277. affable

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haircut-1007891_640The spring semester started up again last month and thus I haven’t had much time to write recently.

First, to my readers outside the United States, things are truly surreal here.

For the 74+ million citizens who did not (and will not) support the toupéd fucktrumpet our sketchy and antiquated electoral process installed as President, every day brings new, increasingly frightening portents that the government is run by truly incompetent, dangerous people.

So, in addition to school and work, the news has me constantly stressed out and anxious.

Yay.


Just over a year ago I started writing about identifying as demisexual. My views have evolved significantly since then, partly thanks to the work I did with my therapist last year to start pulling back the curtain on the machine of lies and bullshit my parents raised me with as fundamentalist evangelical Christians.

I did get some pushback from one reader who commented he didn’t understand my decision to stop identifying as gay. “I could acknowledge strong similarities with you on almost all of the points you made and I’m gay as a goose,” he wrote.

Another friend wrote to ask why I couldn’t identify as demisexual and gay, while another asked if “demisexual” wasn’t an adjective that could be applied to gay.

Still another wrote to express confusion at how I could discard a label he had fought for years to claim for himself.

In part, I want to address some of these comments and share some of the work I’ve been doing.


AVEN’s definition of demisexuality is “a person who does not experience sexual attraction unless they form a strong emotional connection with someone.”

While I knew demisexuality was on the “sexual” end of the asexual spectrum, I didn’t fully grasp how true it was for me.

As I’ve thought back over my teen years and sexual awakening, I realized that my sexual feelings have rarely been directed outward. They’re there, and I did (and still do) experience sexual arousal, but I don’t recall it being directed at anyone. I had crushes on guys, but the desire to do anything sexual was almost always absent.

My sexual fantasies were abstract—in hindsight, more about intimacy than sex.

I’ve been trying to determine if this was some kind of coping mechanism. That is to say, because I’d been taught those feelings were forbidden, my mind found a way to block them since they were inaccessible.

This might be the case. I’ve compartmentalized so many other feelings, so why not this too?

However, I’ve never been terribly interested in sex. I was always more focused on writing, practicing piano, or reading. Even today, I’d rather be cataloging than hooking up.

When I was having sex, whether with a boyfriend or some random from an app, I felt nothing. It was disorienting and alienating. The sensations were okay, but there was no connection.

As harsh as it sounds, frankly, I don’t think I was much attracted to any of the guys I dated.

I may as well have been masturbating.


This process of deconstructing my sexual upbringing has also resolved some issues with being externally defined.

When I was growing up, my sexuality was defined for me by my community and what the Bible supposedly said about it, which meant that I was defined as a heterosexual male.

Obviously that did not work.

When I finally came out in 2008, it took some years before I really started having sex, and when I did, I did what I thought I was supposed to do—seek out strangers and friends to bang.

I assumed the feelings of emptiness that resulted were from lingering internalized homophobia that I needed to fuck out of my system.

I was doing what I’d been raised to do: suppress my feelings (no matter how miserable it made me) and do what I perceived was expected of me.

It still felt forced though. I didn’t really understand what guys were doing when they checked each other out, or ogled some hunky god from afar. Some of that might have been posturing or trying to impress each other, but I didn’t get it.


This has also helped explain ambivalence I feel about things like kink, or gay identity markers like hairstyle, fashion, or speech mannerisms. That’s not to say there’s any universal identity marker. Each community has its own set.

However, I figured out where the disconnect is for me: namely, that those identity markers (hair, dress, etc) are ways gay men telegraph their availability to each other, whether for flirting, dating, or just sex. From an anthropological view, the majority of humans do this, whether deliberately or not. It’s how our brains work.

Life, uh, finds a way.

On a subconscious level, I have been telegraphing my lack of interest for years. If I were interested, I might have adopted a more “gay” haircut, tried to dress more like other gay men, or adopt their mode of speech.

