention and arrogance perpetrated by this anonymous commentor who recently began calling himself Bryan, I wrote a long angry essay condemning him and his ilk for the close minded bigotry toward homosexuality they continue to propagate among members of the Church as truth. Fortunately, I lost the diatribe in a page change.

Let me say instead that Bryan and those like him have a serious doctrinal problem themselves. They seem to be blind to the universal nature of the Gospel. They, like the pharisees of old, are so caught up in the letter of the law, the black and white, the right and wrong, that they fail to understand that Christ's arms are open to ALL his sons and daughters, especially gay ones. ("Come unto me, ALL ye that labor and are heavy laden....") They also fail to remember that in the end Christ wants ALL of his children, every one, to have joy. ("Men are [not just righteous men] that they might have joy.")

To illustrate the universality of the Gospel, I find it interesting that Jesus spent most of his ministry surrounded by sinners, those who the "worthy" members of the Church of his time refused to countenance. But regardless of the opinions of the "righteous", Christ was there. He performed miracles. He healed souls. He showed love.

One of the most touching stories in scripture involves Christ's conversation with the woman at the well. The "worthy" members castigated Jesus because he was unwilling to condemn an adulteress. When caught in their sophistry, these "worthy" brethren slinked from Christ's presence.

Alone with the woman, knowing full well the extent of her sin, Jesus simply asked, "Where are thine accusers?" And when the situation was clear, whispered to the woman, "Neither do I condemn thee. Go and sin no more."

When I approach the judgment bar I hope I will have love in my heart for my God and my neighbor. If that is my end, I have confidence in receiving the approbation of my Savior. His atonement will have paid my debt and I will be whole. The anger and hostility of those who hate and contend will be forgotten and in contrast, I will forever have a heart filled with joy.

That is ultimately what I wish for Anonymous/Bryan, that he might come to terms with all of this as many of us gay men and women have. In so doing, I am confident that he, too, will ultimately stand approved before God and find the joy that he deserves.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hey, guys! Cosmo is queer!

BYU is rife with homophobia. So much so that a bit of hand-holding, a simple kiss, or a casual comment about homosexuality can result in immediate suspension or even expulsion.

The big secret around BYU, Cougar fans, is that the number one cat on campus, Cosmo, is actually gay. (Before you write me a disparaging email for outing Cosmo, let me freely admit that I know outing a closeted gay man teeters on the edge of immorality. But folks, Cosmo's not a man. He's a cat. My conscience is clear!)

I was suspicious the first time I saw Cosmo the Cougar run onto the field way back when. He gave off more than a subtle vibe--his prancing gait, the ever so slightly bent tip of his swooshing tail, his obvious devotion to grooming and product all were subtle signs that Cosmo may not be batting for the home team. The giveaway, however, was the fact that when the boys took the field, his eyes lingered on those broad shoulders and narrow hips just a bit too long and his excitement was just a wee more obvious than that of the typical male fan--if you know what I mean...

So I've had my suspicions for years, but no proof--until today.

Browsing the gay videos on YouTube (I love the gay videos on YouTube), I finally got the evidence I needed to prove what I'd known all along.

It just so happens, Cosmo (who, like my roomy, went to France on his mission) has been doing French television commercials on the side to earn a bit of scratch. And what kind of commercials does Cosmo make? Let's say they contain more than just a little man-on-man--"interaction"(?).

You be the judge, but if I were Cosmo, I'd be shivering in the corner of my closet right now. (I can't wait to hear what the Honor Code Office has to say about this...)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Bottom line...we're really playing rugby!

Sorry, Joe, but I just couldn't pass this picture up. Tomorrow's guys will definitely have clothes. I promise!

This last year I've become quite a rugby fan. There is nothing like the looks of a scrum (admittedly, I'm an ass man), the power of a ruck (real man-on-man contact is always stimulating,) or the thrill of a try (scoring is the objective of any man-game, right?). Whether it's the All Blacks, the Springboks, the Lions, the Jaguars or the Leopards, it doesn't matter. I'm hooked.

