Showing posts with label Gay. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gay. Show all posts

September 7, 2018

Gay and All Alone in Vietnam







By Sen  


'A friend of mine committed suicide after I abandoned him for him confessing his homosexuality to me.'
Shocking, poignant stories were narrated at an unusual event hosted recently by the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City.

The Storytelling Contest on LGBTQI issues, involving members of the community as well as their families and friends, was part of a series of mini-events supporting Viet Pride.

Viet Pride is an annual event that focuses “on celebrating the freedom of love and personal expression, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Most of the 23 contestants who participated in the event were 15-25 years old. Some sat alone, some surrounded by friends and families. Some looked cheerful, others looked nervous.

But when the storytelling began, people bared their souls and shared their anguish.

Tran Duc Bao, who won the first prize in the contest, shared how his name was modified to mock him. His friends and classmates called him Bao Duc, the initials of which fit the pronunciation of “Bê đê”.

“Bê đê,” originating from “Pé dé,” a French slang for homosexual, is a derogatory term widely used to attack gays in Vietnam.

“I used to bite my pillows in tears,” Bao said.

Bao was a natural on stage, which was a winning element in his presentation, apart from his story. He demonstrated how he walks, according to his haters: pelvis out, shoulders back, a limp wrist, hips swishing from side to side. This was obviously a deliberate exaggeration because Bao’s gait is nothing like the stereotype.

The 17-year-old student questioned the modern-day freedom that does not grant him the freedom to be himself.

Tran Duc Bao, first prize winner at a Saigon storytelling contest on LGBT issues, shares his story of being discriminated for being gay. Photo courtesy of US Consulate General

Tran Duc Bao, first prize winner at a Saigon storytelling contest on LGBT issues, shares his story of being discriminated for being gay. Photo courtesy of US Consulate General

'More normal'

Another contestant, Vu Hoang Thanh Trang, did not suffer any discrimination.

She was the discriminator.

When her friend confessed that she liked her, Trang reacted in a shocking way that silenced her friend and drove her away. When Trang managed to apologize, her friend broke to tears and the two embraced each other.

“I wish I was more normal,” her friend said.

Trang has since been accompanying her friend on her journey to find herself, providing her the mental support she needs. In the process, Trang has become a pillar of support for many other friends who face the thorny challenges faced by all LGBTQI individuals. She invited others around her, including the audience present, to expand their horizons on sexual orientation.

“Society cannot change immediately. If we can only inspire 3-5 people, that is okay. We are here, we can fight the stigma. We will make a difference, one mindset at a time,” the 18-year-old said.

A ‘made-up’ story

Among many captivating stories, one by Ngo Thanh Triet stood out.

A Vietnamese student in Finland who calls himself “a gay guy who likes make-up,” Triet’s attempt to boost his self-esteem backfired quickly.

“I felt judgmental eyes on me from everyone around me because of my make-up.”

And this was happening in Finland, a country far more progressive and empathetic towards LGBTQI appearances and rights than many countries, including Vietnam.

Then, something else happened.

“One time, when I was at a bar, there were two girls sitting not so far from me.

“They were looking in my direction, with their hands covering their mouths as they spoke, and I realized they were talking about me.”

The women ended up approaching Triet, and asked him a question he did not expect: “What highlighter do you use?”

It hit Triet then that he does not really know what people think of him – his own negative thoughts were wreaking havoc.

“So why do I stress myself about what others think of me?"

Ngo Thanh Triet shares his story at the contest. Photo courtesy of the US Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City

Ngo Thanh Triet shares his story at the contest. Photo courtesy of the US Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City

Misunderstanding, cruelty

Despite the upbeat nature of several stories, the pain caused by a society that discriminates against them was evident.

At another LGBT event hosted by the U.S. Consulate General last month, Doctor Nguyen Tan Thu and psychologist Mia Nguyen addressed common misunderstandings and responses that causes more suffering.

“To cure homosexuals, doctors injected hormones into them. If that does not work, they were subjected to electric shocks, either on top of their head, arms, or sexual organs,” Thu said.

There was one gruesome method the doctor mentioned that sent shivers down the audience’s spine: corrective rape. The term was coined in South Africa after numerous rapes of lesbians. Perpetrators claimed that the act would transform the homosexual victim into heterosexual.

Thu categorically stated that all the abovementioned conversion therapies do not change the sexual orientation of “patients.”

An openly gender queer person himself, Thu is an ardent activist for LGBTIQ rights. He is now a consultant for Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH) where he provides counseling and HIV test referrals for men who have sex with men (MSM).

Boi Nhi, a freelance actress and health consultant at My Home Clinic, a LGBTQI-friendly clinic that welcomes patients who are afraid to go to public and private hospitals, spoke openly about her predicament.

She said that hormones used by transgender individuals are not regulated in Vietnam. “Transgenders like me who use these hormones are not protected by law,” Nhi said. Homosexuals who want to become transgenders often look up to those who have already had sex reassignment surgery and seek their advice on hormone use, the actress said.

“We have no idea what these pills contain. Because the Ministry of Health does not inspect and supervise these hormone pills, we as transgenders have to resort to advice from successfully transgendered people for medical advice and support so that we can eventually find ourselves just like they did,” Nhi said.

Mia Nguyen, a psychologist who has worked with the LGBTQI community for over a decade, told VnExpress International that sex reassignment surgery was not covered by health insurance in Vietnam. In contrast, in Australia, where she has worked since 2007, counselling and hormone therapy for people undergoing the surgery are covered by health insurance. She hoped that the operation will soon be covered by health insurance in Vietnam.

Vietnam is regarded highly in the region when it comes to supporting LGBTQI rights. It scrapped the ban on same-sex marriage in 2014. However, the nation’s laws does not recognize nor protect gay couples.

Harsh attitudes at home remain one of the toughest challenges facing Vietnam’s LGBT community.

Ending it all

“My friend committed suicide after I abandoned him for him confessing his homosexuality to me.”

When Bui Quang Nghia’s friend came out of the closet and confided in him, Nghia cut off contact. He did not answer texts or phone calls. And before he could realize how much hurt he had caused by shunning his friend, it was too late. The friend overdosed on sleeping pills.

Nghia did not cry, but the pauses in his storytelling were pregnant with grief.

Nguyen Khanh shared another dramatic story about a friend of his.

