Author Archives: Joe

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces.

Tired

I went shopping in New Hampshire with a friend of mine yesterday. We had lunch and went to several stores. We took this shopping trip because we both needed to go to Target. I also showed her some of the sites down that way, and then we headed back home. When we got back to her apartment, she unloaded her purchases, and we decided it was dinner time, so we had dinner and sat and talked for a while. Time got away from us, and I didn’t drop her back off at her apartment until after 8 pm. While we had been in the restaurant, it had apparently snowed, so it was a slow drive back home. It was only lightly snowing when we went in the restaurant, and the forecast has said we were only expecting snow flurries. This turned out to be more than a few flurries, but it wasn’t so bad that I had to get my snow brush out. However, it was enough snow to slow down traffic, so it took a bit longer than usual to get back home. When I finally made it back home, I was pretty tired, so I wrote this short post and went to bed.


Pic of the Day


The Narrow Path

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

—Matthew 7:13-14

When I was coming to terms with my sexuality, I thought about the above verses a lot. For LGBTQ+ individuals, accepting our sexuality is the narrow gate; going through the wide gate often leads to our destruction. The discrimination and bullying LGBTQ+ individuals often face in life often can lead to suicidal behavior Policies and interventions that effectively reduce stigma and discrimination while strengthening support networks and community connectedness could help reduce the risk of suicide for LGBTQ+ adults and youth.

Although sharply divided, public attitudes toward gays and lesbians are rapidly changing to reflect greater acceptance, with younger generations leading the way. Acceptance of homosexuality in general also reflects the generational difference in opinion. In 2010, 26 percent of the people surveyed who were under 30 said they felt same-sex behavior is “always wrong,” while 63 percent of the people aged 70 and older held that opinion.

Those in the LGBTQ+ community know that the attitude towards our community is changing. The change toward acceptance of homosexuality began in the late 1980s after years of remaining relatively constant. In 1973, 70 percent of people felt same-sex relations are “always wrong,” and in 1987, 75 percent held that view. By 2000, however, that number dropped to 54 percent and by 2010 was down to 43.5 percent. People of my generation and older, and even today, people in more conservative areas of the country, know that lack of acceptance made many people deny their sexuality, which is harmful. Lack of acceptance and fear of the way we’d be treated if we came out, led many of us to stay in the closet for too many years.

Research shows that anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination and victimization contribute to an increase in the risk of suicide, and LGBTQ+ people are at disproportionate risk of suicidal thoughts, planning, and attempts. A 2016 review of research found 17 percent of lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults had attempted suicide during their lifetime, compared with 2.4 percent of the general U.S. population. LGBQ people were 92 percent more likely to think about suicide, 75 percent more likely to plan suicide, and 88 percent more likely to actually attempt suicide that resulted in no or minor injury. The statistics for transgender individuals is even worse.  For transgender individuals, 82 percent have seriously thought about suicide in their lifetimes, while 48 percent had done so in the past year. Even more devastating is that 40 percent of transgender individuals have attempted suicide at some point in their lifetimes, and 7 percent had attempted it in the past year.

Acceptance can go a long way in changing these statistics. That doesn’t mean just acceptance from non-LGBTQ+ people, but also accepting ourselves and our sexuality. LGBTQ+ people are a minority. At best, we make up about 10 percent of the population, though in surveys that number is usually lower. Our small section of the population that accept our sexuality put us automatically on the “narrow path.”  But acceptance and journeying down that narrow path leads to much difficulty , but it also “leads to life.” Mark Twain once said, “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”

In life, we are constantly faced with the narrow path and the wide path, it is up to us to chose which one we take. However, just remember that “narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life,” Today, I want to leave you with one of y favorite poems which gives advice we should all heed.

The Road Not Taken

By Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,


Pic of the Day


Moment of Zen: Midnight Snack

I know eating late at night is bad for you, but sometimes a midnight snack is just irresistible.


Pic of the Day


Gallery of the Louvre

I know this is not the type of picture you expect on this blog, but it’s one that been on my mind lately as I’ve worked on our new exhibit. This painting will not be in our exhibit, but it is one that I came across while doing research for our exhibit. The painting above is titled Gallery of the Louvre and was painted by Samuel F. B. Morse between 1831–33. Morse  is better known today for his invention of the electromagnetic telegraph—and for “Morse” code—but he began his career as a painter and rose to the Presidency of the National Academy of Design in New York. Morse always wanted to be known as a great painter and never liked the fame he received for his invention. That could be because he got the idea from someone else, although the name escapes me at the moment.

The monumental Gallery of the Louvre (it measures  73.75 in. x 108 in.) is Morse’s masterwork. It is currently owned by the Terra Foundation for American Art as part of the Daniel J. Terra Collection. Gallery of the Louvre  was Morse’s ambitious effort to capture images of the Louvre’s great paintings and transport them across the ocean and throughout the country, to the republic’s young cities and villages, so that art and culture could grow there.

Morse was one of the major historical figures I researched while I was writing my (never completed) dissertation. While this is an unusual post for me, I have had such a great time delving into my old research again to prepare for this exhibit, and I wanted to share some of it. It’s been a lot of work, and I’ve been incredibly busy. So, if my posts are not exactly substantial for the next couple of weeks, it’s because my creative endeavors have been focused elsewhere, and considering that I’m not a very creative person, there isn’t much creativity to spare at the moment, but I’ll continue to do my best.

The people in Gallery of the Louvre are real people known to Morse, and the paintings within the painting are famous works from the Louvre. One of the people is Morse himself.

1) Samuel F. B. Morse
2) Titian’s Francis I, 1539
3) The American writer James Fenimore Cooper, his wife Susan, and their daughter also named Susan
4) American sculptor Horatio Greenough, who was probably most famous for the monstrosity that he sculpted of George Washington (which could be a whole other post in itself)
5) Richard West Habersham, a young American portraitist from Georgia, who was Morse’s roommate in Paris
6) Possibly a woman named Miss Joreter, who took lessons from Morse in the Louvre
7) Leonardo da Vinci’s portrait of Lisa Gherardini, known famously as the Mona Lisa


Pic of the Day


Headache

I had a really bad migraine last night. It was one of the worst I’ve had in a while. I wasn’t up for writing anything for today.


Pic of the Day

After a long day at work doing exhibit installs, this is all I want to do: take off my pants and lay on the couch for a nap.