It wasn't until today that I discovered the reason behind this new found passion. The YouTube segment below explains everything, much to my satisfaction. I think it will help you understand why you love rugby, too.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

"Will the Mormon God answer the prayers of a queer?"

Last week I was visiting with an acquaintance, a gay man with an LDS background, about my faith. It's surprising to many people that despite coming out and being unrepentant about who I am, I still anchor my life on the rock of the Gospel. While many people would consider me to be a "cafeteria Mormon" and as a result, somehow inferior, my approach works for me and I'm grateful to feel the love of Christ in my life.

In the course of my conversation with this man, the topic of prayer arose. When I frankly admitted that I continue to pray morning and evening, the man was amazed. "You think the Mormon God will actually answer the prayers of a queer?"

The road not taken...

        Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
        And sorry I could not travel both
        And be one traveler, long I stood
        And looked down one as far as I could
        To where it bent in the undergrowth;

        Then took the other, as just as fair,
        And having perhaps the better claim,
        Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
       Though as for that the passing there
       Had worn them really about the same,

       And both that morning equally lay
       In leaves no step had trodden black.
       Oh, I kept the first for another day!
       Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
       I doubted if I should ever come back.

       I shall be telling this with a sigh
      Somewhere ages and ages hence:
      Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
      I took the one less traveled by,
      And that has made all the difference.

                                    by Robert Frost

As a gay man coming out later in life, this poem is particularly poignant.

I have often wondered why it is entitled, "The Road Not Taken" when the verse itself is about the road the poet actually took.... What is Frost trying to teach us?

I think I understand and I thank God that unlike Robert Frost, I was able to return to the nexus where I originally chose my course .

And because I had courage to retrace my steps and start my journey a second time, it has in fact made all the difference.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Men are that they might have joy...

The following comment was left on the blog of a friend of mine today and while the intention of the post was I'm sure sincere, to me it showed tremendous ignorance of the plight of the married gay Latter-day Saint. I can't help but ask this person, have you actually met and spoken with a Moho about the unbearable pain of living as a Mormon straight man in a gay person's body? Here is gist the comment:

"Up to this point [in your life], you've been a faithful member of the Church, paid your tithing, etc. So, [because you're middle-aged] you've only got 40% of life to go and if you can just keep on the path for that last stretch, you'll very likely receive exaltation and be together with your family...On the other hand, if you choose to live a homosexual lifestyle, you've got roughly 20 [years to sow your wild oats]. Are those 20 years worth...what you're giving up?"--Anonymous

My response to this sincere, yet condescending comment is as follows:

Saturday, March 5, 2011

I love breathers and another TBM update...

Those of you who read Thursday's post already know that I decided to take a breather this weekend. I intentionally determined to schedule nothing--no dates, no projects, no dinners, no parties, and very little work--in order to alleviate the "thinness" I was experiencing.

While in Thursday's post I laid blame for my condition equally on a variety of issues, in reality there is only one issue that caused my emotions to fray. More on that later.

Friday, the first day of my breather, couldn't have been better.I awoke to the most beautiful morning Salt Lake City has seen in months. The sun was brilliant, the sky was a robin's egg blue, the mountains literally vibrated with the intensity of color.

As a result, the call of the wild was impossible to ignore. As quickly as it took to pick up a friend and drive to Powder Mountain, we were gliding down slopes covered with 14 inches of freshly fallen snow.

A day of skiing couldn't have been a better way to start a weekend breather. In all my ski experience I have never skied a more perfect day with more perfect conditions. It was a gift from God...something I'll remember for the rest of my life.

I rushed home from the Mountain, gave my new roommate a quick hug, jumped in the shower and was off to a business meeting downtown. I was glad when the meeting was over.

As I walked to my car following the meeting, a thought struck me. It was a frightening thought, a little intimidating, but one that percolated quickly. I'm only a few blocks from TBM's place (you remember The Butterfly Man from previous posts, right?), so why not text him and see if he was up for a late dinner.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

It's time for a breather...