I prefer to march to my own beat, and have always been happiest that way.


The third thing I’ve just recently been able to articulate is that demisexuality best describes the manner in which I experience sexual attraction, while “gay” describes its direction.

One blog post from The Asexual Agenda helped put this in perspective. It’s about overlapping circles.

From https://asexualagenda.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/visualizing-demisexuality/

Source: QueenieOfAces. “Visualizing demisexuality.” The Asexual Agenda. September 05, 2013. https://asexualagenda.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/visualizing-demisexuality/

The author writes, “‘Homosexual’ defines the ‘direction’ of the sexual attraction… while ‘demisexual’ defines the manner in which that sexual attraction is experienced–only after forming an emotional connection.”

The model also works for someone who is heterosexual but is capable of homosexual attraction after emotionally bonding with someone of the same gender.

In this sense I am both gay and demisexual. Putting my cataloging hat on, my pseudo-LC subject heading would be:

Homoromantic demisexual cisgender male androphile.


While my dating life is a lot more complicated, finding myself on the asexual spectrum just feels more aligned and true.

That’s what matters.

274. draconian

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https://twitter.com/noahmichelson/status/813177921875677184


black_forest_gateauA few months ago, I experienced something that hadn’t happened in a while.

Now, I’m not reticent about my sexuality.

True, I don’t talk about it non-stop, and (contrary to how much I write about the subject) it isn’t the sole thing that defines me. But if asked or if I am in company where gender and sexuality are discussed, I am not shy about opening up about my experiences.

So it takes me aback when I have to come out to someone.

This episode happened following a gathering of friends in November as we were discussing a post-Thanksgiving get-together at my house. One of our newer attendees asked whether the decor would be Thanksgiving-themed.

“Decorating really isn’t my thing,” I said, and then joked, “I tend towards more of a sparse Scandinavian style, myself.”

She gave a look of mock surprise. “What kind of gay man are you?” she exclaimed. She was mostly joking (I think), but there was a hint of true incredulity in her tone.

I got this a lot in the first few years after coming out. Women would assume that I wanted to check out hot guys with them and provide brilliant, witty insights on the male psyche in between shopping breaks or redecorating their living room.

Sorry, heterosexuals. Your token queer I am not.

However, the episode got me contemplating the assumptions people might make about me as a gay man (specifically, what I’m interested in and who I have sex with), the various tropes and trappings of gay culture, and whether or not it was helpful to continue identifying that way.


Since the end of this past semester, I haven’t had much to occupy/distract my mind, so I’ve been mulling over what it means to be demisexual.

The common usage is to treat it as an adjective: you might only fuck people you have a close emotional bond with, but you’re still gay.

“You’re still one of us,” seems to be the subtext.

However, the fact that I experience sexual attraction but rarely, and then only with men with whom there is a strong emotional connection, indicates that I seem to fall more on the asexual spectrum rather than the homosexual.

It’s not that I’m seeking a label to define myself by, or a tribe to identify with, but rather to better understand myself (short-term goal) and hopefully develop strategies for managing friendships and finding a partner (long-term goal).

The challenge of dating is summed up in an article by Emma Lord:

… while you can generally tell on a first date whether or not you’d want to be friends with someone, it’s nearly impossible for a demisexual person to decide whether or not [they’d] be sexually attracted to [you] without the element of friendship and trust already in place… And you can’t exactly explain your feelings to someone you just met, particularly in an age when not engaging in romantic or affectionate activity on dates is considered a rejection.


While I have expressed frustration with the hypersexuality of large parts of the gay community, I am still cognizant of the history and significance that underlies its various communities and institutions.

Pride parades, for example, emerged shortly after the Stonewall Riots in 1969, and was a radical and political act of defiance in an age when being out was illegal. Although derided by many now as commercial and mainstream, they encouraged unity and solidarity in the face of oppression and later as friends and lovers were dying during the AIDS epidemic.

