AOL Days IM Nights

Technology is dated the moment it comes out. By the time it’s been mass produced, packaged and shipped it’s been outdated by newer and better technology. It’s just kind of how the digital age works. Things appear from nowhere and disappear just as fast. For those that enjoyed the item while it was there, it will hold a special place in their heart that can never be outdone, no matter how well the thing that replaced it performs. For me the item from the digital age that deeply affected my life was AIM. 

Now, I never actually used just AOL instant messenger. I had the full aol shebang all because of the movie “You’ve Got Mail.” Like a lot of preteens I was chasing that silver screen fantasy of finding someone special. Funny now that I think of it, that it did in fact do just that. Just not right away. 

Being a fat, pale, shut-in with no friends the internet opened up a whole new world for me. I got to meet people from all over the world and talk with them. The conversations were vacuous and silly but it was a way to connect when I felt so alone. 

AIM gave me that opportunity. 

I still have one friend from that time, Heather. She was my “shopgirl” before I realized I really just wanted a “shopboy.” Well, I knew I wanted boys I just hadn’t accepted it because of my religious background. AIM let me “have a girlfriend” without having to actually touch or kiss another girl. It was all about words and creating an illusion. Honestly I did love her. She was sweet and I enjoyed talking to her. She lived in Allentown, Pennsylvania.  

When my husband and I went back to New York last years, I had wanted to meet with her (since she has moved) but it wasn’t possible. One day I hope to see her face to face and give her a friendly hug.

My real “shopboy” (btw this is a reference from “You’ve Got Mail” you must get to understand) came in the form of a dude named chuck77393. That was my husband’s old AIM name. And the first thing he ever said to me was “yeah, Diego and I are still together.” I of course being the troublesome 17 year old I was continued on the conversation like I knew who he was and what he was talking about. I added his sign name to my “buddy list” and proceed to message him until he and Diego called it quits. That was 14 years ago.  Crazy. 

Though AIM also offered some not so good or nice things. It helped facilitate the meeting for my first sexual encounter. 

I was 14 years old when I messaged Trucker93313. I’m not positive, but almost certain this man was in his forties. He and I arranged through IM that I would meet him at the end of my street and he would take me back to his place, which turned out to be the sleeper of his semitruck parked in a Rite-Aid parking lot. Gross. 

I justified it at the time because I wanted to know whether or not I was really gay. I had been looking at pornographic websites and feeling so much shame. (Never once did I check out women by the way.) I needed and answer and this strange man agreed to meet with me. I lied and said I was 16, like that is somehow better than 14 when the dude is sitting near a half a century, but whatever. The logic of a pubescent brain. 

I walked away from that event feeling disgusted and certain I was DEFINITELY not gay. As it turned out I am most certainly a homosexual it was just this dude that was disgusting. 

When I think about it, this man could have murdered me. I knew nothing about him at all and if he had my parents would have had no idea what happened to me when they woke in the morning to find that I was gone. 

With the announcement of AOL ending AIM after 20 years, it has made me reflect on all the hours I spent at the computer, conversing with strangers. It really and truly changed my life and had a profound affect on it. It helped me realize and understand my sexual identity and it got me the man I would spend with for the rest of my life.  I will forever be in its debt. 

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Australian Same-Sex Marriage

So, an article came across my yahoo.com newsfeed (yeah, I know, the eye roll is appropriate.) It told of two gay men in Australia that were against gay marriage. Immediately I was enraged for a couple reasons, mostly because I know that this “news” station is using these two men to justify the other side’s opinion that it should be illegal. However, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s step back.

When gay marriage was being endlessly debated in the states I read and shared every article on Facebook. I joined a couple groups and would try and get all of my friends and family on board. One of my cousins, an out lesbian, never joined any of my groups and refused joining the fight. While she never outright said it, I knew she was against gay marriage. I was incensed. I couldn’t understand why. All I could conclude is that she’s 1) a nut-job and 2) a republican, which I assume is just to be “different.”

