Saturday, April 7, 2012

Testimony...The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus

"And when I die....When it's my time to go....I want to come me"

Well The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus has gone and done it again...they have gone and made something so beautiful it made me cry dammit. Thanks a lot guys. I was wondering this morning what to write about for Easter when I stumbled upon their video for the making of "Testimony". The song is a collaboration project with Broadway producer Stephen Schwartz and can best be described as a musical interpretation of the "It Gets Better Project"....and most especially of the deep feelings behind what made that project necessary. While I have often wondered if the It Gets Better Project was reaching those who most need to hear it, I have never doubted the ability of honestly sharing our stories to make a positive difference in someone else's life. After all, it is one thing to intellectually realize that you are not the only is something else to experience that reality in the shared experience of others. There was a time in my life when I could not imagine saying the words of the song above. That is why hearing 250 beautiful voices singing the way I felt almost twenty years ago reduced me to tears and had me singing along with them. Check out the video and join in the conversation to share your experiences with us.

These men just sang my soul completely....I can't count how many times I prayed that same prayer every night. "God take this away....I don't want to be like this." I knew to the core of my spirit that if I allowed myself to accept that I was gay it would mean that I would lose family, my friends, the comfort of my faith, my hope for the future. I would be utterly alone. Every time I failed to change I blamed myself...something had to be wrong with me. And by a slow process of soul erosion, I learned to hate myself. I think this is why I could not come out at an earlier age as so many do. I hear their stories about knowing when they were not even teens yet and I wonder why I couldn't. Yet again, was something wrong with me for not knowing sooner? I mean...all the signs were there. But I guess that old thinking that there is something broken in you dies hard.

But just like Jesus going into the tomb....sometimes we have to go into that dark and fight those battles with ourselves first. We wanted to hard to be who we thought we had to be in order to be loved and that need is so great that we will fight until we haven't the ability left anymore. I fought and pushed it all down so far until I couldn't see it any longer. I could continue to pretend that there was nothing different about me...nothing that would cost me everything that I held dear. When we feel we are in danger, we's a natural human reflex. It is counter-intuitive to believe that our struggles can be resolved through acceptance. For me, being gay was an impossibility and so I fought on. I was too fearful of what would happen to me if I committed suicide...but that didn't mean I didn't think about it or sometimes wish for a way out. But caught between not being able to accept the truth about myself and not believing I had any way out....I continued to struggle on repressing how I felt and hating myself for not being good enough. This was the war in my mind that eventually ground me down to nothing. Eventually that struggle became unbearable...and so I just accepted that I must be fatally flawed as a human being. I prepared myself for hell because I could not fight anymore. I felt I had failed to resist the temptations for too long, that I must not be strong enough or faithful enough....and so I gave up on myself.

I was just living because I didn't think I had any other choice. Eventually, I finally decided that the battle was too much, it was time to figure out why it was do wrong because who I was, wasn't real. And so I began the journey to figure out what was so bad about being gay. The "why?" became all important. "Why was I gay?"..."Why was it wrong?"....And while that first exploration might have been to the gay and lesbian aisle of the bookstore, it felt like a mammoth step away from everything I ever knew as good. I felt like a criminal.What I did not understand then was that those were my first glimpses of light outside the tomb. My steps may have been fearful, but they led me to my first gay friend...who led me to the youth group where I met others like me....and that in turn led me to my first boyfriend, and so on.

Up to this time...I had kissed and been with my fair share of women. Those were all great experiences that I remember fondly. But the first time I kissed a was like taking my first breath. As great as my relationships with women had much had been missing that I could now clearly see. The pairing of desire and love had never been their before and now experiencing them together was a feeling of being alive that I had never imagined possible. For all I had been taught, I could not imagine how this could be worth so much condemnation. The light seemed to be growing brighter as I was stepping further out of the darkness.

