My Name Is…

Well I’m finally getting my life together in Houston, and all it took was two years! Everyone thought I was crazy to pick up and leave New York City for Houston, Texas in all of 24 hours, but I’ve landed a fantastic job, I volunteer in the community and I even have a column in the Montrose Gem. I’m proud of me…though it seems like I’m the only one who is.

Recently I was asked by my own Mother to stop using my given name for fear that someone, somewhere would find out that – gasp! – she has a gay son. All it took was a one-line email to plummet me from cloud-nine back down to Earth. That got me wondering; at nearly 30 years old, why would someone, over 1,000 miles away, have such an effect on me? Are we all, underneath all of our superficial charm and wit, just aching for the unbridled acceptance and love of our parents?

Before you turn the page or leave my blog disgust, hear me out. So many of us – in fact a great majority of us – faced harsh criticism or in some cases outright rejection over our sexuality from the very people who were supposed to love and nurture us. So what is my point? What is to be deduced from something that may have occurred decades ago for some of us, or just months ago for others? It all depends on the maturity of our minds but one only needs to read a list of issues suffered by gay men to understand where this rejection often leads us: high rates of smoking, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, and eating disorders.

What’s the one thing all of these diseases have in common? They’re all self induced methods of destruction. If you ask any logical person if they would choose to destroy themselves you would receive a resounding “No!” So then, why this overwhelming epidemic of  gay men destroying themselves over the rejection of a few closed-minded fools? Why do we choose to give more value to the words of our family then to the crazies of the Westboro Baptist Church?

It all comes down to two words; supposed to. Our family is supposed to accept us, the Westboro Baptist Church is supposed to hate us. Really? Who made those rules? It’s nice if things fall into our supposed beliefs, but they’re our beliefs, not everyone else’s. My mother isn’t supposed to ask me to hide my given name, that’s my belief but it’s not my reality. So this supposing on our behalf only causes us to create a lot of frustration, anger and disappointment that our supposed suppositions didn’t succinctly coincide.

So what are we to d, rejected by family with a propensity to self destruct? Well one answer would be not to self destruct, we’ve seen where that’s gotten us. The other would be to realize that by having those suppositions, we are doing to others exactly what we’ve asked not to be done to us; assuming we know all about someone. There are a million different nuances that go into the creation of a human being, and just because we share DNA with some of those humans doesn’t mean that they are required to be like us or to even to like us.

There is no difference between the people on the street and my mother or yours. Families and streets are filled with thousands of different ideas and ideals just like our world. If we expect tolerance in society perhaps we need to learn, first, to tolerate the microcosm of the world that is our family.


I Do….Iowa?

Well this whole gay marriage thing certainly is moving along faster than I thought it would; Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Oregon all recognize some form of gay union or another, and I’m sure I’m forgetting one or two. But now Iowa, a state with an entire population only slightly larger than our own quaint Houston, has ruled that a law banning same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. Gather up your overalls and threshers, America’s Corn Belt has gone liberal!

Iowa? Really? I don’t see gay people flocking to Iowa for some reason. Is there some underground phenomenon I should know about? Would now be the time to establish a cute little coffee bar in the middle of nowhere? Is this really a victory in a state that has on average fewer than 10 people per square mile? I smell a conspiracy!

Iowa’s been sneakily reinventing itself and pushing its economy into new and sustainable businesses. Not being content with the titles of Food Capital of the World and the buckle on the Corn Belt of America, Iowa had to go and transform itself into a diversified economy of advanced manufacturing, biotechnology, and green energy production! C’mon Iowa, wasn’t it good enough being one of the safest states to live in, did you have to go and “gay up” your industry too?

It’s working, they’re growing in gays. Year over year, Iowa’s population and diversity has grown, not just from interstate immigration but international immigration. Who moves to Iowa!? Are the drug wars in Mexico that bad? The weather isn’t particularly attractive, with lows of 6 in January. SIX! Iowa, I’m on to you! You’re trying to lure the gays into your woefully under-populated state, create your cute, quaint towns, and redevelop your rundown manufacturing districts. Then, just when we’re comfortable and property values peak – BAM! – in come the yuppies, just like in Montrose!

You may have your progressive industries, Iowa, and you may have some of the largest green-energy production in this country, and the most literate and best-educated population as well, but…wait…progressive industry? High literacy rates? Highly educated population? Iowa hasn’t gone gay, Iowa’s come out of the closet!

All kidding aside, this is a fantastic move in the right direction towards equality. This is just one more feather in the cap of a state that has been at the forefront of civil rights through its history. Iowa rejected slavery in 1839, in 1868 Iowa schools were integrated, and in 1869 Iowa became the first state in the union to allow women to practice law. Who knew that we had more than just the East and West coasts fighting for our equality? For 170 years Iowa has been the quiet and powerful gentleman leading the way forward for the Midwest of our great nation.