Monthly Archives: August 2010

Naked Male Camaraderie

_0piggybackfightAfter my rant yesterday about finding the right man, I thought I would lighten things up before I got to my next post which for me is a bit of a downer. So let’s talk about naked men…
BOTD-081310-002 For the past three decades, America seems to be getting more prudish than ever where nudity is concerned. Take the Janet Jackson episode during the Super Bowl a few years ago. Has America always been this prudish? In television and movies, yes, but in everyday life, I don’t believe the evidence supports it. John Quincy Adams used to get up two hours before sunrise to go skinny dipping in the Potomac River, and he was not even the only president to enjoy skinny dipping. Rumor has it that Harry Truman enjoyed swimming au naturel, and that Billy Graham went skinny dipping with Lyndon Johnson.
vintage_Harvard_rowing_crew_naked_5_13_09_wcmUntil the last three decades, American high school boys took showers after PE classes. Nudity in gyms showers was quite normal. Guys didn’t do the towel dance. If you were in the steam room or sauna, you went naked. You took your shower in the open, but now most guys wear towels in the steam room and sauna, and shower in private stalls.
Columbus,OhioYMCA1930s What’s so odd is that 40 years ago, nude swimming was the norm. It’s what was acceptable. Below, you can see that they even used to shower in groups before they jumped in the pool.
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A paradigm shift has happened and I’m curious as to why? I really can’t help but wonder — of all the factors that have gone into this shift. The YMCAs used to enforce nude swimming and many, like the one below, even gyms right above or next to the pool. Between laps, guys would just head over and lift weights — yes, completely nude.
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From the 1890s to the 1930s, men who swam at the YMCA did so in the nude, apparently wool swimsuits (the fashion of the time) clogged up the pool filters. An excerpt from the history of the Seattle YMCA gives a reason for the change:
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An early casualty of gender equity was males-only nude swimming in the downtown pool. Men and boys had been accustomed to swimming au naturel at the YMCA, not only in Seattle but in Ys everywhere, since the 1890s. The practice may have evolved from problems created by the long, wool swimming suits then in fashion, which apparently shed so much they gummed up the pool filters. Later, nude swimming was justified on the grounds of hygiene. A handbook in use at the Seattle Y in the 1920s required that “A good soap bath must be taken before entering the swimming pool” in the same paragraph that specified “The wearing of swimming suits or supporters will not be allowed except by permission from the director.”

ghp-442807-ymca-pool-1YMCA2 Is gender equality the only reason for the change in nudity in all-male arenas? I doubt it. Women are still not allowed in boys locker rooms. Public baths have largely closed because of the AIDS scare, but also because of a crack down on “morality.” Could the movie Caligula be made today? It is doubtful. One of the major changes has to do with the Reagan presidency. Many Republicans venerate him because of his ushering in of patriotism (which had declined since the l_400_323_723b4073-feb0-4d8b-af3e-067fcff6b715Vietnam War), deregulation, and the Christian Right. Did the resurgence of prudish behavior begin with the Reagan administration, or did it begin before then? The Puritans supplied us with a large number of our founding fathers. Yet, as prudish and “pure” as the Puritans were, they still had more illegitimate births per capita than any other group in American history. Why? Because most of them lived on the frontier, and they could not wait to have sex until after the next time that a minister would travel through to marry them. Puritan ministers were not a populous group, so communities shared ministers, only getting a minister every few months. The same is true of the rural South during colonial times, when Anglican priests were few and far between.
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The ultimate question is, with the resurging popularity of porn and the internet, why is America so prudish?

More after the JUMP.

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Just Because You Come Out…

stevon_somanyboys.net_ Just because you come out, doesn’t mean that everything will be perfect.  Maybe you came out because you finally found the right man.  Maybe you came out because you were pushed out of the closet.  Maybe you came out because you were finally ready to be yourself.  Whatever the reason, when you come out the journey is just beginning.  One of my readers asked me to discuss my relationships since I came out.  If you want to read the explicit sexy stuff, click on hook-ups and it will take you to all (well most, there are a few stories left to tell) of the salacious details of my sex life.  The truth (and I am ashamed to admit this) is that I have never been in a gay relationship.  The most I have ever dated a guy was two dates (he was into younger guys and I was almost his age, so it just didn’t work out).  I also don’t think a fuck buddy counts as a relationship.

Though I have not really ever been in a gay relationship, I do understand the other side of the fence where women are concerned.  I did have relationships with women, some of them even involved sex, but most were not really enjoyable experiences.  I always had a different girlfriend in high school and a rather long relationship in college, but none of them ever went anywhere beyond making out and sometimes sex.  I just never felt the same attraction for women as I did men, and finally after the last relationship with a women (the one in college), I chose not to pursue women anymore until I fully understood my own emotional state.  It took several years for me to come to terms with being gay, but finally through much prayer and meditation, I came to terms with it myself. 

I have always had a knack for understanding women, I just never found sex with them or being attracted to them as exciting the sex and attraction I have with men.  Yet, I find it very hard to understand men.  Sometimes, I just don’t get them.  For straight men, I am often not “straight-acting enough.”  They sometimes find me feminine.  I do not have a low voice.  I can fake a low voice but it strains my throat so much until I just refuse to do it.  I am also not the most macho guy.  I love reading, musicals, a great love story, old movies, science fiction, etc, but most action movies do nothing for me unless the actor in it is really hot (take the movies Clash of the Titans, for example, or James Bond).  I love to watch sports, especially college sports, and I am gearing up for college football to start soon, but I am not one for all the statistics and stuff.  I can get into the teams I root for, and the rest, I could really care less about. Most straight guys think I dress too nicely.  I wear dress pants and a dress shirt to work everyday.  I refuse to wear short sleeve dress shirts, and I always try to have on a nice pair of shoes.  For straight men, I am overdressed and therefore must be gay because they see me as a snazzy dresser.

