Thursday, August 30, 2007

Gay Vulnerability

Random Anecdote: Brigham Young University hosted a dance tonight to help new students become acquainted one with another. There was a partner dance competition, and perhaps the most progressive (liberal) of all of BYU's male students, a guy named Ben, sought me out as his temporary partner. We danced, I dipped him, and he ended up winning with his girl partner (in the name of decency, of course). It was hilarious, miraculous, and downright blasphemous, so naturally I loved it. If only BYU knew what a commitment it made when it sent me my letter of acceptance. :)

Real Blog: A phenomenon has been occurring with increasing frequency in my life, and my beloved sister finally helped me to pinpoint it. I can only hope that identification is the first step to overcoming, for I often believe that I would be better without it.

When I interact with gay men who are aware of my own homosexuality, I commonly feel a myriad of emotions not typically associated with "hanging out." These range anywhere from feeling a heightened happiness or excitement to an utter confusion or continual anxiety. I leave these social sessions with feelings of ecstasy coupled with what could be termed an anxiety. Unfortunately, I did not know why this was; no amount of self-directed psychotherapy brought me to a conclusion.

The topic must have arisen randomly in conversation, and my incredible sister helped me pinpoint the issue. She explained to me how when I am with this crowd, my deepest, formerly darkest secret is completely on the table for all of these other men to accept or reject. She showed me how, in my social life, it is the pinnacle of vulnerability. I place my concealed sexuality and all of its appendages, facets, trials, etc. in the public (socially speaking) every time I associate with my gay friends.

To exacerbate the situation, my "deepest secret" directly relates to my acceptance or rejection by men. To illustrate, let me use an example: if someone's greatest secret was their love of apples, and they met with other people who loved apples, it would be a vulnerable situation but not anything exorbitantly so. However, if someone whose greatest secret was their love of apples met with a bunch of other apples (who also had a secret love of apples), things would be tricky. That is the plight of a gay man who associates with other gay men. The secrets, and thus the intimacy, are extremely open, and a part of the secret itself is whether or not the other people with the secret accept or reject you. That was a perplexing sentence, but I hope that I have left the reader in a position to understand what I'm saying at least on a basic level.

Does anyone else experience this phenomenon? Or should I not have posted this unique problem and kept it a deep secret? :)

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Gay Issues: A Presidential Forum

The American public was privileged tonight to hear from the presently-leading Democrats concerning their policies and platforms regarding same-sex relationships and other related implications. As I sat in front of my live stream, online version of this monumental interview process, I found myself alternating between inward grimaces of awkwardness and outward eruption of chills as the various candidates expressed their opinions both with their oral and bodily language. It was a fascinating night, and I wish to share it with you. As this is my blog, however, I reserve the conceited right to parade my opinions openly, and thus, ensuing are my opinions of each of the candidates regarding their comments on tonight's interview. (Note that I have alternated the order of my opinions from the order in which the candidates interviewed on the show. This is done primarily for impact; what's a blog if the "best for last" theory is abandoned? :) )

1) Perhaps the most lauded of the candidates were Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel, both of whom had the demeanor of friendliness and were similarly welcomed by the audience and hosts with much amiability. These men, in my opinion, represent the ultimate ideal and final product in American legislation regarding same-sex issues. They are the only two Democratic candidates in favor of the full-fledged "gay marriage," including all of the rights, as well as the societal meanings, of the word. They both referenced "love" as an important consideration in these issues, citing that what America needs desperately is a dose of love to replace the brooding fear that seems to overshadow us. When Kucinich noted that he would have suffered devastation if he, after meeting his wife ("the love of [his] life"), had been restrained from marrying her and consequently consummating their relationship simply due to societal notions, I was thrilled by his understanding and empathy regarding this issue. I thought that these men's attempts were noble, right, and strong, which unfortunately translates in the political world as "not a prayer for election." Electing these men is not currently feasible with the American public, but they are representative of progression, hopes, and soon-to-be achievements.

2) Bill Richardson, in my opinion, delivered the worst answers of all the featured candidates. He indicated that he believed homosexuality was a choice, and although he repeatedly attempted to credit himself with his prior legislation, I don't believe that he would take much action relating to gay issues if he won the coveted seat. The other candidate that I believed to be bluffing was John Edwards, who faced similar difficulties in his interview. Both of these men acted somewhat awkwardly, and both seemed to be lacking any genuine interest, only feigning (or perhaps embellishing) to appease the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered crowd in front of whom they appeared. I seriously doubt that either of them consider these issues to be the core of their campaigns (or their souls, for that matter), and this was evident by their demeanor and words tonight.

3) Hillary Clinton was rather impressive. She was certainly the most honest and blunt of the candidates, and after hearing multiple excuses and cover-ups, it was refreshing to hear a candidate candidly answer questions. Clinton, instead of excusing a weak past of little activity relating to gay issues, was honest about her past and present intentions. Her character was strong yet attractive, and although she didn't provide the audience or moderators with optimal answers, her decisiveness was electrifying, and all responded well.

4) Lastly, I would like to give my personal endorsement for Senator Barack Obama, a man in whom I have great "hope," as he would be pleased to hear. While the paradigms and aims of Kucinich and Gravel were inspiring, voting for them feels somewhat like throwing a penny into a toilet and really hoping to have the wish granted. Unfortunately, in our bipartisan political system, being too extreme on either end is almost a determining factor for failure. Obama knows this, and because his intent is to win, he has embraced the necessary evil of staying somewhere within the middle. His speech, as always, came like fire off of his tongue to ignite within me a renewed sense of vision and aspiration. Relative to gay issues, Obama appears to be very sincere in his desires for full equality, and although he is against gay marriage, he supports same-sex civil unions that grant full rights to the participants. Although very tactful (which is, perhaps, one of his greatest strengths), I felt the message that he is withholding the semantics of "marriage" to appease less liberal voters, although his heart, and his policies, are behind the rights of gays. I think Obama has vision, and as he stated, he is hopeful, even to the criticism or chagrin of "more experienced" politicians. And don't you think we could all use a dose of hope?

Share with me your opinions; I largely ignored other comments made about AIDS, "don't ask, don't tell," and other issues noted tonight, so please feel free to share with me anything and everything.

And happy voting!