Being Different And Gay Pride

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by GayFrog, Feb 28, 2011.

  1. GayFrog

    GayFrog Member

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    Coming into my adolescence during the late fifties and the early 1960's was a very trying time for me and I assume for others in my circumstance. I came from a middle-class suburban family. My mother was a stay at home housewife, like all other June Cleavers of the time. Father worked his nine to five job, and commuted into the city Monday to Friday.

    We were one of the first families on our street to own a television and my father placed very strict rules on it's use. It was made of cherry wood with two doors that concealed the fact that it was a television, the only give away being the rabbit ears that sat on top of the console. The year was 1958.

    I had known for a very long time that I was different from other boys, and other boys knew I was different. After coming home from school bloodied on more then one occasion I went to my room and tried to kill myself by hanging. My older brother walked into the bedroom, pulled me down, and saved my life. He taught me how to box as a means of protecting myself from the from the school yard bullies. I never resorted to fist fights, I tried to hide my sexuality and become less feminine in my actions. Still I was taunted and bullied all through my school years. I started shaving when I was seventeen and I couldn’t wait for my voice deepen and to grow body hair so I would appear more masculine. Unfortunately, for me neither happened.

    I thought I was the only queer in the village, so to speak. What few friends I had were from my childhood and they were definitely straight. By the time I was twenty, even my closest of childhood friends drifted away; through girl friends and different interests in general. This caused me to become quite a loner, as I found it hard to make new friends. Always trying to hide my true self, I would rarely speak around strangers in fear my voice would give me away. I never went to the beach or public swimming pools. I always wore long pants and a long sleeve shirt, to hide the fact that I had no body hair.

    One Saturday afternoon while walking home a guy in a car pulled up to me asking for directions. After giving them to him he offered to give me a lift. I gratefully accepted and got into his car. That was my first encounter with a gay man. He was twenty-eight and I was twenty-one. We enjoyed a weeknight relationship. He taught me the ropes, if you will, about being gay. He took me to the spots that were frequented by other gay men, the park, the bar, movie theater, book store and such. He was my friend, my lover, my mentor. Gary opened my eyes to a whole new world.

    But that world of 1969 was a place of secrets and hiding. Gay was another word for happy, being queer was something that was never mentioned and nothing you felt proud of. Those that were thought to be queer were chastised and beaten. Bars could not serve three or more queers drinks, if they did they could loose their license, for operating a bawdy house and be shut down. Bars that were known to serve queers were raided regularly by police, patrons arrested and charged with lascivious conduct. The bar was often closed for a period of time before reopening. Police not only raided bars they raided book stores, parks, movie theaters, bath houses and gyms. Names of those arrested appeared in the local newspapers. Following these publications the men listed would often time, loose their jobs and finding new work was nearly impossible; and marriages, families and friendships were torn apart. Queer bashing was rampant and were never reported to police, as often time the police participated themselves in such actions.

    It was against the law of that time to be dressed in the clothing of the opposite sex. To kiss or even hold hands with someone of the same sex, could bring arrest and a criminal charge of lewd behavior. Any sexual act with someone of the same sex was classified as buggery; lascivious conduct was illegal even if taking place in your own home, between two consenting adults. The criminal offense of anal or oral copulation by penetration of the male organ into the anus or mouth of another person of either sex was an arrestable crime of having commerce contrary to the order of nature, by mankind with mankind, the punishment upon conviction was a fine, imprisonment, or both.

    After attending a Halloween party. Gary and I left a bar together and were confronted by a group of guys armed with baseball bats and tire irons. As a young man I took precautions when out at night and I knew how to defend myself. Against a mod we didn't stand a chance. I was hospitalized for sixteen weeks, Gary died on the street that night. No arrests were ever made..

    June 27th 2011 will mark the forty-second anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and the birth of the Pride Movement. Many changes in the right directions have been made; since the drag queens and queers in the early hours of that fateful June morning, found the inner strength to say no more and fought back. There is still a long way to go. Politicians and Pastors are quick to condemn homosexuals, and gay marriages are not widely accepted as being lawful. Police still conduct raids and stings in known gay haunts. Gay bashers and bullies persist in their percussion of those that appear to be different. Gay men are six times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight counterparts and the numbers increase exponentially during the holidays. A recent study showed that thirty-five percent of gay men and thirty-eight percent of lesbians have considered or attempted suicide. The statistics are even higher among gay teens.

    This June, when you participate in the gay parades or festivities around them, stop to reflect on and remember those that marched before you. Those that stood up to oppression. Without them you you would still be hiding in secret. Gay pride is not about our right to be to be gay and flaunt it. It is about our right to live without oppression. How many more homosexual teens, men and women will take their own lives, or be beaten down, humiliated and brutalized before we learn the lessons of Stonewall, and mankind becomes tolerant of those that are different?
     
    #1 GayFrog, Feb 28, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2011
  2. maxcok

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    ^ Profoundly moving. Thank you for posting that.
     
  3. D_Roland_D_Hay

    D_Roland_D_Hay Account Disabled

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    Thanks for your posting...I hope others remember this as gay pride celebrations begin. I certainly will.
     