One time when I was taking a basic English class to “get back to the roots of writing” (god, I’m an idiot) I was put into a group that had this one little shit in it that was full of opinions. I have since seen him working at a movie theatre as a ticket taker, so, looks like he’s doing well for himself.   Anyway, I took this class during the heated ‘Prop 8’ in California and the topic was on everyone’s minds. This particular person informed the group that he had gay friends that didn’t want gay marriage because, and I fucking quote, “they didn’t want to get married.” Um… Excuse me? If this was even remotely true (and god I hope it isn’t) all I could think was that this is the most selfish reason to not want legislation. You don’t want to get married? Much like our hetero counterparts they don’t HAVE to get married. They can stay single until the day they die drunk and alone, to be eaten by their hundreds of cats. But to vote against your own community because YOU don’t want to get married is some bull shit.

This article (which I will post a link at the bottom) brings back that rage. How can these fuck faces sit there and tell all the others in their community they don’t believe in marriage because they don’t see themselves getting married. Are you fucking high on poppers? Maybe if you take the bottle away from your nostril for a couple days you might gain some clarity. This is not just for you, it’s for everyone. To sit there and purposefully harm someone else THAT DOES WANT TO GET MARRIED is beyond cruel.

That’s the thing about politics that confuses the hell out of me. People pass this legislation because it either will or won’t affect THEIRSELF. Fuck the other people that have hopes and dreams.

I truly hope this “couple”… I mean, can we call them that? They’re not… I mean… They’re men. That word is reserved for heterosexual couples that aren’t living in sin. They shouldn’t even be allowed to share a bed. They’re not married. They’re just friends… I hope these “friends” are ostracized by their community. Fuck having they’re “own opinion.” “Everyone should be treated with respect.” No they fucking don’t. You’re not showing any courtesy to those who want to get married so why should these “friends” be given any?

Here is the match: https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/36960765/same-sex-marriage-wollongong-gay-couple-oppose-marriage-push/

 

Same Cake, Different Frosting

Evidently, it is human nature to do the same thing and expect different results. Einstein defined this as the definition of insanity; however, I think it applies to everyone. There are areas of our lives that we need to learn hard lessons, and even then it doesn’t mean it will prove to have any effect on our way of life. I say this because yesterday a bakery in my own hometown declined to bake a cake for a gay couple’s wedding day because it was against her religion. I get enraged for a number of reasons, not just, because it’s discrimination (no matter how you cut it) but I thought we had moved on. Clearly, we need another round of lessons. So, settle in class.

The thing that hurts me the most is that this is happening in my very town. No matter how liberal or crazy someone outside of the state of California views it’s residents it doesn’t apply into my pocket of bloody red that resides at it’s heart. This town is bleeding republicans. Which is why I am not surprised that it happened, but at the same time in shock. I get so comfortable in my own bubble surrounded by people that love and accept me without question. So, hearing that someone else has refused a service to one of my community members resonates on a whole other level because I know that I could very well have been in their shoes. It also makes me feel guilty, because I have very rarely come across any kind of hatred.

One of my good friends posted how he understood but it made him uneasy that government should have a say over private businesses. You mean, like laws? Where businesses have to have disclose all things in their food or how they have to abide by cleanliness? I’m confused. Where do we draw this supposed line?

My thought is that if you open a business there is a legal and social contract that is understood and accepted; unless the patron in your establishment is acting irrationally, you have to serve them. “The customer is always right,” has been echoed in retail since it was coined (by JC Penny I believe…). And unless you’re establishment offers a niche service there is no reason to say “I can’t do this.” For instance, if I went to a vegan restaurant and demanded a steak. Well, they don’t serve steaks. Or If I go to a Christian book store and demand the latest Stephen King novel. Those things don’t exist in that realm. So, when I walk into a bakery and ask for a cake, unless I don’t have the money or am calling you every filthy name under the sun (and speaking to a man that isn’t there), then the owner has to serve them.

It’s petty bull shit. “My religious beliefs….” Okay, what if this is that person’s third marriage, after she has been divorced twice for adultery? Are you still going to serve them? What about a couple that has had multiple children out of wedlock and is only now getting married? Their morals don’t exist then. They just see dollar signs. But, God forbid (pun intended), that they make a cake for a gay couple.

Now, in this event in my own hometown the baker at least was a “good Christian” and directed them to a bakery that does. Bless their heart. Doing the good Christian thing. However, here is how I see the situation. Let us say I have a coffee shop. And this same faithful baker comes in wearing all the trappings of a “Christian” and upon seeing them I pull her aside and say “I’m sorry. I don’t serve Christians here. However, there is another coffee shop across town that does. You’ll have to go there. Sorry.”

