Saturday, May 26, 2007

Military Officers Flocking from Military Service


Chimperator Bush and company are continuing to destroy the US military. Despite claims of “supporting the troops,” one needs only see the stress placed on military families by continual deployments to realize that Bush’s misguide war in Iraq is driving qualified and dedicated people from the military. Living in an area with a huge military presence, I know individuals who have already been to Iraq three or more times. Each time the stress is worse and the horrors they see more terrible. Not surprisingly many of them plan to leave the military at the first available option. A few gays in the military have actually “outed” themselves rather than be faced with going to Iraq on another deployment. This trend is not unique to the greater Norfolk area as shown by this CNN report:

CNN reported on Friday about the "alarming number" of mid-level army officers leaving the military as soon as they complete their initial commitment, many of them citing family reasons and multiple deployments. The army has been forced to offer new incentives for re-enrolling, including bonuses and extra training.

The percentage of career officers deciding not to stay in the military is the highest it has been since the Vietnam War and includes many West Point graduates, "creating a brain drain in the top ranks." A general interviewed by CNN expressed concern that "we're losing the next generation of future combat leaders for the army."

Again, I cannot blame these individuals from leaving the military, particularly since serving with honor has been made impossible by a President who has authorized torture and wants to disregard the Geneva Convention. Bush most assuredly is the worse president in US history.

More Saturday Male Beauty







Iraq and the Corrupt, Venal, Incompetent GOP

Once again Bob Geiger has some great cartoons that sum up my views of the war in Iraq and the corrupt, venal, and incompetent GOP administration that got the USA into this disaster. Check them out at: (http://bobgeiger.blogspot.com/2007/05/saturday-cartoons_26.html.) It’s interesting that in a 2003 e-mail to a friend in the GOP I predicted that Chimperator Bush’s hubris would lead to disaster. Little did I know how accurate I would prove to be.

I also love the one concerning gas prices. Having previously lived in upper middle class suburbia in the Great Neck area of Virginia Beach, I always found it ridiculous that the yuppie house wives who NEVER would take a vehicle off road or out on the beach just had to have big gas guzzling behemonths to cart their children around to kiddie sports events. I conced that I own a couple of Jeeps - which with six cylinder engines are economy cars in comparison - but each of them has actually been off road and even out to the tip of Cape Hatteras Point on surfing trips.

Saturday Male Beauty.

There are no nude beaches in Virginia, so this is as close as one can come to seeing a hot nude swimmer.

More Distortion of the Truth From NARTH


Ex-Gay Watch has another good post exposing the way the Christian Right and their tool, NARTH distort and improperly quote the work of legitimate experts to build anti-gay stories that are lies. (http://www.exgaywatch.com/wp/2007/05/major-geneticist-francis-collins-responds-to-narth-article/). Here is Professor Francis Collin’s comments (Collins is pictured at left) on the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuals' ("NARTH") misuse of his research:


It troubles me greatly to learn that anything I have written would cause anguish for you or others who are seeking answers to the basis of homosexuality. The words quoted by NARTH all come from the Appendix to my book “The Language of God” (pp. 260-263), but have been juxtaposed in a way that suggests a somewhat different conclusion that I intended. I would urge anyone who is concerned about the meaning to refer back to the original text.


The evidence we have at present strongly supports the proposition that there are hereditary factors in male homosexuality — the observation that an identical twin of a male homosexual has approximately a 20% likelihood of also being gay points to this conclusion, since that is 10 times the population incidence. But the fact that the answer is not 100% also suggests that other factors besides DNA must be involved. That certainly doesn’t imply, however, that those other undefined factors are inherently alterable.


Your note indicated that your real interest is in the truth. And this is about all that we really know. No one has yet identified an actual gene that contributes to the hereditary component (the reports about a gene on the X chromosome from the 1990s have not held up), but it is likely that such genes will be found in the next few years.


NARTH is largely funded by Christian Right organizations and is used as a basis for scientific research to back the "choice" myth marked by the Christianists. I truly wish some of the magor assosiations (e.g., APA, AMA, etc.), would begin working to have the licenses of the quakes at NARTH revoked.

