I AM...

I am whatever YOU think I am until YOU get to KNOW me. This is true for everyone else too, of course.. so don't make assumptions about anyone or pass judgment; ask questions. You might just make a new friend.


Thursday, September 29, 2016

In a world that prizes social behavior, can the shy gay man survive? 

Our lives are increasingly massaged into a social existence. Some psychologists argue that we are social beings and thus interacting in group environments—and liking it—is sign of normal, adjusted behavior. Under this thought, the man that shies away from group behavior is seen as maladjusted, an outsider, loner or freak. 

However, group mentality is often confused with a monolithic lifestyle. Everything around us encourages not only group-think, but same-think. I'll never forget my office days when collective thought and a homogenous environment were synonymous with teamwork. At one Park Avenue company, any sign of individuality was discouraged. Cubicle decorations could not reach above the carpeted walls. Only certain colors were allowed in the strict dress code. And although we were told we could manage our groups with our own styles, we were routinely asked to compare "best practices" with each other in hopes of developing one uniform way of doing things. Morning, lunch and evening commutes were modern version of Metropolis in full black and white. 

Along those lines, another large Detroit-based manufacturer sat me at a workspace just under a pole. "A8" read in big letters on a sign hanging from a pole overhead. Looking around there were rows and rows of similar desks, so indistinguishable that they needed to be labeled like parking lot spaces. I'll talk to you later, Bob. Oh silly me, I sit at A8 not B5. Not surprisingly this company was notorious for designing one product marketing it as three "different" models. 

Is there any surprise gay men have a difficult time being out at work? Team is tantamount, even during water cooler talk. No wife, no kids, no grass to mow? Not a team player. 

Workplace aside, our lives are gauged by social potential. Measurements of manhood have slowly evolved from penis size to Facebook friend lists and Twitter followers. The popular kids in school have taken over and our family, friends and potential dates are in on the contest. Where before we kept some things private and others public, there is ever increasing pressure to broadcast the full package. Those details are shouted into the depths of the internet, only to await comparison and judgement. 

For gay men this is a dangerous cycle. I recently met a mother who spoke of her gay son's Facebook habits. I don't mind that he's gay, she says proudly, I just don't think he needs to put all of those pictures up on Facebook for the family to see. Like the office, there are rules to being cyber social that mirror what society considers normal behavior. Post a pic of your cat, your new apartment and your vacation in Cabo, just crop out your boyfriend because we're not that type of crowd. 

Unfortunately for the gay outsider, sometimes called the loner or the anti-social, the closet door can slam all over again, and again, and again with each page load. I've seen my fair share of gay men and women who are asked to censor themselves for fear of "offending" family members (many who aren't even invited to Thanksgiving) or "embarrassing" straight parents and siblings. The deadbolt is turned in our own community where the extrovert is praised as confident and sure while the quiet guy blends into the furniture. 

For more social gays, rejection from others is a call to cling tighter to other circles of cyber family and friends. But what of the shy or introverted gay man? Does he take the blows in full resolution or retreat into where he wants to be most: with himself and a limited group of confidants? And, is he a freak for enjoying a party of two more than two hundred? 

A common misconception is that the guy hanging out by himself at the bar or in other social settings is there, alone, not by choice but by some defect or circumstance. Thoughts fill most heads. Some pity him, assuming he's afflicted with the disease of solitude; others lambast him as the next headline: "Gay Serial Killer Seen Sipping Drink Alone At Bar". 

It's here that most stereotypes and generalizations are born. The gay man that stays clear of the pride parade is assumed many things, his biggest offense being his refusal to join in the fight. The assumption is that he's not fighting at all. His anti-social behavior is seen as a rejection of an entire community, when in fact he just might not like crowds. The "loner" gay man's choices can root in a number of things ranging from social phobia to shyness. The presumtion, however, is most often slanted towards his perceived inadequacy or danger to the group. 

