…thinking that reason will eventually prevail.

Posted in Uncategorized on June 10, 2009 by Gay &...

A lot of this blog is about my different identities and how my sexual identity interacts with my life.  Being a part of GCN (www.gaychristian.net) has offered a lot of support and ideas for blogs.  This blog is completely inspired by a post a fellow GCN’er made the other day.  Instead of paraphrase or link you to this statement I just copied it here with his approval. 

 

“Usually people border the imbecilic but this anesthesiologist decided he was going to jump on over. He walked into the operating room where I was setting up some IVs and such and began to let me and two nurses know that California upheld Prop. 8. Obviously he was pleased with gay couples not being allow to marry. Fine. Great for him and his opinion. I figured if the guy can walk into a room and assume that everyone is going to rejoice along side him then I could assume that it would be okay for me to rain on his parade. I started on my view and somewhere along the topic I said that, for the most part, no one choses their sexuality. He thought that was complete bull**** and said that people CHOOSE their sexuality. Love this, right? Classic gay-on-straight argument. I asked him, “So, please tell me when you chose to be straight?” His response was something like, “I knew that being gay was wrong and so I chose to be straight.” I replied, “So you’re telling me you had homosexual tendencies at one point in your life and due to your religious conviction you *chose* to not follow that feeling and switch it up to heterosexuality?” “Well, no. I never had gay tendencies ever.” I pushed on, “Well, you see, I never had heterosexual tendencies/attractions. It was struggle to know what you’re attracted to yet know that the Christian churches do not support it.” I told him that I knew I was gay from an early age (let’s say about 5, because I know that I had these feelings before entering Kindergarten at age 6.) He said that it was bull**** for people to claim they remember back that far in their life. He labeled it all as an addiction of sorts. He compared me to murderers at first and then took it a step further and compared a gay to a pedophile. Obviously I flipped a lid and got pissed with the guy (all in a professional manner.) I guess what I’m doing right now is venting. Venting that people can still be so ignorant. Venting that people think they know it all just because they can quote a book. And even when something comes straight from the horse’s mouth they won’t bother to believe you. This was yesterday. Today was a new day and I worked with him again. Nothing was brought up but I did lose a lot of respect for the guy. I tell myself not to act like an ass to him (God knows I want to) but to be myself. The best ‘me’ I can be and show that Ukrainian that no matter what moronic comment or ignorant assumption he throws at me that I will stand strong in my faith in a God who’s love is not limited to a heterosexual but to anyone who reaches out to Him. Ouch. Terrible grammar. Don’t grade me.”

 

This person’s story hit me as I begin my new job.  It hit me because I have a “doctor” in my life who is resistant to accepting me with my sexual identity as a natural part of me and not a choice.  I will not name or indicate who this person is, but please know that this is hard for me write about.  The above-posters feelings are often mine.  Frustration, anger, intense sadness, and confusion.  I am frustrated that this person cannot be as logical as I am.  I am angry because sometimes this person uses phrases, makes faces, or stays silent when I think her reaction should be different.  I am intensely sad because this person means a lot in my life.  Finally, I am confused because I cannot understand how, after all these years, this person can still be uncomfortable and unsure of “my choices.” 

 

I know that I am preaching to the choir about this, but let me be clear with this…I did not choose this lifestyle.  This statement is not a self-deprecating statement to garner pity.  I love my life.  I love my fiance.  I would not choose to be straight.  The end!

 

Thank you for reading.  Please comment or add any information/feeilings you have.  Until next time…

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…happily astounded.

Posted in Uncategorized on June 5, 2009 by Gay &...

When a man says the word “fiance” people often assume that the other side to that pair is female.  Recently, with a new job, a new apartment, new furniture, and a new fiance, I have been using this word a lot.  In conversations at work, new co-workers are engaging me in small talk, and I find myself talking about my fiance a lot.  Leasing agents kept asking how my fiance and I were going to decide who slept in what room of our two-bedroom apartment.  We key responding that it was not an issue.  Movers asked who would be meeting them in the new apartment and I answered, “My fiance.”  I have also been telling friends (and some people apparently learned from here…again, I am really sorry about that!).  Needless to say I have been in a lot of situations where assumptions can be made about who my fiance is.