And as far as gay men go, I am generally not “gay enough.”  I don’t soak up the latest celebrity gossip. You know, who’s in rehab now, who had the latest facelift, what is the latest and greatest pop diva song, etc.  I do love to watch Project Runway, the Food Network, etc, and give me a good gay movie any day.  I do like club music occasionally, but I am much more of an alternative rock kind of guy.  Give me Cake, REM, Pearl Jam, Linkin Park, Coldplay, Puddle of Mudd, or Smashing Pumpkins any day as opposed to Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Madonna, or Christina Aguilera (though I did like Genie in a Bottle, because I do like to be rubbed the right way, LOL).  I’m not saying that I hate pop music, sometimes I do love to sing along to some of it, especially Maroon 5.   In addition to not liking the “right” kind of music, I also don’t spend enough on clothes to be completely fashionable.  I don’t soak up every issue of US Weekly or People Magazine.  I don’t keep up with the latest fad in fashion, mainly because I think so much of it either looks trashy or is ugly and is a fad that I hope goes away very soon.  Give me a nice dress shirt and a pair of slacks that accentuates my ass, or give me a pair of jeans and a polo shirt.  And if I am being lazy that day, I will wear a pair of cargo shorts, a t-shirt, a baseball hat, and a pair of flip-flops because I just didn’t feel like washing my damn hair or shaving that day.  So sue me.

What the hell.  I think I am just normal.  I am me.    I don’t have a deep masculine voice, I do have a few extra pounds (only a few), I’m intelligent, and I have chest hairs.  Why can’t I find someone to accept that?  The point of this post is that I have been out for nearly 10 years.  I don’t live in an area where there are a lot of gay people, but I had to go where my career took me (more on that in the next post).  Surely, there is someone out there who wants a normal guy (with a nice thick cock, btw), who happens to be attracted to men, loves having sex with men, can suck a mean cock, and is 100 percent, no doubt about it, GAY!!!!

Surely, someone out there has an answer to this.


What Should You Expect After Coming Out?

Question: What Should You Expect After Coming Out?

“I have recently begun my coming out process and have found it to be a real reality check,” Gay Life reader Chris shares. “On day one I felt everything change, including my eyes. What do I have to look forward to in my coming out process? What thoughts do you have for a newly gay guy like myself?”

Answer: Coming out is an ongoing process.
Disclosing your sexual identity to those close (or not so close) to you is rarely a one time event. It’s a process that continues throughout your life. You’ll find yourself coming out to many people over time. Some of those individuals you will confide in and others will find out by circumstance.
Coming out should happen at a pace that makes you the most comfortable and you should always consider your safety and the stability of your environment before coming out. I’ve found it best to prepare to come out, but be weary of trying to control the circumstances in which it happens. Life may presents unexpected opportunities for you to come out. Prepare by first coming in, knowing your surroundings, creating the safest, most comfortable, environment as possible, and by keeping a coming out journal.

The more you come out, the more you will get to know yourself.
Coming out is about personal expression, not what others’ may feel or think about you. Take each time you come out as an opportunity to increase your level of self-awareness. I’ve found that the more self-aware I am, the easier it is to navigate through the complexities of being gay at work, out in my community and in my family. Coming out is a gesture pointing outside of yourself, but the rewards of the process are all internal. As you stated in your question, you’ll begin to see the world through a new set of eyes. And those lenses can help guide you to other areas of self-expression you never thought you had.

Some reactions to your sexual identity will be joyful, a few indifferent and others emotionally taxing.
“I bet you think this song is about you,” Carly Simon sang. Well, it is all about you when you begin the coming out process. You can’t control other peoples’ actions or reactions, but you can create the best possible situation for yourself. I try to focus on the most positive people in my life. It’s too easy to fall down the rabbit hole of negativity. It’s not so easy to pull yourself back up. Don’t waste years trying to convince those that have issues with your sexuality to turn away from the dark side. Instead, concentrate on the people in your life that accept you for who you are. If you don’t currently have open-minded individuals in your life, seek them out by engaging in the activities you love. Joining clubs and engaging in other areas that interest you are great ways to meet new, like-minded people.

You’ll feel the pressure of dating. Use the force and you’ll be able to resist.
First you come out. Then, with lightening speed you embark on your quest to find a man. It’s understandable: You’ve been waiting in anguish for quite some time to hold hands with another man. However, don’t let your eagerness to couple up with another guy overshadow the process of getting to know someone (or yourself). Not everyone is inclined to be in a relationship or relationship ready. Neither are all guys one-time-only material. Adjust your dating life according to your priorities. Do you want a relationship, a buddy, or a casual encounter? Remember: What you give off is what you will receive. Also, keep in mind that some people will put in the work to make a connection while others won’t. That’s not your problem. Just be yourself and stay true to your dating goals.

You’ll feel joy. You’ll feel pain… and everything else in between.
You’ve already checked grief off of your list. Get ready for more emotion. There could possibly be guilt, anger, frustration, happiness, anxiety, peacefulness… No matter what you are feeling, keep in mind that it’s all a part of the process. Manage your emotions by managing how you view your “new gay life.” Coming out doesn’t exempt one from experiencing the ups and downs of the every day. Plow through by surrounding yourself with an affirmative support system.

You don’t have to accept the labels.
Top, bottom, femme queen, bear, trade, twink… I find labels to be quite restricting. They leave no room for growth, flexibility or undiscovered fun. Look, you are who you are and you like what you like. Those “likes” can change over time, as you continue to grow. People are most comfortable when they can categorize others. As queer people how can we expect others to keep an open mind about us while we in turn close our minds about ourselves? Keep it open. Keep it happy. Now that you have taken this step, there is so much to look forward to.


Tips for Gay College Students

I decided to go back and add this picture to the post because it was just too damn perfect in my opinion. It is a little more hardcore than I generally post on this blog, so I hope you guys don’t mind.

