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How I Never Came Out

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I believe, human sexuality can be a very fluid element of our being. If you believe in the Kinsey Scale, however, I’m definitely a six. But I remember well a conversation I had with my first real boyfriend, Tom. I was nineteen or twenty; he was eighteen. And straight.

After months of pining away for him, having never even kissed him, yet spending practically every waking moment together, and assuring him my love was real and true, one day he asked me, “Why do you want to sleep with me?”

It was one of those questions you assume you would be able to answer without thought or hesitation, but I could not.

After a minute or two, I had my answer. “To communicate my love for you.” And at the tender age of nineteen or twenty, I realized that, for me, making love is a form of human communication. A special language two people create and share for themselves alone.

Now, that story has little to do with how I came out. So let me tell you: I never really did. Or, perhaps I should say, I never really had to.

A year after Tom had asked me that question (he subsequently stopped defining himself as straight, and we became boyfriends for a few years,) my father came to visit me in my college apartment on Gold Street, just a few blocks north of Manhattan’s South Street Seaport. Tom and I were spending that summer together, he was on vacation from Dartmouth, while I was on vacation from Parsons School of Design. It was 1983.

After an hour in the apartment alone with my father, who grew up in a Jewish household in the midst of Depression-era Brooklyn, fought in Korea, and got a degree in engineering from Columbia thanks to the G.I. Bill, I suggested we go for a walk.

We wound up a few blocks away, in Battery Park, where he casually said, “So, you’ve never mentioned dating any women. Can I assume you date men?”

My heart and breath stopped. I remember feeling very adult. I said, “Yes.”

My father paused, and simply said, “Well, you don’t know what you’re missing.” I smiled. Relieved, I said, “Well, you don’t know what you’re missing.”

And that was that.

A few years later, Tom and I having long been over, I moved back home after college to save some money and to find myself. My parents, divorced since I was a junior in high school, didn’t speak much, and my father told me he would let me share who I was with my mother when I was ready.

I never really felt the need.

The last night in my mother’s house, as I was packing to move back to New York, and into an apartment my boyfriend Mark and I had just rented, my mother came into my room, and asked, “I just want to know, are you going to be happy?” I told her, “Yes, very.”

She said that was all she cared about, and whatever that looked like for me was fine with her.

And that was that.

Keep in mind, this all took place a quarter-century ago. And without fuss, bother, or recrimination.

I lost my father to cancer five years ago. But I’m blessed to still have my mother. My parents, both Columbia University graduates, came from incredibly different backgrounds. My father, descended from Slavic Jews, my mother from Latin Roman Catholics.

And while their marriage didn’t work, they never faltered in their wish for me to have my own.

My father, despite our often strained relationship (for reasons far different from my orientation,) often wrote emphatic letters, begging me to “find the right guy and settle down.”

My mother often asks if I have met someone new. And still asks, from time to time, after all my past boyfriends. So, Caleb, Dennis, Robby, Mark, and Tom, my mom wants to know how you guys are doing. Feel free to give her a call. She worries. Moms always do.


Editorial note: This piece first appeared on The Bilerico Project on October 11, 2009.

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BIGOTRY

Shadowy Right Wing Group One Step Closer to Overturning Arizona City’s New LGBTQ Civil Rights Protections

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A group hiding behind a two-page website that lists no actual persons or physical address has submitted enough signatures to get a repeal of Mesa, Arizona’s new LGBTQ civil rights protections law onto the ballot for the November 2022 election.

According to news reports no one seems to know who founded United for Mesa, a Political Action Committee created days after the Mesa City Council passed the non-discrimination ordinance. The website lists an email address, phone number, and P.O. Box.

“Give the People a Voice,” the website urges, meaning they believe citizens should vote on civil rights, something studies show overwhelmingly ends with the majority voting to deprive the minority of equal rights. It also claims the “Mesa City Council just passed an ordinance WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF MESA RESIDENTS,” which is false. In a representative democracy, citizens elect leaders to make these very decisions for them.

Calling the group “below-the-radar, with no official leaders or posted public meetings,” the East Valley Tribune reported last month that “Unofficial leaders like Barbara R. Parker rallied like-minded troops via Facebook and other outlets.”

