Sometimes we must be reminded that coming out is a process, it isn’t over in a day. It takes courage, and you don’t always have the courage to conquer this fear in one step. Taking time to tell your truth and to help people see where you are and who you are is okay. However, we also must remember that it takes time for the people in our lives to be able to grasp our truth.
Here is Kevin’s story, a reader who speaks about his steps and his journey of coming out. His beautiful and poignant story is about the steps it takes to get his courage and the steps it takes to share his truth.
I had little to no exposure to the LGBT community during my childhood. I grew up with little to no perception of what real gay people are like, or even what being gay really meant. The slurs were all tossed around here and there without much context: fag, gay, and homo, among others. These words didn’t mean to me then what they do now. The first quarter of my life was lived in a closet that I didn’t know existed because I grew up in a culture that shunned an entire minority. Now that I firmly identify as being part of that minority, I feel compelled to share my coming out story so that other LGBT youth and young adults don’t lose hope when they may feel that there is none in sight.
The gay slurs I mentioned above were the most I ever heard said regarding the LGBT community before graduating from high school. There was no mention of homosexuality in sex education nor, for that matter, anything said by any teacher that I ever had. The first memory I have of ever actually thinking about gay people and gay rights is when Canada made gay marriage legal in 2005. I should amend the previous assertion by noting that I do remember one teacher who had a firm “no homophobic comments” policy which was actually enforced.
I classify my coming out process into two stages: coming out to myself, and coming out to my family and friends.
Coming out to myself refers to the process I went through of discovering and admitting to myself that I was gay. It took a long time for this to happen. Looking back now, I can recall random moments from my early childhood of times when I could have clued in that I was attracted to men. I can clearly recall watching an episode of Spiderman in which a man was naked and held down in a contraption.
This was greatly arousing to me and I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. When my family got a high speed internet connection and I suddenly had access to porn on my own computer, my first instinct was to search for gay porn. I still don’t know what drove me to do that or even how I knew what to search for. Perhaps I had picked up subtle clues found in pop culture and the media.
Still, I felt the urge to comply with society and try to date girls. The only dates I ever went on were in the final few grades of elementary school and meant absolutely nothing to me, though they did cripple me with performance anxiety (in this case performance referring to where my arm should go and how late in the film we should kiss). This anxiety was unshakable in my high school years when I tried a few times, unsuccessfully, to ask girls out. In my senior years I gave up on this fantasy. I think by those last two years I was slowly realizing, even if subconsciously, my sexual identity.
Though I didn’t ever come out in high school, there were two notable events where I came very close, unintentionally. The first was a friendship I had with someone. We shared many things and came close to experimenting with each other, but the pressure to hide any seemingly gay desires overwhelmed us and our friendship came to an end following a rather messy disagreement. At this point I was cautiously identifying as bisexual and telling myself that though I found men sexually appealing, I wanted to find a woman who made me feel the same way and spend my life with her. If I had been aware of the Kinsey scale, I would have rated myself 2 at this point: mostly straight but happy to play with guys.
Moment number two was the only time I ever admitted out loud, pre-coming out, that I was unsure of my sexuality. A friend asked me why I didn’t wish to participate in a school ritual where the graduating males were dressed in drag. She mentioned that if I was sure of my sexuality it shouldn’t be a problem. She was only half serious about this comment, but I responded with a very serious “Well, maybe I’m not.”
I have one social network to thank for helping me come out to myself: Twitter. When I joined Twitter, I began following a few gay people. I remember feeling how novel it was to be interacting with actual grown up, successful, normal, out gay men. Remember that prior to this, I had never encountered someone like that, neither in real life nor online. My social graph grew organically on Twitter to include more gay people, their gay friends, their followers, and so on. Soon I had my own support network of tech-savvy friendly Twitter gays.
I have made a few very good e-friends on Twitter. Three in particular helped me immensely, and one of them pushed me to find myself and admit that I was gay. I can clearly remember the first night that I realized and admitted this to myself. It shouldn’t have been a surprise; I had been chatting with this fellow partly because we were both attracted to each other. This I was aware of. When he helped me use logic to talk out my sexual orientation and say the words “I’m gay”, I broke down in tears. He helped me understand that I was not at all attracted to female sexuality, and that being gay is perfectly alright. That night I thought about walking out to the end of a long pier, thinking the night away, and waiting for the sunrise.