Gay clubs, too, served as safe spaces for self-expression, identity building, and community networking. Same for institutions such as white parties, drag shows, and leather bars.

Writers and activists encouraged LGBT people to reject the heteronormativity they had been raised with, to throw off the shackles of “traditional” models of sexuality and relationships, and express their liberation via total sexual freedom.

Kiyoshi Kuromiya wrote in the Philadelphia Free Press in 1970,

“Homosexuals have burst their chains and abandoned their closets… We come to challenge the incredible hypocrisy of your sexual monogamy, your oppressive sexual role-playing, your nuclear family, your Protestant ethic, apple pie and Mother.”

So, I get that all that silently informs, shapes, modern gay life.

Yet it doesn’t feel like my history, my institutions, ones that feel true to who I am.

Thus, when someone assumes I am mad for decorating, dress shopping, strapping on a leather harness, or running upstairs for a quick romp in the sheets, it feels like a denigration of my needs, values, and identity.

That the only way to be is to be a gay clone.


There’s another variable at play, however.

Yesterday, I learned that a friend of mine is randomly connected to Seth. (Yes, that Seth, of the 2011 birthday.) I noticed my friend had commented on a post of Seth’s, and asked how they knew each other. Turns out they’re in a gayming group.

My friend wrote: “There’s an inkling at the back of my head that I should be wary of him, though.”

Even though it’s been nearly six years, the shockwave of that night still ripples, supernova-like, through my life today.

Seeing that name again, catching a glimpse of his thumbnail profile picture, brought a sea of unwanted emotions and memories back.

That incident, and a handful of others (where I’ve experienced attraction, decided to open myself to the possibility, and been rejected), left me distrustful of my taste in men and ability to make healthy romantic decisions for myself.

I seem only to find myself attracted to impossible guys, or to guys who will end up using me for sex or to stroke their fragile male egos until they got what they came for.


I don’t know if other guys, the George Michaels etc, are simply satisfied with surface-level intimacy, if that’s all they want, or if they simply experience it in different ways.

Can any of us know?

Am I this way because of genes… Seth… my parents?

Who knows.

It is what it is.

270. incipient

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denethorIt’s about time for this monthly check-in with the blog. It has been over a month since the last one, after all.

The combination of working full-time plus the wind-up to the end of this semester has been kicking my ass recently. Perhaps it’s the research methods class I’m taking, or enduring a contentious and divisive election for almost two years, but I’m feeling pretty run-down.


What I have been planning to write about is the increasingly clearer picture of one of the dominant psychological constructs in my mind.

Let’s call him “Talos.”

He started out as a sort of mental protector figure—an internal proxy father in place of the one I didn’t entirely trust or feel safe around. He was a distant man (who himself had had a distant and sometimes physically abusive father) who tended to work a lot. He tried to do things with us: take us to parks, teach us to ride bikes. But it was clear he didn’t really know how to do any of the “traditional” things one expects from a father.

As we got older, the desire to connect with my sisters and me manifested in various ways (such as going to baseball games with my younger sister, or going to concerts with me), but so did his critical voice. While his intent was probably to help us by pointing out our mistakes, he had a way of turning compliments or feedback into backhanded insults.

Following one of my piano recitals as a teenager (which I thought went pretty well), we were driving home afterwards and after a moment of silence between us, he mentioned how some of my ornamentation had been slightly off.

In college, following the performance of one of my songs in a colleague’s recital, he said later that he thought a song I’d written previously had sounded more “true” to my style.

This was the state of things growing up. Some of that came from their theology, such as where Paul writes in Romans that “everyone among you [is] not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned” (12:3).

Praising or encouraging us would’ve given us big heads, I guess.