Friday, May 25, 2007

More Friday Male Beauty


For those in the USA, have a great Memorial Day Weekend. Hopefully, I will get a chance to surf over the weekend.

So what's with all the dinosaurs


The UK's Guardian is reporting on the new Creationist museum to open this summer in rural Kentucky. Obviously, most of the attendees will derive from the 31% of the US population referenced in my prior post. These folks are down right nuts!! Here's a portion of the Guardian report:


" . . . It may, quite possibly, be one of the weirdest museums in the world. The Creation Museum - motto: "Prepare to Believe!" - will be the first institution in the world whose contents, with the exception of a few turtles swimming in an artificial pond, are entirely fake. It is dedicated to the proposition that the account of the creation of the world in the Book of Genesis is completely correct, and its mission is to convince visitors through a mixture of animatronic models, tableaux and a strangely Disneyfied version of the Bible story.


Can I have whatever drugs these folks are on???

Nearly 1 in 3 Believe Bible is Literal Word of God

Editor & Publisher reports that 31% of the US adult population believes that the Bible is to be interpreted literally, word for word (http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003590603). This is truly kind of scary and makes one wonder what’s wrong with our educational system. Even more frightening is that Chimperator Bush appears to be among the 31% in question. Here’s the E&P story:

NEW YORK About one-third of the American adult population believes the Bible is the actual word of God and is to be taken literally word for word, a new Gallup poll reveals. This percentage is only slightly lower than several decades ago.

Gallup reports that the majority of those "who don't believe that the Bible is literally true believe that it is the inspired word of God but that not everything it in should be taken literally." Finally, about one in five Americans believe the Bible is merely an ancient book of "fables, legends, history, and moral precepts recorded by man."

There is also a strong relationship between education and belief in a literal Bible, Gallup explains, with such belief becoming much less prevalent as schooling continues.Those who believe in the literal Bible amount to 31% of adult Americans. This is a decline of about 7% compared with Gallup polls taken in the 1970s and 1980s. It is strongest in the South

Believe in the literal word of the Bible is strongest among those whose schooling stopped with high school and declines steadily with educational level, with only 20% of college graduates holding that view and 11% of those with an advanced degree.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe in the Bible, but I am among those who "who don't believe that the Bible is literally true, but believe that it is the inspired word of God but that not everything it in should be taken literally." I am not the least surprised that the higher the level of one’s education, the less belief in taking the Bible as literal fact. One need only look to where the growth is greatest in the Roman Catholic Church (i.e., Africa and poor third world countries) to see the direct correlation that that the spread of rigid, unthinking religious belief is tied to low levels of education.

Friday Male Beauty


Thursday, May 24, 2007

New Book Puts a Focus on Antigay Activist Robert Knight


Ex-Gay Watch is reporting that Activist Alvin McEwen has published an excerpt from his upcoming book, Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters: Exposing the Lies of the Anti-Gay Industry. (The website for the book can be found here: http://www.freewebs.com/holybulliesandheadlessmonsters/index.htm) From some of the excerpts, McEwen has a good take on the dishonesty and hatred that permeates these so-called "pro-family organization:"


. . . in order to prove that gays and lesbians should not have any protection of laws, so-called “pro-family” groups have created a written and oral pattern of deception that is not only blatant in its attempts but shameful in its audacity. In their zeal to prove the worst about the gay community, the antigay industry run roughshod over science and truth. They have created a house of pseudo-scientifi c studies based on distortions, lies, headless monsters, and legitimate studies taken out of context which are then pushed by fake experts, Ph.D.s, conservative columnists and bloggers, and ignorant people of faith all willing to sacrifice their integrity on the altar of an alleged higher calling."


I have had e-mail debates with Robert Knight in the past and no lie is too outrageous for him and even when he concedes factual error, he no sooner turns around and is caught lying again. My personal read on Knight is that he is an extreme self-hating closet case. The level of his anti-gay hysteria can not otherwise be explained. He did not take kindly to my suggestion that he ask John Paulk (Focus on the Family's ex-gay poster boy until he was photographed in a D.C. gay cruising bar) for advise on Washington, D.C. cruising spots so he could find himself a trick and maybe calm his hysteria a bit.