After coming out to myself, I didn’t waste much time coming out to my friends and family. Though my parents aren’t religious, they hold conservative views and are easily influenced by conservative media. I knew they wouldn’t throw me out of the house but I was also keenly aware they wouldn’t react overly positively. Being the terrified anxious person that I am, a friend and I devised a plan to leave them a note at the breakfast table. I simply didn’t have the courage to say it to their faces.
Writing the note was easy. I’ve always had a knack for writing. Printing it off and leaving the envelope at the kitchen table was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I stood at my door, in the dark, in silence, for what may have been thirty minutes simply weighing my options. After I had decided to go ahead with the deed, I came back to my room and felt an overwhelming sense of nervousness mixed with excitement and freedom.
It wasn’t at all obvious to me how crippling it had been living in the closet. I had seen many of my friends have relationships, both short term and long term. One of my oldest friends married just out of high school, yet even well into my university education I hadn’t had a date since elementary school. This apparent failure took a very negative toll on my mental health and I don’t doubt now that I was suffering from depression. There were some dark times before, during and shortly after coming out to myself.
There were, however, no sad times for me after coming out. Telling the people around you how you really feel and exposing who you really are is the most liberating feeling in the world. I gave up looking over my shoulder and concealing my identity.
Within days of leaving that note, I told my close friends. They all reacted positively. My parents are still in the process of getting over growing pains they are required to endure in order to accommodate me. Many of these pains are caused by my mother’s overly concerned nature. I appreciate her concern and hope that soon there will be no discernible difference between the gay me and an alternate reality straight version of me at home.
One of my favourite quotes is: “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind,” by Dr. Seuss. This is really what coming out means to me. It means telling those you think are closest to you that you’ve been living a lie. If they can’t accept you, for any reason, then you must simply leave them behind.
I’m a bit of an idealist. I’ve vowed to live as openly as I practically can. I want to live as a gay person as openly and normally as a straight person would. This doesn’t mean flaunting or over-doing public displays of affection. Instead, it means that I want to fill out my Facebook relationship status when I, as I do now, have a boyfriend. It means that I want to bring him to family dinners and gossip about how amazing he is to my aunts and uncles. I see no reason why this shouldn’t be possible. I’m lucky that religious fanaticism is nowhere to be found in my family. I hope, reader, that you will keep in mind that even if your family is religious, there’s a good chance their love for you will override the hateful preachings of an ancient fairy tale.
I am now near the end of a university degree, halfway through an exciting work placement with a reputable employer, I have a wonderful boyfriend of nine months, and a great network of friends. I am living my life openly as a gay man and I can’t wait to see what the future brings. Like Harvey Milk said: “you gotta give ’em hope.” It’s my hope that in reading this, you can find the courage to come out to yourself and to those close to you when the time is right. Your life has just begun. It’s going to be great.
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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‘Apparently You’ll Never Believe Us’: House Republican Melts Down After Reporter Questions His ‘Evidence’ Against Biden
Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO) became defensive and accusatory after repeatedly being unable to answer a reporter’s questions in a press conference Wednesday, held to announce what House Republicans claim is “evidence” against President Joe Biden.
A shortened version of the video posted by the news organization Heartland Signal went viral, garnering nearly one million views in under three hours on the social media platform X.
“Mr. Chairman, question about the timing of all of this,” began an NBC News reporter identified by Mediaite as Ryan Nobles. “You’re talking about a two-tiered system of justice. If I’m not mistaken, on August 7, 2020 Bill Barr was the attorney general and Donald Trump was the president, so explain to me where the two-tiered system of justice comes into play. And then the WhatsApp message you have, I believe, is dated June 6, 2017. Joe Biden is not vice president or even a candidate for president at that time. So where is the direct connection to some sort of criminal malfeasance within these two pieces of evidence?”
Chairman Smith could not only not answer any part of those questions, he appeared to forget a portion of them.
“Well, I think the facts speak for themselves,” Smith replied. “There’s over 700 pages of examples of, where people should be very concerned, when you’re talking about um, ah, – what was your first question?”
Smith went on to say, “It doesn’t matter who’s in the White House,” after being reminded them President at that time was Donald Trump. “We need to make sure that the Department of Justice works for all people and doesn’t treat those who are politically connected or wealthy much differently. And unfortunately, we have several examples that came forward by the two IRS whistleblowers, that proves that people are treated differently because they’re politically connected.”
“Are you suggesting that Joe Biden being the president now, is unfairly treating Donald Trump in his indictment?” Nobles asked.
Again, Smith did not answer the question.