Everyone and there cat knows that woman would be infuriated and raise all kinds of hell. (Pun, again, intended.) Moreover, she would have every right to. No one should experience discrimination for any reason. Ever. At all. No matter what. Unless they’re just an outright asshole. Then let the denial of services commence.

So, if one has a hang-up about making a goddamn cake for a couple of homos on their wedding day then don’t make cakes. Make muffins for a coffee shop. Sell JUST cookies. If your morals are “so strong”, do not go into a job that would infringe upon your beliefs. It is common sense.

If this couple had gone in and lied about what the cake was for and they had made it, the woman would have done just that and they would have taken the cake to their gay wedding. Has this woman now participated in their unholy matrimony? Has she tarnished her “spotless” soul and barred herself from the gates of heaven? No.

The mental gymnastics must get exhausting.

To quote their own faith at them, what about the parable of the Good Samaritan? It was told by Christ to his followers and it detailed how a man lay beaten and bloody in a ditch and was passed up by all these holy men and strangers and wasn’t tended to until a Samaritan (a group of people who were seen as disgusting) finally came to his aid because he saw a man in need. They would say, oh, well the story is about helping out someone in medical need. True, but that’s not how parables work. They are miniscule lessons that impart an overall message. The thing you learn from the parable is HELP YOUR FELLOW MAN NO MATTER WHAT.

So, like most of everything that is happening in our country, here we are, once again. Same shit, just a different day.

My Gay Royalty Proclamation/Coronation

I have decided to name myself the voice and face of the gay community. Why not? Who’s going to stop me? Sure it’s self appointed, and sure most of my opinions tend to run against what most feel, but I find that the ones that have stepped up to the plate are shameful and stupid.

I sat down the other day to see if I could in fact think of gay icons that represent or are the final voice for my homo homies. The ones I could think of were infamous characters who should be banned from ever stepping foot in public again. I speak of course about Perez hellno and Milo yaya-BGB. They made themselves famous by saying off-color remarks and having hard opinions on things, which, to their credit, is what someone claiming to be a voice for their people should have. None of this wishy-washy bull-shit. We need leaders. I can be that voice.

To offer some credentials I have dabbled in most scenes or are VERY aware of them, however I live a very sedate life with my husband, longing for an expanded family through invitro or adoption. (The jury is still out on which route we intend to go.) While I have hard opinions on most things I have a thing that those other gents lacked… what was that word again… Oh yeah, apathy. However, I am by no means a pushover. Sometimes the gays can be so immersed in their own bull shit that they can’t see the pile of shit for the turds. It’s a horrible an unfortunate analogy but I was going for a cohesive image.

Then, my gleaming credit is that for two semesters I wrote a column for my college paper called “The Gay Agenda.” It dealt with a bevy of topics, all of which were discussed within the limited character length. My first column, discussing my coming out twice to my parents, won me third place from the California College Media Awards. Sure, I had to pay $65 for a ticket into the banquet to physically receive the award, but that doesn’t lessen the fact that I did in fact win. (First and second were both columns about Colin Kapaernik, so… That’s way more important than the baring of my soul to an audience primarily comprised of conservative individuals that own guns. So thanks for that.)

One of the gay icons I love is Jonny McGovern, and he has a song called “Gay Questions” where he croons “I got gay questions, and I need gay answers.” Well, Mr. McGovern, while you have the questions I may certainly not have the answers, but I will try my darndest to find them. And I don’t know how the two fisting bottom doesn’t get trunk but. Kegel exercises on the reg? Or Maybe they just made a deal with the devil.

So for my first and foremost “final answer” to end all commentary and questions, I will discuss the comments made by Andrew Garfield.

If you are not in the know he said he considered himself a gay man, just without the whole nasty business of taking it or giving it up the butt. He was a little more eloquent in the way he conveyed it, but I am trying to reach my readers through humor.

How I see it is the man had nothing but love in his heart when he said it. Sure it’s weird, but at the core of what he was trying to say is that he sees through our eyes in such a way that he can identify. Sure he won’t face the same kind of discrimination most of us will encounter (luckily I have found next to none, praise Albus) yet he will be the first to step up and defend us. At least I would hope. What we need are allies. We can’t do this alone and getting angry with him over something he said, when his intent was kindness, is just petty. It appears that at times the community allows ourselves to be consumed by our own victimhood and we let it run our lives.