More Thursday Male Beauty


Virginia leads Nation in Children Aging Out of Foster Care


Today's Virginia Pilot reports that Virgina has the dubious distinction of having the highest "aged out" problem for children in foster care in the USA. Meanwhile Virginia rigorously prohibits LBGT couples from adopting children. Could there just maybe be some correlation between these two issues? One cannot help but wonder since often LGBT's are the ones who adopt children no one else wants. Here's a portion of the story.


The report tagged Virginia as having the highest percentage of such children in 2004. The study, funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, found that 21 percent of Virginia's foster children "aged out" of the system in 2004, compared to a national rate of 8 percent. The good news for Virginia, though, is the state is among 12 where the rates declined between 2000 and 2004, the latest year tracked.


The report, entitled "Time for Reform: Aging Out and On their Own," found that the number of children nationally who age out of foster care has grown by 41 percent since 1998. The report found that children who age out of the system have spent an average of five years in foster care, compared to 2.5 years for all foster children.

Other studies have shown these young adults are at higher risk of homelessness, trouble with the law, and poverty. Virginia social services officials said states often differ in how they collect data, which could account for Virginia's high percentage of children who age out of the state's care.

It is sad that Virginia's legislators and the Christianists at The Family Foundation prefer that children never have a permanent home rather than let them live in stable, loving LGBT homes. Once again, it sure does not seem like what Jesus would condone.

Pope Praises Anti-Gay Protestors


The AP and 365gay.com are reporting that Pope Benedict XVI, the Nazi Pope (who reportedly loves his red Prada shoes), sang the praises of anti-gay protestors in Rome. Here's a portion of the story:

"(Vatican City) Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday praised a recent demonstration in Rome against proposed legislation granting legal rights to unmarried couples, including gay ones, saying it showed that traditional family was at the core of Italian society. Benedict called the May 12 Family Day rally, organized by Catholic groups and family associations, a "great and extraordinary popular festival."

Hundreds of thousands of people turned out for the demonstration to protest a bill that would grant legal rights to unmarried couples, including hospital visits and inheritance rights. The bill does not legalize gay marriage, as was done in other European countries, such as Spain.

The bill has angered the Vatican, which under Benedict has been conducting a fierce campaign to protect traditional family based on marriage between man and woman."

Meanwhile, even though the family and morality are supposedly so important to Benedict and his predecessor, John Paul II, neither of them have yet to punish the Cardinal and Bishops who covered up the priest sex abuse scandal, reassigned known pedophile priests to unsuspecting parishes, and/or tried to brow beat parents and victims into remaining silent. A few years back, the Dallas Morning News did an article that calculated that over 1/3 of the bishops in the USA had covered up sexual abuse. Why anyone continues to listen to Benedict and the corrupt and disigenuous Catholic Church hierarchy dumb founds me. The guy is a fraud and hypocrite.

Thursday Male Beauty


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

U.S. military continues to discharge gay Arab linguists


I guess it is more important to keep the the hate- merchant Christianists happy than to look out for the best interests of the the country:

U.S. military continues to discharge gay Arab linguists, and Congress members seek hearing - The Associated Press
Published: May 23, 2007


WASHINGTON: Lawmakers who say the military has kicked out 58 Arabic linguists because they were gay want the Pentagon to explain how it can afford to let the valuable language specialists go.

Seizing on the latest discharges, involving three specialists, members of the House of Representatives wrote the House Armed Services Committee chairman that the continued loss of such "capable, highly skilled Arabic linguists continues to compromise our national security during time of war."

Democratic Rep. Marty Meehan, who has pushed for repeal of the law, organized the letter sent to Skelton requesting a hearing into the Arab linguist issue.

"At a time when our military is stretched to the limit and our cultural knowledge of the Middle East is dangerously deficient, I just can't believe that kicking out able, competent Arabic linguists is making our country any safer," Meehan said.

