Posts Tagged ‘gay’

Every gay man needs a married woman to talk to. And visa versa.

The video version: http://youtu.be/lh013eTrkbk  

The book version: http://tinyurl.com/ksrz3w8 

The Solid Limb

Posted: August 17, 2013 in Uncategorized
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November 9th, 2011

Many of you know I recorded a video last year for the It Gets Better project (Gay Catholic Author Says It Gets Better). The video received notice in a news article by the Religious News Service (Gays tell teens It Gets Better despite religion) and continues to receive hits — and comments.

Recently, I received the following comment:

‘what is the matter with you? your story was beautiful up until you mentioned your boy friend and marriage. that’s terrible and completely wrong according to Catholic Tradition.Grgory58′

I prepared a response to Grgory58…but was not able to fit it all in given the 500 character limit on YouTube. Here’s my full reply:

@Grgory58

There is nothing wrong with me – or you either. We are both God’s perfect creation. You say that my having a boyfriend or being married to a man as ‘terrible and completely wrong according to Catholic Tradition.’

To the first part of that comment (the ‘terrible’ part), I strongly disagree. Love, self-acceptance, and the need for human companionship are not ‘terrible.’There are lots of things in this world that are terrible…like the fact that over 120,000 lives have been lost in the Iraq war. Or that gay teens are between two and three times more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual peers. Or just plain old everyday bigotry or hatred. Those things are TERRIBLE. Think about it. Pray about it.

To the second part (the ‘Catholic’ part), I do agree that sexual relations between two people of the same gender are ‘completely wrong according to Catholic Tradition’ – although I would add ‘as we know it today’ (read John Boswell’s Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality to learn more about what that was like in the past). What I have learned in my head and heart throughout my thirties and now into my forties, is that God and love are much, much larger than Catholic Tradition. And that Catholic Tradition has not always ‘gotten it right.’ As a result, Catholic Tradition no longer drives my decisions.

I do recognize that, per the Catholic Church, I’m considered ‘out on a limb’ in my belief that same-gender love and commitment are blessed. But I’m filled with peace out here on this solid limb, swaying gently in the summer breeze. Because now, 45 years down the road of this life, I recognize that God is out here with me. Along with lots of other faithful, good people, all trying to make their way home.

Just like you and me.

                       

For fun, I post my stuff at www.GregoryGerard.net.

For serious, I post my stuff at www.JupitersShadow.com.

I invite you to visit my stuff.

June 25th, 2011

I join many, many people today to celebrate the passage of a marriage equality law in my home state, New York.

As one (straight) friend put it: ‘we were thinking of you tonight and the lifting of Jupiter’s Shadow.’

I am filled with joy for all of us here today — and hope for the next generation to which we can now leave this wonderful legacy. I do believe this will provide more hope that love is always blessed, more proof that it gets better, and more light to those who feel crushed in the shadows.

Thanks to all the senators who had the bravery and integrity to pass this legislation — including some who risked much politically to do so.

                       
For fun, I post my stuff at www.GregoryGerard.net.

For serious, I post my stuff at www.JupitersShadow.com.

I invite you to visit my stuff.

Slumlord Hero

Posted: August 17, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

November 10th, 2010

Things you need to know, in no particular order:

It was 1984.

I was 18.

I lived with my oldest sister, Molly.

The two girls who moved into the top floor of our building had never thrown a party before.

I was new to Cincinnati, having migrated from Western New York to attend Xavier Jesuit

University.

I had a desperate crush on my best friend, Bob, from our all-boys high school back home.

He didn’t know.

Neither did anybody else.

☺☻☺

Our landlord lived in the apartment next to ours.

Our landlord was friendly in a way that made you wonder if he had ever sold used cars.

Our landlord’s name was ‘Larry.’

He reminded me of Larry Tate from Bewitched, in name, looks, and personality.

Larry’s wife was Ann, a gentle woman who smiled at us each morning as she left for a professional office job.

Larry stayed at home to landlord.

Molly and I tried to figure out how Larry ever managed to entice somebody as sweet and (apparently) saavy as Ann.

We failed.

☺☻☺

Our apartment had a glamour that only turn-of-the-century apartment high rises can provide.

The two of us shared three bedrooms, two living rooms, a kitchen and bath.

Most of the rooms had grand, marble-mantled fireplaces and soaring, twelve-foot ceilings.

The apartment was affordable because of the neighborhood.

People who looked like they might earn most of their income from drug deals hung around our front steps.

A sign ‘PARK AT YOUR OWN RISK’ hung over the back steps.

We lived on the fourth floor.

The elevator didn’t work.

When we asked Larry about this, he laughed and said, ‘Oh, it’s an old dog like me, haha!’

I made frequent trips down the four flights to see if any letters from Bob had arrived in our gold-gilded mailbox.

It was a long walk back up.

☺☻☺

As I mentioned, two girls moved onto the sixth floor.

They were college-age like me.

One looked like Mary Lou Retton; the other, Blair from The Facts of Life.

I helped them carry their stuff up.

☺☻☺

Larry wouldn’t fire up the building’s boiler until well into October.

Molly and I were chilly.