He seemed to have everything anyone could want. He was intelligent, sociable, ambitious and had an excellent education funded by his family. But there was something inside that had been eating him up for a long time – his unorthodox sexual orientation.

As Khanh spoke, a picture of a railway track appeared on the screen.

“He stood there, one step away from death. He wanted to end it all. Do you think he jumped?”, he asked, and the audience tensed up.

Nguyen then took a symbolic step back and said with a smile, “Fortunately, he did not. Because he is me.”



July 9, 2018

I'm Gay, Board and Lonesome But My Social Life is Good


 

                                                                     


Mintu was a looker with shapely legs and light olive skin. The first time our new sports teacher looked at him, we all knew that he fancied him like mad. This happened in class VIII around the mid-1990s. It was also the time when a Juhi Chawla movie was released and everyone in our class started calling him Juhi.
He was not talkative.
He would sit in the third row next to the window and quietly read film magazines hidden cleverly in his textbooks and would set his hair and occasionally look up to the teachers to prove his attentiveness. I felt he was lonely. He didn't have any friends. Sometimes he would take out his chap stick and apply on his lips and go back to his reading unperturbed by anything happening around him. Perhaps that's how lonely people are - in their own world.
Mintu was feminine, beautiful and guarded his reclusion in his make-believe world. I tried to talk to him many times and he would just reply in monosyllables and never added anything or asked anything to give friendship a start.
I stepped back after a few attempts. I saw him crying in the library once but could never ask because I feared he would not answer. He was not a raging Juhi Chawla fan and the students called him Juhi to mock him.
He had overheard that they actually named him Hiju or Hijra. If you flip the name Juhi, it could loosely be arranged as Hiju. That was the smartest way to refer to him and this is how the other students had their share of banter.
Mintu went home for summer vacations and never returned to school. Later, we heard he had jumped off the terrace and died. It was a suicide. He died of loneliness and rejection. We heard that his own father used to call him those names and his mother just cried incessantly without reacting. He had no protection and no support from family and obviously, no love. Loneliness and death at the age of 15. Unbelievable!
There were only two people from school who attended his funeral. One of them was me.
queer690_070818055418.jpg
There were many queens in our school, mostly closeted like me. We often used to hang around in the old dilapidated basketball field applying Vaseline on our eyelids and that would add some shimmer to our eyes. We hoped that maybe this little act of freedom would add some shimmer to our lives, too.
That was our adda. Whenever we felt lonely, we would run there. The basketball court was ignored, too. No one played there so it would host us happily, I thought. Someone or the other was always found there. We had a few allies, mostly our seniors, who would join us sometimes for a small talk. We teased them and they did the same when they found one of us with them alone. Each gay guy in our school was lonely and ran to the court looking for a similar soul to talk to. We laughed, talked, ate stolen food from tuck-shop and ran back to our respective classes.
We spoke about Mintu for months and no one knew what happened to him. It was difficult. We had to pretend to be someone else while talking to our teachers, parents and to everyone. We couldn't be openly gay in front of them. We feared rejection, scolding and disapproval.
But everyone else knew. Our watchmen, school bus drivers who would often ask for blow job from each of us and they wouldn't give up if we refused. I constantly looked for a cockroach spray like Hit that would also repel humans. We battled it would. One thing you learn pretty early when you are gay is that you can't give in. The fights were endless. They would take advantage of our loneliness. Some of us were raunchy kids. To kill loneliness we would often indulge in sex with someone we liked.
We were just exploring our bodies because we didn't know what sex meant. Or we were abused. Isn't that child abuse? Now I realise when I was felt up in a crowded bus or one of those drunken uncles who would show up once a year during Diwali and would grab my cheek to kiss and forcibly move his lips to mine and I repulsed him like a force of a current. But I wouldn't report this. I knew it was bad. No one taught me these things but in my heart I knew those were bad things that were not to be told or discussed. Boy, I was wrong.
Then we all grew up with our loneliness and in bits, our togetherness. I picked up cigarettes to kill my boredom, read books after books, had multiple sex partners.
Is there a hairline difference between boredom and loneliness? Boredom is just for the moment, for that time around. It's short-lived but loneliness is for a long time. Maybe it can stretch till eternity. It's a disease. It doesn't go away. I try to be resilient by going to the parties, try drinking the heavier cocktails like long-island-tea or just down neat whiskey pegs and sleep until Monday morning and then begin the work week. I wear a smile to every party I go to. Parties are ephemeral. And then I return to my empty apartment in the city and I feel the familiar loneliness surround me again. My mom's death left a huge void in my life and I have been really lonely without her. Probably the pain cannot be described in words. But I miss her. Perhaps she knew. And I know she understood. I was her child. And that's all that mattered to her and me.
Then I met Raj whose depression cost him his job and his social life. He even broke up with his boyfriend. He hugged me and gave me the gloomiest smile I ever saw on someone's face. I felt like crying. I remember we kissed once. But that doesn't mean anything. He is seriously lonely and needs serious help. He told me he was speaking to some psychiatrist. He is anxious about his future. He has practically given up on life. It is an extreme loneliness because he was ousted from his family many years ago and now his lover has also forsaken him. So practically he is loveless and homeless.
"There won't be more than four people in my funeral," he told me wryly.
But I can see through his pain. Those dark circles around his eyes say a lot about him. He lives on Xanax and Vodka and those are his parachutes to temporary happiness.
On grounds of loneliness, I have not found much difference between my gay friends and straight friends. My straight friends comprise mostly single successful men and women in their thirties or forties. Some are in relationships but they are still lonely and constantly want to hang out without their partners on weekends while the rest succumb to mindless travels or find their anchorage in their respective careers, do hard drugs and tell too many lies.
And it all boils down to loneliness. Loneliness will lighten once they have a legit life partner but where is the partner, their knights in shining armours? I wish life partners could just be ordered on phone like food. It's such a grilling, excruciating exercise to select a life partner or a perfect companion. My friends have such high standards and they are highly successful and that becomes a hindrance in the selection process. No one wants to compromise on any grounds. The shortlisted candidate doesn't realise he has been shown his place already. He is out and she is lonely again but the search is on. And this is an endless cycle. And where do I or people like me find long lasting love?
I really want to thank the gay activists working to legalise homosexuality. The only hope is that this will bring some positive changes into some of our lives. It will change the quality of our life. We can walk on the road with our head held high. We will be free to live without any inhibition and that means a lot for us. The key reason behind a gay man's loneliness starts from a lack of acceptance.
I never had to struggle through my sexuality. I am lucky in a way that I came from a family that accepted what the world looked upon as "transgression". I live my life on my own terms but I don't know if I can deal with my loneliness. If I was accepted wholly by our society, things would have been much better for us. Loneliness is an untold pain that lingers until we die.
If you compare it to some serious illness it is just as brutally manageable like diabetes or HIV/AIDS but we are condemned to die with it without proper treatment.
Can't scientists invent a pill for loneliness? It's hard to discuss and even tougher to hear about. Just a bit of social interaction and a friendlier approach can bring huge changes in our lives. Politicians have no interest in us because we are not their vote bank.
We have to wage a battle every day to be who we are, to be able to embrace our identity that doesn't belong to the prescribed gender binary. And it is tiring. It wears us out.
I go to fabulous parties wearing the most risqué outfits that I have. I wear my make-up but do you see the "invisible scar" on my face? Make-up hides it but I see it.
I come back home alone and lie down in my cold bed but my body is even colder. There is no one to hold me through the night. I wake up the next morning and slowly sip my coffee at 1pm and think what to wear in the night for yet another party or consider calling someone over? Another day, another time. Things are always the same. The routine never ends. The battles never end. Only we fade out. Bit by bit. Like the cigarette that dangles from my lips. It burns out. We do, too.