 

Pleasantly, people have not been overtly shocked, disgussted, or phased by the fact that my fiance is a man.  The mover (a huge, Hulk-of-a-man) barely missed a beat when I told him that my fiance Bill would be at the new apartment to meet the truck.  My new co-workers smile and ask how long he and I have been together.  The leasing agent…well…she figured it out eventually.  These assumptions can get some people angry and upset.  To me, they are a part of our societies norms.  The leasing agent asked that question because if she assumed we were gay but we were really  two straight men looking at apartments  she may have offended us.  Am I saying that I am fine with the fact that people think being gay is offensive?  No!  What I am saying is that sometimes we need to stop and think about people’s goals.  The leasing agent was selling us an apartment.  She was not trying to make social change.  There are ways to change these norms in our daily lives, but we need to pick and choose our battles.

 

I never want this post to get hot and serious.  All in all, life has been great recently.  One month, May 2009, encompassed a new job, a move from on-campus living to a great apartment, a new fiance (he is not new but the engagement is!), and a new chapter in my life.  I wanted to share some of that joy with you all.  Have a great day.  Thanks for reading.

…and not the earlybird.

Posted in Uncategorized on June 4, 2009 by Gay &...

It seems that in light of the new Prop 8 drama in California has really highlighted the old adage, “The early bird catches the worm.”  The California Supreme Court upheld Prop 8 (not a good thing…same sex marriage is unconstitutional), but the marriages performed prior to Prop 8 will be honored.  The moral?  Do it when its legal. 

 

There are so many things wrong with this that I am not sure where to begin.  First, how can you say that something is unconstitutional BUT only after we said it was.  Before we figured it out it was fine.  Doesn’t that just sound…dumb.  I can agree that this is a good thing that they are honoring the marriages prior to Prop 8.  I am sure that those people are ecstatic, but it is bitter sweet.  Because I planned, scheduled, and waited I am being penalized. 

 

Another point I was to make is that same sex marriages must not be as volatile and civilization destroying as they are being portrayed.  All of this anti-marriage rhetoric about how marriage equality being the decline of our Judeo-Christian society is weakened by the allowance of some gay marriages.  The opposition argues that gay marriage is like a cancer that will spread and destroy our world.  Gay marriage first then who knows?  I am not an oncologist, but I thought that leaving any cancer is bad.  It weakens their arguments to leave some gay marriages, but forbid others from being created.  I am sure that the opposition was not thrilled that past marriages was upheld, but I hope that we can use this as ammunition to show them that my marriage will not destroy their utopia of heterosexuality. 

 

So when my state finally legalizes gay marriage (and it will) my fiance and I will be married that very second.  I was never a person to rush these things or to do something like that, but I want to ensure that I get it in before it becomes impossible.  I grew up in a family that waited for the next Windows program to be out before we got the next version and we waited on new technology until it was “safe”.  My learned behavior is to wait to have the kinks ironed out.  If California and this Prop 8 debacle teaches us anything it teaches us that we cannot wait.  Victories in this battle for human rights and equality may be fleeting.  Every step forward we take someone is trying to push us back two. 

 

Thanks for sticking with me during a job transition, a move, and jest general life happenings.  Please comment.  Talk to you soon!

…reading The Barrens Chat (gamer part 2).

Posted in Uncategorized on May 7, 2009 by Gay &...

For those of you who do not know, The Barrens is a zone in World of Warcraft that is know for online chat conversations that are very juvenile and sophomoric.  I have titled today’s blog using this reference because a friend of mine commented on my last post with some interesting information.  Being an online gamer and being gay can often be difficult.  Companies such as Blizzard and Microsoft have had huge issues with allowing customers/users to express their sexual identities.  Why?  Because these topics, in the online gamer world, can cause a lot of controversy and headache.

Online bullying is a recent phenomena that has started on many different websites.  My fiance (yes, we got engaged recently) and I watched a news broadcast about online bullying on a breast cancer support website.  Online bullying is derogatory emails, messages, and chat conversations directed at an individual or group of individuals.

MMORPG’s are not free of online bullying or anti-homosexual content.  Microsoft banned, lifted, and re-banned the ability for gamers to have “gay”, “lesbian”, “queer”, and other words as part of a player’s user name.  Their intention was admirable.  They state it is because they do not want players to be subject to any discrimination.  While I thank them for this, I still feel that they are stopping people from expressing who they are.

Blizzard, the company behind WOW, has the aforementioned words in spam filters for the game.  If I wrote the word “gay” while I had a spam filter on you may see “@*$” instead.  Blizzard’s attempt, again, at making the chat about the game and attempting to protect clients forces those of us who want to share ourselves to be stifled.