The letter, signed by about 40 House members, says that, with the latest firings, 58 Arab linguists have been dismissed from the military under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. It said Congress should decide whether this application of the policy "is serving the nation well."

The full story appears at: http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/05/23/america/NA-GEN-US-Military-Gays.php

Divorce Wars – A Further Episode


As I have mentioned previously, I find those who disingenuously market the ex-gay “cure” programs utterly despicable. It is folks like them that helped me feel that I had to be in the closet and expect God to cure my same sex attraction. Moreover, they set up the straight spouses for doomed marriages. All so that they can (1) make money off those desperately seeking to be straight, and (2) use the “choice” myth in their political efforts to keep gays from having full civil legal rights.

When these doomed marriages fail – as did my own and so many others – the stage is set for more suffering and much acrimony. In my case, I have a vengeful estranged spouse who wants revenge in our divorce suit and is incapable and/or unwilling to accept financial reality and the limits of what I can pay her. Her logic or lack thereof escapes me – why endeavor to make life so bad that at times I think I’d be better of just up and leave (for a more gay friendly country) everything? She does nothing that logically one should do for the best outcome: (1) get a full time job with health insurance benefits, (2) take some responsibility for her own future and face the fact that what was is gone forever, and (3) stop trying to poison the children against me, since eventually they will realize she was a shrew. In any event, I have additional hearings coming up and her attorney wants to depose both me and the b/f. Any readers who are believers, please pray for me!

I wish the hypocrites like James Dobson who peddle their “cure” snake oil would think once in a while about the lives that these programs and false propaganda damage. Even if they care nothing for the pain and damage done to the gay spouses, one would think that the Christian thing to do would be to at least think of the damage done to the straight spouse.

More Wednesday Male Beauty

This guy might make getting caught in a rip current not seem like such a bad idea.

Wednesday Male Beauty


America's Christian Taliban - Part Two


Monica Goodling is scheduled to testify today before the House Judiciary Committee about the firings of U. S. Attorneys, under an offer of immunity, thereby blunting her attempt to invoke the 5th Amendment protection against self-incrimination.
"All I ever wanted to do was serve this president, this administration, this department," Goodling tearfully told a senior Justice official shortly before she quit, according to a transcript of his interview released by the House committee last night.
The reality is that Goodling had no business whatsoever being put in a high level position in the Justice Department. She is an inexperienced political hack from Pat Robertson’s Regent University Law School, a 4th tier Christianist law school, that historically has the worse failure rate on the Virginia Bar Exam of any law school in the state. Here’s the Washington Post’s description of Goodling:

A 1999 graduate of Regent University law school in Virginia Beach with six months of prosecutorial experience, Goodling was among a small coterie of young aides to Gonzales who were remarkable for their inexperience and autonomy in deciding the fates of seasoned Justice Department lawyers, according to current and former officials who worked with the group.

2004, Goodling spent six months in the U.S. attorney's office for the Eastern District of Virginia, in a special program designed to give Justice employees and other government lawyers a chance to gain courtroom experience. Reviews of her tenure there are mixed. Three current or former Justice officials said she quickly developed a reputation for having an antagonistic and sharply ideological style.

Sadly, the Bush administration has hired 150 Regent Law Law graduates, obviously putting extremist religious and/or political ideology ahead of competence. It is truly frightening what has happened in this country to religious freedom and civil rights under Chimperator Bush and his administration.

America's Christian Taliban


ABC News has reported (http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=3201543&page=1)that even in death, the Rev. Jerry Falwell rouses the most volatile of emotions and that a would be student bomber and his accomplices sought to harm those protesting against Falwell. Here’s a portion of the ABC report:

A small group of protesters gathered near the funeral services to criticize the man who mobilized Christian evangelicals and made them a major force in American politics -- often by playing on social prejudices.

A group of students from Falwell's Liberty University staged a counter protest. And Campbell County authorities arrested a Liberty University student for having several homemade bombs in his car.