Are you gay and out in college? Or, are you planning on coming out in college? College is much less insular than high school campuses can be. It’s a great time to explore your interests and your sexuality.
I didn’t come out until I went to college. Here are the things I would’ve done differently and suggestions on how you can better your college experience as a gay man:
Dorms and Residence Halls
Living in a residence hall as a freshman was the first time I ever lived on my own. It was overwhelming at first, but I was excited to get away from home. I knew I was attracted to guys; but I was way too scared to explore my feelings so I stayed in the closet for a while. I was also somewhat distant from my co-ed hall mates. I feared my secret might ruin my new friendships.

  • What I would have done differently: Looking back on the situation, most of the guys and girls around me were also excited about being away from home and exploring their own interests. Months later, when I did come out, I found that most of them didn’t care at all. I wasted great bonding time and denied myself some wonderful experiences by not being myself. Of course, you should only come out when you are ready (and I wasn’t at the time), but try not to make assumptions about your new suite or hall mates. They are looking to find themselves in their own ways. You are entitled to the same.

Finding Gay Friends
After months of thinking I was the only one, I ran across a guy in one of my classes that I had a feeling was gay. Tired of having no one to talk with about my sexuality, I did everything I could to befriend him. I joined his math group. I asked if he wanted to study together. I made random comments about lecture. We eventually became good friends and came out to each other.

  • What I would have done differently: I invested a lot of time trying to figure out if one guy was gay, as if he was my only option. And while it paid off and I had a new gay friend, looking back I would’ve explored more. There were many gay and gay-friendly groups on campus that I could have joined to meet other gay people. I could have also reached out and befriended more of my dorm friends. I later found out that they knew other gay people and could’ve made a connection. When looking for gay friends on campus, don’t put all of your hopes on one person. Explore and be proactive about your search.

Dating
I longed for a boyfriend, especially after I started meeting gay friends. I would chat with guys online, but either couldn’t get up the nerve to meet them or I just didn’t think they were a good fit. I didn’t give up my search, though. I knew eventually I would make a connection with a guy I liked. But when I did meet my first boyfriend, it was in the most unlikely of places–a club I joined. It wasn’t a gay club, but there were gay guys in it. Me and a few of the guys eventually became friends since we spent so much time together at club meetings. One of the guys and I became especially close. He was my first boyfriend and my first love.

  • What I would have done differently: Prior to meeting my first boyfriend, I became more and more eager to find a man. It would have been best if I let the situation happen instead of letting my desperation drive my actions. Usually, the best dating situations happen in the most unlikely of circumstances. When I stopped seeking, I found a great guy. Just like making gay friends, it’s best to get out there and explore social or academic options on campus. You and another great single guy will eventually find each other. Another lesson I learned was taking a more active role in my safety, which brings me to the next topic.

Online Hook Ups and Campus Safety
Meeting someone online is a cool way to get to know them–initially. I would chat with guys online during study breaks and off time. I developed an entire network of online buddies. But, after some time I wanted to meet them face-to-face. No online dating questionnaire or number of chat hours can replace an in-person chemistry check.

  • What I would have done differently: There were many times when I would meet up with online guys only to discover that we didn’t quite connect in person. Also, I didn’t take my safety into account enough times. Unfortunately, not everyone online is on the up and up. You should always follow these safety tips before meeting an online buddy in person. Also, if you have a suite mate or close buddy, give them your schedule and keep them up on where you are traveling around campus (especially at night). It’s always better to side with safety.

Sex
Some people choose to explore same gender sexual experiences while in college. A first same-sex experience can either be a wowing confirmation of your emotional attractions or not at all what you expect (or a little bit of both).

  • Suggestions: Take your time when exploring your the physical aspects of your sexuality. There is no rush, nor does a prize go to the quickest explorer. It’s best to be selective about who you experience with. Know the person, get proof of their HIV status, practice safer sex, and always keep your safety in mind.

How To Find a Gay and Lesbian Friendly College

Looking for a gay-friendly college environment? The climate on a college campus is an important factor when making a choice about a higher learning institution. Whether you are already out or plan on coming out in college, a gay-affirmative campus can foster memorable experiences. Here’s how you can find a gay and lesbian friendly college:
Do your research.
Have you decided what you want to study or have a general area of interest? First, research schools based on their academic programs and your interest in their areas of study. Start with directories like Princeton Review’s The Best 368 Best Colleges and U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges 2009. They publish annual rankings of colleges and universities based on region, academic programs and other criteria.
Check their discrimination policies.
Once you’ve narrowed your search, check each university’s discrimination policies. Each school should publish their policies online or have them available in their administrative offices. Be weary if the school does not have a published discrimination policy or ones that don’t mention sexual orientation or gender expression.
Check for gender neutral housing.
A growing number of colleges and universities are offer gender neutral housing to meet the needs of their diverse student population. A campus with gender neutral housing has demonstrated that they are not only abreast of, but are concerned about their gay lesbian, bisexual and transgender students.
Search for LGBT clubs and organizations.
Search on the university web site for LGBT-based organizations. The more clubs and groups that they have, the better potential for a more gay-affirmative experience on campus. Not only do some of these groups lobby the university concerning gay issues, but many are social and support clubs that can assist you on campus. The Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals publishes a directory of college and university offices that are run by at least one paid professional staff or graduate assistant directing LGBT resources.
Scan the course bulletin.
Have you spotted any lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer study themed courses in the college bulletin? Not only are these courses a good indicator of a campus’ openness and diversification, but they may fit perfectly in your academic areas of interest.
Visit the campus and surrounding cities
The best indication of a college’s environment is a campus visit. Schedule an appointment with the admissions office or attend an open house. Don’t be shy about asking if the university has any of the above things mentioned. Also, cruise through surrounding cities, looking for gay activity in the area. Your college experience may expand outside of campus. Is there a gay center nearby? What about gay bars, clubs or cafes? The gay vibrancy of the surrounding area can often spill over into a more gay-friendly campus and vice versa.
Finding a gay and lesbian-friendly campus takes research, but the pay off comes in a more affirmative experience for you as a gay student on campus.