The truth is Andrew Garfield will never understand what it truly means to be a gay man. Ever. Unless he’s a fucking gay man. If he is… bitch… Quit  being a pussy about it and come out. The more people are honest with themselves and those around them, then will change occur. The Gay rights movement has made leaps and bounds in such a short amount of time. I say that with certainty because we seem to be more accepted by people than most people of color. We are still fighting that shit today.

So, kids, when someone says something that seems off-color, stop and THINK! Ask yourself, what are they trying to say? Are they a friend/advocate? Is their message coming from a place of love? People make mistakes in an effort to show their a friend. Don’t overreact with some bullshit about using the wrong pronoun or assuming someone’s gender. (Fuck, that stuff irritates me.)

So sayeth the spokesman for the gay community, J.R.

 

Faithful Musings

I know that I will not offer up any new insight into religion. More than likely most of my views have been gathered by others around me. What I can say in regards to religion is from my own perspective of having grown up in a deeply religious household, in addition to attending Christian school from pre-k to 8th grade. 

Through all that time I can tell you that religion does not make people good. On the contrary most of the people I have encountered in the faith are cold, cruel, and heartless unless it directly benefits them. There have been a few that exhibited what it is to be a “Christian” but they are few and far between. Primarily what I witnessed was “oh you’re not in our faith? You don’t go to our church? Then sorry. Not my problem.” Also, if someone wasn’t attractive or thin they weren’t wanted. 

My worst nightmares from church were the moments when the pastor had everyone in the congregation stand up and greet their neighbor. I hated it because most people didn’t say anything to my parents or myself. No one was ever friendly. They were doing it because the man in the suit told them too. Which is hilarious because that is the summation of what faith is. 

At one point faith was created as a way to explain the things that didn’t have a basic answer. It was man trying to understand all that was around them. Science has done away with the mystical powers. That’s why any scientific thought was considered heracy. It made man begin to question the world around them and as one of my heroes, Jim Jefferies, says is nothing is more toxic to religion than questions. 

With science the reason for even having faith, other than getting sky cake when we die (thanks Patton Oswalt), was to tell people how to be good and not be sinners. The strangest part about that is I have seen more hatred in the name of faith than anything else. At least if an atheist does something cruel we all just know he’s an asshole. When someone of faith does it they rationalize it and try to justify their actions with this made up bull shit from their respective texts. 

A couple weeks ago a gay couple in Indonesia were sentenced to a public caning for having sex. Now, they were discovered by accident but their punishment was deliberate. A news organization that covered this event interviewed the attendees to see their reaction and one woman, with her head scarf, said that she was glad they did it. That way no one would do it in the future. That statement shows her ignorance like someone would just choose to have sex with someone of the same sex, without any attraction. That’s not how sex works. Or just attraction. If there’s no spark nothing’s happening, you know?

I have gotten to the point where I want all faiths to go away. They really don’t offer anything to society except a reason to be a dick without being labeled one. And my thought is if you have to have some “higher being” tell you to be nice, you’re just not a good person and no amount of prayer will save you. 

When I was younger I prayed every night for god to take away the gay. I didn’t want to be at all. Yet as I got older I realized it wasn’t me that was broken, it was the thought behind that prayer. If god doesn’t make any mistakes then me being gay isn’t one of them. However the faithful work around is that it’s the devil trying to corrupt me. Okay, sure, Mary Beth. I think the real evil was if I had forced myself into a Hererosexual relationship with a woman to please god while all the while having no real attraction for her and lying. More than likely I would not be able to fight the “urges” and I would meet up with a stranger and thus have committed adultery. Then the lying gets stronger. It seems like I’m doing more sinning pretending to be straight than I am just being gay. 

Which brings me to the strangest of my week. I encountered a conservativel, Christian, gay man. The first two statements make sense but the gay part is the one that doesn’t fit. Out of the three that is the one I think is the most honest. The other two need to go because it’s him trying to live up to a standard or expectation that is inauthentic to who he is. And because he’s forcing himself into a mold he does not fit he is a RAGING alcoholic. This dude got so wasted at our game night I couldn’t believe he didn’t pass out. (Not to mention he used the n-word in the way it was originally intended. And that is NOT okay.) 