A few weeks ago I was catching up on the WTF with Marc Maron Podcast, and Julia Sweeney was on. At one point they talked about growing up with an alcoholic parent:

MARC MARON: See, I’m projecting because what I was gonna say is that the children of alcoholics either become alcoholics and drug addicts, or control freaks.
JULIA SWEENEY: Oh, really.
MM: Well, yeah.
JS: I wonder if I’m a control freak.
MM: You don’t feel like one… Usually it’s because you’re in this position with a grown person that’s completely out of control all the time, and you’re constantly—you can’t do anything about this primary situation in your life, so when you get out of that you’re like, “I’m gonna keep it tight.” You know what I mean? There’s a reaction.

And that got me thinking about growing up in a rigidly-controlled religious household where one never felt entirely secure. Some flip out once they leave home and become totally debauched.

Others become control freaks.

Guess which direction I went.


For me, the gradual appearance and rise of Talos began as an internalization of those parental admonishments. After all, to a child, the sun rises and sets with their parents. It’s biologically wired into us to unconditionally accept what our parents tell us. Skepticism carried no survival benefits.

It started as anticipation of disapproval—of observing, learning to predict what behavior would result in a spanking, or a lecture, or a threat of burning eternally in hell.

As I got older though, Talos grew in size and scale. He was the internal eye, standing over my shoulder to criticize everything I did. And nothing was ever good enough. I’d practice piano for 3-4 hours a day to get one section of a piece just-right. I’d edit and rewrite papers until they felt perfect.

He also commented on the world around me, evaluating passing glances or turns of phrase.

“They know what a horrible person you are.”

“Nobody here likes you.”

“What a miserable disappointment.”

“You’ll never be good enough.”

This goes beyond stunted self-esteem.

It was crippled self-worth.

I was trying to come up with a face this week to put with Talos, and John Noble’s Denethor from The Lord of the Rings films came to mind. There’s this scene in particular:

It was a self-protective impulse turned inwards on itself, like a black hole. And once I became aware of my sexuality, that mechanism went into overdrive, controlling every thought and mannerism lest anything give me away to my parents, who were big fans of James Dobson and Focus on the Family.


I’ve also been considering how this has impacted my romantic life, and my attitude towards myself and my demisexuality.

Specifically, is this sexuality an inborn trait, or is it the result of this darkly controlling inner force that looms over everything?

Regarding my orientation, of only being sexually attracted to men I have a close connection with, that has always been there. The more I got to know someone, the more attractive he got.

But would I feel more comfortable being more sexually and romantically open if Talos’ shadow wasn’t everywhere? Would I feel less pressure to find romance?

Who knows. But no wonder I stopped smiling around age eight.

But even non-sexually/romantically, would I feel less anxious in social settings if Talos weren’t threatening me not to fail, to say the wrong thing, to not let everyone know how stupid I am?

Though I’m now an atheist, the pressure to be perfect is no less overwhelming. I’m constantly analyzing social situations, draining my mental CPU.

The curious thing is that I became my own jailer.

So how then to unlock my own cell?

216. meta

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boundNOTE: This post will contain a frank discussion of sex and sexuality. If you are bothered by such things, do not read. Oh, and NSFW, if you find yourself at such a place upon reading.

This week has felt aimless. Some of it has been the stress of moving and busyness at work, being around people, feeling overwhelmed by all of it, and consequently shutting down. Kind of like my computer shutting itself off when it overheats.

One of the areas I’ve been examining is sexuality—specifically, some of my own hangups about it. I’m always suspicious of latent fundamentalist Christian programming from my youth gumming up the works of my life and mental processes, so I’ve been trying to listen more to those voices and identify the negative ones. Mostly, this process is just frustrating rather than helpful, but I suspect that it will be helpful in the long term.

Lately, I found myself having a number of conversations about sex. Nothing explicit, exactly. More just thinking out loud with other people about it—why we feel the way we do about certain areas of sexuality, how we view ourselves, our bodies, what we look for, etc.