The student, 19-year-old Mark D. Uhl of Amissville, Va., reportedly told authorities that he was making the bombs to stop protesters from disrupting the funeral service. The devices were made of a combination of gasoline and detergent, a law enforcement official told ABC News' Pierre Thomas. They were "slow burn," according to the official, and would not have been very destructive.

"There were indications that there were others involved in the manufacturing of these devices and we are still investigating these individuals with the assistance of ATF [Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms], Virginia State Police and FBI. At this time it is not believed that these devices were going to be used to interrupt the funeral services at Liberty University," the Campbell County Sheriff's Office said in a release.

Three other suspects are being sought, one of whom is a soldier from Fort Benning, Ga., and another is a high school student. No information was available on the third suspect.

As John Aravosis at AmericaBlog notes, this incident demonstrates how dangerous the rhetoric of the Religious Right really is. This religious right terrorist wasn't some Islamic nutjob in some far away land. Rather, he was one of Falwell’s students at Liberty University (which I view as an embarrassment to the Commonwealth of Virginia). Worse yet, he was not acting alone. America truly has its own Christian Taliban. Will Homeland Security put these types under surveillance like they have done with some gay groups? Sadly, I doubt it. Bush would never want to upset Daddy Dobson by "persecuting" Christians.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

More Tuesday Male Beauty




My Summer World Growing Up


Back on April 7, 2007, I posted about my years growing up, but inadvertently left out a description of my “summer world” as I described it when I wrote My Closet Years – Part One. I want to digress a bit and revisit that world because it was the best time of my life during those years. The summers helped me make it through life and exposed me to the first gay couple in a committed relationship that I ever met, although I did not understand the nature of their relationship at the time.

My summer world centered on our summer home on Brantingham Lake in New York’s Adirondack Mountains. The photo above is a view across the lake. Our “camp” as they are referred to in that area had been acquired by my mother’s parents when they moved back to the USA in 1938 from Panama (my mother was actually born in Honduras). It was a large four bedroom house on a beautiful lake that had been part of the summer estate of the Jay R. Monroe, the founder of Monroe Calculating Machines (actually, it had been the caretaker’s house). The property was eventually expanded by the construction of a boathouse with three bedrooms as well. Other than an interlude after my parents moved to Virginia, the camp has been in the family since 1938. Many of the homes on the lake have similar histories of being passed down through the generations.

My mother’s parents were amazing people who I unfortunately never got to really know because my grandfather died when I was 11 and my grandmother had a stroke and was an invalid for many years before her death. He was from Upstate New York and a self-made success story, having made a goodly amount of money working on the building of the Panama Canal – he received a medal from President Theodore Roosevelt – which he used to put himself through college and medical school. He was both smart and physically beautiful based on old photographs. After serving as an Army doctor in World War I, he signed on with United Fruit Company as an administrator of some of its hospitals in Honduras and Panama.

My grandmother in contrast was a New Orleans belle who must have been quite the black sheep of the family. When the US entered into World War I, she signed on as an Army nurse and traveled across much of Western Europe and spent time in Paris and Rome. Once the war ended, the idea of going back to the life of a normal southern woman in New Orleans must have been unappealing to her. Like my grandfather, she signed on as a nurse with United Fruit at the war’s end and met my grandfather in Panama. For nearly twenty years they lived an existence like something out of the British Raj, with servants, stables, and other niceties, until they moved back to Upstate New York to care for my grandfather’s aging parents. My mother still has many photos from those years and it is a time that no longer exists.

From 1938 onward, my grandparents spent the summers at the camp. As a child, we likewise spent much of each summer at Brantingham, along with other relatives. There we learned to sail, swim, canoe, and water ski. It was a magical time in a gorgeous setting. Among the relatives often at camp were my grandfather’s brother (a university professor at the University of Arizona) and his wife, Mildred. Often there would be so many people that we kids would be relegated to sleeping in a tent to make room for the adult guests. Also present were my Aunt Mildred’s brother and what I now know was his partner, who rented a small cabin each summer on an adjacent property. We children thought them as simply “confirmed bachelors” and they were included in all family events at the camp and they often hosted wonderful parties at their place next door. These two men were kind and wonderful to all of us children and, indeed, we considered them to be uncles of sorts. They died in the 1970’s after having been together for well over thirty years, the second of them dying within a short time after the first, basically of a broken heart.

