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Out October: “I Guess I’ll Be Coming Out For A While.”

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Today’s Out October Project story comes from Greg Mitchell, who originally wrote this story for “I’m From Driftwood.” Greg’s story reveals a life of uncertainty in the face of perceived rejection.

Make sure to catch up on all the other coming out stories here.

“Nah, I can’t be g*y…I just have to find the right woman…yeah, that’s it…”

If you say it to yourself enough times, you’ll believe it.

Too afraid to face my truth for fear that God would hate me, and too afraid to face the few friends that I worked hard to have, silence was my only option.

At 16, two strands of life were developing for me: a personal one, and a professional one.  Personally, I felt different than every other 16 year-old I knew. I wasn’t interested in the same things that I saw other 16 year-old kids were into: sports, cars and girls; I was into music and boys. My interest in music was rooted in the construction and production of music, more so than the composition of it. I wanted to be a recording engineer, and I wanted to be on the radio. As far as my interest in boys, I constantly dismissed the feelings I had and delved further into my music, because all of the gay boys I saw were effeminate. I was attracted to some of the boys I had befriended who were finding their masculinity, but it seemed wrong to try and be with them.

Professionally, I wanted to make a career of my personal interests. As I moved from 16 on up to 19 and started going to college, my interest in Rap music was starting to get stronger.  I was able to separate my interest in men from my interest in music, until a male Rap star graced the television screen.  Further, the culture of Rap is very homophobic.  Even as I type this, I as a self-professed gay man am still not ready to hear an openly “Gay Rapper”.  I certainly want no part of a gay Rap movement either, because my sexuality isn’t the first thing I want people to know about me.  Rap was always entertainment to me.  I don’t really believe the stories that rappers tell in their songs, I just applaud their ability to tell lies very well.  The types of things that the male Rap stars I adored rapped about were how they found other women attractive and what they wanted to do with them.  As weird as it sounds, in Rap, I could fully accept men talking about women in ways that I can’t accept hearing about other men.  I mean, they were lying anyway, right?

Having hid behind my music and first career choice all through my 20’s, aside from one unsuccessful experience at an after-hours club at 27, I had never been with a woman.  I got more feelings from seeing male physical features and I wasn’t attracted to women at all.  I felt like I could be their friends, but sexually I just wasn’t interested. I had heard rumors of other gay men who had been with women to help them figure themselves out, but I was too afraid to get women involved in my mess of a life.  Being uncomfortable with the main act that most gay men do didn’t help me either, but I couldn’t get past that idea of actually being with a man.  I had also never been involved with a man because I was too afraid of being caught by someone I knew.  If I was out and about on a date, what if some friend or family member saw me? What would they think?

In an attempt to understand myself, to find someone to be with and to deal with the increasing loneliness and desire to have someone in my life romantically, in 2007, I started to explore my sexuality by asking questions of other homosexuals.  I had debates electronically with these people letting them know that I wasn’t afraid of them, yet, afraid to admit that I was one of them.  The debate topics ranged from gay adoption to my disagreement with the word “homophobia”.  Of course, I was defensive and relying on twisted logic to justify my homophobic thoughts, but I saw no fault in it at that time.  Still working on Rap music, I released my first album in 2008 at the age of 33.  I began the next step in exploring my sexuality by starting one-on one online communication with another gay man who had shown some interest in me.  After my experience with this man, I started reading, listening and watching materials that dealt with homosexual issues.  The movie “Milk”, the documentary on the life of Harvey Milk, “For The Bible Tells Me So”, and the podcasts and columns of Dan Savage are all things that changed my life and perspective.  For the first time in my life, I was seeing gays who lived past the sexual aspect.  I believe that God put these things in my path to show me that I wasn’t alone.  I talked to God about it through prayer.  I expressed the desires of my heart.  At that point, I had started to distance myself from regular church service because I was feeling disconnected from it for different reasons, but I still had a strong connection to God through the help of my pastor who always taught that knowing God “is about relationship – not religion”.  I was okay with that, but I still felt unresolved in my sexuality, and I had questions: Why did the experience I had feel right if gay is wrong? Why don’t I feel this way about a woman?