Because I haven’t been having much sex lately. Shortly after breaking up with Jason, I went through something of a slutty phase, trying to catch up on all the sex I hadn’t been having, though by that point I was becoming more aware that I’m really not interested in sex for its own sake. Rather, it’s more about the personal and emotional connection than getting off.

My “love style” is definitely more storge. (See the video below.)

However, I’ve been judging myself for feeling this way. Part of that, I suspect, is a reaction against my prudish, Puritanical roots; that I feel I ought not to care so much about emotional connection and throw myself into simply enjoying physical pleasure.

Another part of it is seeing other people do this and judging myself for not being more like them. For example, the other night, I had dinner with a friend of mine, and around 8:30pm I had to leave because he had to get ready for a “hookup date.” Frankly, I’m quite jealous of his prowess, of his ability to go after whomever he desires and be desired in return. Because I certainly don’t experience that myself. On the contrary, I more see myself as being invisible to most other gay guys—a TARDIS-like gay perception filter.

But if I’m being truly honest with myself (and you, dear reader), it’s more that I seem to be invisible to the guys I’m attracted to. I’m aware of being noticed (and, to a certain extent, desired), but it always seems to be by the men who I’m not interested in or attracted to. It never seems to be a mutual thing.

And I judge myself for this—yet another personal failing, something else that I hate about myself. And then I worry that this kind of self-hatred is partly to blame for this feeling of being invisible, that it’s holding me back from being truly free and uninhibited.

I’ve also discovered that yet another friend of mine is into bondage. A few weeks ago, I talked with a girl at a friend’s gathering about her involvement in the BDSM community, and her interest in being tied up, dominated, humiliated, etc. All things that truly perplex me. So it was curious when I learned that this recent acquaintance of mine is also into bondage, to an extent that even seeing watches on guys’ wrists is exciting to him.

This is also something that I don’t understand, and consequently judge myself for not understanding or being more open to—knowledge from experience, and so forth. As far as I know, I don’t have any fetishes. The thought of being tied up or dominated is truly disturbing to me, as is doing the tying or dominating someone else. I’ve no desire to do either.

The fact is, unless there’s an emotional connection with the guy I’m having sex with, it’s very difficult for me to stay present in the moment. It’s difficult to resist starting in on judging myself or thinking that my partner is having the same negative thoughts about me.

As you can imagine, this is a bit of a mood killer.

And the maddening thing is that I know the root of this is the toxic beliefs about sex (and homosexuality) that I got growing up. While I wasn’t consciously aware of the reality of my sexuality until around age 15, I knew prior to that I was attracted to guys.

I also knew it was something to hide and be ashamed of.

For we who grew up in predominately heteronormative environments, we become deeply self-conscious, ruthlessly critiquing our behaviors and mannerisms for anything that might out us to our communities as faggots.

Because, intentionally or not, that’s how we were taught to see ourselves: as dirty, sinful, depraved faggots.

When a kid grows up seeing only heterosexual marriages, hearing pastors quote passages like Leviticus 18:22 and Romans 1:26-27, and putting all that together when he then figures out that he’s gay—what other conclusion could there be?

So how could I not grow up to be self-judging, self-hating, self-critical? I never felt good enough to begin with. How could I believe that anyone else could think me good enough?

Basically, I’m still a thirty-one-year-old teenager when it comes to sex and relationships. I’ve only been out for five years, which means I’ll probably have gray hair when I actually find a guy to settle down with… if I find anyone.

This is why it’s said that many gay men go through a second adolescence, because at some point, we have to go back and do what everyone else does when they’re actually, physically teenagers.

Because we learn a different set of lessons about ourselves as teenagers, which we have to go back and unlearn as adults.

That’s all so unspeakably irritating.

166. glissade

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christmas wreathHappy Boxing Day, everyone!

Well, we made it through another Christmas without being swept away by some long-foretold doomsday disaster. And I made it through my first family Christmas with a significant other, which is noteworthy. This is the first year I’ve been with a guy for a major holiday like Christmas. Last year I spent it depressed, mostly holed up in my room, alone and drunk, so this was a nice change of pace and scenery.