Today, much time and much life have gone under the bridge. I wish I could say that coming out could instantly undo the damage of the past...but it doesn't. For myself, that has been a life long journey. The tomb leaves it's mark. But for all the doubts that may linger about my past....I have known so much love that I can never ever regret. No matter what others may say that I am I would not trade the moments of love(or desire) I have known for anything. I can look at a beautiful man and think of the ability to appreciate him as a gift and feel thankful to be who and what I am. I have a beautiful husband and family that mean the world to me....old doubts can't hold a candle to any of that. The phrase, "It Gets Better" actually seems like a huge understatement sometimes. That phrase could not take in how it felt to stand with my husband on the aisle of Corfu watch the rise of the biggest full moon I had ever seen. It can't convey the electricity of our first kiss together or the feelings I would have rocking my daughter to sleep for the first time or watching my son grow into a young man. I can't imagine what my life would be had I not first given up the fight for the fake me to find out what life could be as the real me. As bad as it sounds, I am glad I gave up. my testimony.

Listening to The SFGMC sing these words made me feel like I should have been there singing with them and I can say that, if I got the chance.....I can say today, that I would want to come back in another me.

Until next time dear readers.......

P.S.....Many of our readers know of the work we sometime do with Videographer and fellow YouTuber Sean Chapin. He is a good friend and a member of the SFGMC. He is also responsible for filming the "making of" video for Testimony and for collecting the accounts of the chorus members. I want to congratulate him and the entire chorus for a job well done. The song itself and the making of video are both truly wonderful. Thanks for making me cry Sean...


  1. me in my life i feel, frequently, that my own words fall on deaf ears (seriously i can literally say 'the sky is blue' and someone will think i said it was red or just not comprehend my words) i know some of it, i 'broadcast' too loudly or it is that i simply dont think the same as others, so thank you-and others- for your words.

  2. Sometimes the words "Thank you" cannot express enough the emotions that you and your family inspire in me. Your sharing of your struggles and trials and your passion and love are what brings us to love you and your family more and more. reading this post made me feel as if you knew who I am and some of my personal struggles.
    Although to me it seems to not express my emotions enough... Thank you for all that you post.

  3. so i have my mom reading this post...right now. i only recently 'came out' to her though ive been out otherwise for years. thank you bryan for the words that articulate what we all(?) go through far better than my own..especially to mom.

  4. I’m a psychedelic headbanging crazy person who’s really abused my hearing, so very smooth choral music is really challenging for me as far as understanding what’s being said. I could understand individual people singing alone here just fine but, when they were all together, I missed over 50% of what they were saying. The words blur together too much for me. From individual singing and statements, I could still tell what they were driving at.

    I was expecting to be deeply affected by these videos, just like I’m often moved to tears by the more romantic or sentimental videos appearing on Depfox, but I found I wasn’t. I think this due both to the era I grew up in and my own personal experience of being gay. I was a kid during the 60’s and 70’s and turned 20 in 1979. Those two decades simply weren’t highly gay-conscious, at least not in middle America. You heard plenty about hippies back then, but not about “homosexuals” or “gays.” This is why any bullying I experienced, even when the word “fag” or “faggot” was used, was such that I had no confidence that the kids using those terms back then knew what they really meant. Now, once we move into the 80’s, that’s when the obsession over gays started, probably mostly because of AIDS. Use the words “fag” or “faggot” during the 80’s or anytime later and there never is any ambiguity over what is meant.

    My own experience being gay, other than the fact that I knew not to disclose it to others, couldn’t be more different than what happened to you, Bryan. From 1968 on, my family stopped going to church. We dropped the one we were in because the minister there revealed himself to be a bigoted racist dirtbag and we just never got around to choosing another. The result for me was that I wasn’t subjected to the endless, unrelenting theological attacks at pointblank range that you were and, that at one time, you even directed at yourself. So I experienced none of the self-loathing and torment over being gay that you did. No suicidal feelings about it at all. Nor did I have any denial over my gayness whatsoever at any time. I did go to a psychiatrist a few times to see if I could be changed but only because I wanted an easier life. But, other than awkwardness and inconvenience, being gay was never such a big of a deal for me. But, boy, I’d deep fry my face before you could get me to willingly talk about it. I always avoided sexual topics in conversation and just hoped people wouldn’t make inquiries about me.