In addition to introducing me unknowingly to a stable gay couple, the camp provided me with a place where I could be popular and excel in sports – I was a very good slalom water skier - unlike my existence at home where I was terrible at baseball, football and basketball. In fact, I was often among the last selected for teams in PE class. In short, I got to be someone other than the smart kid who sometimes got called faggot or sissy. Moreover, our friends at camp, especially when I was a teenager, seemed so much more dynamic than those at home. Most of them coming from all around New York and some from New Jersey, and many were the children of my mother's friends from her later teenage years at the lake. Needless to say, I had some major crushes on some of the guys. This was especially true of one friend who often stayed with us since his family’s camp was rotated in 2 week periods through various members of his extended family. His name was also Michael and I loved him so much. When he stayed with us, he and I had to share a double bed (most of the seven bedrooms had double beds) and I was in heaven lying beside him. I wonder at times if he ever knew my feelings for him, since he was long enamored with one of my sisters (the one who died in 2001).

But for the summers at camp – and to a lesser extent my skiing world – I probably would have killed myself before I ever made it to age 20. I have not been back to the camp in a number of years due to work schedule, etc., plus the fact that it’s a very long drive from Norfolk. Amazingly, one of my friends from those enchanted summers years lives in Norfolk and attends my church.

What Would You Decide?


Euphoria (http://realeuphoria.com/index.php) posted this ad on his blog a few days ago. It’s not a real ad. Instead, it relates to the movie “Hard Pill” which Euphoric recommends we view. Per his post, the movie is built on the concept of “What if there was a Pill that we could take to make us straight?” He further reports that the film really looked at the impact such a discovery would have on not only the gay man but the people around him. It also looks at what would motivate a gay man to take this pill and whether taking the pill could solve the issues.

Talking with my therapist yesterday – who thinks my blog is a great idea and encouraged me to start it – I told him about the premise of the movie. He asked what I would decide if given the option of taking such a pill and now being able to to be straight. I told him (as he knew full well from seeing me for a number of years) that there had certainly been a time when I would have gladly taken the pill. Now, however, I told him that I would definitely NOT take the pill. I like who I am at long last and I am comfortable with the sexual orientation that God gave me. What choice would you make?

Tuesday Male Beauty


It has been a crazy day so far, so I have not had a chance to post anything. Until I do, here's some eye candy to enjoy.

Monday, May 21, 2007

A Must Read




I have received a number of kind and supportive comments on my posts from D-Man, the author of Out in the Middle of Idaho. The following is a post on his blog that truly hit me hard. I have lost friends to suicide, two because of their inability to accept their own sexual orientation. http://outinthemiddleofidaho.blogspot.com/2007/05/why-im-still-here.html

Monday Male Beauty


My Last Cure Attempt


My reader, Peter’s comments about religion reminded me of my last serious attempt to throw myself into religion and “cure” myself of my same sex attraction. With my son’s learning to surf getting me into the sport, and finding myself spending time on surf trips with him and some of his friends, I thought a good program for them (and me) would be Christian Surfers, a world wide organization originally founded in Australia with numerous US chapters (http://www.christiansurfers.com/). It seemed a good way to keep the boys out of mischief and to provide a counterweight to the spaced out surfer dude mentality sometimes found in the surfing community. Moreover, the chapter took surf trips and did a Saturday morning bible study followed by surfing in the summer. For me, I thought the Bible study and focus on faith would be helpful in achieving the enigmatic cure I sought.

Soon my son and were very involved in the Virginia Beach chapter, which was headed by a gorgeous young married guy (who has now moved up in the organization). Not only was he physically beautiful and charismatic, but he was also one of the nicest guys I have ever known. Eventually, I was even one of the assistant directors of the chapter. My "cure," however remained illusive. You guessed it – instead of curing my “secret affliction,” I was now utterly infatuated with the chapter leader. After one Christmas gathering, he hugged me and I absolutely thought I was going to faint.