Writer

Pupps RoyPUPPS ROY @puppsroy
The author believes he is an outlier. He loves to love and yet when he returns home after parties, he writes endless notes on identity and loneliness. He wears wigs and carries Hermes sometimes and alternates between different alter egos – tough and sexy and delicately so.

January 21, 2018

Bob Smith, First Openly Gay TV and Cable Comedian Dead at 59








The comedian is best known for being the first openly gay male comedian to star in his own 30-minute special on HBO.
Bob Smith, the pioneering gay comedian and award-winning writer, died Saturday in his New York City home from complications from ALS, his rep told The Hollywood Reporter. He was 59.

The comedian is best known for being the first openly gay male comedian to star in his own 30-minute special on HBO, which he did in 1994, and to perform on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. 

After Smith's groundbreaking 1994 appearance on HBO's HBO Comedy Half-Hour, he performed sets on ABC's Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher in 1998, MTV's Wisecrack in 2005 and Regent Entertainment's Hot Gay Comics.

Smith was also a prolific and decorated writer, penning the autobiographical essay collection Openly Bob (1997), which won the LAMBDA Book Award for humor. In 1999 Smith was nominated for another LAMBDA for his second collection of essays, 1999's Way to Go, Smith. In 2016, Smith published his last collection of essays, Treehab: Tales from my Natural Wild Life, which he wrote in the midst of battling ALS and using his one functional hand on an iPad. Smith also wrote the novels Selfish & Perverse (2007), a finalist for the Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction, and Remembrance of Things I Forgot (2011), nominated for a LAMBDA for Best Gay Fiction and shortlisted for the Green Carnation Prize. 

As a television writer, Smith wrote for The MTV Video Music Awards, Dennis Miller, Roseanne and MADtv. His sketches for MADtv include "Zapruder Home Movies," a sketch about the 8mm home movie that is "the only known footage of the Kennedy assassination," and "Antiques Roadshow," which spoofed the long-running PBS show by showing the host digging up dark family secrets through antique items such as a flask.

Smith also performed at Montreal's Just for Laughs Festival several times and headlined gay pride parades in the U.S. and in Canada. 

Born in Buffalo, New York, Smith participated in the Greenwich Village comedy scene in New York City in the early '80s but first became well-known as a member of the "Funny Gay Males" trio of comics, also including Danny McWilliams and Jaffe Cohen, which toured internationally and at the the March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay, and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation in 1993. "Funny Gay Males" became the first openly gay comedians to appear on national television when they appeared on The Joan Rivers Show. 

Smith is survived by his mother Sue, his brothers James and Gregory, his partner Michael Zam — the co-creator of FX's Feud: Bette and Joan — and his children Madeline and Xander.

Originally Posted on Hollywood Reporter

2016

Gay Writer/Comedian Bob Smith Enters 'Treehab'


Some good news about writer/comedian Bob Smith -- whose brand of humor I fell in love with at the 2007 NLGJA conference -- shared via his writer/comedian pal Eddie Sarfaty:
So proud of my pal Bob Smith. His new book, entitled "Treehab," comes out in a few weeks. For 9 years, he's handled having ALS with dignity and humor, and he's refused to give in to the horrible illness, Bob wrote the entire book, typing with one finger on an iPad!!! He's been in the hospital for months but he's almost ready to be discharged, which means he'll definitely be out in time for the book's launch!



Description:
In this bitingly funny and often surprising memoir, award-winning author and groundbreaking comedian Bob Smith offers a meditation on the vitality of the natural world—and an intimate portrait of his own darkly humorous and profoundly authentic response to a life-changing illness. In "Treehab"—named after a retreat cabin in rural Ontario—Smith muses how he has “always sought the path less traveled.” He rebuffs his diagnosis of ALS as only an unflappable stand-up comic could (“Lou Gehrig’s Disease? But I don’t even like baseball!”) and explores his complex, fulfilling experience of fatherhood, both before and after the onset of the disease. Stories of his writing and performing life—punctuated by hilariously cutting jokes that comedians tell only to each other—are interspersed with tales of Smith’s enduring relationship with nature: boyhood sojourns in the woods of upstate New York and adult explorations of the remote Alaskan wilderness; snakes and turtles, rocks and minerals; open sky and forest canopy; God and friendship—all recurring touchstones that inspire him to fight for his survival and for the future of his two children. Aiming his potent, unflinching wit at global warming, equal rights, sex, dogs, Thoreau, and more, Smith demonstrates here the inimitable insight that has made him a beloved voice of a generation. He reminds us that life is perplexing, beautiful, strange, and entirely worth celebrating.