Scholarships and Support for LGBT Students:

The Point Foundation provides financial scholarships, mentoring and support for LGBT students. For Fall 2007, The Point Foundation has 38 new scholars, which brings the young organizations total to 86. The Point Foundation invests an average of $32,000 – $35,000 per scholar per year and currently boasts 26 alumnae.

Who Qualifies for a Point Scholarship?:

The Point Foundation suggests you, “Review the current Point Scholars’ biographies to get a good idea of what we are looking for in our scholars. You do not need straight A’s to apply but we are looking for individuals who have proven leadership skills, excellent scholastic achievements and want to make a difference in the world. All applicants are evaluated on the totality of their situation including, academic accomplishments, financial, emotional and social need, extracurricular activities, personal circumstances and goals for the future.”

How Do I Apply?:

The Point Foundation web site provides all of the information you’ll need to apply to be a Point Scholar.

I’m Not a Student, But I Want To Help:

A college education can cost a single student anywhere from $8,000 and $40,000 per year. The Point Foundation believes in caring for the needs of their scholars, which may be the full cost of their education of just living expenses. You can help Point help our future leaders by giving to the organization.

More on The Point Foundation:

Read this exclusive interview with Point Foundation Executive Director, Jorge Valencia.

Suggested Reading

Just so that there is not confusion here, this is an article written originally by , for About.com Guide. I reposted it here because I thought someone might find it useful, and edited a little here and there, adding some additional resources. It is meant as a way to give references to guys who might be reading this blog and are going through some of the same things I was going through in college. Maybe if I had been able to read an article such as this, it would have made the coming out process easier for me.


Coming Out Tips and Resources

Coming In – You Should Come In Before You Come Out

Definition: “Coming in” is the process of discovering ones self-identity and gender expression.

Most are familiar with the term “coming out,” where an individual begins disclosing his/her sexual identity and gender expression to others but the process begins with self-discovery or by “coming in.”

Like coming out, coming in is an ongoing process and not a one-time event. Discovering ones self-identity and gender expression can take time. According to medical site WebMD, “There is about a two-year period of time for many youth during which they self identify as non-heterosexual––but they tend to keep this information to themselves.”

Many people discover their same-sex attractions, bisexuality and gender expression during the coming in process; however, coming in doesn’t always begin during adolescence. A person can come in later in life (high school, college, post-education) depending on a number of factors such as an individual’s level of self-acceptance, family life and other environments.

Coming Out: Step by Step

What does it mean to come out?

Coming out is the process of personally accepting your sexuality and disclosing it to yourself, family, co-workers and friends. Coming out is different for every gay or bisexual person since there are varying degrees of sexuality (see Kinsey Scale) and the circumstances that surround our lifestyles differ.
Coming out is a confusing time for many people. Accepting your sexuality (or coming out to yourself) can bring about a number of fears. Will your family or friends stop loving you? Will you ever get married or have children? Will you be discriminated against or made fun of? These are all valid concerns mainly rooted in the fear of the unknown; which is why many reference coming out as being reborn. This is an opportunity for you to look introspectively and re-evaluate who you are and who you want to be.

Create a personal inventory when coming out.

Sure, some gay people experience rejection when they come out, but many also find a loving and accepting support system, leading to a fulfilling gay lifestyle. Even so, happiness starts from within. And getting to know yourself is a key part of the process.
Though being gay doesn’t define you, it is a new part of your life. You can still be the same person you’ve always been, but take some “me” time to evaluate your transition. You don’t have to become a complete hermit, but concentrate on your own well being and feelings. This will make you stronger, more confident and sure of yourself. Learn as much as you can about yourself and what YOU want your gay lifestyle to be.
Take a personal inventory of your life. Write down any anger, resentments, fears and guilt that you may have about your existing life. Don’t forget the positive characteristics that also make you who you are today. Once you’ve done that, list your life goals, priorities and the things that make you happy (getting married, having children, being single, enjoying nature, art, dancing, etc.). What you are identifying is what kind of gay person you want to be.
This may seem like a silly exercise at first, but will be beneficial in the long run. Forgive yourself for any anger, resentment and guilt you may have for yourself and others and concentrate on your positive qualities. Create a new life for yourself by shaping it around your new life goals. Even as a gay person these things are possible!

Know that you are not alone.

It doesn’t matter if you live in a small town or a large metropolitan city, nothing can be more isolating than first coming out. You can be surrounded by familiar people and still feel you are the only one that is “different.” We’ve all felt these feelings when first coming out and there are millions more just like you that are currently feeling the same. There are many resources, such as gay community centers and gay online communities, where you can find others dealing with similar issues.

Deal with stereotypes, discrimination and hate against gays.

Many gay men don’t fit into existing stereotypes associated with queer people, but feel the pressure to do so by society or even other gay people. Rest assured, the gay community is just as diverse as any other community and each gay man is an individual.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t always prevent things like name-calling. You may be thinking whoever coined the term “words will never hurt me” obviously was never called a queer in a crowded room, but you do have an opportunity to take control of the situation. Maybe not by force or that cute one liner, but by protecting your own emotions and dealing with the situation that preserves your self esteem and your safety. Tune out others who may be around. Any person worth your friendship will see the haters for what they are- cowards. Even amongst laughs try not to feed into the stereotypes (learn about internalized homophobia). Be proud of the person you are and know that your offender’s comments or actions are based on their lack of understanding and fear, not your deficiency. Stand tall or flee the scene, just make safety (and not your pride) your top priority. Sometimes the bravest of the battle is the one who can walk away from the ignorance. Seek solace in those around you that do accept you and always try and prevent a gay bashing.
Know that there are also a number of national gay organizations that lobby against discrimination and defamation.

Tell family and friends you’re gay when you’re ready.