    If anything, I’m feeling the impact of being gay now more than ever before. The last 15 years or so, I’ve been caring for my elderly, disabled mother who is no longer with us. Those essentially are lost years to me and the damage done to my social life has been enormous. Had I not had that responsibility, I would have acted on my gayness and found my soul-mate long ago. So being unpartnered now generates a very painful void, which I feel all the more acutely when I see your more touching Depfox videos. Seeing the vision in your videos of what I’d like my life to be like causes me to reflexively compare it to my own circumstances, and that’s what makes already emotional videos even more so for me.

  5. guys have all blown me away. I'm not even sure how to comment back o_0

    Steeldrago...I hope everything went ok with your mom. Thats a pretty tough thing for a parent to hear and even worse for her child to admit to. I hope all went well.

    And Dave...I really wanted to do a transcription of the lyrics but time just did not permit. Regardless...

    Thank you for always bringing honest, well thought-out, comments. You always have something good to add and I appreciate that. And while we can not(and probably would not)do anything differently about our past decisions, we can do something about our future. Whether partnered or not....get your butt out there and have some fun dammit.


    1. i dont think my mom finished it but otherwise it really is all good. i held off talking to her because she had told me "if you are i dont want to know." which is and was entirely contrary to the ideals we were raised with, so i was angry at her. (FINE then you wont know!-thing, yes very teenager) i know she was dealing with her issues from my biological father. yes it was took me about a decade to actually say the words and im better for it-i feel a bit stupid about the whole thing too. i am tired of secrets or at least feeling trapped in them..hence some of my over share.

  6. I actually recognized someone in the Journey to Testimony video. The guy who speaks at 4:40 to 4:49 is one of the promotional bear models appearing on the bear community dating website When the home page loads, it's usually a group shot of many of the promo bears. If you go there and this same guy doesn't show up, all you have to do is keep hitting "refresh" until his picture shows up. Each time that page is refreshed, the group photo changes.

    Nothing important. Just a coincidence I noticed....

  7. Bryan,

    Remembering the thread on the Cynthia (?) Nixon / Kinsey Scale thread what you said about where you were—somewhere in excess of 5, maybe 5.5 I can’t remember—your statement in your blog this time of at one time not only having kissed women but having “been” with them really stopped me in my tracks. I thought someone as high you on the scale would be physically nonfunctional with a woman. In high school and college I dated just a little, but nothing happened because I knew I was 100% sexually nonfunctional with a woman, so I knew if things went too far, I’d be in real trouble not being able to “perform.” Maybe the 5.99 I quoted for myself on the Kinsey thread wasn’t high enough. Maybe I’m that perfect 6 after all. Game over…I win…I’ll take my Oscar for Top NON-Performance in a Dating Role home with me now…Is this mic on? Thank you everyone…I’ve worked hard for this failure my entire life and I could never NOT have done it without the love and support of my mother, father, friends and a particularly kinky college professor of mine—you know who you are—you’re the greatest! Thank you again everyone and goodnight! :=D :=D

    I just about peed myself from laughter writing this…. :=D

  8. This video and your post brought me to tears. Even though I came out over twenty years ago the scars of the closet are still there. Let's hope that it does "get better" for future generations of LGBT people...

    Bryan-what you and Jay are doing is priceless. Thank you so much.

  9. If I could cry(an lovely lasting bit of damage I inflicted upon myself) I would, because the words in that song where so the internal monologue that I had with my self, up to and even after the point I finally gave up. This is still something that I very much still deal with. The part that is still probably the most destructive is the ease with which I can self hate.

    You articulate things so well Bryan, I just wish sometimes I could do so half as well as you!

    " I hear their stories about knowing when they were not even teens yet and I wonder why I couldn't. Yet again, was something wrong with me for not knowing sooner? I mean...all the signs were there. But I guess that old thinking that there is something broken in you dies hard."
    I know that way of thinking, I still go threw periods of that, and I think for me what makes it all that much worse is that I never did love girls in that way, yeah I could be close friends that was it, even in HS as a teenage boy I could never do anything with a girl. (even though I desperately wanted to make my self be able to)

  10. Bryan,

    As different as my own experience being gay has differed from yours and what was reflected in the videos—specifically the self-loathing and internal struggle with it—there is one aspect to my life’s story that does closely parallel what most of the choir members have experienced (but, apparently, you haven’t) and that’s the coming to know who you are at a very young age, even pre-teen. Yet, how I came to that self-realization probably differs from what most people here have experienced or most people in general. My age of self-knowing came at the age of 8 in the 4th grade.