October 29, 2017

Gay Men Will Receive An Apology from The Scottish Government

 

Kilts and sporrans of wedding coupleImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

The first minister is to apologise on behalf of the Scottish government to gay men convicted of now-abolished sexual offences.
Nicola Sturgeon will make the apology at Holyrood on 7 November to coincide with new legislation giving an automatic pardon to those affected.
The legislation was promised by Ms Sturgeon when she presented her programme for government in September.
The law will also allow the removal of such crimes from criminal records. 
A Scottish government spokesman said that Ms Sturgeon would apologise to those convicted prior to 2001 under discriminatory laws against same-sex sexual activity that is now legal.

'Historic wrong'

He added: "The apology will be made on behalf of the Scottish government for the treatment of homosexual men under previous governments and will coincide with the introduction of legislation to provide people convicted under these laws an automatic pardon.
"The bill will right a historic wrong and give justice to those who found themselves unjustly criminalised simply because of who they loved."
The legislation was first confirmed by Justice Secretary Michael Matheson in October last year.
He announced plans for automatic pardons just days after the similar legislation was scuppered at Westminster.

Michael matheson
Image captionThe legislation was first confirmed by Michael Matheson in October last year

That happened after a private member's bill by the SNP's John Nicolson, which would have pardoned all men living with UK convictions, was "talked out" of the Commons.
The UK government failed to support that private member's bill in favour of bringing forward its own plans
Under its Policing and Crime Act, gay and bisexual men convicted of now-abolished sexual offences in England and Wales received posthumous pardons. Those who are living can be pardoned after the secretary of state agrees the conduct is no longer criminal.
Tim Hopkins, director of the Equality Network, said: "The apology is important because it shows that it was the discriminatory laws that were wrong and not the consensual relationships that were made criminal by those laws. 
"We look forward to seeing the detail of the bill.
"If it implements the policy announced by the Scottish government, it will be a hugely important statement that Scotland regrets the discrimination of the past, and now considers its LGBTI people to be fully equal citizens who deserve equal respect.
"It will also be of direct practical importance to people who currently have one of these convictions show up on criminal record checks for jobs or volunteer posts."

BBC

October 23, 2017

An "Absurdist" Young Funny Comedian Coming Out Gay Story from Evangelical Circles





  • "ihatejoelkimWe spotted each other across the crowd and then I forgot his Instagram handle. We could've had it all."

I will like to introduce you to a Korean-American Gay Comedian and share with you a page from VICE which does him some justice. This page I'm sharing below was originally written by Elyssa Goodman. I have only seen one more gay site carrying Kim and his story(seen him in a few straight ones) thus I think I would like my readers to know his story if they are not acquainted already. When I first saw Joel's photo and he was wearing a muscle Tshirt and his shirt read:  "Real Men Eat Gay Ass."  

I can see similarities in his upbringing like being raised by Evangelicals which makes the coming out (imagined or real) very painful and confusing. Imagine being indoctrinated to hate the same thing you are and one day when you are being extra honest with yourself you realize that the thing rubbing you the wrong way, (no not a dick) the thing that won't get square away no matter which table of multiplication you use or in what language...is the thing you don't want to be or the thing you are afraid or being and that is being gay. I know in my experience that my coming out was so painful and I hit the road so hard I am surprised I survived it. From going to dangerous places because those were our places and where you could see others like me and let out steam after working all week. One day I was shot at 2-3 am on W. 14 Street in Manhattan. It's a good thing I was with Bob, this wonderful guy I was dating, He took care of me and made sure I got at then St.Vincents Hospital in a cab before I bled to death. "I love you Bob, where ever you are."

Well is kim story time now and I would like you to read it because it shows those going thru this dark tunnel there is a rainbow (yeah! what else?) at the end of this road. It also shows at those that are not gay that if you can understand a little bit how we come out you can then understand some other important, human things about us.
                                                              🦊

"Today I accidentally pulled my dick out a couple steps too soon before I made it to the urinal, and this other guy who works in the office with me full-on saw my penis and it was a horrible moment for both of us," says comedian Joel Kim Booster. His dark black hair peeks out from the top of a backward baseball cap, and he looks at me from behind dark eyes and chiseled cheekbones, wearing ripped jeans with a short-sleeve red flannel shirt. "Sometimes there's a guy who's so excited to pee," he laughs, "he couldn't even wait until he got to the urinal to do it"—and this time it was him.



It's not unlike Booster to step outside of himself to see the comedy in everything; that's how he turned comedy from a regular cathartic and creative outlet into a full-time career. "The way I process is finding that comedic angle," Booster says. He's spent his career to date processing what he calls his own "identity dysphoria," being a Korean adoptee raised by a white evangelical Christian family who was initially challenged when he first came out as gay. His comedy ruminates on some of the thorniest curveballs of intersectional politics: What does it mean to be both gay and, once upon a time, evangelically Christian? To be Asian with a white family? To be Asian in the gay community? To be a gay comic in an industry that's mostly straight? They're questions he mines to relatable, hilarious effect, and will anchor his Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special, airing tonight at midnight on the channel.

"If you have a strong enough point of view or comedic voice, you're able to just explain to someone that your parents didn't talk to you for a year and a half. Everything is a comedy and it's just a matter of taking a step back and disassociating for a moment," he says, whether it's a big trauma or a tiny slice of total mortification that happens by accident, as it did at the urinal the day I met with him.

Booster started doing comedy in Chicago six and a half years ago. He moved to New York in 2014 and gave himself four years to make it or find something else to do. It took two. By June 2016, he had made his late-night stand-up debut on Conan, and by the end of that year, he sold Birthright, a television show based on his experiences as a gay Korean adoptee raised by white evangelical Christian parents, to FOX. Though the series is no longer in development there, it has been picked up by a to-be-announced network.

His debut album, Model Minority, also comes out November 3. But there's always the question of what's next. "The goal was never fame," Booster says. "I always wanted to just be a working comedian, but now that I'm a working comedian, I don't really know what the next step is because saying 'I want to be famous' is so gross," he laughs. 
Booster was adopted from South Korea and raised in Plainfield, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Until his senior year of high school, he was homeschooled, an active participant in Christian youth groups who dreamed of one day becoming a youth pastor. Driven by a desire to do theatre, Booster asked his parents to send him to public school. Within a month, he was cast in the school play and came out to classmates but not his family. In truth, Booster had known he was gay from about age four—he jokes that he knew he was gay before he knew he was Asian—but had been trying to repress those urges, praying for God to change him. Ultimately he began to accept himself but believed for a long time that he'd be going to hell.