My quest for a “cure” largely ceased after this – no matter what I did or how hard I tried, God simply would not allow me to be “cured” and seemed to just put one obstacle in front of me after another. The falsity of the promise that God can cure you of being gay and the cynical way that the Christianist far right plays upon the desire of so many of us to conform and/or be what our families want, is nothing less than a travesty. The simple fact is that God makes some of us gay for God’s unknowable purposes. To try to change God’s handiwork is, in my view, a form of blasphemy.

Meet My Readers - Part 3

I received another nice e-mail from a reader of this blog this morning. He lives in √Čvora, Portugal and has a blog/journal found at: http://exiledsemfiltro.livejournal.com/ I will let Peter tell you more about himself:
A little bit about myself. My name is Peter. Here is Portugal, on the extreme west of Europe and all that. It is more homophobic than the rest of Western Europe, but less so than Eastern Europe. And it's not an open sort of homophobia, either. I turned 30 last 7th (of May). Big milestone, as my sexual orientation as been fairly clear to me since I was about 4, but I didn't act upon it until I was 19. Well, I'm an only child, more is the pity, so was my father and my mother had only one sister, living miles away. Yes, there's something very non "go and multiply" about our mostly devout Lusitanian (that's Episcopalian, actually, more like Anglican, we're in communion with them) family in this ocean of Catholics.

I left God to his own devices at 14. At 18 I became a buddhist. At 25 Unitarian Universalist, but organized religion still freaks me out a bit/a lot. I usually tell people I'm of the secular humanist branch of the UUs and it's true, but deep down, I still have some belief in a Deity, only not one like those in the Books(Bible, Koran, Talmud, whatever).

I live in √Čvora, my hometown. And commute to work in Lisbon (1 hour each way) 4 days a week. Lucky me. As I work in the Translating Department of a smallish publishing house I can get most of my work done on my PC.
I hope more of you will send me information on yourselves and all of us can share in the discussion of ideas and issues. My address is: michaelinnorfolk@gmail.com.

The Pleasures of Surfing


We did go to the beach yesterday and I did go surfing for the first time in a number of months. The ocean water was in the low 50”s (I have been in water as cold as 38 degrees) and I wore a full wetsuit and booties. A couple of cuties were sufing in just board shorts and had to be freezing.

The day was beautiful and I enjoyed getting the exercise. My shoulders are definitely feeling the effects of all the paddling. An added bonus was the nice eye candy in the line up, although summer provides better viewing of the hotties in just their board shorts. I vow that I am going to be more diligent in surfing. It is terrific exercise and such a stress reliever. It is hard to describe the rush of catching a wave and feeling yourself accelerate with the force of the wave beneath you. The photos are one of me headed to the water. The other is some typical scenery.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Living in a Shattering Closet





After the episode in Chicago I described in a prior post, I could no longer pretend and work to convince myself that I was not really gay. Yet at the same time, I could not look in the mirror and say “I’m gay” either. Outwardly, I continued to live my life as always, but internally what had been a struggle previously, now increased to a desperate level. I was still in this twilight state when in January, 2000 my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. My daughter’s recovery had just finished and now here was a new catastrophe. Any possibility of facing up to my sexual orientation was definitely out of the question. Witnessing the hell my sister in Florida was enduring as she underwent radiation and chemotherapy for her cancer, my wife opted for the most aggressive surgery option and reconstructive surgery in order to avoid the need for radiation and chemotherapy. To date her health remains good and, as far as I know, she remains cancer free. However, her recovery took months and added to the family stress. Moreover, financially, we were hit with another co-pay stop loss and additional medical bills on top of the huge bills still remaining from my daughter’s illness. In fact, it took me over 3 years to finally pay of all the bills and our savings were totally depleted.

