Category Archives: Gay

A Golden Girl’s Legacy Brings Hope To LGBT Youth

Yet another reason to love Bea Arthur….

I saw her once at a hotel bar in New York, but didn’t approach her.  Now I wish I had….

Further proof tough old broads can have a heart of gold….

 

Back in 2005, when the Ali Forney Center could only shelter 12 kids a time, “Golden Girls” star Bea Arthur had flown to New York to lend the organization her support. Her one-woman show, “Bea Arthur on Broadway: Just Between Friends,” raised more than $40,000 for the center, and Arthur contributed a personal donation as well.

But when Arthur passed away in 2009, the center was struggling to keep up with rent, food and payroll payments. Carl Siciliano, the center’s director, was driving to work when he got a call from a landlord threatening to bring eviction proceedings against the center. A Roman Catholic and former Benedictine monk, Siciliano pulled his car to the side of the road and prayed for help.

“I prayed to all my favorite saints, and everyone I could think of in heaven that cared about me or our kids. I included Bea in those prayers, knowing how good she had been to us,” Siciliano told the Huffington Post.

When Siciliano arrived at work that day, one of Arthur’s closest friends called to tell him that the Ali Forney Center was at the top of Arthur’s list of charities in her will. Several weeks later, a check for $300,000 arrived from her estate.

More:   A Golden Girl’s Legacy Brings Hope To LGBT Youth.

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Sondheim Working on a Revised Version of ‘Company’

My first reaction was:  “Oh god, not yet another production of “Company”.  Then I read more….

This is intriguing….and with great people attached.

And I always thought Bobby was Gay anyway…

From the New York Times today…

 

The acclaimed composer Stephen Sondheim and the Tony Award-winning director John Tiffany (“Once”) are collaborating on a major revision of Mr. Sondheim’s celebrated 1970 musical “Company,” a project that Roundabout Theater Company is eyeing for a possible production, according to Mr. Sondheim and others involved.

The biggest change in this new “Company” would be the central character of Bobby. Whereas he has always been a straight man struggling with commitment issues and multiple girlfriends, he has been reconceived by Mr. Tiffany as a gay man with commitment issues and multiple boyfriends. And some characters have had gender reversals; the character of Joanne, who sings “The Ladies Who Lunch” and was originally played by Elaine Stritch on Broadway, is being played by the Tony winner Alan Cumming (“Cabaret”) in Mr. Tiffany’s reading of the work at Roundabout this week.

For years Mr. Sondheim and the musical’s book writer, George Furth, who died in 2008, batted back suggestions that Bobby was furtively intended to be a closeted gay man. But when Mr. Tiffany proposed actually making Bobby gay, Mr. Sondheim said in a telephone interview on Tuesday, the idea intrigued him.

“It’s still a musical about commitment, but marriage is seen as something very different in 2013 than it was in 1970,” Mr. Sondheim said. “We don’t deal with gay marriage as such, but this version lets us explore the issues of commitment in a fresh way.”

MORE:   Sondheim Working on a Revised Version of ‘Company’ – NYTimes.com.

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The All American Gay Community

Sometimes my own Gay Community can piss me off as much as the Religious Right or Conservative communities.

I have issues with intolerance in any community and I’ve seen quite a bit of it in the Gay Community both recently and over time.

The specific example that is annoying me right now is some of the comments I’m seeing about a talented young, Gay musician named Steve Grand who has published an excellent music video called “All-American Boy” 

He has become a bit of an internet sensation with over 200,000 YouTube views and about 12,000 likes to his Facebook page in less than 48 hours.  And the nasty comments have begun to annoy me.

First of all, I must say that most of the comments from both Gay and Straight people, men and women, have been very positive and supportive. Steve Grand has touched a lot of hearts with this video and I’m so glad for the support he is getting.

Steve is telling a very personal story.  That is a right we all have and only a few have the talent to do it so well.  That may be part of the problem- jealousy.  He also happens to be a gorgeous young man and I’m sure that has something to do with some of this jealousy as well…

The main complaints can be summarized as  a) it doesn’t have a happy ending, b) it makes gay people look like hard-drinking, smoking predators  trying to steal straight men from their girlfriends and c)  it looks like an Abercrombie and Fitch ad.

The shallow end of the Gay pool is in a frenzy of pique.

This may not just be a Gay thing.  It may be based, in part, on our national obsession with ourselves and the incestuous points of view that grow in the little bubbles we all live in.  We sometimes forget not everyone thinks like we do or lives like we do. Or has the same problems, experience and issues we do.  Or has the same journey….

I hate to break it to this vocal little Gay minority, but all Gay People aren’t alike.  Whether we will admit it or not, we all still struggle with the repercussions of the societal and internal homophobia that has impacted us from birth.  We aren’t all well-adjusted, post-Stonewall Modern Gays living in harmony with our world.  We aren’t all living in New York, San Francisco or other big, accepting cities.  We don’t all have all the same experiences.  And if any group should have learned not to judge, it is us….