When Booster was 17, his parents read his journal and found lists of male sexual conquests. It didn't go well for either side. The tension became so high at home that he moved out—he wasn't kicked out, but also wasn't exactly asked to stay. He ended up sleeping on couches at different friends' houses, ultimately ending up at the home of a girl from choir he didn't know very well at the time. But they became best friends and he lived with her and her family for the rest of high school; her family even help put him through college.

Booster didn't talk to his parents again until he was in college, but the time away was healing. He says their relationship is both "great" and "as good as it could be" now. While he's been able to use stories from this time as fodder for his stand up, it wasn't something he realized he could do until much later. 

"I still remember where I was when I heard Tig Notaro: Live, because it was the first time I had heard material that was so personal," he said—material that "transcended tragedy, not maudlin mock storytelling of 'there needs to be a lesson.'"

Booster moved to Chicago after college to be a writer and actor. As an actor, though, Booster tired of the roles he was offered—in one year, for example, he went in for "Chinese Food Delivery Boy" five times. The comedian Beth Stelling suggested he write his own material, and he hasn't stopped since.

Booster says in college he began by writing predominantly about white heterosexual couples because he found it easier to do than to parse out the threads of his own identity. "Once I figured that out and I started to talk about myself more, stand up has really been a therapy in a way of that untangling process," he says. But the processes with an intelligence, brashness, and distinctive comedic insight that are among the reasons for his continued success. As he said in his Conan set, "It was difficult for me growing up in [Plainfield] because I don't meet a lot of cultural expectations of what an Asian person 'should be' in this country: I'm terrible at math, I don't know karate, my dick is huge."

This brand of personal yet absurdist humor has earned him praise not just from publications like Esquire, Brooklyn Magazine, and Paper, but from fellow comedians. "When you see somebody who's telling jokes that you didn't think you were ever going to get to see onstage, when you see a part of yourself reflected that you didn't know you wanted to see reflected, it's magical," says comedian Guy Branum, host of TruTV's Talk Show the Game Show. "Joel is just… really honest and fiercely positive in a way that thrills me. It makes me so happy because that's a guy who's had a life…. He is the fucking heroine of his own story."

Now, Booster says, he feels like he's achieved a certain stability in understanding his identity. He can change course and move in a different direction, one that's "outrageously dumb," as he puts it, but in a good way—more of that signature self-reflective Joel Kim absurdity, but as it pertains to worlds outside of himself, especially the magical and the mythological, a world where horses are 9/11 truthers and Elmira Gulch is the true feminist hero of The Wizard of Oz.

And as he begins to develop the next segment of his career, a greater fame continues to loom, whether he wants it or not. "Everybody a little bit wants to be famous. I'll settle for working and making a living and having health insurance. I guess I want to be—this is said tongue firmly planted in my cheek—but I want to be a fucking legend," he laughs. "I don't want to just have my name said, I want it to be etched in fucking stone."

October 8, 2017

"If It's Not Gay, It's Not Gay





The video was the brainchild of Rainbow Youth, a New Zealand organization for LGBTIQ youth. The Auckland-based group has been around since 1989, but this is the first time its embarked on a national ad campaign.
The ad, which is about not using the word "gay" as a pejorative, is running on national TV, and if the traction online is anything to go by, it's been a big success.
In it, a man named Nigel drops his pie and declares "gay", only to be told by a mate that it's not the right word for a dropped pie.
"It's deeply disappointing, but it's not gay," Nigel's mate says. "Look bro. Unless that pie is a man that loves another man, it's not gay."


Rainbow Youth
The plot takes a turn very typical to New Zealand when another man called Muzza walks past holding a sheep, to point out two women in a relationship can be called gay too.
Then it's revealed a fourth man named Steve is gay, much to Nigel's disbelief. But Steve confirms it – "quite gay" – and then literally sips some tea.
It ends with a shot of the dropped pie and the phrase "If it's not gay, it's not gay".
Comments on the video were largely positive, including a specific appreciation for the line "It's deeply disappointing, but it's not gay".
Executive director Frances Arns told BuzzFeed News that Rainbow Youth had been "overwhelmed" by the response to the advert.
"[We wanted to show] that positive, inclusive language is a really important way we can combat homophobia," she said.
Arns said Rainbow Youth worked with creative agency Y&R NZ and Eight TV studio to come up with the ad, funding it via a partnership with the MediaWorks Foundation. 

The rural setting came from a desire to encourage these types of conversations in rural areas as well.
"The setting is relevant to many New Zealanders, and we wanted to make sure that the context resonated with a wide audience," Arns said.
"The ad also demonstrate s the way that people who use the word gay in the negative, will often be in the company of someone who might have an association with that word, either themselves or in their wider friends and whānau."
Lane Sainty
Lane Sainty

July 30, 2017

Manchester Pioneered "Gay Aversion Therapy" in 1964


 S u n d a y * E d i t i o n😎🌻
   

As I checked yesterday numerous stories on Great Britain to publish today, one in particular caught my attention because it talked about the introduction of the Gay changing Therapy. The scientific community and most people that know themselves know that being gay is not something you can change. You can mitigated it, lie about it, hide it (favorite way) but not erradicate it like a disease becuse it is not a disease. It is part of the human phyche of how we see things and our selves. How some others of the same sex can attract us both sexually and spiritually to the point we would be willing to give our lives for them. It has never been easy having to be gay, lesbian (LGBT) not even today when research has thrown out the garbadge clains that prayer, exorcism, etc.,  can change it.  Some still try. Referring to this and idiotic things people do my ex used to say "a brain is a terible thing to have." Sometimes I think he was right, at least for some.