Every gay or bisexual man considers how their family and friends will react to the news that they are gay. Will your family reject you? Will your friends suddenly feel uncomfortable? Will you lose good friends or family members? These are valid questions that we must consider and unfortunately, there is no way to predict how your loved ones will react to your sexuality. The most important thing to consider is your own health and well being.
Come out to family and friends at a pace that makes YOU comfortable. There is no set time line or proper order of disclosure and each person’s situation is different. Nonetheless, the one common thread amongst gay men is the liberation they feel once they no longer have to hide their feelings. Keeping your sexuality buried can be devastating to your stability in the long run.
Surround yourself with as many positive influences, just in case your folks don’t take the news so well. Try and educate your family about your lifestyle and find a support program at a local gay community center.

Don’t give up on marriage or children.

Many of us grow up with dreams of a happy committed relationship and a house full of children. Contrary to popular belief, being gay does not condemn you to a life alone without kids. Gay marriage, civil unions or domestic partnerships is afforded to gays in many countries and states. And though legal protection is best, many gay men around the world have families that include stable and long-term relationships and natural-born or adopted children.
Learn about the many places where gay marriage is legal and how to become a gay parent.

Learn about gay love, relationships and sex.

Gay men share unique experiences when it comes to gay love, relationships and sex. Without societal “norms” for gay people, some can feel isolated or confused when it comes to matters of the heart. Here are a few resources to help guide you toward healthy gay love and relationships:

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Coming out is an experienced shared by many gay, bisexual, lesbian and transgender people. You are not alone and there is help available.
There are many resources available for you and your family and friends. Browse through the Gay Life site or the discussion forum for advice and information. If you still don’t find the answers to your questions, feel free to contact your Gay Life Guide with any concerns or just to say hello. Happy coming out and congratulations on this major life step!

Top 4 Ways You Shouldn’t Come Out

Coming out isn’t a Nascar race. There is no penalty for entering too late; there is no checker flag signifying the end; nor are you left behind if you don’t enter the race going 200 miles per hour. There is no one way to come out, but there are ways you can avoid some of the pain and drama many experience coming out to family, friends and coworkers. Avoid coming out in:

1. In anger.

Emotionally charged situations are unpredictable and actions in anger are often irrational. I came out to my dad in the midst of an argument and the situation only got worse. I was so angry I didn’t have the chance to truly express how I felt; and he was so taken aback that he completely shut it out- only for it to come up later. When you come out with a clear mind, you maintain control of the situation and express the things you need to express, all while respecting the other person.

2. As revenge.

Having the gay card in your pocket is like having the only nuclear bomb in a war against your homophobic neighbor. Your same-gender loving feelings are a part of you and should be disclosed under your terms. Why invite negativity upon yourself or share such dear details of your life in a bout of payback? If someone is slinging insults or you know they hate gays, let them have their reality. The best way to combat ignorance is to let them witness your world surrounded by love and acceptance.

3. Through a third party.

Third party news is always a bad idea. Facts and feelings can get twisted from person to person, which is why hearsay doesn’t even stand up in court. Sometimes your news will leak to others through gossip, but your loved ones will appreciate hearing it directly from you. Don’t get anyone else involved or waste time chasing the rumor mill. Important information such as this should be handled person to person. If a face to face meeting is not within your comfort zone, write a personal letter.

4. When you’re not ready.

Coming out should happen on your schedule. Of course, you can’t control whether someone finds out through other means, but you can talk about it at your own pace. There is no set age or circumstance that dictates when a person should come out. Let your feelings be your guide. I was tired of keeping such an important part of my life from those I cared about. So I started slowly telling friends one by one and then my family. Those that truly cared stuck by my side, despite the ones that didn’t.

The previous resources come from http://gaylife.about.com. I wish I had read some of these before I came out, because I know that I made many mistakes along the way. I hope you guys are able to learn from my experiences. I still have a few more resources to add and at least one more coming out story, though I may also add another about coming out in the workplace.


Coming Out: The Second Time

Here is a continuation of my coming out stories. I apologize for it taking so long to get the next one up, but as I have said before things have been incredibly busy. If you have missed the previous coming out posts, you may check out those posts by clicking this link: Coming Out. Or by going to those posts directly. Here they are in order:

  1. Coming Out: The Struggle
  2. Coming Out: “Am I, or Am I Not?”
  3. Coming Out: “Feelings of Betrayal”
  4. Coming Out: Acceptance
  5. Coming Out to My Parents
  6. Coming Out: The Urges
  7. Coming Out: The First Step

Coming out to the first person is always a big step. It is the first time that you have told anyone else something that you (probably) consider your biggest secret. It was for me. I told two people the first time I told anyone, it was a huge step, but I was not ready for everyone to know, at least not yet. I had to become more comfortable with it myself.

The second time I came out to anyone, was probably much more dramatic. My first coming out took place in April, it was not until the following November that I decided to come fully out to the closet to my friends and colleagues. I had told no one else that I was gay. Then a situation presented itself to explore a little. I was going to attend an academic conference in New Orleans, the gay mecca for the South. So while we were down there, I was hoping to get to go to a gay bar for the first time. The events of our evening in New Orleans French Quarter worked out so that this is exactly what happened. The female friend that I had come out to was down there without her boyfriend, so we were hanging out at a few bars with some of the other graduate students. One of the other guys started hitting on my friend, this was an unwanted advance. So I suggested that we get out of there and go somewhere else. It was expected that wherever we went, these two annoying guys would follow us, so I suggested that we go to a gay bar. All of us knew that these two guys would not go to a gay bar, so we went and they decided to go to a strip club (not something I was interested in). Only three of us went to the gay bar (Oz to be exact, very fun place, btw). We had a blast, dancing, drinking, and flirting with the dancers on the bar. It was the most free and natural that I had ever felt. I had never felt as comfortable in a straight bar as I did in Oz. We all had a total blast, but it was obvious to everyone, that my coming out to most of the people in my graduate program was just around the corner.