‘Ann and I like it crisp – haha!’ he said cheerfully, when we asked for heat.

☺☻☺

The whole building was invited to the sixth-floor apartment-warming.

Molly had to work, so I went alone.

Forty people with beer cups crowded around a keg.

The spacious apartment did not feel crowded.

There were lots of nice-looking guys my age.

Larry was there.

Hostess #1 made a point to introduce me to her single girlfriend.

I started drinking right away.

On my fourth trip to the keg, I overheard Hostess #2 telling a story to several All-American college guys.

And Larry.

In fact, they were talking about Larry.

I joined them.

It seems, earlier in the evening, one of the hostesses’ guests had poured a beer out of the sixth-floor window.

It landed on one of the Potential-Drug-Dealers’ heads.

Despite the six-floor climb, he showed up almost immediately and banged on the door.

He screamed at Hostess #2, who answered.

Larry intervened, beer in hand, and diffused the situation.

‘Here,’ he said, putting his arm around the P-D-D and leading him to the keg, ‘one for your head and one for your belly – haha!’

I groaned, sensing where this was heading.

Hadn’t the girls figured Larry out yet?

Didn’t his clammy handshake tell it all?

Wasn’t the broken elevator the first of many clues?

‘Larry is our hero,’ Hostess #2 added.

I burst out laughing.

Which garnered her attention.

‘I don’t understand why you’re laughing,’ she said.

‘I was really scared,’ she said more loudly.

‘I think you’re an asshole,’ she said even more loudly.

I slunk away, reaching exponential levels of longing for Bob and home and high school and all the people who didn’t think I was an asshole, as I returned to conversation with Hostess #1’s single girlfriend.

Larry continued to baste in praise from the keg crowd.

                        

For fun, I post my stuff at www.GregoryGerard.net.
For serious, I post my stuff at
www.JupitersShadow.com.
I invite you to visit my stuff.

October 19th, 2010

I was recently interviewed by a reporter for the Religion News Service (Gays tell teens ‘it gets better’ despite religion) about my video for the It Gets Better project (Gay Catholic Author says It Gets Better). What always surprises me is that, despite how much information might be communicated in an interview, how little often makes it to the finished product. I appreciate that attention spans are short — and that news must be consise, but to that I say, ‘Thank God for blogs!’

I’ve decided to post my extended responses to the interview questions below. To share the rest of the (gay) story.

Q: What do you think of the IT GETS BETTER project, both generally and in terms of the contributions that have come from faith leaders and people from Mormon/Catholic/Muslim evangelical, etc. backgrounds?

A: I couldn’t be more pleased. You know, this YouTube technology has existed for awhile – but it always takes someone with an idea and conviction to get something started. And it’s so simple! The GLBT community as a whole – present and future – owes a debt of gratitude to Dan Savage for having the courage and the conscience to initiate it.

When I was in grammar school in rural Western NY in the 1970s, homosexuality as a topic really didn’t come up in conversation at the dinner table, or at St. Michael’s School, or among my friends. At the time, I had the vague sense that the word had to do with something dirty or shameful…and certainly sinful.

When I began to recognize feelings within myself of attraction – not to girls, but to other boys – I almost immediately went into secrecy mode. There was NO WAY I was going to be a homosexual. And THAT’s when I started the investigation – all in secret. Back then, I had to rely on the library for human sexuality books, or my parent’s encyclopedia, or my bible from religion class at Catholic school – that’s where I was getting my information.

In my childhood, there were no positive gay role models that I recall. On the contrary, I remember a TV movie of the week with Joan Collins (The Making of a Male Model) and there was a gay side character that was tragically sarcastic – he ended up in a suicide attempt. That was my only image of gay people – being carried away on a gurney.

                       

The messages that I found in my secret investigation – they were so mixed. The encyclopedia talked about theories of angry fathers and overbearing mothers. The human sexuality books said that adolescent feelings of attraction between boys were pretty normal – that it was just a phase; that it would pass. The Bible used words like abomination. So the conclusion from my research was that I WAS NOT GOING TO BE A HOMOSEXUAL. Period. And that I’d just have to wait for the feelings to pass.

If I could have had access to information like the IT GETS BETTER project – holy cow. What that positive and thoughtful, everyday dialogue might have meant to me. Hearing that other people LIKE me had struggled like I was struggling – wow. I know I would have felt less alone. More like I belonged.

Again, the messaging I received from church was very minimal. I recall an article from the newspaper that a boy read in a public speaking class in 6th grade “Church Says No to Gays.” That stuck with me – even now, 30 years later.

The priests and nuns really didn’t mention gays. There were little innuendoes here and there – like the reading of the Sodom and Gomorrah story in 9th grade religion class. But the thing is, I had so successfully convinced myself that I wasn’t gay – I was so successfully hiding my secret, even from MYSELF, that I played along with the subtle homophobia – when kids would use ‘fag’ or ‘queer’ as a derogatory adjective. I’m sure I did some of it myself. Or, on the surface, I didn’t worry about Father Jamison’s raised eyebrows during the Sodom and

Gomorrah story. Because I was banking on the fact that my affection for other boys would pass as I grew older.

