Monday, June 23, 2014

Toward A More Perfect Union



LGBTQI....

It is a term many of us struggle to pronounce let alone wrap our minds around what it means. Indeed, when I came out in the 90's the term was already in flux from various forms of GLB to LGB. Not long after, I learned we had added the "T" and a whole bunch of people freaked out about that. However, in spite of all their histrionics about the addition of Transgendered to the label our community wears...it stuck, and has been the (mostly) accepted lingo we have used for most of my adult gay life. Most recently, we have added Intersex and Queer/Questioning to include a spectrum of experience that transcends both sexual orientation and sexual identity. It may be hard to say, but until we invent a single word to describe the experience...it is the best we have.

While it may be an awkward term to explain to those outside our community. We have to explain what each letter means and why it is used. More often than not, their expression reads as if I had tried to explain life on another planet. However, they are not the only ones...Some who fall under it's 
broadly inclusive banner also struggle to understand what links us all together. For example...

In a totally bewildering exchange that took place on Americablog. John Aravosis, a writer I have respected over the years has written an article titled The End Of Gay History . A piece initially meant to speculate on the future of gay activism and orgs in the face of the victories they have achieved. The actual question asked being, "Are we at the end of gay history?" However, what actually developed by the end of the story was less about the relevancy of gay activism in the gay community...and more a wild veering off into the perceived fractures between the letters of our movement. And I used the word "perceived" for a reason. The whole thing was one massive /facepalm moment.

That this post devolved into a fight  between "gay white men" and the Transgendered community, left me bewildered and scratching my head at just what the hell any of these people were thinking. But I'm getting ahead of myself...

Among the issues that surfaced  were...Who are we as a community? What binds us together? And as we see progress on one front, how do we treat the others who aren't advancing as fast?...at least, that's the nice way of phrasing what they posed much less nicely. Pull up a chair and your favorite cup'o something and lets tackle this messy business head on...

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Great Truvada Debate



When we talk about gay rights...and how far we have come as a community, I think many people would think first of the tide of marriage equality that has been steadily advancing across the nation. This is what makes the news and has become a defining movement for the community. And indeed, we have come very far in the legal recognition of our lives and loves, thus beginning to stem a tide of injustice that was just an accepted and given part of gay life as I knew it when I came out. It is amazing to be writing this to you as an out, gay, and married man with a family as those things were so far beyond my dreams not too long ago.


But there are other issues and conversations that move us along as a community with equal momentum. Some of those conversations are quite heated and so emotionally laden that they are hard to approach. Today's blog is one of those for me. Living the life that I have, and coming to terms with my sexuality when I did....I understand the debate over Truvada affects me, as it does all of us....but another part of me feels so ill prepared to tackle it with the breadth and understanding I think this topic deserves. However, there are few topics today that can cause such heated division as Truvada...and PreP therapies in general. For something sold as an "advancement in HIV prevention, it has engendered such a divided response, with both sides digging in their heels in their positions...that it leaves anyone looking in from the outside confused as to why this drug that can save lives should get this much controversy.

Is there actually a meta-conversation going on underneath the outward discussion of facts and transmission rates? Are we still grappling with old fears and ingrained self prejudices that is keeping us from see this drug as anything other than another tool in the fight against HIV? As the debate swings from one heated comment to another...what are we saying to ourselves, about ourselves?

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Milestones...Daniel Graduates Junior High


For some, graduating Junior High may not seem like a big deal. Heck, even the school itself doesn't call the act "Graduation" anymore. They call it "promotion"....a weird term at best, and begs the question of what they are promoting to, and does it come with a raise? But there I sat, in the rows of identical, red folding chairs, set up on the lawn in the warm spring sun, looking at a ring of chairs set up for the graduates and realized.....this is happening. Next year my son will be in high school. The little boy that I once knew, was being replaced by a young man. Another world was passing away and all of us, as a family are standing on the doorstep of a new one. It feels like just yesterday that Daniel was a third grader and a new student to our little charter school. As proud as I am to be here to celebrate this moment with Daniel, the time just seemed to have gone by too fast and I could not help but  look back to remember all that had brought us here...

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Gay Rights..Where Are We Now?


Hello everyone....

It has been sometime since I last spoke to all of you. For reasons I will detail further on, writing had become a chore that I didn't understand why I was still doing. But I am happy to be back and I hope that this will mark a new beginning....not only for this blog...but in my life. In fact, the title of todays post offers a clue of what I want to share with you all. So without further ado...

This evening I watched the HBO adaptation of "The Normal Heart", written by HIV and gay rights activist Larry Kramer. For those unfamiliar...the subject of the drama was a retelling of the early years in which AIDS began killing young men in the new York gay community and the struggle to get an uncaring government to respond and a terrified gay community to galvanize in it's own defense. With no medical information on what was happening and why we were getting sick, half the battle was in combating fear and marching on in the face of uncertainty and the loss of friends and lovers that went on unabated. The film shows the foundation of one of the first gay organizations to respond to the AIDS crisis, Gay Mens Health Crisis, and is told from the perspective of one of it's founders Larry Kramer(renamed Ned Weeks in the film), who is often criticized for being too loud, too confrontational, too critical in his roll as an activist fighting against the tide of death all around him.

I watched this movie in tears for the most part(while developing a crush on Mark Ruffalo).....and then I lied awake most of the night thinking about it. Something in me had shifted. You see, I had stopped blogging after DOMA had been struck down because I did not see any need for what I was doing anymore. Prop 8 had launched us into the fight for gay rights, not limited to marriage equality, but when that goal seemed realized...I didn't know what I was doing anymore.

Until someone asked me an innocent question....