The next Friday night, after we had returned from New Orleans, most of the graduate students were at a bar in town that we would frequently meet at when classes for the week were over. After a few drinks, I figured what the hell, let’s talk about what we all did in New Orleans. So I mentioned going to the gay bar. It was a very casual thing, and I remember a few questions being asked, but I don’t actually remember how it all went. By the end of the night, it was obvious to all those with us, that I had come out of the closet. It seemed like no big deal, and really it wasn’t. I was just finally able to quit looking like I was checking out girls.

Then Monday rolled around, and I was the center of departmental gossip. Nothing mean was said, everything was very supportive, but news got out quickly. Most of that news was in a congratulatory fashion for having the courage to come out, and how welcoming they were towards my sexuality. For those who had not gotten the message during that week, by the next weekend when we were all gathered out drinking again, everyone in my department knew. It was a very liberating experience and overall a very positive experience. Thank God that academia is a welcoming and liberal institution (for the most part anyway). I am sure that during my graduate career that my orientation has worked against me a few times, but for the most part it never made a huge difference. I am who I am, and they accepted me for it, with no questions asked and they were happy that I could be myself. They also understood the very conservative background that I came from, so their support was all the stronger.


Is There Any Sport More Homoerotic Than Rugby?

My roommate in college used to play rugby.  It is a rough and tumble sport with men in short shorts and “rugby” shirts.  After the games, the guys would generally get drunk and/or high, which eventually led to them getting naked at various points.  Every time my roommate told me about the traditions that were associated with rugby, they tended to included nudity.  I hope I get the terminology right here, if not, let me know.  I am doing this by memory.  There seemed to be a lot of hazing of new team members.  First of all, when a player scored his first try, he would strip naked, right there and then and run around the field.  Another tradition was the elephant walk, to show team unity.  As I understood it, all the guys would be naked and reach through the guy in front’s leg to grab their dick and then walk around the room.  Do any of you have any stories of sports hazing?

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So to go along with this post, I thought I would give a little history of rugby for those who might not be as familiar with the sport.  William Webb Ellis is credited with inventing rugby in 1823 by picking up the ball while playing football at Rugby School and running with it. The claim is disputed but there is little doubt that rugby developed at public schools out of a large-scale, few-rules, mauling scrum game. Definition of the code began in 1863 when the Football Association was formed and outlawed handling and hacking. Richmond, Blackheath, and some London clubs stayed with the handling code and in 1871 the Rugby Football Union was formed. As in soccer, the balance moved in favor of northern clubs and there were accusations of professionalism. In 1895 St Helens, Wigan, and a number of northern clubs formed a breakaway union, which became the Rugby Football League in 1922. The number of players was reduced from fifteen to thirteen and scrums restricted to produce a fast handling game.

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The two codes, amateur and professional, treated each other with disdain for many years. But the advent of television after the Second World War led to a gradual thaw. Rugby union introduced a league system, with promotion and relegation, expenses became ever more substantial, and the ban on players returning after playing rugby league was lifted in 1995. Full professionalism followed, together with substantial restructuring of competitions.


The Photography of the Argentine Marcos López

While doing a little research about sensuality and sports, I came across an article in Dissidence (The Hispanic Journal of Theory and Criticism) entitled “Homosocialism ↔ Homoeroticism in the Photography of Marcos López” by David Williams Foster.  Here is an excerpt from that article:

…One of the most homosocial spaces in modern society is the locker room, which is closely associated with other athletic and gymnasium spaces like the shower, the steam room, the jacuzzi, the massage room, and the infirmary. The bath house/sauna was, before AIDS, one of the great meeting places for gay men, and the fancy gym is, for today’s guppy, one major site for same-sex cruising (American university sports centers are notorious in this regard).  The homoerotic dimensions of sports has long been maintained, and it is difficult to forget that the original Olympics were performed in the nude; homoerotic overtones have also long been associated with European soccer, and Bazán recalls the 1995 controversy surrounding the Argentine national team. The sociologist Juan José Sebreli first broached the subject in print in a book from 1981, Fútbol y masas, but develops it as a major theme in his 1998 La era del fútbol .
In López’s image—titled El vestuarioimage ,—one is particularly struck by the fact that none of the seven men (athletes and trainers) whose faces can be seen (there is an eighth man stretched out on a massage table, his face hidden by one of the other players) looks anywhere else but directly at the camera: no one peeks out of the closet here at the body of another man… Moreover, all of the men visible are hypermasculine, confident in their pose before the camera, with marked secondary sexual characteristics well in evidence, such as hairy chest and legs, heavy beard, mustaches, muscular torso and legs, with appropriate tertiary accoutrements such as athletic wear, soccer ball, the ankle bandage and what appears to be a tube or container of ointment that are metonymies of strenuous physical activity. The file of identical lockers against the back wall iconicizes the continuity between these men where the sameness of their macho presence guarantees the easy circulation of the norms of homosociality without any trace of the discrepancy from these norms that would signal the contramasculine, the effeminate, the threat of homosexuality. True, one of the men, to the left of the image, somewhat older than the others, is fleshier than one associates with a sustained athletic life, while, in the right-hand background there is a frankly paunchy individual with long hair (he is, nevertheless, properly uniformed for athletic play). But these are, if they are discordant notes, minor ones that only serve to affirm the overall conventional hypermasculinity of the men we see in the foreground.  In short, this is a world of men and for men, and if resolute homosociality were ever to segue into homoeroticism, it is not likely to include any sign of the feminine. It is precisely the homoerotic undertones of the hypermasculine universe of soccer that both Bazán and Sebreli speak of, and, while Archetti underscores the way in which soccer—like many all-male sports—transculturally serve to assimilate young men to the codes of masculine homosociality, there is no way of categorically specifying when the frisson of the homoerotic will occur.
imageOne of López’s most outrageous compositions is Tomando sol en la terraza,  which was used for the invitation and publicity for the exhibit for the early 2005 show of his work at the White Box….Yet, by contrast, the [image] more readily evoke[s] the homoerotic, which is located here in the display of the partially naked male body. Indeed, the lack of an explicit homosocial context would indicate, precisely, that sunbathing  is not routine masculine behavior.  And although the image of the partially naked male body is legitimated in certain contexts, such as that of the athletic locker room, it does not customarily involve the privileged exposure of the penis.
Tomando sol is constructed around the common occurrence of sunbathing, which in an apartment-dwelling metropolis like Buenos Aires often means stretching out on a towel on the rooftop of one’s high-rise building. Certainly, the majority of sunbathers are women, and sports and other physically active undertakings are the most appropriate way for the male body to gain whatever are considered the beneficial aspects of direct exposure to the sun;
concomitantly, to lie inert in the sun is a female/womanlike activity. True, López’s male sunbather is surrounded by the details of a masculine world: various bottles of beer and a bottle opener, along with a half-consumed glass of brew. There is an ashtray with the butts of two consumed cigarettes, a carton of Marlboros (unquestionably a real man’s tobacco of choice), and there is a stack of magazines at hand, the top one of which appears to be a sports magazine, as its cover carries a routine soccer image. One rather whimsical detail is the garden hose (often laughingly referred to as a penis substitute), which runs alongside the reclining man and loops its way around one of the beer bottles, as though it were a sunning serpent; its two tones of green partially match the colors of the blanket on which the man lies sunning.
The model here is, in all regards, one of López’s by-now familiar hypermasculine bodies: trim and muscular, with firm and hairy legs and a nicely matted chest; his strong facial characteristics are manly in every regard: in sum, a man’s man. What is jarring, however, is the way he is dressed and what that dress leaves exposed. Nude sunbathing on a private rooftop may be preferred by some men, although heterosexual men are less likely than women (or homosexual men) to worry about tan lines: indeed, the tan line on a naked male body might be viewed by some as sexy, since it frames the now exposed but usually concealed genitals or buttocks. But the covering of the lower regions of the body means wearing a swimsuit; even underwear might be permissible. However, López’s model is swathed in athletic bandages from his midriff to halfway down his thighs, something like an improvised locker-room version of surfing shorts, although tighter and neutral in color, as opposed to the often colorful and baggy original. Moreover, the athletic bandage around the model’s middle picks up on the more reasonable presence of the wrapping around both his ankles and instep, such as one might find on an athlete’s foot to prevent or remedy a sprain from action in sports.
But what is specifically transgressive about Tomando sol is the way in which the model’s penis is exposed. The athletic bandage is wrapped around the image man’s waist, buttocks, and upper thighs in such a way that, although some minor glimpses of skin are allowed, his genitals are exposed, with his penis (notably uncircumcised from the point of view of a North American viewer) resting on the edge of a strip of the bandage. One does not normally sunbathe the penis without the rest of the lower body being exposed, and, aside from the medical inadvisability of such exposure, one is unaware of any known fetish of the sunbathed (or sunburned) penis. López is known for his over-the-top whimsicalness, and it is amply evident in this composition, with its showcasing of the model’s respectably sized penis and the echoes of the strongly masculine phallus in the beer bottles, the cigarettes, and the garden hose. The contemplation of the male body required by this composition, one that underscores the phallic, disrupts the heterosexist homosocial convention whereby the male body is masculine (a condition of the appropriate of the homosocial pact), but it is not erotic: the genitals are assumed to be there, and with acceptable potency, but they can never be the
object of confirming scrutiny. Whenever the male body is the occasion for the spectacular gaze, as the female body routinely is, it is placed at the disposal of a homoerotic interest that is inadmissible within the manly homosocial pact.

For the full article, check out http://www.dissidences.org/MarcosLopez.html.
Excerpt from:
Foster, David William. “Homosocialism ↔ Homoeroticism in the Photography of Marcos López”. Dissidences. On line. Internet: 30/08/05 (http://www.dissidences/MarcosLopez.html)


Bullfighting

Bullfighting seems to be the most masculine of sports.  However, it is also highly erotic in a barbaric sort of way.  Bullfighters themselves exude sex.  A few years ago in 2001, Patricia Nell Warren wrote The Wild Man, a book about a gay bullfighter who was deeply closeted during the reign of Generalissimo Francisco
Franco.  I became fascinated with the sensuality and machismo of bullfighters.image Warren, best known for The Front Runner, the ground-breaking novel about a gay athlete, created another gay sports figure in The Wild Man. With his overweening machismo, the complex hero, a closeted matador at the end of Franco’s rule in Spain, is never entirely sympathetic but always fascinating. He is aware of the political and social changes of the 1960s but must face the conflict between the demands of his aristocratic family and the traditions of his sport, on the one hand, and his growing love for an idealistic young peasant on the other. Warren’s overly romantic style sometimes threatens to turn this into a romance novel. The depiction of gay life under a right-wing dictatorship and the start of the ecological movement in Spain are often more absorbing than the love stories. In spite of stylistic flaws, Warren tells an absorbing story, and his characters transcend stereotypes in a setting that will be exotic to most American readers
image Called the corrida de toros in Spanish, the bullfight takes place in a large outdoor arena known as the plaza de toros. The object is for one of the bullfighters (toreros)-the matador-to kill a wild bull, or toro, with a sword.
A modern bullfight consists of three stylized parts (tercios). When the bull enters the ring, toreros wave capes to prod it to charge; then the picadors administer pic (lance) thrusts, which tire the animal and cause him to lower his head; in the second part, the banderilleros image come out and, while on the run, plant banderillas (short barbed sticks) on the withers of the bull; these often spur him into making livelier charges. In the final segment the matador-almost always a man, although some women have entered the sport in recent decades, amid controversy-holds the muleta, a small cloth cape, in one hand, and a sword in the other. Daring passes at the bull work to dominate the animal until it stands with feet square on the ground and head hung low; the matador must then approach the bull from the front and kill him by thrusting his sword between the shoulder blades and into the heart. A matador’s performance requires great skill and courage, and successful matadors reap immense awards in money and adulation. Fighting bulls are bred and selected for spirit and strength.
image The Minoans of Bronze Age Crete practiced bull leaping as part of religious ritual, and later Greeks and Romans also had rites that involved the slaughter of bulls. The Moors, who fought bulls from their horses and killed them with javelins, probably introduced the sport to Spain (c.11th cent.). Originally the central figure in the Spanish bullfight was the mounted torero; Francisco Romero is generally credited with being the first (c.1726) to fight on foot. Bullfighting is also popular in the Latin American countries of Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador, and in S France. The Portuguese practice a style of fighting from horseback in which the bull is not killed in the ring. Critics contend that bullfighting is an inhumane spectacle of animal torture; aficionados respond that it is a complex ritual central to Spanish culture.