Of course, I would have watched IT GETS BETTER videos in total secrecy – but I could have discovered the one thing that I wasn’t finding elsewhere – HOPE.

I’ve observed that there’s a general perception of fear around this subject when the GLBT community proposes talking with grammar or high school kids. My own high school won’t even acknowledge on the alumni achievements’ site that I wrote a gay Catholic memoir. (I requested; they politely refused). They’ve celebrated other books by other alumni…but not mine.

What many adults don’t seem to be able to acknowledge is that kids ARE dealing with these things in grammar school. I experienced my first erection around 5th grade. I looked at my first “dirty magazine” when I was in 7th grade. I had my first masturbation experience and subsequent first sexual encounter in 8th grade.

And through all those early experiences with sexuality – I was so sickened and ashamed – because through all of them, I wasn’t thinking about Farrah Fawcett or Wonder Woman. I was thinking about Superman. And I mistakenly believed that such feelings were NOT OKAY with God.

The IT GETS BETTER project can reach kids who need to hear these messages in a private, powerful way. I know my next example is cliché, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Consider that an African-American adolescent who has been bullied for being black can come home to their African-American parents and potentially receive sympathy and solidarity. A gay kid who has been bullied and can come home and receive sympathy from straight parents – but not the solidarity. In my opinion, IT GETS BETTER can supply that sense of ‘I’ve been there.’

Q: In what way do you think religion has contributed to gay bullying/suicides?

A: In my opinion, the messages from many organized religions – although I’m most familiar with Catholic – ultimately empower the culture of bullying. They don’t condone it, but they do empower it. Don’t get me wrong – my faith has offered a lot of comfort when grappling with difficult subjects throughout my whole life. But the fantastic struggle I had as an adolescent was that God seemed to be sending me two opposing messages: condemning the behavior of two men loving each other – then consoling me in my grief and loneliness. I mean, when I got into high school and did even MORE secret research on gay sexuality, the messages I received at that point were more clear: Catholic gays who were sexually active were not welcome at the altar of Christ; homosexuals were called to live chaste lives (supposedly like all the other single Catholics out there – but nobody EVER seemed to want to point out the simple logic that straight single Catholics had the option to love and to marry. They had HOPE). I learned that, if I was truly gay, I was to link my sacrifice to the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, and endure a solitary life of chaste endurance. Which seemed like a pretty bleak message to a healthy boy of 17.

When you classify someone as “less than” for any reason, you empower others to feel – and act – “better than.” To me, that’s what the negative messages about homosexuality and homosexual behavior from many organized religions ultimately achieve.

Q: What is the responsibility of faith leaders and people of faith here?

A: I think that faith leaders and people of faith need to continue to educate themselves – even more than they are today. Talk to gay people. Watch 100 videos on IT GETS BETTER. Read the bible stories about David and Jonathan or Ruth and Naomi. Pray. Be willing to stretch their faith. Pray some more.

If, after all that, they still hold a belief that a loving, generous God does not celebrate the committed love of man for man or woman for woman, I ask them to consider how they act on that belief. ESPECIALLY if they work with children. Because the next adolescent they encounter might be like I was. A kid grappling with an overwhelming problem in secret. A secret big enough to encourage suicide as a more ‘holy’ solution.

Most of all, they should consider that ‘towing a Catechismal line’ that condemns homosexual behavior – all in the name of faith – can rob devout gay kids of something as equally as important as faith: HOPE.

Gregory Gerard is a gay Catholic author who resides in Rochester NY with his partner of thirteen years. His memoir, In Jupiter’s Shadow, explores the importance of emerging from the ‘shadow’ of others’ expectations and how people can often work to hide important truths from the most important person in their lives: themselves.

For fun, I post my stuff at www.GregoryGerard.net.
For serious, I post my stuff at
www.JupitersShadow.com.
I invite you to visit my stuff.

Oh-My-God October

Posted: August 17, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

October 17th, 2010

I walk our spitz-husky, Cooper, around our city neighborhood in Rochester, NY, and cannot help but be stunned by the fantastic colors of October — even for a red/green color-blind guy like me.

Maybe this is what the world looks like to everybody else the rest of the year.

Thank God for the vibrant landscapes of October!

                       

For fun, I post my stuff at www.GregoryGerard.net.
For serious, I post my stuff at
www.JupitersShadow.com.
I invite you to visit my stuff.

October 10th, 2010

If you haven’t yet heard news about the “It Gets Better” project, I encourage you to take some time to check it out.

In support of theIt Gets Betterproject, I’ve recorded the following video to add my voice. It’s my prayer today that all kids learn to celebrate diversity in all of its forms. I recognize that’s a bit of a utopian ideal, but I do have faith in ultimate goodness.

Also, as of today, the ebook of IN JUPITER’S SHADOW is available as a free download to anyone who struggles with same-gender attraction and their faith. My wish is that this story helps those who struggle with sexuality and religion to feel less alone; to feel less condemned by God, or church, or family, or society — or even themselves.

For fun, I post my stuff at www.GregoryGerard.net.
For serious, I post my stuff at
www.JupitersShadow.com.
I invite you to visit my stuff.