Yes, I've been running at full speed for so long that it's time for a breather. I just need a little opportunity to relax, maybe watch a movie or two, and let things slow down a bit.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My partner and a TBM update...

At the beginning of the year in a contemplative moment, I wrote a description of my future partner. A friend calls it my shopping list. I prefer to think of it as a description of the man who is searching for me.

This man and I, I think, are both wandering, seeking, wondering when our paths will intersect and our lives made one. We both know it will happen and are willing to let time be our guide. In the end, we are confident all will be well.

My partner is a kind man, gentle, bright, open and direct. He has traditional values and a commitment to monogamy. He is outgoing, a people person, adventurous, with a love of the outdoors.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Gay scripture study...

It's that time of the month, gay brethren of the fold, to again immerse ourselves in Holy Scripture. Over the last month I have again identified verses from ancient and modern sources that have proven to be particularly meaningful to share with you. I have also identified and included illustrations that I believe make the scriptures more meaningful and relevant to us as gay men...

I hope to provide you once again with a spiritual boost to enhance and stimulate your pursuit of the sacred during the upcoming month. Read, my friends, and enjoy.

Moses 3:21 And I, the Lord God, caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam; and he slept, and I took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh in the stead thereof;

Believe it or not , MOMs typically fail...

Rant warning: This blog post is a rant. If I read one more well-meaning (read naive) Mormon gay boy claim that because he has faith, he’s going to marry the right woman and make it work, I’M GOING TO SCREAM!

This morning I awoke to read a blog post by (Gay) Mormon Guy as I often do. His irrepressible faith, optimism and naivety, though sometimes misguided, are a refreshing way to start the day. He is definitely a sweet boy.

His post today, however, was not sweet. It was DANGEROUS. And because he has so many people that read his blog and actually believe what he says, I felt duty bound to respond.

(I tried to respond on (Gay) Mormon Guy’s blog in a courteous, objective manner citing data and research to show the inherent flaws of his position. Because he refused to publish my response, I felt obligated to respond with this post.)

(Gay) Mormon Boy emphasized that, because the Brethren have said in an official statement that “Persons who have (1) cleansed themselves of any transgression and (2) who have shown their ability to deal with these feelings or inclinations and put them in the background, and (3) feel a great attraction for a daughter of God and therefore desire to enter marriage and have children and enjoy the blessings of eternity — that’s a situation when marriage would be appropriate.

Let me respond to this assumption with a question that I don’t mean to sound disrespectful, despite the fact that it in fact sounds that way.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Old friends...

Today I'd like to riff about friends. For a guy who has lived his life pretty much without any real male amigos, I've got a batch of them now.

Have I ever written about how much I love these guys? (And when I say love, I'm not using the term as a metaphor; I really do love them.) They have become an integral part of my life that would be impossible to leave behind.

I've been a consultant for the last twelve years and am getting tired of the grind. I was thinking about applying for a job in a far-away city, a city that I enjoy and in the past would have found enticing. As I began to consider the prospect, I came to the conclusion that at this point in my life there is absolutely no way I could leave Utah. Why? I couldn't leave my friends.

Last night I had sixteen of my closest friends over for a talk and eat party. We all brought food and spent the evening talking and eating. The first person arrived a little after 7:00 and the last person left a little after 1:00.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thank God Almighty I'm free at last!

My daughter and I were having lunch the other day when she made an observation. She said, "Dad, you've changed. To me you've become too gay." Her statement set me back a bit. "What is too gay?" I asked. "Well, you know, all you talk about is gay stuff. All you do is gay stuff. It's like your old life doesn't exist anymore."

Honestly, her comment caused me to think and think deeply. After pondering her words for several days, I came to the conclusion that my daughter, in fact, was right--at least to a point.

My old life no longer exists. The straight closeted father she has always known and loved shattered and died when he hit the wall. Those broken pieces that made him and his life can never be reassembled. Ever.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


ButterFly Man (see February 19 post) asked me to dinner tonight. Great time, but no butterflies. It was sort of like going out with my brother. Enjoyable time, but didn't feel the chemistry. I guess I'm a little confused.

