May 15, 2012

Why I Blog: Zero Tolerance For Homophobia In Any Form


When you’re told that you have an illness that’s threatening your life, and you feel that you have many decades left to live, the news shakes you to your very core.



 The photo to the left was taken yesterday with my cell phone camera, and the picture is untouched. I might look miserable in the pic, but I’m not. I’m happy to be alive and kickin’, I assure you!

I know that everyone is an individual, and everyone’s life experiences are different. That’s what makes us unique, and interesting, and comprises who we are.

When you’re told that you have an illness that’s threatening your life, and you feel that you have many decades left to live, the news shakes you to your very core.

I’ve been living with cancer for a few years now. I’ve received treatment, I have ongoing treatment, and I spend a lot of time in doctor’s waiting rooms. I’m not going to leave our mortal world tomorrow, so there’s no need to worry. My treatment providers are optimistic about the future, and I can usually echo their enthusiasm. I’m also very aware of the medical research that's out there, and nothing is 100% certain or etched in stone. Having said that, I could also be hit by a bus tomorrow, and we never know when our time is up.

I don’t want to be overly indulgent as I write this, and I’m going to keep the details of my illness between me and my family, and me and my doctors. I’m not looking for publicity, or sympathy, at all. I’m looking for understanding.

After I was diagnosed, I was in shock initially. I went through all of the motions and did what I was supposed to do. As the shock wore off, I started thinking about my life and what I had accomplished. Had I contributed anything to the world? Was I going to leave the world in a better place? Did I leave my mark the way I wanted to?

I’ve had so much fun in my short life, and I’m proud of that. I know that I’ve made other people happy, in both real and superficial ways - just like I’ve angered or disappointed others. I’m human I suppose, and I continually strive to be better..

All things considered, I’ve had an amazing life. I’ve lived in Manhattan, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. I lived in England, and studied acting. I’ve traveled around the world more times than I can count, having been to 6 continents. I’ve sung the national anthem before a NY Knicks game, and a NY Giants game. I went to Hollywood premieres, and awards shows with friends. I’ve raised money for charity, and once jetted across country in the belly of a plane drinking and smoking and gossiping with super-models (the real ones). Good times - great times even.

It’s rather bizarre to me, that when you’re facing death, you think of your legacy. When I thought of mine, I determined that I hadn’t done enough. I kept reading and hearing about teen suicides, and bullying, and every time I turned on the cable news channels, I’d hear Bachmann or some other clown talking as if gay people were the scum of the earth.

I’m fighting for my life, as all of these beautiful kids are ending theirs needlessly. Oh the irony of it all - cue the violins!

When Tyler Clementi jumped from the George Washington Bridge, I decided that I had to do something to change people’s minds. I wanted my voice to be heard. I know it’s just one voice out of many (I hadn’t thought of blogging then), but I committed myself to doing more. I committed myself to telling people the truth. I committed myself to fighting the bullies, and the politicians, and the religious leaders, who continually demean us.

The tag line of this blog is “straight talk in a queer world.”  I’m a New Yorker living in California - so I tell it as straight as a gay guy can.

I was raised in an environment where everything was private, so sharing personal details about myself so publicly is very foreign. I’ve also been reticent about sharing too much about myself, because this blog isn’t about me. It’s about all of us - gay straight bi trans - we all live on this planet together, and we can work together today to make sure that tomorrow is a little brighter.

The reason why I’m writing this today, is because I received an email yesterday that was somewhat critical. I wanted to share the email with you, but the writer asked me not to, so I will honor his request. The gist of the email centered around my writing about religion and religious leaders. This person can’t fathom why I care that Cardinal Timothy Dolan is a bigot.

I really appreciated the email and the feedback. I shared with him, what I'm writing to you right now. I care for all of the reasons I outlined above. I care because I’m a Christian, and Christians love their neighbors no matter what. They don’t say “I love these people” but “those sinners are destroying our country,” which is exactly what every anti-gay religious group says and does. Priests and Reverends and Pastors are teaching congregants to hate us, because of their “issues.”  It’s NOT what it says in the Bible, and yet they continually lie to promote a political agenda.

I want things to be right with God, I want things to be better for our community at large, and most importantly, I want things to be better for the kids who inherit this “queer world” when we’re gone.

That’s why I write and that’s just a few reasons why I care.



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