Gamer communities can often be anti-homosexual.  It is not odd in The Barrens Chat to see jabs at people with the words “gay”, “dyke”, or “homo” as slurs for being stupid, annoying, or dumb.  You could spend an entire evening doing nothing but trying to get people to understand that their comments are hurtful.  It is often very difficult to make people believe that I am gay, let alone that my fiance(another man) is sitting five feet away from me telling me that I am not playing correctly.  A close friend left our guild in WOW (A guild is a group of people who form a community in the game to do stuff together) and changed servers because he felt he could not read/play with people who were so anti-homosexual.  Gay-friendly guilds and servers are not uncommon in MMORPG’s.  People feel so alienated and disgusted by their fellow gamers that they find online havens to get away from the hate.  My friend told me that he does not hang out with people who hate gay people so why should he do it while he is playing a game he enjoys.

In the end, trust me when I tell you that hatred and ignorance do not disappear because I look like a huge Orc with two awesome cleavers.  Whether I am short gay dwarf or a tall, slender gay Tauren it does not matter.  Rarely do I take a stand or say anything to the offenders because it will just get me frustrated and angry, but if more people stepped up and said, “that is not okay, Olaq!” the online world (and the real one) would be a much nicer place.

A few good notes before I close.  Maine passed marriage equality and we hope that sticks!  Second, I am trying to update on a regular basis but life keeps getting in the way.  Thank you for staying with me, and know that when my new job and my move settle down I will be writing more frequently.  Thank you for reading and keep the comments coming!

…a video gamer.

Posted in Uncategorized on April 23, 2009 by Gay &...

Or should I say “gaymer”.  Ever since I can remember I have played video games.  I can remember my Commodore 128 that had a button in the back to start it up in 64-mode.  I can remember playing random games like Alphabet Zoo and A Bard’s Tale. I spent hours creating and “walking” around the city that Bard’s Tale was set in.  I use quotes around walking because the game was a text-based role-playing game.  You typed, “Go Right” or “Go straight” to indicate where in the city you went.  From what I remember the game was virtually impossible.  I could never accomplish anything, but that never stopped me from playing.

As I grew older my family purchased a Sega Master System.  This was the predecessor of the more famous Sega Genesis.  The Master System had a cartridge and a card slot.  I can remember play Transbot and Spy vs. SpyTransbot was a side-scrolling, flying spaceship game.  You completed levels by flying through a board and defeating the boss.  You could upgrade your ship’s weapons and guns.  I can vividly remember my father playing this game while us kids were waiting for our turn.  He would kick his legs and move his hands while he played.  Spy vs. Spy was based on Mad Magazine’s characters of the same name.  The game was a split-screen game.  You played against another person.  The point was to hide traps around this mansion while you were searching for a key to escape with.  Once you found the key you had to board a helicopter and fly away.  My brother and I had many long hours playing this game.

My passion was really with computer games.  Growing up I played many different games.  Some of my favorites were Robin Hood: Legend of the Lowbow, Quest for Glory (1-5), and Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Father.  All of these aforementioned games were storyline games that do not allow advancement until the player completes all required triggers.  These games provided hours of enjoyed.  The stories were complex with many different puzzles and tasks to complete.  Gabriel Knight was the game that introduced me to Voodoo and its origins in the US.  The game centered around a bookstore owner who, through his destiny, becomes intertwined with a voodoo murder plot in New Orleans.  The story and cut-scenes were intense.  To say the game did not scare the snot out of me would be a lie.

My best friend while I was growing up also helped expand my love of video games.  We played many games in different genres.  Challenge of the Ancient Empires, Fantasy Empires, and Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight are just three of many we played.  My favorite game of these three was Fantasy Empires.  The game was a strategy game, similar to Starcraft or SimCity).  You had to build structures and defend countries.  The point was to destroy the other players and rule the nation.  The game was, in one word, awesome.  The mechanics were cool and the game play was really good.

Unfortunately, all of these games are from the ’80’s and ’90’s and they have not held up well.  Computers and technology have outgrown running any of these games well.  I remember trying to install one of these games on a computer a few years and being unable to even have the computer recognize the 3.5 disk.  Drivers for these games do not even exist for purchase on new computers.  Graphics and sound quality was so poor with these games that playing them now is almost painful.  About ten years ago I play Gabriel Knight again and I was horrified by the abysmal videos and graphics.  I also noticed the almost impossible quality for some of these games.  I am not sure if designers were trying to frustrate the youth of my generation or if they just never checked the feasibility of completing some games.  I cannot do this point justice so I will ask you to go to YouTube and search for the angry Nintendo Nerd.  He reviews older Nintendo video games; he is hilarious.  Watch him and you will understand.