  4. Gillette

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    Thank you for sharing that with us.
    I'm glad that you had Gary to guide you and deeply sorry for his loss.
     
  5. bigbull29

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    People of that generation should hold their heads in shame.

    People are homophobic for three different reasons:

    1) fear (with men only)

    2) way to feel superior by degrading an "outcast" group that you don't belong to

    3) religion


    The biggest homophobes still today are often roughneck blue-collar workers and fat-ass conservative men in positions of power who like to gamble in Las Vegas (not religious!). In all honesty, though, I just don't find religious folk to be the biggest threat to gay men, despite extremist groups like Westburo Baptist, Mormons, some Evangelical Christians, etc).

    You take care and thanks for sharing.:smile:
     
    #5 bigbull29, Feb 28, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2011
  6. GayFrog

    GayFrog Member

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    ^ In society, each and every individual will always have his or her own personal beliefs. In society, we will never see eye to eye on everything and what we need to realize is that society doesn’t need to see eye to eye. Society doesn’t have to agree on everything. What we need to agree on is that its not okay to hurt someone for not sharing the same views. Gay bashing may or may not be on the rise, but it is a constant issue and everyday that society learns about another youth who has taken their own life in response to abuse, or has had their life taken by the ramifications of hate, that is another day that society has to live with the thought of knowing what kind of people are being raised in this world. Too many lives have been lost and most likely more will continue and the fact that society can’t see it, or won’t admit it is just as bad.
     
  7. CUBE

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    thanks for sharing
     
  8. Charles Finn

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    i am going to be 44 this year and I did not go through all you went through but I did share some of it but I always stayed true to myself.
    my first gay pride event was in 1986 in San Fransisco I was just shy of 19 years old
    it was so profound and moving for me
    growing up it was tough but so was I.
    live you life to please yourself nobody else
    if you find friends or lovers that accept you for who and what you are that is great.
    I was always blessed with not just friends but best friends.
    plenty of stories to tell myself
    thanks for paving the way for us
    I am very sorry for your loss
    I had a Gary too we were together for 5 years before we split up.
    it took another 2 years to work out a friendship
    I have not seen him in over 10 years.
     
  9. MrToolhung

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    Thanks for sharing. Very moving like others have said.
     
  10. GayFrog

    GayFrog Member

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    Thank you for the comments.
     
  11. bigbull29

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    A civilized society is never violent towards its inhabitants unless in self-defense; otherwise, it is always inacceptable.

    I find that decent religious folk spend too much time talking about this sin and that sin, and in doing so, fail to see that violence is the greatest sin of all. Sadly, there just isn't enough people who speak out against violence in a most general sense. It reallys saddens me.
     
  12. GayFrog

    GayFrog Member

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    Your thoughts have been appreciated. Thank you.
     
  13. justmeincal

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    Thank you for a thoughtful and poignant post. You and I came of age in a time that was hard, to say the least; especially in smalltown America.

    Best of luck to you Gayfrog.
     
  14. GayFrog

    GayFrog Member

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    ^ I thank you for taking the time to leave a reply to my post. I hope everything is well with you and yours.
     
  15. legionking

    legionking New Member

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    Its alright to have pride in what you believe in, but when you start to enforce your views of gay pride on people who do not accept them then are no better than those who hate gays.

    Nothing personal to you and your situation though.
     
  16. GayFrog

    GayFrog Member

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    [FONT=&amp]Gay pride is not about our right to be to be gay and flaunt it. It is about our right to live without oppression[/FONT]

    LegionKing I respect your opinion and with the same breath find contradiction.You accuse me of enforcing my views of gay pride on people that do not accept them. I do not know of any situation that forces a straight person to act gay, in order to fit into society. I have never heard of a gang of queers beating a straight guy for just being straight, or a teen committing suicide because he was being bullied for being straight.

    I’m not forcing anybody to live a gay life-style, and I shouldn’t be forced to live a straight one either. I should have the same rights and protections that you do. You are allowed to marry the one you love. Why can’t I? You can dress the way you want. Why can’t I? Your spouse is allowed your work benefits/pension. Why not mine? You have a rose bowl parade. Why can’t I have a gay pride parade? I didn’t choose to be queer anymore than you chose to be straight.

    I’m not asking you to love me. Just don’t hate me.
     
  17. JacobFox

    JacobFox Member

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    LegionKing's post rings of the "If I have to see it, it means it is being forced down my throat" idea that probably almost every gay person has had to deal with at some point in their life. When I came out in high school (1992), they did a newspaper story on it and in the same article someone said, "I have no problem with it, as long as I don't have to see it."

    Well guess what, we all see things that we don't want to see and in no way is it forcing anything down anyone's throats. If you don't want to see certain things, I suggest you stay home and keep your eyes closed. Don't like gay pride parades? Here's an easy solution, don't watch them. Problem solved. No one needs to hide their self to make someone else happy.
     
  18. maxcok

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    Legionking is not the brightest bulb in the box, nor the most enlightened, nor the most sober and coherent.

    Check the recent (prolific) post history if you like. Jes sayin . . . .
     
  19. GayFrog

    GayFrog Member

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    As June is fast approaching I thought I would bump this up again.
     
  20. GayFrog

    GayFrog Member

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