“Thank you to every petition signer and gatherer who helped save Mesa!” Parker posted Thursday night.

“Thank the Lord! I have never seen so many people working so hard to get signatures,” wrote Paula Smith in a comment to Parker’s post. “It’s been amazing! I’m so thankful everyone’s hard work paid off!”

“Thank you everyone for going the extra distance, so we may all have a voice in such an important decision,” added Charmon Puhlmann, a bus driver for Mesa Public Schools.

Political consultant George Khalaf’s firm, The Arizona Republic reports, “is leading the referendum effort against the ordinance,” but it does not mention what, if any, relationship he has with United for Mesa.

Last year the Arizona Capitol Times reported Khalaf was a political consultant to Republican state Representative Nancy Barto, in an article discussing an anti-transgender bill.

An email to United for Mesa did not receive a response by press time.

 

 

 

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

‘It’s Not National God Day’: Pat Robertson’s Reporter Mocked for Attacking Biden’s National Day of Prayer Proclamation

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David Brody, a political analyst for Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), is getting criticized for attacking President Joe Biden’s National Day of Prayer Proclamation. Brody, a Trump acolyte, slammed the proclamation because it doesn’t include the word “God.”

President Biden’s proclamation clearly was written to be as inclusive as possible, something he has strived to achieve with nearly everything he does.

“Throughout our history, Americans of many religions and belief systems have turned to prayer for strength, hope, and guidance,” Biden a devout Catholic, says in the document. “Prayer has nourished countless souls and powered moral movements — including essential fights against racial injustice, child labor, and infringement on the rights of disabled Americans. Prayer is also a daily practice for many, whether it is to ask for help or strength, or to give thanks over blessings bestowed.”

He goes on to talk about the First Amendment protecting “the rights of free speech and religious liberty, including the right of all Americans to pray.”

But that wasn’t good enough for Brody, a far right wing Christian, who appeared to believe that the proclamation should honor only Christians.

Former Trump personal attorney Jenna Ellis chimed in, replying to Brody with this slur:

On social media Brody was blasted.

 

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'SHIRT-TUCKING STAR OF THE BORAT SEQUEL'

George Conway Muses if Giuliani Was Dropped ‘On His Head’ and Warns He’s ‘Going to Go Through Some Things’

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Conservative attorney George Conway is warning former Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani he may be “going to go through some things.”

“The quoted words,” he explains in a just-published Washington Post op-ed, “come from the former president’s supposedly ‘perfect’ phone call with Ukraine’s president, and described what could happen to the American ambassador there, Marie L. Yovanovitch.”

Those “things” Giuliani may go through include “possibly being charged with a crime.”

Giuliani’s home and office were raided by the feds last week, and Conway says “the investigation marks yet another step in Giuliani’s unimaginable fall from grace. The once-respected former federal prosecutor, New York mayor (‘America’s mayor’!), presidential candidate and possible Cabinet pick, stands reduced to a laughingstock: shirt-tucking star of the ‘Borat’ sequel, headliner for a news conference at Four Seasons Total Landscaping, and now defendant in a $1.3 billion defamation suit for having claimed that the long-dead Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez founded a voting software company that helped steal the presidency from Trump.”

He also calls Giuliani a peddler of “nutso election-fraud claims,” and says he “had firmly established himself as one of the world’s worst lawyers. He’s the bumbler who blurted out on national TV that his client, Individual-1, had reimbursed a $130,000 payment made to a porn star, a transaction that triggered a sprawling and ongoing New York grand jury investigation into Trump’s overall business affairs.”

“All this boggles the mind of anyone who has followed Giuliani’s lengthy career. It’s as though someone dropped him on his head.”

Conway offers some free advice to Giuliani and Trump:

“If Giuliani has anything to offer prosecutors to save himself, it would have to be Trump, the only bigger fish left. And it was arguably criminal for the then-president to have used his official powers to try to coerce foreign officials into aiding his reelection campaign. In fact, Giuliani’s admission that he wasn’t conducting foreign policy, but merely helping Trump personally, is exactly what would make the scheme prosecutable. The former guy just might want to rethink stiffing Giuliani on those bills.”

Read the entire op-ed here.

 

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