Chris Osuh of the Manchester Evening News writes the following essay/news article on how it was right in Manchester that damaging technique commenced (sexual changing therapy). It had been done before by the army and secret services with bad results but never was it put out for the general public as a teatment until 1964. Doctors began using drugs (which today belong to the categories we jail people for smugling and using) together with mechanical apparatus to try and change a person's sexual orientation. Some of the must ardent proponents and volunteers (paying volunteers, it was not free) were Homosexuals. This was done at a clinic or hospital for anyone that could afford the treatmens. "I will do no harm" is the most important part of Doctors taking the hyppocratic oath. This doctors there forgot abou that becuse it had to be obvious they were harming people and the medical goal was not being accomplished.  Adam Gonzalez


Today in this same city of Manchester the Police joins the Pride March


In 1964 a generous donation was received by Crumpsall Hospital. The sum of £7,000, worth over £130,000 in today’s money, from an anonymous source.
The cash was intended for a specific purpose; Crumpsall was to establish a research department in a pioneering field. Thousands of people were desperate for a cure for what was then a shameful and hidden affliction, but Crumpsall could offer them hope. 
And so, Britain’s first research unit for the ‘treatment of homosexuality’ came to be. ‘Treatment’ involved men being electrocuted and drugged with potent purgatives, while images of other men flickered at the ‘patient’.
Back then, homosexuality was lumped in with a number of other unwanted tendencies, from nail-biting to alcoholism, for which aversion therapy was supposed to be a panacea. Seven years after Crumpsall’s research department was set up, cinemagoers were introduced to the horrors of aversion therapy by the movie A Clockwork Orange.
Actor Malcolm McDowell’s character, who was being treated for his violent behaviour, appeared straitjacketed, electrodes attached to his head, injected with nausea-inducing substances and bombarded with violent imagery, as Harpurhey -born author Anthony Burgess’s novel hit the big screen. 



The infamous scene was all too real to gay men who had experienced Crumpsall’s pseudo-scientific treatment. By the time that film was released, in 1971, it was a few years after parliament had decriminalised homosexual acts - in private, between consenting males over 21 - but gay life was still largely lived in the shadows, and still something people sought gruelling ‘treatment’ for.
Broadcaster Pete Price vividly recalls aversion therapy, and the hypocrisy surrounding it. “It was 72 hours...I went through hell and back”, he says. “I then went to a gay club in Manchester called the Rockingham and there was the psychiatrist who put me through that torture. So the man who tortured me was a gay man! I tried to kill him. I actually tried to kill him and I’m not physically violent. The day after that I went ‘enough is enough’, that’s when I had acceptance. It did me a lot of damage what they did to me, but I have acceptance.”
Exactly 50 years on from decriminalisation and things are thankfully different, mostly.
Where once the police sought to entrap, harass and criminalise gay people, now officers dance proudly on floats at Pride , and raise the trans flag from headquarters. Those things would once have been unthinkable.  Bringing about change involved years of struggle and bravery - it brought a community from enforced self-loathing and shame to solidarity and pride. And Greater Manchester, in keeping with its rich history of social justice and urban nerve, has been the scene of many gay milestones.
In November 1999, a 90-year-man suffered a heart attack on the sofa of a friend’s house. An ambulance arrived at the property, at Claude Road, Chorlton, to take him to Manchester Royal Infirmary. But there was nothing doctors could do, and he was pronounced dead.
Soon afterwards he was buried at Southern Cemetery. There were only six guests. So ended the fabulous, and often not-so-fabulous, life of memoirist and raconteur Quentin Crisp, a man famous - and infamous - for refusing to hide who he was. ‘Quentin Crisp was no gay rights hero’, civil rights campaigner Peter Tatchell wrote in a 2009 piece for Pink News, which criticised Crisp for being a ‘homophobe and reactionary’.
Tatchell met the writer once in 1974, a time when the younger man was wearing a gay liberation badge, and recalls the writer telling him: “What do you want liberation from? What is there to be proud of? I don’t believe in rights for homosexuals.”
“He never spoke out for gay rights or supported any gay equality cause...the true icons and pioneers of the modern British gay community are heroes like Allan Horsfall and Antony Grey”, Tatchell wrote.
The late Allan Horsfall was not a flamboyant man. He spent much of his life living in Bolton with his partner, and looked rather like the clerk at Salford Education Committee, the bus enthusiast, that he actually was. But he was anything but quiet. He was a fearless campaigner, and a founding father of the British gay rights movement.
The good burghers of Nelson must have got quite a shock when, while serving as a councillor in 1960, Horsfall called on the local Labour Party to support the decriminalisation of homosexuality. The motion he tabled never got passed, but Horsfall was resolute. By 1964, while living in Atherton, he founded the North West Committee for Homosexual Law Reform. In time, the group would evolve into the Campaign for Homosexual Equality, which did a huge amount to change the nation’s mentality.
Wilmslow-born Antony Grey, the other activist venerated by Tatchell, began campaigning for gay rights in 1954, the year three prominent men - Lord Montagu, Michael Pitt-Rivers and Peter Wildeblood - were convicted and jailed for homosexual offences.
The resulting backlash led to the setting up of the Wolfenden Committee, comprised of 15 of the great and good, whose report would recommend, in 1957, that homosexual acts between consenting adults in private be decriminalised. The Homosexual Law Reform Society was founded by prominent heterosexual liberals, and with them, Grey would campaign tirelessly for the recommendations in the Wolfenden Report to become law. Ten years later they did.
Reform came too late for men like Alan Turing, who, two years before Grey penned his first letter to the Sunday Times, was compelled to undergo chemical castration. Months earlier, Turing - quiet heroic wartime codebreaker, father of modern computing - had met a younger man outside the Regal Cinema, now the Dancehouse Theatre at Oxford Road, and invited him back to his house in Wilmslow.
An investigation into a subsequent burglary at Turing’s home - with the young man being the culprit - led to Turing admitting having had a sexual relationship with him. Both men would be prosecuted for gross indecency and convicted. Turing was offered the choice between prison, or probation with ‘treatment’. After a course of oestrogen injections, which caused impotency and the growth of breast tissue, Turing took his own life with a poisoned apple.
Allan Horsfall knew the toll that social isolation took on the gay community, and sought to combat it by establishing gay social clubs across the country. He applied, unsuccessfully, to open one such ‘Esquire Club’ in Swinton precinct.
The Rockingham, the Queen Street club where Pete Price bumped into his psychiatrist after his ‘treatment’, was one of the gay venues where Allan Horsfall went to recruit activists. In a era before websites, telephone helplines and frank television dramas like Queer as Folk, there were few venues where gay people could learn they weren’t alone. Manchester’s gay pubs, bars and parties, hidden in plain sight, were seminal.