“What I’m talking about is the 700 pages that we have before us, which is all the information that came from the IRS whistleblowers, and that’s what we’re releasing right now,” Smith replied, again not answering Nobles’ question. “And I’ll tell you, I would encourage everyone in this room to look at those 700 pages. If you think it’s okay, with what’s in it, then we live on two different planets.”
“Can you explain the timing of the August 6 WhatsApp message? Why is that evidence of some wrongdoing?” Nobles continued..
“I’m not an expert on the timeline,” Smith admitted, before pivoting to say, “I would love to have President Biden and his family to tell us about all the timelines, because it’s really, really unfortunate that we see so many meetings and so many phone calls that involved around official activity that the Vice President has been participating in, and then big sums of money follows later –”
“But he’s not the president or the vice president at that time. Where, where’s the wrongdoing? He wasn’t even a candidate for president,” Nobles pointed out.
“He was a candidate – ” Smith claimed.
“On August 6 –” Nobles began before Smith interrupted him.
“So apparently apparent – what source are you with?” Chairman Smith asked Noble.
“I’m with NBC,” the reporter replied.
“So apparently, you’ll never believe us,” Smith charged.
“I’m asking you a very direct question,” Nobles explained. “You presented a piece of evidence that you say came on August 6, 2017, that demonstrates that Joe Biden was using political influence to help his son. He wasn’t a political figure at that time. The first WhatsApp message you put up, where yo talk about the brand,” Nobles explained. “I’m completely open minded about this. I’m asking you specifically, how does that demonstrate that there was some sort of political influence being put over him, if at that time, he is not a political – he’s not an elected official?”
“I’m definitely not going to pinpoint one item,” Chairman Smith said defensively.
“You presented it!” Nobles acclaimed. “It was the first thing that you brought up.”
“So apparently, you don’t agree with that. So report that you disagree with it. I’ll take the next question. Yes?” Smith said, refusing to answer any of Nobles’ questions.
Watch below or at this link.
‘Jaw Dropping’: Democratic Senator Slams Tuberville’s ‘Open’ Talk About ‘White Supremacy’
A top Democratic Senator is blasting freshman Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville for his “jaw dropping” and open talk about white supremacy, after the Alabama Republican denigrated President Joe Biden’s nominee to be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Senator Tuberville, the Alabama Republican who single-handedly has blocked well over 300 U.S. Military promotions, said the U.S. military is “not an equal opportunity employer,” appearing to imply Biden’s nomination of an accomplished officer was based on the color of his skin, not his impressive achievements and experience.
Air Force General Charles “CQ” Brown Jr., who is Black, will be the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, after a strong bipartisan 83-11 vote by the U.S. Senate confirming him last week. Sen. Tuberville voted against him, saying Tuesday he had “heard some things that he talked about about race and things that he wanted to mix into the military.”
General Brown is the first African American to head a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. He was one of TIME’s “100 Most Influential People of 2020.”
“He is a respected warfighter who will serve America well,” wrote former Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson that year, lauding General Brown in his TIME profile. “As the former commander of Pacific Air Forces, he’s highly qualified to deter China and reassure allies in the Indo-Pacific. The suppression of ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria was largely accomplished by local forces on the ground, enabled by air power CQ helped orchestrate.”
“Let me tell you something: Our military is not an equal-opportunity employer,” said Tuberville, falsely, appearing to imply it should not be.
“We’re not looking for different groups, social justice groups,” the Alabama Senator continued, in his Bloomberg News interview (video below), explaining why he voted against Brown’s nomination. “We don’t want to single-handedly destroy our military from within. We all need to be one.”
“I think he’ll do a good job,” Tuberville also said, “but I heard him say a few things that that really didn’t fit with me in terms of making our military better and better. We have things that that we need to do to make sure that that that we can uphold – and we can’t do that without a great, hard strong military.”
“Let me tell you something, our military is not an equal opportunity employer. We’re looking for the best [of] the best, to do whatever. We’re not looking for different groups, social justice groups. We don’t want to single handedly destroy our military from within.”
Asked for specific concerns, Tuberville said General Brown, “came out and said we need we need certain groups, more pilots, certain groups to have an opportunity to be pilots. Listen. I want it to be on merit. I want our military to be the best. I want the best people I don’t care who they are. Men. Women, if that makes any difference, Catholics, Protestants, I want everybody to believe in the one goal that we have in this country for our military is to protect the taxpayers, protect United States of America. Don’t give me this stuff about equal opportunity, because that’s not what this military is.”