The year 2009 became a year that I will never forget.  After all the years of living a double life online, fearing that the two worlds would clash horribly if anyone from one world met people from the other, I finally began my process of coming out.  First, I came out to the one female friend I had in college that I saw myself possibly being with when I denied my sexuality, then I came out to my mother and sister.  From there, I slowly started having that conversation with the close friends that I had made within the past 10-15 years. Surprisingly, all of them accepted me.  Slowly, I gained the courage to come out to more people. As I continued slowly coming out to my friends, 2010 approached.  I moved to Chicago to finish school, and I started attempting to date and meet more men.  I submitted a draft of this paper to the website “I’m From Driftwood” in an effort to slowly come out some more, and I showed the piece to other homosexuals that I had previously argued online with about sexuality, while attempting to atone for the horrible things I had said to them.  On October 11th, 2010, I officially came out online to the 200+ people that I had befriended on Facebook.  Aside from that, I have still resolved to continue to be private about my sexuality, but if asked, I won’t lie about it, so I guess I’ll be “coming out” for a while.  There are still some of my family members who don’t know, but in accordance with living what I believe is my truth, I will risk losing those relationships if this topic comes up and they disagree with who I am. I feel closer to God because I’m living my truth now.

If there’s a moral to this story, it’s this: truth always rises to the surface.  Fighting it may delay it, but it will eventually rise.  We all have truths that we refuse to deal with in our lives, but accepting them is how the bruises in our lives begin to heal.

Editor’s Note: Back in July, contributor to The New Civil Rights Movement, J. Rudy Flesher, wrote for this blog, “I’m From Driftwood,” a review of the project. It’s a good read, with some excellent videos!

Remember, there are always options.
The Trevor Project: a 24-hour hotline for gay and questioning youth: 866-4-U-TREVOR (488-7386)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (8255)


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Trump Jr. Winds Up in Felony Poaching Scandal in Utah After Killing a Bear Baited With Pastries: Report

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Second-generation New York real estate heir Donald Trump, Jr. is caught up in yet another hunting scandal.

Utah hunting guide Wade Lemon is facing five years in prison for baiting a bear that was killed by Trump, Jr. on May 18, 2018, The Salt Lake Tribune reported Saturday.

But the New York developer may not have been familiar enough with western hunting to know about the felony poaching.

“Trump Jr. is not named in a recent filing against Lemon, but the DNR confirmed his identity as the person named in the felony complaint as Lemon’s “client” on the hunt. Prosecutors have indicated there was no evidence showing Trump Jr. would have known about the alleged baiting that went on during the hunt,” the newspaper reported. “Without naming Trump Jr., Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings said the hunter in the case ‘was actually a victim and a now a possible witness in a fraudulent scheme to lead the hunter to believe it was actually a legitimate Wild West hunting situation.'”

Trump, Jr. posted pictures of his hunting trip to Instagram.

“On Sept. 3, 2020, The Utah Investigative Journalism Project requested files on closed investigations against Wade Lemon Hunting. The DNR provided files on cases dating back to 2009 except for the case on the 2018 Trump Jr. hunt. DNR had decided to reopen that case and denied the records request, stating the release would interfere with the now ‘open’ investigation,” the newspaper reported. “DNR turned the case over to the Utah Attorney General’s Office. Utah Attorney General Reyes has close ties to Trump, having campaigned for him and even flying to Nevada to investigate the election results after Trump’s defeat at the polls and signed on to a lawsuit claiming ‘unlawful election results.’ The Attorney General’s Office reinvestigated the case for months, then handed it off to the Davis County Attorney’s Office to screen for filing of charges.”

Trump, Jr.’s guided hunting trip resulted in kills of a black bear and mountain lion.

“Charging documents allege Lemon’s outfitters illegally used bait on the bear shot by Trump Jr. According to the document, a witness identified Lemon and his employees during the hunt in May 2018 and was able to identify Lemon over radio traffic, giving instructions to his employees,” the newspaper reported. “The illegal bait, ‘a pile of grain, oil and pastries’ was discovered with a trail camera pointed right on it with ‘WLH’ (for Wade Lemon Hunting) written on the side and with Lemon’s own telephone number, according to court documents. The charging documents also include evidence from a subordinate confirming Lemon had him place the bait in the location several weeks before the hunt.”

The guide Trump, Jr. hired for his hunt has been investigated before.