And these people also seem to forget that this is one young man telling his own very personal story and taking a very big risk with his fledgling career.  The entire Gay Community ought to be applauding him and wishing him well.

I am forever annoyed at the Gays who spend all their time worrying about the “image” of the Gay Community.  They are the ones who clutch their pearls and tear their well-coifed hair over Drag Queens at Gay Pride Parades, transgendered people being included in Equality initiatives and Butch Lesbians.  I hate to tell them, but we will not have really arrived, as a community, until we can embrace all the many kinds of Gay people and their right to live their lives and tell their stories.

I’m not perfect.  I have my issues with the frequent popular media assumption that all Gay men are rich white boys, with perfect bodies and perfect clothes-when they are wearing them-who live to take drugs and have wild sex at Circuit Parties.  Or decorate.  Or want to get married and have children like middle-class straight people.

We are more diverse than that and don’t need to support these stereotypes by applying our own stereotypes or tearing down people trying to live their individual lives and make their individual dreams come true.

By the way, have you ever been to a Summer Solstice Celebration?  Those straight people give Gay Pride Parades and Drag Queens a run for their money in the outlandish categories.  But they are open and accepting.  They are secure.  They are enjoying a celebration.

We have to be secure enough to celebrate all the many types of Gay people.  We need to accept there are Redneck rural gay men and women, Black Gays, Asian Gays, Latino Gays, Married Middle Class White Gays, Fat Gays, Drag Queens, Elderly and Middle-Aged Gays, Transgendered People, Handicapped Gays, Dykes on Bikes, Lipstick Lesbians and yes, gorgeous young Gay Men and jealous, petty, evil Gay Bitches who need to be called out.

And some of you probably are thinking, right now, that I am one of the latter….if so, too bad.

We also need to understand that homophobia does still exist in the post “Will & Grace”, post Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, defeated DOMA and post Prop 8 world.  And most of us have been damaged by it by some degree or another.  That’s the reason we should have more tolerance, more sympathy and be more willing to support our Gay Brothers and Sisters than other groups.

The Gay Community is a maturing community and an assimilating community, but we still have young gay people, like Steve Grand,  growing up facing some of the same challenges we all faced.

Those of us who are older need to be the biggest cheerleaders for those who are coming along.  They may not realize it, but they are standing on our shoulders and the only way they can learn from us is if we talk to them, support them and listen to their voices.

If we all share our stories and listen…..

The Gay Community, if there really is such a thing anymore, needs to understand that we are diverse.  We need to accept and celebrate that or we are no better than the Conservatives and the Religious Right who try to force everyone into their own little stereotypes of appropriate behavior.

And we need to learn to celebrate and support one of our own when he’s on the way to making it big.

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Steve Grand: All-American Boy

This song and video by Steve Grand seems to be going seriously viral over the 4th of July Holiday and justifiably so…

This is a very touching video that hits home to a lot of we guys who grew up far from the City Lights of the Gay Ghetto’s in New York, Washington and San Francisco.  This young man really captures the angst of being a young, Gay guy in a very straight world.

I’ve seen some pissy comments from some of the Big City Gay guys about this video and all I have to say is, either you’ve forgotten where you came from or you were really, really lucky…

As evidenced here, Steve Grand is a very talented young, Gay singer-songwriter.  I hope to see and hear much more from him soon.

And on another level,  this song and video also fills a void in genre music.  There has been a vital Womyn’s Music scene for many years, but the Gay Male music scene has really struggled to find an audience.  Matt Alber had a similar break through, a couple of years ago, with “End of the World.”  

I think Steve Grand has the potential to follow, and perhaps exceed, Matt’s success, change this dynamic and, hopefully, also find a successful place in the mainstream music world.  Steve apparently wants to be the first “out” Gay Country Music Star and it’s certainly time…

Writing this song and making this video also seems to be a very personal and brave decision by this young man.

As Steve writes on his FaceBook page:

I fought with who I was for most of my life. In every way a young person can fight with himself.
But starting today… I’m laying it out there. I’m done playing it safe.

I don’t have a manager or a label or any sort of funding other than the tip money I make playing piano downtown at The Joynt, and also, ironically to some, in the churches on Sunday morning… (we’ll see how long I’ll be singing “Glory to God” should this video see the light of day).

As far as the ascetic achievements of the video… lets just say I was lucky to have a good friend introduce me to the best team I could have asked for… who held on to the roller coaster that was this project and dealt with all my intensity and craziness as the true professionals they were.

I wrote the song during a drunken piano jam session at a party. I recorded the vocals in my parents basement and worked with my friend Max Steger: http://maxsteger.com/ to record and mix the rest of the instruments.

I feel like music industry people wouldn’t like the idea of me “pigeonholing” myself by telling this story as I have. But I don’t believe the world sees change until it sees honesty.

So I went in on my own.

I went all in. There is no Plan B. I’m nervous/excited/horrified/anxious about the implications all of the choices I am making (and have made throughout my journey of discovering myself as a man and as an artist) will have on my future. But then I remind myself I never really had a choice. This is the story I’ve been aching to tell my most of my life… it is what I hold dearest to me.