Religion is truly a harmful thing and is used to control the masses. Anything that forces you to not question anything and expects everyone to follow their faith is a cult. 

Always with the gender identity

I have a playlist called “Gay Shit!” and on it resides the songs that one would think lived up to the title. I forced my husband and roommate to listen to it on our way back from a day trip to San Jose. (We saw Bianca Del Rio’s stand-up show.) Now, I say forced because my husband doesn’t like a single song on the list. He’s more of a country and 80-90’s rock kind of beast; our roommate couldn’t have given two shits, as long as it wasn’t more country.

As I raced along I-5 in the middle of the night, we bumped the usual kind of club beats. As it reached the end I felt a pang of guilt for subjecting them to my “poor taste.” So, I readied up my next favorite playlist called “The 90’s.” I didn’t, however, tell them that I was doing that and after about eight or nine songs into it our roommate said, “Damn, this is all on ‘Gay Shit.’ I like all these songs.”

I quickly corrected him and changed the subject.

After harmlessly rolling over his statement it occurred to me, even if these songs he liked were on my “Gay Shit” playlist what would that have meant? That he is somehow ‘gay’ for liking them? It should be noted, that our roommate is the gayest heterosexual I have ever encountered. It is this detail that gives me the confidence to say that he meant nothing by his statement. But it definitely got me thinking.

For instance, why did I even feel the need to label the playlist “gay shit” in the first place? Couldn’t it just be “fun favorites?” Just because a song happens to be attracted to a sub-group of society doesn’t mean that it should just be bulked with them.

I get that this is just me being over analytical about a mundane statement. No matter what way I cut it. My title was just me being cute for the sake of myself. But is there a level of shame from both of us in what we said and did?

For me I concluded that it goes back to the idea of gender identity and what is and isn’t masculine and “appropriate” for a man to do. Society is so hung up on what is meant for one sex to do over another. If a man goes outside of the usual tropes they’re seen as a sissy or less than a man. Because of these deeply ingrained ideas we keep ourselves from enjoying things without some sort of baggage or label attached to them.

God, I hate people. We can never let someone just enjoy something. Even I am super guilty of that. I made catty and bitchy comments about this dude at the Bianca Del Rio show.

First off, this queen was GOING OFF. He was standing, waving his finger until it was just a blur above his knuckles, shouting “YAS QUEEN,” and snapping like he was at some sort of slam poetry. It was relentless. It got to a point where this dude, just enjoying himself, was distracting me from the show and I was having a horrible time. I couldn’t stop watching. (Plus it didn’t help that some fag-stag’s head was in my way of viewing Bianca Del Rio so I was forced to see only this queen.)

Now, I’d like to think that I hated this stranger because he was being super obnoxious. However, I’m afraid that it’s because of the bullshit male stereotypes I found his overabundant “faggotry” to be offensive and thus ruin my time. Although he was having a blast. Well, until Bianca turned on him and told him to kill himself. The entire theatre erupted in cheers and the bitch rushed from the theatre in shame.

So maybe it was just that he was annoying as fuck.

High school sweethearts

Today my husband encountered something that shocked and astounded me. 

He’s taking the photojournalism class I took last semester and today they did the assignment for “portrait.” One of the volunteer models was this 15 year old boy. 

My husband said that this boy had brought another along with him and they were being playful with each other in a way that gave him the impression that they were together. They were lightly touching the others waist or arms. Nothing that screamed “hey! We got a gay here!”

All of the students in the class grabbed a model and disappeared to do the assignment, other than my husband and this boy. He went up and asked him to be his model and they took pictures.

As they were walking my husband asked if he and the boy were together and the boy said “how could you tell?” 

It turns out that this 15 year old boy and his boyfriend are engaged to be married in a year. A year. He’ll be sixteen. His fiancé is 18. 

What I find so shocking is that in my conservative, bible buckle of the Bible Belt, town that not only do this boy’s parents accept him as a gay man BUT also have given permission for the two to be married. That’s insane!

I shouldn’t be this amazed, my mother alone is testament to the power of love and acceptance, but I think this a testament to change. Real change. 

While I wish the best for these two, part of me thinks that they won’t make it very long. Teenage romance has it tough already, the fact that they’re also gay men doesn’t really add to the potential success rate of this relationship. 

Pessimism aside, the fact that I even have this story to tell brings me so much joy.