BFM is coming to my party Friday night. We'll see how that works out...and then there are my homeys who will probably have a lot to say about him once he's gone. Who knows, maybe he just feels sorry for a slightly better than average looking middle aged gay guy who doesn't have a partner....

But then there was the thirty-something hunk at the gym who stared at me and then stared at me some more and finally made me so nervous staring at me I had to hoof it to the locker room. For some reason I kept thinking, "Why is he staring? Did I cut him off in the parking lot or accidentally trip him in the locker room?" Why didn't I just have the courage to smile back and say, "My name is Clive. What's your name, handsome?"

Okay, I know I've said this dating stuff is fun, but boy can it be exhausting...

Almost Lover by A Fine Frenzy

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Gays, sex, and medicine

Warning: Although this post contains graphic content that some might find offensive, please read it anyway. It just might save your life!

While I have many friends, most of these people are actually casual acquaintances. I take friendship seriously, so I limit real friendship to those people who mean the world to me. The reason I'm saying this is to underscore that my circle of friends is actually not very large.

Over the last two months, several of these real friends have come to me admitting that they had contracted an STD. My friends are not the type of guys who generally sleep around or engage in slutty behavior. These are guys who are usually careful about whom they date and even more careful about what they do on dates--if you get my drift.

As a result of their admissions, I asked a doctor friend of mine about sex and the gay world. He said, and I quote: "BE CAREFUL OUT THERE!"

Monday, February 21, 2011

So my blog has racy pictures... and that's a problem?

Several of my friends have commented recently about my choice of photos to "enhance" the message of my blog. To my surprise, their criticism has not been altogether positive. These friends have expressed concern about the sensual nature of some of the pictures and asked that I tone things down just a bit. One friend went so far as to say that "[my] writing was much too good to be attached to such lewd, sexually degrading material." (Lewd, sexually degrading material????? Please, Bert...Really?).

Well, I understand clearly where these people are coming from. We all live in a world in which the female form is lauded for its beauty and placed in prominence at every turn. A guy (gay of course) can't drive down the frickin' freeway without having a woman's T&A's forced in his lap by one billboard after another. The television is even worse. Thank goodness I've got TIVO. No Bud Lite or Victoria's Secret commercials in my house.

To society at large, all this sex and skin seems to be perfectly acceptable so long as the sex and skin is of the female variety...But put a little man flesh on a gay blog post every now and then and the world falls apart. Sodom and Gomorrah here we come.

Let me interject and reassure that I have no interest in pornography. Pictures of male sex acts may in fact be as revolting to me as they are to my Lesbian sisters. On the other hand, I believe the apex of God's creation is the male body. When viewed in its primitive state, it offers a true glimpse of eternity and confirms the divine nature of God's magnum opus.

And so my beloved friends and readers, I will continue to search for and post photographs and drawings that represent best the lessons I am trying to teach. I promise to avoid photos that I deem are gratuitously sexual in nature, but for the benefit of most of my gay readers, I will continue to post artistic renderings that show man and his loving nature in all its beauty and grace.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Stepping into the void...

Recently, I've caught myself thinking again and again about how different my life is today. Exactly twelve months ago, I was making slow but steady progress in my effort to throw open the closet door. I was testing new friendships, new activities and new feelings. I was barely managing my marriage and struggling terribly with the thought of divorce. I was still nursing the very painful wounds that resulted from the end of my first love affair, mostly platonic, but real nonetheless.

The path I walked a year ago was rocky, clouded over, and difficult, but my optimism and faith drove me onward. The perpetual glow of the distant horizon beckoned me, taunted me, and called me to move, to adapt, to change. And so, despite my fear, I did.

Impossible choices were made. Irrevocable commitments cemented. And then it was all behind me.

With some confidence and a little faith, I stepped off of the ledge of the mountain I'd been climbing my entire life into the void that surrounded me, half expecting to tumble viciously to the razor sharp rocks below.