    What I’m about to admit about myself is dangerous in the sense that this is the kind of material that homophobic haters and religious zealots like to seize on and say, “See, you really can turn someone gay” although I now understand isn’t the case and that I can explain why a little later. At age 8, I was sexually abused by some older boys in my neighborhood. I’m guessing they were 13 or so, but anyway they were doing oral things to me. My memory of this time is a little shaky, but I seem to recall only one of them did this to me. I wasn’t erect at the time and he was using his teeth on me. It definitely did NOT feel good, I DIDN’T like it and he hurt me. Evidently, he left me raw and that night I must have screamed when my penis hit warm water in the bathtub and my mother happened to be there at the time, so there was no way to conceal anything. She saw how red and raw down there I was and she probably questioned me about what on Earth happened to me. My parents later dealt with the perpetrator and it didn’t happen again.

    So, you see, I was sexually awakened at an unusually young age. I’m aware that nowadays many people reach puberty a lot earlier than they used to but, back then, I became sexually aware way WAY before I hit puberty myself. I remember later that year, there was a darker-skinned Hispanic boy in my class that I felt an attraction to. He was very mature looking for his age and had a very masculine and athletic look to him. On a scale of 1 to 10, this was a 12. Absolutely painfully beautiful. I remember one time on the playground I tried to hug him but he pushed me away. He’s probably the reason I have always liked dark.

    Misinformed people would assume that male-on-male sexual abuse is a great cookbook formula for turning someone gay. That’s what my mother believed and I myself believed that for a long time until I discovered that was inaccurate. There are studies referred to in the Wikipedia article on homosexuality that have found that there is NO correlation between sexual abuse and gay orientation. Later at age 12 or 13, I sexually messed around with a couple of my neighborhood friends where it did feel good and I wanted to go much further than they did, but both turned out straight and got married, so they were unaffected by what we had done together. So, how I now understand myself is that I was biologically wired to be gay according to the OutLateButGreat video I so often cite and a lot of other studies, but all that the abuse I suffered at age 8 did was to merely awaken me early to who I really was and would unavoidably have discovered anyway just a few years later.

    1. while i have no specific recall of any details, i know from the behaviors i acted out and the unrealistic expectations i have/had that i share a somewhat similar experience. i also messed around pretty intensely from a young age, exclusively with boys. my first crush was on coach white in junior high.

  11. Steeldrago,

    If you also were abused, watching that video I mentioned above could be comforting to you in that you'll come to understand why that event or any others can't affect your orientation. Go to last week's blog about Bayard, that Dr. King associate, and do an edit>find search for "comments" so it jumps down the page for you and then do another for "epigenetics." That will jump to one of my comments where I told someone else how to find the video. You'll learn how gay biology works and how it trumps suspect life experiences.

    1. actually, i saw that special too but its been awhile. thank you for the reminder.

  12. Steeldrago,

    Wow…I forgot…You’re the one who just came out to your mom. That makes that video I recommended super important not only to you but especially your mom or any other family member you come out to. This video is a Godsend as a come out tool. It allows you to do your coming out from a position of strength rather than weakness. It’s crucial for your mom to understand right from the beginning that you weren’t and physically couldn’t be “switched” from otherwise being heterosexual to gay by such things as parenting failures on her part or anything you might have been exposed to in school or by the friends you have or anything else. Whatever your biological wiring happens to be, whether it be straight, gay or bi, is what you have to live with, period.

    The gay biology contained in that video supports overwhelming anecdotal evidence that well over 90% of males report experiencing zero or very little choice in their gay orientation. That statistic comes from a study admitted as evidence in the Golinski case, where a female retired military veteran was denied the ability because of DOMA to add her lesbian spouse to her military health insurance even though she was legally married under state law, so she challenged DOMA as a being unconstitutional for denying her federal equal protection under the law.