Even in the 19th century, gay men from across the north were coming to Manchester to associate; the bustly, smoky city offered a freedom, if you were discreet, that was impossible in smaller towns.
In 1880 the Temperance Hall in Hulme was rented for an event, ostensibly organised by the Manchester Pawnbrokers’ Association. To ensure the function’s discretion the hosts had hired an accordionist who was blind and covered the windows with black paper.
The cloak and dagger approach was necessary. The party that was going on behind the blacked-out windows was an affront to the codes of Victorian England. Being gay was not only a crime in law - it was a crime for which, some 74 years earlier, Manchester artisan Thomas Rix had been hung for, publicly, at Lancaster Castle.
It was also a crime that Manchester’s most famous detective, Jerome Caminada, was determined to avert. Having been tipped off that all was not as it seemed at Temperance Hall, he assembled a squad of constables and volunteers and climbed over a roof so he could see inside. One can imagine the detective’s moustaches twitching as he looked down on people dancing the can-can, as a couple dressed as Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn took in the scene. Everyone in the room was male. Caminada gained entry by giving the password ‘sister’ to a bouncer - who was dressed as a nun - before his team hauled 38 revellers off. The men, most of whom were from Sheffield and were largely from middle class backgrounds, would escape with the most minor of punishments - a bind-over - but the event made the papers. The sentencing magistrate had lamented that such ‘vice’ was ‘practiced and solicited’ not in ‘Turkey or Bulgaria’, but in Manchester.
Almost 100 years after the raid at Temperance Hall, police entered a gay bar at Bloom Street in the city centre, and warned the manager that he was allowing ‘licentious dancing’ on the premises. Activists believed the then Chief Constable James Anderton was trying to crack down on gay life in a moral crusade.
It wasn’t an unjustified suspicion - Anderton was known for his outspoken social conservatism, which extended to much condemned remarks about people with HIV and AIDS. But at Napoleons, the venue where his officers tried to stop the dancing in 1978, the music plays on. Once owned by legendary drag performer Frank ‘Foo Foo’ Lammar, it’s believed to be the oldest surviving gay nightclub in Manchester. It’s at the heart of the area, which, because of the quiet and anonymity offered by the canal and the backstreets, has been a gay area since at least the fifties, and finally became recognised as the Gay Village in the nineties, after Anderton’s retirement.
Napoleons’ co-owner, Anne Taylor, has watched attitudes change over the years
“It’s far better for everybody, you don’t have to hide anymore”, she told the M.E.N. “It’s great that people can go anywhere and hardly anyone bats an eyelid.
“We have a lot of transgender people who come in and say to us ‘I was born here’. For lots and lots of people it was where they could come and knew it was going to be safe. If you come here, you come to respect the place and the people in it, it’s as simple as that. That’s our motto.” The transgender women and men, gay men, crossdressing men, bisexuals, lesbians and straights who frequent Manchester’s Gay Village inherit an LGBT movement forged through the activism of people like Allan Horsfall, through the painful life histories of men like Alan Turing, and through the decisions of men and women, in more conservative times, to live as they were born.
And, apart from the bravery and defiance of Manchester’s ordinary gay men and women through the ages, the city can legitimately claim it played a role in the intellectual foundation of the modern LGBTQ movement, just as it played key roles in the development of the labour movement, the abolitionist movement, and in the fight for women’s suffrage. In 1896, Esther Roper, one of the first women to study at Owen’s College - now the University of Manchester, moved in with her partner, the aristocratic poet Eva Gore-Booth, to a terraced house at Heald Place in Rusholme.
After cutting their teeth with feminist causes in Manchester, they founded Urania, a privately-circulated journal which completely rejected conventional notions of gender, sexuality and marriage, and was edited by a transwoman called Irene Clyde.
In an ironic twist, given the history of the gay community’s relationship with the authorities, Manchester can legitimately claim that the first female police officer in the city was LGBT.
Henry Stokes, born Harriet, lived for 28 years as husband to Ann at Cumberland Street in the city, and worked as a bricklayer and volunteer copper. But the pair fell out over housekeeping money, a solicitor got involved, it emerged Ann had accused Henry of being a woman, and in 1838 an examination at the station confirmed Henry had indeed been born a Harriet. Such fascinating histories, some hidden for many years, show how people defied their times before the 1967 change in the law and the plural society it heralded. The law change did not, in the stroke of a pen, liberate gay people from fear of prosecution, persecution, and ostracisation. It took the efforts of many more - many of whom remain unsung, to bring British society to where it is.
The campaigners who opened the first UK’s first gay centre at Waterloo Place in Chorlton-on-Medlock, the tens of thousands who protested against Section 28 in the city, the councillors and council workers who fought for Manchester to have a gay quarter and ensured funding for minorities, the volunteers and activists who set up switchboards and support groups, the actors, performers, writers and clubbers, the multitudes who defied their times, quietly, or at the top of their voices. They have had a long and hard journey, and it hasn’t ended yet.
But now, fifty years on from that totemic change in the law, Manchester can be rightly proud of all of them.

May 26, 2017

What To Do If You Re Being Bullied at Work Because of Who You Are



(Orinally published on VICE)