It’s also been a full year since I told my parents that I didn’t want any further contact with them, so long as they believe what they do about homosexuality. Since being outed to them by my first ex-boyfriend in November 2010, they’ve had plenty of opportunity to reconsider their conviction that homosexuality is unnatural. They budged a little on the notion that it’s “uncurable,” which for them means that I should be living a lonely and celibate life. So there’s no real change from 2010.

Last fall they said that they would never acknowledge any romantic relationship of mine with another man, or come to any wedding or commitment ceremony of mine. This was a particular slap in the face, considering how big of a deal my younger sister’s wedding was, and knowing that I’ll never experience that kind of celebration. She has three kids now with her husband, and my family would never dream of pretending that they’re just friends or roommates. Yet that’s the life they deem appropriate and reasonable for me, all because I fancy men instead of women.

The last exchange between my dad and me took place on Christmas Day of last year. I’d stopped by to write him a check for the last of the money I owed him for car repairs, after which I told my parents that I wanted nothing more to do with them because of their beliefs about my sexuality. He made a comment about how he didn’t think my “lifestyle” was making me very happy, how Jesus could’ve helped me “be straight” if I’d let him, and how I’d “never really given Jesus a chance.” I responded that my unhappiness had to do with the fact that my entire world had been recently tipped upside-down, and on top of that my family thinks I should be content being a second-class citizen, both in society and in their company. I asked if he knew the difference between sadness and clinical depression, and he remarked that “Jesus is bigger than depression.”

To which I replied, before slamming the door behind me: “I spit on your Jesus.”

That was last Christmas.

This Christmas was spent with my boyfriend Jay and his family. I had some anxiety in the weeks leading up to it, not so much about large numbers of people but rather about gift-giving. In my family, or at least among my siblings once we were older, gift-giving always felt like an exercise in posturing. The gift had to be nice enough to show that you spent a decent amount of money on someone, but not so expensive that it looked like you were showing off. It was the thought that counted, so long as the thought was interpreted in the right way.

Add to that the fact that for me it’s so hard picking out gifts. Something has to jump out at me as being just the thing for a person. For example, Jay’s uncle has some pretty right-wing political views, and a few months ago I was at Barnes & Noble looking for another book and saw a book by David Horowitz, The Shadow Party: How George Soros, Hillary Clinton, and sixties radicals seized control of the Democratic Party. I thought, “That’s perfect!”

As for the rest of his family, it’s hard to get a read sometimes. I was worried about them seeing me as rude or that I didn’t really try, and that therefore I’m a bad boyfriend and not really a part of the family. A few weeks ago a friend of Jay’s sister came over and played a game with us, and I felt like everyone liked him way more than me. My rational mind was saying that they have more of a history with him, and that’s what’s going on. My lizard brain was saying that everyone was wondering what I was even doing there.

Family is tricky for me, for many reasons. As I’m learning in therapy, I was never able to connect with my family growing up (at least during my teen years) because I was so preoccupied with trying to hide from them and everyone else the enormous fact that I was gay. And, as I feared, they are unable to accept their gay son for who he is, which means that we can’t have a relationship.

In the summer of 2011, while I was staying with my parents while finding a new place to live, my dad and I had an argument. This isn’t out of the ordinary since we’ve fought most of my life. We were on the topic of sexual orientation, and he growled, “You’ve made your whole identity now about being gay! You’re so focused on it!”

I said: “Yes. Because I am gay. Contrary to what you think, it’s not some separate thing apart from myself. It defines who I am, just like your being married to mom defines you. And someday there’s going to be a man in my life who forms the other part of that central relationship for me. And you refuse to acknowledge that part of me. So yeah, I’m kinda focused on that right now.”