    Your mom, and anyone else you come out to, should be much more comfortable with your gayness once she understands your orientation was biologically determined, and that you did not, nor does anyone else, “choose” or “decide” to be something that exposes them to a more difficult life, full of unfairness, inequality, discrimination and oppression. She’ll also come to understand biologically-set orientation can’t be changed. All the crying, pleading and threats from family members won’t work. Being put together with the right woman won’t and can’t switch you. You can’t pray the gay away and conversion therapy doesn’t work and has been found to be outright harmful.

    Please PLEASE watch the video. But watch it alone a couple of times so you have a good command of the science involved. THEN have Mom watch it with you.

    Good luck.

    1. thank you..i will and if i like it i will share. after many years of voracious seeking after info and therapy i am at a point, now, where i am truly comfortable within myself, troll and all(and i am whole which is new)- i thank god and the lady for amazing friends. the thing with my mom, while big, is more a 'formality.' there is no way she could not have known but she did not want to admit it. i was wrong she did finish the article though.

    2. On conversion or reparative therapy, my understanding is that about all it does is make one better skilled at staying in the closet. The underlying orientation doesn't change. But who wants to stay perpetually in the closet? To live your whole life in loveless solitude? That's incredibly unhealthy. I would think most people hit a point where they just can't stand that anymore. Real happiness in this world comes from spending your life with someone you love and who loves you back. Loading up on just material things is nothing but anesthesia.

      I'm glad you've finally become comfortable with yourself. So now you can go out and start hunting for your soul-mate. He's out there somewhere, you know....

    3. Steeldrago,

      That 90+% statistic I mentioned from the Golinski case is ammunition you can use as well. Overwhelming anecdotal evidence plus scientific evidence is a hefty one-two punch. A Google search for Golinski and DOMA might lead you to the decision where a Federal District Court, probably in California, found that the marriage defintion in DOMA was an unconstitutional denial of equal protection of the laws. You might also find a way to find the decision at or

    4. dave, thank you!
      ....good info and im glad for it, i tend to be behind the times. in case ive made the wrong impression, i came out to my mom around thanksgiving '11, i was not coming out to her through this article. i did not know how to convey the many years of crap that 'testimony' covers so eloquently, and bryan's words (haha!-my name is brian too) would be better processed i think-again, i can say the sky is blue and people get either nothing or wildly off things. im sorry if that was unclear.
      as far as finding my soul mate...i had a moment many years ago where i knew with a certainty i recognize from the things i 'know' that i was not going to ever have that connection to another....but that was another life, that person died by increments and nearly took me with him. i dont 'know' that i will find a man to call husband, i dont 'know' that i wont. i will be fine either way. thank you for the encouragement.
      on equal protection issues, when you go to national parks and the signs say 'we do not discriminate on..(the laundry list) and (as of 1991) sexual orientation. (civil rights act of 1991) still severely limited and it has been awhile since i read it; if i recall correctly it also applies to interstate entities. also according to an executive order-i dont recall the number- if a company has a federal contract they are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of orientation as well.

    5. Glad you find the video so useful! I'm sure you now agree it's everything I said it was. So anyone coming out now has a three-pronged argument that is devastatingly effective in showing your gayness wasn't and can't be chosen. 1. The logical argument: No one is stupid enough and usually isn't psychotic enough to "choose" or "decide" to be something that exposes them to unfairness, inequality, discrimination, oppression or violence. 2. The anecdotal evidence from the Golinski case. The actual statistics for males and females is found in the part of the decision discussing using "heightened scrutiny" as a standard of review in orientation cases. 3. The video. Either the hypothalamus got enough testosterone in utero to create a heterosexual child or it didn't, period. Now, right wingers who see that video and believe it might have a tendency to think of gay orientation as a birth defect, but I think that's reading a bit too much into it. We are a statistically rarer but still a naturally occurring variant developmentally when it comes to sexuality. In any event, this video ought to nip in the bud the possibility that someone you come out to and who sees the video will continue to "blame" you for the orientation you have.

  13. The San Franciscio Men's Chorale's shows were all sold out now that is the gay community supporting a great cause