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Ancient Sports

Sports seem to have existed from the beginning of time. The original sports were established as a way to train soldiers. Some sports like bull jumping were purely for pleasure and the beauty and sensuality of the sport. Most of them served as entertainment. The winners basked in the glory of their victory. A great athlete was at the height of sexual desire from men and women.
Bull Jumping
imageBull-jumping is thought to have been a key ritual in the religion of the Minoan civilization on Bronze Age Crete. image As in the case of other Mediterranean civilizations, the bull was the subject of veneration and worship. Representation of the Bull at the palace of Knossos is a widespread symbol in the art and decoration of this archaeological site.
The assumption, widely debated by scholars, is that the iconography represents a ritual sport and/or performance in which human athletes literally vaulted over bulls as part of a ceremonial rite.
Gladiators
imageimage Gladiatorial combats usually took place in amphitheaters. They probably were introduced from Etruria and originally were funeral games. Gladitorial combats, which took place in the Colosseum and in hundreds of other amphitheaters throughout the Roman world, reached their height in the 1st and 2d cent. A.D.
image The gladiators were paired off to fight each other, usually to the number of about 100 couples, although in the imperial shows there were sometimes as many as 5,000 pairs. There were various types of gladiators, armed and armored differently. Thus a heavily armored man, a Mirmillo or Samnite, might be opposed to a Retiarius, who fought almost naked, with a net and a trident as his only weapons. He also image might be pitted against a Thracian, who fought with a dagger and a small round shield. Often gladiators were made to fight wild beasts. A defeated gladiator was usually killed by the victor unless the people expressed their desire that he be spared.
At first, gladiators were invariably slaves or prisoners, including Christians. They normally underwent rigid training, and some gained immense popularity. Later, impoverished freedmen also sought a living as gladiators, and finally even members of the ruling classes took part in gladiatorial combats on an amateur basis. Some gladiators, led by Spartacus, took part in the third of the Servile Wars (73 B.C.-71 B.C.). Constantine I forbade gladiatorial games, but they nonetheless continued until A.D. 405.
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Olympic Sports
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image Although records cannot verify games earlier than 776 B.C., the contests in Homer’s Iliad indicate a much earlier competitive tradition. Held in honor of Zeus in the city of Olympia for four days every fourth summer, the Olympic games were the oldest and most prestigious of four great ancient Greek athletic festivals, which also included the Pythian games at Delphi, the Isthmian at Corinth, and the Nemean at Argos (the Panathenaea at Athens was also important). image The Olympics reached their height in the 5th-4th cent. B.C.; thereafter they became more and more professionalized until, in the Roman period, they provoked much censure. They were eventually discontinued by Emperor Theodosius I of Rome, who condemned them as a pagan spectacle, at the end of the 4th cent. A.D.
Among the Greeks, the games were nationalistic in spirit; states were said to image have been prouder of Olympic victories than of battles won. Women, foreigners, slaves, and dishonored persons were forbidden to compete. Contestants were required to train faithfully for 10 months before the games, had to remain 30 days under the eyes of officials in Elis, who had charge of the games, and had to take an oath that they had fulfilled the training requirements before participating. At first, the Olympic games were confined to running, but over timimage e new events were added: the long run (720 B.C.), when the loincloth was abandoned and athletes began competing naked; the pentathlon, which combined running, the long jump, wrestling, and discus and spear throwing (708 B.C.); boxing (688 B.C.); chariot racing (680 B.C.); the pankration (648 B.C.), involving boxing and wrestling contests for boys (632 B.C.); and the foot race with armor (580 B.C.).
Greek women, forbidden not only to participate in but also to watch the Olympic games, held games of their own, called the Heraea. Those were also held every four years but had fewer events than the Olympics. image Known to have been conducted as early as the 6th cent. B.C., the Heraea games were discontinued about the time the Romans conquered Greece. Winning was of prime importance in both male and female festivals. The winners of the Olympics (and of the Heraea) were crowned with chaplets of wild olive, and in their home city-states male champions were also awarded numerous honors, valuable gifts, and privileges.

imageEach of these sports had an erotic element to them, whether it was the sensuality of the acrobatic movements of the bull-jumpers, the raw sexuality of the brutality and athleticism of the gladiator, or the nudity the ancient Olympians who competed for the glory of victory.
image In ancient times, it was believed that athletes literally exuded sexuality. image After sports, athletes would bathe in olive oil and then scrape that oil off their bodies to remove the sweat. As the oil and sweat was being scraped from their bodies, it would be collected in small bottles to be sold as a sexual enhancer. Now for some, this might sound utterly disgusting. I find it highly erotic. Mostly, it was used by women to enhance sexual pleasure, but could you imagine using it as a lube for masturbation. I mean, OMG, the smell of a musty athlete, mixed with the olive oil against your own skin, and then the ultimate smell once you cum and the sweat and oil is mixed with your cum. Now that would be an aphrodisiac.