I would be missing a huge part of my story if I stopped at my childhood.  As an adult I still play a lot of video games.  I own a Wii and play computer games almost daily.  I am proud to admit that I played World of Warcraft (WOW) for three years and quit last October.  I am sad to say that I replaced it with Warhammer Online. These are Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG).  In my defense, I do not invest as much time playing Warhammer as I did playing WOW. The game structure is different the player’s invest is less intense.

Being gay and a gaymer has been difficult at times.  There are a few things that can really hurt you while swimming in the gay dating-puddle.  Being over 22, not being a gym/underwear model, and being a gamer are three things that can end a date very quickly.  I vividly remember hiding my hobbies from my dates in hopes that I could lessen the impact of my dorkiness with time.  Sometimes it worked.  Other times…well…it didn’t.  My current boyfriend takes my gaymer-ness and surpasses it.  I am lucky (sometimes) if I can get him away from his computer.

I know that some people want to know about my other gaming passion, Dungeons and Dragons. I promise to write about that soon.  Until next time!  Thanks for reading!

a fan of Susan Boyle.

Posted in Uncategorized on April 21, 2009 by Gay &...

I am sure that some of you have no idea who Susan Boyle is.  I am also sure that some of you are sick and tired of hearing and seeing her everywhere.  For those of you who have no idea who she is please watch this clip (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CR_N9iljeMk&feature=rec-HM-rn ).

Why am I writing about her?  I know this may seem hard to believe, but but growing up I was kind of nerdy.  Until about eighth grade my mother shopped for most of my clothing.  I wore a lot of hand-me downs from my brother who is five years older than me.  I was a shorter kid who never really gained weight.  I wore glasses and had braces until my junior year of high school.  Needless to say, I was not the knockout that I am today.  In the same vein, Susan Boyle was doubted, not because of her known talent, but on her looks.  Susan, if you ever read this, I am sorry to say that you are not society’s view of beautiful or sexy.  The audience can be heard cat-calling her, laughing at her, and booing her.  The judges and audience are shown making faces and doubting her.  Oftentimes I have seen this by waiters and retail workers when a person who is not gorgeous orders or asks for something.  Our compunction is to make fun of that person.  Some psychologists would explain this as a method of improving your self-esteem through degrading someone else.  Some would just say it is human nature.  I call it cruel.

Our society is so obsessed with perfection in body, image, and clothing that Susan Boyle is an icon of the real world.  She is my reminder that people have souls.  She is my glimmer of hope in a world that can be cruel to those who do not fit in or look like the norm.  To Susan, thank you.  Thank you for helping the world see that talent can stem from anywhere.

My line of work is overly accepting.  I mean that we, in the field of student affairs, are often ready and willing to defend the different misfit.  When I began my current job I remember seeing a student walking on campus in a t-shirt with wolves on it.  We all know the t-shirt I mean.  You can get it in any museum gift-shop.  He was wearing a brown, bush-walking hat and using a huge staff.  Immediately I leaned over to my friend and commented on this “weird” kid.  My friend immediately fired back that he was Wicca and the staff was part of his religion.  I was taken aback by my lack of thought.  I often think of this student, and I want to apologize to him.  He was unafraid to be himself in a society where that can leave you outside of the majority.

Thank you for reading.  Have a great few days!

…Proud.

Posted in Uncategorized on April 17, 2009 by Gay &...

I am proud of my students.  I am proud that they are participating in the National Day of Silence to support and advocate for GLBT people who have been silenced throughout time.  I am proud that they won the Excellence in Diversity Award.  I am proud that they raised over $3000 in a month to send themselves to a training on how to help win marriage equality in NJ.  I am proud of all of the hard work that my students put into collecting surveys in my residence halls.  I am proud of my students’ first drafts.  Ultimately, today is about pride (if somehow you missed that theme!).

It has been a long week with minimal free time.  As always, I appreciate your readership and promise that next week will I will be back to my Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule.  Continue to support friends, family members, and yourself in the fight for equal rights and respect.  Peace!