“Hunting guides who cater to the wealthy elite have a lot at stake in ensuring successful hunts. These companies employ hunters to scout woods, deserts, mountains and plains for the biggest game, to ensure these high-profile clients have the highest chance for a successful hunt. According to DNR, Wade Lemon Hunting has been investigated eight times for allegedly breaking the law to ensure a successful hunt, though he was not charged with a felony until Tuesday,” the newspaper explained.

The vast majority of game taken in America is from hunters who do not require a hired guide.

The former president’s eldest son has previously had scandals over killing an elephant in Africa, killing an endangered sheep in Mongolia, and killing pregnant prairie dogs in Montana.

 

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Adam Schiff Prosecutes the Case Against Ginni Thomas on MSNBC After ‘Stunning’ Revelations

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The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee offered a brutal analysis after a bombshell new report on efforts by Ginni Thomas seeking to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

“Virginia ‘Ginni’ Thomas, the conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, pressed Arizona lawmakers after the 2020 election to set aside Joe Biden’s popular-vote victory and choose “a clean slate of Electors,” according to emails obtained by The Washington Post. The emails, sent by Ginni Thomas to a pair of lawmakers on Nov. 9, 2020, argued that legislators needed to intervene because the vote had been marred by fraud,” the newspaper reported.

MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace interviewed Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) for analysis.

Schiff, a former federal prosecutor who was the impeachment manager during Trump’s first trial and is a member of the House Select Committee Investigating the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol, was asked by Wallace if the select committee would interview Ginni Thomas.

IN OTHER NEWS: GOP finds new scapegoat for baby formula outrage

“There are several stunning things to me about what is publicly known and has been revealed about Ginni Thomas. Here, she is weighing in with state legislators in Arizona, seeking to get them to essentially send a bogus slate of electors, that didn’t represent who won the popular election in Arizona,” Schiff said.

He referenced legal proceedings over the subpoena of “coup memo” author John Eastman.

“And you know, the judge in California, Judge Carter and the case involving Eastman, this lawyer, describes what the former president was involved in as a criminal conspiracy.”

“That was a conspiracy to interfere with the joint session, to defraud people, and here you have the wife of a Supreme Court justice engaged in a parallel effort to get Arizona to improperly cast aside the votes of millions,” he charged. “And also to add to it, her husband, on the Supreme Court, writing a dissent in a case, arguing providing records to Congress that might have revealed those same emails.”

READ MORE: The Buffalo shooter had a toothache — an extremism expert explains the bizarre reason it matters

“That conflict of interest just screams at you,” Schiff said.

Watch the segment below or at this link.

 

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

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‘Fear-Driven Alliance’: Conservative Explains Why Far-Right CPAC ‘Opportunists’ and ‘Paranoids’ Are Meeting in Hungary

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The rise of authoritarianism and fascism growing within the Republican Party was discussed by the opening panel on MSNBC’s “The Reidout” on Friday.

Host Joy Reid noted how the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is being held in Hungary this year, which is ruled by strongman Viktor Orbán.

“They have elections, of a sort, but also hamper voters’ abilities to make informed choices and heavily control the outcome that the elections are essentially a show,” she explained. “These are the autocratic dreams of a far-right leader obsessed with solidifying a Christian monoculture and who, in 2014, declared his intention to build an illiberal new state citing China, Russia and Turkey as role models. Flash forward to today where CPAC, the once conservative gathering that is now simply a cesspool of the far-right running amok, is holding its conference in Budapest.”

For analysis, Reid interviewed conservative writer Tom Nichols.

Nichols warned “there is a nihilistic, fear-driven alliance here with a group of opportunists, and I want to get back to this issue of about Hungary, the really dangerous thing here is that some of these people believe very deeply in — in some of this stuff and yet others, and I would say people like [Tucker] Carlson and Matt Schlapp and some of the other people capering about in Budapest, don’t believe in any of this and don’t believe in anything of this other than the extension of their own personal power and wealth.

“And when you have this coalition of shallow, empty opportunists along with with a group of paranoids, basically, then you have a really dangerous movement because each side has to keep upping the ante to kind of justify why they are doing the things they are doing,” he explained.

“A lot of this is an act, but the problem is you then paint yourself into a corner… You have to start actually trying to put forward policies and carry things out that, that make you look as if you believe the things that you’re doing. And then after a while, whether it’s an act or its opportunism is no longer relevant: You have become the thing you’ve been prancing about and pretending to be,” he explained.

Watch the segment below or at this link.

 

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