“Our military is becoming so political that we’re going to go south when it comes to readiness,” he also warned, despite having been warned repeatedly that his military holds are negatively impacting military readiness, and are expected to do so for years to come.
But as CNBC reported, America’s military “is an equal-opportunity employer, and the Pentagon has an ‘Office of Equal Employment Opportunity.'”
Senator Tuberville has a history of making extremist remarks, so much so that in a rare move, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in July delivered a speech on the Senate floor denouncing Tuberville by name, along with his “one-man mission to defend white nationalism.”
Earlier this year Tuberville insisted that white nationalists are simply “Americans,” and said, “I look at a white nationalist as a, as a Trump Republican. That’s what we’re called all the time.”
As NCRM reported in May, those remarks came immediately after an NBC News reporter told Tuberville, “A white nationalist propagates Nazism, a white nationalist could be someone who doesn’t believe that Black and Brown people are equals…”
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, criticized Tuberville late Tuesday night, responding to the Alabama Republican’s interview with Bloomberg.
“The way Sen. Tuberville talks so openly about about white supremacy is just jaw dropping,” Sen. Murphy said. “I refuse to allow this to feel normal.”
Watch Tuberville’s remarks below or at this link.
Why did @SenTuberville vote against the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs?
“I heard some things he talked about, about race and things that he wanted to mix into the military,” he told @BloombergTV. “Our military is not an equal opportunity employer.” pic.twitter.com/avFStO79Af
— David Gura (@davidgura) September 27, 2023
McCarthy Blocks Bipartisan Bill Approved by 77 Senators to Avoid Shutdown as He Moves to Pin the Blame on Democrats
Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy is saying he will not allow the House to take up a compromise bill supported by a large and bipartisan majority of Senators that would allow the federal government to continue operating past the midnight Saturday deadline.
“I don’t see the support in the House,” for the Senate’s proposed continuing resolution, McCarthy said on Wednesday, according to Punchbowl News’ Jake Sherman. He also reports that “this is the most explicit he’s been” in saying “he won’t take it up and pass it as is.”
Chad Pergram, the Senior Congressional Correspondent for Fox News reports, “McCarthy says he won’t allow the House to consider the Senate’s stopgap spending bill to avert a gov’t shutdown for 45 days. 77 bipartisan senators supported the package on a test vote last night.”
Earlier Wednesday, inside the House Republican Conference’s meeting, Sherman reported that Speaker McCarthy “said he told” Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell “that he cannot take up a bill that funds Ukraine and doesn’t fix the border.”
“In other words,” Sherman adds, “if it wasn’t clear, the CR [continuing resolution] the Senate is taking up is dead on arrival in the House.”
Meanwhile, House Republicans, and especially Speaker McCarthy, are attempting to blame the likely shutdown on Democrats. House Democrats, Senate Democrats and most Senate Republicans have been working to avert a shutdown but Speaker McCarthy’s most extreme members have been pushing to shut down the federal government. Political observers say he could keep the government running by putting together a majority of House Democrats and a handful of moderate Republicans to pass a continuing resolution, but would likely lose his Speakership as a result.
“A shutdown would furlough millions of federal employees, leave the military without pay, disrupt air travel and cut off vital safety net services, and it would be politically punishing to lawmakers whose job it is to fund government,” the Associated Press reported Wednesday. “The Republican McCarthy, pushed by a hard-right flank that rejects the deal he made with Biden and is demanding steep spending cuts, showed no interest in the Senate’s bipartisan effort — or the additional money for Ukraine.”
“’I think their priorities are bad,’ he said about the Senate effort.”
Political pundit and journalist Bill Kristol, a Republican who became a Democrat in 2020, Wednesday afternoon pinned the expected, coming shutdown on Speaker McCarthy.
“One man, Kevin McCarthy, is responsible for the looming government shutdown, because he won’t bring to the House floor a funding bill supported by a majority of senators from both parties, the administration, and a majority of House members. It’s the Speaker’s Shutdown.”
Wednesday morning, The Washington Post reported, “Facing a potential government shutdown in four days triggered by House Republicans’ inability to unite to pass spending bills, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is trying out a new strategy: shifting the blame.”
“McCarthy is starting to point fingers at Democrats in a bid to pin a shutdown on disagreements over border security. It’s an attempt to rewrite the record of the past several weeks, during which House Republicans have been unable to pass a short-term bill to prevent a shutdown — even one that includes the border security policies his conference overwhelmingly supports.”
Image via Shutterstock
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