Peter Bryan Torres worked happily at a prominent New York City museum for ten years – one that you and your family have probably visited. But that all changed after a new boss came into the picture and found out Torres was HIV positive after an incident forced him to miss work and become hospitalized.
From then on, he says, it was slamming doors, banging cabinets, and dramatically inching up against the wall when Torres walked past to indicate that he was someone “at risk for infection.” All of this, in addition to making discriminatory comments. When Human Resources allegedly failed to look into and address the matter, he decided to take legal action. His lawyers at The Harman Firm LLP say that Torres’s lawsuit is, unfortunately, just one of many workplace discrimination cases they’re handling this year. One of the firm’s lawyers, Edgar Rivera, says that while our awareness of discrimination is, in general, much higher today than it was a few years ago, and young people especially are tuned in to pick up on unequal treatment.
The changing nature of the workplace and the continued struggle for people to hold onto the human and civil rights they’ve gained in recent years leads us to believe that we need more information on how to best navigate and protect our rights in the workplace, and how we can take action to address any sort of harassment or mistreatment on the premise of one’s sexual orientation or identity. There is no law prohibiting a person from having racist, sexist, homophobic, or otherwise bigoted opinions, and no law exists that requires an employee to believe that all people are equal or deserve equal rights, or to punish people for having prejudiced or backwards beliefs about racial minorities, women, people with disabilities, gay people, transgender people, or any other group that anti-discrimination statutes protect. “The law only prohibits an employer acting on those biases, whether in making employment decisions, for example, the decision to fire or demote an employee, or in their treatment of employees,” Rivera said. “In other words, as far as employment discrimination laws are concerned, people are legally free to be as racist, sexist, or homophobic as they want to be in their homes or elsewhere: they just can’t bring it into the office.” Jerame Davis, Executive Director of Pride at Work in Washington, DC. says that lawmakers often claim LGBTQ harassment and discrimination do not exist, because “so few people who are subject to these things end up speaking out.” In 1999, Davis says, he and two other men were fired for being gay, and happened to live in one of only four cities in Indiana at the time that had protections against LGBTQ discrimination. Due to state law, however, compliance was voluntary. There is no law prohibiting a person from having racist, sexist, homophobic, or otherwise bigoted opinions, and no law exists that requires an employee to believe that all people are equal or deserve equal rights.
“When the company refused to acknowledge our complaint, rather than walk away, we fought back. We waged one of the first online campaigns for social justice, which we won, becoming the first, and possibly still the only, LGBTQ discrimination case settled for a monetary award in the state of Indiana,” Davis said. However, the agreement they signed included what Davis calls a gag order that prevented them from discussing the case for years—ultimately, until the company went out of business. “The other thing that happens is that so many people just don’t want to talk about their experience. It’s usually embarrassing to folks to admit they were discriminated against or harassed. Not only do you have to come out as LGBTQ in a public fashion, but you may also have to admit you were fired from your job. That’s a tough hurdle for many people,” Davis said. For reasons like this one, Rivera advises that if you experience discrimination in the workplace, you bring it to your employer’s attention and take care of yourself by seeking professional help to treat mental and emotional wellness. “Just like after a car accident, the best advice is to seek treatment immediately. Experiencing discrimination and harassment is incredibly difficult; it can be extremely stressful, emotionally exhausting, and even traumatic,” he says, “You just don’t know how you may be affected until much later, and you can prevent a lot of harm by catching things early.” Even before that,though, he cautions people to read over their contracts carefully.
“People are always excited to start new jobs and often ignore the mountain of documents received during onboarding. They shouldn’t. These documents often include essential information about how to deal with discrimination and harassment.” Even in unionized workplaces with strong nondiscrimination and anti-harassment protections, LGBTQ discrimination still happens frequently; recently, the most pervasive issue his organization has been seeing is contention over bathroom access for those who are gender non-conforming. In fact, Davis says, only 19 states, the District of Columbia, and a number of cities and counties have put up protections for LGBTQ working people in place.
Check out more videos from VICE:
“For some reason, there are a lot of people who are totally onboard with nondiscrimination in housing, employment, and even public accommodations, like being served at restaurants and retail stores, but when the question of bathroom access is brought up, they are adamantly opposed to protecting a person’s right to use the bathroom that best fits their gender identity,” Davis said.
The other issue that is unfortunately prevalent, he says, is harassment in the form of anti-LGBTQ comments or “jokes” at the expense of queer folks, and inappropriate questions. “In many cases, even with employers who offer appropriate protections, managers will neglect to intervene when an LGBTQ employee is being harassed or bullied,” he said. “I would be wary working for any company in 2017 that doesn’t explicitly list sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes.”
If you’re already actively working in a specific position, he says, be sure to document anything that doesn’t feel right, and do it in writing, with as much detail as you can – including with whom you’ve spoke, what the content and context of the conversation was, how you feel you were mistreated, the names of any witnesses, and, of course, time and date. “If an employee doesn’t complain about discrimination, then, as far as the employer is concerned, it isn’t happening. It’s amazing what people will conveniently manage to ‘forget’ about witnessing after a lawsuit is filed,” he said. “And while an employee might think that his or her coworkers will stand up and testify about discriminatory conduct, the fact is that many employees aren’t willing to risk their jobs by doing so and will simply say whatever their employer tells them to.” Despite how far we may have come, it seems that the times are indeed lending themselves to a backwards crawl into ignorance and intolerance, even in the most liberal of cities. Then, you must decide if and when the time is right to take action: next steps will depend greatly on state and local law, company policy, and any existing contract language. “If the situation progresses and management refuses to address the situation, you have very limited options going forward,” Davis says. “Once you speak up about a situation, you should be prepared to leave your position, either voluntarily or involuntarily. In cases of harassment, for example, it’s often the case that one party or the other separates from the employer. It’s not always the victim who gets to stay. However, sometimes, the situation you’re up against is affecting others in the workplace similarly.” Despite how far we may have come, it seems that the times are indeed lending themselves to a backwards crawl into ignorance and intolerance, even in the most liberal of cities.
Barbara Belmont , a volunteer at the National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals in New York City, says that despite working in a state where it is illegal to discriminate against
people for sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, she has recently witnessed displays of hate. And even though harassment and bullying in the workplace is less common these days, she says many young people are still afraid to be “out” at work. “Well-intended people in positions of power have warned them to ‘be careful.’ I say, bring your whole true self to the table,” Belmont said. “Let your coming out happen organically or make an announcement, or find a way to come out in your job interview to test the water. If you don’t get hired because you are LGBTQ, did you really want to work there anyway?” Her best suggestion for protection is to use the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index to discover which of the larger companies have the best ratings, seek employment with companies with inclusive Equal Employment Opportunity policies, Employee Resource Groups for LGBTQ people, trans-inclusive insurance benefits, and a corporate culture committed to diversity and inclusion. Ultimately, Rivera says, if your employer doesn’t adequately address a complaint about discrimination, speak to a lawyer who specializes in plaintiff’s-side employment law; every case is different, so there is no one-size-fits-all solution: you have to obtain specific and personalized advice. “When someone is sick, they know that they should go to a doctor and that searching Google or WebMD isn’t going to accurately diagnose the problem. People should view getting legal advice in much the same way,” he said. “It’s not enough to talk to your aunt the divorce lawyer. Go speak to a lawyer who specializes in this work, the sooner the better. It’s amazing the amount of comfort you’ll get from a 30-minute consultation with a professional who is experienced in employment discrimination law.”




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