"Shyness and introversion — or more precisely, the careful, sensitive temperament from which both often spring — are not just normal," says Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts. Where in many social environments shy gay men are seen as rejects, Cain acknowledges that all introverts are "valuable." She goes as far as saying "they may be essential to the survival of our species." 


Now there’s a new reason to seriously start investigating the possibility of civilian space travel: one of our favorite non-profit organizations just declared the universe LGBT-friendly.
Planting Peace’s latest display of solidarity with the queer community involves a Pride flag, a high altitude balloon and a GoPro camera. The group, which regularly launches social activism campaigns to raise awareness about issues like LGBT rights and deworming children in developing countries, used the balloon to elevatea rainbow flag up through the Earth’s atmosphere. It eventually reached its peak altitude approximately 21.1 miles above the planet.

The flag remained airborne, floating in outer space for just over three hours before making its descent back to Earth, in what Planting Peace says is a symbolic declaration of the universe as an LGBT-friendly space.

“It was an honor to send the first Pride flag into space, and it provided a wonderful opportunity to show that Planting Peace will not stop fighting for LGBTQ rights until all sexual and gender minorities experience full, fundamental rights in every corner of the universe,” Aaron Jackson, President of Planting Peace, told The Huffington Post. “The backdrop of space gave us a stunning, inspiring and peaceful canvas for our message of hope to our LGBTQ family. I would love for LGBTQ children who are struggling to see this, and look up to the stars and remember that the universe shines brightly for them, and they are not alone.”
Over the last three years, Planting Peace has engaged in a number of high-profile displays of LGBT visibility and activism. The nonprofit created The Equality House, a rainbow-colored building across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church compound in Topeka, Kansas, in 2013 and purchased another home nearby earlier this year to create the Transgender Pride house. These houses stand in opposition to the Church’s hate ― both literally and figuratively ― and operate as safe spaces for queer people in the area.

The organization has also sponsored a number of billboards calling out anti-LGBT bigotry, including one in North Carolina blasting the anti-queer House Bill 2, another in the hometown of anti-same sex marriage clerk Kim Davis and, most recently, one near the 2016 Republican National Convention featuring an image of Ted Cruz and Donald Trump kissing.

In a move similar to the launching of the Pride flag into outer space, Planting Peace declared Antartica “the world’s first LGBT-friendly continent” in March 2016.

Thank you for all that you do, Planting Peace! This is truly something remarkable.


Wednesday, September 28, 2016


The chances are that at some point in your life you will end up in a threesome, foursome, fivesome, orgy or full on gang bang. Some may only get as far as a threesome but many experience the lot. 




The cast of the NBC comedy Will & Grace reunited for a political skit released on the same day as the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, her GOP rival.

Released on YouTube ten years after the series ended, the nearly 10-minute skit features all four of the show's lead cast members: Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Megan Mullally and Sean Hayes, who is openly gay.

Will & Grace, which premiered in 1998, was the first prime time network sitcom to feature a gay lead in McCormack's uptight lawyer, Will.

Over the weekend, all four actors posted images from the show's set. Then on Monday, Messing tweeted a video with a hidden message: Will & Grace is back.

In the scene, best friends Will (played by McCormack) and Grace (Messing) and socialite Karen (Mullally) learn that Jack (Hayes) is registered to vote in swing state Pennsylvania. Each tries to persuade Jack to vote for the candidate of their choice.

“Honey, if you don't vote for Trumpie, there will be wars and monsoons and locusts and hordes of brown people pouring over our borders from every direction,” Karen tells Jack.

Grace argues that a vote for Clinton would send a positive message to “millions of little girls, and little boys who are going to be little girls, and little girls who are going to be little boys.”

In the scene's final frames, Rosario (Shelley Morrison), Karen's maid, appears in the doorway wearing her signature sunglasses and Members Only jacket. “Talk about a basket of deplorables,” she says as she waves at the foursome.



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