And he later posted:

time to be brave. the world does not see change until it sees honesty. I am taking a risk here in many ways, but really there is no choice but to be brave. To not tell this story is to let my soul die. It is all I believe in. It is all I hold dear. We have all longed for someone we can never have… we all have felt that ache for our ‎#allamericanboy

I wish him all the luck in the world…. 

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Missouri Man Arrested at Hospital for Refusing to Leave Gay Partner

Another clear example of why we need Gay Marriage to be recognized….

From RawStory.com:

A gay man was arrested at a hospital in Missouri this week when he refused to leave the bedside of his partner, and now a restraining order is preventing him from any type of visitation.

Roger Gorley told WDAF that even though he has power of attorney to handle his partner’s affairs, a family member asked him to leave when he visited Research Medical Center in Kansas City on Tuesday.

Gorley said he refused to leave his partner Allen’s bedside, and that’s when security put him in handcuffs and escorted him from the building.

“I was not recognized as being the husband, I wasn’t recognized as being the partner,” Gorley explained.

He said the nurse refused to confirm that the couple shared power of attorney and made medical decision for each other.

“She didn’t even bother to look it up, to check in to it,” the Lee’s Summit resident recalled.

In a 2010 memorandum, President Barack Obama ordered hospitals that receive Medicare or Medicaid funding to allow visitation rights for gay and lesbian partners.

MORE:   Missouri man arrested at hospital for refusing to leave gay partner | The Raw Story.

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Traditional Marriage: Whose Tradition?

I seem to be pulled into the “marriage” debate a lot lately….

To be clear, we have 6 sets of dishes, so I originally didn’t see the need for Gay Marriage.

As time has passed- almost 16 years with m partner- I’ve seen the need for gay marriage from a legal and societal point of view.  I, and most enlightened, educated people understand that marriage is a legal contract that provides security for couples- and gay or straight is irrelevant to this legal contract.

Frankly, to me at this point in my life, it’s more about protecting joint assets, determining who can visit you in the hospital and make major medical and legal decision if you are incapacitated.  It’s about who makes sure, when the time comes,  your wishes are honored to be cremated and have a  tasteful memorial- instead of being painted and stuffed and subjected to a hypocritical Southern Baptist Funeral by people who barely know you….

It’s also really nice to give a big party and celebrate who you love with a couple of hundred of your closest friends.  And maybe get some more dishes….

Anyway…..

I’ve also been read by an old friend for not taking Marriage seriously as a religious institution.  That’s because it isn’t- at least not primarily so.  It’s a legal contract. Period.  That’s why you have to get a marriage license from the government before running off to your clergy person, if you choose that route….

There is such a thing as the separation of Church and State whether these people like it or not….

The religious significance of Marriage depends on the Religion.  And the time and place….that does not supplant the legal, contractual importance of marriage.

I’m fine with a religious marriage ceremony- as long as it’s a secondary religious observance of a civil contract.

Legal rights come first.  And “traditional marriage” is a concept that has changed radically over time- both in the Christian and non-Christian world.

I won’t even touch the Biblical Old Testament definition of marriage as it’s too complicated and messy for even me to explain, so I’ll leave it to Mrs Betty Bowers:

 

 

And those who think Gay Marriage is an especially new invention should read this from “The Week”….

Same-sex unions aren’t a recent invention. Until the 13th century, male-bonding ceremonies were common in churches across the Mediterranean. Apart from the couples’ gender, these events were almost indistinguishable from other marriages of the era. Twelfth-century liturgies for same-sex unions — also known as “spiritual brotherhoods” — included the recital of marriage prayers, the joining of hands at the altar, and a ceremonial kiss. Some historians believe these unions were merely a way to seal alliances and business deals. But Eric Berkowitz, author of Sex and Punishment, says it is “difficult to believe that these rituals did not contemplate erotic contact. In fact, it was the sex between the men involved that later caused same-sex unions to be banned.” That happened in 1306, when the Byzantine Emperor Andronicus II declared such ceremonies, along with sorcery and incest, to be unchristian.

via How marriage has changed over centuries – The Week.

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I Do Not Like “Your” Christians….

I’m going to post a sad little video….

So sad, on so many levels….

First of all, I can’t have anything but compassion for this poor, misguided child.

Secondly, I would like to see his parents in jail for child abuse for putting him out there like this and teaching him all this hate….

Thirdly, I’m sad that this happened in North Carolina, in Winston-Salem, in front of a Church that has stood in support of Gay Marriage…

Fourthly, I’m proud of the people who go to this church for their compassion, class and dignity….

If it weren’t for the behavior of  the members of this Church, I would be stuck thinking, as I frequently am, of Gandhi’s quote:

“I like your Christ.  I do not like your Christians.  Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

I’ll simply salute the members of this Church in Winston- Salem and try to overlook this poor, misguided child….

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