All of this medical drama required me to remain strong and supportive for my family (or at least try to be) and made the internal struggle all the worse. I know I frequently was not a pleasant person to be around. Yet, there was no way I could tell my wife about the Chicago incident or my same sex attractions with everything that was going on. As a pretty honest person, this made life more unbearable for me. In retrospect, the final straw that broke things open for me emotionally was the death of my sister in April, 2001.

For the first time in 13 years, I was taking a full week of vacation and we had rented a beach house in Frisco, North Carolina in the Outer Banks for the week of Spring Break (Photos of Hatteras are set out above). While we knew things were not good with my sister, my mother was with her, as were my other two sisters, and she had rallied time and time again. Therefore, we felt it was safe to go forward with the vacation plan. The first three days at Frisco were wonderful both in terms of weather and surfing and in just escaping the normal routine. For me, once I cross the Bonner Bridge onto Hatteras Island, cares melt away and remain on the mainland. However, in the late afternoon on Tuesday, my dad called and said that things were worsening in Florida. That day and through the night I worried about my sister. Wednesday (April 12, 2001) my dad called and said my sister was gone.

It seemed unbelievable as I sat on the deck surrounded by beauty and nature. That night there was the most amazing sunset, followed by a clear starry night. I broke down and cried and did what we all do – thought of times I could have been nicer, more supportive, etc., to my sister. In many ways, of the five of us children, she and I were the most alike. We tried to “play by the rules,” be what we were expected to be, and always planned for a better future and tried to sacrifice for our families. She had done everything right and delayed living her life for others, yet now she was dead and would never get to do and be what she had put off for the future.

Inflicting further turmoil was the fact that she had made me executor of her estate and trustee of her trust for her children, one of who was still a minor. The rest of the vacation week I was coordinating funeral arrangements on the phone and trying to get family consensus on what type of funeral she would have wanted (she left no directions since she never admitted she would not survive). Moreover, I had to deal with her ex-husband who foolishly thought he could waltz in and take over her estate and assets. Not surprisingly, I was a complete basket case emotionally, yet had to hold it together while everyone else freaked out. To this day, I feel that I never got to properly mourn my sister or go through the grieving process because of all that I had to do.

Once the funeral was over and I manage to sell her house in Florida, I began to chat on line late at night in a couple of gay chat rooms. I simply needed someone to talk to because there was no one that I knew that would understand and/or not be disgusted by my secret. I never did anything sexually or met any of these individuals, but a few of them chatted with me regularly and they became my friends so to speak. I simply felt so alone and felt that I was going to be doomed to live my whole life trapped in a role that was not really me. At times, I seriously thought of having a "surfing accident" so that the internal torment could stop and my secret would never be known. I had the whole plan worked out in my mind.
Meanwhile, my wife began to wonder a bit about what was going on with me. She knew I was stressed financially, working long hours, and shaken by my sister’s death and everything else we had endured for the last 20 months. The attacks on 9-11-2001 and the following hysteria only added to my sense of doom and entrapment, and my wife finally began asking me what was going on. Finally, she posited that either I was having an affair. I responded that, no I was not. Then she questioned if I was gay or something. So exhausted from 37 years of living a lie, I broke into tears and finally confessed my terrible secret that had plagued me, in my view at the time, destroyed my life. Now the issue would be how would she and I and our family would go on.

Tell Me About Yourself

Two of my readers have been introduced on this Blog. For those of you who do not want to be featured, I would still be interested in hearing from you either via comment or e-mail. So far, people from 40 countries have viewed this blog and I'd love for some of you to tell me about yourselves. The blogosphere has made the world so much smaller. My e-mail address is: michaelinnorfolk@gmail.com

Sunday Male Beauty


Beach Weather Finally Arrives




We have had the most bizarre spring. One day it's fairly warm, the next you need to turn the heat back on. Today is going to be hot and the waves are so-so, but appear to be good enough to get some rides. The water temps are still in the low 50's, so it's definitely still wet suit conditions. I think the b/f and I will head to the beach and take my long board along, as well as a full wet suit and booties. The photos above are actual shots from Virginia Beach.