I’ll never know what it’s like to have my own parents love my spouse in the way they love my sister’s husband. I’ll never know what it’s like to introduce the man I love to the people who, for better or worse, I spent most of my life with and who raised me. That’s not an easy pill to swallow.

151. vicinage

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To—Mark S. Rubin, St. Louis County Attorney:

When I heard about the story of Max Pelofske being charged with fifth degree assault and disorderly conduct for defending himself in the midst of a hate crime, my jaw almost hit the floor. Even more astounding was that a friend coming to his aid was also charged with a crime. What does this say about our legal system in Minnesota—that the victim of a crime motivated by bigotry and prejudice would be punished for merely standing up for his rights? This is not consistent with the values I have observed and come to associate with this state—fairness, decency and respect for the dignity of human life being just a few.

The law is supposed to protect citizens and punish those who step outside those boundaries. The only wrongdoers in this case are the young men who decided to let their hatred for Mr. Pelofske based solely on his sexual orientation drive them to attack him.

In the Book of Esther in the Jewish Tanakh, King Ahasuerus’ prime minister Haman is driven by his hatred of Mordechai, a Jew and cousin of Queen Esther, to kill not just him but all of the Jews in Persia. Haman convinces Ahasuerus to allow him to carry out this plot without either of them knowing that Esther is herself Jewish and therefore under the death sentence. Upon learning the truth about the plot, Ahasuerus has Haman hanged but cannot revoke his own decree. He does, however, allow the Jews to defend themselves against the decreed attacks, which they do, and the Jewish people are saved from being unjustly annihilated.

There are many in Minnesota—some in our legislature—who wish to do away with GLBT citizens in this state. They may not want to kill us, but they do want to take away our right to defend ourselves and to be protected against attacks on us based on our sexual orientation. They want to hand bullies of all ages the unassailable right to abuse and mistreat us with impunity. That is categorically wrong.

If the incredulous charges against Max Pelofske and Kelly Johnson are allowed to stand, the bullies and the terrorists (for they are indeed terrorists) in this state have won, and the eyes of the nation are watching, looking to see how we handle civil rights in this state. GLBT teenagers are watching to see if their state is going to side with them or with their attackers.  If the law won’t stand up for the rights of minorities and even goes so far as to take away the right to self-defense for (and the right of others to come  to the defense of) GLBT individuals, then who will?

Thank you for listening, as I hope you’ll listen to everyone who has responded asking the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office to drop the charges, to side with human rights, and not apply the law unfairly and unjustly.

Sincerely,

David Philip Norris


If you’d like to write your own letter to the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office to voice your support for equal treatment and protection of GLBT individuals under the law and ask for the county to drop the charges against these two people, you can do so at countyattorney@stlouiscountymn.gov. They are scheduled to appear in court August 23 and 30. (Please be respectful, to help ensure that the County Attorney takes this issue seriously.)

002. Definitions

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Okay.

Before this goes any further, I think we need to establish a common vocabulary:

ho·mo·sex·u·al
adj.   Of, relating to, or having a sexual orientation to persons of the same sex.

gay
Can be used either as an adjective to refer to or anything regarding those attracted to the same sex, or as a noun chiefly for homosexual men. Lesbian is typically used to refer to homosexual women. Is often used synonymously with “homosexual” but tends to be more loaded, carrying associations with the GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex) community and political and social activism.

queer
adj.  Used in reference to the LGBT communities as well as those perceived to be members of those communities. Originally it was a derisive term but has since been claimed as an identifier by many in the gay community.

For my own purposes, I’ve chosen to go with “same-sex attracted” or “homosexual.” It’s more clinical-sounding but accurate. If we’ve had this discussion, I feel comfortable saying that I’m gay because you know what I mean, and more importantly what I don’t mean. If you were to ask me right out if I’m gay, I’d probably respond, “I’m attracted to men, yes, but I don’t identify with the gay community as it currently exists.”

So now that we got that over with…